Do These Statements Make Sense re the Labour Leadership?

Knowing that simple statements always obscure the important structural analysis underpinning them, do the following statements make sense?
  1. Barring an unforeseeable occurrence (such as Nelson Mandela getting released from prison or the Berlin Wall coming down), the next elected government will be dominated by either the Labour Party or the Conservative Party.
  2. It would be better for progressive thinkers if the next government was a coalition with Labour and any progressive parties (Greens, SNP, LibDems, UKIP…?).
  3. It would be better if Labour was led by progressive Jeremy Corbyn rather than tory-light Yvette Cooper.
  4. The last thing the corporate elite wants is  progressive, anti-austerity governments that represent people rather than corporations.
  5. The elite will use everything at their disposal (including money, their political lackeys and the mainstream media) to undermine/discredit Corbyn.
If those points are logical (are they?) shouldn’t activists take advantage of the opportunity given by the Labour Party to vote for Corbyn for the Labour Leadership? If you are not a party member it only costs £3 - what’s that in the greater scheme of things?
The upsurge in support for Corbyn has caused the Blairites within the Labour Party to panic. It’s now harder the find the links on their webpage to register to vote for the leadership.
Then scroll right down to the bottom and over to the right, under the column headed ‘Get Involved’, you will find the words ‘Become a Registered Supporter’. Click those words and you should get to where you need to be.
If you do vote for Corbyn, wouldn't it be best to vote for Liz Kendall as deputy leader, due to the way the votes are counted?

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 Whatever Joe, I have always been a Labour supporter, until they lost their way with Tony Blair and New Labour.

I want to make a difference with my vote and ensure Labour returns to their core beliefs with the election of Jeremy Corbyn.

It is a beginning to the long road back, for the disenfranchised and downtrodden of the UK, altho' most are unaware of how they have been manipulated and exploited.

It has always amazed me how a population will endure so much abuse  by their elected representatives without a murmur, as in Greece, but maybe the worm has turned at last.

The educated and aware youth will be the vanguard of this new movement.

Comments from Bill Mitchell on Jeremy Corbyn and New Labours Economic Philosophy, of which he is scathing. No surprise there, the majority of politicians are economic illiterates.

Bill is an Australian Economist and supports Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)

My only criticism is his blog tends to be lengthy.

His economic arguments are sound but of course common sense economics and political goals do not coincide, as we have witnessed in the deliberate, vicious, destruction of the Greek economy by the EU Troika and its supporting Finance Ministers.

Thanks Daniel - enjoyed the read.

I completely agree with his summing up:

There is no future for Britain in New Labour. It is an old, failed approach. The losses in England and Scotland should tell the Labour Party that its appeal is gone.

The future is for a progressive force to articulate a plan that places full employment, equity, inclusion and environmental sustainability at the forefront and disabuses the public of the fiscal myths that it has been indoctrinated with by the right-wing think tanks, media and politicians (including New Labourites).

The only danger is that the left remains trapped in these neo-liberal frames itself. It has to address that issue as a matter of haste.

   I normally agree with Joe Taylor on a lot of things, but not on this issue.

   The system by which non-members get to vote in Labour Party leadership ballots is not just idiotic and unprincipled, it is utterly corrupt and was devised as a thoroughly dishonest means by which to dilute the influence of party members over their own leadership - basically ballot rigging. Taking advantage of this corrupt and dishonest system to promote the chances of a supposedly progressive candidate for leader may seem justified under the circumstances but I find the idea of lying, paying my fee and voting under these circumstances quite demeaning and degrading. In fact I (and my partner) would not even have to pay any fees as we are both members of affiliated unions and both our unions will pay from the political fund (another thoroughly corrupt practice).

   I actually like Jeremy Corbyn, having known the guy for some years in the late seventies and early eighties when we both worked in the London Divisional Office of NUPE. I have known his brother Piers (the leading man-made-climate-change denier) for even longer but I don't think they share a close political philosphy - even though Piers did try to register to vote in the election.

   My problem with Corbyn is not that he is dishonest or hypocritical or would be a bad leader - and I actually do support many of his policies. My problem is that I consider it essential that those of us who want to see progressive, socialist change do not get sucked back into the blind alley of thinking that the Labour Party, under any single leader, can or will achieve this. Jeremy Corbyn can no more turn the Labour Party into a genuinely radical, socialist, environmentalist political party committed to changing (not just managing) our entire economic system than Barak Obama could change the brutal nature of US foreign policy (or even close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp - he might have stopped the worst torture practices but they are still imprisoning people they have kidnapped around the world indefinitely without trial).

   The Labour Party cannot be won for the kind of programmes that are essential for any kind of meaningful change. A simple return to old fashioned Social Democratic policies (abandoned by Blair in favour of neo-liberalism and unrestrained and unregulated global capitalism) is no longer possible because the kind of class collaborationst Social Compact by which the capitalist class agree to pay for an Education system, Welfare, Health Services, decent housing, decent pensions and the necessary infrastructure of public services and civil society cannot be resurrected. Modern capitalism no longer has the margins to pay for these things and needs to offer its investors the highest returns possible to get their money in - and the super rich are too greedy and selfish to pay voluntarily (Corbyn is wrong about the wealthy being happy to pay more tax).

   Just as a Green Party that peddles the lie that we can have an environmentally sustainable economy without getting rid of capitalism is actually counter productive to the environmentalist cause, so a Labour Party that says we can achieve real social progress without overthrowing capitalism is equally so. Corbyn may be sincere but the party he seeks to lead is not, and never will be.


This post might be equally, or even more, appropriate under the discussion on Owen Jones' article. I might post it there as well...

Thanks for adding your comments Steve. As usual, they are quite thought provoking.

It’s a bit too early in the morning for me to get my head into gear properly. Also, I have leave shortly with a very full day ahead of me.

For now, could you please tell us which of those five statements you disagree with? Or are you saying that activists should not take advantage of the opportunity given by the Labour Party to vote in the Labour Leadership contest?

Will get back to you later.

Cheers, Joe

   Joe quite reasonably reminds me that the posts here are supposed to be replyng to the five points above so here's my response.

   1. This appears to be more than twenty-six years out of date (a flash in the pan for us old codgers but more than a lifetime for many). I don't quite see it's relevance now.

   2. I suppose that anything which dilutes the ability of a vicious and vindictive Tory Party to impose its hateful and authoritarian programmes on the rest of us (with support from a quarter of the electorate due to our entirely undemocractic and corrupt voting system) might be welcome. However, I don't accept that any of the parties mentioned above can be described as progressive thinkers (except in the technical sense of progress being any change in the stastis quo which someone thinks beneficial - by this definition the Nazis were 'progressive'). I detest nationalislsm and nationalists (especially those masquerading as 'progressives when in fact they promote selfish, mean-minded, racial/tribal divisions between working people whose interests are actually the same). The Liberals are not just unprincipled opportunists but closet Tories without the stomach for the full-blooded assault on everything that promotes social justice and equality in civil society (most especially organised workers who they hate with a vengeance) which the Tory Party stands for - effectively they are 'blue Fabians'. UKIP are a rag bag of Little Englanders who want to go back to the dying days of the British Empire, racists and xenophobes who want to get rid of foreigners and idiots who can't be bothered to actually understand politics (I heard a woman on a vox pop say she was going to vote UKIP because she was worried about cuts in the NHS...). The Green Party (E&W) are wishy-washy and woolly minded in general but objectively they are a negative force for the environment because they are too cowardly or blinkered to grasp the nettle and state the bleedin' obvious - that you cannot have environmantal sustainability AND capitalism; it's one or the other.

   3. I suppose I would rather see a principled socialist as Labour Party leader than a New Labour apparatchik but as I believe the Labour Party is, and will remain, a false alternative (because it is wedded to capitalism, cannot be won for socialism and social democracy is no longer a viable option) I don't think Jeremy Corbyn would make much difference or last very long.

   4. I agree with this point but it seems to imply that such an alternative is realistically going to be on offer at the next election, which I doubt.

   5. This goes without saying but their lackeys also include very substantial sections of the Labour Party and most of its current MPs. It is now two decades since the Blairites took full control and ditched the Labour Party's last formal commitment to socialist/collectivist changes in the economy (not that they had taken them very seriously before anyway) and it is reasonable to assume that very few socialists will have joined the party over the last twenty years while very many have left or been driven out.

   On the general point about whether 'activists' should register as supporters (this is not 'joining' the Labour Party - they do not become members) my answer is 'No'. I do not support entryism and I do not advocate people making false declarations about supporting what is essentially a pro-capitalist party simply in order to claim a vote for its leader. I repeat: the Labour Party cannot be won back as a progressive force for social justice and even if it could be the sort of economic 'growth' it is committed to will (probably) hasten societal collapse in a generation or so through catastrophic climate change.

I am voting for Corbyn despite Labour friends worrying about the unelectability of a future Labour party dominated by a strongly left wing agenda. It may be difficult; it may not appeal to as wider constituent base but it may nevertheless be possible to have a progressive coalition with the Greens and the SNP. I am doubtful about having Yvette Cooper as deputy leader and it is likely she or another Blairite will work to quietly undermine and water down the agenda that Corbyn has pitched so strongly.

In the end I no longer see any point in voting for a party that claims to be Labour but only offers neoliberalism lite. We are now in a relentless war of attrition against a corporate dominated world that speaks the language of wealth creation but whose real agenda is wealth extraction. They will stop at nothing until they have finally undermined and co-opted  the  national sovereignty of countries - democratic or otherwise - and sucked dry the wealth of nations, impoverished its people and decimated the planet. They are well on the way to doing so anyway. We have to fight back with all we have got.

1) I don't think it's a likelihood of a Labour Government at the next election, SNP won't give those seats back and without them Labour have no chance. So next election will be slim Tory majority or Tory minority government or perhaps a 'left' wing coalition.

2) A coalition offers the chance for getting major democratic reform on the agenda.

3) It would be better that Labour were led by a well meaning turnip than a Tory lite. Corbyn is in fact an even better option than a kindly bit of root veg.

4) The last the corpocrats want is change of any sort. They have things on a trajectory they are hell bent on keeping, the current raft of FTA's are about making their plans imperturbable by any change in government.

5) The elite don't need to, Corbyn isn't a serious threat to them, without a popular movement that will take Labour into a strong majority. They will probably enjoy taking pot shots at him, in between quaffing Dom Perignon and scoffing Strottarga caviar on slices of black truffle.

Corbyn getting the Labour leadership is better than the status quo. That result of itself is worth pursuing, but it's not wise to invest so much hope in this one possibility. It will gain a sensible voice in lead of the opposition, for some time it will even look like there is an opposition. A good result, as in better than the current carving out the heart and soul of our society with barely a tut tut from Labour. However you need to look at the likely fall of events, even if Corbyn were to win.

Corbyn will face an internal battle, he and the few friends he has in this Labour Party will have an uphill task. At that point the elite funded media will go for Corbyn. They will go for the economic argument and paint Labour as having gone from incompetent to stark raving mad. We might be heartened from Corbyn at the dispatch box, but if we lose sight of the real and deep social and political divisions in the UK, we will head for the real mistake - Corbyn stands no chance without a real peoples' democratic movement, a movement that is needed whether Corbyn wins or not. Corbyn as Labour leader is not victory. (It's not the beginning nor the start of the beginning, merely the beckoning to a beginning to start... or sommit like that said better.)

Corbyn winning will not mean a new new old... whatever better thingamajic Labour Party. It will be the same, but with Corbyn as an potentially very isolated Leader. Labour is political party riddled with careerists, it can't be change easily, too many habitual Labour voters have messed up for far too long and returned to parliament a neoliberal because they wore a red rosette.

Taking it forward, Corbyn's support from the rallying left wing of Britain will be noisy, energetic, numerous as a crowd but nationally not enough. Left wing live in fantasies that if they can get their message right, they will win. They have no coherent message, I am a democratic co-operative left winger my - without deep consideration -  order of priorities are democracy/equality, co-operativism, human rights including rights of collective action, state public services in a mixed market economy, green investment, unionism. That list and that priority order would be lampooned by a lot of other left wingers. This is where the left has real problems, even on basic values it struggles to find coherence. Corbyn as a voice can say the right things, Corbyn as leader will have to lead policy development. That's where the internal opposition to him will go into overdrive. Labour will end up weaker, the question will be on what timing. If Corbyn gets a honeymoon period, it could end up worse if it falls into argument on the run up to 2020 when the manifesto needs to go out. Erupting then will cause Labour to be dysfunctional, the likelihood then is Corbyn will be removed and a Tory lite will 'save' the party.

This isn't all bad news though, if Corbyn wins and its all good, Labour rallies behind him, the splits from left to centrist heal and go forward in co-operation with other parties to remove our legacy democratic farce happens, well lets all have a pint to celebrate and go to Tatton to watch Osborne lose his seat in 2020. If Labour split into farcical internal conflict and media madness go into overdrive, well let's hope that more people actually and resolutely say, enough of this awful stupid party political fptp parliamentary monarchy nonsense. Let's knuckle down and get on with the real work of forming a system for decision making in our society where good women and men don't have to grind themselves to dust in a hostile parliament in the midst of City of London feculence. Real democracy, formed from a chain of hyper-local - local - municipal - regional - national is the way our society will finally reap the equality, democratic, environmental, freedom of knowledge bonuses that we need to reshape the economy into something healthy, sustainable, meaningful and fitting for a life worth living for all.

  1. Yes, of course, although the potential for further coalitions is there. If I remember correctly the Tories majority actually rested on a fairly slim margin of actual voters in the places that counted.
  2. Better yes - acceptable as a sufficiently democratic situation, no.
  3. I like Corbyn's approach, I think his placid reasoning will highlight the mania of the media response to him. However, the campaign will be stepped up against the Party as a whole if he does win, and there are obvious challenges keeping the Parliamentary Labour Party together. Corbyn will have to strive to keep them united, and I think it's the media backlash that will really make that difficult. People will say to him in private that they appreciate his vision etc but he's just too damaging to their prospects; and in public distance themselves from this looney (for the good of the party, of course). And I think many of the Labour Party's supporters will be willing to follow that line of "he's unelectable".
  4. The question as to why Corbyn is "unelectable" is partly due the media influence. Depite Corbyn-mania his economic policies aren't that Left wing; it's only the context that makes it appear so. I think media's role is largely to convince people about what everyone else thinks, so a fair chunk of sympathetic-in-principle types will reject Corbyn on pragmatic grounds. Damagingly, they'll then say it's because he's a dreamer, and not realistic, rather than recognise that it's because of the way the discourse is being controlled and managed by his opponents. The silver lining as I see it is that so long as he's there being placid and rational in response to their scaremongering, people can see the big bad wolf is this placid gray haired guy who seems quite nice. There is a cost to maintaining deploying these arguments against him Another silver lining is that Red Scares often presage later shifts by Progressives, but there's a but...
  5. As Rashid says, they'll happily let him amongst the Left to cause disruption. There's also a cost they sustain to attacking him. They won't go all out unless they have to. Against Corbyn alone they really won't have to. I agree you need the movement to go alongside it. Without the movement, whatever form it needs to take in this context (I doubt it will be petitions and anti-austerity rallies - it needs to carry some kind of disruptive threat; but not one that alienates the population at large), there's really nothing to get Parliament to make any concessions. The radicals and the movement either provide the ammunition for the reformers within the system - frees them to take action; or else the movement is sufficient to provide a fresh influx of new blood who will then carry changes out.

Either way, Corbyn himself doesn't look at the moment like he wants to do anything other than utilise the existing system to win power for Labour. I don't see him heralding democratic empowerment.

I had a good friend whose brain worked at a different pace to his mouth. Unfortunately he has left the planet but we had many a laugh about him saying things like "the theatre festival broke even..with a small profit" "you can count them on the digits of one finger let alone the fingers of one hand" When spoken aloud with conviction these sentences sounded sensible. Very often all it needs is to say things with confidence to get away with all sorts.  Also point 1 above is an example of of stating the bleeding obvious e.g. "it'll either rain or go dark before morning". Number 2 reminds me of a student colleague of mine who, in an essay, used a particular word over and over in multiple sentences in the desire for it to come true. 

However, rumbling around these statements is an uneasy bass note created by tectonic plates being disturbed. No matter what,  battle lines are being drawn, genies let out of bottles and hopes rekindled. These statements are the dawn chorus to a day of unsettledness for the Labour/New Labour party. Far from settling things this leadership election will, quite rightly, reveal the debates that have been under the surface for a while. 

I could do with a really good soundbite just about now......!

Yes the New Labour squad are in a blind panic. Even David Miliband put his oar in today and endorsed no-hoper Liz Kendall. What was that all about?
The demonisation and denigration of Jeremy Corbyn continues as expected by the MSM. The low lifes of the neo-liberal set are crawling out from under their stones to vent their bile on the resurgence of Labour's original socialist policies, which they thought they had sent to the graveyard. They have lost control of the Labour Movement and they are in disarray.
Let's send New Labour and neoliberalism to be boiled down at the knackers yard. Vote Jeremy Corbyn.

Bren Cook said:

I could do with a really good soundbite just about now......!
Far from settling things this leadership election will, quite rightly, reveal the debates that have been under the surface for a while. :)

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