image

Laying The Blame For Copeland On Corbyn Is Unfair…And Here Is Why!

Fortunately for me I am still on my Lanzarote holiday, so had the luxury of being to stay up for last night’s long anticipated, slightly feared by-election results. Going by the reactions from my FB friends, I was far from alone. The relief and pleasure over Stoke was deeply felt. The disapointment over Copeland even more so. That was in part due to a comment I’d missed earlier, made by David Dimbleby on BBC’s Question Time. Apparently he suffered from a case of premature declaration, calling both Stoke and Copeland for Labour hours before the count was due in. If you’re not a Corbyn supporter you might well wonder why anyone would get excited about such speculation. If you are a Corbyn supporter you will understand.

Since the coup (or if you’re a MSM journalist, the event that must not be named), the bad news has been relentless. At times it makes us treat good news the way starving people treat food, which is why so many Corbyn supporters had gobbled up this piece of exciting news and were sharing it all over FB. Feeling wary of being let down, I conducted a bit of my own research and quickly realised Dimbleby had most likely been wrong, and started to warn any celebrating Corbyn supporter I came across to prepare for the worst. I’m glad I did because when the worst came it hurt, and that was without me ever really anticipating a win. But it wasn’t just hurt I felt….it was dread. And so it begins I thought to myself with that all too familiar sick feeling inside; the usual calls for Corbyn to step down, the media’s ratcheting up of speculation over yet another leadership contest, the ‘Saving Labour’ vultures circling on Twitter to place blame for the loss on an already weakened Corbyn.
As Corbyn supporters already knew would happen, Stoke was won despite Corbyn and Copeland lost because of him.

For what it’s worth this is my very simplified analysis for why we lost Copeland.

Brexit played a large part in the loss. You only have to look at the huge drop in vote share for UKIP, which is almost equal to the increase in vote share for the Tories, to see where the UKIP vote went. Ukippers are being particularly singleminded in their focus at the moment and they want Brexit and they trust the Tories to deliver it. They want a hard Brexit too, one that bestows total control over immigration onto a UK government and that’s what the Tories are offering. Yesterday, Ukippers in Copeland gave the Tories their seal of approval. Until Brexit is signed sealed and delivered I think we have to expect all sorts of electoral aberrations that defy usual logic. Unprecedented results for unprecedented times. To lay the blame solely at Corbyn’s door is to be wilfully blinkered.

image

There were other factors at play; the nuclear industry and questions marks over Jeremy Corbyn’s support for it, boundary changes which have scooped more rural communities into the constituency, and the continuation of a trend of every decreasing majorities which started under Blair, but I suspect these are secondary to the Brexit issue.

image

But I feel the primary reason we lost in Copeland last night was the same underlying reason that lies behind other poor by-election results and polling. Party disunity. Last years relentless briefing, plotting and sniping from the majority of Labour MPs was orchestrated to destroy Jeremy Corbyn from the moment he stood for Leader. We as his supporters received similar vilification, being labelled as abusive, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, arm-twisting, deluded Trotskyites.

While it got us down, it also fired us up and helped us see many MPs for the shameless plotters they are. If they could tar us all so unjustly with the brush of a small minority, how could we trust the integrity of their attacks against Corbyn? That’s why we made sure we didn’t just elect Jeremy for the second time…we made sure he had an even bigger mandate.

Unfortunately the electoral damage was done. Our polling dropped through the floor within a week of the coups inception, and its stayed there. In fact we’ve been polling so badly many of us didn’t expect to win either Copeland or Stoke as recently as a few weeks ago, and are thrilled we held Stoke with such a convincing majority.

image

When anti-Corbyn people remind me it’s been relatively quiet from the PLP since September, I remind them the public have memories longer than goldfish. The coup was an unprecedented attack on a party leader, who was already being crucified daily by our predominantly right wing media. Just nine months into his leadership, after months of speculation as to when, not if, 172 Labour MPs told the British public Jeremy Corbyn was utterly shit!

Even if the PLP were now to take a vow of loyalty, that will never fully be forgotten. In fact, only the other day someone who I felt was trying to be fair and balanced tweeted their agreement that Jeremy had been badly damaged by the coup, but then went on to suggest maybe he was so badly damaged, he was now unelectable and should go. I admit it gave me food for thought. It made sense. But then I got to wondering whether any socialist leader worth having would escape the vilification Jeremy has been put through, either at the hands of the press or the PLP? Look at Ed Miliband. While the PLP were no where near as destructive to Ed, there was repeated speculation around plots to overthrow him. And as far as the media goes, you only have to remember the bacon sandwich.

image

Had Ed tried to nudge the party a tad more to the left, the PLP would have turned ugly. So that’s how it is. The majority of the PLP are on the party right and we have elected a leader on the left. We have thrown the cat (albeit a very gentle, good natured cat) amongst the pigeons and the pigeons are screeching and pecking at the cat in indignation amongst a maelstrom of feathers. And while it sometimes feels those feathers are starting to settle, a few fly up often enough (think article 50, think Gareth Snell’s anti-Corbyn tweets) to constantly remind the public that what they are observing is an uneasy truce, rather than a match made in heaven. There are times when I feel so despondent about this situation and its impact on our electoral chances I sometimes catch myself wondering if Owen Jones is right.

Owen admitted he thought the timing was wrong to elect a left leader. Yes, he got on board with the Corbyn campaign once it was in full swing, but he didn’t support our grassroots petition calling for a left wing candidate to stand in the 2015 leadership election. The left was too weak in the party he said, it will be crushed, he said, and at times it looks like he’ll be proved right. And if he is I hope he won’t gloat. I hope he’ll understand that we were fretting so much about our kids and our ageing parents we just grabbed the opportunity and ran with it. We didn’t want to wait another five, ten, or even twenty years until someone fired the starting gun and told us now we could try to change the party. We fired our own starting gun. We wanted to save our kids from getting into terrible debt, or from miserable, insecure, soul destroying jobs, and our beloved mums and dads from not getting the care they deserve. We could see Austerity was wrong and economically illiterate and grew angry, frustrated and disillusioned when our party refused to call it out. We even grew disgusted when Labour decided to play scapegoat the immigrants with UKIP, especially when they proudly display their scapegoating on a shiny red mug. So maybe we did act in haste. Maybe the timing wasn’t perfect. But surely we can be forgiven for wondering if the timing ever would be, and with that doubt in our minds, seizing the day and trying to make it ours?

image

I hope I’m not sounding defeatist because I’m not. I’ve still got the fire in my belly and hope in my heart. I still wake up everyday and smile to myself when I remember Jeremy Corbyn is the party leader and John McDonnell our shadow chancellor. I’m not suggesting for one moment they are perfect, or their operation can’t be improved on, but compared to any leader and shadow chancellor in my living memory they are by far the best.

Do I have an answer for where we go from here? Can I reassure you that in three years time we’ll win through? Of course I can’t. I hope we can but I don’t know it. However I do know beyond a shadow of doubt that I don’t want us to go back to being the Tory-lite party we were under Blair, Brown or even Miliband. Sometimes you do not always know what you are running to, only that it’s right to run away from a past that made you despair. I want to have pride in my party again and whilst I don’t always feel proud of the behaviour of many of our MPs, I’m deeply proud of Jeremy Corbyn and the MPs who are backing him. And most of all I’m proud of my fellow Corbyn supporters, because I know they were deeply disappointed last night, but already they are dusting themselves off, and wading in to defend Jeremy from the inevitable and usually unjust attacks. They’ve done it before and they’ll do it as often as they need to. He gives them hope and hope is something people never willingly give up, no matter how hard things get.

image

image

Why the Anti-Corbyn Brigade Are Desperate To Airbrush The Coup From History (And Why We Mustn’t Let Them).

I’m writing this in not so sunny Lanzarote where I’m on my hols. Thanks to today’s heavy rain and my growing preoccupation with the two impending by-elections, I jeopardised the new relaxed me by tuning into Daily Politics at 12. Today’s special guest was ‘disillusioned Corbynite’ Owen Jones. As per usual I found myself nodding in agreement over most of his observations, especially in regard to the scapegoating of immigrants, but then came the inevitable bash Corbyn slot.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not averse to critisism of Jeremy’s leadership when it’s fair and takes all factors for the present polling into account. But what I heard today was not fair. There was the usual broad brushstroke critiques over poor messaging etc, which few of us would disagree with, but yet again there was no mention of the coup.

So why this failure to mention the devastating impact of the coup? There can only be one reason for it, and it’s the same reason every pro-establishment figure and anti-Corbyn politico is desperately trying to airbrush the coup from Labour Party history. If there had been no damaging coup and second leadership contest in a year, the present polling could be laid at Corbyn’s door and the PLP would remain relatively blameless. So the anti-Corbyn brigade either fail to mention it, or try to shame Corbyn supporters for refusing to play along. ‘You’re not still using that old excuse’ they’ll say disparagingly.

Hmm…OLD….five months old you mean. Yes – just five months ago our party members were forced to elect Jeremy Corbyn for a second time in a year; three months after a well orchestrated and long anticipated (first speculated upon even before Corbyn won in 2015) coup, in which 172 Labour MPs voted no confidence in their relatively new leader. Please can someone explain how this improved Labour’s standing in the polls?

image

We saw the effect of it almost immediately. The first polls after the coup had us nosediving to depths that will take us years, not just months to surface from. Couple the coup with new leadership for the Tories, a post Brexit bounce, and divisions within Labour over Brexit, and the mountain we had to climb just grew steeper and steeper. But it started with the coup. Labour were one point ahead of the Tories in last May’s local elections. Now the Tories are soaring ahead and what’s so tragic is that our own MPs gave them a big leg up to put them there.

image

When people question the logic of ‘blaming’ the coup for Labour’s present woes I always share this analogy. Imagine a new Headteacher is appointed to a failing secondary school to shake things up. Having catastrophically failed it’s last two Ofsted inspections the teachers should welcome the change. A few do, but the majority are set in their ways and immediately resent this new appointment, particularly when they were hoping one of their own would get the job. Despite the Head making some positive changes that benefit the pupils, this resentment leads to plots and then to a walk out in a display of no confidence.

What impact does this have on the school’s standing in the eyes of ordinary members of the public? Some parents sympathise with the new Head and what he’s trying to achieve, but take their children out of the school because they can see he has not got the backing of his staff. Some sympathise with the staff, but take their children out of the school because they can see they don’t approve of the Head. It’s a lose lose situation. No one would be surprised if such a situation led to a loss of most of the pupils and even the school’s eventual closure. Even if it managed to limp on, its reputation as a school in disarray would linger for years, if not decades. So why are people surprised that such a public and poisonous coup cost us millions of votes?

Well they’re not. The plotters and anti-Corbyn brigade are not in the least surprised. This is all working out swimmingly. Have a coup, force a leadership contest, and then even if you lose, you’ve kneecapped the leader until the best he can do is hobble toward the finishing line on crutches. It’s a good plan. It should work. With Corbyn badly damaged and the coup airbrushed from history, the ground is nicely laid for Corbyn to fail. Except there is one thing the plotters failed to factor into their clever calculations…….us.

We won’t let them conveniently airbrush the coup from history. The left made that mistake before when we let the establishment airbrush from history the devastating impact the SDP splitters had on Foot’s leadership. We let them set the ‘blame the left’ narrative and have paid for it ever since. But that was before the days of social media. Now we have a medium by which we can communicate with each other and repeatedly challenge the myths the establishment try to set into stone. We know the PLP wanted Corbyn gone from pre-day one. We know some who claimed to support him from the start only got on board when the going was good, and are happy to jump ship when the sea gets rough. These are the weathercocks so aptly scorned by the late great Tony Benn. We only need sign posts from now on. We need rocks not marshmallows. And yes, we even need critics, but only fair ones, prepared to tell the whole story.

image

Corbyn is badly damaged and he can only limp it’s true, but he has time to heal. We need to ensure he is given that time. The kneecappers, who are waiting in the wings praying they’ve done enough damage to have cost us both Copeland and Stoke this week, must never be allowed to benefit from their violent political assault on both our leader, our party and democracy.

If the worse comes to the worse, we will lift Corbyn up on our shoulders and carry him over that finishing line.

by Chelley Ryan @chelleryn99

STOP DIGGING – now the NEC and McNicol are effectively blackmailing members

This is an absolute disgrace!

Labour Party Shadow NEC

That feeling when you have dug a hole for yourself but instead of stopping you continue digging.  Labour Party disciplinary (non) process: Australia, here we come!

New attempt to get out of the mess they created is to demand members who were unjustly suspended to sign the social media pledge before being unsuspended – even though the original accusation is not being upheld.

Most members will have heard about the appalling abusive (non) process adopted by the NEC against members.  We have laughed and cried at the irony of them accusing members of abuse, providing no evidence after months of demanding evidence, suspending people leaving them hanging unable to participate in meetings, ostracised by the Party with the accusation hanging over their heads. Yes the Labour Party abusing its own members with complete disregard for due process and natural justice – not to mention sheer common decency.

After many months…

View original post 753 more words

image

To The Remainers Angry At Corbyn – An Open Letter

OK so Jeremy Corbyn has taken a position over Brexit you disagree with. However, how can he always do politics exactly the way ‘you’ want. He is leader of the opposition for the entire country…not just you…or just for Remain constituencies. He’s also a democrat who doesn’t sneer arrogantly at others for getting it ‘wrong.’ He just deals with the hand he’s been dealt in a democratic socialist way.

If people stop supporting Corbyn over this and that lack of support goes on to cost us his leadership, he’ll be replaced by a right-wing or centrist Labour MP (which amounts to the same thing because centrists always bow to pressure from the strong willed right). I personally will NEVER forgive those who walked away. I fully expect not to agree with everything Corbyn says or does. Politics – especially Labour Party politics at this point in time – is messy and complicated and will involve compromises I won’t always like.

However here is the crux of this: Labour does not have the numbers to block Brexit due to an overwhelmingly united Tory party. Therefore aiming to block it is both undemocratic and futile. It would be empty gesture politics which could potentially cost us all our Brexit supporting seats. Yes, it would be a gesture which would give some Remainers a temporary high, but that high would last only until they realised the Labour party was electorally finished and they’d be ruled by the Tories forever! If you want to ensure we avoid the hardest of Brexits, signing Labour up to electoral suicide is not the best way to do it.

Under Corbyn’s leadership this country could get a socialist Brexit with renationalisation, good wages and jobs, as well as decent transport, council housing, schools and hospitals. If people want to throw that away over an empty gesture then I absolutely despair!

image

So please don’t walk away without asking yourself this very simple question…do you want us to go back to being a Tory-lite Labour party? And if so, why? Do you think a Right of Labour leader would have done anything different to Corbyn on Brexit? If you do, bear in mind that 80% of Labour MPs support Corbyn over this, many of whom are on the party’s right. This degree of unity is rare in our party at this present time. Naturally some MPs who represent strongly Remain constituencies are faced with a dilemma. They risk losing their seats if they don’t represent their constituent’s views. However, the majority of Labour MPs support Corbyn’s position because they know if they don’t we’ll be wiped out by UKIP in England, the way we’ve been wiped out by the SNP in Scotland. Then there is the rarely mentioned issue of hypocrisy, which would be mentioned plenty if Labour MPs had voted against Article 50. The majority of Labour MPs voted yes to an EU Referendum. The Referendum bill carried with it no provisos on the outcome of a Leave vote…no second Referendum…no ‘only if it means staying in the single market’…nothing. Therefore, how can those MPs who supported that Referendum bill now say…”hmm..er..this wasn’t the way it was supposed to turn out…we had no idea our decision to support a Referendum would backfire…oh I know we’ll just try in vain to block it.”

So the bottom line is this; if a right-wing Labour leader was in charge right now they would still respect the Referendum result. However they’d also still support austerity, still try to out UKIP UKIP on immigration (which fanned the flames for a Leave vote in the past), still support military intervention as a rule rather than an exception, still support the further privitasation of our NHS and schools, and still fail to address the housing crisis; we’d basically still be offering the electorate the political equivalent of wishy washy sludge.

image

Yes there would be no coups, and the press would give us an easier ride (at least in the short term if they were rewarding us for ditching Corbyn) so we would probably be polling better, but is that truly something to aspire to?

The General Election is three years away. If we can pull together we can win. At least we would be giving the voters a clear choice in 2020…a banker’s brexit or a people’s brexit.

post_576ed4fe5bebe

I Voted Remain But Fear A Blocked Brexit Could Tear This Country In Two

Earlier this week I wrote a piece titled –

Dear stupid Brexit voter – a patronising open letter from Brexit blocking Labour MPs .

It provoked a strong reaction, both good and bad, and got people talking and thinking which was my intent. Unfortunately, one friend who passionately believes that Labour should block Brexit, wrongly presumed the letter was my way of saying that anyone who wants to overturn the referendum is a metropolitan elitist, arrogant snob who looks upon all leave voters with disdain. That’s why I want that friend, and anyone else who feels the same to know, I do understand why some of my fellow remainers want to block Brexit. They may well feel uncomfortable about going against a referendum result, but in their cost/benefit calculations, blocking Brexit, or at least aiming for a second referendum, wins. Those who hold that view are, more often then not, people of integrity and as such I respect them. The point I was trying to make was not so much about them, as about the way leave voters feel about them. I’ll explain more about that later.

For my part I wish a referendum had never been called in the first place. I fret about what Brexit means for my three children – one whose partner is Polish – my little granddaughter, and the country as a whole. And I often feel anger toward those who stoked up anti-immigration sentiment for their own selfish ends; and I include some Labour MPs in that number (ironically often the same MPs who went on to become passionate Remain campaigners and who now say we must not leave the single market).

But greater than all these fears are my very deep fears over the possible repercussions if Brexit was to be blocked. Why? Because rage and political disaffection would be an inevitable by-product of a blocked Brexit. That rage and disaffection would be manna from heaven for far right parties, who would, in my view be the greatest beneficiaries of it.

image

If the arguments for blocking Brexit were more compelling I might be swayed. But the argument I’ve heard most often to justify the blocking of Article 50 is that the leave campaign told lies…or that people were not implicitly advised that a leave vote would mean a hard Brexit. And both are true. However, which General Election campaign hasn’t involved some major truth spinning? Or outright lies? All of them. But we don’t re-run General Elections on those grounds.

Had the probability of a hard Brexit never been mentioned at any point throughout the campaign I’d say, yes, this whole campaign was based on lies which voids the result. But the risks and possibilities were discussed at length, over and over again. People who voted Brexit knew those risks (though for those voting to regain control over immigration I’d suggest they saw the risk as a gain). To suggest otherwise is to patronise them in the extreme.

The final argument used to justify the blocking of Article 50 is that Brexit will hit the poorest hardest. That may well be true, but the same can be said of Tory governments. Again we don’t block the General Election result on that basis, tempting as that is. Working class people, like my Tory voting nan for instance, often vote against their own interests. It’s frustrating, but that’s the imperfect world we live in. I just happen to believe it will be a lot less perfect if we start to turn our backs on democracy whenever it fails to serve up the ‘right’ result. That rings too much of tyranny.

One of the ‘blessings’ of not coming from a purely left wing family is I often get to hear from people who see things very differently to me. Sometimes it leads to heated shouting matches, but often it gives me food for thought. For instance one of my relatives voted Brexit, predominantly to reduce migration. She is ‘disgusted’ with Labour MPs who are, and I quote, “acting as if I’m too stupid to know what I was doing.” That was the inspiration behind my open letter.

I’ve since explained that the majority of Labour MPs will not vote against Article 50, but the die has been cast. My relative, who always used to grumble about ‘posh’ Labour MPs like Blair, who has voted UKIP, but quite likes Jeremy Corbyn, now swears she’s done with Labour for good.

I can imagine some readers reaction to this. They may well be asking themselves why we should pander to people who voted Brexit on racist grounds. But that over simplifies things. Even Brexit voters who cite immigration as the primary reason for voting leave are not necessarily racist. Many, like my elderly relative, simply see things getting worse for ordinary people, including their children and grandchildren, and have been sold a very simple solution, which is to reduce the number of people applying for jobs, using the NHS, schools, council housing etc.

These ideas are deeply entrenched. Trust me, as someone who has tried over a number of years to uproot them, I know. Trying to compete with the scare stories in the right wing media is no mean feat.

image

So I’m not denying for a moment that a fair number of Brexit voters voted leave misguidedly thinking, like my relative, that a reduction in migration would mean a greater share of the pie for everyone here already. Labour’s failure to challenge that narrative adequately in the past means they have to be held partly responsible for Brexit. Even during the referendum campaign I heard several Labour MPs insisting we would get tough on immigration if the public served up a Remain vote, which simply reinforced support for Brexit because people knew you couldn’t square the circle of tough controls on immigration with membership of the single market. So even if it’s true that people who voted Brexit were misled, how can that be grounds for blocking Brexit when that process of misleading has been going on for many decades, and Labour played a significant part in it?

img_20161006_013650

I hope people will now better understand what motivated me to write my open letter. I wrote it in the hope that Labour members calling on Jeremy Corbyn, and indeed all Labour MPs, to block the triggering of Article 50, got to stand for a moment in a Brexit voter’s shoes and ask themselves is that really how they want leave voters to feel? Because that’s how many would feel…patronised and held in contempt because they voted the ‘wrong’ way. If people were misled into voting Brexit, they won’t think that of themselves and they won’t be filled with gratitude toward their Brexit blocking ‘saviours’.

Instead they will be filled with justifiable rage; rage that will be looking for a home. For many, populist right wing and far right parties may well become that home. Many others will never vote in a General Election, or any election again. They will hold democracy in contempt, understandably so. It’s no good saying now to leave voters that the Referendum was advisory when that genuinely was one of the least discussed facts in the campaign. Regardless of the good intentions that lie in the hearts of those who want to block us leaving the EU, if Brexit is blocked, it would open wounds that would NEVER heal.

I’m not saying I’m right on all this and people who disagree are wrong. Brexit has thrown all the dice in the air and no one knows how they’ll land. I’m simply sharing my perspective and my very genuine fears.

image

Dear Stupid Brexit Voter – A Patronising Open letter from Brexit Blocking Labour MPs

Disclaimer: the following letter was written by remain voter and Labour member Michelle (Chelley) Ryan. It is not so much satire as a warning to all Labour members slating Jeremy Corbyn for respecting the referendum result, because the truth is this; if Labour blocked brexit, Labour’s reputation as a snobbish, out of touch, arrogant, metropolitan elitist party, will be secured. Now please read on.

Dear stupid Brexit voter,

 

I hope you don’t mind us calling you that (that’s if you can read this letter), but we might as well be honest about what you are from the outset.

image

We (Labour MPs of much greater intellect and wisdom than yourself) have decided to block Brexit. You clearly had no idea what you were doing when you put that cross next to leave. Maybe you took a wrong turn on the way to the bingo hall and thought you were crossing off legs eleven. Never mind, we are here to save you from your pig-ignorant self. Even if you did realise you were voting to leave the EU, you clearly didn’t understand the potential implications for the economy. Was it the NHS bus that did it? Well there is no shame in that. It was a very pretty colour. Or maybe you simply fell for that promise of extra NHS funding. People with painfully low IQs often are more gullible and trusting.

If you’d been a tad smarter, you’d have realised it was a Brexit con to get you to vote leave. Never mind; we are here now to save you from your own shocking stupidity. What you clearly didn’t grasp was the likelihood of a hard Brexit despite the fact several high profile Brexiteers and Remainers discussed it at length. You probably didn’t watch any of those interviews, debates or News programmes, being far too busy catching up on Eastenders, X-Factor, or whatever TV programme stupid people watch these days. Or maybe you were in the pub staring mindlessly at a bunch of men running round a field, desperately trying to kick a ball in a net. Never mind, as we said, we are here to save you from your own stupidity. It’s not a case of us disrespecting democracy. We just disrespect stupid people like you. After all, it’s stupid poor people like you who will be most hurt by a hard Brexit so we are only thinking of you.

We look forward to receiving your vote of gratitude at the next General Election.
Patronising regards,

 

Brexit blocking Labour MPs

image

Brexit Is A Minefield For Labour -We Must Let Corbyn Guide Us Through It.

Earlier today I read a comment on FB along these lines: “I enthusiastically supported Corbyn in the beginning, but my support waned with his half-hearted support for Remain. But now he’s supporting Brexit, that’s it, I’m done.”

This is my reply.

Jeremy Corbyn’s half-hearted support for Remain, as you put it, persuaded myself and many other left Euro-sceptics to vote Remain. If he’d patronised me with the ‘EU is perfect with bells on’ pitch I would have voted out. Two thirds of Labour voters voted remain, the same ratio as SNP, yet no one accuses Nicola Sturgeon of half-heartedness. That was a line spun by the PLP plotters to justify their damaging coup. The same plotters who are threatening to veto the referendum result because they say we should stay in the single market, whilst condemning Corbyn for not speaking out more strongly against immigration; a totally incompatible position. Still it ties Corbyn in knots which is all they care about.

image

Corbyn deserves our respect and support as he tries to negotiate a political minefield for any Labour leader, let alone one who threatens the establishment. Labour are caught between a rock and a hard place over Brexit. To disrespect the referendum result is to wave goodbye to any seat which resoundingly supported Brexit. To cheer on a hard Brexit is to lose support of any seat that voted Remain. The Lib-Dems will mop up the votes of disaffected remainers, and capitalise electorally. But tempting as it is, we should not emulate them. All we can do is highlight the hypocrisy of their outrage over Brexit, when their outrage over the needless and damaging cuts implemented with zeal by their Tory coalition partners, was conspicuous by its absence. Nor should we emulate UKIP or their political allies the Tories, with their scapegoating rhetoric. We have to carve our own path, which is not an easy task when our supporters, like the electorate at large, are so torn.

What we definitely shouldn’t do is turn against the first socialist leader we have had for many decades. At a time when the future is scary and uncertain, we need Corbyn at the helm. Who else will give their all to ensure a fairer future for ordinary struggling people whatever happens post-Brexit? A right of Labour leader who wants us to stay in the single market while validating UKIP’s stance on immigration? A right of Labour leader who will shun the potential freedoms afforded by Brexit, such as the freedom to nationalise certain industries, because they prefer the path of more privatisation not less? A right of Labour leader who recoils at the idea of reversing corporation tax cuts to fund our ailing NHS or set up a national education service because they won’t say boo to big business? Because if we don’t back Corbyn and empathise with the difficult position he’s in, that’s what we’ll get. One day we will find ourselves on the other side of the Brexit minefield, but only if we stand by Corbyn. We must not let this precious resurgence of socialism become a Brexit fatality.

One final point…Jeremy Corbyn said from day one he’d respect the referendum result and that’s what he’s doing. That’s democracy, and Corbyn is a democrat. But he’s also a socialist…unlike the vast majority of Labour MPs who want him gone.

image

Five Important Lessons 2016 Taught All Corbyn Supporters

With a new year stretching out before us I felt it was appropriate to look back on 2016 and the lessons it’s taught us.

Lesson number one – The vast majority of the PLP want Corbyn’s Labour to fail. In fact they would prefer to see the Tories rule in perpetuity rather than see Labour win under Corbyn.

Lesson number two – this lesson, which is entwined with lesson number one, is that we cannot trust the PLP plotters. Their contempt for us and the leadership has not gone away. The temporary lull in hostilities is just that, temporary. They are like cats waiting to pounce on a mouse they hope they have mortally wounded. And if an election is called next year that may prove to be the case because the coup has left us bloodied and lame in the eyes of the public. But with an election in all likelihood not looming large, we have time to dress our wounds and hopefully heal; though the scars will never completely fade. We are only mortally wounded if we give up.

Which leads me to lesson number three – We must NEVER give up. When the chicken coup began to gather momentum so did we, with ten thousand Corbyn supporters gathering outside parliament, the scene of the political blood bath, with just 24 hours notice. This huge display of spontaneous support debunked the myth being propogagated by the devious plotters, of a sharp drop-off in support for Corbyn and set the tone for the leadership contest that followed.

Lesson number four is the most important lesson of all – We chose the right leader. This past year has tested Corbyn in a way none of could possibly have imagined. Yet he has shown utter grit and dignity throughout. Gone are any lingering doubts over his commitment to his leadership role; eradicated by his refusal to bow to the pressure of the coup and his obvious relief and joy when relaying the news of his automatic inclusion on the leadership ballot. Corbyn wants to lead our party; not to further his own career, but because he recognizes he is ordinary people’s best hope of real, positive change. And his confidence has grown along with his determination. Even Owen Smith reluctantly admitted his performances at the despatch box have markedly improved. I’d go even further than Smith and say Theresa May must dread Wednesday’s.

image

As Corbyn grows in stature and confidence over time, the misjudgment of the PLP plotters is thrown into sharp relief. They gave Corbyn nine measly months to grow from a backbench rebel into leader of the opposition. Except they never wanted to give him time to grow into his role. They wanted to topple him before that happened. They didn’t topple him but they have done terrible damage to his standing in the eyes of the electorate. We have to work our socks off to minimise the damage they’ve wreaked. And we must never forget who wreaked it or let the plotters off the hook for what they’ve done. If they think it’s enough to keep a low profile for a few months in order to pin poor by-election results on Corbyn’s leadership, they’ve got another thing coming. The electorate have memories longer than a few months, and the memory of 172 MPs declaring their leader unfit to lead will not be wiped out anytime soon. Voters who liked Corbyn will be put off voting Labour knowing so many of his MPs are opposed to him and his beliefs, and voters who don’t like Corbyn will be put off by his continued leadership. It’s the worst of all worlds.

image

The only thing that could pile on more damage to the damage already wrought would be for the saboteurs to regain control of the party. We must ensure they NEVER profit from their sabotage! We were making headway prior to the coup; winning by-elections, mayoralties, narrowing the gap in the polls (only of interest to those rare individuals who still trust the polls). Since the coup our fortunes went into sharp decline. I’m not remotely surprised by this, but rather than it making me despondent it has made me bloody furious. It is my families future; it is the poor, the vulnerable, the homeless, the sick, the elderly, the young and ordinary struggling people who have been most damaged by the plotters self-indulgent coup. MPs who are living on a very nice salary, who never wanted Corbyn to lead and had no intention of letting him lead, have shat on the party they profess to love. Their declared commitment to winning elections should now come with a caveat – as long as we don’t win on a socialist platform. Their arrogance and contempt for our democratic decision is boundless, and I for one will be doing everything in my power to fight for a Corbyn led Labour victory to ensure the plotters damage isn’t permanent, and I know many of you reading this will be doing the same. Which leads me to the final and most important lesson of all.

image

Lesson number five – We are all in this together. No matter how hard it gets or how low we sometimes feel, there are hundreds of thousands of people feeling the same. The hope of a fairer, kinder society has brought us together and we must ensure nothing drives us apart. Yes there will be disagreements, as we have seen recently in Momentum, but the overriding goal must always drive us forward in solidarity. I for one will never forget the determination and courage shown by my fellow socialists during the leadership contest. I was outside parliament on that first day of that long expected coup, and the memory of the atmosphere will live with me till the day I die. In the past the Left have let themselves be cowed by the determination of the right to set the narrative and steer the party in their chosen direction. We must never be cowed again. We are on the side of right and we must fight for it. And we will have to. No Labour Party worth its salt will get an easy ride from the establishment, and under Corbyn we are worth a lot of salt. So thank you to everyone reading this who voted Corbyn again. It’s wonderful to know I can rely on my determined socialist comrades when the chips are down.

image

I wish all of you a happy and healthy new year. I’d like to wish you a peaceful one too, and I do, but being socialists, we know we’ve always got a fight on our hands.

Featured Image -- 2110

Blairites asking supporters to join Unite by 26/12. You know what you need to do

Support Len! Join Unite today.

The SKWAWKBOX

Labour’s ‘hard right’ blairites are asking supporters to  join Unite, Britain’s biggest and most solidly pro-Corbyn union no later than 26 December, so they qualify to vote against current General Secretary Len McCluskey.

lenThe candidate standing against McCluskey is Gerard Coyne, a close associate of Tom ‘Project Anaconda’ Watson for over 20 years – which means that a Coyne victory would bode ill for the union’s support for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The right has tried to ‘pooh-pooh’ the idea that they’re trying to infiltrate Unite and other unions as a means of attacking Corbyn – but asking their fan-base to join Unite specifically for the GenSec election puts beyond doubt that, as with so many other things, they’re plotting as avidly as ever. Which is, no doubt, why they tried to keep it secret:

lf unite.jpg

The SKWAWKBOX predicted this move last Tuesday, when McCluskey’s resignation gamble to gain a fresh 5-year…

View original post 154 more words

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image