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Without Some Help From The Men In Black, Labour Have To Expect Poor Polling.

So we are experiencing some dire polling, both in terms of Corbyn and the Labour Party in general, and people are panicking. I, however am not one of them.

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What mystifies me is the fact anyone expects any different. It’s not just the shocking case of 172 Labour MPs telling the electorate they have absolutely no confidence in the leader less than five months ago, it’s everything that went before; the briefing, the sniping, the downplaying of any positive results, the incessant talk of coups and smearing of the Corbyn supporting membership as a whole.

I wish one of the naysayers would explain why they think we should be polling well after all that! I’m not saying there are not improvements to be made in party messaging and operation, but even the most en point Leadership would lack the power to turn polls round that quickly. The anti-Corbyn MPs knew their antics would hit a Corbyn led Labour Party where it hurts, in our election chances, and unsurprisingly it has. To hand the party back to them, would be like giving a much loved car to the ‘joy riders’ who’d wrecked it, to reward them for making it impossible to sell.

To those who point to the way the May led government is starting to unravel, I say ‘only just’.  And there are still millions of voters who feel they owe the Conservatives a debt of gratitude for giving them a referendum that allowed them to express their disdain for the EU. And if we factor the media into this equation, who’ve been a useful amplifier for all the anti-Corbyn MPs’ critiques from day one, it’s amazing Labour are still polling in the mid to late twentie’s.

Polling during the Labour leadership helped us go some way to understanding this steadfast support. When Labour voters were asked to express a preference between Corbyn and Smith for the leadership, they consistently chose Corbyn, despite his own colleagues telling them he was both incompetent and unelectable. Are these voters also to be deemed deluded, along with the Labour membership? Should they be swept aside and dismissed? Or maybe we should listen to these core voters, who clearly feel a sense of loyalty toward a leader who has given the party a clear sense of identity again.

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Or maybe we should go down the ‘New Labour’ route, where labour voters are taken for granted; expected to remain compliant and loyal as their party goes on a fishing expedition for Tory votes. Except a mass exodus of five million voters under Blair and then Brown, would suggest this is a tactic we’d be wise to dismiss.

I want to make it clear I’m not complacent about the polls. Like many others, every time I see them my heart sinks. I want Labour to win the next General Election as much, if not more than any progress member. I’m just not running round like a headless chicken over them. I’d like to think we can turn them around in sufficient time to win the next General Election, but I even have doubts on that score. This past year has inflicted so much damage to the Labour brand, I can’t see how we can win back the trust of the electorate without the help of the Men in Black, stepping in to wipe their memories.

What I am sure of is this: we should not ditch Corbyn in favour of of one of the saboteurs who got us in this predicament. And we shouldn’t suddenly go soft on austerity and hard on immigration to woo Tories and Ukippers. Theresa May is looking weaker and weaker as each day goes by. Her PMQs performances are below par, while Corbyn is growing in confidence and stature. Brexit may yet throw up some nasty surprises for the nasty party which sends their current polling into sharp reverse.

It’s time for Labour to stop swinging in the wind like a confused weathervane; constantly chopping and changing our policies and message to suit the prevailing political weather. It only serves to confuse the electorate.

We need to stand our ground and send out our message like a beacon of hope. Because it’s a good message, and it’s the right message, and if we say it consistently and clearly enough, one day the electorate will see that too.

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We Mustn’t Let Those Who Seek To Divide Us Win: Guest Post By Rick Evans

“Racism is nothing new. It has always been around and is one of the worst characteristics of the Human race. It produces only suffering and heartache for those who suffer it. But it has often been used throughout history as a tool, sometimes blatantly, sometimes more insidiously, as a way of deflecting attention from other problems. We have made great progress against Racism over the years but it never seems to go away completely, and when times are tough it always increases. Let me explain why and and why we must defeat it. I also want to give a little personal background.

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In the last few years the Tories having been selling us the lie that we need Austerity; that we can’t afford anything. They have also been talking tough on Immigration. The last few years have been tough for many of us; little pay increases, poor jobs, poor pay, zero hour contracts etc. In these sorts of times, when things are going badly for a lot of people, the blame game usually starts. This is always peddled by the right wing press; The Mail, Express The Sun etc. Immigrates are having all our jobs, houses etc. When immigrants are blamed Racism usually isn’t too far behind – they are often linked.

Immigrants are an easy target to scapegoat but there are other ones as well, for example people on benefits. This is part of the same agenda . Although the Tories and establishment can appear at times to talk the talk against Racism, at times like these some of them are quite prepared to play the Racist Card. The last few years have seen immigration increasingly talked about in the media and I think that has been quite deliberate. This is what they want us to talk about. During the EU referendum and since, Racists attacks have gone up. All this isn’t a coincidence and the media are playing a very dangerous game.

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Why do they want us to talk about immigrants? The answer is clear to me. While we talk and moan and blame them we aren’t blaming the real culprits of why we have Austerity and cutbacks. The ones who are at the top of the pyramid, who caused the economic crash are the ones to blame, but of course they carry on as though nothing has happened with all their money and luxuries intact. They as normal get away scot free. So it’s not too hard to see why they would want to blame someone else for the problems in society is it?

Let’s be clear, the 1% who have all the power are intrinsically linked to the Conservative Party the Establishment and the right wing press. Obviously they want to keep the Status Quo. So they will use the press and media to their own advantage and will try to divide us to keep what they have. That is what they do and have always done. The politics of fear and division are what the Tories are about because they know a united working class is a huge threat to them. So while we blame immigrants, we are letting the Tories off the hook because Immigrants aren’t the problem. Immigrants aren’t responsible for the housing crisis; immigrants aren’t responsible for the cuts in public services or any of the other problems affecting most of us; it’s the Capitalist System that is. There are literally Trillions of pounds locked away in Tax Havens that could make a huge difference to many people’s lives, if only a bit of it could be tapped into. That’s the message we have to get across.

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How did I come to these views? Well it started many years ago when I was at Secondary School. I grew up in Coventry and went to School in the late 70’s and early 80’s in a multi cultural school. At that time, my older brother had pretty far right wing views and they probably had some effect on me. But during my school years I became friends with many Asian and Black people. I quickly realised that the colour of your skin was irrelevant and that had no bearing on if you were a good or bad person. Looking back I’m extremely pleased I went to such a multi cultural school because it certainly contributed to my views about colour and race. After all we are all the same really and that is the point. On a happy positive note my brother has completely changed his views and has been a Muslim for many years now, and is also a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. Which goes to show people can change.

We need to remember immigrants are the same as you or me; ordinary people who want a better life for themselves and their families. To fall into blaming them for our own ills is falling into a trap set for us by the right wing establishment. We have to learn from history and remember how far right fascist views can easily spread and we mustn’t let that happen again. When societies go down the road of scapegoating immigrants it can become a slippery slope. There is a big picture to look at here.

How we grow up and live help shape our views. But we need to be wary of outside influences as well because they often have their own agendas. Immigration can easily lead to racism – primarily because it’s used as a diversion by the establishment – and we have to be careful of that. Sometimes the left have been very weak when talking about this. But we have to get much better because this is something we are going to get attacked on relentlessly. So we need to go on the attack ourselves, and say it loud and clear; immigrants aren’t the problem; it’s the greedy super rich and the system they cling to that’s the problem.

We mustn’t let those who seek to divide us win, because together, united, we are so strong; and that is what the powers that be don’t want us to realise.”

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Note To Anti-Corbyn MPs: Jeremy Corbyn Is Not Our Messiah. He Just Heeded Our Call For Change.

An extract from the Sunday Times in which anti-Corbyn MPs allegedly refer to Corbyn supporters as “faith based followers”  who are “off the page nuts” because we look upon Corbyn as a “Christ-like figure” is doing the rounds on social media, and I’d like to share my thoughts about it.

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Firstly, any MP who made these remarks should have the courage of their convictions and put their name to them. Not to do so is weak and cowardly. Though I can understand why they wouldn’t want to, and I’m not talking about fear of reprisals from Corbyn’s backers. These remarks say a lot more about the MPs who made them than they do about Corbyn’s supporters, and they should be ashamed of themselves for making them, or even thinking them. Of course a journalist may have made it up, except we all know anti-Corbyn MPs hold us in contempt so I am going to give the journalist the benefit of the doubt and treat it as truth. And staying on the subject of truths, any MP who dismisses our movement as a cult, with Corbyn as a Christ-like figure at its head, is either blind to some fundamental truths, in denial over their own failings or both. So let me have a stab at enlightening them.

The moment the right wing of the party hijacked the leadership campaign after we lost the last General Election, was the moment socialists in the party said ‘enough is enough.’ A petition was created (see screenshot below) by ordinary Labour members, of whom I was one, calling for an anti-austerity candidate to stand in the leadership contest.

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We were not calling for Corbyn, or anyone specific to stand. We were not looking for a ‘Christ’ to follow. We were simply in despair over the leadership candidates on offer; none of whom were prepared to stand up to cruel and needless Tory austerity.
Jeremy Corbyn just happened to be the MP who answered our call. The fact Corbyn supporters admire him for his integrity, principles and honesty, does not make him our Christ or us his devoted disciples.

The truth is we have had no reason to turn against Jeremy. This first year of leadership has been incredibly trying and stressful – largely due to those who have resented Corbyn’s leadership from day one – and Jeremy has borne that stress with dignity and determination which makes us admire him more. His response to the coup has made it clear where his loyalties lie, which has cemented the loyalty we feel toward him. We are very aware he is human and has, and will make mistakes, but he has changed the direction of the party and put intense pressure on the Tories which has led to U-Turn after U-Turn. That was the leadership we were crying out for and Jeremy has delivered. He has set the weather rather than following it. Labour is now a signpost rather than a weathercock.

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And we have had electoral successes. In this first year of Corbyn’s leadership, we won every by-election we contested, every mayoralty, and our vote share in the local elections increased by 8% from the General Election. In tandem with these successes our polling figures were on the ascendancy.

These MPs need to be honest with themselves. It’s not us with the cult like obsession over Corbyn. They are the ones with the obsession; an obsession which is wholly negative in nature. It seems no matter how well we do as an opposition under Corbyn, they want to see Corbyn and our movement destroyed. It is not his purported unelectablity that drives them; quite the opposite. They are terrified we can win a GE under Jeremy. Consequently they engage in sabotage every chance they get. That’s why these MPs have been trashing Jeremy and his leadership on a loop for the past year. And their sabotage has paid off. We have fallen so far behind in the polls since their coup, the Snowden we had to scale has become a truly daunting Everest. The damage may never be repaired and it may even cost us the next General Election. Yet they have the audacity to blame Corbyn for our current dire polling.

Unfortunately for them we are not the glazed eyes cultist nutters they like to paint us as, and we see through their transparent schemes and plots.
We blame them for the damage done to our electoral chances and rightfully so. We will not reward their sabotage by turning on Corbyn and booting him out.
What we will do is stand up for Corbyn’s leadership because right now, it’s the only thing that’s stopping politics from returning to the homogenous, uninspiring mush of just over a year ago.

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First They Mock You, Then They Imitate You, Then You Win.

When it comes to politics, imitation is not a form of flattery; it’s a sign a party is scared of losing precious votes to another party with popular policies. It can seem like savvy politics in the short term, but it can backfire. When one party imitates another they are inadvertently validating that party’s policies and values.
Rather than stealing a party’s votes, the imitator bolster’s it’s standing in the eyes of the voting public. Ultimately people don’t trust a party playing catch up. And they often stick to the party that came up with those policies first. After all, why vote for the echo when you can vote for the shout?

Under Corbyn, Labour are offering something truly exciting and different. This has clearly unnerved Mrs May, hence her attempt to reach out to voters who might be drawn to vote for those policies. This shouldn’t worry us. In fact quite the opposite. Thanks to Mrs May, the right wing commentariat (and I include some of our own MPs in that group) can’t so easily stick the ‘economically incompetent’ label on us when we talk about an end to austerity or major investment.

May thinks she’s being very canny, offering our voters a ‘perfect’ political pick and mix of progressive policies combined with tough immigration rhetoric. What she is in fact doing is giving credence to our socialist way of addressing concerns over migration – which often equates to its perceived impact on public services and housing. By promising to invest in our schools, hospitals and housing these concerns are eased, but only if those plans sound credible. Thanks to our new ‘progressive PM’ giving the thumbs up to greater state investment, our investment plans just got a whole lot easier to sell to the electorate. Yes, there is a certain demographic who simple don’t like ‘foreigners’ but we will never appease them, and nor should we try.

Maybe before embarking on this strategy, Mrs May should have reminded herself how the imitation game turned out for Ed Miliband. And despite the much hailed three election victories for New Labour, their fixation with imitating Tory policies did eventually drive five million labour voters into the arms of other parties; or even just into their armchairs, where they could sit and contemplate how depressing and uninspiring politics becomes when all politicians start to dress, look, and sound the same.

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So let the DisMay government imitate us all they like. With every policy they copy, the more they legitimise us; and we can capitalise on that.

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The Interview Answer Jeremy Corbyn Can’t Give (But Probably Wants To).

Interviewer: So how did you feel when three quarters of your MPs voted no confidence in you.

Jeremy Corbyn: I was not in the least bit surprised. If anything I was relieved it wasn’t more. Not because I am incompetent…or at least no more incompetent than anyone with no prior experience of leadership, who has suddenly been catapulted into a major leadership role. Of course I’ve made mistakes, and I’m willing to learn from them. But it wasn’t a question of incompetence that drove MPs to lose confidence in me. They were never willing to give me a chance from the get go. They campaigned and voted for other candidates in 2015…and couldn’t reconcile themselves to my sudden rise to power. I was on the fringes of the party for thirty years, and that’s where I was expected to stay. My victory was not in the script and they were shocked and horrified by this sudden plot twist.

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Some argue that those on the soft left had been open to giving me a chance, as a way of giving credence to the coup, but that was not my experience. Our four parliamentary by-election victories were underplayed by all wings of the party. As were the mayoralty wins. The London mayoralty was the only victory trumpeted as a great success, and that was only because my 172 detractors seized the opportunity to hail it as a win for triangulation style centrism, rather than my brand of socialism. Had Sadiq been a Corbyn supporter, and still won, the win would have been attributed to the shoddy, dog whistle campaign ran against him.

The 8% swing to Labour in the Local elections from the 2015 General Election result was similarly underplayed, or worse, spun as a catastrophe by all wings of the party. And it was all wings of the party who sat in stony cold silence every time I stood up at the despatch box. I did not lose their support. I never had it, and couldn’t break through the intractable hostility against my leadership, to acquire it. Knowing the coup was inevitable, most MPs saw me as the dead leader walking, convinced I would resign when the coup was eventually enacted.

One final point I’d like to make. Only 20 MPs supported my candidacy to be leader in 2015. To reach the all important 35 needed to get on the ballot, 15 MPs had to lend me their support. Yet 40 MPs voted confidence in my leadership this June; an increase of 100%. Now we have got the second leadership election in a year out of the way, I hope even more MPs will be prepared to accept, and even embrace my leadership; an acceptance I can understand them initially struggling to reach when they were looking on it as a temporary blip, before the resumption of normal service.

So to go back to your original question. I would have much preferred this Summer to never have happened, but seeing as I always knew it was coming, I almost feel a sense of relief it’s out of the way.

Now I hope we can at last unite to fight the Tories.

 

by Chelley Ryan

feature meme via Jenny King

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The ‘moderate tendency’ and the entitlement delusion

Spot on!

Ramblings of an Ordinary Man

mcnicol

A terrible affront to democracy has taken place in full view of Britain’s ‘free press’ and they have turned a collective blind eye. Estimates suggest that as many as 180,000 Labour Party members have been denied a vote in the leadership election, either as a result of suspension or expulsion, or because they joined the Party after January 2015. A further 60,000 simply didn’t receive a ballot paper. It is widely accepted that the overwhelming majority of these are supporters of Jeremy Corbyn.

For the print and broadcast media to ignore this gross injustice is bad enough, but it goes much further than that. They have actually been complicit in it. The BBC in particular has been at the forefront in laying down covering fire for bureaucratic attempts to nobble the election. They have routinely peddled unsubstantiated stories about plots, intimidation, misogyny and anti-semitism.

During a recent episode of the…

View original post 1,063 more words

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Peace Ships From Barrow: Scrap Trident Not Jobs!

Guest post by Peter Doyle:

My name is Peter Doyle. I was a NUPE/ UNISON organiser in the North East and Cumbria from 1977 until 2005.

I worked in Cumbria and Barrow from 1987 until 2005. I actively supported strike action on a number of occasions in the Barrow ship yard and knew at the time a number of ship yard workers and shop stewards. I was personally devastated when we lost Barrow to the Tories in 1983, over the issue of Trident. Albert Booth MP was a good comrade, who voted against Trident and as a result, an 8000 majority was turned into a 4500 Tory majority (on a reduced turn out). It would be terrible if Labour were to lose Barrow because of Trident.

On the whole of the West Coast of Cumbria, we have right wing Labour MPs: extremely vocal (possibly even leading the charge) against Jeremy Corbyn and the new emerging Left Wing movement. We have to come up with a robust socialist alternative to Trident: keeping 7500 ship builders doing what they do best- building ships.

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The workforce in Barrow do not choose to build nuclear submarines that have the potential of reigning death down upon millions. They choose to work. They are a highly skilled work force, who in the past have built war ships, aircraft carriers, luxury liners, container ships and cargo ships. You name it, they can build it.

We have to offer a real and genuine alternative to Trident: an alternative which offers pride in the job, and a belief in the future. A genuine alternative to Trident could also represent a major sea change in Britain’s foreign policy. Instead of sending aircraft to bomb anything that moves; selling arms to both sides of every conflict, and at the same time declaring that we want peace, we could be the first nation in the world to proactively and explicitly bring peace to those areas that are experiencing war and natural catastrophe. We could do this through a fleet of ships that support peace and give aid in a massive way, to every war zone and every area suffering from natural catastrophe.

Prior to working in NUPE/UNISON, I worked in Swan Hunter ship builders, at the Neptune Yard, in Walker, Newcastle. The very first ship that I worked on was a Royal Navy Supply Ship. It had already been built and was being fitted out at dockside.
To say that I was impressed is an understatement. It had huge cargo capacity. It had workshops, capacity for helicopters and engineering shops etc. That image, as well as knowledge of that ship, has stayed with me for years. Because of the technical detail of this ship, it took more ship wrights, platers, draftsman, electricians, ships’ joiners, etc to plan and build, than any other ship. I saw the possibility then for an alternative to war ships in particular, and also believe there is an alternative now, which provide a viable alternative to nuclear submarines.

A fleet of Peace Ships – 6-8 in total – could and would be regarded as a first responder in the event of natural catastrophe, and in war zones; providing help and assistance. These Peace Ships would have the ability to carry mobile hospitals and displaced persons camps. They would have on board medical laboratories with trained scientists, doctors and surgeons, nurses –  every form of medical and humanitarian assistance that could be needed.  What impact could this fleet have had in the Ebola outbreak in Africa or the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti?

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What was needed in Haiti, was urgent medical assistance: hospitals, doctors and more than that, fresh water and food. These ships would have desalination plants, food, and medical expertise and supplies and would have been an effective and rapid response to this crisis. Instead, it is still today paying the price of an ineffective response from the UN and interested parties.

In the Ebola outbreak, the Cubans got their medical teams there first, but in most of the areas there was no power, no refrigeration, no hospitals, no clean water, no untainted food. All of these barriers would disappear with this proposal, because all of the requirements would be on board.

The refugee camps in Jordan, would immediately cease being a burden to the Jordanian government. Prefabricated hospitals would be built; schools would be built; roads would be laid; electricity would be supplied via large diesel engines carried in ship’s holds and solar panels transported in the holds. A safe refuge, where families can be cared for, where children can access education would massively reduce pressures internally within Europe. Instead of talking about something, we would actually be doing something.

This fleet could be use by the UN, the Red Cross, the Red Crescent, and would be the first point of call by everyone who wants to bring aid, assistance and peace in the world.

Because of the technical nature of these ships and the size of these ships, the workforce at Barrow would have to be increased, and a programme of building would last for at least 20 years. Maintenance, modernisation and repair would last at least another 20 years, giving the workforce a longer period of job security than they have with Trident.

The steel that would need to be procured and would be significantly greater than that required for Trident. Now unfortunately as we are out of the EU, all of that steel could be procured from within GB without having to put it out to EU competition (Stephen Kinnock eat your heart out!).

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All of the material required in such ships could be fabricated and built in Britain. For example, the diesel power plants that would be needed for desalination plants and to provide electricity, could be built at the Ford Engine’s plant in Dagenham. In the process, saving steel workers jobs (hopefully nationalised) and a boost to the British motor car industry. Helicopters, small cargo delivery ships, all would have to be built, still at a fraction of the cost of Trident.

A decision along these lines would massively assist Unite in convincing its members to vote in favour of abolishing Trident. A 40 year job guarantee would undermine right wing unions like the GMB, and would enable us as a country to proudly to declare that we are not just for peace, but we deliver peace, aid and sanctuary.
The impact of such a fleet would transform foreign relationships. Barrow would end up with a full order book, for Ships of Peace, from other nation, such as Norway and Sweden etc.

We would deal a blow to the right wing of our party; confronted with a massively credible and binary foreign policy option. Do they vote for bombs or peace?
More importantly, what would the average working Joe in Barrow think of it? Work guaranteed; something to be extremely proud of; the possibility of their children being employed as part of the civilian staff on ships saving lives.
What would the people of the West Coast of Cumbria make of it? Instead of being a dumping ground for nuclear power, their workshops in Whitehaven and Workington (i.e. Copeland and Allerdale), could feel pride in working on something that’s saving lives and not potentially killing them.

The youth of the country would flock to the Party if such a policy was pursued.

Open Letter To Alan Johnson

Alan,

You say moderate party members must sieze the party back from middle class left wingers who see winning elections as a betrayal of their principles. Now how do I say this politely. What a load of tosh! Corbyn supporters want to win elections as much as you do. We simply don’t believe you have to sacrifice your principles to win them. It was that way of thinking that lost Labour five million voters during the Blair/Brown era – which greatly contributed to the rise of the SNP and UKIP – and fanned the flames for a brexit vote. We became the triangulation party, trying to out Tory the Tories on some policies and out UKIP UKIP on others. The public just got confused and gave up on us.

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Our approach is different. We believe Labour should be a sign post party, not a focus group obsessed, weathervane party, so that every voter in this country knows exactly what we stand for and who we are are standing up for. Prior to the coup, Labour won every by-election and mayoralty it contested, and saw a healthy swing of 8% in the local elections from the GE result. And if you are one of those people who still have faith in polls, we had been on the up in those too. All this, despite a hostile press who revelled in every anti-leadership briefing your colleagues threw their way. Those successes were largely down to inspired Corbyn supporters knocking on doors and manning the phones to sell the Labour party to the wider electorate. So please don’t tell us we don’t want to win elections when we clearly do.

What is questionable is how much you want to win elections, because right now it looks like you’d rather sabotage any chance of Labour winning an election if your leader of choice isn’t at the helm.

Let’s face facts here: you have been plotting to overthrow Jeremy from day one, if not before. Which means every electoral success we’ve celebrated, you’ve cried over, because it weakened your excuse to have that coup. In the end the brexit vote was the only excuse left to you. And it’s a pathetic excuse too, given the fact two thirds of Labour voters voted remain, many of them convinced by Jeremy Corbyn’s unpatronising honest case for staying in.

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I should know because I was one of them. I’d been so disgusted by the treatment of Greece I was seriously leaning toward a leave vote. Jeremy changed my mind. If he’d told me Europe was perfect with bells on I’d have voted leave. I needed honesty about the problems in Europe, counterweighted with an argument for solidarity and reform, to convince me to vote remain.

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But you probably haven’t spoken to many people like me. You’d rather sum us up from a distance because it’s easier to smear and stereotype people you don’t know. Take your strange assumption about us being predominantly middle class. Are you aware that in the last leadership contest, research revealed that Corbyn supporters earned less than all of the other candidate’s supporters? If you want to bring class into it, what class do the MPs so keen to oust Corbyn belong to, on their seventy five grand a year salaries plus expenses? I’d respectfully suggest they are far less representative of the electorate than hundreds of thousands of ordinary people who come from a wide range of backgrounds and earn a wide range of incomes. And even if you are right in your unresearched assumption, and the majority of Corbyn supporters are middle class, isn’t that a positive sign for the future? Isn’t this the group most likely to vote Tory? At the end of the day, growing inequality and austerity is hurting everyone on low and middle incomes.

Even people who are reasonably comfortable have children, and nieces and nephews who are being exploited on zero hours contracts, and can’t leave their childhood home because of the shortage of affordable housing. Even those who got their degrees thirty years ago, are angered by a system that sees young people saddled with debt for the same degree they got for free; especially when todays degrees are much less likely to boost a graduate’s life chances. And even middle class people are forced to rely on harassed, underpaid carers to make sure their mum or dad doesn’t end up sitting in their own faeces for hours on end. And it’s often middle class public sector workers who’ve have had their pay and pensions cut to pay for a debt they didn’t create. And many of them care deeply about the environment and people less fortunate than themselves. So it would not surprise me in the least if many of them, recognising the need for real radical change to right these wrongs, supported Corbyn.

Instead of being so scathing about Corbyn supporters, maybe you should talk to us and engage with us and actually ask us why we turned our backs on Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall in 2015 and now look set to reject Owen Smith. Maybe you will learn something you didn’t know? Maybe you will stop seeing us as the enemy within, and see us as ordinary human beings who simply want to live in a fairer world. Whatever our class or background, all Corbyn supporters share that hope and aim in common. We just wish you’d listen to us, instead of trying to smear us as either hard left militant trots reawakened from a thirty year sleep, or naive hippy idealists who blame Blair for Labour’s demise, when they should just forget about the demise and focus on the three election wins instead.

Sadly, after reading your contribution to the Times, that looks highly unlikely. You’ve set your face against Jeremy and us. You see us as the enemy; which is so deeply tragic because all we ever wanted is your help and support to defeat the Tories. All the anger and frustration you’ve picked up from us since Jeremy won stems from our despair over coup threats and incessant negative briefings. But that anger and frustration would wither away pdq if the PLP threw their weight and support behind the leadership. The overwhelming response to any change of heart would be thankfulness and relief. You only had to see the response to Sarah Champion’s unresignation on twitter to know that’s true. She was welcomed with open arms; her decision celebrated with a heartfelt and spontaneous #welcomebacksarah hashtag which trended for a day.

Being realistic, trust has been broken and it would take a very long time to repair, but I’m sure most Corbyn supporters would try to move forward in good faith. We are sick of this tug of war which is tearing our party apart. We don’t want a custody battle over the party’s name and assets. We don’t want to deselect anyone. We just want MPs to respect the mandate we gave Jeremy. It really is that simple. And then we want to turn all our fire on UKIP and the Tories so we have a fighting chance of winning the next General Election.

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And before you say you want that too and know how to achieve it, I’d say this to you….do you? Do you really know how to win? How for instance, are you planning on winning over Tory or UKIP voters without alienating existing Labour ones? Because I presume you’ve seen the polling data which suggests that Jeremy Corbyn is the preferred leader with 52% of 2015 Labour voters and 66% of current Labour voters when asked to choose between Smith or Corbyn? Were you planning on taking them for granted in your quest for these Tory votes as is the New Labour way? Or do you think they will change their minds once you’ve managed to entice David Miliband back from the States? Because if that’s the case, I think you’ll eventually discover David Miliband is not the panacea you and your colleagues think he is.

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Maybe you should ask us how to win elections? Maybe we’ve got something to say that might prove helpful?
If you asked me, as one Corbyn supporting individual I’d say 1. Have a distinctive, inspiring offer that speaks to the majority. 2. Have an inspired grassroots movement to sell that offer to every household in the country. And 3. Have a unified party.

It’s 3 that we are missing and that’s where you come in. You say in your piece you will ensure we never have 3; that your mission is to overthrow Corbyn no matter how long it takes. I hope you reflect on that.

I hope you decide the Tories are the enemy, not us or Corbyn. Because that’s the truth. Just talk to us and you might find that out for yourself.

If however you decide to go ahead with your plans to break Corbyn through a long drawn out war of attrition, expect our defense of his leadership to strengthen. You see here’s the thing you need to understand fully before you go down that path: when it comes to standing up against injustice, we are as stubborn as mules and tough as old boots.

Rather like Corbyn himself.

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The Establishment Smear What The Establishment Fear – And Right Now That’s Us!

Please read the tweets and messages below:

So what point am I making with this display of unpleasantries aimed at Corbyn and his supporters? Am I trying to insinuate that people who are opposed to Corbyn are a nasty bunch? No, of course not. Amongst the many thousands who oppose Corbyn these tweets only represent a small percentage of individuals who struggle to debate without resorting to insults. Or maybe those responsible have a nasty streak, and social media is their chosen forum for venting their nastiness.

Either way, I won’t be asking Owen Smith to condemn the abuse on display and I certainly won’t expect him to put a stop to it. How on earth could he stop something that has nothing to do with him? He hasn’t put a call out for people to be abusive anymore than Corbyn has.

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If these people are already lacking the wherewithal to debate without getting nasty, they are certainly not going to obey a command from anyone to ‘play nice.’ They probably enjoy their rants and feel proud of their rather pathetic put downs. They might even get a kick out of chastisements they receive and reactions they provoke. If they weren’t trolling Corbyn supporters they’d soon find something else to troll about. These people haven’t been sitting there dormant, waiting for Owen Smith to activate them. Their nastiness was in circulation long before the leadership campaign. The target of their venom just happens to be Corbyn and his supporters at this particular moment in time.

The bottom line is this: Owen Smith is no more responsible for the abuse we receive than the abuse spewed out in Corbyn’s name. To reiterate, these are individuals. Some may not even be Smith supporters, but even if each and everyone of them is, it doesn’t change the fact they are nothing to do with Smith. They are just your regular unpleasant twitter trolls, plain and simple. And before anyone says, ‘there are far more examples of Corbyn supporters using abuse’ I’d say that’s probably because there are a lot more of them. Regardless, far more Corbyn supporters debate civilly on Twitter and Facebook than don’t, and like the trolls displayed here, they have simply latched onto a campaign which most of them probably care very little about – rather like the inevitable trouble makers who latch onto peaceful political demonstrations, or football hooligans who go for the fight not the football.

Even if I wanted to use these examples to smear all Smith supporters – which I don’t because I have too much integrity – I wouldn’t be able to because I don’t have the ‘magic formula.’ Without the establishment and their propoganda media machine on my side, any smear campaign I tried to launch would very quickly fall flat. The establishment are experts at demonisation and smear, and have all the levers at their disposal to do serious damage. Look at the way they have demonised immigrants over the years, which undoubtedly contributed to the brexit vote; or trashed the reputations of people who rely on social security.

They could pick on any group they wanted and demonise them if they so chose. They could demonise single mothers for instance. All it would take is for the press and politicians to target them as a group, then seek out every horrific story of child abuse and neglect at the hands of a single mother and emblazon it on their front pages day after day; stories which would then be regurgitated by the tv media, until single mothers were thought of as the lowest of the low, viewed with suspicion and scorn by many.

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Maybe next they could go after NHS nurses. They could dig out every distressing story of abuse, neglect or poor care and hold it up as an example of NHS nurses in general. They could sow seeds of mistrust in the public’s minds to such an extent, people would eventually avoid going into hospital or choose to go private.

By now you may be thinking you’d never be taken in by these smear tactics, and maybe in your case that’s true, but many would be and the outcome could be catastrophic.

That’s why smear campaigns terrify me, whoever is the target. They terrify me because they work. Smear campaigns have lead to immigrants being thought of as a burden; the poor and disabled as work shy and devious; public sector workers as greedy and militant. Smear campaigns are dangerous. I’ve always thought that. The fact I’m now one of the hundreds of thousands who are being targeted as part of a smear campaign, where honest, decent, sensible Corbyn supporters are being labeled as a Trotskyite, hard left, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, deluded rabble, just confirms what I already knew.

The establishment use smear to steer public opinion against a group; either because they feel threatened by it, as in the case of Corbyn supporters or trade unions, or to distract attention from their own nest feathering agenda. If people are up in arms about immigration rather than corporate tax avoidance, that’s just how the establishment like it.

The fact so many Labour MPs are at the heart of the anti-Corbyn smear campaign says a great deal about them and their establishment ties. As does the selective nature of their outrage. A sexist tweet from a supposed Corbyn supporter is ‘a shocking and disgraceful example of the type of people Corbyn is attracting to the party.’ But when their own preferred leadership candidate let’s yet another sexist remark fall from his mouth, tumbleweed blows through the same MP’s Twitter accounts. I did read the mildest of chastisements to one remark Smith made from Jess ‘Corbyn is a misogynist’ Phillips but that’s as far as the outrage has gone.

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When is a sexist remark not a sexist remark? When it’s not useful to the anti-Corbyn smear campaign it seems. And that really does tell you everything you need to know about the integrity of those doing the smearing.  And that’s what we have to remember when we hit our inevitable low ebbs. It hurts to have our character dragged through the proverbial mud day after day, but it tells us an awful lot about the character of those  prepared to engage in these smear tactics. It tells us how unprincipled they are, and how ruthless!

We are currently backing a leader who undoubtedly receives death threats and the vilest of abuse on a regular basis but barely ever mentions it, even though he could make political capital from it. Using the actions of the few to demonise the many to further an agenda takes a crafty, manipulative, unprincipled character. Jeremy Corbyn is as far removed from that character type as it’s possible to be. And that’s why he’s under assault, and it’s why we are under assault for supporting him.

And it’s why he’s the right leader for the Labour Party if it’s going to be the party of principles we want it to be.

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One Year On From Corbyn’s Win And We Have Bloody Toughened Up

A year ago today Jeremy Corbyn became the leader of our party.
I remember that day with joy, but it was a joy that was soon to become marred by the anger and bitterness of a large group of Labour MPs who couldn’t accept this seismic shift. Their put downs started during the campaign. We were told to end the madness, get a heart transplant. Our passion for change was attributed to nothing more than an emotional spasm in response to the election defeat.

After Jeremy’s stunning victory several experienced MPs invalidated his leadership by refusing to serve in his shadow cabinet. In doing so they were invalidating us, and the choice we had made.

Then came the smears. Female MPs pointed to sexist tweets from unknown and clearly idiotic individuals, then pointed at all of us. “Sexists” they said. Ironically these same MPs seem unperturbed by the sexist remarks that fall from their preferred candidate’s own mouth; a silence that confirms what we knew all along – their outrage is selective, only to be deployed if it proves useful to their anti-Corbyn agenda.
Then came the anti-semitism, trotskyite arm-twisting and thuggish rabble smears.
It has been relentless!

Just as relentless have been the attacks on Jeremy himself by the PLP, always gleefully reported by a hostile media, and I include the BBC in that. We have spent the last year either defending Jeremy or defending ourselves.

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It’s not all been bad of course. We won 4 by-elections and 4 mayoralties and performed far better in the local elections than many expected, but even then none of the credit was given to Jeremy Corbyn or the party’s new anti-austerity position. It was either down to the ‘centrist candidate’ or the fact Jeremy was barely mentioned. On the local election night tv specials, Labour MP after Labour MP was wheeled out to bemoan the ‘terrible’ results, with no mention of the 7% swing to Labour from our General Election results just a year before. So even our victories were tainted by the bitterness of others.

Despite how hard this year’s been I am celebrating Jeremy Corbyn’s first anniversary as leader because it’s worth celebrating. I just don’t feel like popping open a bottle of bubbly when my messenger inbox is filled with messages from devastated friends who’ve been purged from voting with no clear explanation given. I’ve even cried over them; overwhelmed by a feeling of impotence, frustration and anger.

This party – so beloved by many of us for all its incredible achievements over the years – has scoffed at our choice of leader, smeared us all in revenge for voting for him, and then revelled in its power to strip away our democratic right to vote. This year has been a real eye opener but not in a good way. Except maybe there is something good in having our eyes opened if you subscribe to the view it’s better to have the truth out in the open, than to believe things are ok when they are not.

This past year has revealed one truth above all others. The Labour Party is NOT a broad church.
It’s a nice label, but it only holds true if all sections of the party are treated with equal respect; and I don’t mean a respect that’s reliant on them staying on the back benches. If Dennis Skinner, Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott were considered too far left to lead the party, the party should have expelled them all years ago. The only reason they didn’t is because these ‘political dinosaurs’ served a purpose. They were essentially the party’s token lefties. Expel them and it would have killed both the concept of Labour as a broad church and a democratic socialist party in one fell swoop.

The illusion of a broad church was an important one to maintain because it helped the party hold onto those tribal working class voters New Labour love to take for granted. They knew that as long as Dennis Skinner was being irreverent to the queen and Jeremy Corbyn was speaking at a stop the war rally, people would assume Labour couldn’t have moved too far from its roots. The premise of the broad church wasn’t enough to stem the haemorrhage of five million voters under Blair and Brown, but it will have stemmed the flow. But then the membership went and did something that exposed the illusion for what it was. We voted for Jeremy Corbyn. And the PLP have been trying to restore ‘order’ ever since.

So yes, our eyes have been opened. That’s not to say many weren’t aware of this state of affairs long before now. I know many were. But I also know many weren’t, and have been genuinely shocked and horrified by the way the PLP have behaved since Jeremy’s win. Thankfully most of us understand the motives driving the actions of the PLP. Break the membership and you break Jeremy, and vice versa. That awareness might not be enough to spare us from feelings of frustration, depression and even occasional bouts of despair, but it is enough to stop us from breaking.

Gone is the optimistic joyful membership of a year ago. In its place is an angry determined membership, under no illusions they have the respect of most of the PLP, some of whom hold us and our politics in contempt. It’s a painful truth, but it’s a truth nevertheless, and it’s a truth that will better prepare us for what lies ahead should Jeremy win again.

But what if Owen Smith wins? What then?

That depends on the size of the win. Any margin smaller than those disenfranchised by the vote freeze or the purge will be a Pyrrhic victory. The only way it becomes a real victory is if we respond in a way that brings our movement into disrepute – which I trust us not to do – or if we left the party in disgust.

Jeremy Corbyn has attracted hundreds of thousands of socialist members into our party. Now we are here we must stay. Why? Because with the numbers on our side, we can change our party from the bottom up. We can stand as councillors and MPs in the future; we can elect our preferred candidates to the NEC in the way we have just done, and send our delegates to conference.

Jeremy was the beacon that drew in that new enthused membership. We must never let the legacy from September 2015 go to waste. Nothing would play into the plotters hands more, and no ending could be more tragic.

So one year on we should make this pledge. What ever happens on September 24th 2016, we stay.

As the late great Tony Benn once famously said, “There is no final victory, as there is no final defeat. There is just the same battle. To be fought, over and over again. So toughen up, bloody toughen up.”