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Jeremy Corbyn spineless? Feedback welcomed!

A Moseley resident draws attention to an article by Peter Oborne (left), recalling that Jeremy Corbyn’s policies struck a chord with some voters as he cut the Tories’ Commons majority in the 2017 General Election. These included the intention to impose tougher wealth taxes, to renationalise great swathes of the country’s public utilities, to cancel our Trident nuclear defence system and to introduce rent controls.

He added: “Above all, they saw a man who stuck to his principles, unlike David Cameron and Tony Blair who they regarded as snake-oil salesmen . . . I believe that voters were right to admire Jeremy Corbyn back then”.

Oborne expressed later disappointment: “He’s sat on the fence for so long that the iron has entered his soul, as early 20th-century PM David Lloyd George once said of an opponent. . . Rather than being too Left-wing, I’m convinced Corbyn is not radical enough. Very occasionally we get a reminder of his old passionate commitment to Left-wing politics”:

  • He has been outspoken in his opposition to U.S. warmongering in the Persian Gulf against Iran
  • He is the only frontline British politician to condemn India’s illegal clampdown in Kashmir

Has Corbyn been “spineless and far too willing to change his mind?”

Oborne notes that in 2013 Corbyn (right) was one of a dozen Labour MPs who voted in the Commons against spending seed money on HS2 high-speed rail project. But then he changed his mind and voted for its construction. The following year, Labour’s election manifesto supported the new link.

Less cogent is his criticism of Corbyn because in the 1975 referendum, he voted for Britain to leave the EU’s predecessor, the Common Market and in the 2016 referendum, he changed his mind and campaigned for the UK to stay. The writer believes that this is a perfectly reasonable attitude, shared by many, because:

  • the EU has seen peace between its member states, despite their history,
  • poorer regions have received funding,
  • many of the EU’s environmental policies have been beneficial
  • and the economies of member states have become so closely interwoven that a break would cause serious and prolonged disruption to the British economy.

Oborne continues: “But U-turn Jeremy then supported a Commons amendment in January demanding that we stay in the EU for longer and then called for a permanent customs union and close alignment to the single market . . . and now his Labour party wants a second referendum”

Towards the end he writes: “Next month will mark (Corbyn’s) fourth year in the job and it looks more and more as if he has flunked that chance. His influence is waning by the day. On October 31, with Brexit, this country faces one of the most important peacetime decisions for generations. It will be the last proper chance for Corbyn to show leadership”.

 

 

 

 

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Two readers send Jeremy Corbyn a wish-list

Labour’s support has grown because of Corbyn’s policies based on peace, respect and our shared humanity. And this vision goes beyond national boundaries to his vision of how we relate to the rest of the world. No longer Blair’s ‘war-fighting nation’, ‘punching above its weight’, but a decent part of a shared community of nations.

 

The wish-list: spot the contradictions!

  • scrap Trident,
  • scrap HS2 and replace with local rail infrastructure projects, scrap metro extensions where they take space used by buses,
  • scrap government funding of Hinkley Point B,
  • introduce a financial transactions tax,
  • increase corporation tax,
  • increase income tax for those at the top,
  • build more council houses,
  • stop funding private landlords with public money,
  • scrap the public funding of free schools,
  • allow local government to introduce investment bonds
  • increase VAT to 25%,
  • reduce corporation tax,
  • keep income tax at current levels,
  • close 10 universities and
  • add more bands to council tax and revalue properties sensibly.

Can you add to this?

 

 

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“Corbyn’s policies based on peace, respect and our shared humanity”

Kate Hudson observes that the outcome of the general election marks a significant shake-up in British politics and a surge in support for qualitatively different policies:

“It is clear that the narrative of investment in homes, health, education and jobs, has been very popular. In fact, it has led to Labour’s first increase in seats since 1997 and its biggest increase in the share of the vote since 1945”.

She views the election as a significant shift towards the politics of hope, peace, inclusivity, justice and equality.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s long – standing opposition to nuclear weapons, and his personal opposition to Trident replacement, did not deter millions of people from voting for him. Indeed the likelihood is that many – particularly young people – have voted for him precisely because he opposes war, intervention and weapons of mass destruction.

“Support for Trident replacement is negligible amongst the younger generation and it is clear that the narrative of investment in homes, health, education and jobs, has been very popular. In fact, it has led to Labour’s first increase in seats since 1997 and its biggest increase in the share of the vote since 1945”.

The right wing of the Labour Party, and a small but powerful section of the trade union movement, have ‘peddled the myth’ that Labour needs to look ‘strong on defence’ to win – and that this means supporting Trident replacement.

But, Kate believes, support for the party has surged because it has a radical vision of a different society, and because everyone knows that Jeremy Corbyn does not support Trident replacement. When he first became leader, he commissioned an extensive Defence Review throughout the Labour Party. That review has been shelved – because it showed the extent of anti-Trident opinion within the party?

She calls for that review to be published and debated at the next Labour Party conference: “This issue must not be kept off the agenda any longer”. There is no popular mandate for a Tory security policy, or a Tory-lite security policy pushed on the Labour party by a minority of pro-nuclear forces that are living in the past.  Those trade unions that have put unreasonable pressure on Jeremy to keep Trident are urged to change:

“The way for them to secure and extend high quality, well-paid jobs is to support Jeremy’s policy on defence diversification. Rather than shunning this initiative they need to work with politicians and industry to develop a diversification plan, as part of a national industrial strategy that will secure their jobs without holding the rest of the country over a nuclear barrel”.

As she points out, there is now strong public backing for industrial planning and investment and this needs to go into sustainable industrial production to meet public needs, for energy, housing and public resources, not weapons of mass destruction.

Labour’s support has grown because of Corbyn’s policies based on peace, respect and our shared humanity. And this vision goes beyond national boundaries to his vision of how we relate to the rest of the world. No longer Blair’s ‘war-fighting nation’, ‘punching above its weight’, but a decent part of a shared community of nations.

Read her article here: http://www.cnduk.org/images/stories/Summer_2017.pdf

Kate Hudson,  British political activist and academic, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)

 

 

 

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Why can’t Corbyn be a moderate like Kim Jong-Un? Steel satire (or irony?) at its best.

https://twitter.com/mrmarksteel

ms corbyn policies 2

This link takes readers to Mark Steel’s article in the Independent, but the small ‘i’ Independent has a crisper version. Below is an amalgam of the two.

nuclear buttonWe knew Jeremy Corbyn was mad, but now we know he’s psychotic. It turns out he won’t press the button to annihilate cities in a nuclear holocaust. How could anyone be that mentally unstable?

Corbyn revealed himself as a danger to us all by saying quietly “no”, in response to a calm and measured radio presenter yelling “Would you be prepared to press the button?” at him.

This should be a test in institutions for the criminally insane, to check whether an inmate should be released back into the community. If they suggest that, on balance, they wouldn’t obliterate a geopolitical region in radioactive firestorms slaughtering millions of civilians and rendering a continent uninhabitable for 50 billion years, they should go back in a straitjacket like Hannibal Lecter. 

This is one more consequence of Labour choosing an extremist as a leader. It’s such a shame they didn’t select a moderate who would be prepared to press the button, such as Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader.

The shadow Defence Secretary Maria Eagle said Corbyn’s answer “wasn’t helpful”, and you can see why she was so shocked by it.

He sprung this idea of opposing Trident on his party with no prior warning – except for a lifetime of vocal support for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and campaigning to be Labour leader on the policy of opposing Trident.

He would have come across as far more trustworthy had he said: “Having spent my life opposing Trident, of course I’ll press the button.

“’ll do it now by practising on Weymouth, if you like.”

Now we’ve established that the country would be in terrible danger without Trident, the biggest worry is that only a few countries have nuclear missiles at all. All those places must be living in constant terror. Not only should we renew Trident, we should make extra Tridents, for all the countries that don’t have them, starting with Iceland and Vanuatu, or we’ll never be able to relax.

But the main reason we must keep making weapons that could blow up the planet is to preserve jobs.

The Conservative Party is especially anxious about this, which you can understand, because for the past 40 years it thought about little else apart from making sure everyone has a job.

nagasaki bomb effectBut, together, we can all address Corbyn’s difficulties. Because as with any mental health issue, maybe his problems can be resolved with therapy. An analyst could show him film of Hiroshima exploding, and ask in a soothing voice:

“Why do you feel uneasy about firing missiles 100 times more powerful than that? Is it because you had an argument with your father?”

Then he could be gently coaxed back to rational behaviour. He could start by injecting kittens with radiation, then spray plutonium around a school until the happy day when he answers a question about pressing the button by screaming “yes, yes, YES” like decent, normal, moderate people.

Only when he’s learned to shout “I WANT TO PRESS THE BUTTON AND MAKE EVERYONE’S SKIN DISSOLVE” should he be let free to mix safely with his fellow citizens.

Read more:  Jeremy Corbyn says ‘nuclear weapons didn’t do US much good on 9/11’

A cordial message from the leader of the Mebyon Kernow party

In a message on the party website, as positive as the open letter from the Greens’ Caroline Lucas, Dick Cole (below right) also offers constructive advice:

dick cole 5Jeremy Corbyn’s overwhelming victory in the Labour leadership contest has been widely welcomed by progressive political parties across the United Kingdom.

The SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon has congratulated Jeremy Corbyn on his victory and offered to “work constructively with him in a progressive alliance against Tory austerity,” calling on him to “give an early commitment that Labour MPs will join the SNP in voting against the £100 billion renewal of Trident.”

Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru has also congratulated the new Labour leader on his success, adding “we hope that he will now deliver the votes of his MPs to join Plaid Cymru MPs in opposing those Tory policies that are causing great harm to people in Wales and beyond.”

On a similar theme, Natalie Bennett of the Greens has remarked that the result shows “how many people support an alternative to austerity economics, to the head-in-the-sand approach to our environmental crisis and to tired, business-as-usual politics.”

As the leader of MK, I share these views and I sincerely hope that Jeremy Corbyn’s election really does reinvigorate progressive politics across the UK.

But there has also been concern about the nature of the Labour Party that Mr Corbyn has inherited. Nicola Sturgeon has described Labour as a “deeply, and very bitterly, divided party,” adding that “if Labour cannot quickly demonstrate that they have a credible chance of winning the next UK General Election, many more people in Scotland are likely to conclude that independence is the only alternative to continued Tory government.” Leanne Wood has meanwhile stated that “his election cannot alter Labour’s dismal record in government in Wales” which she described as “one of failure and managed decline.”

From my perspective, I have always been extremely disappointed by Labour’s unwillingness to support greater powers for Cornwall through a Cornish Assembly. Labour’s non-response to the 50,000 individually-signed declarations calling for our own Assembly – delivered to Tony Blair in 2001 – was particularly galling for me. This opposition to Cornish devolution has stretched from the local party in Cornwall to the party bosses in Westminster.

mk logoI am reassured though that Jeremy Corbyn is one of only a handful of Labour MPs who have not been afraid to support calls for a Cornish Assembly. He was, for example, one of only three Labour MPs who backed an EDM (Early Day Motion) in 2011 marking the 10th anniversary of 50,000 declarations demanding a Cornish Assembly and calling for proper democratic devolution to Cornwall.