UK Labour leadership

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NDPP

"I told everyone, from the start: Corbyn should NOT resign, RLB could NOT win the Labour leadership election, and that Sir Keir would take Labour back to the future. Back to Blair. Now that Corbyn's own CLP has nominated Starmer I know you're going to believe me. Alas too late. (He could have stayed on until his party was secured and then retired in good time for the next election.)"

https://twitter.com/georgegalloway/status/1226153740689903616

nicky

It is immensely encouraging that Corbyn’s own CLP has declined to endorse RLB.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/feb/08/jeremy-corbyns-local-labour-party-backs-keir-starmer-for-leadership

Labour seems to be repudiating the failed “Corbyn Project”

Another encouraging aspect of the Islington vote is the indication that RLB has little room to grow. In Islington she led on the first ballot but almost every vote for Nandy or Thornberry consolidated behind Starmer.

A quick look at Twitter indicates that this has been a pattern in a number of other CLPs.

Labour looks to be awakening from its dismal Corbynite nightmare.

nicky

Ken, you will find this interesting:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-mp-deselect-jeremy-corbyn-tony-blair-hilary-armstrong-a7855096.html

This certainly adds considerably to the list of Blair's failings as PM.

It is also ironic that the Corbynites want open selections where such a process would have ended Corbyn's political career in 2004.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

OK...you found a story with featuring no sources willing to use their names.  

It doesn't really tell us anything, and in any case there is no longer any reason to keep attacking Corbyn.  The guy is leaving.  The Corbyn movement was about what Labour stands for and how it is run.  We both know that the 2010/2015 election results AND the unforgiveable betrayal of Harriet Harman whipping the PLP to abstain on Cameron's cuts were the cause of the Corbyn phenomenon, and that those events meant Labour had to move strongly to the left to have any reason for its continued existence.   Why do you continue to pretend that this was nothing but a meaningless personality cult?  The aspects that you take as personality were simply that those Corbyn stood with saw him as a decent guy who stood up for what they believed in.   Why would you take that as irrelevant or trivial?  And again...of those who stood against him in 2015 or 2016, which of them had anything to offer that would have been preferred by the electorate? None of the others stood for anything.  None of them had any support among anybody under 50, and Labour has never won an election on the votes of the bitter, spiteful "we don't like peace campaigners 'round here" demographic.

Why does it matter if Corbyn voted against those things?  There was no justification within Labour values for any of Blair's anti-civil liberties ideas, and none of the votes Corbyn rebelled on were on measures where the position the leadership whipped MPs to vote on even gained Labour any popular support.

The electorate were not demanding that Labour become just as dismissive of the poor as the Tories, just as obsessed with the quasi-fascist "law and order" thing,  just as hostile to activism and dissent  as the Tories, or MORE militaristic than the Tories.

There's a major difference between the votes where Corbyn respectfully dissented on principle-and in hindsight, I think, on the one hand, and the sabotage the PLP engaged in endlessly againt him:  Nothing Corbyn did ever, in any way, did harm to Labour's electoral chances or undermined either leader against whom he dissented.   Also, Corbyn would have had to stop being a socialist and to give up his humanity if he'd taken the whip on those votes- the PLP would not have had to abandon any of their principles simply by choosing not to smear and slander t

In any case, since Labour can't win if the hundreds of thousands of people who joined the party because of the Corbyn movement departed, so there's no good that would come of Starmer, if he were elected leader, being as nasty about the Corbyn era as you are.

It should be enough for you that Corbyn is going.

Nobody deserves to be punished for working with the guy to fight for a better world.  

And the world won't improved by Labour moving to the right on anything, since no rightward moves on any issue will gain Labour any votes, and since centrist policies can't benefit working or kept-from-working poor.

There's the words for what Labour would be if all vestiges of the ideas Corbyn's supporters fight for were erased from the party like you want them to be, and if the PLP take this situation as a mandate to go treat the party as more theirs than anyone else's:  The Conservative Party.

There can't be a social democratic future built on an authoritarian internal structure, on the leader and the MPs having all the power, and on the party being just as fixated as arresting people and starting wars as the PLP want Labour to be.  

And there's really nothing all that special about Starmer.  He's a bland speaker and has no ideas.   He won three or four vaguely progressive-sounding court cases years ago, while at the same time abandoning all center-left values when he drafted measures to increase police brutality towards left-wing protesters.   What's to like?

As to Corbyn...

What's so terrible about being anti-austerity?  There's no difference between a Labour government running an austerity budget and a Tory government.

What was so terrible about his choosing dialog with Sinn Fein?  It helped cause peace.  There was never going to be an end to the conflict from everyone acting like the whole thing was the republican side's fault and the Unionists and Loyalists were blameless, as you would have preferred.

And what was so terrible about admitting that the Palestinians have legitimate grievances in the Israel/Palestine war and that there was never a chance of ending that war through either side gaining military victory?

What good would have come of Labour continuing to be a party which dismissed the issues young people cared about, as it would have in the past under any leadership candidate OTHER than Corbyn?  That choice wouldn't have added to Labour's vote total anywhere.

nicky

Ken, it is breathtaking how many untruths you can cram into a post.if Nancy Pelosi read it she would rip it up as “a manifesto of mistruth.”

is there no limit to the degree of self- delusion you are cable of in the service of Corbynism?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

nicky wrote:

Ken, it is breathtaking how many untruths you can cram into a post.if Nancy Pelosi read it she would rip it up as “a manifesto of mistruth.”

is there no limit to the degree of self- delusion you are cable of in the service of Corbynism?


Everything I wrote there is true.

And what I write is about socialism, not "Corbynism".  Nobody ever treated Corbyn as if he should be worshipped like a god.  You simply take the loyalty some people felt towards him that way because they refused to defer to the arrogant derisiveness the PLP displayed towards him.

There is no signicant number of people within the Labour Party who hate everything Corbyn stands for but are still, in any sense at all, socialists.   

There was no socialist case for whipping the PLP to abstain on Cameron's cuts-and you've essentially admitted that by never defending Harriet Harman's decision on that.                                                                                                                            There could never have been a socialist case for supporting the bombing of Syria, since none of the bombing was going to defend the Kurds in Rojava-the only secular, progressive, antifascist faction in the entire country.                                      There was no socialist case for not apologizing for Labour's role in the Iraq/Afghanistan wars as Corbyn did, or for insulting Corbyn when he did apologize.                                                                                                                                                  There was no way to vote with Blair on the measures Corbyn didn't vote with him on and still be a socialist.   There was no way to retain any common humanity and vote Blair's way on those measures.                    

Labour could never win with a leader who did what you want-going full Kinnock on the Left and following that decision by making the party just as dismissive of the young as any of the people who stood against Corbyn in the leadership race would have been.

If Starmer or whoever else became the next leader actually did what you want the next leader to do-for the moment, I'll take him at his word that he won't-Labour wouldn't offer a radical alternative to Toryism at all-and any alternative that wasn't radical wouldn't be an alternative.                                                                                                                                                It wouldn't be worth trying to elect a Labour government at the next election if Labour pledged balanced budgets, no significant increase in taxes on the rich, the preservation of Thatcher's antiworker laws, a "law and order" stance on crime  and the status quo on foreign policy, while not nationalizing the rails, water, and electricity.  That kind of manifesto wouldn't leave anything Labour could still be Labour about.    Labour never had to adopt that kind of manifesto to win in 1997-after 1993 or so, the voters were sick of Toryism/Thatcherism, not just the Tory party itself.  They weren't demanding that Labour check its soul at the door of Number 10.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

All I'm doing is pointing out what anathemizing everyone who had any connection to Corbyn would have to mean, nicky.  There'd wouldn't be any socialists or socialist principles still left within the Labour if the "repudiation/retribution" approach you are pushing for was imposed.  

And again, Corbyn is going.  He doesn't need to be made a pariah within the party to the end of his days,  He's at least as entitled to be treated as a respected elder statesman as Foot was.  No good would come of making him a pariah or making everyone who had anything to do with him a pariah anyway.

None of that is needed.

And fortunately, Starmer isn't promising that, so he would have no mandate to do any of that if elected.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

The PLP could have engaged the issues that Corbyn's leadership candidacy raised...but for the entire four years, they refused to.

Why did their approach have to be about focusing solely on what they saw as the personal unsuitability of the man, rather than addressing the massive wish for change within the party that was demonstrated by the movement which elected him leader?

Why could they have have done the obvious, logical, sensible thing in this situation, and taken the people who supported Corbyn leadership campaign-who were and are most of the party-the people who supported the ideas that campaign represented-seriously?

Why could they never try dialog with those people, rather than simply treating them all as a scourge?

The problem was never JUST Corbyn....it was and is the bloodyminded stubbornness of those who tried to reduce the whole thing to nothing but Corbyn's "suitability", who refused to accept that, whatever anybody felt about Corbyn himself, the party HAD to change after 2015?  That there was no way for Labour to go forward with the same discredited cast of characters and the same fixation with a "center-ground" that no longer existed?

Why could they never admit that it was about ideas, not what anybody thought about one man?

If they had, if they had accepted that going back to the 1997 policies simply wasn't an option anymore, if they had accepted that the restoration of internal democracy had to happen, that they, the PLP were not the only section of the party which mattered, Corbyn would likely have stood down when the no-confidence motion was passed.

By refusing to engage, by refusing to guarantee they wouldn't just push to go straight back to the Nineties, the PLP essentally forced Corbyn to hang on to the leadership simply to protect his own supporters and the socialist cause from silencing, suspension, and mass expulsion.

They never had to handle the situation that way.  They never had to be so utterly obstinate in staying with no other message but "He has to go-this all has to stop"-especially when, throughout Corbyn's tenure, they never offered any workable alternative electoral strategy or any policies which would have engaged what the socialist majority in the party wanted or held any particular electoral appeal.

If Starmer does wins-and I agree now that he's got a better than even chance-he will have to be far less rigid and arrogant than the PLP, and he should probably start by making them apologize to not only Corbyn but also to his supporters for the years of unjustified abuse-and that includes apologizing for the AS smear.   The PLP inflicted a wound on the whole party by going along with the Tories and the Israeli government on that, and that wound may never be fully healed-especially it if is followed by acquiescence to the demands that any major criticism of what the Israeli government does to Palestinians be banned within the party, as it would be if Labour actually adopts the "ten pledges".

Nobody ever deserved to be suspended or expelled for standing in solidarity with an oppressed people, for God's sakes. And neither criticism of the Israeli government nor dissent from Zionism as an ideology ever deserved to be likened to hatred of Jews.

BTW, you mentioned above that Open Selection might have led to Corbyn being deselected.  If that is the case, I don't care.  My position on that was never based on what it would or would not do to him.
 

JKR

I think Labour should move to open selection. I think if a Labour MP is not formally supported by the majority of Labour members in their constituency, they should not be able to represent Labour in the House of Commons. What is the argument for "closed constituencies"? Having said this, I also think that Labour MP's should be able to remove their leader permanently with a non-confidence vote. I think the leader of a party should be required to maintain the confidence of their party's mp's. I think the way Labour is set up now leaves them open to having civil wars.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

JKR wrote:

I think Labour should move to open selection. I think if a Labour MP is not formally supported by the majority of Labour members in their constituency, they should not be able to represent Labour in the House of Commons. What is the argument for "closed constituencies"? Having said this, I also think that Labour MP's should be able to remove their leader permanently with a non-confidence vote. I think the leader of a party should be required to maintain the confidence of their party's mp's. I think the way Labour is set up now leaves them open to having civil wars.

I could back an internal "no-confidence motion" process for all parties in the future.

But these features would have to be part of it:

1) Any newly elected leader would need to be guaranteed at least a two year-period or so in which the MPs of that party would give that leader- whether they had been the leadership candidate the MPs had themselves preferred- full support and a real chance to establish themselves as leader.  This would not mean MPs could not vote against a leader on matters of sincere personal conscience, but it would mean:

-no briefing against the leader;

-no smear campaigns against that leader;

-no denigrating or abusive comments directed towards that leader;

-no demands that that leader stand down(except in cases of obvious personal scandal or evidence of actual criminality on the part of the leader);

-no plotting against that leader;

-no collusion with opponents of that leader outside of the party;

-no efforts to force that leaders' supporters out of the party in question;

2)If a general election was called during that two-year period, no sector of the party would try, once the election was called, to force that leader to resign during the election campaign, as it is impossible to put a new leader in place by any legitimate or democratic means in such a situation and there is no chance a replacement or interim leader could possibly lead the party in question to anything other than a landslide defeat.  The MPs would work just as hard for electoral victory for that party under that leader as they would for electoral victory in any other situation..

3) Once the two-year period is over, a no-confidence motion could be called...but it would not JUST be the MPs having the power to do so; constituency parties or riding associations could also hold a motion of no-confidence, and so could rank-and-file party members, or, in the case of a small-labour party, the unions affiliated with such a party could introduce such a motion.   To pass, a no-confidence motion would have to be approved by a majority of all sectors of the party, not just by the MPs.  If the no-confidence motion was passed, the leader against whom the motion was passed would be allowed to stand for re-election as leader, just as a prime minister whose party lost a no-confidence motion has the right to call a snap election and seek a new mandate.    If said leader wins re-election, the MPs and all other sectors of the party should be obligated to accept the leadership question settled for either the next two years or until the holding of the next parliamentary election, whichever comes first.

The confidence of the MPs should not matter more than the confidence of the party as a whole-the MPs are simply one part of a party-they are not a party's "natural leaders" any more than are people from any other sections of a party, and they should not be allowed to force out a leader the rest of the party supports, nor to undermine that leader's chances of winning the next election.

What would you say to that?

 

Aristotleded24

Corbyn was the only left leader elected to lead Labour in decades. The party undermined him at every turn. Now that it is time to choose his replacement, it looks like the left will not win this leadership race.

Coudl it be that a left-wing movement is impossible within the Labour Party, and that now is the time for the left in the UK to outright ditch the Labour Party and form a party of its own, with the goal of eventually replacing Labour as the main centre-left party in the UK?

JKR

Ken Burch wrote:

JKR wrote:

I think Labour should move to open selection. I think if a Labour MP is not formally supported by the majority of Labour members in their constituency, they should not be able to represent Labour in the House of Commons. What is the argument for "closed constituencies"? Having said this, I also think that Labour MP's should be able to remove their leader permanently with a non-confidence vote. I think the leader of a party should be required to maintain the confidence of their party's mp's. I think the way Labour is set up now leaves them open to having civil wars.

I could back an internal "no-confidence motion" process for all parties in the future.

But these features would have to be part of it:

1) Any newly elected leader would need to be guaranteed at least a two year-period or so in which the MPs of that party would give that leader- whether they had been the leadership candidate the MPs had themselves preferred- full support and a real chance to establish themselves as leader.  This would not mean MPs could not vote against a leader on matters of sincere personal conscience, but it would mean:

-no briefing against the leader;

-no smear campaigns against that leader;

-no denigrating or abusive comments directed towards that leader;

-no demands that that leader stand down(except in cases of obvious personal scandal or evidence of actual criminality on the part of the leader);

-no plotting against that leader;

-no collusion with opponents of that leader outside of the party;

-no efforts to force that leaders' supporters out of the party in question;

2)If a general election was called during that two-year period, no sector of the party would try, once the election was called, to force that leader to resign during the election campaign, as it is impossible to put a new leader in place by any legitimate or democratic means in such a situation and there is no chance a replacement or interim leader could possibly lead the party in question to anything other than a landslide defeat.  The MPs would work just as hard for electoral victory for that party under that leader as they would for electoral victory in any other situation..

3) Once the two-year period is over, a no-confidence motion could be called...but it would not JUST be the MPs having the power to do so; constituency parties or riding associations could also hold a motion of no-confidence, and so could rank-and-file party members, or, in the case of a small-labour party, the unions affiliated with such a party could introduce such a motion.   To pass, a no-confidence motion would have to be approved by a majority of all sectors of the party, not just by the MPs.  If the no-confidence motion was passed, the leader against whom the motion was passed would be allowed to stand for re-election as leader, just as a prime minister whose party lost a no-confidence motion has the right to call a snap election and seek a new mandate.    If said leader wins re-election, the MPs and all other sectors of the party should be obligated to accept the leadership question settled for either the next two years or until the holding of the next parliamentary election, whichever comes first.

The confidence of the MPs should not matter more than the confidence of the party as a whole-the MPs are simply one part of a party-they are not a party's "natural leaders" any more than are people from any other sections of a party, and they should not be allowed to force out a leader the rest of the party supports, nor to undermine that leader's chances of winning the next election.

What would you say to that?

 

I'm not sure how your suggestions would prevent a party from having a civil war like Labour has had since Corbyn became leader. I think, given the nature of their influential positions, MP's will always be able to severely undercut their leader when they lose confidence in their leader. Here in BC that recently happened to NDP leader Carol James. Once it was known she had weak support from her own caucus her ability to win an election was severely curtailed. I think once the electorate finds out a leader is not respected by their own caucus, that leader becomes a political liability. I simply think that the leader of a caucus has to maintain the support of that caucus and if that can not be accomplished a party cannot simply paper over that failure and still expect to win a general election. I think Labour's FPTP big tent has become very dysfunctional but given the nature of FPTP there is no simple solution to solving it as splitting the party into two would just insure never-ending Conservative hegemony. It does seem that Labour should support electoral reform but unfortunately many Labour supporters don't want to because they want to win phoney FPTP majorities.

JKR

I think Labour will continue to be dysfunctional as long as the Labour membership elects MP's and party leaders who don't get along with each other. Corbyn's tenure would likely have been more successful had the membership elected MP's who were much more alligned with Corbyn. Conversely, Labour would also likely have been more success during that period if the membership had elected a leader much better supported by the MP's. To be successful Labour obviously has to be represented by a leader and MP's that work well together. I think the voters won't trust Labour to govern if Labour cannot even get along with itself.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

JKR wrote:

I think Labour will continue to be dysfunctional as long as the Labour membership elects MP's and party leaders who don't get along with each other. Corbyn's tenure would likely have been more successful had the membership elected MP's who were much more alligned with Corbyn. Conversely, Labour would also likely have been more success during that period if the membership had elected a leader much better supported by the MP's. To be successful Labour obviously has to be represented by a leader and MP's that work well together. I think the voters won't trust Labour to govern if Labour cannot even get along with itself.

The problem has been that, since the Blair era, constituency parties-the voice of the Labour membership in internal party governance-have not had any real say in candidate selection, or a sharply curtailed say at bets.   It wasn't that the membership wasn't choosing MPs sympathetic to Corbyn-btw, when candidates in open seats were chosen for the 2015 election were chosen at a time when nobody had anyway of knowing Labour would lose the 2015 election badly or that there would even be a leadership election-it's that the membership hasn't been allowed to choose candidates in open or marginal seats since 1994 or so.   

As a result, there were many constituencies where the MP was virulently anti-Corbyn but the CLP(constituency party)was pro-Corbyn.   A number of those CLPs passed no-confidence motions in their reactionary "Labour" MP, but the MPs in those cases always refused to resign and usually slandered the CLP itself as "anti-Semitic."

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Also, there was no candidate preferred by the MPs that had any distinctly socialist or even "Labour" convictions at all.   Corbyn's opponents in 2015 and 2016 were all militarist, pro-austerity, anti-worker right-wingers.

It would make the votes of paid members and supporters meaningless if a convention were set up that the MPs-the only right-wing faction in the whole party-were given what would amount to a veto over the leadership.   If you did that, Labour might as well go back to the days when the leader was chosen solely by the MPs-an era when Labour did as badly in elections as it has done since then.   It would mean Labour would never again have a leader who wasn't a sectarian-centrist supporter of the Third Way, and THAT would mean Labour would be stuck at the 30% support it took in 2010 and 2015 for the rest of eternity, because the electorate sees "center-ground" policies as irrelevant and futile in a time of global revolt against capitalism itself.  Labour can't prosper as a party that joins the rich in trying to hold the global working-class majority down.

JKR

I agree that Labour should move to a system of open selection where every MP has to win nomination from their constituency between general elections. I also think that the party leader should have to always maintain the confidence of their caucus.

nicky

Massive poll from Lord Ashcroft destroys myth that Corbyn not responsible for Labour’s defeat:

It was reported that Labour’s official inquiry “exonerated” Jeremy Corbyn from any blame for the election result. I can only assume this was a compassionate gesture for an already-outgoing septuagenarian leader, because no serious reading of the evidence could reach such a verdict. “I did not want Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister” topped the list for Labour defectors when we asked their reasons for switching, whether they went to the Tories or the Lib Dems, to another party, or stayed at home. Though a few saw good intentions, former Labour voters in our groups lamented what they saw as his weakness, indecision, lack of patriotism, apparent terrorist sympathies, failure to deal with antisemitism, outdated and excessively left-wing worldview, and obvious unsuitability to lead the country.

https://lordashcroftpolls.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/DIAGNOSIS-OF-DEFEAT-LORD-ASHCROFT-POLLS-1.pdf

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Again...the guy is leaving, nicky...why can't you leave it at that?  What is the point of continuing to demonize the guy?  Nobody is arguing that he didn't do ANYTHING wrong...but there's no reason to insist that it was on him and him alone, and there'd be no reason to vote Labour at the next election if none of Corbyn's policies were still in place-there's no policies to the right of what Corbyn stood for that are anything but Tory.

For God's sakes, it would be indecent for Labour to go back to "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime"-a policy that never actually addressed the causes at all but simply sent more people to jail for the sake of sending more people to jail.

Besides which...what was "excessively left-wing" in his worldview?  There's no good reason for Labour go bo back to the Blair thing of being either exactly as willing as the Tories to use force or MORE willing...there is no longer any way for a UK military intervention to ever again have any sort of progressive or humane result.   The last even vaguely progressive military outcome was World War II...every war since VJ Day was nothing but a reactionary battle for profit and property.

Are you really saying Corbyn should have joined in wholeheartedly with the Labour Right MPs who were sanctimoniously denouncing Russia over fatally poisoning the Skripals...even though the Skripals weren't fatally poisoned, may not have been poisoned at all, and went home from the hospital feeling just fine two weeks later?

Are you really saying it's necessary to make a big, pompous, reactionary show of waving the Union flag around all over the place? 

Wasn't it love of country enough that Corbyn tried to heal the social wounds of the country?

Besides which, it isn't possible for a government to go to war and make a big deal of being "Bwitish" and still do anything humane, progressive, and egalitarian at the same time.

JKR

Labour leadership: Sir Keir Starmer promises to keep Jeremy Corbyn's tuition fees stance; SkyNews; February 11, 2020; 

https://www.google.ca/amp/s/news.sky.com/story/amp/labour-leadership-sir-keir-starmer-promises-to-keep-jeremy-corbyns-tuition-fees-stance-11931718

Quote:
The favourite to replace Jeremy Corbyn says Labour must stick to its plan to end the "scandal of spiralling student debt"

 

I think Starmer might be the candidate that can unite the different factions of Labour.

nicky

Ah, Ken, I’ve answered all your questions before. I will try again. Perhaps you can read it this time.

Although Corbyn himself may be leaving, his faction is not leaving but is fighting desperately to maintain its malign grip on the leadership and the party apparatus. 

It is lying about the causes of the election defeat to divert blame from itself and Corbyn. For the sake of the party these lies must not go unchallenged.

To coin a phrase, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

To coin another phrase, Corbynism must be confined to the dustbin of history OR the Labour Party will be confined to the dustbin of history.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

nicky wrote:

Ah, Ken, I’ve answered all your questions before. I will try again. Perhaps you can read it this time.

Although Corbyn himself may be leaving, his faction is not leaving but is fighting desperately to maintain its malign grip on the leadership and the party apparatus. 

It is lying about the causes of the election defeat to divert blame from itself and Corbyn. For the sake of the party these lies must not go unchallenged.

To coin a phrase, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

To coin another phrase, Corbynism must be confined to the dustbin of history OR the Labour Party will be confined to the dustbin of history.

Again, there IS no such thing as "Corbynism"-there was and is simply the revival of socialist ideas within the Labour Party.  After 2010 and 2015, that revival was inevitably going to happen.  It couldn't NOT happen.

And Corbyn and his supporters have never claimed he made NO mistakes and that no mistakes were by the people running the 2019 campaign.   People on the left have been critiquing that campaign continuously since the election.  They themselves agreed that too many policies were announced and no narrative was created to justify all the policies.

It's just that it simply isn't valid to say that it was ALL Corbyn's fault, or that he should never have been allowed on the leadership ballot in 2015. 

There had to be a left candidate, and there was no way any of the other candidates would ever have been a credible leader.  

Yvette Cooper was nothing but a figure from the dead past by 2015-she had nothing special to offer.   The same could be said with the bumbling, charisma-free Andy Burnham.  Liz Kendall had LESS experience than Corbyn and had no ideas other than to move the party to the right of Blair-even you would have to admit that would have been nothing but a disaster, since nobodywho voted Tory in 2010 or 2015 was ever going to vote anything but Tory again.  And Owen Smith was a Pfizer lobbyist, which meant that he couldn't possibly fight to save the NHS.

And you need to be honest-when you demand that Labour erase all vestiges of what Corbyn's supporters stand for-which is what you are fighting for-you are demanding that Labour erase all vestiges of socialism.   Socialism can't survive in a party that goes back to supporting military intervention in non-European countries.  Socialism can't survive in a party that's obsessed with looking "patriotic"-socialism can't survive in a party that takes the side of police against left-wing protesters.   And socialism can't survive in a party that's committed to balanced budgets and "free trade".   

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

The honest truth about the 2019 result is that blame is shared.

Corbyn made some mistakes-mainly in not standing up to the relentless, unjustified bullying of himself and his supporters by the PLP, and not fighting back against the AS smear and the insistence of the Labour Right of equating criticism of what the Israeli government does to Palestinians with bigotry against people who are Jewish.

Corbyn's campaign made some mistakes-too MANY policies were put out during the election-they should have been rolling out those policy ideas throughout the last two years; a narrative in support of the policies should have been created.   

But Corbyn's enemies in the PLP made mistakes that did equal damage to the party's chances-refusing to ever try to negotiate with Corbyn on policy or ever treat him with any respect-continuing to try to force him out AGAIN during the 2019 election(let's face it, that was the purpose of the "center-left coalition with someone OTHER than Corbyn as leader" idea and the "tactical voting" campaigns which, in at least one case, advised "tactical" voters to vote for the LibDem candidate in a constituency that had a sitting Labour MP, the result was a Tory gain in that constituency that otherwise might not have occurred); the insistence on pushing Corbyn to accept a second referendum on the EU issue and then, when he did that, the insistence that his pledge on that STILL wasn't good enough, followed by Starmer's bloodyminded push to make the party go all-out Remain and the rally he held on that issue at the party conference, both of which did nothing but make Corbyn look weaker.   It is unforgiveable that they decided, in both 2017 and 2019, that nothing, including winning the election, mattered more than removing Corbyn as leader-and that choice would probably justify expelling the lot of them, since their obsession with ousting Corbyn clearly "(brought)the party into disrepute".  At some point, nicky, you have to assign them SOME responsibility for the seat losses.   

Let me ask you this...

I know you hate Corbyn-you've never said who you would have preferred among the 2015 leadership candidates, btw, but who would it have been?-but would you not agree that, if it was a choice between winning WITH Corbyn with leader or working to make sure the party lost just to keep the pressure on to get rid of him(as it was in 2017 and may have been in 2019 to at least some degree)it would have been preferable for the PLP to get totally behind Corbyn and push for victory?   

Labour doesn't need to erase every vestige of the policies and the people associated with Corbyn-and Labour will have no right to ask the huge number of people who still support those ideas to even bother voting Labour if its next manifesto erases all of that-a Labour Party that reduced itself to whatever you think are "sensible" Labour policies wouldn't disagree with the Tories on anything that made any real difference.   It wouldn't a party that would restore the Tory cuts in benefits, or undo the "benefits sanctions", or do anything to rein in police brutality, or even make more than trivial increases in the NHS budget, and wouldn't stop doing pointless military interventions in the Arab/Muslim world

That's what Labour with no vestiges of the ideas or the people associated with Corbyn-because that what Labour was before 2015, during what you probably think of as "the good old days".

It couldn't be anything else.

And whatever you say to me, you're going to have to ask yourself whether anything is better as a result of the PLP never having deviated, throughout the whole Corbyn era, from not being willing to settle for anything other than his removal from the leadership, and whether their insistence on making sure the party did as badly as possible in this election simply to make sure Corbyn had to stand down was in any way justifiable, in the name of the greater good.

Aristotleded24

nicky wrote:
Massive poll from Lord Ashcroft destroys myth that Corbyn not responsible for Labour’s defeat:

It was reported that Labour’s official inquiry “exonerated” Jeremy Corbyn from any blame for the election result. I can only assume this was a compassionate gesture for an already-outgoing septuagenarian leader, because no serious reading of the evidence could reach such a verdict. “I did not want Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister” topped the list for Labour defectors when we asked their reasons for switching, whether they went to the Tories or the Lib Dems, to another party, or stayed at home. Though a few saw good intentions, former Labour voters in our groups lamented what they saw as his weakness, indecision, lack of patriotism, apparent terrorist sympathies, failure to deal with antisemitism, outdated and excessively left-wing worldview, and obvious unsuitability to lead the country.

https://lordashcroftpolls.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/DIAGNOSIS-OF-DEFEAT-LORD-ASHCROFT-POLLS-1.pdf

These are all right-wing talking points that are genearlly thrown at left-wing politicians everywhere. Is it your contention that voters in the UK are so far right-wing that they will not ever elect a left-wing party?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

And whatever else you can say about Corbyn, nicky, there's this:

hundreds of thousands of people, especially young people, joined Labour for the first time because he stood for the leadership.  They saw in him the first politician they felt they could trust, the first they'd ever encountered who didn't treat their core values as utterly ridiculous.   If you erase every vestige of what the party stood for in his era, how the hell will you keep those young people in the party?   If you drive them all away-and there is a really possibility, if not the strong liklihood, that erasing all things and people even remotely connected to Corbyn will cause them all to leave in heartbreak and disgust-who will come in to even replenish their numbers?   What chance will Labour have if the party has fewer paid members and supporters at the next election?  Nobody's going to reward Labour for making hundreds of thousands of young idealists unwelcome.   And nobody's going to reward the party at the polls for going back to standing for nothing again, as it did from 1997-a year in which Labour would have won a solid parliamentary majority on ANY manifesto-to 2015.

Is there anything of any value that could come of ever re-establishing the state of affairs in the party circa 2003, whem 2.5 million people marched against the idea of going to war in the Arab/Muslim world and the "Labour" government of the day not only didn't give a damn, but the Labour rank-and-file had no means of MAKING the government they'd elected give a damn?

Labour never HAD to become that party to beat the Tories.  

It doesn't have to go back to being that party to beat the Tories now.

And it's not going to improve Labour's chances for Corbyn to be made into a pariah-his mistakes as leader are trivial compared to Ramsay MacDonald's decision to defect from his own party as prime minister, or Kinnock's mindless destructiveness in forcing out hundreds of thousands of socialists while silencing those who remained and then holding a 1992 victory rally before Polling Day-and it wasn't just him that wanted Labour to be radical again-it was most of the party.  Corbyn wouldn't even have come close to victory if he didn't represent something deeply-felt in the Labour base-something Labour cannot disregard or renounce if it is to win next time.

THAT is why I respond every time you continue your Four Years Hate against Jeremy Corbyn-not because he's a saint-he's not; not because he's flawless-even he would say he's not; but because Labour needs the generation he connected with if it is to win next time-a generation which will be lost to Labour forever if it anathemizes the Corbyn policies and blacklists everybody who played any role in his time as leader.

There simply wouldn't be anything there to hold any voters under 45.    And Labour can't win solely on the votes of bitter, cynical reactionaries 45 and older-that crowd is going to vote nothing but Tory no matter who Labour is led by.

 

nicky

Ken, you claim without evidence that young people will abandon Labour in droves if the party abandons Corbynism (although you don’t seem to like that term). Corbyn has already driven vast numbers of younger voters away from the Labour Party, as he has voters in every other demographic.

what is encouraging is that since the election 140,000 people have joined Labour. These did so not to support Corbynism but to save the party from it. This will be reflected in the leadership vote.

josh

The party’s Blairite faction – supporters of the former centrist leader Tony Blair – knew that they could not win a straight fight on ideological issues against Corbyn and the hundreds of thousands of members who supported him. The Blairites’ middle-of-the-road, status-quo-embracing triangulation now found little favour with voters. But the Blairites could discredit and weaken Corbyn by highlighting an “antisemitism crisis” he had supposedly provoked in Labour by promoting Palestinian rights and refusing to cheerlead Israel, as the Blairites had always done. Identity politics, the Blairites quickly concluded, was the ground that they could weaponise against him.

As a result, Corbyn was forced endlessly on to the back foot, unable to advance popular leftwing policies because the antisemitism smears sucked all oxygen out of the room. Think of Corbyn’s interview with Andrew Neil shortly before the December election.

https://mondoweiss.net/2020/02/even-with-corbyn-gone-antisemitism-threats-will-keep-destroying-the-uk-labour-party/

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

nicky wrote:

Ken, you claim without evidence that young people will abandon Labour in droves if the party abandons Corbynism (although you don’t seem to like that term). Corbyn has already driven vast numbers of younger voters away from the Labour Party, as he has voters in every other demographic.

what is encouraging is that since the election 140,000 people have joined Labour. These did so not to support Corbynism but to save the party from it. This will be reflected in the leadership vote.

I object to the term "Corbynism" because there's no such thing-all there ever has been in all of this was a massive popular movement to revive socialism within the Labour Party.  Since the 2010 and 2015 results prove that a non-socialist("social democratic" is just another word for Thatcherism in the UK now) Labour can never win another election, it had to happen.  Corbyn simply happened to be the person who chose to lead it.  It could have been Diane Abbott running again, or John McDonnell, or anybody else...it was spontaneous and legitimate.

It's not as though Corbyn was imposed on Labour from outside the party.  And, despite your implications, Corbyn's election had nothing to do with Trotskyism or Trotskyists.

It wasn't evil and it doesn't need to be destroyed.  It was simply what the Labour rank-and-file wanted, and it was simply what the people whose votes Labour needs to win wanted.   

If Corbyn hadn't won, the party would still be in the "centrist"-and, in practical terms slightly right of center-dead zone, the dead zone that had doomed it in 2010 and 2015 and would have doomed it in the next election if Cooper, Burnham, Kendall or Owen(the Pfizer lobbyist and thus massive antisocialist) had ended up leading it.

Starmer can't erase every vestige of the Corbyn era without erasing every vestige of socialism, and it can't win with a leader who spends the next four years demonizing the last leader.   

Besides which, Labour never anathemized Michael Foot after his defeat, and he led the party to a far worse showing in the popular vote, with a pathetic 27.6% showing.

It wouldn't have made any difference in this election to have had a leader who always  waved the damn Union flag and sang "God Save The Queen"-an anthem to a pointless, decrepit family of heriditary no-longer-rulers- or who made a point of taking the side of police against protesters while pledging to keep Thatcher's antiworker laws, keep spending low, not privatize electricity, water and the rails, and not raise taxes on the rich.  It would also be impossible to run a LABOUR government after making all of those pledges.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

And you don't have any justification for acting as if, unless RLB is annihilated in the leadership race and everyone with any connection to Corbyn's tenure is sacked and if possible expelleed, the party will be in the hands of a diabolical cabal. 

Corbyn was never leading a cult- he was simply the symbol of a legitimate movement for change- and those who stayed loyal to him never deserved to be treated as though.  The people who had elected Corbyn were not alien to the party-they had as much right to have a say in who led it as the right-wing Corbyn haters-and they never owed it to the party to abandon the guy simply because the PLP-the only people in the whole party who wanted to stay with "the Third Way" in 2015 and the only ones who never accepted Corbyn's leadership victory as legitimate-demanded that the abandon Corbyn.  The PLP don't have any greater knowledge of what it takes to win an election than anybody else. 

And it's quite difficult to imagine that Labour, under a leader you preferred in this century, would actually stand for anything distinguishable from Toryism.  That's what the PLP want-they want Labour to be a second party of the right.

There is no popular call for Labour to once again blur the differences with the Conservatives.

Aristotleded24

nicky wrote:
Ken, you claim without evidence that young people will abandon Labour in droves if the party abandons Corbynism (although you don’t seem to like that term). Corbyn has already driven vast numbers of younger voters away from the Labour Party, as he has voters in every other demographic.

what is encouraging is that since the election 140,000 people have joined Labour. These did so not to support Corbynism but to save the party from it. This will be reflected in the leadership vote.

Political parties always get a bounce in membership during a leadership race. Whether or not these people stay on afterwards is another question.

Although for anti-progressive right-wingers like yourself, I wonder why you have such a problem with the fact that the Conservatives have a majority at all. All of the things you have said about Corbyn are the same things right-wingers will always say about their opponents.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Aristotleded24 wrote:

nicky wrote:
Ken, you claim without evidence that young people will abandon Labour in droves if the party abandons Corbynism (although you don’t seem to like that term). Corbyn has already driven vast numbers of younger voters away from the Labour Party, as he has voters in every other demographic.

what is encouraging is that since the election 140,000 people have joined Labour. These did so not to support Corbynism but to save the party from it. This will be reflected in the leadership vote.

Political parties always get a bounce in membership during a leadership race. Whether or not these people stay on afterwards is another question.

Although for anti-progressive right-wingers like yourself, I wonder why you have such a problem with the fact that the Conservatives have a majority at all. All of the things you have said about Corbyn are the same things right-wingers will always say about their opponents.

Thanks for that, Aristotled24.

Indeed, nicky(and the PLP) made it clear by their actions in the 2017 and 2019 election campaigns-and by their perpetuation of the Four Years' Hate against Corbyn-that they preferred to see the Conservatives stay in power than to see Labour when with a leader whose only real crime was having policies to the left of their comfort level.

Nicky and the PLP knew, in particular, that they were never going go pull off the "keep trashing Corbyn-and then somehow elect enough non-Tory MPs to put together a "center-left coalition government" with Corbyn deposed as Labour's leader in exchange for SNP, Plaid, LibDem and Green participation in such a coalition- they also knew that the LibDems are now "center-right", not center-left, but let's leave that aside for the moment.   And they knew that their support for "tactical voting" was never going to achieve anything but reducing Labour's seat count as much as possible, yet they did not care.  It was nicky and the PLP who were "Conservative enablers" in the last two elections.   

Now, nicky and the PLP are fighting to move Labour back to the useless, irrelevant 1997 policies-even though the electorate clearly doesn't want Labour to do that.   If the electorate DID want the 1997 policies back, there'd have been huge support for Change UK and the LibDems-instead, LibDem support barely cleared double-figures and the LibDe leader was beaten in her constituency by a candidate from a party to her left, while ChangeUK took a pathetic 10,006 votes in the whole of the UK, after most of its MPs-almost all of whom were right wing defectors from Labour-defected to the LibDems-only to lose badly in every seat they fought as LibDem candidates.

Labour doesn't need to move sharply to the right to win.  It doesn't need to renounce its opposition to austerity and military interventions OR its proposals to nationalize electricity, water, and the rails-all of which should simply be human rights for the British people.  It doesn't need to suspend or expel everyone who won't agree to renounce solidarity with the people of Palestine, with no due process to battle false accusations as the BoD "pledges" demand.  It doesn't need to pretend there's a "crisis with antisemitism" when there's essentially no antisemitism in the party at all and Corbyn already did everything that needed to be done to deal with that.  It mainly needs to have a leader who fights back aggressively against unjust attacks, as Corbyn never did, and a more focused, coherent argument for its proposals-all of which were and are popular.

Most of all, nicky, Labour doesn't need a Great Cleansing Fire of the sort you seem obsessed with.  Nobody should be persecuted simply for having an association with the party's outgoing leader.  

You and the PLP need to back off on your demands for retribution.   There's nothing anybody should be punished for.

And the fact remains that none of the people who opposed Corbyn for the leadership, in 2015 or 2016, had anything more to offer or would have done any better in the job.  Labour had nothing to gain from either staying the Blair course-as Cooper, Burnham or Smith would all have done-or moving to the right of that course as Kendall would have done. 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

And there's no reason to keep using the word "Corbynism", as if the Corbyn phenomenon was some sort of diabolical conspiracy against Labour and alien to Labour.  It was simply a grassroots movement to get Labour out of the doldrums and push the party to stand for something again.   You can't seriously argue that the party should just have stayed right where it was under Harriet Harman, or gone where it would have gone under David Miliband, a man whose basic idea that Labour should endorse the few areas of the Tory manifesto it hadn't endorsed under Blair, and therefore a man who could never have led Labour to victory in a general election.

nicky

Ken and the Corbynites knew, in particular, that they were never going go pull off the "keep Corbyn”-and then somehow elect enough Labour MPs to put together a "left coalition government" with Corbyn  as Labour's leader without the  SNP, Plaid, LibDem and Green participation in  a coalition. It was Ken and the Corbynites who were "Conservative enablers" in the last two elections.   

Now, Ken and the Corbynites are fighting to move Labour back to the useless, irrelevant 2019 policies-even though the electorate clearly doesn't want Labour to do that.   Labour had its worst result since 1935 and hardly anyone voted for the SWP.

sorry to cut and paste so much.

Aristotleded24

nicky wrote:
Now, Ken and the Corbynites are fighting to move Labour back to the useless, irrelevant 2019 policies-even though the electorate clearly doesn't want Labour to do that.   Labour had its worst result since 1935 and hardly anyone voted for the SWP.

Why were Labour's 2019 policies useless and irrelevant? What policies would you have preferred the Labour Party to run on instead?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

nicky wrote:

Ken and the Corbynites knew, in particular, that they were never going go pull off the "keep Corbyn”-and then somehow elect enough Labour MPs to put together a "left coalition government" with Corbyn  as Labour's leader without the  SNP, Plaid, LibDem and Green participation in  a coalition. It was Ken and the Corbynites who were "Conservative enablers" in the last two elections.   

Now, Ken and the Corbynites are fighting to move Labour back to the useless, irrelevant 2019 policies-even though the electorate clearly doesn't want Labour to do that.   Labour had its worst result since 1935 and hardly anyone voted for the SWP.

sorry to cut and paste so much.

1)  There is a massive difference between getting 40% of the vote in 2017 and 33% in 2019 after two years of utterly unjustified smears and sabotage, on the one hand, and less then 10% of the vote in 2017 and less than 12% of the vote in 2019 for "Third Way" policies which received unquestioning media adulation.  

2) "I'm rubber, you're glue" is not a valid debating technique.  Grow up.

It's obvious that nothing would have gone better for Labour in 2019 if Corbyn had stood down before the last election.  Despite your absurd insistence that the whole thing was Corbyn's fault-at least half of it was the PLP's for refusing to ever stop sabotaging the guy-there was no one who could have replaced him who had anything more to offer.   Your current hero, Starmer, had himself chosen not to stand for the leadership in 2015 because he felt unqualified.   He gained no added qualifications in the next four years.   Also, by most reports, Starmer is a bland, plodding speaker and has no personal charisma whatsoever.   And if you're going to argue that he'd have done better because the PLP would have approved of him, you're admitting that the PLP helped cause the 2019 result.

I mean, seriously...Owen Smith?  The guy who held leadership hustings where NOBODY showed up?   THAT guy would have been better?

And again, if you're going to say Corbyn's policies were the issue, you have an obligation to say what policies you think Labour should adopt instead?  It's absurd to argue that any policies Corbyn didn't personally advocate would have been more popular with the electorate simply because it wasn't associated with Corbyn.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Aristotleded24 wrote:

nicky wrote:
Now, Ken and the Corbynites are fighting to move Labour back to the useless, irrelevant 2019 policies-even though the electorate clearly doesn't want Labour to do that.   Labour had its worst result since 1935 and hardly anyone voted for the SWP.

Why were Labour's 2019 policies useless and irrelevant? What policies would you have preferred the Labour Party to run on instead?

Don't expect him to answer-nicky thinks he's above having to say what Labour should stand for, because the only thing that matters is ending what nicky labels "Corbynism"-something which, in reality, was never anything other than a legitimate spontenous grassroots movement to retake Labour for socialist values and internal democracy-and restoring the era in which the PLP were held above everyone else in the party.

Never mind that, in the era where the PLP did hold that kind of power in the past, Labour lost the vast majority of general elections it fought, including three straight defeats under miserly, militaristic, right-wing leadership in the Fifties.  Never mind that Labour lost badly in the last two elections it fought under the kind of leaders nicky prefers.

All nicky cares about is that Labour be led by a cynical, arrogant parliamentary aristocracy, not the rank-and-file.

nicky

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