Monbiot: I will vote Labour on 8 June . . . I urge you to do the same

Lesley Docksey draws an article in the Guardian to our attention: in it we learn that George Monbiot has decided to vote Labour in the general election. He trounces the Blairite MPs who have been so disloyal to their elected leader: “Those who tolerated anything the Labour party did under Blair tolerate nothing under Corbyn. Those who insisted that we should vote Labour at any cost turn their backs as it seeks to recover its principles.

“They proclaim disenchantment now that it calls for the protection of the poor, the containment of the rich and the peaceful resolution of conflict.

“They proclaimed undying loyalty when the party stood for the creeping privatisation of the NHS, the abandonment of the biggest corruption case in British history, the collapse of Britain’s social housing programme, bans on peaceful protest, detention without trial, the kidnap and torture of innocent people and an illegal war in which hundreds of thousands died”.

He sees these Labour MPs helping to grant Theresa May a mandate to destroy what remains of ‘British decency and moderation’ – refusing to see the good that a government implementing Corbyn’s policies could do.

The popularity of Corbyn’s recent policy announcements leads Monbiot to believe he has a chance, albeit slight, of turning this around. His pledge to raise the minimum wage to £10 an hour is supported by 71% of people, according to a ComRes poll; raising the top rate of tax is endorsed by 62%.

He cites Labour’s 10 pledges, placed some time ago on this website, which could – incorporated in its manifesto – appeal to almost everyone. They promote the theme of security:

secure employment rights,

secure access to housing,

secure public services,

a secure living world.

Compare this with the attitude of the major funder of the Brexit campaign, billionaire Peter Hargreaves: ‘Insecurity is fantastic’.

Those who question Corbyn’s lack of experience and competence should remember where more ‘credible’ politicians led us:

Blair’s powers of persuasion led to the Iraq war.

  • Gordon Brown’s reputation for prudence blinded people to the financial disaster he was helping to engineer, through the confidence he vested in the banks.
  • Cameron’s smooth assurance caused the greatest national crisis since the second world war.
  • May’s calculating tenacity is likely to exacerbate it.

A progressive alliance/tactical voting?

Much advice follows; the most congenial is that Labour should embrace the offer of a tactical alliance with other parties:

“The Greens have already stood aside in Ealing Central and Acton, to help the Labour MP there defend her seat. Labour should reciprocate by withdrawing from Caroline Lucas’s constituency of Brighton Pavilion.

Such deals could be made all over the country: and as the thinktank Compass shows, they enhance the chances of knocking the Tories out of government . . .”

Monbiot (left) ends:

“The choice before us is as follows: a party that, through strong leadership and iron discipline, allows three million children to go hungry while hedge fund bosses stash their money in the Caribbean, and a party that hopes, however untidily, to make this a kinder, more equal, more inclusive nation I will vote Labour on 8 June . . . I urge you to do the same”.

 

General Election – Cole: “ My money is on Corbyn . . . to displace Theresa May because he leads a movement, not just a party”

In 2016, Roger Cole, founder and chairman of Ireland’s Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA), predicted that Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader, will displace Theresa May because he leads a movement, not just a party.

In 2009, he writes, Jeremy Corbyn visited Ireland to attend an international peace conference in Shannon organised by Pana which has, over the last 20 years, developed strong links with British CND, Scottish CND and CND Cymru. They represent all that is best among the British, Scottish and Welsh people. It is their values and their vision that gives hope for the possibility of a great future for the UK shorn of its imperial culture either in what remains of the British empire or the emerging European empire.”

Corbyn has, for his entire political life, been a supporter of CND and its values. He was re-elected Labour leader not because he is a decent, honest and humble man (which he is) but because he leads a movement, not just a political party.

It is a movement that wants, among other things, a real national health service (the greatest achievement of the historic 1945 Labour government), rather than the continuation of Britain’s imperial tradition of a commitment to perpetual war and the renewal of the Trident nuclear programme as advocated by the current ruling parties of Tories and New Labour.

If Corbyn becomes prime minister it will be because of a deep and fundamental change in the values of the British people.

So can that happen? The prime minister, Theresa May, has made it clear she is prepared to kill millions of people with the Trident missile system. She will no doubt have the total support of the war-loving neoliberal corporate media. Current polls show that in an election she would win relatively easily.

So what would Corbyn have to do to defeat the Tories?

First, he had to become the undisputed leader of Labour and his second victory went a long way to achieving that . . . While the internal attacks on Corbyn will not end, the marginalisation of the Blairites will accelerate and consolidate the unification of Labour under Corbyn in its fight against the Tories.

Corbyn’s decision to accept the democratic decision of the British people to reject membership of the emerging European empire and its emerging European army has been crystal clear. It is a decision that will go a long way to regaining the support of those voters who shifted to Ukip.

In Scotland, the SNP will more than likely continue to dominate, but would be far less antagonistic to a Corbyn-led Labour. If they work together in the first-past-the-post system, they could put the final nail in the coffin of Tory Scotland and maximise the number of MPs for both parties. After all, with a Corbyn-led government, the SNP understand that it is their best chance of a second independence referendum.

While there is no doubt that decades of Thatcher/Blair senseless warmongering and neoliberalism remains popular, especially among those that benefited from it . . . the sustained attacks on the social system, the massive and growing concentration of wealth in the hands of a small number of billionaires is losing its appeal among a growing number of ordinary people. They would prefer a more equitable taxation system, a better-funded NHS and an end to perpetual war. And why not?

So, will Corbyn become the next British prime minister? It is now a realistic option . . .The British people may decide that even if they do not support everything Corbyn stands for, they will agree to a change – in practice more of a Harold Wilson than a Clement Attlee transformation.

Anyway, I put a bet on that the Brexit side would triumph in the recent referendum. My only regret now is that I did not put more money on it.

Come the British election I will not make that mistake again: my money is on Corbyn.

With thanks for this lead to Felicity Arbuthnot

 

 

 

 

A viewer responds to the Marr interview: “I want this man as prime minister!”

Labour Party membership (517,000 members in March 2017) is rapidly increasing after the general election was announced. Before:

Yesterday a Wimbledon reader forwarded an email message received from her friend: “Hope you all saw Jeremy Corbyn on Marr this morning.  If not, DO catch up on i-player.  But I fear for how it’ll be reported in the press”.

The Guardian’s John Crace was flippant/facetious and even-handedly belittled the other contributors. Dan Bloom in the Mirror was thoughtful and informative, itemising three things we learn and three things we didn’t and yet again this paper made available a link to the full transcript. The Mail and Times cherry-picked and hoped to score points on Trident/security/NATO.

Social media snapshot:

Corbyn’s calmness in the face of Marr’s questions, on both foreign and domestic policy was commended by many Twitter users:

Firmly but genially Jeremy Corbyn restrained Andrew Marr’s impetuous interruptions and calmed him down when he ‘jumped in too quickly’. Some appealing ‘soundbites’ include a wish to:

  • reduce pay ratios in the public and private sectors;
  • ensures universal access to good quality housing, healthcare and education;
  • tariff-free trade access to the EU;
  • investment bank to increase manufacturing jobs
  • work out an immigration system
  • and confer with supportive MEPs and colleagues who head EU states (below).

He appears to be the only prime ministerial candidate remarkable for stability, poise, honesty, patience, maturity and goodwill to all – how many more will echo the wish voiced earlier: “I want this man as prime minister!” ?

*

Two social media discoveries:

@ReclaimTheNews

Helping to get Labour’s General Election messages out and Jeremy Corbyn into No 10. Multiple contributors. #WeAreHisMedia #JC4PM #VoteLabour

CorbynSupporters50+

@corbyn50plus

The media claim that older voters don’t vote Labour and won’t like Corbyn. Let’s get together to share the over 50s message and show them how wrong they are.

facebook.com/groups/7909425…

 

 

 

 

Corbyn policies

Lead and link from Felicity Arbuthnot

 

 

 

 

 

Jeremy Corbyn: remarkable support from some Financial Times readers

Comments on an FT article by Philip Stephens 

No policies? Every time I see Jeremy Corbyn being interviewed or giving speeches he is addressing these very issues and more.

“Who can worry about housing, schools or transport, let alone the mundane aspirations of Middle England, ahead of the great liberation struggles.” I don’t know where Philip Stephens has been but every time I see Jeremy Corbyn being interviewed or giving speeches he is addressing these very issues and more.

I would suggest he and the Labour party have lost the working-class vote thanks to the previous Blair government being non representative of them.  Remember Mandelson talking about being: ” Intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich as long as they pay their taxes…?” Corbyn has also suffered very badly by the press.  Mrs May has profited by Cameron’s mistake and badly handled Remain campaign and we are now at the mercy of this unelected PM and her party… (see also JC policy docs here)

Philip Stephens creates a narrative that doesn’t fit the facts. Corbyn has delivered effective attacks on the Government on welfare, the NHS and housing, some producing small U-turns.

He also travelled up and down the country campaigning to Remain. The problem was he and the Labour Party failed to breakthrough the media ignoring their campaign and focussing (in terms of the Remain argument) exclusively on the pathetic and useless official Remain campaign.

Jeremy has been democratically elected twice to be leader. His record should in no way be considered dismal. He has consistently delivered his honestly and long-held beliefs.

Rubbish analysis as per usual although the historical throwback is well put.

Corbyn does care about housing, education, schools, middle england, under invested regions (it was Corbyn who was talking about a migrant impact fund), transition to Green energy.

Corbyn far-left? Inaccurate and “un-FT”. Corbyn seems to be a middle of the road socialist, at least by normal European standards.

Far-left policies include abolishing private healthcare, private education, the monarchy, making all third-level education free, nationalising banks and railways and a number of other things, some of which would probably be quite good for the country.

As it is, Corbyn seems to be a middle of the road socialist, at least by normal European standards. Far-left European politicians would include Vladimir Lenin, Rosa Luxembourg, Alexander Lukashenko and any number of dictatorial 1980s Communist party secretaries in Warsaw Pact-era eastern Europe. Jeremy Corbyn is quite clearly not in that zone unless one is a swivel-eyed Daily Mail reader.

A question: When Brexit is done and May is left standing there blinking vaguely and surrounded by the wreckage of the economy where will the Conservative Party be in the eyes of the electorate?

Its reputation for sound economic management will have been trashed along with the economic damage it has just imposed on the country so who wins?

Philip you are doing the FT (and its readers) a signal disservice by misunderstanding Corbyn and the Labour left.

Copeland was never likely to vote for an anti nuclear Labour Party – and well you know that. The wonder is that the Labour Party nearly won the seat despite being clearly antagonistic to the existence of the region’s biggest employer. WE, the subscribers to the FT, expect objective reporting that enables good decision making.

Corbyn and labour can’t win at the moment, if they go to the middle and ignore the democratisation of their party they will lose, if they stay a democratic left party the boomers and those with assets won’t vote for them as they fear socialism

Meanwhile the millennials and future generations bear the brunt of public debt created privately, and shareholder capitalism which is a race to the bottom, generation rent, and the absurd 40% of income rent costs in areas where there are plentiful jobs and opportunity epitomises the modern day surplus extraction and misery of those who have not lived among the golden age of capitalism, add tuition fees, stagnating public services (NHS), erosion of employment rights and you can see why Corbyn is confident among that 20% (of which I’m a part, ha ha ha, how funny he’s so inept ha ha ha lets all laugh at corbyn because there are so many other alternatives out there that are SO much better).

The Tories will continue their irrational, economically illiterate policy that is not running the country into the ground but causing growing social issues, and new social actors will emerge from the post 2008 age eventually tipping the balance towards something more corbyn-esque. Until then it will be the same old, same old.

Corbyn’s crackpot policies are simply outrageous! Spending a little more on the NHS and primary school education?  Providing a bit more affordable housing in the midst of a housing crisis? 

Failing to asset strip the public infrastructure? Rowing back a bit on the vast, exploitative Sports Direct-ification of the British economy?  Why, this is simply unpatriotic! How “radical” – somebody stop this crazed moderate, centre-left European-style social democrat Corbyn before my taxes end up a little bit higher and the proles end up with a slightly better quality of life!

God forbid that poorer people should ever have slightly better quality of life. Who knows where that might end? It’s better not to give people hope. It just encourages them to think. 

I agree.  Britain’s low wage, low skill, low investment, low productivity economy would be severely jeopardised by the dangerous, radical policies of Jeremy Corbyn. Sure, he’s languishing in the polls now, but the proles are a fickle lot and cannot be trusted to consistently vote for their own impoverishment. What if Corbyn dons a Union Jack leotard and starts leaping up to belt out a few verses of ‘God Save The Queen’ with gusto on the next campaign trail, waving a couple of flags about like the dickens.  Why, the proles might even be duped by this charade into voting him into office! This would leave us all at the mercy of an outbreak of half-decent working and housing conditions for the proles at any time.  This simply would not do, too much has already been invested by the Conservatives in their cooption of UKIP’s policy platform!

There was no money left. The Tories have just borrowed billions. The crash will be spectacular.

This article is high in the running for one of the worst I have read in the FT in years.  We are in the end times of Neo-Liberalism, an experiment where maybe 20% did very well, and 80% were massively left behind.

Corbyn, Trump, Brexit are consequences of a system that has failed, and a financial system that collapsed in 2008, never a crisis always a collapse.  Stevens has no understanding of the why’s of brexit or the rise of Corbyn.  The left-right paradigm is dead.  I could not find one sentence in this article that is not total ideological nonsense.

If Jeremy has got under the skin of Philip Stephens so badly he must be doing something right.

Most Labour MPs and most journalists hate Corbyn as if he were the devil.  He represents the one pole of the process of polarisation caused by the 2007-9 Great Recession and the continuing crisis of world capitalism.

Let there be no mistake. The reason Philip Stephens is so horrified is because if his buddies amongst the old Labour MPs who are career politicians, were instead people of principle and socialists, then the Labour Party would be challenging for power.

The lesson of our era is the fluidity and rapidity of change. If Corbyn is right, (and I think there is lots of evidence to back him up), if he can be seen to be a leader of masses on protests and demonstrations, this will sharply polarise politics and this may match a simultaneous collapse in Tory support.  The Labour MPs who are resigning and trying to oust Corbyn again with their endless press briefings against him are part of a deliberate coup attempt. This time a sort of coup by water torture. They will fail again. The only major criticism one can make of Corbyn is he is too soft on these saboteurs. There are times when a sword must be wielded.

The worrying thing about this analysis is, his policies weren’t even that far left, they were definitely more central than Thatcher’s. Yet the FT reports this as if he’s Lenin/Kim Jung Un etc. His biggest failing for the press is he wants a meritocracy and for companies which require state support (through the use of tax credits to prop up salaries and increase profits and bonuses) to not pay dividends, which is effectively the Government paying the rich in an indirect way. Yes he has his failings, as does everyone, but generally speaking a lot of his economic policies would work fairly well at creating a long term balanced economy.

Corbyn, and his anointed heir, need to show there is an alternative to the Conservative Creed. Perhaps he needs to lose an election to clear out the MPs who are undermining him.

Perhaps this will result in his own political demise. But if he has a suitable succession plan in place then his success will come after he is gone. With the LabouraTory MPs planked off the sinking ship, seats will be freed for real Labour candidates for the subsequent election.

Facetious commentary. Corbyn has inherited a mess of a party with crumbling membership and totally out of touch MPs.

Time and time again polls have shown that the public want a ring fenced NHS, working railways and better care for the elderly, sick and disabled. To finance that he has stated that he will increase funding to the HMRC so that it can go after companies that are not paying their taxes (last year’s estimated unpaid tax was £34 Billion) which is probably why this article has been written in the style it has.

People want the state to intervene if something isn’t working. The current level of income disparity is something that is directly affecting the world by creating the perfect soil for fascism. Yet no other political leader wants to do anything about it (since it will affect their careers after being an MP). 

Versus the CIA and capitalism he is the best chance we have of having a fair society

 

 

 

 

SMEs: Corbyn Labour addresses a serious problem, long sidelined by successive governments

Jeremy Corbyn is addressing the problem plaguing Britain’s small and medium businesses face: late payment.

https://www.facebook.com/JeremyCorbynMP/videos/10155245921628872/

“Big companies are managing their cash by borrowing – interest free – from their suppliers”

In a speech at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) the Labour leader named large firms including E.On, Capita, BT Group, Vodafone, National Grid and Marks & Spencer.

He said they contribute to withholding more than £26 billion from suppliers through late payment, driving 50,000 out of business ever year.

Note that the FSB’s website records:

  • Small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses.
  • At the start of 2016 and 99.9% were small or medium-sized (SMEs).
  • Total employment in SMEs was 15.7 million; 60% of all private sector employment in the UK.

He proposed:

  • a network of regional investment banks which will help smaller firms access the funding they need to expand;
  • any company bidding for public sector contracts under a Labour government will be bound to pay its suppliers within 30 days;
  • the party will consult on a system of “binding arbitration” to resolve late payments disputes in the private sector

And pledged to scrap quarterly tax reporting for small businesses, describing the proposal as a “burden” and “distraction” that would harm the economy.

The Dutch engineering industry set up an industry-regulated payment routine years ago.

My engineer neighbour said that in his dealings with Holland he found the Dutch engineering industry’s system works well. 30% of the full amount due is paid immediately, and then 30% is paid on completion of the job. The final amount is deemed to be the profit and follow later within a stipulated time frame. This does help to avoid the cash-flow problems afflicting those in this country who often have to wait for three months – and more – before any payment is made.

The 2011 EU Late Payment Directive which aimed to change the late payment culture in the business world and force companies to cap maximum contractual periods at 60 days, amended in 2013 is not implemented by government in this country.

SMEs have not the financial or manpower to carry through prolonged legal action against large companies failing to pay on time – they also fear loss of custom following any such action.

 

 

 

 

m

 

 

A rarity: a senior politician not beholden to the wealthy

Lesley Docksey alerts us: the ‘Blairite-controlled Labour HQ’ is withholding resources from Jeremy Corbyn’s office – and The Times adds a footnote

Lesley writes: “In September last year, I sat through an excruciating session at Labour’s annual Conference, listening to the party’s treasurer (right) patting herself and the platform on the back over the abundant condition of the party’s debt-free finances – with no acknowledgement whatever of the fact that the party owes that state of affairs to the massive surge in the Corbyn-supporting membership, which now generates annual income for the party of £50 million.

She recommends an informative article which gives a number of relevant facts, including “As the largest party in opposition, Labour receives around £5.5 million in Short money for the current financial year – plus £789,000 specifically for the purpose of funding the office of the Labour leader”.

Lesley continues: “The Labour Party is not ‘short’ of cash (Ed see BBC report). So there is no excuse for what you’re about to read”.

The release of Corbyn’s tax return showed that he is spending his own money to fund salaries for some of his staff and a senior Labour source has confirmed to this blog that Corbyn’s office is being forced to run with only half the staff that Ed Miliband had.

 Lucy Fisher in The Times says that though the government’s Trade Union Bill would slash the contributions that 14 Labour-affiliated unions are able to make to the party, “Jeremy Corbyn treats big Labour donors with disdain“.

Five anonymous former donors complain that they had had no individual contact from the Labour leadership team and one accused Mr Corbyn of holding wealthy donors ‘in utter disdain’.

At a meeting of Labour backers from business, that donor said that Mr Corbyn “lectured everyone on the need for business owners to pay workers more. Some of these people give thousands of pounds to try and get Labour elected. You do not deliver a lecture.”

But Dale Vince, the founder of the wind-power firm Ecotricity, who has given £380,000 to Labour, said that he had not noticed any difference in the level of contact since Mr Corbyn took over. He said he liked the Labour leader’s “honesty, integrity and decency” and would continue to donate.

The Corbyn-supporting membership, which now generates annual income for the party of £50 million, as individuals or together with their Labour Party branch/CLP, should demand that funding to Jeremy Corbyn’s staff is restored to its previous level and that Corbyn – with no interference or limitation – is able to choose the personnel for his team.

 

 

 

Corbyn press interview: enlightened self-interest, inequality, housing policy and privatisation

From our archive: Jeremy Corbyn talks to the Huffington Post UK 

Extracts:

“Inequality is a terrible waste of time, a waste of people’s resources. Low ages are counter-intuitive to an expanding economy, inefficient. You pay more in wages, get more in in tax, you get people living a higher standard, you get more money. It’s a kind of circle.”

Interviewer Paul Waugh asked how Corbyn could appeal to the Tory voters in the south and in marginal seats that he needs to win an election. Would  he appeal to their self-interest or just tell them Labour cares more than the other parties?

“There is a self interest in voting for a society where there is health care for all, where there’s a mental health service for all, where there is education service for all,” he replies.

“And above all a housing policy that doesn’t end up with young people staying in their parents’ home until their 30s or 40s because they can’t afford to rent, they can’t have a council place, they can’t afford to buy.

“I absolutely get it on housing. I represent a community that is being socially cleansed. Socially cleansed of people who rely, often in work, on housing benefit to survive. The benefit cap prevents them staying they have to move out and the whole area churns, children leave school they have to go somewhere else.

“So what do we do about housing? One, recognise there is a huge housing shortage. Two, recognise that there a lot of deliberately empty properties through land banking. Three, that the sale of council housing and housing association properties is creating a crisis as deep as created by Right to Buy by Margaret Thatcher.

“In the borough we are in the moment, if the Conservative proposals go through on forced sale, we will be forced to sell 6,000 properties when there are probably 10 to 15,000 families in desperate housing need, it makes no sense at all.”

“My priorities are one, invest in council housing with lifetime tenancies. Two, regulate the private rented sector on quality on length of tenure and in areas of high rent levels like London there has to be maximum rent levels put in by region or by income level there’s got to be an affordability there. Germany has a very large private rented sector, it has long term investment, it is fully regulated.”

Privatisation

“So my message to them is: think about the kind of world the Conservatives are creating where the disposing of state assets, shrinking the state and in the end you and your children are going to have problems. And adult social care may not be available for those that desperately need it. If we want to live in the kind of decent, cohesive society that I think everybody aspires to, then listen to what we are saying and think about it.

 

 

 

 

Jeremy Corbyn’s 10 pledges to transform Britain – link

In graphic form

 

 

http://www.labour.org.uk/index.php/10-pledges

 

 

 

Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics

Richard Seymour’s major new book, Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics, analyses how Corbyn rose to the head of the Labour Party, and his prospects for staying there. On the publisher’s website we read:

Jeremy Corbyn, the ‘dark horse’ candidate for the Labour leadership, won and won big. With a landslide in the first round, this unassuming antiwar socialist crushed the opposition, particularly the Blairite opposition.

For the first time in decades, socialism is back on the agenda–and for the first time in Labour’s history, it controls the leadership. The party machine couldn’t stop him. An almost unanimous media campaign couldn’t stop him. It is as if their power, like that of the Wizard of Oz, was always mostly illusion. Now Corbyn has one chance to convince the public to support his reforming ambitions. 

Where did he come from, and what chance does he have?  

This book tells the story of how Corbyn’s rise was made possible by the long decline of Labour and a deep crisis of British democracy. It surveys the makeshift coalition of trade unionists, young and precarious workers, and students, who rallied to Corbyn.  

It shows how a novel social media campaign turned the media’s ‘Project Fear’ on its head, making a virtue of every accusation they threw at him.  

And finally it asks, with all the artillery that is still ranged against Corbyn, and given the crisis-ridden Labour Party that he has inherited, what it would mean for him to succeed.

Liam Young: At last, Jeremy Corbyn gets the biography he deserves.