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Why Owen Smith Is The Disunity Candidate

If I hear Owen Smith referred to as ‘the unity candidate’ one more time, I’m going to have to bury my head under a pile of cushions to let out a long stress busting scream.
I just don’t get it you see. The majority of labour members and trade unions back Corbyn. Not only that, according to recent polls, the vast majority of labour voters do too. Only the PLP don’t. But somehow, if we make the 171 happy at the expense of literally millions of ordinary people, unity will follow.

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The 171 are basically taking us all for granted. That’s exactly the kind of thinking that cost us Scotland and once safe Labour constituencies in the North. This group of MPs, all doing the same job, earning the same income, often mixing in the same circles, of similar ages, and limited ethnic and cultural diversity, sharing political views a cigarette paper apart, have their finger on the pulse of the electorate to a much greater degree than millions of ordinary people.

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This eye watering arrogance beggars belief. It would be like everyone in my family wanting to go to Spain for our annual summer holiday, except me, who for the sake of ‘unity’ decided we should all go to France, my favoured destination. If I overruled everyone in that way, my family would call me out for my selfishness, and rightfully so. If my ego had inflated to such gargantuan proportions I believed my wishes now surpassed those of everyone else in my family, they’d soon prick it with a big figurative pin until it deflated to a normal healthy size. What they wouldn’t do is go along with my decision, thereby fuelling my grotesque sense of grandiosity.

If I put this argument to an Owen Smith supporter I usually get the same response, ‘9 million people gave them their mandate.’ But this just fuels their grandiosity even more. Most people vote for a party, not an individual. And besides, as I previously mentioned, the majority of Labour supporters/potential voters back Corbyn for leader over Smith. This will probably surprise some of you because most poll related headlines screamed, ‘Voters think Smith would be a better leader than Corbyn!’ You had to dig deeper to discover the voters being referred to were Tory or Lib-Dem voters. The usual response to this inconvenient nugget of information is something along the lines of ‘but we have to win over Tory voters to win a GE.’ To which I fire back, ‘At the expense of Labour voters who prefer Corbyn?’

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Which brings us back to this ‘New Labour’ habit of taking existing Labour voters for granted. This is a grave mistake to make. For every Tory who’d switch to Labour simply because Smith was at the helm, another two might take their votes elsewhere. And the only reason Smith is getting a relatively easy ride from the media right now is because they favour him over Corbyn; a lifelong socialist who is seen as a real threat to the tax dodging millionaire press barons. Once the Corbyn threat has passed it will be business as usual, and Owen will be mocked and vilified just as Corbyn is now. As a result, those Tory voters will soon change their minds. But the Labour voters who are strongly for Corbyn, despite a year of press and PLP vilification, might well give up on Labour if Owen wins; particularly if he wins by a margin slimmer than the number of voters disenfranchised by the vote freeze and an over zealous purge.
Democracy would have to be seen to have been served if an Owen win was to stand any chance of winning over these Corbyn backers. But how can that be, with well over a hundred thousand voters disenfranchised, many of whom were likely to have voted Corbyn? A ‘unity candidate’ who only has the power to unify 171 MPs who are already nicely unified is not a unity candidate in my book, or many other’s books I don’t doubt.

Smith is the disunity candidate. A win for Smith has immense power to turn off hundreds of thousands of Labour members and several key unions, but potentially millions of Labour voters too. The message a Smith win sends those voters is ‘You don’t count! Only Tory voters count! You like Corbyn? Well too bad. You must be mad or bad to like him. Besides, we are sure when push comes to shove you’ll back us once Smith wins. It’s not as if we’ve had a mass exodus of Labour voters in the past…erm…apart from the five million who stopped voting Labour under Blair and Brown..cough…err…but that won’t happen this time, we are sure of it. And we are ALWAYS right.’

Except their arrogance would have dire consequences for our party, which is why we must work hard to deliver Corbyn a resounding mandate to make sure those consequences never come to pass.

But what about unifying the PLP if Corbyn wins? That is a fair question and one I grapple with all the time. The PLP may be small in number in relative terms, but they are big in power. In the short term there isn’t an easy answer. My family would be limited in their power to stop me screaming and shouting and making everyone’s life a misery if I didn’t get my way over France in the hypothetical scenario I described earlier. But does that mean they should let me get my way to avoid such unpleasantness? Of course not. Wrong is wrong, and it’s never wrong to stand up against it.

As someone once wisely said to me, sometimes all you can do is take the first right step, then trust the next right step will make itself clear.

Step forward comrades, and stay strong. ✊

 

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Sadiq’s Owen Smith Email: My Response

Sadiq

Thank you for sending me your email in which you attempt to explain your changed position on the Leadership from adamantly neutral to pro-Smith.

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I’m glad you acknowledge the hard work that was done on your behalf which helped deliver your resounding victory, much of which was carried out by Corbyn supporting Labour members. I’m pleased you also say you felt humbled by your win, as you should do.

You say you didn’t play a part in this summers turmoil. On the face of it, this would make sense as you are no longer an active member of the PLP since becoming mayor. However I wonder how detached you managed to remain from a PLP of which you were once such an active member. We all knew you were very much a part of the old way of doing things, and that being the case probably supported Smith over Corbyn. But that only made us respect your neutrality all the more. Now that respect has gone. You have been lumped in with all the other MPs who have a vested interest in Corbyn failing. MPs who have made such a hoohah of the fact he cannot win with a socialist agenda they appear to have locked themselves into proving he can’t, which means sabotaging his leadership.

I’ve listened with interest to the reasons you give for opposing Corbyn’s leadership in your TV interviews, and all you offer is the old tired mantra about Jeremy being unelectable. But Jeremy has not been given a chance to prove his electability (aside from 4 by-election wins, 4 significant mayoralty wins and finishing ahead of the Tories in the local elections after being 6 points behind in May’s General Election). The British people have been denied the opportunity of fully appreciating the policies that will be on offer under our renewed and refreshed Labour Party due to the repetitive negative briefing against Jeremy’s leadership since he won. You state it’s time we stopped fighting eachother and started fighting the Tories, yet Jeremy has never had the benefit of having a fully supportive party behind him fighting the Tories, which was a disgusting position for the PLP to take. The way they have put their own self interests, pride and arrogance ahead of the ordinary struggling people of this country has been a betrayal of the worst kind, and it’s one I and many others will never forget.

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In fact you directly benefitted from the never ending threats and plots against Jeremy’s leadership. Many Corbyn supporting Labour members worked tirelessly on your campaign: yes, because they wanted to secure a Labour victory, and yes, because they were disgusted by Goldsmith’s dog whistle rhetoric, but also to secure Jeremy’s position as leader against a coup which your loss would have undoubtedly triggered. Now you reward them by spitting on them, albeit figuratively.

As a member of at least twelve pro-Corbyn Facebook groups the response to your endorsement of Smith has been unanimous. Let me share a few examples that best sum it up. “Plummeted in my estimation.” “Just another liar.” “Why has he entered into this? The job of mayor is to remain neutral and support the people of his city.” “I will remember that Khan isn’t to be trusted.”

Based on these and hundreds of reactions like it, your intervention won’t have changed many minds. But I’m sure you know that. This is about weakening Jeremy Corbyn’s position as leader after he wins, for its becoming increasingly clear you and your friends are planning to set up your own party within our party. Why? To ensure a Labour defeat at the next General Election of course. Anything to make sure Jeremy Corbyn never becomes prime minister. You won’t succeed however, for we are many and you are few and our determination outweighs yours a thousand fold. Working toward a better world for everyone tends to do that to people.

Regards

Chelley Ryan

P.S. I’d like to suggest a name for the new party within the party:  ‘Corporate Labour.’ The party that works hard to maintain a status quo that suits big business at the expense of the rest of us.

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Reclaiming Socialism – guest post by Rick Evans

I have admired Jeremy Corbyn for many many years. But there’s much more to it than that as to why I will be voting for him in the Labour Leadership Election. Let me explain. We need to look at the big picture and a big vision. It is repeatedly said that Corbyn’s success is a cult of personality. I don’t buy that. He isn’t perfect and not surprisingly he has made mistakes. But what some in the party don’t seem to get is it’s not really about Jeremy, it’s about what he stands for. He has a positive vision. It’s the politics of hope. As Jeremy himself said “I think it’s called Socialism”.

There I’ve said it – the dreaded S word. In the last 20-25 years the S word has become like a swear word. If you were in the Labour Party you weren’t supposed to mention it. To some it was like a portal to a nightmare world, long gone. To say it was like admitting you were a dinosaur. You were either patted on the head and told you will think differently when your older. Or alternatively you would be told ‘oh yes i agree with a lot of that, but of course it can never happen’, based on that age old assumption that somehow humans can’t cooperate together because the world is purely dog eat dog.

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Except humans are capable of lots of different things – from great love to intense hate, from amazing generosity to enormous greed and all things in between. Everybody has good and bad in them. We can be complicated creatures. But does that mean we can’t have a different type of society? That we are forever to live with the politics of the last 30-40 years? That greed is good, the markets are wonderful and somehow the wealth will trickle down from the top to the bottom? Well to me and increasing numbers of people, the evidence suggests something different. In that time Britain has become more unequal. Simply put, the rich have got richer and the poor poorer. Deliberately so. Just think about that. Is that progress? How have we fallen for it?

However things are always changing; nothing can stand still. So what has happened this last year – with Jeremy Corbyn winning the Labour Leadership – is a reaction against the last 30 years. Things have gone too far and now people are angry and want change. Where’s there’s a cause there will be an effect.

So back to that S word; Socialism. What is it? It probably means different things to different people. At it’s most basic level it means a more equal, more fair society to live in. Nothing extreme about that is there? But I would argue it’s more than that. It’s about how you can achieve these aims.

On the back of our Labour Party Membership card it says, “for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few”. To me Socialism is about redistributing wealth. It’s about getting the best healthcare whatever your income, it’s about getting the best education whatever your income, it’s about giving more say to ordinary people, it’s about running Public Services for the good of communities not private shareholders, it’s about giving workers more power in the workplace and indeed in how workplaces are run, it’s about a fairer progressive Tax System, it’s about getting a fair day’s pay at work, it’s about looking after our planet and and having a long term plan instead of looking at a short term profit motive as the number one priority, it’s about putting people first. Most of all it’s about looking after each other in our society.

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Those are some of my ideas of what Socialism is. Does it sound extreme or unattainable? Not to me. Jeremy Corbyn speaks of some of these ideas and has done for a long time. Of course the problem has been that for the last 30-40 years the whole agenda, and so debate, has been successfully shifted rightwards. We have constantly been told there is no alternative. There are always alternatives but the establishment have never wanted ordinary people to know about them. Well now younger people are finding out there is an alternative, which is why so many are attracted to what Corbyn has to say.

So I think it’s time we reclaimed the word Socialism. The demonisation of it has gone on for far too long. It’s time to say it with pride again. To shout it from the roof tops, to say this is what we believe in and we can going to try to make it happen. I am proud to be a socialist. The world has changed immensely over the last 100 years, but good ideas don’t go, they don’t die – they live on. Some people say we aren’t a Socialist Country – it will never catch on. But let’s remember the most Socialist thing a Labour Government has ever done was create the NHS which has also been the most popular. Socialism can be popular. Labour can win with a Socialist Manifesto. But no one is pretending that will be easy.

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As I said earlier, people have been attracted to Corbyn because of his hopeful message – that things can change for the better for everyone. When I was a child growing up in the 70’s and early 80’s I remember being told that things are a bit better for every generation. That way progress is made. Our Children would be better off than us. At School, in a Geography lesson, I remember being taught that in the future people would be working less hours. Well in the last 30-35 years this has not only not happened, but has gone into reverse. The hope has slowly gone. But why should we accept this? Our children deserve better than we had, not less.

Every trick in the book will be used to discredit Corbyn. For some people for him to get elected Prime Minister would be their worst nightmare. But society has grown more polarised, more unfair. A lot of people think things will never change. Our role is to convince them it can and must. We cannot carry on for the next 30 years like we have the last, with more disasters for ordinary people while the fat cats get fatter.

Thatcher thought she had destroyed Socialism as a credible idea in this country. She said there was no such thing as society. But there is another way to run society and that’s Democratic Socialism. So when someone tells you it will never happen just smile and say yes it will – it has to.

But only when enough people demand it.

British Labour Party Leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn (C) poses for pictures with supporters after addressing a rally at the Rock Tower in north London on September 10, 2015. Voting closed in the leadership contest for Britain's main opposition Labour party on Thursday after a campaign dominated by the shock popularity of radical left candidate Jeremy Corbyn, who looks set to win. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL        (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

To Anti-Corbyn Labour MPs From Female Victims Of Abuse And Violence:

 

As women who both support Jeremy Corbyn, and who have at some point in our lives been victims of violence, harassment, misogyny and abuse, we call upon Labour MPs who oppose Jeremy Corbyn, to cease their generalised smearing of Corbyn supporters as abusive misogynists, with the sole aim of smearing Jeremy Corbyn as someone who somehow attracts them.

Jeremy Corbyn is a man who abhors violence and misogyny. As women who have been victims of both, we could not support him otherwise. To extrapolate incidence of abuse and violence (particularly when the perpetrators claim to support a man who condemns such behaviour and attitudes) with Jeremy Corbyn supporters in general, is like extrapolating fathers who sexually abuse their children with all fathers, or children who bully their peers with all children.

Abuse and violence which we know from our own experiences, can shatter lives and leave both physical and psychological scars, should not be exploited by those with a wider political agenda. Instead Labour MPs need to focus on the fact that misogynistic attitudes are rife in all walks of life.

One only needs to look to a disturbing TUC survey, which reveals how two thirds of women have been victims of sexual harassment in the work place, to appreciate the scale of the problem.

To single out Jeremy Corbyn supporters the way you repeatedly do, reveals your true motives, which is not to raise a society wide issue that affects the majority of women, but to tarnish the image of a decent man and his supporters, which include women who have been victims of abuse and violence.

By all means call out the individuals who engage in abuse, harassment and misogyny, for that is what they are, individuals. And please join us in the battle for a world in which no woman lives in fear or anxiety because of the actions of men with sexist attitudes.

But please stop smearing Jeremy Corbyn supporters like ourselves for your own political ends.

 

Signatories:

Chelley Ryan

Shelley Hutchings

Laura Clarke

Morag Davies

Coilla Drake

Judith Reynolds

Maureen Liston

Elaine Rigby

Imogen Harris

Elizabeth Greener

Eileen Kersey

Karen Broady

Sarah H Tyrer

Linda Foord

Beverly Bryan

Fran Yeldham

Reba Bur

Annie Singh

Rachel Littlewood

Anne Ward

Dominique Payne

Sandra Nicol

Jane Basham

Emily Jones

Dinah Mulholland

Linda Lomax

Sandra Ferguson

Janice Finn

Valerie Pedrick

Joanne Rogers

Kate Gibson

Clarissa Minns

Mary Mc Veagh

Linda Shepperd

Jeannette Marshall

Cari Spokes

Tracy Bytheway

Maureen Dickens

Paula Bartram

Christine Mooney

Jaci Quennell

Amanda Collingridge

Sally Churchwood

Sue Brock

Lucia Mack

Julia de la Harpe

Janette Murphy

Juliette Emery

Barbara Cairns

Amanda Toone

Kelly Therese Ludlow

Lee Dickenson

Colette Riley

Sheila Scoular

Geraldine Howlette

Julie Dean

Elisabeth Makin

Joan Rudderham

Daina Gregory

Linda Webb-Thornton

Fiona Ranson

Liz Wilkins

Helen Brown

Zoe Blackmore

Sarah Morgan

Clare McDermott

Debbie Litchfield

Fran Springfield

Kayleigh Graveson

Lesley Spillard

Clare Farrall

Bonnie Craven

Hazel Eastmond

Celeste R West

Dana Rodericks

Bethany Hunt

Janet Willicott

Roseanna Walker

Sandra Roberts

Hazel Salisbury

Fenella Roberts

Madaam McGonagal

Marsha Lowe

Alice Faith Murray

Anissa Jabbar

Lea Bentley

Abigail E. Ottley Wyatt

Carol Buller

Chloë Meredith

Susie Jewell

Ellie Hilton

Billie Dale Wakefield

M S Carruthers

Jane Menguy

Julia Mountain

Marion Pergande

Zoe Zeero

Holly Fletcher

Kim Roper

Evelyn Emery

Jane Davies

Amanda Hunter

Eve Hooper

Monica Zocca

K Southeby

Annie Carlin

Jen Wood

Peggy Robertson

Eleanor Buffam

Pascale Gillett

Geraldine Moore

Celia Villa-Landa

Gill Kennard

Gill Connell

Betty Farruggia

Anya-Nicola Darr

Cathy Murphy

Vicki Lackenby

Anne-Marie Roberts

Hilary Coombes

Samantha Lealman

Hilary Temple

MLouise Bath

Holly Sutherland

Krista James

Christine Davies

Elaine Halliday

Maisie Carter

Liza Simon

Linda Ann Stoker

Daveena Daley

Catherine Powell

Michele Rowell

Nikki Scambler

 

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What is the deal with this guy ?

Enjoy!

notsoloonyleft

Just take a look at that picture. I challenge you to look at that picture and not smile.

The expression on that woman’s face is wonderful.  There is an unrestrained joy in that face.  That face is real and genuine and if just happy.

Happy because she is listening to words that resonate with her and ideas which she can support.  Happy because she feels that finally someone is speaking to her personally and saying I see the same things you do.  I get angry about the same things you do. I can do something about it.

There is so much more tied up in Jeremy Corbyn than politics.  The people who are passionate about him are so because he is a focal point which has inspired action and will inspire more.  The bias  media coverage of this man has been seen and recorded in three separate reports, highlighting that the…

View original post 194 more words

An Open Letter To Jeremy Corbyn

Dear Jeremy,

My heart is heavy with sorrow for what you have had to endure over the last few days. I can’t imagine the strain it is putting on you. The Blairites say your campaigning during the referendum was luke-warm, because you had the audacity to share your doubts and criticisms of the EU with your usual honesty and integrity. But that’s because they wouldn’t know honesty and integrity if it slapped them in the face. Spin is their thing, not sincerity. The Blairites don’t respect or trust the electorate enough to tell them the truth. You do.

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Had you tried to convince me the EU was a flawless institution in no need of reform, I wouldn’t have trusted you; and still angry over the treatment of Greece, Brexit would have been my choice. But I did trust you, and that’s why I voted remain. Thanks to you, I was saved from the clutches of a decision I believe I would now be living to regret.

What I find particularly ironic is the fact the Blairites fan the flames of anti immigration sentiment with hideous dog whistle mugs and UKIP style rhetoric, but offer only weak solutions. Whereas you have suggested reintroducing the migrant impact fund to support areas most affected by a sudden influx of migrants; greater investment in housing and public services; and an overall raising of pay and conditions across Europe; thereby negating the need for people to become economic migrants out of desperation. No dog whistles, just straightforward solutions that would make sense to the vast majority of ordinary people.

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The Blairites have been keen to sound ‘in touch’ over immigration since Gordon Brown’s infamous biggotgate gaffe, but that didn’t extend to easing those concerns. No wonder people went for a straightforward Brexit solution which promised to fix the ‘problem’ once and for all. Had the Blairites addressed concerns over immigration over the past six years or so in the way you have done during this campaign, I am absolutely convinced Britain would have voted to remain. The Blairites are to blame for Brexit, not you.

Regardless, you and I both know full well the outcome of the referendum is just a faux excuse to hang their coup on. They have been plotting to oust you since before you won the leadership. Think back to the voter purge. The same goes for their claims they fear you are unelectable. We both know the opposite is true. Their worst nightmare is Labour winning an election with a real socialist leader. They have staked their reputation and careers on that being imposible. That’s why they hoped and prayed Labour would lose at least 300 seats in the council elections. Instead we only lost 18. I’m not trying to diminish that 18 seat loss, but considering the incessant briefing and sniping from the usual suspects in the PLP, designed to alienate voters by creating the impression of a party split and divided, I was relieved and surprised it wasn’t a much greater loss.

I believe the loss wasn’t as great because the hope you have given us, the membership, is starting to filter out into the country, despite the best efforts of the cynics, neoliberals and naysayers in the PLP.

I’m not going to beg you to resist the pressure those same usual suspects are now piling on you to resign. I know our support weighs far greater on your scales than a few privileged Blairites who wouldn’t understand ordinary people’s concerns unless those ordinary people are Guardian journalists, earn over 60,000 per annum, or are fellow Blairite MPs.

I trust you to fight for us, and I want you to know you can always count on us to fight for you and our common goal of a fairer more equal Britain.

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Despite the fact I am going on holiday with my family on Tuesday morning, and money is tight, I will be travelling to London on Monday evening to stand outside parliament while MPs take a vote of no confidence in you. I will be there with many other like minded souls who feel as grateful to you for your honest and principled leadership, as I do. We will be there because you have given us hope.

Whenever you feel weary with it all, think of that.

All my love, respect and eternal support.

Chelley Ryan

 

Please sign this petition in support of Jeremy.

 

 

 

 

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Watch Out For The Brexit Blame Game

 

IF Britain votes for Brexit, Blairites will dash to the nearest TV and radio studios to blame Jeremy Corbyn.
That’s not to say the Blairites are secretly hoping for a Brexit. The majority are pro-European. It’s more a case of turning a tragedy into a triumph, or looking for a dark cloud’s silver lining.
Their dreams of a leadership bid were scuppered by better than expected local election results.
Champagne put on ice to celebrate a 300-seat loss was abandoned in favour of stiffer drinks to drown Blairite sorrows.
But a Brexit vote would provide them with the chance to turn on Corbyn. “He was half-hearted in his campaigning,” they will claim. “He didn’t sell the case for staying in,” “We are going to stand a ‘moderate’ candidate against him.”
Those of us who support Corbyn must be prepared for this scenario. This is not my attempt to scare people into voting Remain.
Like so many others, I have yet to make up my own mind on how to vote. And that has nothing to do with Corbyn being “half-hearted.”
If anything, Corbyn, along with other prominent figures on the left, such as Yannis Varoufakis and Owen Jones, may be the only people on the planet who could persuade me to vote In.
Their well-known history of Euroscepticism and scathing critiques of some of the worst aspects of the EU gives added weight to their calls for an In vote. They are the only voices I heed.
If the In campaign was left to the likes of pro-TTIP Blairites and neoliberal Tories, that would be me voting Out.
The irony of the Labour right blaming Corbyn for a Brexit, should it happen, will not be lost on most Labour Party members.
We only have to remember those hideous “control immigration” mugs to know who to blame.
“Shameful,” Diane Abbott called them. Owen Jones was equally scathing, advising Labour to “scrap your Farage-wannabe mugs and give people some bloody hope.”
Those mugs came to symbolise something to the Labour left even more disturbing than a pathetic attempt by Labour to out-Ukip Ukip.
Those mugs came to represent a lack of will to stand up for our own beliefs and values.
Take Labour’s stance on austerity and migration. When people are given a smaller and smaller share of the pie, they grow increasingly resentful over sharing the little they have.
If the tabloid press and popular right blame migrants for that shrinking pie, it’s not Labour’s job to agree with them. It’s Labour’s role to tell people the truth.
There is absolutely no need for the pie to shrink. We live in the fifth-richest economy in the world. The only reason the pie is shrinking is because right-wing policies are sending more and more of the wealth to the top table, leaving less and less of it for the rest of us.
It’s Labour’s job to put the blame for the shrinking pie where it belongs — on austerity, not give tacit approval to right-wing propaganda.

But in the run-up to the general election Labour gave the nod to austerity and played the migration blame game.
This is why the membership grew sick and tired of the Blairite obsession with polls and focus groups, and it’s why we voted for Corbyn for leader — someone we hoped would act as a signpost rather than a vote-chasing weathercock.
If you base your policies on truth and the socialist values of fairness and justice, they will win out eventually.
If you base them on whatever’s most agreeable to the tabloid press, or on winning over voters who usually favour parties you fundamentally disagree with, you will trip yourself up eventually.
And that’s what happened to the right of the Labour Party in last year’s general election. Their attempts to woo Ukip voters with hideous tacky mugs only served to compound concerns over immigration, which boosted support for Ukip. And their attempts to woo Tory voters confused and upset Labour voters, which led millions of them to stay at home. If Labour had been a signpost party on May 7 2015 instead of a weathercock party, we might have won the general election, which means there would be no referendum on June 23.
Or am I being too kind here? Did they trip themselves up? Or did they get the result they were hoping for?
The Blairites might not have been poised to strike at Ed Miliband with the transparent zeal they have with Corbyn, but they never supported his leadership.
The day Labour lost the election, Blairites could barely conceal their glee as they appeared on our TV screens to share their blinkered, wrong-headed analysis on the causes of the loss.
They clearly saw this as their opportunity to take the reigns of the party. Not once did they reflect on the real reasons for that loss, which was the right of the party’s decisions to support austerity, campaign alongside the Tories in the Scottish independence referendum, and make pathetic attempts at dog-whistle politics over migration.
Self-awareness is not one of the Blairites’ strong suits. And it will be that complete lack of awareness that will be on show yet again if Britain votes for Brexit.
The Labour right will blame a Brexit on Corbyn. But it won’t be Corbyn’s straight-talking honest campaign that will turn voters off an In vote.
We are not children. We know the EU is flawed and undemocratic, and many of us have not forgiven the EU for its shoddy treatment of Greece.
Corbyn is making the case for a reformed social Europe, and for many on the left, that’s the only case that could persuade us to vote In.
And it wasn’t the left of the party that came up with electioneering mugs bearing the slogan “controls on immigration” — a slogan that single-handedly validates the Boris Johnson case for Brexit. And it wasn’t the Labour left that nodded along with Ukip and the Tories as they blamed strained public services on migration, instead of on ideologically driven austerity and politically motivated underfunding.
That’s why the instant the Blairites leap in to blame a Brexit on Corbyn, we must be ready to turn the finger of blame back on them — where it belongs.

By Chelley Ryan

(First published in The Morning Star 6/6/16)

 

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Corbyn Supporters Have Given Me The Best Birthday Present Of All – Hope

Today I turn 46.

Every birthday sends me on a trip down memory lane, which involves me meandering through memories of significant events that have taken place between my present birthday and the last. This year the memories are richer, more vivid and more emotional than usual, something I normally associate with losing someone I love, or new life coming into the world, such as when my three children and my granddaughter were born.

This past year there were no deaths and no births, but in someways I feel like I have experienced both, and they have both been a force for good. Though maybe death isn’t the right word…maybe ‘ending’ is better.

In this past year the New Labour project came to an end.

Some Labour MPs have not accepted this, and are fighting for its political life, but these are just the death throws of a wounded animal. The reason these MPs talk so big and tough about coups and leadership challenges, is because they feel frustrated and powerless, and this tough talk makes them feel powerful again, albeit momentarily. They know deep down that a change of leadership is not in their hands. If Jeremy Corbyn is on the ballot, he will win by a monumental landslide. If they try to keep Jeremy off the ballot, there will be petitions, mass demonstrations, sit-ins, marches, rallies, occupations, the like of which this country has never seen. Corbyn backers won’t simply roll over and meekly say ‘Oh well, that is that then,’ and get on with their lives. The socialist geni is out of the bottle and there is no putting it back in.

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Which brings me on to the figurative birth that took place this year. And it’s a birth that has an almost fairy tale quality to it. Remember the tale of the emperors new clothes? Remember how an emperor and his subjects were duped by con-men posing as tailors into believing the emperor’s new suit of clothes were made out of such fine fabric, only those who were worthy and competent could see them. So when the emperor paraded through the street butt naked, no one dared acknowledge the evidence of their own eyes, lest they be labelled as stupid and incompetent. It took a little boy in the crowd to speak the truth no-one else dared speak. But once that truth had been spoken there was no holding the rest of the crowd back.

I credit Andy Burnham with waking me up to all that was ridiculous about the New Labour project. He was my leadership candidate of choice, prior to Jeremy. I say choice, but I really didn’t feel I had much choice in the leadership contest before Jeremy. Andy was the best of a bad bunch. With my nose clasped firmly between my fingers, I was going to cast my vote for him. That was until the day he called the mansion tax the politics of envy. After that I wasn’t going to vote for anyone, which left me feeling hopeless.

It was around that time, while perusing the Labourlist blog, when I read an open letter, written and signed by 10 newly elected Labour MPs, calling for an anti-austerity candidate to stand in the leadership contest. With excitement and hope bubbling away inside of me, I shared the open letter on a pro-Labour Facebook group I had joined only the day before. ‘Should us Labour members do something like this?’ was my question to the group. One particular member, Beck Barnes, jumped at the idea, and offered to write a similar letter, but from labour members and supporters, instead of MPs. When we were both happy with it, we sent it to the campaign group Red Labour, where it was picked up by activist Naomi Fearon, who converted it into a petition on our behalf. That is how the three musketeers were born.

I know it sounds bizarre, considering I have never met Naomi or Beck, but I feel genuine love for these two women. Together we shared that petition morning, noon and night, fitting in its promotion between very busy lives. We set up our own message group to share our triumphs and frustrations. One of the frustrations stemmed from Owen Jones’s failure to sign or tweet the petition. We knew his support would give our petition real wings, and we could not understand why he wasn’t responding to our pleas. Months later he admitted he didn’t think the timing was right for a left candidate to stand so that solved that mystery.

Our triumphs were many, but the two that stand out the most was when John McDonnell signed and tweeted our petition, followed by Jeremy Corbyn just a few days later. It tickles me to look back now, to think of Jeremy Corbyn signing our petition calling for an anti-austerity candidate to stand, knowing that only a few days later, he was the one who would stand.

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Rightly or wrongly, our petition has been credited with the final push the left needed to put someone forward. I will always be eternally grateful to Jeremy Corbyn for heeding our call, but also to MPs like Clive Lewis and Cat Smith for writing the original MPs letter which inspired our petition. I am also grateful to groups like Red Labour, who were lobbying for a left candidate to stand from behind the scenes.

Getting Jeremy to stand was just the start. He became a point we could focus all our efforts on, first to get him on the ballot, and then to get him elected. Now we are all fighting to get Jeremy elected as our Prime minister in 2020.

It has always been about more than a man. The movement was born the day ordinary people stopped buying the establishment narrative about what it takes to win elections. We are all the little boy in the crowd shouting ‘the emperor is naked!’

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To everyone who makes up this remarkable movement; which includes everyone who signed our petition calling for a left candidate to stand in the leadership contest, lobbied MPs to get Jeremy on the ballot, campaigned for Jeremy to win the leadership, and who are now campaigning in whichever way they can manage to help Jeremy Corbyn become our next prime minister, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

You have given me the best birthday present a girl could have.

You have given me hope.

 

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We Must Stand Up To The Labour Party Witch-Hunters.

I write from a pro-Corbyn perspective. Not only is that my right as an independent blogger – because of the extreme right wing bias of our media, I almost feel duty bound to do so. A small red boat bobbing about amongst a vast ocean of blue.

If I was suddenly plucked from obscurity to be given the role of political editor of the BBC, I like to think I would be strenuous in my efforts to be seen to be politically impartial in accordance with the BBC charter. If I failed in these efforts, I would hope my boss would take me to one side to pull me up on it.

But what if my boss shared my politics? What if they were blind to my bias because they shared it? If that was the case I would imagine the public would help keep my bias in check. If I was doing my job well, I would expect to get as many complaints from viewers on the left as I received from viewers on the right. So if it came to my attention a petition had been launched calling for me to be sacked because of my blatant anti-Cameron bias, I would take that very seriously. Even more so if it attracted 35,000 signatures in under a week. Knowing me, I would probably resign because I’d find it impossible to convince myself that such strength of feeling had no basis in truth.

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I can only deduce from Laura Keunssberg’s appearance on my TV screen yesterday, that she is not troubled by thoughts like these. Not for her self doubt and scruples. But is that so surprising, considering she has the entire establishment jumping to her defense? In the Labour corner we had Jess ‘Corbyn is a misogynist’ Phillips, who made the sweeping and unsubstantiated claim that the ‘attacks’ on Keunssberg were ‘underlined with sexism from people who did not even know they were perpetrators.’ In the Tory corner we had Lucy ‘fake death threats’ Allan, who used her question at PMQs to call on David Cameron to condemn the ‘hate ‘campaign being waged against Laura Keunssberg.

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While Phillip’s declaration about sexism has been shown to hold only a few drops of water in a very large pond, thanks to the close scrutiny of former UK ambassador and blogger Craig Murray, Lucy Allan’s comments were nearer the mark. Keunssberg is the focus of a hate campaign, but the hate is not aimed at her, it is aimed at the way she conducts herself in a highly influential and powerful media role.

But why wouldn’t Phillips and Allan jump to Keunssberg’s defence? They are on the same team right now; united in their burning desire to see Corbyn toppled, fuelled by their secret fear that he really is electable. The saying, my enemies enemy is my friend, has never been more apt. To have such an unabashedly anti-Corbyn political editor at the heart of the BBC is an asset that must be guarded jealously. The strategy they have decided to employ to guard their asset comes straight out of the pages of Arthur Miller’s chilling book, ‘The Crucible,’ which is to point their fingers at anyone complaining about how biased Laura Keunssberg is, then scream ‘sexist!’

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When people play the sexist card for cynical and political purposes, real cases of sexism are undermined. That makes me very angry. That’s not to say we should not condemn anyone who sent a sexist tweet about Keunssberg. We should. What we shouldn’t do, is allow a handful of cases to be conflated into a ‘sexist hate campaign’ when it isn’t. That would be like suggesting all men are sexist because a few undoubtedly are, or closing down an entire corporation because one of the bosses made sexist remarks to his secretary. But sadly that is exactly what 38 degrees did. They took down the petition, having bowed to the pressure from these contemporary witch-hunters. They say it was to make a stand against sexist bullying. I don’t believe them. I suspect they were terrified they would be the next ones to be called out and accused. That is how witch hunting works and why it is so effective.

Sixteen alleged cases of anti-semitism, some dating back several years, have been cynically, and going by the dropping off of support for Labour amongst Jewish voters, effectively used by anti-Corbyn Labour MPs to paint the Corbyn led Labour Party as a hot bed of antisemites. Now anyone who is appalled at Laura Keunssberg’s biased reporting is a sexist. Witch-hunting is immoral, but it is also undeniably effective. Not only does it have a muzzling effect, because no-one wants to attract the eye of the witch-hunters, it has a dead cat on the table effect; distracting attention away from the original point of focus.

And that is why McCarthyism is alive and well in today’s Labour Party. And that is also why we must stand up to the witch hunters and expose their agenda from every platform at our disposal.

In my case, from the deck of my little red boat.

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan MP and fans protesting against football ticket prices before the Barclays Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 8, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Arsenal. Photo credit should read: Nigel French/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Dear Sadiq – Please Work With Corbyn, Not Against Him.

Dear Sadiq,

 

Huge congratulations on your magnificent victory. You fought a positive campaign against one of the most disgraceful campaigns in living memory, and it paid off. You have rightfully been held up as a shining example of what a working class kid from an immigrant family can achieve in modern Britain.

You have also been held up as a shining example of a successful centrist by those Labour MPs who are desperately trying to spin your victory into a bad news story for Jeremy Corbyn. To add weight to their claims, you have given several interviews which have been touted as direct attacks on Corbyn. No one expects you to agree with Jeremy all the time. Boris Johnson often spoke out against Cameron. I am just hopeful you will balance your critiques with credit where credits due, because you and Jeremy share more aims than differences. Let me explain why I say this.

According to your own assessment, you won because you focused on issues most important to Londoners; which is transport infrastructure and fares, lack of affordable housing, the NHS, the need for neighbourhood policing and pro-business policies.

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If focusing on these issues makes you a centrist, then Corbyn is a centrist. Under his leadership, Labour have come out fighting on housing issues. ‘Centrist’ New Labour failed to build enough homes, council or otherwise, to correct the imbalances so beleaguering the hopes and life chances of the young. Corbyn is planning to correct this with a much needed house building programme, guaranteed to woo voters to Labour from across the political spectrum.

On rail, we now have a coherent and popular policy which polling suggests has real traction with voters on the left and right. On the NHS, Labour have always been trusted far more than the Tories, but after the junior doctor’s dispute, growing waiting times, failed targets etc, trust in the Tories is at an all time low. Then we have the fact that the usual criticisms levelled against Labour on its policy history re: PFI and creeping privitisation etc, lose most of their teeth thanks to the fact Jeremy Corbyn voted against them.

On policing, Jeremy Corbyn has been hugely effective, forcing a u-turn on the government over police cuts, and as a wife of a police officer, I can assure you Labour are not the toxic party they once were amongst police officers. Times are a changing.

I can only assume you think it’s on being pro-business where Corbyn’s Labour falls short of the centrist mark. Quite why you would think that I don’t know. Only Labour are talking about worker’s rights for Britain’s growing army of self employed. Only Labour are tearing into tax dodging, which creates an uneven playing field for struggling small businesses. Only Labour are making the case for rebalancing the economy between the service sector and manufacturing by investing in infrastructure.

On the point you make in your interviews about economic credibility, Labour, under the financial stewardship of John McDonnell, have availed themselves of some of the greatest economic minds in the world, to guide and shape Labour’s economic policies going forward. They are already winning the argument on austerity, which is in turn exposing austerity for the economically illiterate, socially destructive and needless, project it is. And that is why support for the government is falling. Down 6% on their showing at the 2015 GE. We don’t just win elections by being popular. We also win them by shining a great big spotlight on our opposition and calling them out on their incompetence and lack of compassion.

I acknowledge that a policy platform for our capital city needs to be tailor-made for London because of its unique needs. However I would appreciate it if you in turn acknowledged that a policy platform that worked for you, cannot necessarily be extrapolated for the rest of the country, and runs the risk of turning off voters in poorer areas of the North and South. Sometimes, you have to take sides, a Labour slogan I know you dislike.

Blair took the core vote for granted when he pandered to Murdoch, bankers and big business. It might pay off once, even twice, but eventually voters will grow disillusioned and seek a new home for their vote. In Scotland it was the SNP. In England the ex Labour vote re-homed itself between the Lib-Dems, Greens, UKIP and non-voting apathy.

This was your first election for mayor and it came at a unique time. Not only did Goldsmith fight a uniquely dreadful dog-whistle campaign, you were indirectly responsible for keeping a much loved labour leader in place. Both these factors enthused thousands of campaigners to hit the streets and the phones for you. Next time round, the Tories will have learnt from their mistakes, and the enthusiasm to campaign for you may have waned if you allow yourself to be seen as the wing man of the anti Corbyn branch of the PLP. I hope you will avoid falling into that trap, especially given the fact your policy platform is not vastly different to a policy platform that would make up a Labour Party manifesto if there was a GE tomorrow. The only difference is, you had the entire party on your side selling yours. Corbyn has to shout over a rabble of dissent to get anything positive heard.

I hope your voice won’t be adding to it.

Regards

Chelley Ryan

Sent from my iPad