Blog Archives

Unite through understanding and acceptance of Corbyn Labour Party values

Naushabah Khan, a Labour councillor in Kent and a former parliamentary candidate, was a volunteer at the Glastonbury festival raising money for the local party. 

Naushaben (second left) was amazed, not only by ‘the vast array of music on offer’ (the Foo Fighters, Rag’n’Bone Man and Katy Perry to name a few), but just how much politics was ‘happening – from the sand sculpture of Theresa May attempting to break through a field of wheat to David Beckham opening social housing in Pilton. Support and backing for Jeremy Corbyn was particularly evident – displayed in a manner usually reserved for A-list celebrities.

She continues: “With the crowd taking every opportunity to break out into a rendition of ‘Ohhh Jeremy Corbyn’ and thousands of festival-goers packing out the Pyramid Stage to watch the Labour leader address them, if there were any doubts after the general election of young people’s support for Jeremy, Glastonbury quickly dispelled them. 

“And a year after the vote to leave the EU, a result that I have heard had left a sombre cloud over 2016’s festival, the mood had lifted. Brexit had woken up a generation, and this time the sun was shining and as Jeremy Corbyn took to the stage, there was a sense of hope in the air”.

Agreeing with Billy Bragg that the momentum Jeremy has started is exceptional, she adds that in order for it to continue on its trajectory we have make sure that people are not just ‘buying into’ an individual but also into the values and principles:

“Corbyn’s ability to articulate these in a meaningful and sincere manner is undoubtedly a part of his appeal, but we need to ensure that those who support us (many for the first time) also understand that these are the values at the very core of the Labour Party and it is our ability to deliver as a unified movement that will bring about real change”. (Below, Corbyn calling for unity at the Glastonbury festival)

Putting the Glastonbury phenomenon into perspective Naushaben reminds readers that this festival is known for its socialist roots and the founder, Michael Eavis, is a long-time Labour supporter, having stood as a parliamentary candidate in 1997. Festival-goers tend to be progressive and liberal in their views, with swathes of young people forming the crowds – the very people whom Jeremy has brought into the fold and the very people that helped to deliver exceptional wins in places such as Canterbury and Kensington.

She continues: “We would be naïve to not also consider our decline of support in some traditional working-class heartlands. Seats such as Mansfield recently lost to the Tories, which in the 1980s was the site of many clashes between the police and miners or areas of the South-East, like Medway and Gravesham, which were Labour held from 1997-2010 but once again, have returned Tory MPS with solid majorities. Wins in such areas will be crucial to gain the additional seats — more than sixty — to form a working- majority government . . . there should be an honest appraisal of our supporter base and how we bring back into the fold our traditional voter base while continuing to appeal to the next generation. And just like our election manifesto, the challenge is to ensure that our appeal remains for the many and not the few”.

Naushaben ends: “The task itself is not an impossible one. The world of politics is in a state of flux and the Tories are failing to offer any sense of real leadership, heading a government that is about as far from ‘strong and stable’ as you can get, underpinned by a loose deal with the DUP that could prove to be deeply damaging. It is clear they have no real vision for the country other than the relentless pursuit of power.  There is a genuine opportunity for Labour to take the reins and one that we are close to grasping”.

 

 

 

m

Does Theresa May have the temperament and inter-personal skills to lead successful Brexit negotiations asks Steve Beauchampé?   

Extracts from his blog, “ General Election 2017 – May Plays Her Trump Card” 

We don’t have to look far for reasons to believe that the Prime Minister might be a potentially toxic mixture of intensely controlling, highly secretive, overly sensitive and with a touch of the feudal monarch about her. There’s her unwillingness to campaign using little apart from slogans, to debate live with rival party leaders, to encounter voters other than pre-vetted Conservative Party members or to place herself in anything less than totally managed and protected situations. There is surely more to all this than a natural awkwardness or introspection, of being uncomfortable around people; it is about avoiding scrutiny and challenge, it indicates a lack of self-confidence, an inability to think on your feet. And it might also display a degree of paranoia.

. . . there was no Conservative Party leadership contest, merely a coronation, with May anointed before most party members even had the opportunity to hear or scrutinise her policy platform or personal suitability for the post, let alone approve it. Rivals quickly fell by the wayside, with the mildly stubborn Andrea Leadsom’s bid terminated after she was allegedly goaded by the Tory hierarchy into making an unwarranted personal remark about May.

A bellicose and bunker-like attitude towards the most important negotiations this country has faced in decades

Theresa May’s most memorable contributions to the remainder of 2016 were her revelations to October’s Conservative Party annual conference that the UK would leave both the Single Market and Customs Union as well as end the free movement of workers, with the formal process of departing the EU commencing by the end of March 2017. None of this had been agreed beforehand by the Cabinet.

When the High Court ruled that Parliament, and not the Prime Minister, had the authority to determine when Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which commences our exiting the EU, could be invoked, May was furious, ordering a government challenge in the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, she permitted Justice Secretary Liz Truss to rail against the judges and failed to intervene to de-escalate tensions both when a Daily Mail front page headline called those judges ‘Enemies of the People’ and when a tirade of online abuse was directed against Gina Miller, who had brought the case.

After government defeat in the Supreme Court, May watched the subsequent House of Lords debate on the Article 50 Bill, staring at Peers from the steps of the royal throne . . .

Having stolen UKIP’s mantle (move much further to the right and the BNP might start to get nervous) Theresa May now seems to be taking cues from US President Donald Trump. Yes there were some leaks against her from EU officials, but then Whitehall also regularly leaks to its political advantage. But Theresa May’s speech outside No. 10 last week was designed to create the illusion of shady foreigners out to get Britain, before claiming that only she can save the country from them. Works every time!

May’s rage against the Brussels machine came only a day after she had revelled in claiming that the next person to find out that she was “a bloody difficult woman” would be European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Although I suspect that she’ll quickly find out that the other 27 EU heads of state and their negotiators can be even more ‘bloody difficult’ should Britain’s attitude be to go looking for a punch up. And if she continues on a confrontational course, Theresa May might now learn that the election of the strongly pro-EU Emmanuel Macron as French President will make her already difficult task just that little bit tougher. . .

Little wonder that many in Brussels are becoming tired with Britain, with its accusations and insults and with our Prime Minister’s testy approach when goodwill, reciprocity and a modicum of inter-personal skills might bring far greater rewards.

Such a bellicose and bunker-like attitude towards the most important negotiations this country has faced in decades, if not centuries, might well bring Theresa May a substantial General Election victory. Yet the country that she is creating has deepening political fissures, geographically and generationally, that both the forthcoming election and the Prime Minister’s anti-consensual and seemingly joyless leadership style appear to be exacerbating. It is a deeply unedifying spectacle. Given all of the above, do I really want to give Theresa May a mandate to negotiate my country’s future?

 

Steve Beauchampé

May 8th 2017

Full text: http://thebirminghampress.com/2017/05/may-plays-her-trump-card/

Republished: https://politicalcleanup.wordpress.com/political-barbs/general-election-2017-may-plays-her-trump-card/

 

 

 

 

 

Corbyn: Labour’s best hope in 2017

Mary Dejevsky* in the i paper reminds readers that under that new voting system, Jeremy Corbyn has won the leadership convincingly not once, but twice and that under Corbyn, Labour’s record in by-elections has been creditable – it has not lost a single seat it previously held.

corbyn poll lead

She sees Labour’s often (Ed: not always, see March poll above) dismal poll ratings as being due in part to an ideological rift between the mainly Blairite MPs and the grassroots, who – post-Ed Miliband – were able to vote for the party leader. Ms Dejevsky asks: “Who is perpetuating the division – the majority or the minority?”

And her third question, on Brexit after the vote, ”has Labour’s record been any worse than that of the divided Conservatives?”

Her answer: the party now has, in former attorney general Keir Starmer, found a persuasive spokesman and Emily Thornberry is making a decent job of shadow Foreign Secretary. Labour has been scoring points on benefits and the NHS.

If it were to be united on the ‘old left terms’ it could do much, much better

Mary Dejevsky insists that the party would have to be united on Corbynite, old Labour terms – the very terms, in fact, which explain Labour’s appeal to a whole new constituency: all those young people allegedly turned off by politics, who thronged to his rallies.

corbyn-young-1

After Iraq, the financial crisis, the spinning away of the super-rich and the legions ‘left behind’ by late 20th-century capitalism, those basics have a new resonance but those who embraced Blairite centrism don’t want to know.

Ms Dejevsky ends with the view that it is the Blairite model of ideological flexibility and economic enterprise that has aged badly not Corbyn’s attachment to the old verities:

  • workers’ rights,
  • the social safety net,
  • redistribution
  • and equality of opportunity if not outcome.

The ideals of old left, (Ed: coupled with Corbyn’s support for the environment and beneficial innovation evident in his policy documents) will be the source of Labour’s revival.

“Mary Dejevsky is a respected writer and broadcaster. She is a former foreign correspondent in Moscow, Paris and Washington, and a special correspondent in China and many parts of Europe. She is a member of the Valdai Group, invited since 2004 to meet Russian leaders each autumn, and a member of the Chatham House think-tank. 

 

 

 

Corbyn in Brussels

As all eyes were on the first day of the Labour Party conference in Liverpool, the FT focussed elsewhere. Following Jeremy Corbyn’s appearance on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday 25th, when he spoke at length about the Brexit process, Duncan Robinson reports in the FT, apparently with some regret, that Jeremy Corbyn is likely to receive a warm welcome in Brussels.

corbyn-eu-socialist-leaders

Socialist leaders meet in Brussels

He notes that during the Brexit campaign Corbyn was perceived as giving his support for the EU a “seven, or seven and a half” – but that this score would be  acceptable to his political peers in Europe, who have been highly critical of the organisation.

Mr Corbyn’s criticisms of the EU are described as being ‘pretty mainstream’, questioning bans on state aid and the proximity of Brussels and big business.

Robinson writes:

“Astute observers of EU politics draw similarities between Mr Corbyn’s comments on the future of the bloc (“I want to see a social Europe, a cohesive Europe, a coherent Europe, not a free market Europe”) and those of centre-right European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker (“Europe is not social enough, we have to state it clearly”)”.

He ends sourly:

“Finally, there is no one else. The left in Europe is not a smorgasbord of charismatic politicians. Mr Corbyn might not offer much, but he managed to turn Labour – on some measures – into the largest party by membership in western Europe, even if his overall polling numbers are dire”.

Is Mr Robinson unable or unwilling to appreciate Corbyn’s honesty, consistency and increasingly constructive thinking, which is enthusing hundreds of thousands of British people – and many abroad?

 

Read a more balanced and informative account in the sometimes surprising Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3453111/Jeremy-Corbyn-dismisses-David-Cameron-s-EU-deal-largely-irrelevant-PM-s-Brussels-talks-wire.html

 

 

 

Disloyal shadow ministers resign – and not before time!

Now living in Jamaica, ‘african herbsman1967’, whose working experience in the Westminster village informs some of his UK-related blogs, realises that Corbyn’s biggest Achilles heel has been his former shadow cabinet.

shadow ministers resign

He continues: “The mass resignations confirmed selfishness and a complete loss of any political acumen”. 

“Given that David Cameron had just resigned on Friday and that an impending crisis in the Tory party loomed, the Labour Party’s shadow cabinet should have kept quiet and watched the meltdown in Thatcher’s party.

“But no, the Blairite and Brownite wings in the shadow cabinet resigned and took the negative headlines away from the Tory party. Marvellous.

“This Labour Party has managed to now look more of a mess than the current GOP under Donald Trump.

“No doubt the mass resignations were planned long before this weekend to force Corbyn to quit. The Brexit vote excuse is just a smokescreen. The plot to bring down Corbyn started the minute he was elected leader.

“Corbyn has shown better judgement as leader than I expected and that really surprised me. I feel that he should be open to doing more interviews with the local and international media to broaden his appeal.

“He brought thousands of new members to the Labour Party. He’s won a by-election and a Mayor of London under his brief leadership. His handling of Jo Cox’s death was mature and set the right tune.

“I also commend Corbyn for placing mental health issues at the heart of his leadership. To do all that with little support in the press and from fellow senior Labour MPs is remarkable.

“This is a real test for Corbyn to show his resilience, flexibility, acumen and leadership”.

Read the whole blog here: https://wingswithme.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/british-labours-party-kamikaze-missi