Tag Archives: hard-left

If Labour MPs want to avoid censure, they need to show some respect

Rosie Duffield: She’s facing a motion of censure.

Cast your eyes over the following:

Owen Jones is right, of course.

If it isn’t Joan Ryan calling her own constituency party members “Trots, Stalinists, Communists and assorted hard left”, it’s Chuka Umunna calling Labour members and supporters “dogs” (whether he meant his word descriptively or metaphorically is immaterial as it is just as insulting either way) and saying the party is “institutionally racist”, or the “former MP” quoted in this Independent article (and above) suggesting that party members are suffering from mental ill-health.

Party members are furious that they are being treated in such a dismissive way by a small group of MPs who have arrived in Parliament in the belief that they give the orders and the rank-and-file do as they are told – an attitude that is too close to the “plebs” mentality – of a certain brand of Tory – for comfort.

These are the same MPs who have been carrying out almost ceaseless attacks on party leader Jeremy Corbyn since he was elected into the role in 2015 (with a short break after Labour’s huge gains in the 2017 general election), so it should come as no surprise that he is standing by his supporters.

He reminded a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party: “I know what it feels like to be the target of a no confidence vote” [it happened in 2016 – and many of those who heard his speech supported it] but it would be wrong for me to intervene in the democratic rights of any part of the Labour party.”

And he is right. The leader has no power to prevent a “no confidence” vote called by members of individual constituency Labour parties.

And there’s another one happening on Wednesday – against Rosie Duffield, who probably owes her victory in Canterbury, against the Tory who had held that city for the previous 30 years, to the Corbyn surge of 2017.

In return, it seems she has undermined her leader, attending a Parliament Square demonstration that accused her own party of “systemic” anti-Semitism, warning that Labour MPs could “go on strike” if Labour did not adopt the flawed IHRA definition of anti-Semitism with all its examples (as eventually happened last week, despite Labour’s code of conduct being far more fit-for-purpose), and supporting the Jewish Labour Movement that has framed at least one high-profile Labour member with anti-Semitism accusations.

Mr Corbyn told the PLP he could not intervene if constituency members wanted to air their differences. He said: “We will always have some differences of opinion and we must protect the right of criticism and debate.”

But he added: “Our first and overwhelming priority is to deliver for the people we represent and remove this Conservative government from office. We must focus on that priority and turn our fire outwards.”

He also made it clear that he wanted all local meetings to be held in an atmosphere of “respect” – perhaps a reference to Joan Ryan’s comment about “Trots, Stalinists, Communists and assorted hard left”.

One wonders whether the MPs who have been so disruptive, so far, will honour that appeal after Wednesday’s motion of censure.

Their record up to now suggests that they will not.

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Guardian seems happy to carry on Corbyn-bashing. Why?

Look how hard-left he is! He's wearing a cap and speaking in the open air! But anti-Corbyn hysterics in the media are the one's who look silly.

Look how hard-left he is! He’s wearing a cap and speaking in the open air! But anti-Corbyn hysterics in the media are the ones who look silly.

Wasn’t The Guardian forced to analyse its own coverage, only a few days ago, amid complaints that it was overly critical of Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn?

The verdict was that some articles had taken an overly-‘anti’ tone – but they’re still coming. Today’s Observer (the Graun‘s Sunday sister) has three in a row.

Yvette Cooper: ‘You can be strong without being extreme’ begins with the tagline, “The Labour leadership candidate says she understands the frustration and anger of Corbyn supporters but warns against losing the wider electorate.”

It continues: “The wholly unexpected obstacle to Cooper’s ambition to be Labour’s first female leader is the hard-left Jeremy ‘Jez We Can’ Corbyn.”

So Jeremy Corbyn is “extreme”, is he? He’s “hard-left”? When was that decided?

Most rational thinkers in the UK now accept that Corbyn is absolutely not “extreme” or “hard-left”. He’s left-wing in the classical Labour mould, in line with most of Labour’s loyal membership. If labels like “extreme”, or “hard” are to be applied anywhere, they would more properly belong with fellow candidates Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and especially Liz Kendall, whose attitudes – in Labour terms – would be described most accurately as “hard-right“.

Here’s another article – no headline this time, just straight into the aggro: “With Labour fixated by Corbyn, the Tories have taken advantage of a feeble opposition. Here’s how they did it…”

The text itself makes no mention of Corbyn – he’s just a handy peg on which the sub-editors have hung a headline. The author, Daniel Boffey, accepts that Labour could not be at full strength while the future leader is unnamed and shadow cabinet members have no idea whether they are likely to remain in their posts.

Finally, we have Jeremy Corbyn suggests he would bring back Labour’s nationalising clause IV. Apparently we are supposed to think this is a bad thing but the text of the article betrays the headline once again.

“I think we should talk about what the objectives of the party are, whether that’s restoring clause IV as it was originally written or it’s a different one,” is what Corbyn actually said.

He’s telling the country that, as Labour leader, he would listen to the wishes of his supporters and work to give them what they want.

That’s better than Burnham, Cooper and Kendall rolled together – and much more than the likes of David Cameron, Boris Johnson or George Osborne would ever willingly provide (although we know that their offers aren’t worth the air used to speak them or the paper on which they are written).

This Blog is happy to support Jeremy Corbyn – if only for one simple reason:

He is the only Labour leadership candidate to have shown any support for the Early Day Motion calling for the Conservative Government to publish statistics on the deaths of Incapacity Benefit and Employment and Support Allowance claimants (EDM 285).

In fact, he co-sponsored it.

It was signed by 93 other MPs in the week or so between its creation and the day Parliament went into recess for the summer. I’ve been reminded that Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall cannot sign EDMs because they are members of the shadow cabinet and are barred from doing so. Why haven’t they spoken in favour of it, then? How many of their supporters have signed it?

What does that say about those other leadership candidates?

Does it not tell us that they are happy to collude with the Conservatives in keeping the casualties hidden?

And here’s another good question:

Why aren’t newspapers like The Guardian asking Burnham, Cooper and Kendall about that, rather than stirring up non-existent muck about Corbyn?

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