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 Great Ron Rafferty says*:
A brief history of the world …. From the time of Kinnock, there was an ever-increasing vetting procedure of new Labour candidates. That started off from a relatively weak administrative point from the Central Office perspective, but it quickly became more and more controlling over the past 30 years, and what better cover than deciding that only people from certain groups could stand as candidates. So we ended up with a massive percentage of “on-message” MPs.
Now fast forward to last summer, and the sudden realisation by the on-message ones, that they were no longer on message with the people they claimed to represent. Their own manifesto demonstrated this. As the media had tried to paint Ed Miliband as Red Ed, the Labour Party machine moved forever towards the right until in several aspects it WAS to the right of the Tories! This is the “being in power” bollocks that is constantly uttered. Being in power …. for what? If being in power is to be worse than the Tories, then it IS actually better having the Tories FFS!
The election of Corbyn, who, despite efforts to paint him almost as a communist (the new Red Ed) was centre-left, saw a whole cadre of the Labour machine rejecting him, and rejecting their membership.
He was never ever given a chance to be a leader. Sniping from the Coup-ers** NEVER stopped. They used social media to keep in contact with the mainstream media (oh, how hollow their protests now sound about others using social media …..), placed anti-Corbyn stories, and the continuing line that only the coup-ers were true Labour, not their leader, and certainly not their membership!
Planning for a coup for 10 months. No principles. But the membership – now there’s a bit of a problem!
The coup, which was intended to psychologically attack the leader failed, because he stood up to the outrageous deceit and bullying. (In any other context on earth, the Guardian would have railed against the bullies, and quite rightly!). But Corbyn wasn’t broken. Did the coup members bother that this was anti-democratic? Did they bother that it was against their memberships expressed wishes? Did they bother that it was against the wishes of most CLPs?
As that didn’t work …. over to the NEC, and the same coup-ers not quite in charge of things. Sob stories about representatives being threatened (a bizarre bit of histrionics compared to what they had attempted on Corbyn!). No sticking to the normal rules of committees, and what is the solution to the membership “problem?” Cut off as many members as possible! Stop the membership meeting in the CLPs!
This is NOT a group of people trying to “save” the Labour Party. This is a group of people who believe they OWN the Labour Party, and will do precisely what they want. It is a right-wing takeover. And the people hark back to the days of Blair where they say one thing, and mean another, where war is good, where the class from which their members are taken is good as cannon fodder without equipment, where a useless and expensive piece of nuclear gear is more important than ships that work, and where those same poor folk will continue to pay for the errors of the rich.
But, there again, time after time, it is the rich who pay for their coup “friends.” A few millions promised here, a few hundreds of thousands there, a “helpful” but restricted legal challenge (that’ll do nicely).
There are TWO Labour parties now. The small controlling party of Blair, and the party of the membership.
Whose side are you on?
*Comments thread https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/15/labour-death-spite-bullying-working-class-base
NB This is important
Wise words – ‘Keep Calm and Support Corbyn’
‘The last thing anyone on the Left must do in response to these outrages is to be outraged however. There will be more to come.
More members will be suspended. Applicants for registered supporter status will be excluded – even in some cases if they have been accepted as Labour Party members (after the January cut off date). Other local parties will face unjustified administrative sanctions.
All of this has a dual purpose. First – and vitally – to diminish Corbyn’s support in the election. Secondly – and this is not unimportant – in the hope of provoking an angry response which can feed the narrative that the left are vile bullies.’
Whatever the outcome of the Labour Party leadership contest, it is clear that there is a huge gulf between the grassroots and a majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Many MPs are left looking shaken and bewildered by the groundswell of support for Jeremy Corbyn. However, they shouldn’t be so shocked. As far back as 2007, Jon Cruddas topped the first round of voting for the deputy leader.
‘There’s much more life in the party than I thought,’ says Cruddas. ‘When I started I thought the party had been hollowed out. But the result shows that the ‘virtual’ politics practised at the centre, the politics of positioning and messaging, was out of touch with the party.’
The history of the Labour Party and of the UK would have been very different if Bryan Gould had been elected leader instead of John Smith and the transatlanticists like Blair and Brown. In the re-posted piece that follows, Bryan Gould sums up the consequences of the Labour Party capitulating to the economics of Margaret Thatcher.
By Bryan Gould – 3 August 2015
It is a truism of today’s political analysis that, over the three or four decades since the so-called “free-market” revolution swept across the western world, the centre of political gravity has moved substantially rightwards. Most of those of middle age or younger will have grown up, after all, in a world where it has been widely accepted that markets are infallible, that government spending is wasteful and a drag on economic development, that running a country is just like running a business, that we all benefit if the rich get richer, and that private profit justifiably overrides all other considerations.
So insidious and comprehensive has been the advance of this orthodoxy that even those who choose to question or oppose it are hard put to understand how complete has been its victory. As we see from the current plight of the Labour Party, political leaders who seek to offer alternatives are disarmed and enfeebled, without realising it, by their experience of growing up within its confines. They are, in any case, urged – on electoral grounds and even by their friends – to accept the new reality; and that reality, of course, keeps on moving inexorably rightwards.
This re-definition of the political landscape has meant that what would once have been regarded as the extreme outer edge of what is politically possible is now the new centre ground. Any divergence from this central position is, by definition therefore, literally eccentric; and any move away from “free-market” orthodoxy is condemned as either a return to the past or an irrational lurch leftwards.
These definitions of centrality and divergence have the further advantage, for their proponents, of confirming a long-held public perception. In the days when the political left was prepared to challenge existing power structures, they were undoubtedly helped by their development of an ideology of sorts that allowed them to ground their objections to orthodox policies in some loosely defined analytical framework. The consequent identification of the left as the doctrinaire element in the political spectrum seems, however, to have inhibited today’s leaders of the left, if the current contest for the Labour Party leadership is any guide, from straying too far from orthodoxy for fear of appearing too ideologically driven.
The right, by contrast, was usually seen as pragmatic and concerned solely with what would work. Politicians of the right still seek to prolong that advantage by clothing their steady move rightwards in the language of experiment and exploration of what is possible, rather than of ideology. They have also learned to proceed stealthily, one small step at a time, with the intention of concealing from the public that each new step is in reality a further development of a highly ideological agenda.
That may, however, be about to change. As the tide of ‘free-market” orthodoxy has reached its high-water mark and appears to be receding (at least in most parts of the western world other than the euro zone), it is more and more likely to leave exposed to public view those new policy initiatives that seem to have little to do with common sense and practicality and to reflect much more clearly what are doctrinaire preoccupations.
Those preoccupations are becoming increasingly apparent. The priority accorded to the drive for private profit, for example, has led to well-publicised failings in delivering what were once public services, epitomised by the misfortunes of Serco – an international firm operating, among other things, as a private manager of prisons and under pressure for its failures in a range of countries.
Privately owned academy schools, an idea that has now been shown even in Sweden, its country of origin, to produce disastrous results in terms of educational standards, will nevertheless no doubt continue to be supported by enthusiasts on the ground that business people are best placed to decide educational priorities for our children.
And what about the wacky idea, now being contemplated by New Zealand’s right-wing government, of financing the delivery of social services to some of the most vulnerable, including the mentally ill, by selling bonds to private investors who will then look to make a profit from their “investment”?
What links all of these and many other similar ideas is that they have little to do with what will work and best serve the interests of society and its citizens. They are instead all statements of ideologically driven preference – in each case, a preference for private provision, not because it works better, but because it is a faithful rendition of “free-market” theory.
It seems, in other words, that the usual view of the left as doctrinaire and the right as pragmatic is in course of changing. It is now the right that espouses the ideological approach and that will go on doing so for as long as it is not held to account and its bluff is not called. It is the left (when it can make up its mind and, like the lion in the Wizard of Oz, reclaim its courage) that has the opportunity to offer new alternatives to free-market orthodoxy – alternatives that are not the product of doctrine, but that are simply sensible and practical and likely to produce better outcomes. Isn’t it time that Labour’s leaders caught up with this new reality?