2019 UK election 2

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Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

nicky wrote:

So let me understand your position Ken.

Mulcair was totally to blame for his loss.

Corbyn however is totally blameless for his.

Are you serious?

I have never once said Corbyn was "blameless".  I did a detailed critique of his leadership upthread.  I simply don't accept that it was ALL his fault.  A good chunk of the blame has to be assigned to the PLP for refusing to ever accept him as leader and for disrespecting him and sabotaging him, for not being willing to accept anything short of Corbyn leaving without getting any guarantees that his departure would not result in the PLP blocking all credible left candidates from the ballot to replace him or any guarantee that his supporters would not be driven out the way Neil Kinnock drove virtually all socialists out of the party after 1987.

I acknowledged several mistakes on Corbyn's part-so does Corbyn.

You are acting as if the only possible stances a person could take on this was that Corbyn should never even have been allowed to stand for the leadership and nothing the party was about should have changed at all from the dead zone of 2015, or worshipping the man like a fucking god or something. 

I supported him because I thought he was the most decent and honest person who had led the party since at least Attlee, perhaps since Keir Hardie, and did so knowing he had flaws and weaknesses like anybody else.

Corbyn made mistakes-

1) He never defended himself and his supporters against the false accusations and the smears. 

2) He could probably have organized the rollout of policy ideas better this year. 

3) He should never have given into the deluded, arrogant Remainers and committed the party to a second referendum-and, by the same token, the Remainers should have accepted that the referendum put the issue to rest, and should have moved on to working for a smooth transition out of the EU as the voters clearly wanted, because they knew they were doing nothing but damage in trying to force Corbyn to commit the party to an all-out(and by definition right wing and antiworker) Remain position with the Labour leadership pledged to fight for Remain in a second referendum, a second referendum Leave probably would have ended up winning anyway simply because nobody trusted any of the Remain leadership and there was no real case for trying to stay in the EU anyway, knowing that it was a reactionary, antidemocratic and antisocialist institution on economic, spending, and taxation policy, knowing that it would treat any socialist government as it treated Greece, and knowing it was a totally unchangeable institution. 

4) Corbyn should probably have been firmer with the PLP-should have withdrawn the party whip from at least one of the MPs who was sabotaging him..  He should have told the anti-Corbyn MPs that any Labour MP or candidate who attacked the party or publicly disrespected him DURING local, EU, or general election campaigns would be asked to stand down as a Labour candidate, and would run the risk of expulsion for "bringing the party into disrepute".  This would have read as stong leadership and the voters would have respected him for it.

5) He should have called the PLP's bluff right after the 2017 election, and made the offer to stand down IN EXCHANGE for the guarantees I have repeatedly mentioned-that there would be a strong left candidate on the leadership ballot and that whoever won there would be no retribution against his supporters.  You'd have to agree that neither of these was too much to ask, I think.

6) He should have done a party political broadcast on AS, making clear he would, as he always had, fight it to the last, and making it clear that while bigotry against and hatred of Jewish people or Judaism is indefensible, criticism of what the Israeli government does to Palestinians is NEVER comparable to hatred of Jews or of Judauism, and that anti-Zionism is only anti-Semitism when the person or persons espousing anti-Zionism or even non-Zionism is only taking t out of clear and explicit hostility to Jews and Judaism.

7)The policy rollout should have started earlier, and all policies announced by the first week of the campaign.  The focus should have been mainly on defense of and full funding for the NHS and the rail and water nationalization pledges, and on economic renewal, by interventionist methods if need be, of the North and Northeast of England.

These are critiques I made up thread and repeat now.  I've never said Corbyn made no mistakes-it's just that I reject the ideas that A) Corbyn had no business running for the leadership.  He had to run, as no one else in either leadership race had any significant Labour values at all; or that B) Corbyn deserved all the vitriol and lies thrown at him.

The result was the combination of

A) Corbyn's mistakes, as listed above;

B) The lies spread by the BBC, the Murdoch press, the Tories and the LibDems(whose leader was defeated, I think, at least in part because her role in the campaign was so throughly odious)

C) The treachery of the PLP and the right-wing of the Labour bureaucracy, both of which chose, to the bitter end, to give a higher priority to sabotaging their own party's leader than to doing what they were supposed to do, which was fight for the defeat of the Tory government and the election of a Labour government.

So no, I don't think Corbyn is blameless.  I just don't think he deserves all or even MOST of the blame. 

Do you understand the distinction there?

Do you also understand that there simply wasn't anybody else who'd have been able to step in as leader in the run-up to the election or during it who would have been ready to handle the job or could possibly have put together a coherent case for electing Labour with THAT person as leader?

And do you understand that the collapse in Labour Leave seats-without which Boris would have been denied a majority-was caused, to a very large degree, by Corbyn being forced to accept a second referendum, that the collapse in the North and North East would have been even greater with an all-out Remainer, especially an all-out Blairite Remainer, coming in as leader?  That there was no argument any Labour Remain leader could have made that could possibly have held the votes of Labour Leave voters?

If you respond to my posts from now on, please respond to what I've actually written, not to the strawman arguments you prefer to imagine me making.  I've never claimed that Corbyn was flawless and I don't want him to stay on as leader for the next election.  Also, he has made it clear he'll be gone in eight weeks or so, so there is no point in anyone fighting to force him to leave before then and no justification for insisting that he be humiliated and forced into the outer darkness.  He deserves no worse treatment that Mulcair got after his total electoral failure in 2015, and he won't try to hang on for years afterwords like Mulcair so pointlessly did.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

If you don't like Corbyn, it's enough that he'll be a back-bencher again soon.  Leave it at that, for god's sakes.  The man doesnt deserve to be made a pariah.

nicky

Michael, I agree that there were considerable external circumstances that undermined Corbyn.

But Mulcair faced twovery formidable external circumstances

- being blindsided by the niqab issue

- the overwhelming urge to vote tactically to boot Harper, particularly among voters who approved of Mulcair

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

nicky wrote:

Michael, I agree that there were considerable external circumstances that undermined Corbyn.

But Mulcair faced twovery formidable external circumstances

- being blindsided by the niqab issue

- the overwhelming urge to vote tactically to boot Harper, particularly among voters who approved of Mulcair

If you are demanding that Corbyn leave instantly-he is going to be gone within eight weeks or so, the man isn't trying to hang onto the job-should you not have been demanding, with the same passion, that Mulcair resign instantly on election night?

Mulcair actually led the party to far worse losses on a proportional level-the loss of more than half the seats and the inexcusable decline from official opposition status to third place status-and the scale of the losses Mulcair suffered guaranteed that there was no chance of the party making a comeback if he fought the next election as leader.   

And many of the factors in the Mulcair disaster were of his own making...though they were probably choices you supported and would have defended:

1) His refusal to allow NDP MPs to publicly support the student tuition protests or Idle No More-no one but total reactionaries opposed those protests, and certainly no one who'd have even considered voting NDP did-and his insistence on silencing left-wing MPs(almost all of the Quebec MPs were on the left of the party) convinced a lot of the people whose support the NDP would need in order to form government that an NDP victory would be nothing but a vote for the status quo.  So did Mulcair's bloody-minded insistence on talking about virtually nothing, on the stump and in the campaign ads, but the balanced-budget pledged and abolishing the Senate, the last being a proposal next to no one cared about and which would have made no meaningful difference in anyone's lives.  Mulcair never emphasized the progressive measures in the NDP policy offer, even though all of those were popular and all of those would have been vote-winners had they been part of the stump speech and had they been mentioned in the televised economics debate; the lack of mention of them and the silencing of the left as mentioned above allowed Justin to pretend Liberal policies were to the left of the NDP, and anytime the Liberals are allowed to do that, the NDP will always do badly at the polls.

2)His insistence on distancing the party from social activists-even though social activism was the most vibrant and energetic part of the left-of-center scene in those years took most of the energy and enthusiasm out of the NDP campaign.

3)After the election, he did incalculable damage by trying to hang on as leader, and then by spending the unjustifiable last year he was given as "interim leader" doing nothing and allowing the party to do nothing to gain attention from the electorate, while doing nothing to raise funds for the party, but simply hung on, apparently to make sure that there'd be no way for the party to have any chance of doing better in the election after he stood down.

Corbyn, by contrast, would have resigned on polling day had he led Labour down to third place.  Unlike Mulcair, Corbyn never acted out of personal egotism or arrogance-he was actually practicing something somewhere between utter selfless and martyrdom in staying on in order to protect the left wing from mass expulsion and the undemocratic imposition of a right-wing leader due to the PLP using the MP endorsements requirement to block everyone but reactionaries like Yvette Cooper from the ballot to replace him.

Finally, Corbyn faced more than external factors-he faced endless and totally unjustified internal sabotage from the PLP.  I hope you'll join me in saying that no future Labour leader, no matter where that leader is on the ideological spectrum, should ever, under any circumstances be treated as Corbyn was treated by the PLP.  And I hope you'll joing me in acknowledging that all of us oppose AS with every fiber of our beings, but criticism of what the Israeli government does to Palestinians, or opposition to Zionism as nationalist movement and as ideology should never be equated to AS-and that no possible justification exists to try and silence discussion and dissent on the Israel/Palestine issue.

kropotkin1951

nicky wrote:

Michael, I agree that there were considerable external circumstances that undermined Corbyn.

But Mulcair faced twovery formidable external circumstances

- being blindsided by the niqab issue

- the overwhelming urge to vote tactically to boot Harper, particularly among voters who approved of Mulcair

The niqab issue was only a major thing in Quebec. What explains his tanking in the rest of Canada? Tactical voting was the fundamental problem wasn't it. The NDP came close to power and decided its best bet was to convince Liberals to vote for them. Like MSM pundits between elections they looked favorably on the NDP but come crunch time the birds went back home to roost. Another leader may have done as bad as Mulcair but the party might have kept its integrity as a social democratic vehicle and been in far better shape to go after Trudeau. Who needs two liberal parties anyways especially both led by leaders from Quebec. Voters aren't stupid they voted for the party called Liberal.

Aristotleded24

Ken Burch wrote:
There were TWO essentially Blairite parties in this election:    Change, The Independent Group, to which several Labour MPs defected at one point-most of whom later defected to the LibDems-which took 10,006 votes in the whole country-and the LibDems, who took 11% of the vote overall-a slight improvement from the last election, but still pathetically low compared to the showings the party made in the Nineties and early Oughts, when it was much further left than it is now-with their own leader losing her seat to the Scottish National Party, a party well to the left of the LibDems on economic, spending, and foreign policy.

Ken, you are not giving enough credit to the Independent Group. Angela Smith, after all, talks to voters and knows what they think.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:
There were TWO essentially Blairite parties in this election:    Change, The Independent Group, to which several Labour MPs defected at one point-most of whom later defected to the LibDems-which took 10,006 votes in the whole country-and the LibDems, who took 11% of the vote overall-a slight improvement from the last election, but still pathetically low compared to the showings the party made in the Nineties and early Oughts, when it was much further left than it is now-with their own leader losing her seat to the Scottish National Party, a party well to the left of the LibDems on economic, spending, and foreign policy.

Ken, you are not giving enough credit to the Independent Group. Angela Smith, after all, talks to voters and knows what they think.

To be fair, this year she seemed to know what 10,006 of them may have thought.  I'll give her that.

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