Labour legend, Dennis Skinner MP (Bolsover) speaks to Richard Burgon MP about the current Leadership contest. He urges that everyone to vote for Jeremy Corbyn, giving him an even stronger mandate. Dennis predits that Jeremy Corbyn will win with an even greater majority, and will be ready to lead Labour into government.
The PLP must listen to the membership, which now stands at over half a million people, with more members than all other parties put together. And it is growing.
Clearly the message for the PLP is to return in the autumn , and get back to work, fighting the Tory Party.
The Electable Jeremy CORBYN
1. A TALE OF TWO SUMMERS
As a child I learned of honestly, fairness and justice, and I learned about socialism. These philosophies go hand-in-hand. But in my lifetime, The Labour Party I loved has become fearful of the truth, and has lost the trust of the electorate. For the second consecutive summer, we are facing a Labour leadership election, a protracted civil war in a party which no longer represents those it purports to exist for.
The summer of 2015 took the establishment by surprise as alongside carbon-copied neoliberals, someone talking honestly, among people, listening to them, ignited the disaffected with hope and optimism. Jeremy Corbyn, with anti-austerity policies was elected leader of the Labour Party with a huge mandate on 12th September 2015.
The summer of 2016 took many by surprise because the referendum on EU narrowly resulted in a “Leave” majority. Examination of those results clearly shows the EU was rejected by those who had nothing. If you have nothing to lose, why would you want to keep everything the same? While there were some on the Left, advocated a break from the corporate stranglehold of EU, the Labour Party and leadership campaigned to remain in the EU, to make changes with other socialist groups to bring about change.
There were a number of reasons why the message was not heard.
The main culprit is the collective bias of the mainstream media. The leader of the opposition was given hardly any coverage (4%) , despite country wide meetings, while Nigel Farage, not an MP was shown repeatedly. Labour’s remain campaign (after the effect of a shared platform at Scottish referendum), quite rightly did not share a platform with David Cameron despite Harriet Harman doing so. Corbyn campaigned extensively but the media did not show it.
The sad and tragic death of Jo Cox may not have resulted from the vile, divisive, and racist reports of the right wing press, but there was certainly a lack of responsibility, and a biased presentation can indeed incite anyone with extreme views or mental illness to behave in a certain way. It was unforgivable.
What this amounts to is a total lack of understanding of the feeling of many people in society, who feel abandoned, neglected, who feel despair, hopelessness, and in some cases hatred.
And in order to begin to repair our divided nation, and indeed world, we have to understand how this has come about. It results from the flawed economics of neoliberalism. It results from the erosion of democracy, which has become a sham.
In recent years, regardless of whichever party becomes the government, no elections have achieved the great change as Labour did in 1945 because of the establishment’s stranglehold. There are immense riches for some and yet the state’s responsibility to its ordinary citizens has been eroded.
Solidarity, socialism, and neighbourliness, are words from the past which we are told was some far-left extremism and has no place in the future. That fear of being destitute, of being alone and helpless is a direct result of neoliberalism. Austerity, created by the IMF and described in the Zombie Economy was hatched seventy years ago in New Hampshire, has been pursued around the world ever since.
They have overseen the transfer of power from the State to the private institutions and corporations.
Ordinary people in the UK, as around the world know that austerity has failed, yet increasingly they feel that their votes will achieve nothing. What do they say to politicians who ask for their votes on the doorstep?
“There is no point in voting; they’re all the same.”
“They’re all in it for themselves.”
“They are all liars!”
“They only want to know at election time.”
“I like Labour, but we can’t trust you with the Economy.
“Too many immigrants taking our jobs.”
“Foreigners are flooding into Britain”
“I’m not interested in Politics.”
That may be a fair assessment of the situation from their view but I am filled with despair. The Labour Party’s recent abstentions on the Welfare Bill resulted in it being carried. 47 Labour MPs did oppose the vote on Trident renewal. Please refer to this list.
The vote to spend masses on Trident when finances and resources would be so much more wisely spent on jobs, houses, NHS and infrastructure, was supported by many Labour MPs who should be ashamed. Why is this happening? Nothing will change until Austerity is challenged and the truth is out. There are people challenging the neoliberal consensus, and one of these is Jeremy Corbyn. He is immensely popular, and has support of 80% of CLPs.
Such is the fear of the establishment of real democracy and change that the press and majority of the PLP have bullied, orchestrated a coup and attempted to push out our democratically elected leader. The NEC and Iain McNicol has blocked democracy by cancelling political meetings, suspending CLPs and even encouraged a challenge to automatically putting the incumbent Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, on the ballot paper, and agreeing to a date which was post nomination time and which could have led to the sole remaining challenger, Owen Smith being automatically made Labour leader.
This in itself was questioned by the judge, and it has been ruled that Jeremy Corbyn should be the defendant, rather than Iain McNicol.
This is a real threat to democracy of the Labour Party, and of our parliament. It must be challenged.
2. 1983 Manifesto was too left-wing – a myth to be challenged
One claim from the right of the Labour Party is that a Corbyn-led party would be unelectable, because of “extreme” left-wing policies, and that was why Labour failed to gain power in 1983 under Michael Foot.
Labour’s 1983 Manifesto was not extremely Left Wing. Some examples include:
- In 1983 Labour promised to invest in homes, transport, new technologies and industry.
- It promised to work for equality, for women – equal pay, maternity pay and assistance for child care
- Planned for Investment in Education, and Provision for under-fives
- It proposed to improve the environment, to tackle pollution and to conserve energy.
- It planned initiatives to promote peace and development around the world, and to cancel Trident and not to co-operate with Cruise Missile deployment,
- Labour would have expanded services for social care and to reverse Tory cuts in the maternity grant.
- Begin a Strategy to Eliminate Low Pay.
- Open immediate negotiations with our EEC partners, and introduce the necessary legislation, to prepare for Britain’s withdrawal from the EEC, to be completed well within the lifetime of the Labour government.
- Rebuild British industry , and up these steps with a new National Investment Bank, new industrial powers, and a new Department for Economic and Industrial Planning.
These are immensely popular policies, and so are those of Jeremy Corbyn. Expanding on the details here show refreshing, positive policies describing a world I wished we could have seen. It was not this manifesto that led to Labour’s defeat in 1983. They called it the greatest suicide note in political history. It looks more like a survival note for a thriving society. Neil Clark in the Guardian, describes how that defeat determined how the resistance to neoliberalism crumbled.
“That moment in 1983 was the last great opportunity to derail the neoliberal bandwagon before it did lasting damage to the UK’s economic and social fabric. Labour’s emergency programme of action would have halted the de-industrialisation of Britain and removed the spectre of mass unemployment from the land. The re-imposition of exchange controls would have put a brake on the growing power of international finance; thanks to Thatcher’s deregulatory measures – money power was soon to rule the roost.”
The yawning wealth gap, already starting to develop in 1983, would have been reversed by Labour’s staunchly progressive tax policies.
3. Popularity Of Austerity policies and Thatcherism
In 1981 and 1982, the Tory cuts were very unpopular, and Michael Foot’s Labour Party was well ahead of the Tories in 1982. But Margaret Thatcher’s gamble to send a task force to the Falklands ignited a false patriotism where flag-waving citizens cheered the task force on its way. Thatcher’s gamble paid off. In times of austerity, it was like some kind of hysterical party. It was a close thing, but without victory in the Falklands it is unlikely she would have remained in power.
‘The nation drank deep of an experience it had not enjoyed since 1945: a clear military triumph. The victory dragged Thatcher’s leadership from the brink of collapse. She won global celebrity, in both the United States and the Soviet Union, and 10 points were added to her poll rating. She was at last in the lead over Labour. The emergent Social Democrats never recovered. Thatcher wrapped herself in the flag, denouncing all sceptics and crudely boasting the renaissance of the British people as a world power against dictatorship.’
We have witnessed a greater gap between rich and poor, more deprivation and a disturbing rise in right-wing nationalism. The recent vote on Trident was unnecessary, but served to position Theresa May as Thatcher-like and reinforce the current divisions among the PLP. Austerity has failed, and it is opposition to austerity and neoliberalism which is behind the surge in political activity and a rise in Labour Party membership to over half a million people. Let us build, not divide. Let us oppose neoliberalism, together.
4. DIVIDED LABOUR in 1981 and 2016
It is a cliché, but true that as a Labour movement , we are strong when we have a common aim which is cohesive. United we stand, divided we fall. It was the split in Labour which cost us victory over Thatcher in 1983. The divisions in Labour at the moment has cost us the lead we had just built over the Tories. It seems there are some in the PLP who do not share the aims of the Labour Party. As representatives of their democratic socialist party, many Labour MPs are behaving in a destructive way again. They look to neoliberalism and not socialism. There is no place for neoliberalism within the Labour Party. There is no room for disunity and disloyalty either. The membership is overwhelmingly supportive of Jeremy Corbyn and there is an incongruence between the membership and the PLP, which must be overcome in some way. As John Prescott, so succinctly put it recently in the Daily Mirror, The Labour Party is its own worst enemy scoring own goals like the England football team.
In 1983, the British electoral system was very much a two-party affair, and as we have seen recently, in a first-past-the-post electoral system, a divided opposition inevitably leads to defeat. In 1981, four former Labour cabinet ministers Bill Rogers, Shirley Williams, David Owen and Roy Jenkins had crossed the floor and formed the SDP. In 1983, ten days before the General Election, an SDP-Liberal Alliance was formed. Their agreement not to oppose seats resulted in Thatcher’s biggest ever electoral landslide. The lesson of the need for Party unity, I hope was learned. In this betrayal, we have all paid dearly.
The Falklands war and the SDP-Alliance splitting the vote, swung it for Mrs Thatcher not the Labour manifesto whatever the press and Blairites say. I remember it as clear as it was day, what a shock it was. The press was wicked. That is what started fear of the truth.
As we know the victors write the history. The massive privatisation policies of the Thatcher years, which continued under Blairism, is still continuing today, though we have little left to sell off, would have been averted. Despite claims, there is evidence that Corbyn’s challenger this summer, Owen Smith, believes in neoliberalism, and many have observed that “he is more Blairite than Blair”.
What resulted from these divisions was neoliberalism for 30 years , a parasitic, out-of-control capitalism which grew exponentially. Manufacturing declined further, unemployment soared, employment rights eroded, and what we have been left with is a growing inequality where fear of being trampled on has led to social divisions and isolationism. Divisions in the Labour Movement today will not bring people together. Many in the PLP have behaved irresponsibly, undemocratically, and unprofessionally, and should unite behind the leader and membership to fight the Tories. Others have been loyal and present the foundation of the New politics. Jeremy Corbyn wishes to see a reunited party fighting injustice, together. Let’s do that.
5. DEMOCRACY, TRUTH and electability
Listen to Jeremy Corbyn, and you will hear he talks sensible, pragmatic, socially desirable policies which are supported by the electorate. His approach is courageous and honest, and that is why is was elected in 2015 as Labour leader, and why it is likely that he will be elected again in 2016, and why he is very likely to be elected as Prime Minister. After the EU referendum, and prior to the coup, under Corbyn’s leadership, the Labour Party was edging ahead of the Tories in the polls. A cynical, and orchestrated attempted coup is an attempt to hold back democracy as people sense a once -in-a lifetime opportunity to make a difference to their own lives by political action.
The fable of the Emperor’s new clothes is well-known. Everyone could see the emperor was naked , but too fearful to challenge so they admired his new clothes. Everyone knows that the very, very rich, are the real scroungers – representing a hidden welfare state while millions depend on food banks in this country alone. If everyone knows this, then why is our Labour Party still supporting Tory cuts and austerity? It is time to call the Emperor’s bluff.
Truth is always the way. Remember the lines of Tony Benn? “Say what you mean and mean what you say!” Wise words. Jeremy speaks honestly. He speaks the truth. He has integrity, a quality rarely seen among politicians, but one which the electorate respects. He has been proven correct many times, and has remained always true to his principles.
But Jeremy Corbyn has not attempted undermining coups and exhibited bullying behaviour as we have seen this summer. He is popular, principled, and he is very electable. He believes in socialism, and in democracy. He welcomes a reunited party. We aim for government and to change politics.
Jeremy Corbyn has my vote, yet again, and very my best wishes and hopes.
- REFERENCES and FURTHER READING:
- Austerity: The Demolition of the Welfare State and the Rise of the Zombie Economy, (Kerry-Anne Mendoza)
- Capitalism – Neoliberalism, Plutonomy, and Neo-feudalism.
- 12th September 2015: Jeremy Corbyn elected Labour leader with a huge mandate
- John Prescott: Labour is like England’s Football Team, Mirror online
- In Place of Fear, Aneurin Bevan
- The Hidden Welfare State
- Labour MPs opposes Trident renewal vote
- Jeremy Corbyn Speaks at Tolpuddle
- Straight Talking Labour
- It’s time to Dispel the Myth that Labour’s 1983 Manifesto was too Left Wing.
- Falklands Gamble: Thatcher’s Decision to go to war in 1982, Changed Everything
- In The Battle for Labour’s Soul only Corbyn has a Chance of saving it.
- The New Hope for Britain: 1983 Labour Party Manifesto
- 1983 Liberal Alliance :Electoral Skirmish
- Neil Clark: Not so suicidal after all
- Project Fear versus Corbyn
- Pandora’s Box , Myths and Legends
- The Emperor’s New Clothes
Democracy is never easy. When people come together to try to change things, to challenge established forms of power, to rectify long-standing inequalities, then they will always meet resistance. They will meet resistance from those with something to lose. They will meet resistance from those who fear change as such. They will meet resistance from those who recoil at any sight of unruliness and unrest.
When the stakes are high, voices on both sides will be raised in anger. Those who long for a quiet life will not find it during such times of turmoil. This has always been one of the trump cards played by those in power. They play upon the fears and anxieties of the public in order to hang onto their position. ‘Don’t go out into the streets’ they say – ‘someone might get hurt.’
Unfortunately, a great deal of recent commentary on Labour Party debates (particularly this) stands in precisely this tradition of casual conservatism. A handful of aggressive incidents have been reported endlessly, focused on by commentators who really should know better as if they were the only story. In other cases, incidents have been more or less fabricated entirely by news sources sympathetic to Labour’s right wing. Just this week, the BBC itself has been forced to admit that its reporting of an entirely peaceful, female-led demonstration in Walthamstow a few months ago was grossly misreported along just these lines.
Labour has seen an unprecedented influx of new members over the past 18 months – a surge of democratic interest unparalleled in our nation’s recent history. From this movement, a new organisation has also emerged which has tried to channel some of the energy generated by the campaign for Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership to positive ends. Those ends are not revolutionary or even particularly radical: Momentum is simply trying to give a voice to a body of opinion which has been widespread throughout the country for many years, but has been denied any kind of place in our public life since the early days of New Labour. It is a body of opinion which believes, with good reason, that the embrace of neoliberal economics and neoconservative foreign policy under Blair was a disaster, and that it was enabled by the evisceration of party democracy by a small elite who took control of policy-making, media-messaging, and the selection of parliamentary candidates. It proposes that it would be better for all of us if Labour party members had more say over policy and more say over who represents us in parliament. Beyond this, Momentum seeks to give a voice to the many UK citizens who do not belong to any political party but who believe that the country desperately needs to take a different road from the one it has been travelling since the end of the 1970s: a road which has led to the disenfranchisement of the post-industrial North and the national tragedy of Brexit. Naturally some of those voices, suppressed for so long, sound raucous, aggressive and uncouth.
Of course, to those who take a different political view, this is a threatening development. Everybody would prefer that those who disagree with them politically do not organise, do not hold meetings, do not seek to positions of influence within their organisation. Of course they would. That doesn’t mean that the people doing so are doing anything wrong. That’s just what democracy looks like.
But the fact that Momentum has successfully established 150 local groups up and down the country, and that its first major public campaign was a simple drive for voter registration, has hardly been reported at all. Instead a tiny number of incidents at Labour events – most of which seem to amount to somebody getting shouted at in a fractious public meeting – have been turned into the whole story of this remarkable new democratic movement.
Well, any student of political history knows that we have been here before. “Mob”, “rabble”, “ruffians”, “seditionists”: this is what they said about the Chartists, about the suffragists and suffragettes, about the enemies of slavery. People got shouted at in their meetings too. It probably wasn’t always pretty. But it is what democracy looks like.
There is absolutely no justification for any of the personalised hostility that has been directed at individuals, especially women, during these developments. Those responsible have been rightly deplored from all sides. But there is also no justification for the journalistic focus on these incidents to the exclusion of any real account of what Momentum is, who it represents, where it has come from, and what it is doing. I do not condone, and we should all entirely condemn, all and any personalised attacks on those journalists and commentators who have reproduced this narrative. They are just doing what so many people in their position before have done. But they should know that they stand in a fine old tradition of reaction.
Anyone looking at these developments from a global perspective can see something very clearly. Everywhere we look, people are hoping for change. Around the world they have taken to the streets and the squares, they have formed new parties, they have made new alliances, they have stood up and said ‘enough’. Enough of the yawning gap between rich and poor growing wider every year. Enough of wealthy elites deciding how the rest of us should live. Enough of governments of left and right the world over always doing exactly the same thing: privatising public services, cutting taxes for the rich, letting the poor get poorer.
And now, at last, it is happening here – in a very British way. Many of us may be still surprised that our version of this global uprising is taking its current form. We might have been expecting a new party or a different sort of movement. But this is what is happening here and now. This is our Podemos. For those of us who believe in democracy, the Labour membership surge and the arrival of Momentum amount to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This is our chance to carry forward both the hopes and the anger of recent years into a new era of democratic politics and social equality. We can join in with this movement and try to make it better than it already is; or we can stand on the sidelines wringing our hands, because it isn’t exactly the way that we would like it to be. We may wish there were another choice – but wishing will not make it so.
Exposé on Owen Smith MP
From Alex Seed
Owen Smith MP, who is challenging Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, has a lot of dirty linen that he does not want washed in public. Luckily, I have brought my own box of Daz.
I have it on very good authority (from someone within the Blarite Labour camp, who is disgusted by the behind-the-scenes secret-deals, funny handshakes, and distain for the voters), of the following:
1. Owen Smith is actually the original perpetrator of the challenge to Jeremy Corbyn (and has been for a very time). The agenda for the leadership challenge was set up in April! Yes, that’s right, April and not July. Angela Eagle was brought in as a ruse, to make Owen look good. Eagle actually believed that she had a chance. She had none. This was a coup d’état with only a few of the players in the know. Angela Eagle was not one of them. She was deliberately led down the garden path to make mistakes and look foolish (and didn’t she rise to the challenge). Owen Smith’s agenda during the interview with Eagle on the recent BBC news show is obvious for all to see. When Owen indicated that: “He would withdraw from the contest if Ms Eagle won more support among Labour MPs”, you could almost see him snigger. Smith already knew the agenda was set. He already knew who his supporters were and also those of Eagle. So, the interview was merely play-acting on his part.
2. Owen Smith had always intended to split the Labour Party (right from the beginning). Apparently, Owen Smith believes he can head Jeremy Corbyn off at the pass. It goes something like this: should Corbyn win, none of the MP’s will take cabinet positions (this has already been decided by those in the know). Smith believes that by doing this, it will split the party in two. This is what he wants. Smith realises that Jeremy has so much grass-roots support, that he is unable to successfully win in that quarter. However, a split party is a weakened party and he intends to take full advantage of it.
3. Many of the Blairite MP’s have been offered powerful positions and sweetheart deals, should they vote against Corbyn. It is extremely hush-hush and it does explain why so many MP’s suddenly went against Corbyn. Those who sat on the fence eventually decided to support ANYBODY other than Corbyn. I would suggest that once Jeremy Corbyn gets in, that the bank accounts and behind-the-scene deals of these MP’s are investigated. The whole system that they are involved in is so incredibly corrupt.
4. As many of you know, Smith was a lobbyist for Pfizer. As Head of Policy and Government Relations for Pfizer, Owen Smith was also directly involved in Pfizer’s funding of Blairite right-wing entryist group Progress. Pfizer gave Progress £53,000. Progress has actively pursued the agenda of PFI and privatisation of NHS services.
Pfizer is among the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. Big Pharma seeks enormous profits over the health and well-being of the humans it serves, and these drug companies invasively corrupt the way that the healthcare industry delivers its vital services. Corrupt being the operative word.
So, why was Owen involved with an American company? Well, Owen Smith is on record as saying that: “…. Pfizer had been “extremely supportive” of his aspirations to public office”. Make of that what you will.
Well, I am sure that Pfizer would love to get their toe in the door of the British NHS and Owen is their man to do just that!
During his time as chief lobbyist for Pfizer, Owen Smith actively pushed for privatisation of NHS services. Therefore, we know that the NHS will definitely not be safe in his hands. Should he become leader of the Labour Party, it will only be a matter of time before he will use his influence to start the process for privatisation of the NHS.
What we will end up with is something akin to the American system, where you will need to show your credit card (or insurance papers), before receiving treatment. Americans (rich and poor), have to find ways of paying for their very expensive treatments, should they get sick. This is our future, should Owen Smith become leader of the Labour Party.
And, if you think things could not get dirtier, Owen Smith is a strong supporter of Trident and assiduously courts the arms industry. He is a regular at defence industry events.
This is dirty dealing, folks. THIS is what we will get should Smith rise to power. If you value your future and well-being of your family, then you must do everything you can to ensure that he cannot continue his corrupt agenda. If he gains leadership, we really can say goodbye to the NHS and a whole lot more.
Please share this message as far and wide as you can, since the people need to know what is going on.
See also The Entirely Fake Owen Smith