Ed Sykes: Jeremy Corbyn has dedicated his life to serving the poor and vulnerable, not the Bullingdon Club, money-lenders or the kings and princes of this world

Before the general election, Ed Sykes wrote in The Canary about his support for Jeremy Corbyn – a peaceprize winner who has put people and planet at the heart of his election campaign. Ed doesn’t usually speak about his upbringing, because his identity first and foremost is as a human being who wants peace. And he believes that protecting people and the planet is key to obtaining peace.

He now feels it’s his duty as a Christian to say ‘I believe 100% that voting for Corbyn’s Labour is vital’ because he believes Corbyn’s values are about as close to the values of Christianity (and all mainstream religions) as can be found in British politics today. Like progressives of all faiths and none he has been forced to speak out and defend Corbyn because people who oppose the Labour leader have weaponised religion in an attempt to attack him. He continues:

“Corbyn is a veteran anti-racist who has not only taken firm and consistent action against racism as Labour leader but has also spent his life opposing antisemitism and other forms of discrimination. Boris Johnson and his Conservative party, meanwhile, have not. Yet elitist figures in certain religious institutions have tried to convince voters that the opposite is true. And the Church of England’s archbishop of Canterbury recently made me sick by essentially backing anti-Corbyn smears”.

One phrase from Jesus that resonates most with Sykes personally is “blessed are the peacemakers”. Coming up to Christmas, he writes, it would seem absurd for Christians not to vote for Corbyn – a man of peace who stands up for the poorest and most vulnerable people in society. As leading Christian magazine Premier Christianity wrote in 2017, Corbyn is:

a man with a genuine concern for the poor and a genuine passion for peace. … He talks to his enemies, he doesn’t want to kill them. As a Christian, I see very little of that from politicians and I like it very much. … He cares about the poor… He’s dedicated his life to serving them, not the Bullingdon Club, not the money-lenders or the kings and princes of this world.

Sykes quotes Corbyn’s words and comments: “In short, it would be very easy to argue that Jesus was a socialist”:

I meet Christians and others of all faiths and none on a daily basis who share and live these ideals. People who give their time for others – whether those running food banks, protecting the vulnerable, looking after the sick, the elderly, and… our young people. That spirit of respect for each other, peace, and equality is one we can all share . . .

We hear painful stories every day, of homelessness, poverty, or crisis in our health service – or across the world, of the devastating consequences of war and conflict, including millions forced to become refugees… We need to respond to these problems head-on, through action and support for social justice, peace and reconciliation. These principles are at the heart of Christianity . . . At a time of growing conflict, that message of peace could not have more urgency throughout the world.

Jesus also loathed the corruption of religious institutions, overturning tables of money in an act of resistance. . He spoke of sharing wealth so that no one had to suffer. And that’s Corbyn’s message too. And other Christian teachings include:

  • “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God”.
  • “The one who has two shirts must sharewith someone who has none, and the one who has food must do the same”.

Ed Sykes asserts that a vote for Corbyn should have been ‘a no-brainer’ for those who believe in principles like compassion, social justice, and peace – whether they are religious or not.

 

 

 

 

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How can we bring about change that will irrevocably transfer power back into the hands of the many?

Mervyn Hyde writes: “I feel that in order to get to the heart of our struggle we need to highlight where power lies and the tools by which the powerful maintain their interests”.

If we are to convince people that there is such a thing as a better life, we have to inform them of the past and how things have to come to pass – from the first world war to the present day

It should of course be obvious that neoliberalism is the main tool that took hold in the early 1970s; the other tools are the institutions and language used to propagate the messages that sustain the whole system.

An American description:

Prior to the 1970s a pre-war dispute raged between Friedrich Von Hayek and John Maynard Keynes as to what economic values best served people’s interests. Naturally Keynes won the argument and his policies were broadly implemented post the Wall Street crash and the last world war; they created growth and an expansion of living standards never seen before.

Neoliberalism requires:

  • Greater openness to international trade and investment;
  • total freedom of movement for capital, goods and services;
  • de-unionisation of workers, lowering of wages and working conditions;
  • cutting public expenditure for social services like education and health care;
  • reducing the welfare safety-net;
  • eliminating the concept of “the public good” and replacing it with “individual responsibility”;
  • increasing government subsidies and tax benefits for business;
  • reducing government regulation of everything that could diminish profits;
  • selling state-owned enterprises, goods and services to private investors.

“The Golden Age of Capitalism”

Then in the 1970s Milton Friedman (part of the Mont Perelin society of which Hayek was also a member) persuaded us that freedom of expression could only be achieved through free markets, privatisation and deregulation – the main pillars of neoliberalism.

Using crises created by the corporate sector or by political events as outlined in Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine”, they redrew the political consensus that had existed since the war. This process has been in continual flux up to the present day but moving ever forward to return all public property and services into the private sector – aided by politicians, political institutions “Think Tanks” and Lobbyists.

The reasons for their success have been the coordination of all the instruments of state, a corrupt media and stage-managed attacks on working people’s support systems.

This document drawn up by Nicholas Ridley in 1977 shows the kind of planning the Tories drew up long before trade unions ever dreamt of such attacks.

The key proposals are in the confidential annex, showing how they break the power of the unions in order to privatise the nationalised industries.

Following this and the advent of the Thatcher era, the Labour Party had been either infiltrated or through our universities – MPs began to accept greater degrees of private intervention and took neoliberal doctrines as read into the future.

Whilst outwardly objecting to the harsh nature of Thatcherism as it was then known, more and more Labour politicians have become wedded to it. Even today over 100 Labour MPs are still committed neoliberals although would never admit it.

Margaret Thatcher and her chancellor Sir Geoffrey Howe were behind a politically toxic plan in 1982 to dismantle the welfare state, Margaret Thatcher’s secret 1982 cabinet papers “the longer term options” released in 2012 are reported to have caused consternation amongst her colleagues and she later disowned them.

Mervyn Hyde adds, “The actual archive link can be found here, noting that it is viewed through archive viewer, so you have to click on where it says Image viewer” – but as yet the writer has failed to see them.

Until now this has been the general trajectory, in essence neoliberal politicians of all colours have collaborated to achieve the same ends, a transfer of power and wealth to the corporate sector.

From here on, what do we have to recognise in order to bring about change that will irrevocably transfer that power back into the hands of the many?

The last election could be described as a text book analogy revealing how, over the last three years, established sources combined to defeat the one and only enemy they have – socialism. Using a fabricated crisis and the perfect divisive outcome of the referendum, they were able to manipulate just enough people and confuse the rest, whilst weakening support for the Labour Party from within. The elements brought to bear to achieve this were: racism, ignorance, and apathy, aided by a complicit media that feeds prejudice and hate as well as confusing information.

Neoliberal doctrine has successfully divided the nation into fragmented parts, creating an illusion that this is how life really is. People have over the last forty years grown to accept the conditions two-thirds of us now see as normal – roughly one-third being dedicated to opposing the illusion.

For this minority ever to break out of the cordon set up by the establishment, they must recognise that those within our movement have to be challenged, as well as those outside it. That means challenging these orthodoxies:

  • we can’t afford our public services,
  • private enterprise is efficient and will increase the well-being of people,
  • competition is no longer relevant,
  • deregulation brought about the financial crash
  • and the myth that we need rich people and financiers to provide us with wealth to sustain our life style

Apart from the media and its influence we also have to recognise that a lot of people seem not to care about anything except their own interests and it will require substantial efforts to break them out of their mould. When told that the NHS is being dismantled, their eyes glaze over – some would even say ‘oh well it needs changing anyway’ without the slightest knowledge of what they were talking about. Hyde calls this a form of blind faith that either they won’t suffer from these changes or they just won’t happen and things will go on as they have done; he points out that the reality is that the agenda will roll on and possibly over them.

The way to break out of this from his point of view is to challenge power at its source, be that the media or government and change the way members of the party think essentially through educating them.

Rebuild our manufacturing base via public investment, which would make our economy much more stable

1982

Again through general ignorance lots of good people in the Labour party are oblivious to Britain’s real economic position. Some have socialist beliefs on how they can transform our well-being, but they still don’t understand that Britain’s position is unique in Europe, due to the fact we have our own currency and as such can spend directly into our economy, without the need to raise taxation, which would be used as a regulator of the economy.

What this also means is that we do not have to rely on trade to raise income, since Margaret Thatcher dismantled our manufacturing base we are a net importer of other countries finished goods, we could therefore rebuild it via public investment, which would make our economy much more stable and even export some of what we produced. Doing nothing as we are is financially unstable (Ed: also socially damaging).

This video of Professor Costas Lapavitsas (above, SOAS) breaks the EU illusion held by lots of Labour supporters, by describing in detail why getting out of Europe is essential. But after seeing the video readers may also find that we are not likely to get a genuine settlement no matter how hard we try.

Fundamentally the countries in Europe (Eurozone) can only spend into their economies by raising Euros through trade, this causes huge disparity among EU members especially those in the south, and the only real winner in this is Germany with its massive manufacturing base. This creates such an imbalance of trade and power that it can’t theoretically survive unless changes are made, like becoming a federation of states subsidised by the European Central bank, which breaks all the neoliberal trade rules they have put in place. This graph clearly describes the fundamental imbalance that currently exists:

https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?oldid=452727

Hyde sees a need to challenge the perception of Labour Party members that somehow Europe is some sort of economic Utopia that will defend our interests and feels that due to the problems facing Europe, sooner or later the whole pack of cards will fall in.

In addition to the economic problems facing Europe fascism is on the rise. Germany is still the richest country in Europe with massive trade surpluses, yet it has consistently produced right of centre governments and coalitions. As in England the left suffered defeats even though wages and living standards were falling under right wing regimes –  due of course as here to the perception that the neo-liberal centrist politicians were no better than their counterpart conservatives. Since the war the predominant party coalitions have been centre right. So Hyde feels it would be better to concentrate on attacking the establishment and describing how Britain, with its unique position, can effect change more rapidly than any other.

Within our ranks we have neoliberal MPs dedicated to undermining any socialist advances

He continues:

“When Blair first took office as prime minister, I attended one of his members’ forums in Reading, and after he gave his speech, a member asked the question, “where was the socialism in his speech” and Blair replied, “socialism is dead”. Judging from some of his old front benchers and their comments over the years I have no doubt they hold the same views and won’t ever change. the Lisa Nandys of this world etc. Our messages have been stifled and diversions such as anti-semitism have been created and not adequately rebuffed; hence we now need a voice strong enough to call out the lies and deceit in the media.

“This is not a full explanation of the need to change perceptions about our economy and relationship with Europe, there are a number of academics that highlight just how bad Europe is and how progressive Britain could become with the right government in place, but trying to change Europe from within as explained by Costas is virtually impossible.

“Changing those perceptions and ridding the Labour Party of those who actively work against us is the priority. Identifying LibDems, New Labour, and the Tories as being the same is essential to growing support, which they are, although they would claim they are not as extreme as Johnson etc., the reality though is no different; they all have the same objectives, just faster or slower time- tables – in fact if you listen to them they all use the same language, which is the big give-away.

“We lost the last election for many reasons, some of which I have outlined here, Jeremy’s only fault as Ian Lavery said, was that he wouldn’t join Johnson in the gutter. Sadly our unsophisticated electorate didn’t comprehend his magnanimity and – if we are to cut through – we need to speak the language they understand, without of course getting in the gutter to do it”.

 

 

 

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The future for the planet is dire, with business-as-usual Neros fiddling on either side of the Atlantic

Dec 16-Jan 1st – two Gloucestershire correspondents reflect on the election results

Mervyn Hyde quietly predicted two things to himself after the Conservative victory on December 12 and his depressing predictions were confirmed. He has seen:

  • gloating triumphalism on the political right
  • the re-emergence of long rejected, nasty right-wing policies, like capital punishment and blood sports,
  • and the political right using the election result to claim that socialism is dead and buried, perpetuating a rabid neo-liberalism.

He reminds us that the opinion polls showed – when simply presented with the policies with no party label attached to them – Labour’s policies were very popular. And in the popular vote, yn’s Labour won more votes in 2019 than Miliband’s Labour achieved in 2015.

But despite these facts, commentariat propaganda proclaimed that Labour’s policies had been “firmly rejected” and that they had “the worst election defeat since 1935” – a “disaster”.

Hyde’s verdict: “Wrong, wrong and wrong”

The election result actually showed Remain and 2nd-referendum parties winning more votes than Leave parties – with the Tories only winning an overall majority because of our undemocratic voting system. For well over a year now, opinion polls have been confirming that we are now a Remain country by a comfortable majority – which is why Brexiteers were terrified of having another referendum. His conclusion: 

“Our antiquated voting system has to go. The election result actually showed Remain and 2nd-referendum parties winning more votes than Leave parties – with the Tories only winning an overall majority because of our undemocratic voting system . . . However I don’t believe that a form of PR would change the situation politically: the media has a massive influence and affects the outcome, whether under a PR or first-pass-the-post voting system”. 

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Richard House notes that the establishment commentariat is already hard at work creating a false narrative that the result is a rejection of socialism and Corbynism, rather a triumph for the brilliantly deployed self-preservation instincts of the ruling class and their control and manipulation of vast swathes of the population’s access to information.

Its carefully deployed narrative about Labour’s alleged “biggest defeat since 1935” has rapidly become a taken-for-granted “truth,” even in some Labour circles. But it’s a narrative hopelessly caught up in a first-past-the-post ideology — conveniently ignoring the fact that Jeremy Corbyn won more votes in 2019 than did Ed Miliband in 2015. Like Mervyn Hyde, House advocates a fair, proportional voting system, under which a Corbyn-led government would probably have been elected — albeit, perhaps, one held together by uneasy alliances. 

The narrative was at best hopelessly simplistic, and at worst mischievous or just plain wrong. In reality, he continues, the election was lost through a highly complex toxic cocktail which included:

  • the Brexit wild card,
  • an unforgivingly undemocratic first-past-the-post voting system
  • and an unprecedentedly vicious Establishment assault on Mr Corbyn’s Labour.

A relentless, ethics-free Tory machine awash with corporate money, played its populist hand well enough to get over the line using the fortune in their war chest, donated by the rich and the powerful. One arm of the propaganda assault was the Tories’ carefully targeted cold-calling of swing voters. Richard knows voters, for example, who were repeatedly rung up in the campaign and told that if they voted Labour, the country would have a communist government.

He fears that – because lies, deceit and unadulterated propaganda were imported into our electoral system to an unprecedented extent – democracy may well never recover and comments: “The relentless attacks on Jeremy Corbyn constituted the most vile character assassination campaign on anyone in British political history. Goebbels would have loved it”.

But, he adds, Labour made at least three major errors in this campaign

  • They didn’t wage a sustained exposure of the establishment media’s propaganda assault on them.
  • Labour spokespersons and MPs didn’t receive training on how to spot and deconstruct bias and embedded and concealed establishment narratives in media interviews, then “out” them in live interviews on the media (as Tony Benn famously and brilliantly used to do).
  • Labour didn’t include a commitment to a fair voting system in its manifesto. “old-politics” tribalism prevails in the party’s leadership, which seems to prefer a majority Tory government to introducing a fair voting system though that might mean we’d have to sacrifice the chance of ever again having a majority Labour government.

The ritual condemnation of Labour’s leadership by Labour’s centre-right – in its carefully choreographed attempt to drag the party back to being the capitalism-friendly party of old – and the far-right’s appalling, power-at-any-price behaviour, will generate a race to the ethical bottom. Once the “ethically disgraceful behaviour” genie is out of the bottle, the winner will be the party who tells the most effective lies, and who cheats more successfully.

And the wealthy establishment, corporations, right-wing tabloids, and four-fifths of the press owned and controlled by non-dom, non-tax-paying billionaires living overseas, will do anything and everything in order to destroy the possibility of a genuinely left-progressive political party being elected. Richard House ends:

“A demonstrably fair voting system has to be part of the package we put together for attacking neo-liberalism. The times we’re in couldn’t be more grave or dangerous: the future for the planet is now truly dire, with two business-as-usual Neros fiddling on either side of the Atlantic”.

 

 

 

 

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Listen to ‘the most loyal & cogent spokesperson for the Corbyn project’

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000cbg0

 

 

 

 

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A movement that is not going to disappear

The Watershed site was set up by and for people who supported Jeremy Corbyn’s bid for the Labour leadership and – when it was successful – believed that this could be a ‘watershed’ in Britain’s history.

The title was chosen by Lesley Docksey for that reason when the mailing list was asked for suggestions. Those who replied approved of the choice.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn, a man of peace, compassion and justice, was and is a watershed in British history – so this website will not be closed.  Once more we were guided by Lesley, who answered:

“Where will we go?  Already there is a feeling that we will reorganise, get back on our feet and somehow retrieve our relationship with the EU.  Yes, it needs reforming – most of Europe knows that and are working on it. I was going to conferences about that reform well before the 2016 referendum. It makes no sense to leave the biggest trading block there is, but Brexit has been led by ideology, not sense.

“People are talking more than ever about reforming politics, getting rid of first-past-the-post and having genuine proportional representation, taking Parliament well away from Westminster (Manchester is an option!) 

“We need citizens’ assemblies and bottom-up politics, we need politicians that put the country and its people and environment before any party, let alone personal interests.  We need politicians that work together, irrespective of ‘party’ loyalty. 

“I personally would like to see English politicians respecting the fact that the island of Britain has three distinct nations, and respecting the views of the Scots and Welsh instead of ignoring them.  How can you claim that you belong to the ‘United Kingdom’  when the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish are walked all over?  I love driving over the Welsh border and seeing the sign ‘Croeso y Cymru’.  I loved visiting Scotland and knowing I was in a different country.  So I would support turning the UK into a federation of small countries that work together for our combined good”.

The next futures thinking posted on this site will be by the FT editorial board and George Monbiot.

 

 

 

 

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A.C. Speed’s open letter to Jeremy Corbyn: ‘one of the most important politicians of a generation’

Your compassion for people has inspired millions to fight for those who need it the most

Jeremy Corbyn

I am truly disappointed by today’s election result. During your campaign, I honestly felt a little bit of hope that the British people would finally see the damage the Tories continue to unleash on this once beautiful nation. You are, without a doubt, the most honest, trustworthy and heartwarming politician I have ever had the pleasure to vote for. Your compassion for others is inspiring.

Not only am I amazed the Tories won, but it is also mind-blowing to think that they won by an historic majority. That so many members of the British public seem to think this self-serving elitist party would ever hold anything else but their own interests, and wallets, close to their hearts is, quite frankly, astonishing.

Whilst I awoke with anger towards the many that supported the few in this malicious campaign to smear you as some sort of anti-patriotic economic danger to the country, I can’t help but feel it is incredibly important, now more than ever, to replace that anger with compassion for all, the same compassion you have shown to small communities, the vulnerable, and those who have needed it most in recent years, not to mention the British public. This compassion, that everyone should embrace, is the only thing that will hold our country together.

It is unfortunate that even those who supported the Tories in the 2019 election will undoubtedly feel the cruel austere grip that this small group of the wealthy elite preside over us with. Despite our differences, we will also need to show them compassion if this country has even the slightest chance of mending the damage caused by Brexit, and this election.

The country has never been more divided than it is right now. Hate will only divide us further. I will never agree with a Tory, I will never support a Tory, however, I will do my best to support a fellow member of the British society, regardless of their political stance, if they are ever in need. This is your ethos, a community for all, and it’s an ethos we all need to embrace for the country to survive.

When people are in need, they can rely on the compassion of the British people. When Nurses, Teachers, Police, and Firefighters struggle to keep public services from breaking point due to underfunding, the British people will always rally behind them. This is, of course, no comfort when financial cuts continue to devastate these services, ultimately preparing them for privatisation. However, the compassion you have shown us all during your time as the leader of the Labour party, and you were an incredible leader, will inspire millions of us to keep fighting for what we believe is a just and fair society. Future generations will have you to thank for the continuing spirit of every single person that refuses to give up fighting for this country.

You will go down in history as one of the most important politicians of a generation.

Thank You, Mr Corbyn.

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Author: Senior Editor A.C. Speed, senior editor, published in Raw Music TV

Posted 13.12.2019

 

 

 

 

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Jeremy Corbyn: an accurate tribute from three proud sons

 

 

 

 

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Seen six days too late – Monbiot‘s reasons for electing Corbyn

(Ed: the man and the child)

As no transcript has been found, Monbiot’s message has been paraphrased. For the full video message click here.

George Monbiot (below left) opens by admitting that Jeremy Corbyn has flaws – as we all have – but as he travels the country his care for other people and his ability to connect with them can be clearly seen.

That should be the norm in our society, but it isn’t.

It’s quite exciting to think of someone like that becoming Prime Minister, governing on our behalf – because things could really change then.

But unfortunately we have a system that rewards people who are in it for themselves, the egotists, the psychopaths who don’t give a damn about anyone else. They want to take power and use it for aggrandising themselves.

They do favours for business when in office and when out of office they enrich themselves by passing through the revolving door between politics and money-making, becoming directors paid thousands for doing nothing.

This is their reward for selling their country down the river when in office.

It’s impossible to imagine Corbyn doing what Blair is doing: flying round the world, meeting tyrants and being paid for telling them how to look good in their dictatorship.

Monbiot cites psychological research reviewed in the Harvard Business Review, which found that as people acquire power in this way, they become less interested in other people and this separation is compounded as the only public services they share are the roads. Power is concentrated in this small group who buy their way out of public education and health.

When he looks at Dominic Raab and Priti Patel he sees people who should be looking out for others but who don’t appear to care about the harm they are doing – psychopaths. If these people are re-elected, we are facing a dangerous situation: if Boris Johnson wins, so do the hedge funds, big banks and offshore capital.

Monbiot ends by stating that if Corbyn wins we as a nation win. If Johnson wins, the power exercised over us as a nation for centuries wins as he is a champion of those interests. We are faced with the starkest of political choices people have ever faced in the UK:

“Vote in the interests of all not in the interests of some”.

 

 

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Labour’s best country-wide poll result to date

 

 

 

 

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Voting intentions are changing in London

 

 

 

 

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