Category Archives: Labour Party
Today, organiser Carole Morgan has expressed her deepest gratitude to everyone for the most amazing and overwhelming response to this fundraiser for Jeremy Corbyn.
Disloyalty will have political and financial costs
The funds on this campaign will remain on hold by GoFundMe until the details for distribution have been established with Jeremy’s office and I will continue to provide updates as they become available. Jeremy did not know about this campaign beforehand and he is deeply touched by this outpouring of love and support.
RD HALE, the author of the Skye City series, is a prolific campaigner who worked tirelessly to get Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street. His current goal is to return the Labour Party to its socialist roots because he is extremely unhappy with the current leadership, and his ultimate goal is defeating the oligarchy and ushering in a green industrial revolution.
On the 23rd, he reported, “It is believed up to 40 new claimants intend to pursue the Labour Party, following its decision to apologise in the high court and pay damages to seven “whistle blowers” and BBC journalist John Ware. The pay outs so far have totalled six figures and some, such as departing Unite leader Len McCluskey have suggested this was a misuse of party funds, on the basis lawyers reportedly said the Labour Party would likely win in court, if it had opted to defend the case”.
Because Jeremy Corbyn stated the decision to settle was political, rather than legal, he is now facing possible legal action himself from John Ware. A fundraiser to pay Corbyn’s legal costs has now (July 24th) raised over £165,000.
Hales asks if Starmer could be at risk of bankrupting Labour
He adds that Labour is understood to be suffering a significant loss of revenue, due to members leaving the party in huge numbers since Starmer became leader. Some are speculating that over 300,000 have left since December 2019 – roughly half the membership, although no official figures have been released.
A shadow cabinet minister told the Telegraph: “This is the legacy Corbyn has left us. People should be angry.” And people are angry, but judging by the overwhelming support Corbyn’s fundraiser has received, it would appear they are not angry at the former Labour leader.
Unless a solution is found, it looks like the internecine warfare of the last five years might finally destroy this once great party, and most tragically of all, many on the left would not be sad to see it go.
Still, through this fund, Carole adds, it will become known that Jeremy is NOT alone. He is NOT the few. He is one amongst the many (Ed: York, 2017 above) and we have started a fight back!
Between 2017 & 2019: a campaign to destroy the prospect of No 10 being occupied by a man who takes UN resolutions about Palestine seriously
Labour Together’s report should have conducted a forensic examination of the evidence that much of the anti-Semitism issue was confected, magnified by the media or compounded by malign elements in the party apparatus.
Where clear evidence of this exists, in part in the leaked report, it has been suppressed. The campaign to brand Corbyn an anti-Semite has very little connection to the real problem of the kind of routine anti-Semitism that exists throughout British society and everything to do with an Israeli-government-sponsored campaign to destroy the prospect of Number Ten being occupied by a man who takes UN resolutions about Palestine seriously.
Labour’s anti-semitism problem was designed to erode Corbyn’s moral stature and, to the extent that anti-semitism was not dealt with where present or repudiated where it was obviously confected, it was damaging.
Labour has been changed by the last three years. It is instructive that no one could get elected as leader by openly repudiating Labour’s redistributive policies, and this process is only succeeding by dividing and weakening the left and eroding its influence in the membership and trade unions. Active measures by all kinds of actors are in play to achieve this.
Labour’s new style is to stay silent on the radical policies which it pioneered over the last years. Abandonment of the contested ground in which politics is conducted in effect concedes this ground to the enemy.
Jeremy Corbyn was a phenomenon. This relatively obscure politician emerged from the backbenches to lead the party five years ago, and almost tripled the Labour Party membership. Labour became the biggest political party in Europe. While his ascension came about almost by mistake, there’s no mistaking the effect Corbyn had on British politics. What was his appeal?
He reached out to those who had lost faith in party politics in a way no one else had done for at least three generations.
I first became interested in politics at college in the late 1960s, learning the craft of film-making. Many of my cohort were “politicos”, who were more interested in polemic and producing propaganda than the tedious processes involved in movie-making. A particular small group, with a radical left agenda (they were chummy with some people who went on to form the Angry Brigade), wanted to make a short film on the hardship of life on the dole, but, realising it should be lit properly, approached me to join them. What were my politics? Left wing of course, but beyond that I was a bit vague… They weren’t actually too bothered, they just wanted their film to look good, which we achieved. And in the process, through osmosis, I learned a fair bit from them.
From then on I always took a keen interest in left wing politics, but was also drawn to libertarian hippiedom as well. While I considered the Labour Party far too intertwined with the establishment – a lost cause – I couldn’t really connect with any of the far left political groups either. It was all too “Life of Brian”, with various groups spending more energy on in-fighting and slagging off everyone else than working constructively for societal change.
As the 1970s wore on it became clear that a major show-down was taking place. The working class and the unions versus the nation’s antediluvian employers and the government of the day. And while some emerging voices on the left of the Labour Party, such as Tony Benn, Ken Livingstone, Diane Abbott and a certain Jeremy Corbyn, were making a lot of sense, the likes of Dennis Healey and Jim Callaghan ensured that the party remained a no-go area for many of us.
And the 1980s? Labour had our sympathy and our votes. By that time I had quit London and was living in deepest rural Wiltshire, where to support Labour was not so much infra-dig as utterly beyond this galaxy. As Thatcher made a bonfire of the nation’s cohesiveness and decency many of us simply seethed impotently. While the unions and people’s lives were shattered, while our council houses and utilities were flogged off, while spivs and speculators became a new aristocracy and malignant globalism started to grow, mainstream politics appeared to hold no answers.
In the Nineties we were going to have a Labour government but Neil Kinnock tripped and fell in the surf… No matter, in 1997 things could only get better. At the time I was living in Tetbury, a small town in rural Gloucestershire, and a surprising number of people there – nearly all affluent men in their 40s and 50s – were passionate about New Labour. To be “old Labour” instantly became a form of insult. I drank with them in the pubs but I couldn’t join them; this was not a club I wanted to be a part of.
For some the Blair/Brown years were just fine, for others the lustre wore off as betrayal followed betrayal… but many others never bought into the project to begin with. By the time Blair teamed up with Dubya to go search out them WMDs I was thoroughly fed up with the Blair administration. Much is talked about Tories who fail to do the right thing and resign following disastrous mistakes, but if ever there were an instance when falling on one’s sword was called for, it was when the premise for invading Iraq was proven to be baloney. Shamelessness in office is nothing new. New Labour was style over substance, masterminded by Manipulative Mandy and the sultan of spin, Alastair Campbell.
Blair’s role as a Thatcherite continuity leader became ever more transparent, despite all the gloss and despite the real advances such as increased spending on health and education. Inequality was still on the rise; creeping privatisation was still on the march. For a while it even seemed as if Charles Kennedy’s Liberal Democrats had a more radical agenda than New Labour…
And that betrayal of True Labour principles eventually told at the ballot box.
Ed Miliband came and went. Politics under New Labour and then the Coalition just seemed to become shabbier and shabbier. How thousands upon thousands of us yearned yearned for a bit of authenticity, for some integrity. For a modest leader who was for the people and not the neoliberal elite. And suddenly that call was answered.
Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t polished, wasn’t slick, didn’t have a media-friendly demeanour. He was the outsider who’d stuck to his ideals through thick and thin, who’d championed those without a voice and who’d constantly challenged his own party when he considered it was wrong. For the first time in most people’s living memories we had a real left wing leader. Hundreds of thousands of us loved him for that. It could have been anyone with those qualities, it happened to be Jeremy Corbyn. We feasted on his appearances and speeches; this slight, allotment-tending, veggie beardo assumed almost rock star status. We flocked to join the party, and when his leadership was challenged countless thousands more signed up to defend him.
For people like me, who’d for years been cynical and disillusioned with politics, especially party politics, here was a cause one could give oneself to wholeheartedly. We could all make a contribution, make a difference. In my retirement, I was suddenly busier than I’d been for years – and together we were going to change British politics forever.
Many of those already in the party, some of them with many decades of dedicated service behind them, had very mixed opinions about Mr Corbyn. Some liked him, some didn’t, most tolerated him. Some had soldiered on throughout the New Labour years with heavy hearts but a stoical loyalty to the party, while others had embraced the prevailing neoliberalism of the Noughties and were alarmed at the new leader’s perceived radicalism. Most, I suspect, harboured a degree of misgiving at the influx of arrivistes in a party mechanism that they had been running for years. New people with a mix of naivety and enthusiasm…But weren’t we ever good when it came to campaigning and canvassing.
2017 was exhilarating, even if we didn’t pull it off. We’d caught the establishment and the media on the hop, but they weren’t going to make that mistake again. If 2017 left us still optimistic 2019 left us numb and demoralised. Corbyn, a thoroughly decent man, despite a number of shortcomings, had been laid low by his political enemies, the establishment, the media, and by many of those who were supposed to have been his political friends. On a global scale his ideas were not even that radical, but in 21st Century Britain they were certainly way too egalitarian for the powers that be.
Now we have Keir Starmer at the helm. In his quest to re-take the political centre ground it appears he is willing, eager it would seem, to throw the left under a steamroller. A series of actions, such the forthcoming whitewash of the “leaked report”, give ample evidence of that direction of movement, the latest being the increase in various forms of disciplinary action against left-wingers, mostly on absurdly flimsy pretexts. Control freakery is on the march. Party membership had dropped by about 70,000 since the general election, and I strongly suspect that many of the ones who have “had enough” are people who’d been enthused by Jeremy Corbyn.
I’m still a Corbynista. That’s why I joined the Labour Party, and that’s why I’ll stay if I’m able to. Certainly change can take place through non-party political means, but the scale and breadth of systemic change that will will be necessary if we’re to have any sort of future can only be brought about by enlightened governments. And in the UK I’m convinced that will have to be a True Labour government. A government that believes in democratic socialism and a government that’s serious about tackling climate change.
Let’s make sure Corbynism isn’t dead, and that we’ll get back on the right track in the future.
Paul Halas is a retired comic strip writer, a Labour activist and enduring Corbynista.
Ruth Pitman writes from Poole (MS 27.4.20):
Jeremy Corbyn never promised “socialism” or to solve all the problems of capitalism. But he did revive the socialist vision that society should be run for the benefit of those who contribute to it and proposed policies to this end.
The popularity of this approach was demonstrated by the “near miss” of the June 2017 general election when Labour won 40 per cent of the vote and gained 60 seats.
This was hardly a rejection by the electorate of either Mr Corbyn and John McDonnell themselves or of the fairly radical social democratic policies presented in the 2017 manifesto For the many, not the few.
Arguably a major reason why Labour did not win in 2017 was the constant and vociferous opposition to both leadership and policies from large sections of the PLP, party grandees such as Blair and Mandelson and the machinations of those at the top in Labour HQ, as exposed in the leaked report.
Mr Johnston’s analysis of the 2019 election defeat seems to be following the right-wing strategy of deliberately ignoring any consideration of the June 2017 general election.
There were multiple causes of the 2019 election defeat, including Brexit drowning out other policy issues, an “over stuff ed” manifesto, mistakes in campaign strategy and tactics, the continued disloyalty from within the party itself and the fact that the Establishment had a further 2.5 years to smear and vilify Corbyn and the Corbynite policies.
Corbyn is a decent and principled man on the left wing of social democracy. Many thanks to the Morning Star for being the only daily newspaper that did not join in the campaign against him.
Twitter feed: read here, for the first time & in their own words, the contempt Labour’s management had for the party’s membership & leader, & how what they feared most during the 2017 GE was winning.
These revelations should end any debate around whether Labour’s senior management team, including Iain McNicol, were serious about a Labour government in 2017. To the contrary what this stunning cache of documents reveals is how McNicol – and a tight, unelected circle around him – made every effort to undermine and denigrate that year’s election campaign, frequently stating how they hoped it would fail while simultaneously planning to replace Jeremy Corbyn from as early as January. The most senior individuals named in this article were all approached for comment, none responded.
Summary may be read here
Published 12th April 2020
Due to WordPress problem I cannot upload an image to this site. It is included in the email alert
Discredited? Labour’s commitments made in opposition were jettisoned by Tony Blair when in power. For instance:
- the railways were not renationalised,
- anti-union laws were not repealed and
- the earnings link with pensions was not restored.
It supported the US President’s decision to make war on Iraq which led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and – according to Professor Goodman and many others – destabilised large areas of the Middle East.
Tony Blair’s hour-long speech on Labour’s 120th anniversary at Kings College (20.2.20): “We must redefine what radical means” may be heard here or read in full here.
He states that Labour has always won when it secured the centre of British politics and refers to the 2019 campaign as substituting ‘a narcissistic belief in our righteousness for professionalism’.
‘Three overarching strategic challenges’ are advocated by Blair to achieve ‘fundamental reconstruction’:
- First, we must build a new progressive coalition with LibDems, to put Labour values into practice.
- Second we need a re-imagining of the modern economy.
- Third: the right ideas in politics never work without the mentality of government.
Strangely enough he sees these three recommendations as ‘profound changes to philosophy, policy and practice’. Stating the obvious he concludes:
“2020 isn’t 1997 or even 2007. And 2030 will be a revolution different from 2020. It’s always about the future. Precisely because of that, because whilst pointing forwards, we have been travelling backwards, nothing less than “born again” head to toe renewal, will do”.
This performance recalls another such ‘poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage (offering) a tale . . . full of sound and fury, signifying nothing’.
Noel Hamel from New Malden: “A measured and thoughtful piece that avoids the pitfalls of mudslinging. Anyone interested in left-leaning progressive politics will find this interesting”.
Summary of Alan Simpson’s paper: Après le déluge
Parliament starts the new decade with Labour still in a state of grief…and anger…about its crushing election defeat. It’s a good place to start. The real grief is the damage done to the bigger dream that once surrounded Corbyn. Only a shift into more circular economics stands a chance.
For the Left, the problems began with Labour’s failure to root its policies in the radical decentralisation regularly espoused by both Corbyn and McDonnell, but which never made it past control obsessions within the ‘Corridoriat’ of Senior Advisors surrounding them.
Killing the dream
In 2017, thousands were drawn towards Jeremy because he symbolised a different sort of politics; something open, honest, radical and inclusive; a politics that promised to be genuinely transformative. Labour lost, but we felt like winners.
Blinded by Brexit
The 2019 election should never have happened. Johnson only had one card – Brexit – and Labour should have forced the Tories to wallow in the Brexit mess Johnson had wrapped himself in. A spring or summer election would have suited Labour much better… on condition that Johnson’s Brexit deal would first be put to a public vote.
Brexit neutrality made Labour look indecisive and Jeremy weak. It spurned Labour’s strongest card in favour of a public vote. Whatever the outcome it would have taken Brexit out of any subsequent election which would have had to address the bigger threats of societal and climate collapse already hovering around our doorsteps.
Labour lacked a simple strap-line
We didn’t even have the wit to dump the ‘Brexit’ part of the Tories’ ‘Get it done’, prefacing it with a succession of bigger issues; ‘Fix the planet: Get it done’, ‘Tackle homelessness:…’, ‘Repair the NHS:…’, ‘End poverty:…’.
The Tories set about casting Jeremy Corbyn as a man who couldn’t lead
Corbyn’s senior team helped, turning Jeremy’s campaigning zeal into an absence rather than an asset. Goodness knows how many rail-miles Jeremy clocked up, but it never became the ‘leadership’ peg the public were looking for, building a mass movement, with a hugely empowered, devolved power base.
Jeremy inherited a PLP that wanted to lynch him and (to their credit) an ofﬁce determined to stop them and he ended up with a corridor cabal.
The opportunity to build a wider consensus got lost behind internal obsessions with control, creating a siege/control mentality that was never able to reach outwards. No national/international ﬁgures were ever brought in to raise Jeremy’s policy/leadership proﬁle. No one who’d ever arm-wrestled in climate negotiations, trade deals or peace diplomacy came in to lead Labour’s transformation planning. Instead, ‘corridor control’ came to dominate. Factionalism overtook radicalism. At the most senior levels, people who’d never negotiated anything more than an extended tea-break were left in charge of the policy sifting process. The most repeated Shadow Ministerial complaint was about delays in getting radical policy proposals through the LOTO soup (LOTO: the Leader of the Opposition Office)
- Sue Hayman saw a string of her environment proposals get lost in this Never-never-land.
- Two years on, Alan Whitehead still awaits approval for publication of his Local Energy book (on radical decentralisation).
- Andy MacDonald’s pledge to set annual carbon budgets for every part of the transport sector never became the platform for transformative changes in aviation and shipping policy.
- His proposed ‘pendulum shift’ of funding from private to public transport infrastructures went the same way.
So where does Labour go next? Back to the Future? There is no ‘nice politics’ of the middle ground to return to. Business as usual will never return.
- Look at the ﬁres currently raging in Australia and the ﬂoods in nearby Indonesia.
- Look at our own pre-Christmas ﬂoods
- Look at earlier ﬁres that wreaked havoc from California to the Arctic Circle.
- Look at the ice melt.
Any wannabe Labour Leader who ducks the centrality of transformative climate politics is not worth following. As climate physicists continually try to warn us, ‘There are no small steps left’ but a systemic, transformative change might hold society together. The Left needs a bigger, anti-poverty, climate politics to hold communities, and the country, together.
Regionalised and localised approaches to ﬂood prevention, food security, air quality, re-wilding, fuel poverty, clean energy and transport must form the backbone of a Labour commitment to refound accountable, secure and inclusive democracy. It needs to go hand in hand with the radical re-empowerment of local government. There is no other way of delivering the 20%+ annual CO2 reductions needed to avoid the next tranche of climate tipping points.
In early 2017, John McDonnell, Jeremy and I began work on what was to be a Labour ‘Smart Cities’ Initiative. The plan was to open up conversations with up to 20 localities about the development of radically decentralised, clean-energy grids. Modelled on lessons from both Denmark and Germany, the plan was to put localities in the driving seat of strategies that made ‘climate’ the centrepiece of tomorrow’s economics. It needed rapid decarbonisation of the energy system, nationwide energy efﬁciency and waste reduction programmes, the use of smart technologies to localise, store and share energy, and a new skills agenda delivering full employment in a more circular economy.
The first Merseyside venue, workshops and speakers were all agreed on. But the political penny began to drop that this posed a serious threat to existing fossil fuel interests and to centralised energy generation. Suddenly no one could ﬁnd a common diary date for Jeremy and John. The 3-D commitment – decarbonisation, decentralisation and democratisation – became the ﬁrst of Labour’s ‘corridor casualties’.
Climate priorities, as well as electoral calculations, dictate that this is where Labour’s repair work must begin in Scotland and Wales as much as in the newly lost heartlands of the North and Midlands. This is where tomorrow’s security, stability and democracy politics will ﬁnd its roots.
The last election should have been the Climate Election. What happens in the next decade will determine whether we tip from crisis to collapse. Labour needs to become the Party that ensures we don’t.
Advisor on Sustainable Economics January 2020
Labour’s official report on the election result was circulated as election co-ordinators Andrew Gwynne and Ian Lavery gave a verbal presentation on Tuesday at a meeting of Labour’s ruling national executive committee (NEC). According to Politics Home it was leaked to the Financial Times. Jim Pickard’s straightforward appraisal in the FT is summarised below.
The authors briefly considered the possibility that Mr Corbyn’s leadership and radical manifesto could have played a role in the defeat arguing neither had been a problem in the 2017 general election, when the party made large electoral gains, stating: “It is unlikely that radicalism per se was the problem in a country looking for change”
Trafford, May 2019
Mr Corbyn (Ed: who attracted many thousands of new members to the party and drew huge crowds to his meetings) far from being a weak or divisive leader, was instead the victim of four years of unrelenting attacks on his character. This had been an “assault without precedent in modern politics”.
The document concluded there had been no easy way for Labour to address the Brexit issue given the way in which it divided voters.
The writer wonders if the document made any reference to the influence of the prolonged wrecking activities of disloyal Labour MPs?
One such, Wes Streeting, the MP for Ilford North, writing in the Telegraph, said: ”It is very clear that history has been rewritten by the losers, who are more interested in covering up the litany of failure that they have presided over rather than providing the Labour Party with an open, honest account of what has gone wrong. Labour’s election result was a result of poor political leadership in Parliament and poor organisational leadership in the party”.
Regular readers of this site will agree that quite a powerful factor in the defeat was due to constant repetition of inaccurate and derogatory material in the right-wing press provided by the constant barrage of criticism from Mr Corbyn’s own colleagues, who spared no effort in their attempts to discredit their leader.
The Conservative government owes disloyal Labour MPs such as Tom Watson, Wes Streeting. John Woodcock, Jess Philips, Margaret Hodge and Joan Ryan a huge debt of gratitude.
The vision laid out by the participants in the Labour leadership contest makes Roy Jones from Colwyn Bay – who prefers “the much maligned ‘Corbyn manifestos’ “- fear for Britain’s future (24th January).
He sees, in the contest, not a word on the economy, infrastructure and environment, from Labour’s would-be leaders.
Looking back over our previous reliance on empire with an abundance of minerals from home and abroad and an industrial revolution of science and technology which made us the workshop of the world, he continues: “This fell into decline, albeit with a brief period of hope after World War II, until faced with the inability of Britain’s bosses to modernise industries and Thatcher’s wilful destruction of most of them. All this leaves our balance of payments, income and expenditure, reliant on the financial service “industry” for 80% of those sums”.
Roy Jones lists some measures advocated in two Corbyn-inspired manifestos for a society skewed by years of preserving the status quo at the worker’s expense:
- a green industrial revolution, advancing science and technology and skilled jobs,
- the rebuilding of our public services
- providing rent controlled housing,
- addressing poverty and inequality – a living wage of £10 an hour
- increasing public ownership
- and setting up a people’s bank.
But ends: “I fear the worst kind of flabby Labour future”