Making Jeremy Corbyn the Prime Minister of the U.K. would do more for the world and everyone in it than either of the two available outcomes of any recent U.S. election could have done. Here in the U.S. I always protest that I am not against elections, I think we should have one some day. Well, now we have one — only it’s across the pond.
Corbyn’s record is no secret, and you don’t need me to tell you, but I have met him and spoken at events with him, and can assure you he’s legitimate. He’s been a dedicated leader of the peace movement right through his career. He had the decency last week to point out yet again that invading and bombing countries and overthrowing governments produces terrorism; it doesn’t somehow reduce it or eliminate it or “fight” it.
Britain is the key co-conspirator in U.S. wars. One real-life Love Actually refusal to bow before Emperor Donald, and the facade of super-hero law enforcement will begin to crumble, revealing a rogue serial killer standing naked in his golden hotel suite.
The world needs an actual popular elected response to U.S. aggression against the world’s poor and the earth’s climate. A ho-hum housebroken Frenchman who’s not a fascist isn’t the same thing. Corbyn supports successful Scandinavian socialism, demilitarization, environmental action, and aid to those in need. He works within the government and is held back by his party. But he doesn’t lie. He doesn’t sell out. He makes the case for wise and popular policies as powerfully as he’s able.
Want people to believe representative government is compatible with capitalism? Want well-behaved voters the world over to imagine that the corporate media can actually be overcome? Stop grasping at Congressional candidate gun-nuts who happen to be Democrats. Stop telling vicious lies about Russia in an attempt to travel back in time and cause a corporate militarist hack to win the White House. We actually have an election between an actually good candidate and one of the usual monstrosities we’ve become so used to.
Contact every young person you can who can vote in this election. Contact every possible organization and entertainer who might help spread the word. Get every Hollywood star who ever tried to rock the vote but didn’t have anyone to promote who people actually wanted to vote for to notice this golden opportunity. Telling young Brits to get out and vote for Jeremy will do more to spread democracy than destroying Syria, starving a million children in Yemen, or occupying Afghanistan for another 50 years.
Young people, sadly, have seen through our scams. They’ve heard us cry wolf too many times. Yet if you ask them who they would have voted for, they tell you the better candidate. Now here’s an actually great candidate, and their televisions are telling them that they are powerless to do anything. And they refuse to see through that scam. You have to help them see through it! You have to find somebody hip enough to help them! Young British people are our last hope, and it’s your job to encourage them.
We could have a world in which a leading wealthy “democracy” has a government that responds to majority opinion. We could have a world in which London says to Washington: “You want another war, we won’t help you pretend it’s legal. In fact, we’re drafting a brief for the prosecution and will see you in court.”
The people of the United States need that fig leaf torn away, need the pretense that mass murder is legal and necessary ended in our own minds. The peace, prosperity, sustainability, and friendship awaiting us is too much for us to even imagine. What might help us do it, what might make us believe that “hope” and “change” and other concepts we’ve almost come to despise could actually be possible would be making Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister.
People in Iraq, Libya and Yemen are desperate for strong and stable government. Theresa May is partly why they don’t have it, says Steve Beauchampé.
Serious examination of Jeremy Corbyn’s activism shows him to have been on the right side of history and ahead of mainstream public opinion time and again, standing up for anti-racist and anti-apartheid causes, refugees and asylum seekers, gender equality, the LGBT community, environmental issues, animal rights and the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and self-expression long before such things gained widespread acceptance.
Corbyn’s attempts to achieve conflict resolution through dialogue with Irish republicans may at times have been naive, but were his actions so dissimilar to the approach adopted around the same time by MI5 and later by John Major, both of whom ultimately realised that a decades-old conflict, whose death toll was inexorably rising, could not be won solely by military means?
But whilst Jeremy Corbyn’s peripheral rôle in the republican cause has been (and continues to be) pored over and examined by his opponents half a lifetime later, the record and judgement of Theresa May with regard to much more recent UK military interventions requires equally forensic scrutiny given her claims to be a fit and proper person to lead Britain.
History’s judgement on this aspect of Theresa May is unlikely to be generous. After first being elected an MP in 1997, she voted in favour of the 2003 invasion of Iraq (having already supported the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in the frenzied post-9/11 atmosphere). Like so many of her colleagues on the opposition Conservative benches at the time, May failed to hold the Blair government to account despite the widely expressed caution of many experts over both the reasons for going to war and the lack of a post-conflict plan to stabilise Iraq. Instead, May limply and dutifully gave her support. What followed for Iraqis has been almost fifteen years of societal breakdown throughout large parts of this once architectural, cultural and scholastic gem of a nation, with swathes of land occupied until recently by Islamic State and a fracturing of the country along religious, sectarian and tribal lines in a way that will be hard, if not impossible, to heal.
By 2011, and as the then Home Secretary in the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition government, Theresa May backed the Anglo/Franco-led military action in Libya, which despite its billing as merely creating a no-fly zone to protect civilians and rebel fighters, mainly located in the east of the country, quickly escalated into regime change, culminating in the overthrow and lynching of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Again, as a senior government minister Theresa May ignored warnings that historic tribal divisions, the absence of a strong and stable government or a long-term strategic plan would quickly fracture the country. Six years on and Libya exists in little more than name only. There is no central government, armed militias and feudal warlords hold considerable power, whilst every international Islamist terror group of substance now boasts a flourishing branch office in the country from where they increasingly export their murderous ideologies. And every month, if not every week, scores of desperate migrants, people who long ago lost all control of their lives, drown off the Libyan coast whilst seeking something better than the hell that their lives have spiralled into.
Learning nothing from history and the consequences of her own actions, in August 2013 Theresa May supported Prime Minster David Cameron’s unsuccessful attempt to persuade MPs to back UK air strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The absence yet again of a coherent post-conflict strategy was sufficient for Labour leader Ed Miliband to refuse his party’s support to Cameron, who narrowly lost a House of Commons vote on the issue. The main beneficiaries of such an intervention, with its intention to downgrade Assad’s military capabilities (if not to remove him from power), would likely have been the plethora of extremist groups engaged in the Syrian civil war, principal amongst them the then nascent Islamic State.
Since becoming Prime Minister Theresa May has continued the supply of British made weapons and military expertise to Saudi Arabia for use in its war crime-strewn bombing campaign in Yemen, a campaign which has killed countless numbers of civilians and is fast creating yet another failed state in the region.
Iraq, Libya and increasingly Yemen: countries where British military interventions have created power vacuums swiftly filled by a combination of anarchy, lawlessness, violence and economic depravation, with catastrophic consequences and relentless, unending misery for millions of civilians.
Theresa May supported each and every one of these military interventions. Jeremy Corbyn opposed all of them. So whose judgement would you trust?
May 29th 2017
Written for The BirminghamPress.com, to be online shortly. It Is also available here: https://politicalcleanup.wordpress.com/2017/05/29/general-election-2017-peace-policies-and-foreign-follies/
Corbyn well-wishers will have noted his increasingly effective performance on Prime Minister’s Questions and the enthusiastic crowds continuing to attend meetings held in different parts of the country.
Standing ovation at head teachers’ conference
“Enjoying life in the political trenches” (O’Grady)
A reader whose name I carelessly forgot to record, draws attention to an article by Sean O’Grady in the Independent. Amongst different poll results we read O’Grady’s reference to an earlier article recording Jeremy Corbyn’s party as rising by four points in the last week to 30% support (Opinium below).
A YouGov poll (below) between 27 and 28 April found that Labour was up two points to 31%; last week a YouGov poll gave the Tories a 23-point lead, showing that the Conservatives dropped by 10 points in the polls in the first week of the election campaign.
O’Grady believes that Mrs May is underestimating Jeremy Corbyn and “digging up old stuff” doesn’t matter much to the voters of 2017: “They already know he’s an old leftie. All it does is show he sticks to his guns and, in the case of talking to the IRA, he got there a decade before John Major and the Conservatives did. Man of Principle and all that”.
He says that the more exposure Corbyn and Farron have on TV, the more the voters will see that they are not the idiots the press tells them they are and adds that the Labour vote may well be more resilient in the North and London than May and her advisers thought: “London is firmly pro-EU and vast swaths of the North are still not convinced the Conservatives are for them. Across the country, poorer pensioners – still certain to vote – will not like what the Tories are telling them, or hinting, about the triple lock on the state pension . . . They need a responsive NHS too”.
May’s repetition of the “strong and stable leadership” phrase is also attracting derision, he notes – “a pretty silly soundbite” – and moves on to the subject of tactical voting:
“There are small signs of it now, especially among EU Remainers, and in the Green Party which is even standing down in some areas for Lib Dems or Labour. Ukippers are doing the same for the Tories, though some of their protest vote may just stay home next time. The net effect of all this is highly unpredictable, but tactical voting by Labour and Lib Dem supporters was one of things that punished the Tories so badly in 1997”. O’Grady thinks that “under first past the post it could leave the Conservatives at a net disadvantage. It will see Sir Vince Cable back in the Commons at any rate, and push the Tories’ hoped-for landslide back . . . The country doesn’t want one-party rule that doesn’t reflect or heal its divisions. May’s rhetoric goes against that grain and is alienating potential support”. O’Grady ends:
“(T)he Conservatives’ simplistic messages do not match the greater sophistication of the voters and the new media landscape. May and her shadowy PR advisers are just not as good at politics or as modern as Thatcher and Saatchi were back then. Maggie ran a Blitzkrieg campaign, her fast-moving tactics and policy arguments leaving her underprepared enemies foundering: Theresa is trying to do the same through an interminably dull trench war of attrition, lobbing the same old slogans across no mans land into the electoral mud, missing targets and doing little damage after the first bombardment. Her enemies have been given all the time they need to match her organisation and regroup, and they enjoy life in the political trenches”.
Nigel Nelson’s understated reaction to the polls: “If a week is a long time in politics then six weeks until the General Election is an eternity. And there is plenty of time to be surprised by the outcome”.
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.
A Daniel come to judgment? Felicity Arbuthnot draws our attention to an article by Tess Finch-Lees, who believes that the Corbyn coup wasn’t staged because Blairites don’t think Jeremy Corbyn could win the next election – it was because they fear he could. She continues:
“A Corbyn win would be an unequivocal endorsement of his progressive Labour and yet another outright rejection of Blair’s right wing New Labour/Thatcherite agenda.
“As chair of the Labour In campaign, Alan Johnson’s line up of pale, male and stale spokespeople failed to inspire.
“Producing the toxic trio though (Blair, Brown and Campbell), was the final nail in the coffin”.
Ten thousand people gathered in Parliament Square last Monday to show Corbyn their support. Amongst them were junior doctors, there to reciprocate the unequivocal support Corbyn showed them during their months of bullying by Jeremy Hunt.
The Blairites determined to oust Corbyn from the outset, even though:
- he won the leadership with a landslide victory;
- the membership rejected their right wing austerity agenda, which lost Labour the last election;
- and rejected the “Tory light” leadership candidates, who failed to vote against proposals to abolish binding child poverty targets, cutting child tax credits, employment allowance and housing benefit for young people.
Tess ends by saying: “When all Labour’s guns should be pointing at the industrial incompetence of the Tory wreckers, the Blairites are plotting to oust their own leader. Someone whom even they agree is an honourable, decent man. They want to replace him with a Teflon Tony or a PR Dave . . . If ever there was a time for principled leaders, like Jeremy Corbyn, it’s now”.
Read the whole article here:
- academy conversion,
- foundation hospitals,
- the Iraq war,
- tuition fees
- and detention measures,
Blairite MPs have offered their own warped form of ‘principled rebellion’ – airing their anti-Corbyn views in the press and decimating their party. This is not the sort of rebellion Corbyn ever stood for.
The Times reports that in Pienaar’s Politics Louise Haigh, a Shadow Cabinet office minister with an eye to the future, came to the fore, distancing herself from the Labour leader: “I would not have anything to do with Stop the War. I would have advised him not to [go],” she told Pienaar’s Politics on Radio 5 Live.
However, Richard Burgon, the shadow City minister (below right), commented that he thought Stop the War had “got it right” by marching against UK intervention in Iraq and Libya.
A for effort: Times rumour
There are ‘fears’ that Mr Corbyn could be preparing to have Ken Livingstone ennobled and ‘swept’ into his shadow cabinet. A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: “There have been no discussions on peerages or names.”
However, despite the best efforts of media and politicians, support for Corbyn is increasing by clapometer standards – and some polls
On Bath’s Question Time TV programme, the audience enthusiastically applauded Jeremy Corbyn. When asked by presenter David Dimbleby whether “this audience is entirely supporting Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party”, attendees at the weekly politics programme clapped and cheered enthusiastically.
Cambridge Professor of Classics, Mary Beard spoke for many. She said that Corbyn had behaved with a “considerable degree of dignity” against claims he faces a hostile media: “Quite a lot of what Corbyn says I agree with, and I rather like his different style of leadership. I like hearing argument not soundbites. If the Labour Party is going through a rough time, and I’m sure it is rough to be in there, it might actually all be to the good. He might be changing the party in a way that would make it easier for people like me to vote for.”
The thinking public showed their support at this and other events and only a minority of Labour members – 32% – supported airstrikes against ISIS in Syria and only 30% of members and supporters told YouGov in a survey of LabourList readers that they support airstrikes. Corbyn’s approval ratings among Labour voters, including those who are not members of registered supporters, is at 56%.
As Liam Young says, “It’s time to get real. Jeremy’s performance during the last PMQs was powerful and statesmanlike and it is important to remember that he is the chosen leader, having taken more than 60% of the votes in leadership elections. With his clear principles, he is the total opposite of Cameron’s hot air. Each PMQs session goes further towards proving that to the British public”.
On New Year’s Day, the Times reports that its latest State of the Nation YouGov poll (also favourable to David Cameron) found Jeremy Corbyn looking more secure as Labour leader, with the proportion who think that he should step down before the election dropping from 53% in September to 47%. Among Labour voters 58% want him to stay and 33% want him to step down.
As a Moseley reader observes: “If Corbyn hangs in there, there’s a good chance the Tories will have annoyed so many people by 2020 that Labour wins a remarkable victory by stimulating enough Corbyn admirers to actually get out and vote”.
The headline in the Times (Dec 21) was followed by the apparently obligatory rightwing mainstream political rehearsal of well-worn flimsy criticisms (national anthem etc) and his hostile colleagues. Ms Hardman continues (positive extracts only):
“(Jeremy Corbyn) is building up his power on the party’s national executive committee and speaks of giving party members a greater say in policy development, which would weaken his parliamentary critics still further. Even his media team is trying to be proactive with the press, rather than responding to bad coverage. And he has settled into a relationship with his party that could last all the way to the next election . . . ”
“Mr Corbyn’s opponents in his own party — and they haven’t diminished in number — are completely at sea. They wander about parliament looking confused and have little to say other than that they don’t know what’s going to happen next, and that they’re still rather despondent. They are fighting the Corbyn surge as weakly as they fought the leadership campaign this summer.
Conservatives and Labour Party ‘centrist opponents’ now talk of losing two or three general elections before members accept the need for Labour to move back to the centre. (! ? *)
Even the adversarial Jim Pickard, Chief Political Correspondent (FT: Dec 20) admits that Jeremy Corbyn’s views energised some 250,000 Labour grass roots members: who are still enthusiastically behind him, according to recent polling . . . commenting that Mr Corbyn remains “positive and relaxed”, in the words of his spokesman and that rumours of ill health (where?) have been dismissed as malicious.
So Mr Corbyn is stronger 100 days after his election . . .
Extracts from the Plastic Hippo site:
After all this time it seems that it is the electorate that decides the outcome of an election and not the media, the chattering classes floating high above us in the Westminster bubble or even this new-fangled social media malarkey.
It is outrageous that voters should overturn the decision of political commentators, pundits, hacks, pollsters and generously funded spin doctors.
This is a situation, my friends, that threatens national security and the very future of parliamentary democracy. We need Gulags to treat these mentally unstable deviants and re-educate them to vote correctly . . .
The media and all the other political parties and some elements of the Parliamentary Labour Party styled the by election as a grand “referendum” on an unelectable Labour leader and informed us with certainty that the weird, beardy terrorist sympathiser would be history within days. The character assassination of Corbyn was unrelenting as vultures circled a dead man crawling.
With some Labour MPs putting much more effort into deposing their own leader than they ever did to remove Cameron, his end seemed inevitable
It is true that the debate on airstrikes over Syria displayed parliament at its best. Sombre, considered and, for the most part, dignified, the contributions from MPs from all parties gave an alternative to the usual Punch and Judy shouting match.
Corbyn, after defying the party whip on so many occasions, offered his MPs a free vote; the other parties did not
The new rules of engagement in politics clearly state that the words “our brave” must be used in advance of the words “armed forces” and the words “barbaric” and “death cult” must be used before and after any reference to “IS/ISIL/ISIS/Daesh”. Failure to do so is taken as clear evidence of terrorist sympathies. Similarly, any reference to Jeremy Corbyn must be prefaced by a scornful yet dismissive put down.
But so far Corbyn sounds like he is talking quite a bit of sense
It may be sacrilegious to suggest but so far Corbyn sounds like he is talking quite a bit of sense. He said in an interview that Labour MPs should listen to constituents, vote with their conscience and not hide behind a party whip.
Yet again, his words were deliberately and maliciously misinterpreted and headlines and sound bites went along the lines of: “Corbyn threatens Labour MPs” – “No hiding place for rebels who defy Comrade Jeremy”. It all became rather silly.
Those that spoke in favour of bombing did so with compassion and more than a little conscience. Hilary Benn in particular delivered an astonishingly powerful speech supporting the motion but his conclusion, sadly, missed the basic premise.
The basic premise is that without a clear strategy, cogent tactical objectives and any thought given to an achievable exit plan, bombing will escalate the problem and will result in further atrocities
The oratory was brilliant but the logic is flawed. Benn, and others in the Labour Party, have been fooled by Cameron and have signed up for yet another intractable and endless Middle Eastern war.
There are cynics that might suggest that some Labour MPs did not vote for bombing Syria but instead voted for bombing Corbyn, but that is clearly barking mad Trotsky propaganda
The claims and counter-claims of bullying, harassment, intimidation and threats from various factions within the Labour Party has turned the news agenda away from joining in with an air war into a story about the divisions within Labour.
ISIL and the Tories are delighted
The chattering classes were as wide of the mark as a bomb landing on a school rather than a terrorist training camp. The narrative has undergone a suddenly change and now the media talk of “local issues” and a “popular candidate” rather than a judgement on Corbyn . . . Earlier in the week the BBC helpfully pointed out that 25% of the Oldham electorate were of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin and our intrepid reporter stated that they were worried about having their state benefits removed. That must have been a very thorough survey.
When the result was declared the BBC inaccurately reported a reduced majority and the next day ran three voxpops from Oldham voters complaining about Corbyn – the Plastic Hippo then debunks this, giving the stats seen on this graphic:
He ends: “Only a complete fool would attempt to tell the public what to think or to tell them how to vote and only a complete fool assumes that the public are inherently foolish and therefore easily fooled.
“As the current government continues to treat us with contempt, a credible opposition is needed more than ever and the squabbling egos in the Labour Party need to be reminded that unity is strength . . .”
Read in full here:
- Or see: https://twitter.com/theplastichippo
- Or re NHS and Jeremy Hunt (apart from the last sentence) https://theplastichippo.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/trust-nhs/#more-4917: “When it comes to trust, and I might be alone in this, I would prefer to have a qualified medical professional with years of experience wielding the scalpel than some shifty politician who seems only capable of opening brown envelopes from Murdoch, the drug companies and private health insurance corporations. We must all join together in the sincere wish that Jeremy Hunt does not fall ill and require the attention of NHS staff. They, or course, would provide the very best of medical care and do all in their powers to make him well again just as they do for the rest of us.”