This is fun – Nadine Dorries and Owen Jones being completely mistaken on Jeremy Vine’s new TV show:
Tory MP Nadine Dorries, with commendable honesty: "And that's our biggest dream, as the Conservative Party, is that the Labour 'moderates' breakaway and form their own party because when they do that, it completely splits the vote on the left." pic.twitter.com/68WcxJa2fE
They are wrong because the so-called Labour ‘moderates’ (in reality far right-wing MPs who joined the Labour Party out of opportunism during the Blair-Brown years) have besmirched their names far too much to do any damage to the party as a whole if they split away.
The ‘no confidence’ votes against Joan Ryan and Gavin Shuker are evidence of this. Those MPs will not be allowed to stand for Labour in the future and if they stand as independents – or even as part of a breakaway attempt at forming a party, like the SDP in the 1980s – they will sink without a trace.
The voting public can’t stand them.
But they are running out of choices. Labour members will not accept vipers in their midst and will remove them as soon as possible.
They could pin their hopes on the Conservatives calling another ‘snap’ general election that takes away the opportunity for Labour members to choose their own candidates – but it is unlikely the membership will put up with that fudge a second time in less than two years.
So they find themselves with their backs to the metaphorical wall.
It won’t be any surprise to me if they sink without a trace.
But it will be fun to see Ms Dorries (and to a certain extent, Mr Jones) react when that happens.
This is deliberate needling by Chuka Umunna. He’s trying to provoke an aggressive reaction from among the membership of the Labour Party – as he was with his dehumanising tactic of calling us all “dogs”.
Notice that Sophy Ridge asked a leading question, allowing Mr Umunna to wax lyrical on this theme. He immediately goes off-course and crashes. He claims that the Labour Party has met the Macpherson report’s definition of “institutional racism” – but fails to elaborate on what it is.
Allow me to fill in the blanks. According to the report by Sir William Macpherson to the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, “institutional racism” is “the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin”. And it does not apply to the Labour Party at all.
Labour, as an organisation, has always provided an appropriate and professional service. Where party members have been found to have been exhibiting racist behaviour, it has not been in their capacity as members or officers of the party – it did not reflect Labour’s policies or procedures. And we know that the vast majority of accusations that have been levelled at Labour members have been false. Right?
Mr Umunna, a supporter of Labour Friends of Israel – an organisation that has now been proven to have been supporting the interests of the Israeli government in UK Parliamentary affairs (right?) – went on to say that Labour had failed to address “the racism known as anti-Semitism”. But Labour has been addressing it since 2016; it is the intervention of MPs like Mr Umunna (whose questioning of Ken Livingstone over anti-Semitism that year clearly showed he had already decided on the senior Labour member’s guilt) that induces the public wrongly to believe otherwise.
He demands that Labour should have adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, rather than its own code of conduct, failing to mention the fact that the IHRA document is vague, allows critics of the Israeli government to be falsely labelled anti-Semitic (because he’s involved with Labour Friends of Israel?), and was intended to be a tool to help investigations – not as evidence, or indeed proof, of claims against any party member his gang would like to accuse.
The dishonesty in his next comment is staggering. He claims that, if Labour had adopted the IHRA working definition, the party could have moved on to discuss the big political issues of the moment. This is not true. He knows – and we know (right?) that the accusations of anti-Semitism will not stop while Jeremy Corbyn is leader of the Labour Party. The Israeli government does not want a supporter of peace between its country and Palestine in line to be the next Prime Minister of a country as influential as the UK still remains, and that is why these claims continue. One was made the very morning after Labour adopted the IHRA definition, if I recall correctly.
His claim that there are still outstanding complaints is false, as you can see from this tweet by NEC member Claudia Webbe:
I’m Chair of Disputes for Labour’s NEC, I’ve spent the last series of weeks ensuring we are up to speed & ensuring all current Dispute Panel cases are dealt with, this is now complete. I am now working on revisions to our disciplinary procedures to better ensure fairness & speed
That being said, This Writer has been facing action under Labour’s disputes procedure since May 2017 and at the time of writing I am yet to be given details of the date and location of the first hearing at which I will be allowed to give evidence, which indicates that the process up to now has indeed left much to be desired – especially as I am utterly innocent of the charge against me, including all its particulars.
I am currently crowdfunding to carry out legal action against all my accusers and you should be able to find information on how you can help me, at the end of this article.
I cannot discuss the claim that Labour has not told MPs about threats of violence to them. I do know of a claim that a supporter of Joan Ryan MP threatened to kill a youth member who intervened when he tried to pressure a female vote-counter and then tried to assault the same young man on a second occasion. The Metropolitan Police has said it was ‘assessing’ the complaint.
Labour organisations, MPs and officers have made their opposition to Mr Umunna’s claims clear:
BAME Labour condemns the assertion that Labour is institutionally racist. Our party has a proud history fighting racism that continues today under @JeremyCorbyn and these remarks undermine our task of challenging the real rise in racism today.
For anyone to say @UKLabour is institutionally racist is just not right. I wouldn’t be a part of it otherwise. We’ve a rich & proud history in #Labour of constantly standing up against discrimination (even when others were/are trying to stoke hatred) & long may that continue.
I have literally spent all of life fighting racism. And today is a sad day @UKLabour is NOT institutionally racist. If it was I would go. @ChukaUmunna & Trevor Phillips interventions are disappointing. Windrush, hostile environment that's a clear example of a racist institution.
The mention of Trevor Phillips refers to a former chair of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission who has claimed that Labour “is led by anti-Semites and racists, who basically want to essentially eliminate anyone who disagrees with them” – in a staggering reversal of the facts. It is right-wingers like Mr Umunna (and, one must conclude, Mr Phillips) who want to eliminate anyone who disagrees with them. I make no comment about whether they are racist in any way.
This is true. Many have questioned why Labour right-wingers seem able to come out with any old claptrap and go unpunished for it, while rank-and-file members such as myself can be suspended – and indeed expelled, as happened to Marc Wadsworth – on the basis of similar claptrap, sometimes uttered by other Labour MPs (Ruth Smeeth in the case of Mr Wadsworth).
Chuka Umunna says that @UKLabour is ‘institutionally racist’ and has likened party members to ‘dogs’. If the party Whip is not withdrawn from him now it will make a mockery of the disciplinary procedures used against ordinary members. https://t.co/fcP2B8cZDe
He makes a strong point: Labour members have exercised their democratic right to express their dissatisfaction with the behaviour of the right-wing MPs (like Joan Ryan, in the case under discussion) and to demand better.
Incredible how many so-called moderates are jumping to the defence of an MP with a history of disgraceful conduct, casually defending someone who made malicious complaints about a party member's 'antisemitism' which was found to be UNTRUE. That tells us all we need to know.
The current Labour leadership understands that this is democracy – but the MPs under the spotlight – including Mr Umunna – don’t. The reason for this is explored very thoroughly in a Twitter thread by Ben Goren:
2/ It reveals a view of party politics that is naturally top down, paternalistic, and ultimately antithetical to democracy. This should not be a surprise since this is the quintessential characterisation of how the party operated as NuLabor™.
4/ Those who dissented from 'on message' were derided, ignored, sidelined, and ostracised. Those who 'paid tribute' to the 'Emperor' were rewarded with front bench positions. The party ditched democracy for internal feudalism for the expediency of getting into power.
6/ Conversely, the idea that grass roots members, CLPs, or conference should have or exercise power to challenge the authority of the leadership or these parachute MPs was regarded by them as at best arcane, at worst an insult. Democracy was 'mob rule' & should be limited.
8/ As a result the membership imploded and, over time, so did the voter base. As it became clear the party had lost touch with both its socialist roots and had essentially eviscerated internal democracy, public engagement and participation with it dissolved. This was ignored.
10/ They regard Corbyn's approach as a form of weakness. For them the leader doesn't listen to the party, he LEADS the party. Like children, they are comfortable with a strong paternal figure setting out the boundaries of behaviour. Without firm boundaries enforced: chaos.
12/ "What if the King starts listening to the peons who love him & not his Court?" Also incomprehensible is the idea that the base might come to a unified informed conclusion against a Court that knows what's best for them. It must be the work of HQ. Hence, 'call off the dogs'.
14/ Many are naturally terrified by the move to radically improve internal party democracy, more power and influence to the public, less for the Court. If @UKLabour introduces open selection or mandatory re-selection, there may be 150 'primary' challengers for their seats.
16/ Jeremy Corbyn does not need to, and indeed cannot, 'call off the dogs'. He never set them on their quarry in the first place. Like a bleeding fish thrashing in the water, sharks are attracted to dying prey. The courtiers are so used to thinking of the members as passive …
18/ As for the courtiers, after baying for Corbyn's blood, carrying out one failed coup after another, smearing him and the membership incessantly, briefing against the party to the press, they should expect no sympathy and Corbyn should do nothing to save them at the reckoning.
So these people – Mr Umunna, Ms Ryan, Mr Phillips, Ms Smeeth, and the others not mentioned above – believe that Labour should be ruled from the centre, with the wider membership only allowed to service the needs of the privileged few in the PLP, NEC and other positions of power. That is why they believe Jeremy Corbyn can “call off the dogs”, as Mr Umunna unappealingly (indeed, unacceptably) described it.
But Mr Corbyn cannot. He did not set these “dogs” loose. And the right-wingers only have themselves to blame for their current predicament.
Indeed, their accusations may be considered victim-blaming of the lowest kind. Consider:
3 years of constant olive branches were held out to this group of Blairites who worked tirelessly to undermine our chances of having a Corbyn-led Labour gov. Even after a 2nd leadership election which prompted May to call a GE. THEY chose to throw it back in the members faces.
I don't remember Chuka Umunna calling for the attack dogs to be called off when the right-wing dominated NEC disciplinary people were instantly expelling thousands of ordinary Labour members for "crimes" like once retweeting Caroline Lucas or liking the Foo Fighters too much 🤔
Chuka Umunna can disagree with Labour’s direction if he wants. But party members are not dogs. The constant dehumanising narrative used against hundreds of thousands of decent Labour members – who just want a better world – as a thuggish rabble has to stop.
Yes it does. But we cannot descend to their level because we know that they have an advantage – a set of privileges – that the rest of us do not: They can say what they want with impunity but if we put one word out of line, they’ll use it as a stick and beat us with it. Like dogs.
This is a debate that requires the ultimate in restraint from those of us who are in the right. We must be polite. We must be accurate. We must be forensic.
And when the other side changes its tactics, we must adapt. For instance:
Amazing eh? A couple of CLP “no confidence” votes against Tory enabling #Labour MPs who’ve constantly attacked Corbyn & there's suddenly appeals for “unity” from other enabler’s who have yet to face their own constituency “no confidence” votes! https://t.co/rTlienDwS4
Back in 2016, during the so-called “Chicken Coup” that led to the second leadership election that Jeremy Corbyn won, Ms Eagle accused supporters of the Labour leader of vandalising the window of her constituency office. This was a lie. The broken window led to a staircase and not the office, and a police investigation showed no evidence that supporters of Mr Corbyn were responsible.
Now she is adopting a conciliatory tone. But note that she is trying to take the lead. We can unite to take on the Tories – if we follow her lead and that of her group within the Labour Party.
No, thank you, Angela. You had your chance and you attacked us.
You know what sickens me most about Labour's hard right… People are literally dying under this govt. But they spend ALL their time attacking Corbyn. Then when we say we have had enough, they throw their hands in the air and say, can we all get on with fighting the Tories!
If you hear someone attacking Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership, using accusations of anti-Semitism against him and the membership at large, or claiming that the members are somehow traitors for using the party’s own mechanisms to stop them… these are the people to oppose.
His question: “Can it be taken back?” is nonsense.
The fact is, the Labour Party has been retaken after Blair turned it away from its socialist background and forced its members to put up with an elitist, centrally-led hierarchy in which our wishes were steamrolled and leader-approved yes-people were parachuted into safe seats, to provide a cushy livelihood for the favourites, no matter what the rest of us may have been suffering.
I agree with Tony Blair. Labour has gone through profound change under @jeremycorbyn's leadership. It now has a policy programme that brings hope to millions and which has united much of the party, which is now the biggest in Europe. These are changes to be celebrated. #TonyBlair
I stayed in the Labour Party when I opposed the Iraq War. I was harassed, shunned and my membership threatened but I never walked as @UKLabour is the only vehicle for progressives to win Government. Whoever is in charge if you're a Democratic Socialist and Trade Unionist you stay https://t.co/R93rMtVnMd
Blair's 'moderate' politics led to the introduction of workfare, benefit sanctions & conditionality, plus the work capability assessment for sick & disabled people. Labour centrists later abstained on austere Tory welfare reforms. Thank goodness they cannot 'take back control'. https://t.co/0aufxFE5LC
The fact is that Blair’s politics was regressive, not progressive.
I’m giving the last word to Evolve Politics, who provided the following perceptive analysis of Mr Blair’s mistake:
If Tony Blair had even a single ounce of self-awareness about just how roundly despised he is by the British public, he would surely realise that the most effective thing he could possibly do to ensure Corbyn doesn’t get into Number 10 is to actually endorse him and his politics.
History shows that the so-called Labour Moderates (in fact, the hard-right of the party, many of whom are hard to distinguish from Conservatives in their attitudes) were the aggressors when the party’s left-wingers began to regain the ascendancy.
When Jeremy Corbyn won the party leadership, and Momentum sprang up as a members’ organisation advocating his policies, the “Moderates” did their utmost best to undermine both him and them, culminating in the failed “chicken coup” of 2016 which resulted in an increased mandate for Mr Corbyn.
Left-wingers have been attacked and undermined at constituency level as well, with false accusations resulting in lengthy suspensions for innocent party members. Perhaps the most well-known happened in Wallasey, where MP Angela Eagle blamed left-wing members for putting a brick through her office window – but no brick was found and the window that was broken in fact opened onto a staircase.
Read the responses to the tweet above and you’ll see that many people seem to have swallowed the false claim unquestioningly.
Others prefer accuracy:
The historical revisionism is strong in this one. The entire nation saw the Labour right-wing anti-Corbyn smear campaign followed by their spectacularly failed coup plot.
Labour’s Chief Whip, Nick Brown, whose speech at a Momentum conference forms the excuse for the latest tantrum from the party’s right wing [Image from LabourList].
Apparently Labour backbenchers who still oppose Jeremy Corbyn are threatening a ‘work-to-rule’ after the party’s Chief Whip, Nick Brown, spoke at a Momentum conference that called for mandatory re-selection of Parliamentary candidates.
With Constituency Labour Parties now dominated by supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, the move could mean many Labour moderates’ (right-wingers’) Parliamentary careers could come to an abrupt end.
To muddy the issue, the backbenchers concerned have also complained about a perceived lack of disciplinary measures against three shadow ministers who did not support the party’s position in a Commons vote on Brexit last week.
But the simple fact is that these MPs are now badly out-of-step with the mood of the party as a whole, and their opinions are seen as abhorrent in many ways – so their ‘work-to-rule’ threat is in fact a gift to those of us who would actually welcome it if they shut up for a while.
But kicking this can down the road won’t stop the worms crawling out of it.
Look at the anonymous source quoted in the Huffington Post, who said, “If you feed the dogs at a Momentum meeting, all requests for loyalty go out of the window.”
“Feed the dogs”?
If that is the attitude shown by these so-called “moderates”, then they can be thrown to the real dogs quite merrily.
And it is hard to believe another anonymous source who apparently told the HuffPost the Parliamentary Labour Party had been “fairly” united since Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership victory in September, when we all saw Chris Leslie doing his best to undermine the leadership on the BBC’s Sunday Politics last weekend.
Grassroots campaigners have had enough of this silliness.
In a letter to Labour’s leaders, members have demanded a public show of support for the leadership and Labour’s 10 pledges to the people of the UK, from every Labour MP.
The letter states [boldings mine]: “Some members of the Parliamentary Labour Party are still working to a divisive and destructive agenda… MPs should rather be appearing in the media to attack the Government and to talk about Labour’s solutions to the country’s problems. That would be unity.
“When engaging with the public on doorsteps and in High Streets, we are finding that these MPs’ public declarations, showing lack of loyalty to both the leadership and to socialism, are confusing and alienating the electorate.
“We strongly request that the Leadership now ensures a declaration of support to the 10 pledges, to publicising them and to implementing them, and to the leadership from each MP.
“We fully endorse freedom of speech. However, we believe that the public actions of the MPs in question are causing such significant damage they simply cannot remain unchallenged. Their actions will that ensure the Party is never elected to government despite our huge membership base and its overwhelming endorsement of our party leader. In fact, we believe that this is their intended purpose.
“These deeply unsettling times require a strong, proactive declaration of unity from elected Labour MPs, councillors and other officials that reflects the will of the members. Only then will we, the Labour Party, re-engage the public and move forward to government.”
No elected representative can last long when they have alienated their support base.
That is what Labour’s right wing members have done, and their attacks on the principle of mandatory re-selection are simply attempts to avoid the consequences of their actions.
But the writing is on the wall – and it says: “Sort yourselves out, or get out!”
Londoners protest against bombing Syria [Image: Getty Images].
It’s important for everybody to understand that David Cameron’s claim of 70,000 ‘ground troops’ in Syria is ludicrous.
Not since Hitler ordered General Walther Wenck to send his non-existent 12th Army to rescue him from the Red Army in Berlin has a European leader believed in military fantasies as PR Dave Cameron did last week.
Telling the House of Commons about the 70,000 “moderate” fighters deployed in Syria was not just lying in the sense that Tony Blair lied – because Blair persuaded himself to believe in his own dishonesty – but something approaching burlesque.
It was whimsy – ridiculous, comic, grotesque, ludicrous. It came close to a unique form of tragic pantomime.
At one point last week, one of Cameron’s satraps was even referring to this phantom army as “ground troops”. I doubt if there are 700 active “moderate” foot soldiers in Syria – and I am being very generous, for the figure may be nearer 70 – let alone 70,000.
And the Syrian Kurds are not going to conquer Isis for us; they’re too busy trying to survive the assaults of our Turkish allies. Besides, aren’t the “moderates” supposed to be the folk who don’t carry weapons at all? Who’s ever heard before of a “moderate” with a Kalashnikov?
Empty promises: Cartoonist Steve Bell draws a parallel between David Cameron’s claims and the (false) promises that drew the UK into a previous Middle East war.
They’re a bloodthirsty bunch, these Blairites and right-wingers and ‘moderates’ (perhaps This Writer was right to dub them ‘intolerants’)!
They say they want a free vote on air strikes in Syria, and it is clear that they want to support David Cameron’s plan of attack – because they believe in it, even though Cameron’s case is flimsy, or because they want to harm their own party leader, Jeremy Corbyn?
Or do they simply want to kill innocent children? I mention this because it will be an inevitable consequence, no matter what Cameron says about the accuracy of his eldritch Reapers, RAPTORs and Brimstones.
Perhaps some of them want to support Cameron simply because Corbyn has written to everybody in the Parliamentary Labour Party, providing his own reasoned argument for opposing the proposed air strikes, without telling them first. How petty. The letter reads:
“The Prime Minister made a Statement to the House today making the case for a UK bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria. A copy of my response has already been circulated.
“We have all been horrified by the despicable attacks in Paris and are determined to see the defeat of ISIS.
“Our first priority must be the security of Britain and the safety of the British people. The issue now is whether what the Prime Minister is proposing strengthens, or undermines, our national security.
“I do not believe that the Prime Minister today made a convincing case that extending UK bombing to Syria would meet that crucial test. Nor did it satisfactorily answer the questions raised by us and the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.
“In particular, the Prime Minister did not set out a coherent strategy, coordinated through the United Nations, for the defeat of ISIS. Nor has he been able to explain what credible and acceptable ground forces could retake and hold territory freed from ISIS control by an intensified air campaign.
“In my view, the Prime Minister has been unable to explain the contribution of additional UK bombing to a comprehensive negotiated political settlement of the Syrian civil war, or its likely impact on the threat of terrorist attacks in the UK.
“For these and other reasons, I do not believe the Prime Minister’s current proposal for air strikes in Syria will protect our security and therefore cannot support it.
“The Shadow Cabinet met today for an initial discussion and debated the issues extensively. We will meet again on Monday, when we will attempt to reach a common view.
“I will get in touch again when we know the timing of the debate and vote.”
Here’s another – expert – view which supports Corbyn’s position. These are strong arguments.
Cameron’s demand that the UK should join the US and France (and Russia, and who knows who else in the crowded skies over Syria) has been met with derision on the social media. “How does adding our three planes make the situation any better?” asked one wit, playing on an early Tory decision to reduce UK air power significantly.
Cameron’s plan involves bombing Daesh (IS if you like) from the air, while supplying ‘moderate’ rebels in order to use them as ground troops. It’s a recipe for disaster because there is no guarantee that any such funded and equipped group will not rise up and become the next Daesh. Many have done it in the past, and if Cameron reckons there are 70,000 of these people – a figure he cannot prove – that’s plenty of possible future terrorists.
(He got this information from the same source that told the UK Saddam Hussein could bomb British bases within 45 minutes; take it with a pinch of salt.)
So Cameron’s plan – as This Blog has pointed out very recently – is to continue the cycle of international stupidity. Here it is:
No Labour MP should be in favour of that! Or do they have shares in weapons-manufacturing firms?
Whichever way we cut it, it seems unlikely that ‘moderate’ Labour will be able to see far enough past its own petty interests to make a wise decision, if Cameron calls a vote.
One is moved to wonder how many dead innocents it will take to make them question their choice.
Perhaps it is up to us – the rank-and-file constituents – to make a better case. If you have a Labour MP, maybe it’s time to write them a short letter, urging them to follow the path of sanity and vote against Cameron’s pointless air strikes. You can mention the human cost, the cost to the UK economy, the fact that the plan perpetuates the cycle of terrorism and also, perhaps, the fact that Labour ‘moderates’ will be blamed when it all goes wrong.
Perhaps Daesh, or IS, is in less danger than the Parliamentary seats of these so-called ‘moderates’. Perhaps they should be given the opportunity to consider that possibility.
The important part of this appears to be in the fourth paragraph, where Mr Hodges states a Labour MP has sent him a text.
The word on the social media is that reporters for the mainstream news channels and papers would not have paid any attention to shadow chancellor John McDonnell brandishing Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book – if right-wing members of the Parliamentary Labour Party had not insisted on it.
The claim is that they prompted a huge backlash against McDonnell. If true, it is unforgiveable.
The quotation, “We must learn to do economic work from all who know how, no matter who they are. We must esteem them as teachers, learning from them respectfully and conscientiously. We must not pretend to know when we do not know,” was intended to refer to the Conservative Government’s ‘sell everything to China’ policy and Mr McDonnell said he “thought it would come in handy for the Chancellor in his new relationship”. This relationship:
In that context, there’s nothing wrong with it.
And, to be fair, This Writer hasn’t seen any adverse comments from members of the Parliamentary Labour Party.
But there is the claim by Mr Hodges, as quoted in this article on the Zelo Street blog, which appears to give the game away. The article goes on to point out what the outburst against Mr McDonnell has successfully glossed over.
And on Twitter, Conor Pope helpfully pointed out: “Having sat in the press gallery, can confirm no journos had noticed the Mao bit until Blairite MPs started briefing.” Or was he joking? There’s many a true word spoken (or indeed, written) in jest.
Are Blairite Labour MPs actually helping the Conservative Government?
Most people will not have noticed, but today the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the seventeenth Baronet, stood up in the Commons to give MPs the dubious pleasure of listening to his Autumn Statement, the detail of which has been lost in the clamour to heap disdain on his Labour opposite number John McDonnell by the assembled punditerati.
McDonnell had made a half-decent fist of responding to Osborne, especially given his lack of front bench experience and that this was his first Autumn Statement or Budget response. But referring to Mao Zedong is best avoided, and brandishing his Little Red Book is a no-no, even though McDonnell was using it to make the point that Osborne is happy about nationalisation, so long as the Government is in countries like China.
This cut no ice with the Telegraph’s not at all celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges, who had made his mind up beforehand that Labour were rubbish, and whatever recourse to Phil Space journalism would fill his next column. “Why doesn’t John McDonnell just sit down … This has to be the most embarrassing response to a government statement in the history of parliament” he carped plaintively.
He had the inside track: “Labour MP texts me. ‘I’m in tears in my office’”. Laughing at Dan’s Twitter whinge, perhaps. And then a last, desperate appeal to Look Over There: “Don’t forget, the John McDonnell red book fiasco is all the fault of the Tory press and disloyal Labour MPs”. But Hodges will never get a Labour leader he can back.
Aren’t we missing something?
Tax credit cuts at least re-thought, if not totally backed out. Police cuts – trailed for some days now – abandoned. And while Hodges was having his mardy strop, he seems not to have noticed that the Junior Doctors’ dispute has been taken off Jeremy Hunt and sent to ACAS.
Under attack: But Jeremy Corbyn has said and done nothing that any rational UK citizen could possibly find objectionable.
There’s a paragraph in this article that states the right-wing Labour assault on Jeremy Corbyn is not about having a rational debate but about preventing it.
That is a comment that corresponds exactly with This Writer’s experience, having engaged, on Saturday evening, in a discussion with a supporter of Kevan Jones who absolutely refused to pay any attention to rational arguments about that gentleman’s behaviour at all.
It seems likely that similar scenarios are being played out around the country and I may blog the conversation as an example of the lack of reason that seems to typify these people’s assertions.
Right wing Labour MPs have launched a full-scale coup against Jeremy Corbyn, and against the members of the party they represent, writes Oliver Tickell. Their plan is simple – backed by mainstream media, to discredit him so utterly that even his supporters turn against him – and elect a new ‘heir to Blair’ leader.
Moreover most of those Labour MPs who are sniping at Corbyn from the green benches of the House of Commons know which side their bread is buttered. It was Tony Blair who put them there, after all, by imposing short lists of ‘approved’ right wing candidates on local parties.
And now they are at risk in a newly energised left wing Labour Party that has just elected a genuinely progressive, pacifist, environmentalist left wing leader. All the hundreds of new members that have flooded into the party inspired by Corbyn’s combination of compassion, understanding and commitment to social, ecological and economic justice are hardly going to reselect them when the time comes.
So here’s the plan: seize on any perceived weakness and attack, attack, attack. Hit hard, hit often, in public and in private. Backed up by the entire spectrum of Britain’s ‘mainstream’ media who are only to happy to join those Labour MPs in puttting the boot in.
And the objective is clear: kill Corbyn. Wipe him out. Discredit him so utterly that not only will MPs and media unite against him, but even his supporters in the wider Labour Party will lose faith and either leave the party in disgust, or refuse to re-elect him after the leadership challenge they are building up to.
The first thing is for us all to understand what is going on. The rush to attack and denounce Corbyn is not based on anything he said. After all, what’s to disagree with?
It is not a sign that a debate is taking place in the Labour Party. The ferocity and intensity of the attacks is, on the contrary, intended precisely to prevent rational debate and forestall any reasonable discussion of the issues.
The purpose is simple. It is to brand Corbyn a softie, a cissy, an ex-hippy peacenik, unfit to rule, weak on defence, a risk to national security, a left-wing corduroy-jacketed beardie scarcely fit to serve as a humanities lecturer in third rate ex-Polytechnic University.
It is above all to present him as, and render him, unelectable – a man who can only lead Labour to abject failure in any future general election. And so convince the great mass of the Labour Party to turn against their failed left-wing champion and elect in his place an ‘heir to Blair’. Someone more like … David Cameron?
So first, understand. Second, don’t fall for it. Third, resist.
This man is now Lord Livermore, so he did all right for himself out of Labour’s election defeat.
Some people simply won’t face the facts.
Spencer Livermore* seems to be one of them. Now Lord Livermore, he was Labour’s general election campaign director in 2015 – in other words, he’s the man who lost the election for Ed Miliband. Had he learned any crucial lessons from that disaster?
It is now widely accepted – isn’t it? – that Labour lost because it didn’t offer a political programme that was substantially different from that of the Conservatives – alienating English and Welsh voters who simply didn’t support anybody at all, and driving Scottish voters into the arms of an SNP that promised a truly left-wing alternative to “Red Tory” Labour.
That’s not the case according to Spencer! He simply hasn’t learned the lessons of the loss – but perversely, that is exactly what he told Radio 4’s The World At Once was Jeremy Corbyn’s problem – and it must have been music to the ears of the mostly-Tory bigwigs at BBC News.
What progress have we made so far against the enduring weaknesses that led us to lose the election in 2015? Are we further ahead now in terms of economic credibility? Do the British people now see our leader as a potential prime minister. And have we broadened the base of our support in the country? I think if you look at all of those things I think it is impossible to conclude that we are anything but further away from power than we were even on May 8.
He mashed up his words so the meaning may have been unclear, but he was trying to say that Labour’s economic credibility has taken a tumble under Corbyn, that the electorate don’t see him as prime minister material, and that Labour’s support base has narrowed. Let’s look at those.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has formed a special committee of economic experts to ensure that Labour policy is based on the best possible advice and will produce the most reliable and sustainable results. Spencer doesn’t care about that. Is it because it is based on real economic expertise as opposed to the neoliberal nonsense we’ve had to endure for the past 36 years? This Writer thinks so.
If the British electorate don’t see Jeremy Corbyn as a potential prime minister, the most likely reason is that they keep being told he isn’t – by Labour representatives like Spencer, who should be supporting their leader rather than undermining him. If Livermore had an ounce of public-spiritedness in his body, he would be extolling the virtues of a Labour leader who actually stands for traditional Labour policies that support everybody, rather than just the richest, but that never occurred to him at all.
Finally, perhaps it has slipped Lord Livermore’s mind – what with being ennobled and all – but Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader corresponded with the largest increase in the party’s membership in years – perhaps decades. Maybe that enthusiasm for Labour (and not neoliberal) ideals hasn’t filtered through to the wider population yet, but that is because of people like Spencer, failing to do their duty and promote it.
He said that elections are decided well in advance of polling day, and that Labour lost in 2015 because it did not take the right decisions on the deficit and welfare early on in the 2010-15 parliament.
“I think we hadn’t taken the difficult decisions early on in the parliament to convince people that we could be trusted on issues such as the deficit and welfare. Having worked now on four general election campaigns, it is increasingly clear to me that elections aren’t won in the six week campaign at the end, probably aren’t won in the year before a campaign, but are won in the first months and years of parliament. That’s when the voters make up their minds really about a party. And if the wrong decisions are made at the outset of a parliament, it is very, very hard, almost impossible, to correct those decisions later on.”
In that case, perhaps Lord Livermore should consider the results of the latest Ipsos-MORI poll of voting intentions, which showed that Jeremy Corbyn is easily the most popular UK political leader.
The same poll has Labour – as a party – trailing the Tories by seven per cent.
Think about that.
Corbyn is riding high, nine points above his nearest political rival – who isn’t even David Cameron!
But Labour is seven points behind the Conservative Party.
What can be turning Corbyn’s 12-point advantage over Cameron into a seven-point disadvantage? What is the 19-point drag factor?
Only one possibility comes to mind. The problem that has been hounding Corbyn ever since he took over as Labour leader.
His own party’s so-called ‘moderates’ are sabotaging Labour’s chances of winning over the electorate.
I refer to Simon Danczuk, Maria Eagle, Tristram Hunt, Mike Gapes, Caroline Flint, Graham Jones, Kevan Jones, Ben Bradshaw, David Blunkett – the list is lengthening all the time. Silly, silly people who can’t accept that Labour is returning to the roots it should never have left.
If not for the noise these crybabies have been making, the electorate might be able to form its own opinion on Corbyn policies, such as his plan to protect police budgets that the Conservatives are determined to slash. Considering the current claims that we are under threat of terrorist attacks, which of these is most likely to protect national security?
Corbyn’s plan, of course.
The message to the ‘moderates’ is clear: Stop destabilising.
If you can’t get behind Corbyn, get out of the way.
*He’s classic New Labour, this guy. After graduating from the London School of Economics, he went to work for the Labour Party and became a SPAD for Gordon Brown. His only experience of real-world working conditions appears to have been as a ‘senior strategist’ with Saatchi and Saatchi, the advertising company that won a string of elections for – would you believe it? – Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party. Draw your own conclusions.
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