All posts filed under: Labourcoup

Liverpool United Aim for the Title

by W Stephen Gilbert Nobody worked harder at the Liverpool Conference than John McDonnell. You could count yourself unlucky if he didn’t breeze in at the session you were attending, however arcanely fringe it might be. He never gave a speech or even a few words that you’d heard before and, though looking increasingly exhausted, he was winningly upbeat, ending with a cry of either “Solidarity!” or “Socialism!” every time. His keynote speech in the main hall put pounds of flesh on the bones of the party’s economic policy, indicating that he’s been working flat out all the rest of the tumultuous year that he has been shadow Chancellor. He’d better pace himself. Labour needs him. Conference also established triumphantly that the Corbyn loyalists who stepped up to fill the suddenly empty seats in the shadow cabinet after the mass exodus were nothing like the fourth eleven that the media and other belittlers claimed. Sadly, I missed the much-praised address by Clive Lewis, but I caught most of his comrades performing in one setting or …

Game of Knowns

by W Stephen Gilbert How about a game of let’s pretend. Say that Owen Smith gets to make the Leader’s Speech at the Conference on the 28th. I know, but just say. What nobody but me says aloud (but everyone thinks) will start to be said out loud: “Owen Smith is unelectable”. If Smith thinks he can lead Labour to victory in the 2020 general election, he is, to use the word he threw at Jeremy Corbyn, “delusional”. Smith doesn’t have the repertoire to enthuse the electorate. He’s erratic, earnest, voluble without saying anything arresting, malleable and lightweight. Theresa May would eat him for breakfast. And here’s something else that nobody mentions but everybody knows: he’s Welsh. The fact is that, to make a sweeping generalisation, the English hate The Welsh. In just the same way, equally crudely but with a germ of truth, the Scots hate the English. (The Welsh appear not to hate anybody, though they’re understandably suspicious of the English). But I suspect that it would be very hard for a Welsh …

Why do Momentum get such a raw deal?

by Matthew Lane If you listened to much of the media and some Labour MPs, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Momentum were an extreme, far-left, violent, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, brick-throwing bunch of thugs out to infiltrate and then destroy the Labour Party. There have been concerted efforts to paint them as dangerous, threatening and chock full of Trots, Militants, commies, anarchists and hard-left entryists. Rather than being seen as a force for good, a progressive, democratic movement to build on the energy, passion and enthusiasm that was seen in the run-up to Jeremy Corbyn’s landslide victory last September, they are instead seen as a force for evil, a party within a party, a vehicle for the far-left, an organisation intent on deselecting anyone who doesn’t agree with them. A return to the dark old days of the 80s, a decade where bitter divisions in the party led to Labour being unelectable for a generation, is inevitable if Momentum are allowed to get their way, if this terrifying grassroots movement of eager activists – young and …

Road to Destruction

by W Stephen Gilbert The Labour party is on a perilous path. That it may end in an irrevocable split is the least of our worries. Of greater concern is the prospect of fighting in the streets. The party conference – scheduled for next month in the fissiparous city of Liverpool, but in some doubt because no security has yet been secured – will attract protesters, probably thousands of them. If it goes ahead, it could turn into the notorious Democratic Convention of 1968 in Chicago, a pitched battle outside the amphitheatre in which police used mace, tear gas and batons, and dozens were hurt including reporters and an observing British MP. Not surprisingly, the subsequent election was won by a Republican, Richard Nixon. Whence this anger, this prospect of civil disobedience? First, consider a proposition: Jeremy Corbyn is the most popular politician in Britain. That the government and the media and the parliamentary Labour party are all in denial about it does not stop it being so. No leader has ever received a mandate …

An open letter to Sadiq Khan from a member of the Labour Party

Megan, a Labour Party-member writes to Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London concerning his recent email to party members which linked to his article in the Guardian about his decision to support Owen Smith and related matters Dear Sadiq Khan, You are, truly, beyond belief. I cannot describe how angry it makes me to receive this email from you. How betrayed I feel by you. How hopelessly furious I feel in knowing (with utmost certainty, thanks to this very email) that to you, my anger and sense of betrayal mean absolutely nothing. The fact that you could even write this email is true testament to your total lack of care for, or understanding of, the very people who elected you. You are spitting in their faces, neglecting – like almost every other politician – to recognise that we are dangerously close to being done with playing your political games or acting as pawns in your political careers. That inability to read the electorate is dangerous. Revolutions were started for less (just sayin’). So many of us …

Corbyn-supporters expelled or barred from voting in leader poll

A wave of expulsion, suspensions and voting bans is sweeping across the Labour Party as the Owen Smith-supporting party machine tries to shore up his support

Thank you Owen Smith, From a Jeremy Corbyn supporter

Dear Mr Smith, I’m sure you’d agree that 2016 has been a turbulent time for UK politics – indeed I wouldn’t be surprised if my young son were to be writing about it in future exam papers in years to come. I am one of those pesky newcomers to the Labour Party, I joined because, after years of voting Labour through gritted teeth (my first ever vote was in 1997), I had finally found someone willing to speak up for me, and those like me, in Jeremy Corbyn. Oh Mr Smith, how wonderful it was last year to hear the results come in and feel as if I were part of a great change to politics. The hope! The end to feeling disenfranchised by a party I knew in my heart was supposed to be for people like me but had moved so far to the right it made my teeth itch! It was truly a glorious moment! The grassroots movement (Momentum) set up to help spread the word that the Labour Party had had …

How the PLP have been against Jeremy Corbyn from the very start

by Matthew Lane So, here we are again, another Labour leadership election less than a year since Jeremy Corbyn won the last one in such spectacular fashion (with the biggest mandate of any Labour leader ever). The PLP insist that there has been no coup against him, that the very organised and orchestrated nature of the recent resignations was purely spontaneous and that they are moving against Corbyn now for the good of the party. Because, as we’re so repeatedly told, Corbyn is unelectable. Unelectable. Unelectable. Unelectable. There is, of course, no actual hard evidence to back this up, but the Labour leader and shouts of unelectable have become almost synonymous in the last year. Despite Corbyn being voted back in as an MP for more than 30 years, with increased majorities each time. Despite him winning the Labour leadership election by a landslide last September. Despite Labour holding their own in the local elections amid fervent speculation that the party was about to experience the darkest night in its history, with experts predicting at …

HOT to TROT

by W Stephen Gilbert Hands up if you know what a Trot is. Could you recognise one at thirty paces? Could you confidently engage her on the matter of dialectical materialism? Would you, having lost the argument, leave the room if she instructed you to? Yes, the bogeymen are back. Tom Watson, who was (as I understood it) elected deputy leader of the Labour Party because he was smart enough to take it to the Tories, has heard the stirrings of reds under the bed and cannot sleep for worry. It’s very hard to keep a straight face in the face of this farce. John Harris wrote a hilarious account of his time as a weepy 16 year-old Labour youth being upbraided by Trots because he hadn’t done his homework, something any teenager can identify with. In the time-honoured manner, he goes for the ad hominem attack rather than a policy or strategy argument. So the Trots are guilty of “trademark displays of righteous belligerence”[1]. I once heard Harris on Any Questions? and the words …

The Sales of Justice

by Philip Roddis Please bear with me as I set the scene before getting to the point of this post … On Thursday the Court of Appeal, in a ruling the Guardian called unexpected, overturned Monday’s High Court decision to allow disenfranchised Labour Party members to vote in the leadership election. Let’s briefly retrace the more recent steps that brought us to this point: June 26. Corbyn sacks Hilary Benn for plotting against him. This triggers a wave of resignations by Labour frontbenchers in what many see as a planned coup. July 10. Angela Eagle announces a leadership bid that hasn’t a prayer unless a crucial NEC vote (next point) goes her way. July 12. It doesn’t. The NEC rules that incumbent leaders under challenge need not secure the 20% of PLP nominations their challengers must obtain in order to appear on the ballot. To the chagrin of some, it fails to avoid a conclusion a smart six year old would have come to: that incumbents may not be deemed challengers to their own leadership. …

UK’s Labour Party: A view from the grass roots

by Rosie Brocklehurst After a whole year of being accused of criminal behaviour with not one shred of evidence, the innocent newbies, would-be Labour joiners, are learning about the state of politics today in a way that will either put them off politics for life or put steel into their backbone. Adrien Mostyn (not his real name), 28, a young film-maker who became interested in politics at the last General Election, believes the Labour Party he joined just over 5 months ago is out to get him. “Why do they hate the grass roots so much?” he asks me. We are talking in a café where I have arranged to get his views as a new member on the new rules that prevent him from voting in the leadership election. Diagnosed late with autism – he was in his early 20s – Adrien has rarely lasted long in a job due to his inability to express feelings of enthusiasm or despair appropriately. He receives ESA at £73 per week, and has jumped from unpaid work …

One Nation Labour: The Party That We Need

by David Lindsay On the scale of public ownership and on the extent of trade union power, Jeremy Corbyn is well to the right of Harold Macmillan and Alec Douglas-Home. That is not hyperbole. It is fact. As it is that Margaret Thatcher presided over publicly owned railways, and over a 60p top rate of income tax well above that proposed by Corbyn. And as it is that Tony Blair promised to renationalise the railways in several speeches leading up to the 1997 General Election. Why would Corbyn’s position not be the centre ground? You can have all the private health insurance that you like. But if you were hit by a car, or if you collapsed in the street with a heart attack, then someone would call 999, and an NHS ambulance would take you to an NHS hospital. That that call would certainly be made, even by a perfect stranger, is testament to the definition of the United Kingdom’s culture by the social democratic legacy of previous Labour Governments, and supremely of that …

Labour Leadership race: Media bias reflected in rally coverage?

OffG Editor This weekend both Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith have been touring the north of England. Smith has been speaking in Liverpool, whilst Corbyn gave talks in Hull and Leeds. What no one seems to be talking about is the differing sizes of these rallies. Rather like their respective campaign launches – where Corbyn filled a 2000 seat theatre to capacity whilst Smith spoke to around a tenth of that number – the challenger seems to be struggling to even get people to turn up to hear him speak, let alone vote for him. At a sunny outdoor event in Liverpool, the promise of free ice-cream scared up only 200-300 people (and some people have reported it was less than half of that). Meanwhile, Corbyn held a rally of over 1000 people in York, spoke to 3000 people in Hull (the largest political gathering in the city for 20 years), and then 2000 more in Leeds a theatre, as well as going outside to speak to the queue of 1000 people who could not …

The Origins of Labour’s Civil War

As the poisonous and potentially irrevocable conflict inside the Labour Party gathers pace, it seems a useful exercise to try to plot the origins of the animus. This analysis is written from the perspective of an unashamed supporter of Jeremy Corbyn; nonetheless, it is intended to be as factual and objective as possible and to avoid assumptions, speculations and accusations. Much of the heat in the present conflict is undoubtedly generated by the deployment of propaganda. The deconstruction of some of the myths that inform the anger is one of the aims of this essay.

Labour Coup falls back on dishonesty, identity politics and smears

The Labour Coup just won’t die. It has become the masked killer from a b-list horror film. Lurching from one unlikely scenario to another, staunchly surviving an endless series of assaults, each one alone capable of felling a lesser being. Most observers knew it was all over the moment Corbyn refused to resign, if it survived that it was only by clinging to faint hope that they could keep him off the ballot. The NEC’s vote effectively put a stake through its heart. It is over.

Eagle campaign caught out in self-serving lie

by Kit The anti-Corbyn coup, launched simultaneously across the press and PLP, hasn’t had much go their way. Corbyn refused to resign. The public are largely behind him. The NEC caved to membership pressure and refused to (effectively) bar the incumbent leader from the leadership ballot. That means that the coup-planners had to put their money where their mouths were, and actually have an election. Leading to one of the more cringe-making press events in recent history (see above video). Straight-off, the anti-Corbyn line has been about his “militant” supporters “bullying” MPs. When a brick was (allegedly) hurled through the window of Eagle’s constituency office, by person or persons unknown, Ben Bradshaw went so far as to claim that a Momentum member had done it, and with Corbyn’s blessing. Such claims are totally without any evidence to back them up, and are actually libellous (Momentum have since said they are seeking legal advice for a case against Mr Bradshaw). When Corbyn voted against an unprecedented “secret ballot” of the NEC, Johanna Baxter shrilly decried him …

Has Brexit triggered an anti-democractic “Color Revolution”?

The Prime Minister didn’t want it. The Chancellor didn’t want it. The Queen didn’t want it. The opposition didn’t want it. The President of the United States didn’t want it. JP Morgan didn’t want it. Goldman-Sachs didn’t want it. Parliament didn’t want it.

…and yet it happened.

The Ashcroft Poll – Is This Why Jeremy Corbyn Must Go?

by Rachel Bridgeland from truepublica.org.uk Jeremy Corbyn is right to urge us to see through the media’s attempts to divide us. The media has encouraged those who voted to Remain see Leave voters as, at worst, a venal mob and at best misguided and stupid enough to think a government under the likes of Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage would be an improvement. Against the wishes of many Labour MPs who hope to find a way to delegitimise the referendum and remain in the EU, Jeremy Corbyn has given a clear commitment to invoke Clause 50. Anger did indeed motivate some Leave voters. During membership of the EU the division between rich and poor has increased, with the poorest suffering a fall in living standards. A UCL study has shown that the poorest 20% of British workers have indeed been affected adversely by immigration, so it was easy for the Leave campaign to focus discontent on this point instead of giving a voice to constructive and positive reasons people had for wanting to leave. Polling …

The ineptitude of the failed Corbyn coup

The most interesting thing about the failed anti-democratic attempt to bully Jeremy Corbyn into resigning as Labour leader (just 10 months after he was elected with the biggest democratic mandate of any UK party leader in history) is the sheer ineptitude…

Guardian sinks into gutter on Corbyn – again

by Jonathan Cook This is way beyond a face-palm moment. Jeremy Corbyn today launched a review into the Labour party’s supposed “anti-semitism crisis” – in fact, a crisis entirely confected by a toxic mix of the right, Israel supporters and the media. I have repeatedly pointed out that misleading claims of anti-semitism (along with much else) are being thrown at Corbyn to discredit him. You can read my criticisms of this campaign and Labour’s reponse here, here and here. In his speech, Corbyn made an entirely fair point that Jews should not be blamed for the behaviour of Israel any more than Muslims should be for the behaviour of states that are Islamic. He said: Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organisations. But no matter what he said, the usual suspects are now accusing him of comparing Israel with Islamic State, even though that is clearly not what he said – not …