Category Archives: Labour Party
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
In happier times . . .
With relish, The Times reports that Kezia Dugdale, the former leader of Scottish Labour and Corbyn-sceptic has said that Labour can no longer be trusted after the party felt unable to meet further costs after paying £94,000 on legal fees agreed by Iain McNicol, Labour’s former general secretary.
Stuart Campbell, who runs the pro-independence blog Wings Over Scotland, is suing Ms Dugdale for £25, after she called one of his tweets “homophobic” in a newspaper column and Jenny Formby, the present general secretary, cited concerns that costs could escalate.
As a Labour Party spokesman said: “Kezia Dugdale has received significant support from the Labour Party. The party has a responsibility to all our members and that must mean spending our members’ fees responsibly and appropriately”.
Ms Dugdale – at the time – was writing a freelance column for the Daily Record (paid either per 1000 words or by the day) with no involvement or sign off by the Labour Party on her column or her agreement to write it.
The Daily Record has now agreed to reinstate legal support for her.
One blog covering this story adds: “The party is understood to be writing imminently to MSPs to set the record straight as well as communicating the information to members of the Scottish Executive Committee.
“It is, of course, unlikely that the mainstream media will pick up Labour’s side of the story, so it’s essential that members and supporters push it out on their social media to correct the imbalanced ‘MSM’ narrative”.
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
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
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.
Labour’s new antisemitism code does adopt, unaltered, the definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)
“A constructive initiative”
Members of the Jewish community, the media, and Labour MPs have criticised the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) for not fully adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. But it has done so and also clarified certain examples which followed the definition.
Welcome the code as a constructive initiative, and criticise it constructively
As Brian Klug, senior research fellow in philosophy (Oxford) and honorary fellow of the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/Non-Jewish Relations, writes, people of goodwill who genuinely want to combat antisemitism, while protecting free political speech, should welcome the code as a constructive initiative, and criticise it constructively:
“The door for doing this has been opened by Labour, which has decided to look again at the code, in consultation with Jewish organisations and other groups. If we put our heads together, there is a good chance that a consensus can be reached. For this to happen, the seas of language are going to have to subside and critics must stop treating the IHRA document as immutable.
“In the Judaism in which I was nurtured and educated, there is only one text whose status is sacred; and it was not written by a committee of the IHRA”.
On July 10, the FT reported that Theresa May might be left “with no choice other than to apply to extend the Article 50 exit process while she holds a general election to try to break the [Brexit] impasse”.
“In 1940, at a moment of supreme national peril, the Labour party took the decision to allow its leaders Clement Attlee and Arthur Greenwood to sit down around the cabinet table with the leaders of the Conservative party to face the challenge from Hitler.
“Five years later in 1945, after showing its mettle in running the Home Front during the war, Labour gained its reward with a landslide victory in the general election that allowed it to transform the country.
Today, at another moment of national peril, a similar opportunity beckons — to help form a national government to resolve Britain’s relations with the EU”. And ends:
“Will Labour earn the gratitude of the nation by seizing this new opportunity like its predecessors did in 1940?”