As much as I hope not, I reckon Jeremy Corbyn will be gone by the weekend.Why? Well tomorrow sees the publication of the Chilcot Report on the 2003 Iraq War.
Corbyn has dedicated his entire political life to opposing unjust wars and oppression around the globe. Perhaps the biggest of these unjust wars was the West’s invasion of Iraq in 2003. Corbyn campaigned tirelessly to keep our country out of the conflict. He spoke out frequently and passionately against the abuse of power and the subversion of democracy that led to the UK entering the war. He spoke out about the appalling death, destruction and misery which followed and which continues. Not that I defend for one moment the murderous regime of Sadam Hussien, but Corbyn was right to argue that there were many other ways Hussien could have been deposed which would have avoided the disastrous consequences of the western invasion. Consequences with which the world is still having to deal with 13 years laterIf, as many people predict, the Chilcot Report lays some, probably a lot, of the blame for the invasion of Iraq at the door of Tony Blair and other senior Labour figures who were running the country at the time, then Corbyn will have been vindicated for his courageous stance. Those who mocked, abused and taunted him will be exposed as the reckless and deceitful warmongers they were.
To be proved to have been right in such a high profile way doesn’t happen very often in public affairs. Then to have the ability, as the current Labour Party Leader, to apologise on behalf of the UK to those on all sides of the conflict, living or dead, who were killed, tortured, raped and abused during and as a consequence of the Iraq war, is also a unique and special thing. As will be the opportunity for Corbyn to publically name and shame, and perhaps even call for the prosecution, of any Labour politicians who misled parliament and in so doing facilitated and encouraged war crimes.
The psychological and physical release brought about by the opportunities presented by the Chilcot Report will be so powerful that Corbyn is likely to feel that his job has been done. Having been a trade union negotiator myself, I strongly suspect that union boss, Len McCluskey, who is trying to broker some sort of peace deal between Corbyn and the right wing of the Parliamentary Labour Party, will instinctively know how important the Chilcot Report will be in achieving his task. I don’t know how, but I’m sure that one way or another McCluskey will use the power of Chilcot as means to develop an “honourable” exit strategy for Corbyn and I think Corbyn is very likely to take it.
Although the vindication of Corbyn will be a major political triumph; although it will massively strengthen the left and discredit the Blairites I sincerely hope my analysis is wrong and that Corbyn stays in post. Because being proved to be right about the Iraq war is one, albeit important, thing, but securing, from today’s political turmoil, a genuine socialist party that will fight for a better future is another.