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 displayed 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.

By Chelley Ryan @chelleryn99

image

Enter a caption

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

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.