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Desertions are good for Corbyn

This is Richard House’s challenging assertion as anti-Corbyn Labour MPs deserted the party in recent days. He continues:

“It’s too easily forgotten that the deserters are the same people who never accepted Corbyn’s leadership of the party from day one, and who’ve continually done everything possible – eagerly aided by their establishment media friends – to undermine him at every turn, so making his leadership job quite impossible.

“Remember the attempted MPs’ coup led by these people in their unconstitutional attempt to get rid of Corbyn? – this was long before the Labour Party anti-Semitism hysteria had ever been heard of.

“And having failed to displace Corbyn with their spiteful coup attempt, their fall-back was to concoct a carefully choreographed plan: namely, create a hysterical (but fictional) media storm about anti-Semitism; allow it to rage for a few months; then re-kindle it (literally making it up as they went along); and finally, when the fire was raging again, use this as a baseless pretext for splitting the Labour Party so we can have another five years of heartless Tory rule. Establishment job done.

“These “courageous” people have discharged their quasi-Tory bidding very well.

“Oh, and of course it’s just a coincidence that these deserters are all virulent Remainers who’ve never accepted the democratic result of the EU referendum, and will continue to do anything possible to reverse it.”

“One thing that May and Corbyn do have in common is that at least they’re trying to stay true to the democratic result of the EU referendum.

He concludes that – rather than having to devote huge amounts of time and energy defending themselves from relentless attacks from ‘serial underminers‘ within their own party – Corbyn and his team can now spend all their time on exposing the nation’s headlong social disintegration under Tory austerity.

 

And above all “inspiring us with their stellar policy portfolio”.

 

 

 

 

o

 

Dr Richard House

Stroud, Gloucestershire

 

Source: Western Daily Press, 25 February 2019, p. 16–17

Journalism student: “Corbyn must stay and help build the post-Brexit Britain he always envisaged”

b'ham 2 eastside news

Diana Gangan is a journalism student and Investigations editor of Birmingham Eastside, a student-run news website, named runner up at the Guardian Student Media Awards 2015 in the category Best Student Website.

Lightly edited extracts from her article http://birminghameastside.com/2016/06/28/corbyn-must-stay-help-build-post-brexit-britain-always-envisaged follow:

Jez is still very much riding the wave of the ‘Corbynista’ movement as thousands of them showed their support at a rally in central London.

He stood up for his leadership position and has declared that pushing him out won’t be as easy as some right-wingers inside his party wish.

It feels like we’re back to square one, trying to open Blairites’ eyes not only to the insurmountable reality of Corbyn winning the leadership election with flying colours, but also to their infuriating refusal to understand that they are the very reason why their side lost.

Their lack of a radical, alternative vision for austerity Britain is to blame for Brexit.

But this is no time to pull the knives and Labour should know better than to throw tantrums. History won’t remember this as a Labour Party coup, but as an act of national betrayal, if the opposition doesn’t get a grip soon enough to help Britain ease in into its post-Brexit fate . . .

Except if the Blairites ‘fleeing the scenes’ are looking for a swift departure not in lights of their distrust in Corbyn’s campaign.

Maybe the answer is as simple as three words: the Chilcot report.

Unlike a Prime Minister stepping down because of ‘political incompatibilities’, Jeremy Corbyn is probably one of the fittest men to be part of the EU renegotiation process, if not even lead it.

By genuinely opposing the idea of the EU throughout his entire political career, Corbyn has a better vision of a post-Brexit Britain than Johnson or Gove.

 

 

 

Culled from ‘Anatomy of a Failed Coup in the UK Labour Party’

TeleSUR has published an article by Richard Seymour, a London-based author and broadcaster, which focusses on a plan ‘to orchestrate such media saturation of criticism and condemnation aimed at Corbyn, to create such havoc within the Labour Party, that he would feel compelled to resign’. Seymour continues:

“The tactical side of it was executed to smooth perfection, by people who are well-versed in the manipulation of the spectacle. And yet, in the event that Corbyn was not wowed by the media spectacle, not intimidated by ranks of grandees laying into him, and happy to appeal over the heads of party elites to the grassroots, their strategy disintegrated. This was not politics as they knew it”.

He explains the failure of the plan in context:

“(M)ore and more of the state’s functions were taken out of democratic control and handed over to quangos, businesses, and unelected bodies. Millions of people, no longer seeing much real choice on offer, began to boycott the electoral system. Party elites retreated into the state and into the manipulation of news cycles, having less and less to do with mass politics.

“In the context of the Labour Party, the result of this was that a generation of political leaders emerged who were experienced as special advisers, think-tankers, policy wonks and spin doctors, but had little real understanding of how to motivate activists and communicate with the broad public.

“In government, they were all too often advocates of state policy against their own popular base—tendency peaking with the Iraq war. And after years of having been embedded in the failed New Labour experiment, they were badly discredited among Labour members and among young people radicalizing in response to post-credit crunch austerity.

 JC Newcastle 2015

“Corbyn emerged in 2015 as the only leadership candidate who still understood how Labour politics was done, while also having a sense of how to fuse these methods with social media communications. And so it has proved again. The coup plotters knew all about how to manipulate old media, but they were at a loss when Corbyn stood firm, ignited his base, and thousands hit the streets in his defense, from London to Hull.

“What a strange time in British politics. The outcome of the attempted overthrow of Jeremy Corbyn is thus a hugely improbable and unexpected strengthening of the Left. Since the EU referendum result, 200,000 people have joined the Labour Party, the great majority of them supporting Jeremy Corbyn. Total membership is now approximately 600,000. The shadow Cabinet has become more left wing, more multiracial, and more female. Corbyn’s own standing, having withstood the extraordinary barrage of attacks and even some friendly fire, has emerged greatly strengthened. The coup plotters, weak and disorganized by their own miscalculations, disgraced by their links to and affinity with a discredited past, are an undignified mess”.

Richard Seymour is the author of Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics. He has a PhD from the London School of Economics, and is online editor of Salvage.

See also a review of Seymour’s book by Tom Mills: https://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/review-corbyn-strange-rebirth-radical-politics/

Read the article here: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Anatomy-of-a-Failed-Coup-in-the-UK-Labour-Party-20160707-0009.html. Our thanks to Felicity Arbuthnot for the link.

 

 

 

Jeremy Corbyn: a convincing case for ‘Remain – and Reform’ in Europe

In February Jeremy Corbyn quoted Einstein: “If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes & shoddy furniture let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas & shoddy philosophies.”

Highlights of his latest address in the EU referendum campaign follow:

corbyn2 eu rally

EU membership has guaranteed working people vital employment rights, including four weeks’ paid holiday, maternity and paternity leave, limits to working hours, protections for agency workers and health and safety in the workplace. Being in the EU has raised Britain’s environmental standards, from beaches to air quality, and protected consumers from rip-off charges.

In the coming century, we face huge challenges, as a people, as a continent and as a global community, serious and pressing issues which self-evidently require international co-operation:

  • how to deal with climate change,
  • how to address the overweening power of global corporations and ensure they pay fair taxes,
  • how to tackle cyber-crime and terrorism,
  • how to ensure we trade fairly and protect jobs and pay in an era of globalisation,
  • how to address the causes of the huge refugee movements across the world and
  • how we adapt to a world where people everywhere move more frequently to live, work and retire.

We need to make the case for reform in Europe – democratic reform to make the EU more accountable to its people

Mr Corbyn is critical of its shortcomings, from its lack of democratic accountability to the institutional pressure to deregulate or privatise public services. Europe needs to change, but that change can only come from working with allies in the EU. Changes include:

  • economic reform to end to self-defeating austerity, putting jobs and sustainable growth at the centre of European policy,
  • labour market reform to strengthen and extend workers’ rights in a real social Europe and
  • new rights for governments and elected authorities to support public enterprise and halt the pressure to privatise services.

The crisis in the steel industry

A global problem and a challenge to many European governments, the European Union – 28 countries and 520 million people – could have made us stronger, by defending our steel industries together. The European Commission did propose new tariffs on Chinese steel, but it was the UK Government that blocked these co-ordinated efforts to stop Chinese steel dumping. Germany, Italy, France and Spain have done much better at protecting their steel industries, because they acted within EU state aid rules to support their industries; whether through taking a public stake, investing in research and development, providing loan guarantees or compensating for energy costs.The jobs created under the Conservative Government are too often low skill, low pay and insecure jobs. If we harnessed Europe’s potential we could defend high skill jobs in the steel industry and in others. 

The Conservatives are committed to protecting the tax avoidance industry

The Prime Minister in 2013 personally intervened with the European Commission President to undermine an EU drive to reveal the beneficiaries of offshore trusts, and even now, in the wake of the Panama Papers, he still won’t act. On six different occasions since the beginning of last year Conservative MEPs have voted down attempts to take action against tax dodging. On Tuesday, the EU announced a step forward on country-by-country reporting. We believe we can go further. But even this modest measure was opposed by Conservative MEPs last December.

Labour has allies across Europe prepared to take on this global network of the corrupt and we will work with them to clamp down on those determined to suck wealth out of our economies and the pockets of our people.

Some argue that we need to leave the EU because the single market’s rules are driving deregulation and privatisation. They certainly need reform. But it was not the EU that privatised our railways. It was the Conservative Government of John Major and many of our rail routes are now run by other European nations’ publicly owned rail companies. They haven’t made the mistake of asset stripping their own countries.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is also a huge cause for concern, but we defeated a similar proposal before in Europe, together when it was called the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, back in 1998. Labour MEPs are rightly opposing the Investor-State Dispute Mechanism opposing any attempt to enforce privatisation on our public services, to reduce consumer rights, workplace protections or environmental standards.

Working together in the European Union is vital for tackling climate change and vital in protecting the environment we share 

Climate change is the greatest threat that humanity faces this century. And Britain cannot tackle it alone. We could have the best policies possible but unless we act together internationally, it is worthless. Labour brought in the Climate Change Act, John Prescott played a key role in getting the Kyoto Protocols agreed. Labour has led the debate within Europe.

Regulations agreed in Europe have improved Britain’s beaches and waterways and are forcing us to tackle the scandal of air pollution which will kill 500,000 people in Britain by 2025, unless we act.

Jobs and migration

We live in an increasingly globalised world. Many of us will study, work or even retire abroad at some point in our lives. Free movement has created opportunities for British people. There are nearly three-quarters of a million British people living in Spain and over two million living in the EU as a whole. Learning abroad and working abroad, increases the opportunities and skills of British people and migration brings benefits as well as challenges at home.

Failure to train enough skilled workers means we have become reliant on migration to keep our economy functioning. This is especially true of our NHS which depends on migrant nurses and doctors to fill vacancies. Enough skilled workers should be trained to stop the exploitation of migrant labour to undercut wages and invest in local services and housing in areas of rapid population growth.

There is a strong socialist case for staying in the European Union and for reform and progressive change in Europe. We need a Labour government, to stand up – at the European level – for industries and communities in Britain, to back public ownership and public services, to protect and extend workers’ rights and to work with our allies to make both Britain and Europe work better for working people.

The move to hold this referendum may have been more about managing divisions in the Conservative Party. But it is now a crucial democratic opportunity for people to have their say on our country’s future, and the future of our continent as a whole.

Left to themselves, it is clear what the main Vote Leave vision is for Britain to be the safe haven of choice for the ill-gotten gains of every dodgy oligarch, dictator or rogue corporation. They believe this tiny global elite is what matters, not the rest of us, who they dismiss as “low achievers”.

I appeal to everyone, especially young people – who will live longest with the consequences  – to make sure you are registered to vote to keep Britain in Europe this June, to build a better world engage with the world, build allies and deliver change. The EU, despite its failings, has proved itself to be a crucial international framework to do that.

 

Read the full text here

 

 

 

The IN campaign: Neena Gill & Jeremy Corbyn

neena 3 gillIn her latest newsletter, MEP Neena Gill circulates her thoughts on the forthcoming referendum on which the Labour Party stands united in its support for the EU.

She says – correctly – that the EU isn’t perfect and some changes are needed – adding they can only be made by having a seat at the table.

Jeremy Corbyn has been in Brussels to continue discussions about the issues with Labour MPs and socialists from other countries, which began after his election in 2015.

He emphasises the vital importance of the EU’s strong track record on human rights and workers’ rights and the need to remain the EU to protect these, stressing that the IN campaign will stand up for rights in the workplace, champion equality and challenge unfair discrimination.

JC meeting european socialist leaders 15Arriving for a meeting with other socialist leaders in Brussels, 2015

Corbyn also argues that the EU brought investments and jobs for workers and consumers in Britain. The European Union, in his words, is a core framework for cooperation and trade in the 21st century.

He points out that Labour’s IN campaign is quite different from the Conservatives’ as it advocates an end to EU-backed austerity regime and rules designed to enforce market competition, including parts of the giant EU-US TTIP free trade deal backed by the Cameron cabinet.

Though agreeing with Neena Gill on the need for EU reform, Jeremy Corbyn made no reference, on this occasion, to the fact that auditors have not approved the EU’s accounts for many years, but focussed on the need to ensure that it includes more democracy, safeguarding workers’ rights and stopping enforced privatisation of public services, in short: “It has to be based on the rights of people all across Europe”.

99%-3

Jeremy Corbyn added that, during a previous visit to Brussels, a socialist colleague had told him: “We are discussing the future of a continent and one English Tory has reduced it to the issue of taking away benefits from workers and children”.

A Moseley reader sent a thought-provoking email: “I’m voting to leave, by the way. Once Cameron stupidly promised a referendum the only result is that we should vote to leave or be subject to all the whims of a European Parliament. If we vote to remain we should: 

  • give the Palace of Westminster to the National Trust,
  • sack all the MPs,
  • transfer sovereign power and currency to Brussels
  • just have regional assemblies to micro-manage local issues
  • and hand over the MoD to the Germans”. 

 

2020 vision to achieve the vision for 2020?

Steve Beauchampé’s positive contribution was first published as news broke of 15,500 new members joining the Labour Party in one day40,000 since the election. Does he have clear 2020 vision? He makes a persuasive case in the Birmingham Press for a 2020 Corbyn-led Labour victory.

 Corbyn elected

The consensus amongst political analysts is that Labour can’t win power under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. After misreading May’s General Election result and then writing off Corbyn’s chances of winning his party’s subsequent leadership contest – and even underestimating the size of his eventual victory – these “experts” might yet be in for another surprise.

Four years and eight months (or 242 weeks) is a long time in politics and attempting to predict the electorate’s mood that far from the 2020 General Election is nigh impossible. For this reason alone a Corbyn-led Labour victory in 2020 should not be ruled out, but whilst the many arguments against such a scenario have been aired repeatedly, there are plenty in favour.

Nine arguments in favour of a Corbyn-led Labour victory

Relevant policies 

Importantly, for all the lazy, unsubstantiated claims that Corbyn’s politics are stuck in a 1970s/80s time warp, even a cursory analysis of his policy ideas indicates that most are highly relevant to contemporary Britain and more akin to those promoted by the social democratic parties found throughout much of western Europe…not least the rather popular SNP.

Support from a substantial cross-section of society

His arguments resonate, not particularly with hard left socialists, but if turnout at his leadership election hustings is any indication, with a substantial cross-section of society, covering all ages, genders and ethnicities, and in all parts of the Queendom, A much wider demographic in fact than any other British political party or politician can lay claim to.

A politics that has finally given them hope and a vision that they can stand behind

The Labour Party is not being taken over by a bunch of Arthur Scargill loving 1980s throwbacks, but by tens, no hundreds, of thousands of energised and passionate people, the Corbynieres, clamouring to be part of a politics that has finally given them hope and a vision that they can stand behind. Hope that a plausible alternative exists to the ideology that has created an ever-widening gap between rich and poor, reduced everything of value to the mere measure of its economic worth and systematically dismantled both the notion and actuality of public services, transferring them to the private sector who collectively make billions of pounds in profit from first paring them back and running what remains.

A political discourse already changing from moribund to exhilarating

And hope that the stifling, cosy consensus at the heart of British political life for twenty years and more might be about to break, to snap apart as arguments shut out of the mainstream find place in a political discourse that is already changing from moribund to exhilarating, just as it has in Scotland.

By altering the narrative of politics, by redefining the terms of the debate and showing long hidden or little explored possibilities, Jeremy Corbyn highlights the maxim that the trick isn’t giving people what they want, it’s giving them what they don’t yet know that they want. 

Who knows how many will align themselves with this movement in the months ahead?

Expect Labour Party membership to rise further, and with this rise the disconnection between many of the party’s senior figures and that new membership will become a chasm. And who knows how many of the 75% of those on the electoral register who rejected the Conservatives in May will be drawn in to this new Labour. Certainly, many of the 1.1million that voted Green and 3.9million that backed UKIP yet saw their cumulative votes rewarded with a mere two seats might switch allegiance to a party that at least has a chance of attaining power.

Then factor in Jeremy Corbyn’s not inconsiderable attributes of integrity, honesty and conviction.

Unlike his adversaries across the floor of the Commons (and some of those behind him) Corbyn is not wealthy (just comfortable and living fairly parsimoniously) or well connected. Nor does he socialise with business leaders, senior figures in the financial and media sectors or cosy up to party donors. Jeremy Corbyn may work at Westminster, but he is decidedly not a creature of it. Attributes that form part of his appeal, but tell nothing like the whole story.

Courteous, considered and unassuming behaviour 

At 66 years old Jeremy Corbyn can remember Harold Macmillan being Prime Minister, and with such longevity comes wisdom and experience, around twenty years more than Cameron or Osborne, Theresa May or Boris Johnson could hope to have. Resolutely politically unspun, Corbyn eschews personal attacks whilst his manner is courteous, considered and unassuming, behaviour atypical of the braying, jeering, name-calling mob mentality of British political life and parliament in particular. To his adversaries this will be disconcerting and to the general public it will be refreshing and attractive. 

An open source politics with participation and debate amongst party members

Corbyn’s approach to party differs too, rejecting the top down imposition of policies that was a hallmark of New Labour alongside its attendant pseudo-Presidential style of governance, he encourages an open source politics where participation and debate amongst party members at all levels helps determine policies. And from amongst the 16,000 volunteers who ran his campaign or the thousands more drawn to the party by his inspiration, will emerge names that we do not yet know, with ideas that we have not yet heard, to flesh out the next manifesto and add depth to his team. Because this is not simply going to be just the Jeremy Corbyn show.

The Conservatives meanwhile should be careful what they wish for. Most are euphoric, but a few sage heads within the party have cautioned against seeing Corbyn’s victory as a free pass to a decade or more of electoral success.

Exposing the Conservative’s agenda as a dogma of ultra-capitalism

Crucially, by offering a coherent and plausible alternative to the ideology of Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne and its attendant tacking to the right of what constitutes the political centre ground, Labour will throw the Conservative’s agenda into sharper definition, exposing it as a dogma of ultra-capitalism which forces a long hours, low wage economy on millions whilst viciously attacking the most vulnerable. Suddenly, the Conservatives will find their policies dissected and opposed, relentlessly and articulately.

A Labour Party headed by Liz Kendall or Yvette Cooper, by Chuka Umunna, Dan Jarvis or Tristram Hunt, chasing votes by merely offering a less extreme alternative to the Tories, could never achieve this.

By 2020 the Conservatives will have been in government for a decade, and after two five-year terms, as with many governments, the electorate might have had enough. The EU referendum may result in considerable internal upheaval for the party, and if Britain votes to leave then the credibility and political careers of both Cameron and Osborne (currently favourite to succeed the prime Minister) could be shot.

The growing possibility of a second global recession, but this time happening on the Conservative’s watch, might be equally disastrous, especially for a government heavily dependent for its electability on the perception of its’ economic competence.

With a majority of just 12, only a small dip in the Conservatives’ popularity could result in a hung parliament (although potential changes to parliamentary boundaries might bolster that majority). It’s difficult to know where the Tories might turn to should that happen; a deal with the Unionists in Northern Ireland, shored up by UKIP’s Douglas Carswell? Threadbare choices indeed.

Labour however could assemble a coalition involving (some or all of) the Liberal Democrats under the auspices of social democrat leftie Tim Farron, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the SDLP and the Greens.

If Jeremy Corbyn’s radical and so unexpected intervention can inspire and motivate those left leaning voters and shift mainstream political discourse onto ground where it is all but a stranger, and all in the face of an intensely hostile media who will cut him no slack, then the impossible might again become possible.