Given that all but 15 of the Conservative MPs have pledged their allegiance towards Mr Cameron’s plan for Syria, and dozens of Labour MPs potentially offering their support, it seems inevitable that the bombing of Syria will be carried out.
If Labour was more unified behind Mr Corbyn’s leadership, then the party as a whole would have been able to offer a more robust challenge towards Mr Cameron’s scheme.
This of course worked in 2013, when Labour helped inflict a surprise defeat against the Conservative Party, blocking them from carrying out airstrikes against the Assad regime in Syria.
Obviously it will be hard for Mr Corbyn to replicate such success, not just on this issue, but future ones; given that nearly half of his MPs threatened to rebel against Corbyn if they were not able to pursue their own wishes.
The party is a broad church, to say the least. And this is not the first time Mr Corbyn, who has been Labour leader for less than three months, has been forced to compromise on his principles. For example, despite not being openly averse to the European Union, he has displayed ambiguity over the question of Brexit. As his ministers are overwhelmingly pro-EU, he had no choice other than to comply with them, and declare the party in favour of Britain’s membership to stay in the Union.
His desire to scrap Trident could be jeopardized in the future, resulting in further backlash; as many ministers, including the Shadow Defence Secretary Kevan Jones, have solemnly declared they are in favour of renewing Britain’s nuclear deterrent system. One Shadow minister also shockingly branded Mr Corbyn a “f****** disgrace”, after the Labour leader suggested that terrorists should be arrested if possible rather than shot on sight.
A broader and pressing issue within the Labour Party is indicated here. If the ministers of the party are not able to be consistent in their views, then what chance does it have of challenging the Conservative Party? With this current stance, or lack of it, it seems that Labour is more likely to bow to the incumbent government, and be swept aside by them.
UNITE, the UK’s largest Trade Union and the establishment’s worst nightmare, has heaped pressure on rebelling MPs to stick to Corbyn’s principles. Leader Len McCluskey said : “They are playing with fire. Any attempt to force Labour’s leader out through a Westminster palace coup will be resisted all the way by Unite, and I believe, most party members and affiliated unions.”
It is apparently not just Syria that is stricken with civil war, it is the Labour Party too. For it is undergoing a battle split between two main factions: the new Left Wing consensus, consisting of Jeremy Corbyn and ministers like John McDonnell, Dianne Abbott, and Ken Livingstone, backed by several Trade Unions of course; against the Blairite elements that still linger within the core of the Labour Party, and ministers who would still likely pander to big business over their own party’s agenda.
Labour needs to establish a serious direction if it wants to mount a challenge to the Conservative Party. Even their rivals in Scotland, the SNP, are unified as a whole. While the SNP’s Parliamentary Spokesperson Angus Robertson said the party will listen to Cameron’s plan, he declared that the case for extending airstrikes into Syria is not convincing. Therefore, all 54 MPs are expected to vote against it. Such solidarity will be tough for Labour to challenge, if it cannot establish this in itself.
Mr Corbyn therefore needs to cement his presence in the future. Obviously he himself is stern in his principles, but they will not be realised if his ministers do not support them. No doubt more MPs will become influenced by his vision over time, but he needs to work on them. For without a solidified party, Labour will just find itself being rolled over and agreeing with the Conservative Party, rather than challenging it.
And let’s not forget that this was Ed Miliband’s downfall; not offering a firm opposition to Conservative policies. However, I believe that as a party, they will eventually unite over the common goal of wanting to oust the current Government. This will take time though. Remember, Mr Corbyn’s leadership is still relatively young. Hopefully, for the sake of Labour’s future as a party, the ministers will comply with Jeremy Corbyn’s vision.