The EU Hokey Cokey: In Out, In Out, Shake It All About.

Is anyone else hearing the Hokey Cokey in their heads a lot lately; in out, in out, shake it all about? That’s the effect this Europe referendum is having on me. The thought of Cameron standing outside number 10, gloating in that supercilious way that makes him look like an overheated sausage that needs pricking with a fork, is enough to make any self respecting Labour supporter vote for brexit. But isn’t that childish? As my mum always says, don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.

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Then we have Jeremy Corbyn telling us to vote in, but in a way that hasn’t convinced many of us he really means it. Maybe it’s because Jeremy is just as ambivalent about Europe as we are and he’s not very good at hiding it, because let’s face it, Jeremy isn’t exactly renowned for lying through his teeth. Sometimes I think I won’t vote at all. We all know this referendum is a Tory construct, stemming from their desire to shoot the UKIP fox, born in the era when it looked as though UKIP would eat up more Tory votes than Labour ones. As a result, many of us are now losing sleep over whose ego we want to inflate the least; Cameron’s or Johnson’s. Wouldn’t a low turn out invalidate the outcome, whatever it turns out to be? And is that such a bad thing if we are genuinely too conflicted to make up our minds?

Ultimately though, I know I should just sweep all this pettiness aside and just vote for what’s right. If only I could figure out what that is. The basic premise behind the EU, I support. Its founders envisioned a peaceful prosperous Europe, and to be fair, it has delivered more often than not. We should also never forget the way the EU stopped every Tory wet dream from coming true, but recently the EU has veered off track; exemplified by the way it brazenly humiliated an impoverished and desperate Greece for daring to challenge the austerity orthodoxy. No wonder us socialists want to give the EU a  good whooping in the ballot box.

If Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t labour leader I’d definitely been voting out. Not because he wouldn’t be there to guide me to vote in, but because his election win has given me hope.

If the incredible summer of 2015 has taught me anything it’s that institutions you’d lost hope in can change, but you have to be in them to change them.

Just ask the 250,000 plus labour members, supporters and affiliates who elected Corbyn as leader in September.

by Michelle (Chelley) Ryan

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A Hopeful Labour Party Broadcast Brings Out The Trolls

Yesterday evening, my husband and I; along with my 73 year old mum and 26 year old son and his live-in girlfriend, gathered round the tv to watch the new Labour Party Broadcast.

Labour Party Broadcast

I urge you to watch it yourself, but in a nutshell it focused on housing, and more specifically generation rent. A young couple in their thirties, with a four year old daughter, were the first family to be introduced to us. The woman was a full time nurse, and the man worked in the hospitality industry on a zero hour contract. All their money went on rent, food and bills, which made it impossible for them to save up to buy their own home. The woman talked whistfully about how the decision to have another child rested upon whether they could afford to rent a bigger property; and from where I was sitting, it looked like their daughter was never going to have a sibling.

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Then we moved onto the second family, which comprised of a single mum who worked thirty hours a week as a school chef, and her three children. Money was so tight she couldn’t afford to rent a property large enough for her whole family, so her teenage son was consigned to the sofa. It brought a tear to my eye when she spoke of her feelings of inadequacy as a parent.

But behind that immediate feeling of empathy sat a groundswell of anger. It shouldn’t be this way, I kept thinking to myself. The shortage of truly affordable housing in this country is driving people to despair.

I glanced across at my son several times during the broadcast. As a support worker caring for adults with physical and learning disabilities, he feels a great sense of satisfaction in his work, but it’s low paid, with no holiday pay or sick pay, so he lives at home. His girlfriend has recently moved in with him, sharing his tiny nine foot by seven foot bedroom. She works for a large online book company, but is also paid just above the minimum wage. They could just about afford to rent, but they’ve done their sums, and realise once they start renting they’ll never be able to save, or even have much money left over for holidays. And even if they continue to live at home, they are looking at five or six years before they have a deposit of any great use to them. And that’s just to buy a studio flat. Starting a family isn’t even on the distant horizon.
But I saw a look on my sons face during that broadcast that I haven’t seen for a long time. He looked hopeful. Hearing a Labour leader and several Labour MP’s, talking so passionately and powerfully about security at work, a real living wage, and building homes to rent and buy, was music to his and his girlfriends ears.

And my son would not have been the only one, which is why I wasn’t surprised when I went on Twitter to assess the response to the broadcast, only to read tweet after tweet tearing it to shreds. Hmm, I thought, that broadcast has really got them worried. You see that’s how Twitter works; the more you’re trolled, the more you are hitting a nerve.

The type of Labour Party broadcast that would have kept the Twitter trolls in their box, would have been a broadcast that didn’t bring hope to my son and the millions of young people like him. Anyone Trolling that broadcast last night has a vested interest in work remaining insecure, wages remaining low and house building remaining sparse. In other words, to keep the trolls happy we have to kill all hope for a fairer, more hopeful Britain. Well I say stuff that.

Let’s bring on the trolls.

The Blairites Are The Miss Havisham Of Politics

I was married to my first husband for thirteen years. We had good times and bad, but ultimately it stopped being right for both of us and we divorced.

Does that thirteen years make me an expert on marriage? Of course not. If anything I tend to clam up when anyone asks for marital advice. Or I might say, don’t ask me, I’m no expert, I got divorced remember. And that’s how it should be. Unless we are narcissists, most divorced people are humble enough to come out of a marriage questioning their relationship skills. What barely any of us do, is brag about our failed marriage to all and sundry. ‘Hey guys, I was married once so I must be bloody perfect at it!’

But that’s what the blairites do. If you think of that window of time between a political party being elected into power, and being kicked out of office as a marriage, the U.K married ‘New Labour’ for thirteen years. And like a marriage, we had some highs and lows. For many, the introduction of the minimum wage was a high point, and the Iraq war was a deep low, but there were lots more moderate highs and lows in-between.

Over those thirteen years of ‘marriage’ five million of us abandoned the party we once had such high hopes in; until in 2010 we divorced them in spectacular style. Some of us entered new relationships with other parties, but many just went off politics altogether; falling prey to the cynical, ‘If we can’t trust them who can we trust’ mindset.

You’d think after such an abject rejection the blairites would indulge in a period of soul searching, but six years on and they are still in denial about the divorce. They are like the Miss Havisham of politics; wandering around in their wedding attire, stuck forever in some heady bygone era when they felt loved.

This ‘stuckness’ isn’t just holding back the blairites; it also holds back the entire Labour Party. If the blairites can’t accept their rejection by the electorate, they will never accept a new leader; especially a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who is the antithesis of them. That’s why they would genuinely prefer labour to lose under Jeremy Corbyn, than win. If labour win under Jeremy they wont feel ‘loved’ anymore. It would be like the final nail in the ‘New Labour’ coffin. They know if they keep briefing and sniping and snarling over the new leader, they will make the party completely unelectable, and then their chance might come again.

Now I’ve wracked my brain over what to do about this situation. Kinnock simply kicked his adversaries out the party, but he had the establishments’ blessing. This time the blairites are the establishment, so it’s much trickier for Jeremy. That’s why we have to handle the situation with care. Hence the idea for a petition calling for a Labour led inquiry into why so many voters abandoned ‘New Labour.’

The blairites are still living off the glory of three election victories, but until they acknowledge – or are forced to acknowledge – the painful fact they cost Labour five million core voters and Scotland along the way, they will forever be a thorn in Corbyn’s side.

An inquiry would be tough love for the blairites. It would be the equivalent of showing poor Miss Havisham a photograph of her ex lover having a wonderful time with his wife and three children. Yes she’d weep and wail and feel utterly bereft at first, but after that she could take off that mangy white dress and move on.

Like Miss Havisham, the blairites are clearly incapable of accepting the fact they were rejected on a grand scale, so we must help them, by holding an inquiry into the causes of that rejection.

We might know what those causes are, but it’s not us who need waking up.

Please sign the petition calling for an inquiry here

It Takes A Long Time To Transform A Political Party. Ask Neil Kinnock

The other day I caused a bit of a stir on Twitter when I posted this meme.

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‘Neil saved our party,’ tweeters squawked angrily. ‘You should be ashamed.’

Ashamed? That’s not a feeling I’d attribute to being honest. If anything I was feeling quite satisfied with myself for drawing people’s attention to the irony of an ex-Labour leader, who was given nine long years to steer the Labour Party to the centre-right, telling Jeremy Corbyn to step down as leader ‘after a reasonable amount of time if he doesn’t connect with the electorate,’ which is thinly veiled code for the local elections should Labour do badly.

What a ruddy cheek, was my first reaction. One rule for Neil and another for Jeremy. It would be like a retired CEO who’d built a company up over a decade or more, telling the new boss to step down after six months because of inevitable teething problems. If anyone should understand the scale of the task facing Jeremy it’s Neil.

On Wikipedia it says, ‘His first period as party leader – between the 1983 and 1987 elections – was dominated by his struggle with the hard left, then still strong in the party. Kinnock was determined to move the party’s political standing to a centre-left position.’ Just replace the words hard left with hard right and it could have been written about Jeremy years from now.

Let’s face it – nothing makes a party more unelectable than disunity, and nothing leads to disunity more than major upheaval. And Jeremy’s surprise win was always going to lead to major upheaval. So that’s where we are right now; in a very similar place to the one we were in in 1983. We are a party going through a process of realignment, welcomed by many and resented by some.

So let’s forget about electability for now and focus on unity because no one’s going to vote for a party who call to mind a brawl at a drunken wedding. The public can’t see our policies through the pandaemonium. We need time to sort this out.

Just ask Neil.

If Dugher Wants Jeremy Corbyn’s Leadership To Be Fairly Tested He Should Stop Sabotaging It!

Dear Michael Dugher

Now how can I put this politely……..What the heck?!

Only kidding. In fact I’m not even that angry about your recent ‘Jeremy Corbyn has 99 days to save his job’ ultimatum. If anything, my predominent feeling toward you is that of downright pity.

Here is a man who orchestrated one of the worst leadership campaigns in living history, trying to scrape his sense of worth and self importance off the floor.
I just wish you could have found another way to pick yourself up other than to put Corbyn down. But then I suppose you want another go at organising a leadership campaign to prove you can do it – maybe even your own?
Yes, I’m afraid you really are that transparent.

Poor Michael. Did you really think you could scare us with the spectre of a possible wipe out in Scotland?
We know Scotland is lost for now and that has nothing to do with Jeremy.
Even if the Scots, and the English and Welsh for that matter, have warmed to Jeremy Corbyn and his socialist ideals, they’re not blind to the fact there are people like you in the party constantly hoping he’ll fail. That’s hardly going to instil confidence in an electorate is it now? No, of course not.
So if we are going to hold anyone to blame for an electoral wipeout in May, it won’t be Jeremy.

Let me give you a little analogy to help you see things the way we see them.
Imagine if Jeremy was head chef and you were his underling but you deeply resented his power over you and coveted his job for your own. Ok..with me so far? Good.
Now imagine you were entering a cake into a prestigious cake competition, except when chef Corbyn had his back turned you threw in a big bag of salt. Sabotaged it if you will.
Ok, now imagine the cake comes last in the competition and the reason given was ‘a confusing mix of flavours’. If that cake was a political cake that confusing mix of flavours might be socialism, laced with a heavy dose of hawkish neoliberalism…or something to that effect.

Now imagine you, the saboteur, blame Chef Corbyn for the cakes dire placing. Imagine you desperately try to persuade him it is time to quit.
It all sounds very clever so far doesn’t it? Except there is one major detail that just might change your mind. Your act of sabotage had been secretly filmed and beamed to the TVs, iPads, and lap tops, of hundreds of thousands of Chef Corbyn fans; fans who greatly admired Chef Corbyn’s integrity and passion for cooking. Imagine how they’d react when they heard you’d called for Chef Corbyn to quit, knowing you’d poured salt in and ruined the flavour of what would have otherwise been a delicious, competition winning cake.

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Oh dear, how silly you’d feel once you knew that. You’d probably want to crawl under a rock and hide for a few months.

Anyway, I hope that’s cleared up why May won’t be seen as a major test of Corbyn’s leadership, and why it’s rather cringeworthy to hear you suggest otherwise.

If you and your fellow ‘moderates’ want Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership to be fairly tested, I’d suggests you stop sabotaging it.
Best wishes

Chelley Ryan

 

 

Guest Post – How Jeremy Corbyn Got Elected

A guest post by Wanda Lozinska

Facebook is a very powerful medium and played an incredibly important part in getting Jeremy Corbyn elected to the Leadership of the Labour Party, on 12th September 2015; a memorable day that should go down in history.

After the disappointing result of GE2015, I was lying in the bath (as one does), and thought to myself that what Labour really needed was a leader who could inspire people by giving strong, passionate speeches, which covered issues that were important to ordinary people, like they used to do years ago. And also one who understood, and was prepared to say, that austerity was hurting the poorest and not reducing the deficit (as it was supposedly designed to do), and that the bedroom tax was grossly unfair, etc, etc. However, the initial candidates were so uninspiring that when someone put a poll up on Facebook, people clamoured for an option of “none of the above”!

The next I knew, a post appeared on Facebook saying that someone I’d never heard of, called Jeremy Corbyn, had stepped forward and was standing for the leadership on the Left of the Labour Party. This was very good news, except that the accompanying photograph was absolutely awful! It was taken at night, obviously hurriedly, with the light from the flash shining on his forehead and accentuating his rather long, knobbly nose. I think he might even have been wearing his “Lenin” cap. So, I groaned and thought “oh, no”!! This was because I realised that the electorate had been used to handsome young chaps over the last few decades and only older people, such as myself, remembered the days when Leaders and PMs were much older and not elected because of their looks. However, I had for some time been a follower of Michael Meacher’s blog, an MP who I greatly admired and respected, so I was reassured to see his name amongst those MPs who had nominated Jeremy.

I later learned that a small group of left-wing MPs had met in Westminster to decide which of them should stand for the leadership. They went round the table, one by one; many had already tried for the leadership in the past and failed, and a few who hadn’t weren’t prepared to stand. Apparently, all eyes then turned to Jeremy, who was told that it was “his turn”; he replied something on the line of, “oh, alright then”. At the time, it was thought that he couldn’t expect to achieve anything other than give a “voice” to the left, so it was rather brave of Jeremy to step forward as a “sacrificial lamb” for the cause.

I and others were then made aware that he was going to struggle to get the required number of nominations to go forward to the actual contest. Someone in the know supplied us with lists of the e-mail addresses of the MPs who hadn’t yet nominated anyone, and later on listed the e-mail addresses of those who had nominated candidates who had dropped out. So loads of us pestered them saying that “the left needed a voice” and that it would be undemocratic if they didn’t let Jeremy stand for the leadership election. So, I reckon it must have been many of us on Facebook who helped to get Jeremy the required number of nominations!

Many people who voted for him had, like myself, never heard of him before, and many hadn’t had the opportunity to get to any of the hustings or his rallies, although I did – and discovered that he’s brilliant (and lovely)! However these were filmed and posted on Facebook, which greatly enhanced his popularity, as people liked what he was saying, together with the passion he put into his speeches. One thing that struck me straight away, after the first couple of hustings I saw on TV, was that the other candidates were being booed whereas Jeremy was receiving enthusiastic applause!

After Jeremy was nominated, the next step was to get people to register to vote. Like me, many hadn’t heard of him but knew of and respected Michael Meacher, so many agreed to back Jeremy because they trusted Michael’s judgement, and of course because they wanted a candidate to stand for the Left of the party.

Most didn’t realise they didn’t have to join the Labour Party to do so, so this was the first point we had to get across. I and very many others therefore made sure that people were aware that they could vote for him even if they weren’t members of the Labour Party and we guided them over various stumbling blocks.

Many members of the Green Party were so disappointed that they weren’t permitted to vote, that they resigned from the Greens and some even joined the Labour Party, just to make sure their vote would be valid! We also encouraged people to spread the word far and wide.

Then came the fact that people could register by texting VOTE to 78555 at a cost of £3; I even spoke to complete strangers in my town (a nice, friendly place) and some sent the text right there and then, as I explained what to do! Again, at first many hadn’t heard of Jeremy (I’d tell them, “you WILL”) but Tony Blair did him, and we supporters, a great favour when he stuck his oar in; people were only too glad to register then! Probably on the principle that they were against Blair, so anyone that he himself was against had to be worth supporting! Thank you, Tony!

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Although many people were unable to attend Jeremy’s rallies, these were recorded and posted on Facebook, so more people got to hear his speeches than would otherwise have done so. Camden was particularly memorable; he filled the main hall, two overflow rooms and also gave a speech from atop a fire engine to the hundreds who were still unable to get in! There was a lovely photo of four youngsters who had climbed up on a wall to reach a window, just to hear him speak! None of this appeared in the papers, as they were all supporting other candidates, but they were widely shared on Facebook.

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Finally, just 48 hours or so before the deadline, loads of us posted and shared information on Facebook, advising people that if they were going to vote it was now or never. The Labour Party’s computers crashed, as so many tried to register just before the deadline. They even had to extend it a few more hours to cope with the demand. Well, I’d like to think that was also down to us!

We really worked hard as we thought he’d have to win on the very first ballot, as we felt that second preference votes could not be relied upon (although we later discovered that this wouldn’t have been the case). Also, he was already getting so much very bad press that we feared many would believe all of these spurious articles and be put off voting for him. In the end, he got 59.5% of the vote (and would have won on the member’s and affiliated supporters’ votes alone, even if the £3 supporters hadn’t been included). The grand total was an amazing 251,417 votes, which was almost as many as all the other three candidates put together! So us lot on Facebook also beat all of the National Press!

I thought it was about time I did something worthwhile in my life so was glad of the opportunity. Isn’t modern technology wonderful!!

It’s not often that I get the chance to blow my own trumpet, but it wasn’t just me, but hundreds if not thousands like me, and of course organised people in the background who made all the information we needed available to us. I believe that John McDonnell started the ball rolling with this. And, of course, not forgetting Jeremy himself, who was brave enough to stand in the first place, even though he expected to be ridiculed, and who, through his speeches, greatly inspired so very many people.

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One of the things that’s so good about Facebook is that you can inform a handful of people, who each then inform another handful, and so forth. In the run up to GE2015 I ran a group called “The Real Voice of the People” which only had 35 members to start with and now has over 1,000, with more Corbynistas joining daily. There are also very many much larger groups supporting Jeremy on Facebook, including one for over 50s (like me) who were somewhat put out when an emphasis was frequently placed on his younger supporters. His appeal stretches to all ages, races and backgrounds. I’ve even seen posts by former Tory voters who say they will vote for him in GE2020.

No one asked us to support him, or to do any of the things we did. We just did it off our own bat and were happy to encourage others to follow suit, tell their friends, families, colleagues, etc.

It’s not often that ordinary people get the chance to make history! One day, someone will write a book or make a film out of all this!

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What drove most of us was the hatred of what the Tories are doing, to the vulnerable, the country, the economy, society in general, the NHS and everything else we hold dear. This used to be such a lovely country but it now seems to be consumed by greed; run by the few for their own benefit at the expense of the many.

We were badly let down by Labour. Gordon Brown was a disaster in 2010 as he just didn’t have the right temperament to be PM or get elected; people just didn’t like him. Ed Miliband was far better but allowed himself to be destroyed by the press, even if he hadn’t done anything wrong. Michael Meacher wrote a nice piece about Ed*, highlighting some of the extraordinary successes he’d achieved, which had been long forgotten, but his advice on the economy was ignored by the people who prepared the Labour Party literature.

We’re thrilled to bits that Jeremy won the Leadership and that Labour now has a champion who is upholding the Party’s original values. I’m sure that everyone in the country would prefer to live in a fairer and more equal society and we’re looking forward to his becoming PM in 2020.

“….. ideologies evolve under pressure from the broad sweep of events and the gathering momentum of human aspiration. The belief that, while the market has its proper place, THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES UNDERPINNING SOCIETY SHOULD BE EQUITY, SOCIAL JUSTICE, EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY AND DEMOCRATIC ACCOUNTABILITY is a rallying call that evokes a universal response. It is a fundamental change of direction which once launched knows no bounds.” Michael Meacher, “The State We Need” 2013

Wanda Lozinska
6th February, 2016

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“Miliband himself has some priceless qualities which his party should be talking up, not bad-mouthing in dark corners. He has integrity, honesty and vision, none of which Cameron has, and he has courage – he took on Murdoch over BSkyB, the Tory tabloids over Leveson, and Cameron over a missile onslaught on Syria and yet another Middle East War, and won in each case, which no previous leader of Labour in Opposition has ever achieved – certainly not Blair. The sooner Labour members recognise and promulgate the assets of their leader, the quicker they might learn to stop throwing the election away.”

By Rt. Hon. Michael Meacher MP
http://www.michaelmeacher.info/weblog/2014/11/cameron-versus-miliband-who-would-you-choose/
Let’s hope Labour won’t make the same mistake with Jeremy, as some MPs were talking about a change of leader right up to GE2015.

 

 

Under Corbyn, Labour Can Regain Its Self-Respect

Peter Norman. Does the name ring any bells? I hope it does, because it’s a name that deserves to ring them loud and clear. But if it doesn’t I wouldn’t be surprised. The first I knew of Peter Norman was just over a week ago, when someone posted his inspirational story on Facebook.

In 1968; the tumultuous and tragic year when Martin Luther King was assassinated, Peter Norman – a white Australian athlete – broke the 200 metre Australian record to win an Olympic silver medal in Mexico City; a record that stands to this day. But it isn’t that that makes him so inspirational. The inspirational bit comes from how he reacted when his fellow medalists – Tommie Smith and John Carlos – informed him of their plan to use their time on the podium to protest with a black power salute.

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Rather than be piqued about the medal ceremony being ‘hijacked’ in this way – after all it was his moment in the spotlight too – Norman made a decision that was to dramatically change his life. He chose to wear an ‘Olympic project for human rights’ badge onto the podium, in a display of solidarity with his fellow athletes.

At that time Australia was almost as racist as apartheid South Africa. Norman’s gesture of solidarity brought the scorn of his country down on his head. His family became outcasts and his name was mud, diminishing his future work prospects. He was even barred from competing in the 1972 Olympic Games, despite qualifying repeatedly. Had Norman condemned his fellow athletes for their actions on that fateful day, the establishment might have brought him back in the fold. He never did.

In 2012 the Australian parliament apologised for the way Norman had been treated by his country but it was an apology that Norman never heard because he had died of a heart attack in 2006.
In a final moving act of solidarity, Smith and Carlos both acted as pall bearers at his funeral.

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Upon hearing this story we are once again reminded of the way racism bulldozes it’s way through innocent people’s lives, leaving death, destruction and heartbreak in its wake.
Peter Norman was just another one of its victims. But what makes Norman’s story so inspirational is he didn’t have to be. He was sitting on the right side of the establishment fence. As a white Australian with great talent, Norman could have had an uncomplicated life. He could have been hailed a hero. Instead he did what was right. And for that he paid a heavy price. I don’t think Norman regretted his decision though, based on something he said years later whilst being interviewed for a documentary on ‘The Salute’.
He said, “I have to confess, I was rather proud to be part of it.”

Now this inspirational story really got me thinking about Labour’s so called moderates.
Had they been present that night, rather than proudly pinning the human rights badge to Norman’s vest, they would have probably hidden it to prevent him making a ‘dreadful mistake’.

With their finger held up in the wind of public opinion, they would have shaken their heads gravely and advised against him making such a gesture, even if they ultimately shared Norman’s sentiments. ‘The crowd will fall silent in horror,’ they would have warned. ‘You’ll go from hero to zero in less time than it took you to run the 200 metres.” And to be fair they would have been right on both counts. The fact Norman was about to do the right thing would not have featured in their calculations. Nor would the simple truth that without courageous souls like Norman who are prepared to swim against the tide of public opinion, tides are never turned.

If you accuse a ‘moderate’ of worshipping at the alter of public opinion they won’t deny it. In fact they’re quite proud of it. Their obsession with polls and focus groups is meant to ensure power. ‘We won three elections that way,’ is the stock explanation for their vote chasing strategy. Whenever I’ve asked a ‘moderate’ why they think labour lost five million core voters under centrists Blair and Brown they robotically trot out the same line time and time again; ‘it was the war in Iraq,’ as if this was the only mistake made during the Blair/Brown years.

But they are wrong. They lost support because they lost our respect. As they swung like a weathercock from left to right to centre, desperately trying to chase votes it became increasingly unclear what Labour stood for. And when there were parties with clearer agendas on offer; the Greens, UKIP, the SNP and even the Tories, we often decided to plump for them, or give up voting altogether.

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However it’s not loss of respect from the public that’s my primary argument against weathercock politics. It’s more the loss of self respect as a party. When you always consider party policy through the prism of public opinion, you often lose sight of the fact that public opinion is often wrong; as it was the night Peter Norman pinned that human rights badge to his vest. Sometimes the winning of approval of the wider public requires you to set aside your morals and your humanity.

Take Harriet Harman’s infamous decision to direct Labour MPs to vote for the government’s welfare reforms back in July 2015. Despite the fact the reforms were both immoral and economically illiterate, Harriet reasoned that the public wanted to see Labour being tough on welfare. Making the case against the welfare reforms would have been harder maybe, and certainly taken longer, but eventually the power of the argument would have shone through. And that’s because human beings are not inherently immoral or inhumane; it’s more that most of us are not great intellects, or philosophers. We fumble through life, uncertain, wracked with self doubt, unsure what to think, and that means we are easily led. That being the case, is it any wonder we cling to the first clear sign post we come across? If that sign post comes in the form of a newspaper owned by a tax dodging billionaire with his own self serving agenda, we end up voting the way they want us to vote, like turkeys voting for Christmas.

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I hope after reading this the so called ‘moderates’ will have a greater understanding as to why we didn’t vote for a ‘moderate’ Labour leader. Quite frankly it’s a case of lack of respect. We even wonder if these weathercock politicians respect themselves.

With Jeremy Corbyn as leader, the Labour Party has the opportunity to regain its self respect. Only then can we regain the respect of the public. To compete with all those newspaper signposts out there – spinning their right wing propaganda in the guise of ‘news’ – Labour needs to be a sign post too; a sign post that points towards a fairer, more equal future for us all.

Will the sign post strategy help Labour win in 2020? I honestly don’t know. I do know it’s already bringing the wrath of a threatened establishment down on our heads. They either say Jeremy Corbyn is a naive idealist who has never moved beyond student protest politics, or he’s a red menace who intends to offer us up on a platter to Putin. Those who support him are either ignorant and deluded or aggressive online trolls of the basest order. Make no mistake, we are in for a bumpy ride.

But ultimately there is one thing I do know. Whether it helps us win or not, it is never wrong to do the right thing.

I like to think Peter Norman would have agreed.

Mr Privilege

Mr Privilege is his name
He feels no love, he feels no shame
Those who gather
Shivering
In swamps of mud
Mean nowt to him
Hunger though he’s never known
From rape or war he’s never flown
For those who have
He mocks their plight
Pours scorn on them
For their flight
Bunch of migrants
He says with scorn
Not human beings
Whose lives were torn
Ripped to shreds by bombs and hate
Their humanity he doesn’t rate
Mr Privilege is his name
He feels no love, he feels no shame
Callousness, that is his game

 

 

By Michelle Ryan