It is one thing for those who opposed the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader to make their concerns and objections known and to argue for them within the Big Tent which is the Labour Party. It is quite another thing, when a new leader has just been elected with 60% of the vote (higher than Blair’s 57% in 1994), for a well-known Labour public figure to openly incite insurrection to have him promptly overthrown. When the party has spoken with such unprecedented decisiveness, such behaviour is coming close to traitorous. The Labour party has a rule, introduced by Blair himself, that anyone who brings the party into disrepute can be expelled. Many would think that Mandelson, who no doubt was deeply involved in the machinations behind the new rule designed to get rid of inconvenient left-wing activists, has now put himself in a position to be hoist on his own petard.
What is so objectionable about Mandelson’s pronouncements is that it betrays his view that the Labour party isn’t a democratic party at all, but simply an instrument for his own clique to gain power and retain power. He sees it as his own personal or factional fiefdom which somehow he has a God-given right to control as though that were the natural order of things. Any deviation from this is a perversion that is not acceptable. What is really ironic is that the Blairites have only themselves to blame because they were so confident of their impregnable dominance that they ceased to listen to the party and indeed regarded the party as an inconvenience except for money-[raising and door-knocking. Now they are in a state of denial. But what they cannot do, and Mandelson cannot do, is bring the party into disrepute because they cannot get their own way.
It is also worth noting that so much of the reporting since Corbyn’s elevation on the 12th has been misplaced. The media has framed the differences of policy between the leader and an opposed majority within the PLP as a contest in negotiation in which somehow the demands of the PLP will have to be satisfied. But that is not the role of the PLP at all. The members of the PLP are there to represent their constituents and party members, not to act as a force in their own right detached from the views of the wider party. That is not to say that there cannot be frank exchanges and impassioned argument on both policy and the democratic structures of the party, but once the party as a whole has spoken it does not give the right to the PLP to defy the leader and seek to enforce on him policies which have just weeks before been soundly rejected by the wider membership.