Tag Archives: Liz Kendall

Will Labour deselect anti-Corbyn MPs and gain unity in the Parliamentary party at last?

Re-selection fodder: Liz Kendall failed to defend Labour against criticisms by Theresa Villiers on the BBC’s Politics Live. Time for her to go?

The Labour Party has triggered a process that could allow constituency members to remove MPs they believe are not properly representing them in Parliament and on the media.

The party has begun the first phase of a re-selection “trigger” process, asking MPs to confirm whether or not they wish to stand for Parliament again, with a deadline of July 8.

It seems likely that this deadline is to allow the party’s National Executive Committee to agree a timetable in which constituency members may decide whether they wish to hold a selection process or retain incumbents unchallenged.

But it may be impossible for the process to conclude in time for an early election to be forced through a “no confidence” vote before the current deadline for Brexit (October 31). It is possible that the Labour leadership is expecting that deadline to slip.

If MPs say they want to stand again, then constituency members may remove them. This would be done with a process that requires one-third of each constituency’s rank-and-file members to demand that the incumbent must stand for re-selection.

But local meetings are not held in August, and many CLPs don’t hold them in September either, due to the proximity of the party conference. So, according to LabourList, it seems likely the next stage of the selection process won’t happen until October.

That blog is suggesting that many incumbents – even those with an expressed anti-Corbyn view – may be in no danger as a majority of party members may vote them back in, despite having triggered the re-selection process.

Some should definitely be looking over their shoulders, though. For example: Liz Kendall.

Labour’s MP for Leicester West appeared on the BBC’s Politics Live on June 25, in which she very clearly failed to stand up for her party and its leader in the face of criticism from the Conservative Theresa Villiers. I commented on this:

The responses were telling:

“Time for Leicester West to get her deselected then,” tweeted ‘Cool Daddy’.

“Let’s see if she stands for re election,” added Christine Abram.

‘Leicester Worker’ stated: “Looking forward to seeing whether or not she wishes to stand as a Labour candidate again.”

Many pointed out that Ms Kendall was a candidate in the leader election when Jeremy Corbyn won the support of 59 per cent of party voters. Only four per cent supported her:

“Liz 4% Kendall hates the idea of a Corbyn government it seems,” tweeted Anne Fallon. That’s not a good look for someone who may need to seek the support of her constituency party members in the near future!

And the obvious failure to address the issue at hand at the time was also covered:

“Kendall was as weak as water let Villiers get away with that unforgiveable” was the slightly incoherent response from Patricia H.

Ashok added: “The line on the dangers of a corbyn led government should be challenged by all MP’s especially considering the mess of he have made of the country over the past few years.”

And ‘Time for Change’ stated: “All Labour MPs who appear on shows like should be supporting Labour Party and attacking opposition. Anything less is a failure and they need to be deselected.”

Will the people of Leicester West seek a new representative, who is more capable of putting forward the case for Labour policies, its members and leader – or will they bottle it? And what about other constituencies with anti-Corbyn (or indeed anti-Labour) Labour MPs?

We’ll find out as this process goes on.

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Labour’s far-right fringers are plotting again. Time to boot them out

A gathering of nobodies: Stephen Kinnock, Chuka Umunna and Liz Kendall.

What a pathetic shower.

These right-wingers – not centrists – tried a coup once before and it didn’t work. But they are opportunists so they will try again.

And when that doesn’t work, they are planning to prevent Labour from forming a government by quitting the party and forming a new one of their own.

I cannot think of a better reason for the Labour leadership to withdraw the whip.

No wonder Unite the Union is said to be planning to support a motion for mandatory reselection of MPs at this year’s Labour conference.

We’ve had enough of this treachery.

A seat in Parliament should not be an automatic right of the incumbent – it should belong to the person chosen by the people, especially if the person currently occupying it is planning to betray those who put them there.

The sooner these nobodies are gone, the better.

As Labour‘s divide over anti-Semitism continues to grow, a number of anti-Corbyn MPs have been meeting to discuss how to “take back control” of the party, it was reported.

Around 12 MPs were said to have met in a Sussex farmhouse to discuss policy and prepare to “step in” after the leadership’s “collapse”, sources said.

The group is said to include Chuka Umunna, Liz Kendall, Stephen Kinnock and John Woodcock, among others.

Many Labour MPs have clashed with the leadership on the party’s policy towards Brexit, with centrists preferring to fight against it or advocate a second vote.

One attendee said pro-Remain Tories and Lib Dems had expressed interest in a new centrist party. Vince Cable, the Lib Dem leader, was previously found to be attending a meeting about such a new group during a vote on a crucial Brexit amendment.

Source: Labour centrists meet to ‘take back control’ of Labour from Corbyn

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Brown’s speech – unintentionally in support of Corbyn?

Gordon Brown during his speech at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Image: John Stillwell/PA

Gordon Brown during his speech at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Image: John Stillwell/PA

At first, it seemed that Gorden Brown had agreed with Tony Blair for the first time in more than a decade – over the threat to neoliberal New Labour Blairites posed by Jeremy Corbyn.

Big deal.

Of course the other architect of New Labour was going to speak up against Jeremy Corbyn’s candidature to lead the Labour Party. Brown is almost as right-wing as Blair.

It doesn’t stop them both being on the wrong side of history.

The joy of Brown’s speech is that much of it was non-specific. He didn’t refer to any of the candidates by name, and advised that Labour must be “credible, radical, sustainable and electable to help people out of poverty, and that anger was not enough” (according to The Guardian).

Nobody would disagree with that, and Corbyn supporters would argue that the only candidate endorsed by such a statement was theirs; Burnham, Cooper and Kendall – by embracing the nonsense of austerity economics – will only make poverty worse while enriching those who already have enough.

The Guardian article continues: “In a clear reference to Corbyn, he said there was one camp whose own supporters even did not believe their candidate would win the next election” – but this is hardly a ringing endorsement of the others, whose policies (along with Brown’s own) have already lost not just one election but two.

“Brown said he was heartbroken and the party grieving after the general election defeat in May, but that it would be ‘even worse if we leave ourselves powerless to do anything about it’” – powerless as the party would be under a Burnham, a Cooper or a Kendall, whose policies would be so close to those of the Conservatives that the electorate would give up on any possibility of opposition and leave the Tories to it?

“Analysing some of the reasons people may have turned to Corbyn’s left-wing politics, he said people were feeling insecure about globalisation, which had left people ‘uncertain and unmoored’ and turned people to nationalism in countries from Greece to Scotland”. This was a clear miss. People aren’t insecure about globalisation; they know for a fact that it represents an attack on their wealth, security and well-being.

Globalisation helps the rich to get richer and pushes the poor down – the behaviour of the European Union over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership tells us all we need to know about it.

Attacking Corbyn’s foreign policy, Brown said: “Don’t tell me that we can do much for the poor of the world if the alliances we favour most are with Hezbollah, Hamas, Chávez’s successor in Venezuela and Putin’s totalitarian Russia.”

This is a deliberate attempt at disinformation. Corbyn has not indicated agreement with the views of any of those people or organisations. Instead, Corbyn is far more likely to put forward policy agreeing with Brown’s claim that Labour should form progressive alliances, especially within Europe, against “illiberalism, totalitarianism, antisemitism, racism and the extremisms of prejudice”.

Brown’s claim that it is “not an abandonment of principles to seek power” and that Labour members should see their vote not as a protest but a “public duty and sacred trust” also chimes with the Corbyn campaign.

It is only Corbyn’s opponents who paint him and his policies as unelectable. The wider Labour Party clearly sees his policies as preferable by far to the watered-down Conservatism that people like Brown, Blair, and their supporters like Alastair Campbell, Simon Danczuk and John Mann have been peddling for the last 20 years.

Indeed, the idea that a Labour vote is a “public duty and sacred trust” merely highlights the growing belief among the Labour Party and the electorate at large that New Labour, and Labour under Ed Miliband, betrayed that trust, abandoning their sacred duty to the people in order to embrace the profanity that is neoliberalism.

“The best way of realising our high ideals is to show that we have an alternative in government that is credible, that is radical and is electable – is neither a pale imitation of what the Tories offer nor is it the route to being a party of permanent protest, rather than a party of government,” said Brown, not realising that he had just written off the chances of Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall in one sentence.

For those who do not understand: The three non-Corbyns don’t have any high ideals. Their alternative is not credible – otherwise Labour would not have lost the 2010 and 2015 elections. It is a pale imitation of the Conservatives and it has led Labour into the twilight of being a party of protest, rather than government.

Actually – are we sure Brown wasn’t supporting Corbyn? The Guardian continues: “People must vote not for the candidate they ‘like’ as they would on Facebook, but for the candidate who can make a difference, he added.” That’s resounding support for Corbyn.

In support of the policies Corbyn opposes, Brown quoted, among others, Gandhi asking: “Is what I am about to do going to help”, and Nelson Mandela saying the yardstick by which he would be measured was the ability to better the lives of all people. Against this, we need set only one of Brown’s policies: Employment and Support Allowance and its accompanying ‘work capability assessment’.

This single policy, begun by New Labour and continued by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition and now the Conservative Government, has led to more than 10,000 known deaths and possibly many tens of thousands that have been hidden from the public. Perhaps Mr Brown should be asking how that single policy was ever intended to help anybody in need.

In the end, Brown will probably be seen as having done more harm to the three stooges other candidates than to Jeremy Corbyn.

Brace yourself for a further surge in support – for the people’s candidate.

 

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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Scaremonger Leslie still represents the ugly side of neoliberal New Labour

Chris Leslie: Neoliberal, Blairite, behind the times – another closet Tory.

Today The Guardian wants to tell us the mainstream Labour Party thinks Jeremy Corbyn’s “starry-eyed, hard left” policies would keep the Conservatives in power for another 10 years at least. What a shame the paper is relying on the words of closet Tory Chris Leslie to make that point!

Leslie is the politician who, as shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, told the Huffington Post last year that a future Labour government would not undo the Coalition’s hugely unpopular cuts but would continue to impose the austerity that has kept our economy in crisis for the last five years.

In that case, as Vox Political argued at the time, why bother voting for Labour? We’ve already got one lot of Conservatives in power; there’s no need for any more.

Particularly galling is Leslie’s claim to represent the concerns of the “progressive left of centre” – a part of the political landscape he cannot ever claim to have inhabited. He’s a regressive member of the Uptight Right.

In the HuffPost interview, Leslie told us: “George Osborne has had his five years to eradicate the deficit. I am determined that we finish that task on which he has failed”. In response, This Blog asked how he proposes to achieve that aim, if his methods are the same?

140601uglynewlabour

Chris Leslie’s idea of socialism: Seems a lot like Toryism, doesn’t it?

The man just wasn’t making sense then – and he isn’t making sense now.

Jeremy Corbyn isn’t a hard-left politician; Leslie’s problem is that his politics is too far to the right of the political spectrum for him to belong in the same party – he isn’t a Labour politician at all. Austerity is not the answer to the UK’s woes – five years of insane Tory ideological policies have demonstrated that.

The people are crying out for a change – the overwhelming victory of the SNP, with it’s anti-austerity posture, at the general election demonstrates that – and claims that England is not the same as Scotland in this regard are groundless because many English people have been saying they would have voted SNP if they could.

Mr Leslie is wrong – in what he says, in what he has been doing, and in his choice of political party. Like Chuka Umunna, Liz Kendall and certain other high-profile neoliberals, he should cross the floor and join the party he really represents.

His announcement that he would not work for Mr Corbyn is the best news we are likely to get all day – and he should keep his scaremongering to himself.

The “starry-eyed, hard left” economic strategy of Jeremy Corbyn would hand the Tories at least another decade in power and end up hurting poor people by leading to higher inflation and interest rates as well as cuts in public spending, the shadow chancellor has said.

As Corbyn outlines plans to end “the years of political and economic austerity” to help create a high-skilled workforce in Britain, Chris Leslie has become one of the most senior Labour figures to say he would decline to serve under the veteran leftwinger.

In a sign of the deep unease at senior levels of the Labour party that Corbyn could be on the verge of a historic breakthrough by the left to win the party’s leadership, Leslie told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday: “This is a fork in the road for the Labour party. On 12 September we will know what the fate is of the progressive left of centre. There are millions of people whose living standards and working conditions depend on making sure we get this decision right, otherwise we face a decade or more of Conservative government.”

Source: Corbyn’s economic strategy would keep Tories in power, top Labour figure says | Politics | The Guardian

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Labour is a ‘headless chicken’ over tax credits

Open mouth, insert foot: Harriet Harman made her Tax Credits mistake on yesterday's (July 12) Sunday Politics TV show.

Open mouth, insert foot: Harriet Harman made her Tax Credits mistake on yesterday’s (July 12) Sunday Politics TV show.

Harriet Harman has softened her position on George Osborne’s ’emergency’ budget; while she still supports his tax credit cuts, she says she is “happy to be overruled” after a backlash from rank-and-file party members (including This Writer).

The statement follows another backlash against a local party official who wrote to others in an attempt to stop Constituency Labour Parties from giving their support to leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn, who currently has the second-highest number of CLP nominations.

The person responsible for the latest attempt to rig the Labour leadership election (the first being the ridiculous ‘Tories for Corbyn’ campaign) – Luke Akehurst – was taken to task by fellow Labour members (including, again, This Writer) on Twitter. Pressed to explain his attitude, he referred us to a blog piece he wrote before the general election which appears to explain much that is wrong about the current attitude of some of Labour’s leading lights.

It’s all about ‘triangulation’, rather than ‘dividing lines’, Mr Akehurst reckons.

He writes: “It involves adopting for oneself some of the ideas of one’s political opponent (or apparent opponent). The logic behind it is that it both takes credit for the opponent’s ideas, and insulates the triangulator from attacks on that particular issue.”

In the words of the late – great – Tony Benn, Mr Akehurst is calling for Labour and its leaders to be ‘weathercocks’ (triangulators) rather than ‘signposts’ (adopting dividing lines against their main opposition). Mr Benn said some politicians are like signposts. They point in the direction they want to travel and say, “This is the way we must go!” And they are constant. Others are like weathercocks; they lick their fingers, find out which direction the political winds are blowing and follow.

Mr Benn would have been witheringly opposed to a weathercock like Luke Akehurst.

Triangulation leaves Labour without any principles of its own – the party ends up wasting time, chasing other people’s policies like (to stretch Mr Benn’s “weathercock” analogy) a headless chicken.

This brings us back to Harriet Harman. Instead of defending tax credits as a way of ensuring a certain standard of living and encouraging people to be good parents – the position of the Labour Party when it introduced tax credits a little over 10 years ago – she thought the wind was blowing in George Osborne’s direction and decided to let it blow her along with it. Big mistake.

Osborne’s tax credit raid will make working people and parents significantly poorer than they are now – and this is even after five years of being hammered by cut after Tory cut.

Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has said the rise in the minimum wage heralded by Osborne in his budget to offset his benefit cuts would raise £4 billion for families, while they would lose £12 billion in government help.

The freeze in working-age benefits, tax credits and local housing allowance will deprive 13 million households of £260 a year, on average.

And Harriet Harman supported it. That position does not correspond with Labour Party principles. It’s the position of a headless chicken.

Look at what has happened now: Harman has been forced to backtrack, with a spokesperson saying she had been “setting out an attitude that we are not going to oppose everything”. Headless chicken.

Sadly, Labour’s leadership candidates offered a mixed response. Liz Kendall fully supported Harriet Harman’s position – most probably because she is a closet Tory.

Andy Burnham’s spokesperson (!) said he did not support the tax credit cuts but added that he “will not offer blanket opposition and, where we agree with a government policy, we won’t oppose for the sake of it”. Headless chicken.

Yvette Cooper said she opposed the cuts because they would “hit working families, reduce work incentives and push more children into poverty”. On the fact of it, that’s good. However, she would be another extension of the New Labour disaster, which was all about ‘triangulation’, as Mr Akehurst’s article illustrates. Headless chicken.

The only ‘signpost’ among the lot of them – the only one with solid Labour principles – is Jeremy Corbyn. He said he was “not willing to vote for policies that will push more children into poverty” – and when he said it, he didn’t mean he might change his mind tomorrow, or whenever it becomes expedient. He means he is not willing to push more children into poverty – ever. Signpost.

We need more people like Jeremy Corbyn leading Labour – and fewer like Harriet Harman.

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Frankie Boyle disparages Labour’s right-wing leader candidates – with uncomfortable facts

Frankie Boyle

There is a problem with criticising people for failing to say what they mean in a straightforward way. It arises when you do exactly the same thing.

Frankie Boyle’s critique of the Labour leader candidates in The Guardian is very amusing but falls prey to exactly this problem. He makes several good points, but they’re a long way down the page. Why? So people will lose interest and stop reading before they get to them? Let’s pull them out and give them a proper airing.

Political parties are meant to have guiding principles. Frankie mentions this way down in the fifth paragraph, after revealing: “We’re told that they are responding to the concerns of voters. Labour keeps saying: ‘We’re concerned about immigration because that’s what people say on the doorstep’,” which is guaranteed to stimulate yawns as we’ve all heard it many times before.

Labour did have guiding principles once. They were intended to improve prosperity for everybody in the UK by raising the people who did the work out of the poverty that the leisure class (the people who profit from unearned wealth) force them to endure. So Labour used to stand for cheap accommodation, cheap – but nutritious – food, affordable utilities (gas, electricity, water), nationalised healthcare, a living wage, good government – all the things that helped Jeremy Corbyn score so highly in Newsnight‘s televised hustings a few nights ago.

Ah, but Corbyn, despite being lauded as “one of the few decent politicians remaining in the Labour Party”, is talked down as a candidate who caused “the left of the party to get quite excited that it is still allowed to lose”. He’s saying all the right things, Frankie. People are connecting with him. Don’t write him off so blithely.

Can it really be easier to convert Tories than to reconnect with your own core support? Of course not, but Frankie hits on one of the largest elephants in Labour’s room. It’s just a shame he does it in his concluding paragraph. He reckons Burnham, Cooper and Kendall get their information on what voters want from what businesspeople say (they’re desperate to be pro-business without knowing what it means), polls (which Frankie rightly says can be misleading) and the media (which are, again, rightly labelled deliberately misleading). As a result, they end up campaigning on all the wrong issues and turn potential supporters away, rather than attracting them.

Why does being ‘pro-business’ have to mean being ‘anti-worker’? The three leading – actually they’re not leading anything at all in the eyes of the public; let’s call them ‘preferred’ – candidates seem determined to disappear up their own rear ends, trying to explain how they will support the kind of people who couldn’t care less about anything other than building their own wealth, even though this creates misery for the workers on whose efforts it is built. Frankie hits it on the head when he writes: “I’m reduced to imagining that ‘pro-business’ is simply a rhetorical code for ‘right-wing’, and that we are watching leadership contenders wonder aloud whether they are being right-wing enough.”

We end up with a leadership campaign aimed at a public who hate benefits, immigrants and shirkers. Benefits and shirkers are in fact the same issue, but Frankie is right to highlight it. Labour introduced the most punitive benefit-cancelling system in British history – Employment and Support Allowance – in 2008 and the party line is still to say that there’s nothing wrong with it in principle, even though its implementation has led to many thousands of deaths that the DWP has already admitted – and who knows how many that it is covering up (see Vox Political‘s many articles on the subject). The simple fact is that Labour is afraid of newspapers saying the party is soft on ‘shirker’ benefit claimants, and is instead forcing itself to persecute people who desperately need help, just to stay alive. That is a Tory Party attitude.

There is a very simple case to be made against austerity, but Labour doesn’t have the guts to make it. Jeremy Corbyn did.

Still, they must know that they are not going to win the next election. This is the most damning claim of all. A decade ago, the Conservative Party was finished, washed up; a joke. All Labour had to do was keep a steady hand on the tiller and the Nasty Party would have been banished to history.

But Labour couldn’t do that. It had been infiltrated by neoliberal might-as-well-be-Tories who pushed harmful policies including ESA and the failure to regulate the banks that eventually sucked the UK into the global financial crisis and allowed the Tories to create a myth that Labour had messed up the economy. If Labour is unlikely to win elections now, it is that party’s own fault for giving the Tories a chance – by being too much like the Tories themselves.

Now we have three ‘preferred’ leader candidates who want Labour to be different from the Conservative Party only in nuance.

Let’s vote for the one who wants Labour to be the Labour Party again.

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Labour leadership: Campaign for ‘None Of The Above’ box on the ballot paper looms

It seems likely that the only Labour leadership candidates to appear on the ballot paper for ordinary members will be Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall, depriving ordinary members of a socialist option.

Kendall might as well be a member of the Conservative Party and will turn Labour into a pale copy. Cooper and Burnham appear to be little better.

Creagh has too few supporters at the time of writing – as does Corbyn. The lack of support for his left-wing, anti-austerity option is a sad indication of the depths to which the Parliamentary Labour Party has fallen.

The Labour leadership candidates are engaged in a last-minute scramble for endorsements ahead of nominations opening later on Tuesday, although Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall already have enough supporters to get on the ballot.

The real issue now is what the grassroots Labour Party does about all this. Labour’s membership is now clearly far more left-wing than its MPs – as is the population in general, which supports the renationalisation of utilities, the removal of private companies from the National Health Service and the end of Iain Duncan Smith’s death penalty for people claiming incapacity benefits (all right, the last may be a slight exaggeration – but only a slight one).

The way the field looks at the moment, we could end up with a lame duck leader who will not command the support of the party in general – or the people of the UK.

Perhaps now is the time to demand a box on the ballot paper marked ‘None Of The Above’, for those of us who don’t believe in any of the candidates being pushed on us by the Parliamentary Party.

Contact interim leader Harriet Harman by emailing [email protected]

Source: Labour’s leadership race: nominations deadline looms | Politics | The Guardian

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Labour’s next leader must challenge Tories’ poisonous myths

Here’s Kevin Maguire, writing in the Daily Mirror:

Labour’s next leader will become trapped in a maze of Tory lies unless he or she challenges a string of poisonous myths.

I badgered Ed Miliband for years in this column to prove spending by the last Labour Government didn’t trigger the 2008 global financial collapse.

The national debt was a smaller proportion of GDP before the banking crisis than Labour had inherited from the Conservatives in 1997.

Failing to regulate the spivs and speculators was the catastrophic error, not reviving the NHS or putting money into workers’ pay packets.

Economists knew it, the Bank of England governor knew it and so too did David Cameron and George Osborne – but the Tory duo ­cynically pinned the blame for the crisis on Labour’s spending plans.

The problem is, of course, that many of the politicians who now claim to represent Labour values are quite happy to let this Tory lie go unchallenged.

Those of us who know the facts have been telling everybody we can for the last five years and more, but we simply don’t have the mass media clout needed to get the message across.

People like the right-wing Labour leadership candidates (everyone apart from Jeremy Corbyn) and Harriet Harman can’t be bothered to correct a ‘big lie’ that has been repeated so often that people now believe it automatically.

They’ve got their Parliamentary seats and pensions; they’re doing quite all right out of all this, thank you very much.

Maguire makes some more useful points, which are well worth repeating, if you have ignorant friends:

The whole welfare debate is skewed when we wrongly think £24 in every £100 of the social security budget is fiddled. In reality, it’s just 70p.

The Department of Work and Pensions pumps out these tales to justify deep cuts. The £1.2 billion a year benefit fraud is pennies next to a great tax robbery soaring to as high as £120 billion.

Yet the Treasury and HMRC prefer cosy private deals with wealthy dodgers while what crooked US socialite Leona Helmsley referred to as the “little people” are thrown to the hounds.

And how about this:

It isn’t just the economic debate that’s distorted by myths. Immigrants pay in more than they take off the system.

Only reactionaries and racists benefit when it’s thought 24% of the population are recent migrants when it’s 13%.

Standing up for decent values requires politicians to tell hard truths and never pander to prejudices.

That’s not going to happen in a Labour Party led by Burnham, Cooper, Creagh or Kendall, then.

Source: Labour’s next leader must learn from Ed Miliband’s mistakes and challenge Tories’ poisonous myths – Kevin Maguire – Mirror Online

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When is Labour going to get its act together?

Harriet Harman: Temporary leader; totally inert?

Harriet Harman: Temporary leader; totally inert?

Here’s a short message for members of the Parliamentary Labour Party:

W A K E  U P!

The general election happened nearly three weeks ago. All the other political organisations are getting busy and you lot are all faffing around, staring up each other’s rear ends and mumbling about who you think will be the next leader and deputy leader.

And you know what really hurts? It’s when we see headlines like this:

Nicola Sturgeon attacks UK government’s spending cuts

and this:

Nicola Sturgeon: SNP will work across party lines to keep Human Rights Act

She’s stealing Labour’s thunder and you’re all so dim-witted that you’re letting it happen.

What’s the matter with you?

Don’t try telling me you can’t move forward until you’ve got the new leader because that’s not true. The Labour Party has particular values that it should always keep, no matter who’s in the driving seat (or asleep at the wheel, as is the case at the moment).

Look at this blog’s own article about Labour’s values. The message was that Labour should be the enabling party – offering the best possible choices for the largest possible proportion of the UK’s population. Anything less than that is a betrayal of the party’s ethos.

That’s why Liz Kendall should never be Labour leader, by the way – and why Chuka Umunna couldn’t. She wants private companies in the National Health Service, meaning she supports the postcode lottery that this creates. “Oh, so sorry, sir (or madam)! You want a service that is not provided in your part of the country! Have you considered moving somewhere hugely more expensive?”

That’s just ridiculous, isn’t it?

Look at the headlines quoted above: Sturgeon attacks spending cuts; Sturgeon will work across party lines to keep Human Rights Act.

The Tory spending cuts and the repeal of the Human Rights Act are completely unproblematic as far as the grassroots Labour Party is concerned: We’re against them both.

We want our Parliamentary party to broadcast that opposition loudly and continuously while these matters are up for debate and the vote.

Labour should have attacked Tory spending cuts first; Labour should have been appealing across party lines to maintain the Human Rights Act – that, incidentally, Labour passed into law.

So where are you?

Don’t tell me you’re scared Peter Mandelson or Alan Milburn will come out and berate you, because that’s pathetic. They’re yesterday’s men – more plastic Tories who caused many of the problems with Labour’s appeal today.

Look at all the plans in the Tory manifesto and the Queen’s Speech tomorrow. Labour should oppose most, if not all of them.

So where is the opposition?

Oh, I forgot.

It’s being voiced by Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.

That’s not good enough.

Labour must get its act together and it needs to happen now. Yesterday would be better.

And for those of you in the PLP who feel this blog is being unfair on Tory policies…

You do not represent Labour values; you are there under false pretences and you should sling your bleedin’ hook.

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