Category Archives: Jeremy Corbyn
An article by Jade Frances Azim, a Labour activist and writer opens:
“There has been a sense of crisis in the ideological confidence of Tories roaming the grandiose floor of the Hyatt Regency for Conservative Party conference. More than once, you could hear delegates muttering among themselves the word “capitalism”, and the phrase “battle of ideas . . .”.
Reports from left and right wing publications stress the poor attendance at many sessions, though fringe meetings with Priti Patel and Boris Johnson were over-subscribed.
“The crisis in the confidence of capitalism must surely be brought about by the images of youthful dynamism at Labour conference – and by the ideas that enthused its young audiences. There is surely a fear that that enthusiasm is spreading beyond Liverpool, too”.
“The spectre of Mr Corbyn haunts the halls here”
Jade thinks that Labour’s recent video around the theme of rescuing deprived towns must be inspiring a fear that Corbyn’s Labour is finally building an election-winning coalition – a fear compounded by apprehension as, “the very purpose of the Conservative Party, to defend capitalism as it is, has fallen out of favour with the outside world”. She continues:
More Tories are urging their party to listen, to understand the threat of Corbynism, which increases as moderate Conservative MPs are drowned out by the voices of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson, drawing up plans for a Brexit that merely builds a tax haven Britain.
Read Jade’s article here: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/the-spectre-of-corbyn-haunts-conservative-conference-rnn7w3vvv
Jeremy Corbyn’s speech had three crucial and interlinked components:
- the need to transform the economy,
- to prioritise improving conditions in the “left-behind” areas,
- and a call for a “green jobs revolution in every nation and region”.
But your editorial (27 September) made the common mistake of emphasising wind and tidal schemes to help disadvantaged areas. Important as these green energy sources are, the real potential for jobs in every constituency lies in making the UK’s existing 28m dwellings and 2m commercial and public-sector buildings energy-efficient, with renewable technology such as solar PV fitted where feasible. There are, for example, 8m homes with solid walls which are without any effective insulation, and nearly 40m smart meters still need to be installed.
The majority of this work has to be done locally and has the advantage of being hard to automate or relocate abroad; it also requires a wide range of activities and skills that are likely to be needed for decades.
It will therefore inevitably help improve job opportunities for the “left-behind” communities, with resultant knock-on economic benefits for the communities where these workers live and work.
Owen Jones (Labour needed a reset button – and it got one, 27 September) asserted that Jeremy Corbyn’s crucial identification of climate change as the greatest crisis facing humanity made it a bread-and-butter issue.
Equally the role of a green revolution in jobs in improving the lives of those in leave-voting areas could well make it a bread and Brexit issue as well.
Sky News: Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour conference speech proves that, four years on, he’s king of all he surveys
Lewis Goodall, Sky’s political correspondent opens:
It’s almost hard to believe (and the man himself probably can’t) that this is Jeremy Corbyn’s fourth conference speech as Labour leader.
The veteran backbencher is now part of the front of house furniture. And, in that time, he’s become much more accomplished. Three years ago, as his party stared back at him dazed and shocked that this particular leader should be looking out at them, Mr Corbyn was plodding, he even read the wrong bits of the autocue.
Today, he holds the room and as he examines a Labour Party entirely his, exudes complete confidence.
What of the substance? Two things stood out.
- Firstly, the headlines are all about corporate greed and a new Labour Party standing between people and profit.
- But, more notable, was the focus on more bread and butter domestic policies designed to win over new bits of the electorate.
Big announcements on childcare, a pitch to pensioners and a pledge to invest in post-industrial areas with high unemployment.
(One jibe:) The Labour leadership know, in order to win the next election, the party must reach out beyond its graduate, urban comfort zone.
The terrain of that election (which might only be months away) will be in less formally educated, older, whiter seats – Brexitland, where the party has struggled. And it is Brexit on which Mr Corbyn also majored, by making an unexpected offer to the prime minister.
He said Labour would be willing to support her Brexit deal provided it satisfied Labour’s six tests, if Theresa May accepted protection of workers’ rights, and if she signed up to a customs union with the EU.
Mr Corbyn knows those tests can never be met (they include preserving the exact same economic benefits of EU membership as we have now) and knows that Mrs May cannot sign up to a customs union as her party won’t let her.
His offer is a piece of politics – paving the way for Labour to inevitably vote against a prime ministerial deal.
Mr Corbyn wants political cover, so he can claim Labour was not simply destructive, imperilling the national interest for partisan gain, and that he tried to work with Mrs May, only for Tory intransigence to prevent a sensible compromise.
Whatever the substance of the speech, Mr Corbyn is now undoubtedly king of all he surveys. Of his four party conferences, this was by far the most “normal”.
No sounding off from recalcitrant moderate backbenchers; most never even came.
Polished media management, control over every organ of the party secure, and his enemies in retreat on every single side.
Speech on video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2DYTKkUmi0
Charedi activists, including 29 Orthodox rabbis, express support for Jeremy Corbyn, challenging the Board of Deputies
Shraga Stern, a Charedi (Orthodox) Jew, is one of the organisers of a letter (below) published last week in support of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn by twenty-nine leading Orthodox rabbis.
The Jewish Chronicle reported that the Jewish Community Council of North London (JCC), a ‘nascent’ communal group based in Stamford Hill, initially disputed the letter’s legitimacy, while others suggested the 29 rabbis were not fully aware of its content when they agreed to put their names to it. But the JCC has since backed down after a challenge by Stamford Hill activists Shraga Stern and Naftoli Friedman who have since taken responsibility for the letter. Three of the signatories, Rabbis Eliyakim Schlesinger, Azriel Schechter and Ze’ev Feldman, all confirmed they had read and signed the letter.
Shraga Stern added: “Jeremy is a long friend and neighbour of the Charedi community here and everyone who knows him personally says that he loves Jews and is against real anti-Semitism, and this is what he has done all his life”.
Mr Stern has issued a strongly-worded statement (below), contesting claims by the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) and Board of Deputies (BoD) to represent mainstream Jewish opinion in the UK and the claims that antisemitism in the Labour Party is widespread.
We believe that the anti-Semitism smear and witch hunt against Jeremy Corbyn is a Zionist agenda and has all the footprints leading to that direction. It is being promoted by the Board of Deputies and by the self-made unelected JLC, who are a well-known pro-Israel bodies- and it’s completely cruel and unjustified.
The Board of Deputies and JLC do not represent Charedi Jews, who do not have voting rights at BoD elections and number today over fifty thousand in the UK, of which 30,000 live in Stamford Hill. According to a 2007 study by Dr Markov Wise at the University of Manchester, almost three out of every four Jewish births in the UK – home to the largest strictly Orthodox community in Europe – are in the Charedi community.
The strange thing here is that there are 263,000 Jews living in UK according to the 2011 census. Half of them do not belong to a synagogue according to BoD population statistics, so this half would not have voting rights in the BoD elections. Add this up with 50,000 Charedi Jews it equals 181,000 out of 263,000 who will not fall under the BoD and the BoD do not represent them. So how on earth can the BoD have the chutzpah to say they represent the Jews in UK? BoD is a pro-Israel body and only represent a very particular part of Jews who are pro-Israel.
Charedi Jews and most mainstream Jews in the UK are only interested in Anglo Jewry matters and do not get involved in Israel politics. However saying this we do recognise that real anti-Semitism is an issue all over the country and in all political parties. We are convinced that Jeremy Corbyn is doing his best to tackle real anti-Semitism in his party while still giving his people of his party freedom of speech to criticize Israel.
However, we are nowhere near to fleeing this country because of this. As a Charedi Jew I can say that Charedi Jews are the most vulnerable to anti-Semitic attacks as they dress differently and one can see that they are Jewish, therefore this support letter from leading Charedi rabbis from Stamford Hill including Chief Rabbi Padwa from the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (UOHC) says it all.
Jeremy is a long friend and neighbour of the Charedi community here and everyone who knows him personally says that he loves Jews and is against real anti-Semitism, and this is what he has done all his life.
Times have changed and we will not stop here. We will not be hijacked by the BoD and JLC. We will go further than this to make it clear to all the government bodies and to the press, not to fall into the trap of the BoD and JLC who are extremist Zionist bodies and do not represent mainstream Jews.
Discussions are now taking place that I’m personally aware of and talks are in place on considering setting up a new body of Board of Deputies of mainstream British Jews that will focus only on anglo-jewish matters and will represent the entire Jewish population no matter if they are associated to a BoD synagogue or not and act for the many Jews not the few.
Shraga Stern asks “How on earth can the Board of Deputies have the chutzpah to say they represent the Jews in UK? BoD is a pro-Israel body and only represents a very particular part of Jews who are pro-Israel”.
Extract from the latest article:
In his outstanding essay, ‘The chimera of British anti-Semitism (and how not to fight it if it were real)’, Norman Finkelstein, Jewish author of ‘The Holocaust Industry’ and the son of Holocaust survivors, comments:
‘The degree of anti-Semitism infecting British society has been the subject of numerous polls over a sustained period of time. These surveys have uniformly, consistently, and unambiguously concluded that anti-Semitism:
(1) has long been a marginal phenomenon in British society, infecting under 10% of the population,
(2) is far less salient than hostility to other British minorities, and
(3) is less pronounced in the UK than almost anywhere else in Europe.’
Finkelstein argues that Jews have considerable power within British society. Indeed, the intensity and longevity of the campaign targeting Corbyn’s ‘antisemitism’ in part reflect that influence:
‘Jews are incomparably organized as they have created a plethora of interlocking, overlapping, and mutually reinforcing communal and defense organizations that operate in both the domestic and international arenas. In many countries, not least the US and the UK, Jews occupy strategic positions in the entertainment industry, the arts, publishing, journals of opinion, the academy, the legal profession, and government. “Jews are represented in Britain in numbers that are many times their proportion of the population,” British-Israeli journalist Anshel Pfeffer notes, “in both Houses of Parliament, on the Sunday Times Rich List, in media, academia, professions, and just about every walk of public life.”‘
As Finkelstein says, ‘it cannot be right to deny (or suppress) critical socioeconomic facts’ of this kind. Noting them has nothing to do with ugly, racist fantasies about Jews controlling the world.
‘Jeremy Corbyn is the democratically elected head of the Labour Party. His ascendancy vastly expanded and galvanized the party’s ranks. Corbyn has devoted a lifetime to fighting racism; like eponymous labor organizer Joe Hill, where workers strike and organize, it’s there you’ll find Jeremy Corbyn.
‘By British and even global leadership standards, he cuts a saintly figure. On the opposite side, mostly unelected Jewish bodies have dragged Corbyn’s name through the mud, slandering and defaming him. They have refused to meet with Corbyn, even as he has repeatedly extended olive branches and offered substantive compromises. Instead they issue take-it-or-leave-it ultimatums.‘
Finkelstein summarises accurately: ‘The transparent motive behind this cynical campaign is to demonize Corbyn, not because he’s a “fucking anti-Semite,” [the words of former Labour minister Margaret Hodge] but because he’s a principled champion of Palestinian rights’, although ‘a broad array of powerful entrenched social forces, acting on not-so-hidden agendas of their own’ are all seeking to destroy Corbyn.
Indeed, no rational observer can see this as anything other than an extension of the relentless establishment attack on Corbyn, the mild socialist threatening to let democracy loose from its box. The objective of the antisemitism moral panic is obvious, writes Lindsey German of Stop the War:’removing Corbyn from the Labour leadership and his replacement with someone much more amenable to the needs of British capital, whether in the arena of foreign policy or in terms of domestic policies’.
David Hearst, a former Middle East editor at the Guardian, concurs: ‘The Labour leader’s opponents don’t care about anti-Semitism. They’ll just do anything to remove Corbyn.’
Hearst argues that Corbyn’s opponents are using: ‘the tactics of fascists – smearing, libelling, intimidating: ‘Unable to put up a candidate capable of defeating him by democratic means, at the ballot box, unable to attack him on his polices for which there is majority support in the country, Corbyn’s detractors have methodically and consistently set about the task of character assassination.’
We asked Noam Chomsky for his view on these issues. He replied: ‘The charges of anti-Semitism against Corbyn are without merit, an underhanded contribution to the disgraceful efforts to fend off the threat that a political party might emerge that is led by an admirable and decent human being, a party that is actually committed to the interests and just demands of its popular constituency and the great majority of the population generally, while also authentically concerned with the rights of suffering and oppressed people throughout the world. Plainly an intolerable threat to order.’ (Noam Chomsky, email to Media Lens, September 9, 2018
Statement: “The NEC has today adopted all of the IHRA examples of antisemitism, in addition to the IHRA definition which Labour adopted in 2016, alongside a statement which ensures this will not in any way undermine freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of Palestinians.
Jeremy Corbyn said the adoption of the full IHRA text and examples was part of the process of “rebuilding trust and as an act of solidarity with Jewish communities”.
The NEC welcomed Jeremy Corbyn’s statement to the meeting about action against antisemitism, solidarity with the Jewish community and protection of Palestinian rights, as an important contribution to the consultation on Labour’s code of conduct.
A binding vote was not taken and organisations have been ‘reinvited’ to engage in consultation on the code of conduct. The issue will be re-visited by the newly elected NEC after Labour’s party conference in Liverpool.
Jo Bird, known for her work for the co-operative movement, writes on her Facebook page:
More than 100 members from all wings of Wirral Labour Party worked together to elect me, in our successful local by-election this month. We spoke with over 2,100 residents and I heard no-one raise the issue of antisemitism.
Unlike Frank Field, my constituents’ highest priority is ending cruel Conservative government cuts to services we all rely on. The New Ferry part of my ward was devastated by a huge explosion in March last year and the government’s response is shockingly pathetic.
Cllr Jo Bird
Labour councillor for Brombrough and New Ferry
Edited extract from a site run by Unite activist Steven Walker from Liverpool. The site’s address comes from his initials.
Jeremy Corbyn spoke in Edinburgh about his plans for changes to the media landscape. The full address may be seen on YouTube or read here.
‘MSM’ coverage of the event has tended to avoid reference to Corbyn’s question session with journalists and members of the public and the extensive ‘Q&A’ with actor Maxine Peake.
Dignity and understatement
The telling and moving segment of the Q&A came when Corbyn was asked about his experience of mainstream media attacks since he became Labour leader – and he responded with dignity and understatement, describing a ceaseless campaign of smears against him as “The papers being somewhat unkind about me”, before going on to make a steadfast defence of the need for journalists in a ‘vibrant democracy’ and to pay tribute to journalists who have risked and even lost their lives in the pursuit of truth.
About the many: for the poor and for our children.
When asked what he thinks it’s most important for the mainstream journalists to do now, his answer – as it has consistently been throughout his leadership – was all about others and their needs.
Others would add his policies on nuclear power and weapons, military intervention in other countries and on projects such as HS2, privatisation and the third Heathrow runway.
The article summarises: “No self-pity. No drama – in stark contrast to the behaviour of some Labour MPs who have suffered far less for far more cause. Just, as ever, a self-deprecating and completely authentic concern for others – especially those left vulnerable and deprived by our broken economic system and our skewed, dysfunctional mainstream media landscape”.
On the Cornwall Live’s website Tom D. Rogers wrote: “It seems that despite renewed predictions of doom and gloom for the Labour Party from the usual mainstream media pundits, and despite the best efforts of the right-wing media to portray him as some kind of jam-making, allotment-tending, left-wing reincarnation of Hitler, Britain hasn’t reached anywhere near ‘peak-Corbyn’ yet. On the weekend, a staggering 18,000 festival goers in Cornwall staged a completely spontaneous and staggeringly unified show of solidarity with the much-maligned Labour leader”.
ICM’s polling last week also had Labour ahead and the latest polling by BMGResearch shows Labour with a two percent lead over the Tories, up by two points on BMG’s last poll, with the Tories falling by a similar amount.
Roger’s continues: “It has been a summer of relentless smears against Jeremy Corbyn, his team and his supporters as the Establishment desperately tries to bring him down before the Democracy Review rule changes and Labour’s annual conference next month put the party beyond the reach of the Tory-Lites indefinitely. But those smears appear not to be cutting through. At the Boardmasters festival in Cornwall last weekend around 18,000 young people were participating in a huge ‘silent disco’ when the White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’ played through their headphones. The result was electrifying – and suggests that enthusiasm for the Labour leader has not dimmed even a little . . .
They know where hope lies”.
Jeremy Corbyn is speaking this evening at Stoke City’s ground – indoors rather than a stadium gig – and the room is already full: a capacity of around 600.
This is the scene outside as people queue out of sight to get in – his popularity appears undiminished, as the latest polling seems to indicate.