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Wanda Lozinska’s reflections on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party

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Who is to blame for Labour’s current problems? Not Jeremy Corbyn, but selfish, self-indulgent right-wing New Labour MPs refusing to do their handsomely paid jobs and continually undermining him – fuelling the flagrant press and TV who are biassed against him, serving a privileged Establishment terrified at the prospect of a Corbyn victory putting an end to their greedy, tax-evading ways.

Blair and right-wing Labour MPs ‘took over’ the party’ in the 1990s, eventually rendering it indistinguishable from the Tories. Labour lost five million core voters – a major reason for the 2010 and 2015 defeats.

Corbyn in York, May 2017

Many are now returning to Labour as they see Corbyn bringing Labour back to the Party’s original values, in a forward-looking way. Corbyn has attracted at least 350,000 new members, which at approaching 600,000 makes Labour Europe’s largest political party.

He has inspired many people, young and old – people with no previous interest in politics, to whom he relates, unlike previous Labour leaders. All are far more likely to vote for a Corbyn-led party.

Non-voters, mostly the poorest in our society, felt the previous Labour Party would be of no help to them. Corbyn is determined that everyone should have a better life.

In Corbyn’s first nine months as leader, Labour provided strong and effective opposition, forcing numerous embarrassing U-turns, defeating the Tories at least 22 times and preventing some of their worst excesses.

A Corbyn-led Labour Party represents ordinary people, ‘the many’, the 99% and won’t give tax breaks to multi-millionaires whilst children go hungry and ever-more working people have to resort to food banks.

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Wanda urges all to get behind him with all the support we can muster, to help this good man deliver his vision for a better, kinder, fairer and more equal society, where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

 

 

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Time for change: junk the Anglo-Saxon model* in 2018

The FT reports that senior executives at several of the largest US banks have privately told the Trump administration they feared the prospect of a Labour victory if Britain were forced into new elections.

It then referred to a report by analysts at Morgan Stanley arguing that a Corbyn government would mark the “most significant political shift in the UK” since Margaret Thatcher’s election and may represent a “bigger risk than Brexit” to the British economy. It predicted snap elections next year, arguing that the prospect of a return to the polls “is much more scary from an equity perspective than Brexit”.

Jeremy Corbyn gave ‘a clear response’ to Morgan Stanley in a video (left) published on social media reflecting anti-Wall Street rhetoric from some mainstream politicians in the US and Europe, saying: “These are the same speculators and gamblers who crashed our economy in 2008 . . . could anyone refute the headline claim that bankers are indeed glorified gamblers playing with the fate of our nation?”

He warned global banks that operate out of the City of London that he would indeed be a “threat” to their business if he became prime minister.

He singled out Morgan Stanley, the US investment bank, for particular criticism, arguing that James Gorman, its chief executive, was paying himself a salary of millions of pounds as ordinary British workers are “finding it harder to get by”.

Corbyn blamed the “greed” of the big banks and said the financial crisis they caused had led to a “crisis” in the public services: “because the Tories used the aftermath of the financial crisis to push through unnecessary and deeply damaging austerity”.

The FT points out that donors linked to Morgan Stanley had given £350,000 to the Tory party since 2006 and Philip Hammond, the chancellor, had met the bank four times, most recently in April 2017. The bank also had strong ties to New Labour: “Alistair Darling, a Labour chancellor until 2010, has served on the bank’s board since 2015. Jeremy Heywood, head of Britain’s civil service, was a managing director at Morgan Stanley, including as co-head of UK investment banking, before returning to public service in 2007”.

A step forward?

In a December article the FT pointed out that the UK lacks the kind of community banks or Sparkassen that are the bedrock of small business lending in many other countries adding: “When Labour’s John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, calls for a network of regional banks, he is calling attention to a real issue”. And an FT reader commented, “The single most important ethos change required is this: publish everyone’s tax returns”:

  • In Norway, you can walk into your local library or central council office and see how much tax your boss paid, how much tax your councillor paid, how much tax your politician paid.
  • This means major tax avoidance, complex schemes, major offshoring, etc, is almost impossible, because it combines morality and social morals with ethics and taxation.
  • We need to minimise this offshoring and tax avoidance; but the people in control of the information media flow, plus the politicians, rely on exactly these methods to increase their cash reserves.

But first give hope to many by electing a truly social democratic party.

Is the rainbow suggesting a new party logo?

*the Anglo-Saxon model

 

 

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Michael Meacher: a loss felt by the reviving, regenerating Labour Party

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The Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has released a statement paying tribute to Mr Meacher, whom he first met in the early 1970s. He said Mr Meacher had urged him to stand in the leadership contest and given him “huge support”, adding: “He was a valued friend and commentator utterly committed to democracy in our party and movement, as well as in the wider community”.

Green MP Caroline Lucas said Mr Meacher was a “great politician, championing climate action”. She would be remembering his work as Minister of State for the Environment for six years, gaining a fine reputation, well-respected as a skilled negotiator and a minister with full command of his brief. He helped John Prescott to clinch the Kyoto agreement to limit carbon emissions in 1997 and was one of the first in Government to come to grips with the issue of global warming.

As recently as September, on a sister site, we published a summary of Michael Meacher’s analysis of the ‘Corbyn earthquake’

He had noted in a recent Global Research article , that after hi-jacking the party down a route utterly alien to its founders, in order to ingratiate himself with corporate and financial leaders on their terms . . . Tony Blair appears not to understand why the Corbyn earthquake is happening or the passionate resentment which he and New Labour created: 

  • by laying the foundations for the financial crash of 2008-9 and making the squeezed middle and brutally punished poor pay for it,
  • by aligning New Labour alongside the Tories in pursuit of austerity from 2010 onwards, though Osborne’s policy (to shrink the State) has been unsuccessful in reducing the deficit,
  • by taking Britain without any constitutional approval into an illegal was with Iraq,
  • by introducing into politics the hated regime of spin and manipulation,
  • by indulging now his squalid lust for money-making
  • and by clearly having no more overriding desire than to strut the world with Bush.

He asked three searching questions

Why did he urge the Blairite MPs to support the government’s welfare bill which opposed every tenet of the real Labour Party?

Why did he push for privatisation of the NHS and other public services?

Why did his acolyte Mandelson say “New Labour is “relaxed at people becoming filthy rich”, and proved it by letting inequality balloon to even higher heights than under Thatcher?

And ended: “He has a lot to learn . . . “ 

 

We hope that the result of the forthcoming by-election will reflect the support and hope generated by the new Labour Party leader.

 

Read the whole article here: http://www.globalresearch.ca/tony-blair-is-living-in-a-state-of-deluded-denial/5473462

Sir Simon Jenkins: Jeremy Corbyn’s straight talking on Trident should be applauded

Christine writes: “I was horrified to hear interviews on BBC yesterday, in which reporters were talking about Trident as if it is a weapon that can be used. I guess we grew up under the threat of a nuclear war and today’s generation are no longer aware of all the dangers associated with it. Thank goodness the Guardian has redressed the balance.”

We followed this up and found the Jenkins article.

Highlights:

simon jenkinsAn end to Britain’s nuclear arsenal has been an article of faith to most Labour supporters for a generation. It has also been common currency of most defence analysts for almost as long.

The sole reason for Trident surviving the Blair government’s first defence review (on whose lay committee I sat) was the ban on discussing it imposed by the then defence secretary, George Robertson, in 1997.

I can recall no head of the army and no serious academic strategist with any time for the Trident missile. It was a great hunk of useless weaponry. It was merely a token of support for an American nuclear response, though one that made Britain vulnerable to a nuclear exchange.

No modern danger, such as from terrorism, is deterred by Trident (any more than Galtieri had been in the Falklands or Saddam in Iraq). But the money was spent and the rest of the defence budget had to suffer constant cuts – and soldiers left ill-equipped – to pay for it.

nuclear weapons location scotlandFor decades the Labour party lacked the courage of its own convictions on nuclear weapons and the courage to confront the industry lobby behind Trident. Gordon Brown openly backed Trident simply as job-creation for Scotland.

While the missiles come from America and their use without American permission is inconceivable, a decision on the related submarine replacement programme is due next year. It will have nothing to do with national defence. Talk about “ultimate deterrents” might as well apply to any Armageddon weapon, bacteriological or chemical.

Trident is about diplomatic clout, global posturing, domestic grandstanding and huge sums of public expenditure.

  • This is precisely the kind of issue on which Corbyn’s straight talking might be thought to turn over a new leaf.
  • He might break with New Labour’s craven appeasement of the industrial lobbies and log-rollers.

colin cowell nuclearIt is sad that his party colleagues, not one of whom can seriously believe in Trident, feel obliged to oppose him on this issue, just so Labour can seem tough on defence. Jenkins suggests that perhaps Corbyn should talk to a soldier.

We suggest that he may well have done so and have watched the video by Colin Powell, former US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, left. More in this article.

 

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.