UK Labour leadership

467 posts / 0 new
Last post
NorthReport

Anyone who disagrees with misguided and hopelessly out of touch Ken is now a bully

Ken Burch

JKR wrote:

I think Labour should make at least 3 changes that include:

1. Establish open-selection that requires all Labour MP's to be re-nominated between elections. Labour constituency associations should always be able to vote non-confidence in their MP's between elections. Labour MP's should always have to maintain the confidence of their constituency associations. If a Labour MP loses the confidence of their constituency association they should no longer be able to represent Labour in the UK House of Commons.

2. Labour's leader should have to always maintain the confidence of the PLP. A leader that loses the confidence of the PLP should not be able to run for the leadership until they regain the confidence of the PLP.

3. The primary responsibility of constituency associations should be to elect the best person possible to represent Labour in their constituency.  

The only way #2 would be legitimate would be if 

a) The PLP would agree to give the leader, whoever the leader was, at least a two year grace period, within which time they will agree to do nothing to undermine the leader.  They should not be allowed to simply refuse to accept the leader the party elected from the get go, because that would the PLP an ADDITIONAL veto-they already have the right to bloc leadeship candidates from the ballot at the start.   Labour would never have any leaders who weren't completely reactionary if the PLP can simply refuse to accept a leadership election result.

b) any OTHER sector of the party-the constituency parties, the affiliates, the paid members and supporters-should ALSO have the right to oust a leader by withdrawing their confidence, since, as I assume you'd agree, there is no reason for the MPs-most of whom hate everything Labour has ever stood for-to have a greater say in who gets to be leader or stay on as leader than anybody else; plus, MPs should be obligated to follow their wishes of their CLPs on leadership matters; there should never be a situation in which an MP is trying to oust a leader the constituency party supports.

As to the third, the CLPs should be the ones who determine who the prospective parliamentary candidates(PPC's) are, and should not be overruled by the party leadership.   There are essentially no seats Labour currently holds that it ONLY holds because the sitting MP was once imposed as PPC against the wishes of the constituency party.

Ken Burch

I'm curious, JKR, why you think the MPs should have more of a say as to who the leader is than anybody else in the Labour Party?

It's not as though any of the people they'd have preferred to Corbyn would have led Labour to a better showing in 2017, and probably not in 2019-all of them were Remainers, and any move further towards Remain would have done nothing but cost the party more seats in the North without giving it any chance to gain seats anywhere else, since there were no Tory constituencies ANYWHERE in the UK that would have flipped Labour if only the party had gone all-out Remain and once again lowered itself to Blairism and war.

josh

NorthReport wrote:
Anyone who disagrees with misguided and hopelessly out of touch Ken is now a bully

 

Hopelessly out of touch?  How's Tom Mulcair doing as PM?

Ken Burch

NorthReport wrote:
Anyone who disagrees with misguided and hopelessly out of touch Ken is now a bully

No, anyone who resorts to personal insults is, though.  

It wouldn't have made any difference in the last election if Corbyn had been forced out and replaced with a centrist, and everyone knows it.

NorthReport

Let's cut to the chase

Corbyn was never ever going to win an election so why in the world would anyone who wants change get behind such a loser!

It's just more nonsensical purity tests which you constantly throw out and but will never ever produce change.

Ken Burch

NorthReport wrote:
Let's cut to the chase Corbyn was never ever going to win an election so why in the world would anyone who wants change get behind such a loser! It's just more nonsensical purity tests which you constantly throw out and but will never ever produce change.

Actually...Corbyn had Labour in the lead on numerous occasions during his leadership.   Had the AS smear-lie campaign not been invented he would have done much better in 2019.  He came closer to winning in 2017 than any of the candidates the PLP preferred would have come-Labour was doomed to stay stuck at 30% or so under people like Brown and Miliband(or even the OTHER Miliband, whom the Labour Right assumed was massively better than his twin brother for reasons they never explained to the rest of the universe).

And there was no Labour leader who could ever have led the party victory on an all-out Remain program on the EU.  It was never going to be possible to maintain Labour strength in the North, Northeast, Wales, and the Midlands on a pledge to fight to keep the UK in an institution virtually everyone in those regions sees as the cause of their economic misery.

Ken Burch

And again, North, the smug bully thing doesn't suit you.   You're just embarassing yourself every time you go to that place.

 

JKR

Ken Burch wrote:

I'm curious, JKR, why you think the MPs should have more of a say as to who the leader is than anybody else in the Labour Party?

My views on group dynamics are not limited to Labour's situation. I think groups in general have to maintain at least some kind of minimum standards of internal cooperation in order to be successful, no matter what party they represent, Labour, Conservative, or the local Shriners. I think that the leader of any group that works together closely on a daily basis has to be supported by the majority of that group, be it a caucus, committee, or any group of people that have to work together closely. I think a leader can not be successfull if the majority of the group they work with on a daily basis oppose their leadship. The general membership, and the different factions of a political party do not have to work with each other on a daily but a party leader and party MP's have to work cooperatively with each other within a parliamentary caucus. Things just naturally fall apart if that minimal standard is not met. I think it is just a fact of life that if Labour leaders are not supported by their own caucus Labour will hardly ever, if ever, be successful. I also think MP's cannot be forced to support their party's leader or anyone else for that matter. Like it or not, within the confines of Parliament MP's have a huge amount of discretion that they don't have outside of Parliament. That's the rules Labour and the other parties have to work under. If Labour needs to establish a rule that "all Labour MP's must support the party leader" than I think Labour is in a huge amount of trouble. If a party leader is not respected by their MP's how likely is it that the general public will respect that leader? 

NDPP

The fake left rednecks and zios will be quite content about the ever more disgusting state of UK Labour, now just another No Difference Party, complete with the now standard grotesque feature of Zionist supporters purporting to represent the Palestinian cause. Cui Bono?

 

Labour's Next Leader Has Already Betrayed the Left

https://dissidentvoice.org/2020/02/labours-next-leader-has-already-betra...

"In declaring their support for Zionism, the three contenders for Corbyn's crown are offering only the cynical politics of old. Asked if they were Zionists, two of the candidates - Nandy the climate change secretary, and Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, who is widely touted as representing 'continuity Corbynism' - declared they indeed were.

The third contender - Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, and the man favoured by the party machine - stated only slightly less emphatically that he supported Zionism.

Nandy's response was particularly baffling. She is the current chair of Labour friends of Palestine, while the other two are supporters of the group. It is exceedingly difficult to find a Palestinian Zionist. And yet the Palestinian cause is now officially represented in the Labour parliamentary party by someone who has declared herself a Zionist. This is no small matter..."

Same problem there as here. that lobby's got to go.

nicky

There you go again Ken. You actually did say:”It wouldn't have made any difference in the last election if Corbyn had been forced out and replaced with a centrist, and everyone knows it.”

no one could possibly have done worse than Corbyn, the most monumentally unpopular, incompetent and reviled Leader Labour, or probably any party, has ever had.

you absolutely ignore the evidence like a deluded patient ignoring all the medical tests - 5 to 1 negative favourability polls, polls indicating Corbyn was overwhelmingly the cause for Labour voter defections, by-elections, local elections, European elevations, general elections, polls showing that any generic unnamed Labour leader would have added 10% to Labour’s vote if Corbyn were replaced. My late dog would have done better than Corbyn.

meanwhile here is some encouraging news, if true :

https://theunionjournal.com/corbyns-leadership-heir-rebecca-long-bailey-is-heading-for-a-humiliating-third-place-finish/

 

 

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

So, just out of curiosity, nicky, who do you favour in the Democratic primary? I'm guessing Buttigieg or possibly Klobuchar. Bloomberg is probably a bit too right wing even for you, but on the other hand, you do love to suck up to the ultra-wealthy. Certainly Warren is far too radical for you, and Sanders is beyond crazy, right?

nicky

I favour Bernie.

i have always like him since hewas mayor of Burlington Vermont, one of my favourite American cities.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Bernie has been a big supporter of Corbyn. How do you reconcile that?

JKR

One significant difference between Bernie and Corbyn is Bernie has good approval ratings while Corbyn's approval ratings were very low. 

Ken Burch

nicky wrote:

I favour Bernie.

i have always like him since hewas mayor of Burlington Vermont, one of my favourite American cities.


Bernie would never have approved of how Corbyn was treated by the PLP, or ever been part of the "chicken coop" against him.

It's enough that Corbyn is going.  There's no need to erase everything his supporters stood for from the party and there is no reason for you to act as if nobody who agrees with the policies he supports-everyone in the party who personally identifys as a socialist does-should even be standing to succeed him.

And if it WAS all Corbyn's fault, that fact wouldn't justify demanding the political annihilation of anyone aligned with him.  Nor would it justify the repudiation of all his policies, since the only alternative to those policies is Toryism-there's nothing to the right of what Corbyn supported that Labour could decent go back to now-and since no one is going to rally to Labour if the party does move to the right on any significant number of issues.

Going back to support for military intervention won't gain votes.

Neither will cheerleading for "law and order" crime policies, since such policies can only be inhumane.

And it's time to accept that the EU issue is settled once and for all.

Ken Burch

JKR wrote:

One significant difference between Bernie and Corbyn is Bernie has good approval ratings while Corbyn's approval ratings were very low. 

It was never as simple as "his approval ratings were low".  It makes a huge difference that his approval ratings were artificially lowered by the brutal and totally unjustified hate campaign the PLP-the last supporters of Blairism in the whole of the UK-waged against him.

And again, there wasn't anyone available to replace him who would have had anymore to offer.  Starmer had no personal popularity, Owen Smith had no personal popularity, Andy Burnham had no personal popularity, Yvette Cooper had no personal popularity, Liz Kendall had no personal popularity-and a new leader can never instantly become popular during the course of an election campaign.

As to Tony Blair-he had no special gifts in term of winning elections-he simply managed to win the leadership at a time-the mid 1990's-when Labour was certain to win the next election no matter who led it and no matter what manifesto it fought that election on.

The MPs loyal to him are chained to his past-they can't accept that the policies of 1997 have nothing to offer the UK of 2020.

 

Ken Burch

Labour will shape a different future now...but it can't shape a future worth anything at all if the operating principle is "everything and everyone in any way connected to Corbyn is now anathema".   Working on that principle means turning Labour into a party that stand for nothing again, and, as a consequence, a party that would have no reason to exist.  Such a party couldn't possibly have any radical or even left-of-center policies at all and would appeal to no one other than those who think that politics should be about nothing but having an alternating cast of characters carrying out largely the same policies no matter what.

 

JKR

I think that, in order to win, Labour will have to include, respect, and represent all the major segments of their big tent party, from those that support Corbyn to those that support Blair. Both groups, and all those between them, should not be excluded or made second class party members.

Sean in Ottawa

JKR wrote:

I think that, in order to win, Labour will have to include, respect, and represent all the major segments of their big tent party, from those that support Corbyn to those that support Blair. Both groups, and all those between them, should not be excluded or made second class party members.

The problem is that these two directions are not possible to pursue at the same time. So while it may be necessary to have enough respect for the other side in order to convince enough to change sides and unite the party, you still need to choose a direction. The fear here could be that the Labour party will either fail to choose a direction, will choose the wrong one, or will fail to unite enough support behind it to succeed. This is not yet success though. After this they have to then figure out a strategy to ocnvince the public to support them.

So in the end we have the differences in opinion over whether the last eleciton was lost becuase:

1) Corbyn was not able to communicate what was the right direction

2) Corbyn failed to get enough support (or the party failed to support him)

3) That the direction was too far for the public

4) That Cobyn was incompetent or deficient such that he was not credible.

5) That the problem was with the wider Brexit situation and the challenges came with that.

Labour supports must stop fighting and move on in order to be successful but you cannot move on without a direction and agreement on the cause.

Despite a number of positives and defences in each of the above it can be argued that the cause of the loss was actually a combination of all the above. It is also arguable that any one of the factors could have been overcome such that none of the factors can be fairly blamed as the direct cause and that it was more of the perfect storm.

I want to address 3 becuase it is a loaded reason as well. If you beleive in a direction -- even if you admit that it is a risk and a challenge -- that does nto mean that you should not pursue it as failing to do so is to give up without starting. This, you have also not just an opinion about cause of the loss but also a value judgment and an ideology.

When I lay it out like this -- setting aside all the venom in this thread -- you can see the challenge facing the labour party.

I think people here want two things -- they want the Labour party to win and they want it to be worth something when it does. The fact that winning is easier if you do not consider the second is important to consider. So you have to minimize the compromises you make in order to win. And there is another load of value judgments even if you otherwise find agreement on the points I enumerated above. This value judgment is coloured byt the value judgment of what you believe the public can support -- so what is worth compromising and what people can support (the cost) is actually a form of negotiation.

The reason I lay this out in this way is to point out that there really is no reason to bring so much anger to the table with such a difficult set of determiantions that are mixed between ideology, priority and judgment or what is possible. You could agree on ideology and fight here due to a different judgment about what is possible.

People making comparisons to the US are correct as it is the same issue there: what is the most progressive/beneficial (or use whatever word you want) platform that is actually possible to get enough votes for that you can implement it? Behind this is the polarization where the gamble is greater becuase if you fail you leave a more extreme alternative in power.

 

nicky
nicky

Here is a Survation poll predicting a comfortable win for Starmer on the second ballot - 64 to 36 for RLB.

on the first ballot Starmer gets 45, RLB 34 and Nandy 21.

https://labourlist.org/2020/02/exclusive-members-expect-starmer-to-shift-party-to-centre-new-poll-shows/

Here is an interesting finding, indicating that most Labour members are prepared to learn from the mistakes of the past:

A majority of the representative sample of Labour members, registered supporters and affiliate members surveyed, 54%, said Corbyn should not be invited to the shadow cabinet, with 35% saying he should be.

 

Aristotleded24

nicky wrote:
Here is a Survation poll predicting a comfortable win for Starmer on the second ballot - 64 to 36 for RLB.

on the first ballot Starmer gets 45, RLB 34 and Nandy 21.

https://labourlist.org/2020/02/exclusive-members-expect-starmer-to-shift-party-to-centre-new-poll-shows/

Here is an interesting finding, indicating that most Labour members are prepared to learn from the mistakes of the past:

A majority of the representative sample of Labour members, registered supporters and affiliate members surveyed, 54%, said Corbyn should not be invited to the shadow cabinet, with 35% saying he should be.

*Yawn* sounds like Labour is morphing into just another political party interested in its own ends and that will not fight for the people. Perhaps regular everyday people should do what they can to support their communities locally and just not concern themselves with politics at all.

JKR

I think if regular everyday people disengage from national politics, labour laws will be decimated, social programs like public health care, child care, and public housing will be reduced. Taxes on the rich and super rich will be reduced and income inequality will sky rocket. Global climate change will be ignored even more as the rich and super rich insulate themselves from climate change while lower incomes suffer.

Aristotleded24

JKR wrote:
I think if regular everyday people disengage from national politics, labour laws will be decimated, social programs like public health care, child care, and public housing will be reduced. Taxes on the rich and super rich will be reduced and income inequality will sky rocket. Global climate change will be ignored even more as the rich and super rich insulate themselves from climate change while lower incomes suffer.

When that keeps happening regardless of which political party gets into office, why bother?

Ken Burch

nicky wrote:

Here is a Survation poll predicting a comfortable win for Starmer on the second ballot - 64 to 36 for RLB.

on the first ballot Starmer gets 45, RLB 34 and Nandy 21.

https://labourlist.org/2020/02/exclusive-members-expect-starmer-to-shift-party-to-centre-new-poll-shows/

Here is an interesting finding, indicating that most Labour members are prepared to learn from the mistakes of the past:

A majority of the representative sample of Labour members, registered supporters and affiliate members surveyed, 54%, said Corbyn should not be invited to the shadow cabinet, with 35% saying he should be.

 


Thanks for admitting what we always suspected...you want Labour to shift to a "centre ground" that will never exist again in UK politics, and therefore that you want UK elections to be meaningless.

There's no difference between the Tories and Labour when Labour runs as a "centre ground" party, and it would be useless for Labour to go back to being a party of austerity and military intervention, which is what going "back to the centre" means.

And nobody under 50 would think it mattered who won in an election between the Tories and "centre ground" Labour, given that being "centre ground" means agreeing with the Tories on all major issues.

Thanks for admitting that you've been a Tory the whole damn time.

Ken Burch

No possible good can come to Labour from anathemizing Corbyn and anathemizing socialists and socialism.  

nicky

No Ken, I have never been a Tory. Nor has Keir Starmer whose outlook I broadly share.

you, on the other hand, are so clearly a Tory enabler, endlessly and disingenuously schilling for a Labour leader who guaranteed an election win to a right wing incompetent,Boris Johnson, who appears to be your first love .

JKR

Aristotleded24 wrote:

JKR wrote:
I think if regular everyday people disengage from national politics, labour laws will be decimated, social programs like public health care, child care, and public housing will be reduced. Taxes on the rich and super rich will be reduced and income inequality will sky rocket. Global climate change will be ignored even more as the rich and super rich insulate themselves from climate change while lower incomes suffer.

When that keeps happening regardless of which political party gets into office, why bother?

Even though I agree that Labour has often disappointed, especially with supporting the insane Iraqi war, I still think Labour is much, much, better than the Conservatives. The cruelty of the ongoing Conservatives austerity programs should not be underestimated.

Aristotleded24

JKR wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:

JKR wrote:
I think if regular everyday people disengage from national politics, labour laws will be decimated, social programs like public health care, child care, and public housing will be reduced. Taxes on the rich and super rich will be reduced and income inequality will sky rocket. Global climate change will be ignored even more as the rich and super rich insulate themselves from climate change while lower incomes suffer.

When that keeps happening regardless of which political party gets into office, why bother?

Even though I agree that Labour has often disappointed, especially with supporting the insane Iraqi war, I still think Labour is much, much, better than the Conservatives. The cruelty of the ongoing Conservatives austerity programs should not be underestimated.

If you believe the conventional wisdom, the voters gave a strong rebuke to the public policy program that would have reversed the Conservative austerity, and it looks as though Labour is about to elect a leader who is not going to seriously challenge the Conservatives on issues of importance.

JKR

Aristotleded24 wrote:

If you believe the conventional wisdom, the voters gave a strong rebuke to the public policy program that would have reversed the Conservative austerity, and it looks as though Labour is about to elect a leader who is not going to seriously challenge the Conservatives on issues of importance.

I think that issues and policies are just a part of what attracts voters. Likability and other personality traits seem to influence voters as much as issues and policies do. I think Theresa May was very easy to run against because she was so arrogant, especially during the 2017 election. I think Corbyn seemed too scattered and incompetent. Boris looked good in comparison during the 2019 election even though he comes across as a likeable upper-class buffoon. I agree that Blair was too centrist but I think he seemed very competent and "cool" which helped him win elections. 

Ken Burch

nicky wrote:

No Ken, I have never been a Tory. Nor has Keir Starmer whose outlook I broadly share.

you, on the other hand, are so clearly a Tory enabler, endlessly and disingenuously schilling for a Labour leader who guaranteed an election win to a right wing incompetent,Boris Johnson, who appears to be your first love .


I'm not "shilling" for Corbyn-I'm simply refusing to leave your pointless insistence on continually vilifying the man unchallenged.  The election would have come out exactly the same with Starmer as leader, since Starmer's all-out Remain position would have cost Labour ever seat it lost in the heartlands due to the second referendum pledge.  And quite frankly, it's obvious that the main reason you are so invested in continuing to give Corbyn ALL the blame for the 2019 result is that you know perfectly well that if you back off on your insistence that the result was all his fault, you'd have to admit that the right-wing Labour insistence-nobody at all on the Labour left and no one who ever actually idenfied as a socialist was pushing for the party to go all out remain and everyone in the party now accepts that it was never ever possible to get the previous House to revoke Article 50 and therefore that it was pointless to attack Corbyn for not doing the impossible on that.

Since the overwhelming majority of voters in the seats Labour lost in the heartlands were all-out Leave, there is no way Labour could ever have held their votes with an allout Remain platform-there were no "local issues" that were ever going to outweigh Welsh, Northern, North Eastern and Midlands opposition to the EU.  There was no socialist or social democratic or even progressive and humane case for putting the right wing fight to stay in the unchangeable EU ahead of all other issues, and there was no justification for Starmer to keep pressuring Corbyn to go allout Remain right up until the election was called.

Corbyn is standing down as lead.  He doesn't need to be anathemized by Labour for the party towin the next election, and there was no justification for the vicious insistence on

And I've done nothing to deserve being called a Conservative enabler.  The only thing that enables the Conservatives is when Labour blurs the differences down to nothing, as it unnecessarily did in 1997.  There was never any good reason for Labour to move so far to the right in the Nineties that people like Richard Branson and Rupert Murdoch would end up celebrating what the media called a "Labour" victory, and there was no good reason for Tony Blair's first guest at Number 10 to be Margaret Thatcher.

And given that you were campaigning against Labour in the last election-that's what calling for a "center-left coalition" with someone other than Corbyn as Labour leader meant-so you have no call to lecture me or anyone else about what is good for the party.  Being loyal to a party means never ever trying to remove or sabotage its leader during an election campaign, as you and the PLP did in 2019 and 2017.

Starmer looks like he will win.  If he cares about the party, he won't purge the socialists and he won't anathemize Corbyn, because doing so means committing Labour to standing for nothing again.

The 2019 election proves that there IS no "center ground" in UK politics and that there never will be again.   And it proves that there is never any justification for putting an obsession with changing a party's leader over actually helping that party win the damn election, as you did in 2017 AND 2019.

Labour without radicalism would be Labour without a reason to exist.

Ken Burch

You still have never said, nicky, what you mean by "Corbynism", or why you even think there was such a thing AS "Corbynism".  Corbyn himself was never the point of the sharp swing to the left among the Labour rank-and-file in 2015.  It's not as though if he hadn't existed Labour would not have elected a left-wing leader, and it's not as though without him the rank-and-file would either have been content with the non-policies and non-values the party fought and lost badly on in the 2010 and 2015 elections.  And it's not as though Corbyn either wanted to be leader OR was fixated with hanging onto the leadership for the sake of hanging on to the leadership.

He was essentially forced to hang on because, had he stepped down at the time of the "chicken coup", the PLP wouldn't have allowed any candidates on the leadership ballot to replace him other than "moderates", and would not have settled for anything short of erasing all socialists and any policies even vaguely resembling socialism from the party program.

Can you not admit, even after all that happened, that the PLP should have been willing to bend?  That if should have been willing to accept that the 2015 result meant that the party HAD to break with the Third Way and had to democratize?  That it was time for the PLP and the right-wingers in the Labour bureaucracy to actually listen to the rank and file and accept at least most of what that rank and file wanted?

Why do you exempt the opponents of the Corbyn project from any responsibility for what happened to the party in the last four years?  Why can't you admit that they should have been willing, if they wanted Corbyn himself gone, to make some actual compromises of their own and to accept that what the rank-and-file wanted was valid?

What possible harm could have come from the PLP being willing to do that?  

And what possible good could have come from the PLP refusing to bend at all and continuing their fight to dump Corbyn into the election campaigns themselves, when they KNEW that continuing to try and change leaders once the election was called was pointless and couldn't possibly have produced any replacement leader who could ever have been credible with either the rank-and-file or the wider electorate, and when there was no legitimate and democratic way TO depose a leader and replace that leader once an election had been called?

It's one thing to say Corbyn had flaws.  I agree that he had flaws. CORBYN agreed that he had flaws, for that matter.

But why the bloodyminded insistence that nothing mattered other than replacing him and why on earth do you think anyone brought in as a replacement for him during an election campaign could ever possibly have been an effective leader in her or his own right?

You can't seriously argue that the PLP should have MORE of a say in who becomes leader than anybody else.  What is so special about being an MP?  It takes no special talent to win a seat in parliament, especially if you're nominated in a safe seat for your party, as is virtually everyone currently sitting as a Labour MP and as was everyone who sat as a Labour MP during the Corbyn years.  All of Corbyn's opponents in the party now simply won seats that would have gone Labour in any election no matter what-none of them were the ONLY possible Labour candidate who could have won their seat.

And no good has ever come to the party from indulging the fiction that the PLP should be treated as Labour's internal aristocracy.   

Aristotleded24

JKR wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:

If you believe the conventional wisdom, the voters gave a strong rebuke to the public policy program that would have reversed the Conservative austerity, and it looks as though Labour is about to elect a leader who is not going to seriously challenge the Conservatives on issues of importance.

I think that issues and policies are just a part of what attracts voters. Likability and other personality traits seem to influence voters as much as issues and policies do. I think Theresa May was very easy to run against because she was so arrogant, especially during the 2017 election. I think Corbyn seemed too scattered and incompetent. Boris looked good in comparison during the 2019 election even though he comes across as a likeable upper-class buffoon. I agree that Blair was too centrist but I think he seemed very competent and "cool" which helped him win elections. 

Which validates the contention I made upthread that if politics isn't about the issues affecting everyday people, and they notice life getting harder no matter who wins elections, why bother with elections at all?

nicky

.

https://www7.politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2020/02/29/labour-must-get-over-its-myth-of-2017-if-it-is-to-win-again/

The right argument is that even if 2017 was a glorious defeat, it was also the one ray of false dawn in what was otherwise a four-year long record of failure, and that the consistency of the rest of the record represents the public’s genuine verdict on the out-going leader.

To remind ourselves of just how badly Corbyn did, here are a few of the low-lights:

 

  • A net loss in Westminster by-elections during 2015-20, including the first loss by an opposition party to the government in over 30 years
  • Finished third, losing to the Lib Dems, in the 2019 European Parliament elections
  • Lost a third of Labour’s MSPs in the 2016 Holyrood election, to finish behind the Tories
  • Lost around 400 councillors and 13 councils in net terms across the 2016-19 May rounds of local government elections
  • Worst ever net satisfaction rating by a Leader of the opposition
  • Failed to prevent Brexit, either at the referendum or afterwards
  • The smallest Labour PLP since 1935 (2019GE)

No opposition has ever endured such a lengthy and wide-ranging record of failure. Even the likes of Hague and Duncan Smith racked up decent local government gains and an EP election win. Put simply, the 2017 general election was not representative of some underlying truth; it was the aberration outside a truth that was all too obviousaccept if it is going to move on and up

And that is the point Labour needs to accept if it is going to move on and up. Certainly, there is no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater – but there is a need to throw out the bathwater.

Can Starmer do that? Can he change the culture and tone of the party, and perhaps the policy direction, while also staying true to his desire to unify Labour and not pick internal fights? I don’t think so; it’s one or the other – or if he plays it right, it’s one after the other, with a necessary fight and then unity around a new consensus. But to get there, first the Myth of 2017 must be debunked.

 

 

Ken Burch

Starmer himself said that the 2017 manifesto should be the basis of where Labour goes next.  I think he knows no good would come of brutal Kinnock-style purges.

And the salient fact of 2017-we know Labour would have done no better in that election on a hardline Remain program and with an antisocialist leader like the bland, passionless Pfizer lobbyist Owen Smith, who was certain to only keep the party at its 2010/2015 dead zone of support-is that, had the PLP not kept viciously attacking Corbyn as leader , had they not kept trying to remove him DURING the election campaign, at a time when they knew it was impossible to change leaders and at a time when they knew that they had nobody better available to take over in the job-Labour WOULD HAVE WON.

And even with the showing Labour had in 2017-it was impossible for Labour to even have come close to that showing with any leader the PLP would have approved of, since the electorate totally distrusted and despised all "Labour moderates", justly seeing every single one of them as hopelessly cynical, corrupt and devoid of imagination-the PLP could almost have certainly have got Corbyn to stand down after that result if they had agreed 

1)To pledge there would be no purges of socialists;

2) To democratize internal party structures so that they themselves would no longer have sole control over who got on the leadership ballot and so that they themselves could be held accountable to the rank and file, as opposed to the state of affairs since the early 1990s which had left the rank and file totally out in the cold on policy and personnel issues;

3) To accept that the next leader would be at least close to Corbyn on the issues and not to try to force the replacement of Corbyn with a bitter, cynical reactionary like Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper, or Andy Burnham.

It was never reasonable to expect Corbyn to step down if his doing so meant he'd be leaving his supporters and what they stood for totally unprotected against erasure by the PLP and reactionary bureaucrats like Luke Akehurst, the man who still hasn't given up on dragging the party back to the 1997 platform, even in an age where nobody wants Labour to go back to the 1997 platform.

The PLP forced Corbyn to stay on by being stubborn, arrogant, and completely inflexible.    Why can you not admit that, if they had to have the man gone, they should have respected the fact that most of the party rank and file supported his policies, that many of those policies were and are popular-you have never said either which policies of the Corbyn movement you found objectionable or what you regard as the minimum number of differences Labour has to have with the Tories to justify its existence as a party separate FROM the Tories.  You do have an obligation to answer that.

We agree that Labour did not do well in most elections in Corbyn's era-I simply reject the ideas that this was ALL Corbyn's fault and that the only answer lies in what you seem to insist on which is lowering the party to the 1997 manifesto.  

If you think "Corbynism" was a real thing, you have an obligation to define what, to you, "Corbynism" actually means.  If you define it, as I'm fairly sure you actually do, as any deviation from the Blair obsession with the "center ground"-a center ground which no longer exists in UK politics and will never exist again-you are not a socialist and you shouldn't be claiming to be a Labour supporter at all, since the only thing that makes Labour Labour is being clearly to the left of center, is supporting a clear break from the post-1979 economic status quo, is rejecting the ideas that "there IS no alternative" or that life must be run on "market values"-values which will always be the opposite of empathy and common human decency.

And really, with Corbyn leaving, you are making yourself sound ridiculously nasty and vicious by continuing to attack the man personally-you've actually called him uneducated and you have no call to do that, since nothing he supported as leader was ever a product of an ignorant mind, and you've actually called him a "racist" when you know he's not-he's the first unambiguous opponent of racism ever to lead the Labour Party since Michael Foot, everyone who held the leadership between those two pandered to racist sentiments during their tenure; when the use of the term "racist" was meant to abet the canard that Corbyn was either an appeaser of antisemitism, as he never was, or an antisemite himself, as he never was, and the use of the term "racist" would be inaccurate in terms of accusations of antisemitism because Jewish people are NOT a "race" and the idea that they were was started by...wait for it...antisemites like the Inquisitors, the tsars, and Hitler.

Corbyn was unpopular by the time he left the leadership, but an honest person would acknowledge that he was largely unpopular because his own MPs never accepted that he was the candidate the Labour rank-and-file wanted as leader and, rather than ever, at any time, trying to make common ground with him, they spent four years doing all they could to destroy him.

THAT is why I utterly reject the idea that it was as simple as saying "he was unpopular and he owed it to the party to resign when the MPs passed the non-binding and totally outside party rules 'no-confidence motion'".  For Corbyn to have stood down then would have done nothign but reward bullies and reactionaries, and he wouldn't have been replaced by anyone who would possibly have been an improvement.  If the PLP specifically had issues with Corbyn as a person, they had other choices; they could have tried negotiating with him and his supporters; they could have accepted that Corbyn's policies were what most of the party wanted and agreed to keep those policies if he stood down; they could have pledged that there would be no purges.   They refused to do any of that.  The only thing they EVER offered was to give Corbyn a meaningless, powerless, and inevitably pathetic and irrelevant position as "party president", in which he'd have been simply trotted out at the party conference to say words they wrote for him to say as the PLP-and ONLY the PLP-kept the party rigidly Blairist on policy for the rest of eternity.

The PLP's rigidity was just as much to blame as anything Corbyn did, and until you are willing to accept and acknowledge that, nicky, until you are willing to admit they had no better idea of who should lead the party than anybody else-the PLP's dream leader was David Miliband, who would have moved Labour to the RIGHT of Blair, leaving it somewhere in the zone of the German Social Democrats(the ones now permanently stuck at 20% support in the polls in that country) and Macron in France.   Whatever you think about Corbyn, can you not see that it would have been even worse for Labour to go in THAT direction?

JKR

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Which validates the contention I made upthread that if politics isn't about the issues affecting everyday people, and they notice life getting harder no matter who wins elections, why bother with elections at all?

I agree that Labour's three terms under Blair and Brown were not nearly as successful as they could have been but I think those years of Labour governments generally helped everyday people. The Blair governments did substantially increase spending in areas like healthcare and education. Blair's government established a minimum wage. He gave more power to Scotland and Wales through devolution. The Northern Ireland peace process was a huge success. The welfare state expanded significantly during the Blair years which led to a significant reduction in relative poverty:

https://www.ifs.org.uk/bns/bn73.pdf

Ken Burch

JKR wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Which validates the contention I made upthread that if politics isn't about the issues affecting everyday people, and they notice life getting harder no matter who wins elections, why bother with elections at all?

I agree that Labour's three terms under Blair and Brown were not nearly as successful as they could have been but I think those years of Labour governments generally helped everyday people. The Blair governments did substantially increase spending in areas like healthcare and education. Blair's government established a minimum wage. He gave more power to Scotland and Wales through devolution. The Northern Ireland peace process was a huge success. The welfare state expanded significantly during the Blair years which led to a significant reduction in relative poverty:

https://www.ifs.org.uk/bns/bn73.pdf

None of which was ONLY possible by Blair's vicious fight to strip the party of all vestiges of socialism.  Labour would have won in 1997 on any manifesto and with any leader.  The left never deserved the treatment they got from Blair OR Kinnock, and no good would come of purging the left again now.  Labour without the left is doomed to be nothing.

JKR

I don't think anyone wants to purge the left from Labour, at least I hope not. Labour members should choose politicians that unite all the factions of the party.

Aristotleded24

JKR wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Which validates the contention I made upthread that if politics isn't about the issues affecting everyday people, and they notice life getting harder no matter who wins elections, why bother with elections at all?

I agree that Labour's three terms under Blair and Brown were not nearly as successful as they could have been but I think those years of Labour governments generally helped everyday people. The Blair governments did substantially increase spending in areas like healthcare and education. Blair's government established a minimum wage. He gave more power to Scotland and Wales through devolution. The Northern Ireland peace process was a huge success. The welfare state expanded significantly during the Blair years which led to a significant reduction in relative poverty:

https://www.ifs.org.uk/bns/bn73.pdf

And average voter turnout dropped massively under Blair's watch.

nicky
Aristotleded24

And watch the Conservatives win re-election in the next election without any of the Red Wall seats coming back to Labour.

nicky

Corbynism lost the red wall seats. How will a continuation of Corbynism win them back?

Aristotleded24

You have staunchly defended the Remain position in the UK referendum to the point of saying that Corbyn's incoherence on the subject made him unfit for leader. Yet at the same time these areas, which voted for Brexit, cost Labour their seats. Labour also has to possibly contend with an independent Scotland in the next election, thus taking away a large swath of potential votes for them and making it an even tougher climb to come back.

Let me concede this point. Maybe what you call "Corbynism" won't win these people back. What is Starmer proposing that will help these areas? What is his plan to rebuild the party and win back the seats? What is his overall message going to be? What public poilcies will he champion? Above all else, what will be his pitch to voters (especially younger low-income voters) who roll their eyes at politicians and who don't even bother to vote because they think they're all corrupt?

Ken Burch

nicky wrote:

Corbynism lost the red wall seats. How will a continuation of Corbynism win them back?

Again, there is no such thing as "Corbynism".  There is simply democratic socialism, which Corbyn's supporters back and you oppose...you support "modernizing social democracy", which is nothing more than "Support the Tory manifesto but be slightly nicer about it".   

In reality, there is no such thing as "Corbynism" becuase, when asked to define the term, you have consistently refused to do so, but simply taken a "we all KNOW what I'm talking about here" tone even though nobody does know what you're talking about, other than that you seem to want the party to lower itself to the 1997 policies again, even though none of the voters want that-as proven by the total failure of the LibDems and Change UK to achieve anything at the polls in 2019-which is the only thing that a call for a purge could mean-we already know that no left of center party can ever do anything worth doing in power after the left is purged.

The people who support the ideas associated with Corbyn-a majority of the paid membership and supportership-are not a cult, and they are not a conspiracy against the party.  They are a legitimate mass movement and they won the leadership votes in 2015 and 2016 because most of the party wanted a clear break from Blairism.

Whatever may be going on now, why do you STILL act as if those leadership results should be treated as if they didn't count?  And if the issue was just Corbyn as a person, why didn't the PLP agree that his departure as leader would not mean an erasure of the policies his supporters wanted OR a purge of those supporters themselves?

You can't really argue that Corbyn owed it to the party to let the massive number of people who wanted Labour to make radical change after two disastrous and easily avoidable defeats in 2010 and 2015 to let those who stood with him be kicked to the curb?

Ken Burch

If you do not offer an actual definition of what you think "Corbynism" is-or why you think that such a distinctive "ism" even exists-then nicky, you are essentially admitting that it's simply your term for the genuine socialist convictions you clearly believe have no place within the Labour Party.

It simply isn't an option to go back to the right, though.  Nobody WANTS any future Labour governments to support military intervention in other countries, or any further austerity budgets, or to keep Thatcher's barbaric antiworker laws in place.   And no government that does all of those things is going to be able to do anything anybody could call Labour.

Corbyn is going to be gone as leader.   It could only be a tragedy if everything his supporters stand for went with him, because there would be no reason for Labour to exist if all of those ideals and all of those dreams vanished.

Nobody wants any future Labour leader to ever again brag about freeing the party from "all that socialist nonesense" ever again-other than those people who would never vote Labour no matter how far to the right it went.

 

 

JKR

I think any talk of purging the left is dead wrong. I think Labour has to be much more open, inclusive, and respectful of different viewpoints. 

nicky

I have been asked a number of times how I define “Corbynism” and why I think Labour has to put much distance between itself and it in order to regain electoral viability.

I will try to answer the first question. Hopefully the answer to the second question will then be obvious.

First of all Corbynism is not simply a left wing concept or even an extreme left wing concept. It is an amalgamation of the following tendencies:

An anti-democratic concentration of power in a narrow clique

A campaign to deny truths which are uncomfortable to its world view

A mindless repudiation of much of what is good in the Labour tradition.

An obsession with dominating the Labour Party regardless of electoral consequences

The imposition of its own candidates over the wishes of local constituencies

The demonization of Labour members outside its own faction

A purer than pure ideological litmus test.

the ready tendency to rationalize its own failures and the failures of its leader.

The mindless deification of a leader of exceptional mediocrity.

The tolerance of anti- Semitism and even making excuses for terrorism 

The attitude that it is better to wallow endlessly in the political wilderness rather than cede control of the Labour Party to those who have learned the lessons of ceaseless electoral defeat.

so yes Ken, there is such a thing as “Corbynism” and it ain’t pretty.

Ken Burch

nicky wrote:

I have been asked a number of times how I define “Corbynism” and why I think Labour has to put much distance between itself and it in order to regain electoral viability.

I will try to answer the first question. Hopefully the answer to the second question will then be obvious.

First of all Corbynism is not simply a left wing concept or even an extreme left wing concept. It is an amalgamation of the following tendencies:

An anti-democratic concentration of power in a narrow clique

A campaign to deny truths which are uncomfortable to its world view

A mindless repudiation of much of what is good in the Labour tradition.

An obsession with dominating the Labour Party regardless of electoral consequences

The imposition of its own candidates over the wishes of local constituencies

The demonization of Labour members outside its own faction

A purer than pure ideological litmus test.

the ready tendency to rationalize its own failures and the failures of its leader.

The mindless deification of a leader of exceptional mediocrity.

The tolerance of anti- Semitism and even making excuses for terrorism 

The attitude that it is better to wallow endlessly in the political wilderness rather than cede control of the Labour Party to those who have learned the lessons of ceaseless electoral defeat.

so yes Ken, there is such a thing as “Corbynism” and it ain’t pretty.

I thank you for, at long last, finally defining what you see as "Corbynism"-I could observe that much of what you label as such could also be used to describe the culture of arrogance and entitlement and arrogance within the anti-Corbyn wing of the PLP.   It also appears that you define "Corbynism" as a rejection of the very idea that the PLP are automatically entitled to be the dominanat faction in the PLP, and a rejection of the idea that the party has to stay with Tony Blair's policies and leadership style for the rest of eternity.

I'll start my response with the observation that about half the things you list as "Corbynism" are simply the rejection of the idea that Corbyn was obligated to immediately vacate the leadership after the bogus PLP "no-confidence motion", and that once that motion passed, everyone and everything associated with him was obligated to vanish to oblivion.   You still don't seem to accept the fact that, at the time that happened, the overwhelming majority of the rank and file didn't want the man to stand down.

A few further questions:

1) What was the "anti-democratic concentration of power"?   Corbyn won the leadership, twice, democratically.  After the bogus no-confidence motion, he stood for re-election as leader and won by an increased margin.  If that wasn't a democratic mandate that he remain leader, what would be?   Are you arguing that the PLP are the only sector of the party whose views on who should be leader should matter?

2) What truths were denied that were "uncomfortable" to any socialist's world view?  It was never a "truth" that Corbyn should never have been leader and that he should not only have stood down but left his supporters and what they stood for unprotected against a purge.  None of the policies Corbyn's supporters stand for are actually unpopular or wrong-though everyone, including all Corbyn supporters, agree that too many policies were offered right on top of each other and the policies weren't being given a chance to land.   There's no way Blair or any other all-out Remainer would have done well in 2019-going all-out Remain was going to guarantee a wipeout in the Labour heartlands-and that is the truth YOU, my friend, have refused to accept-it is your refusal to accept the truth that Remain was poison in the Labour heartlands that is why you are so obssesed with vilifying Corbyn on a personal level.

3) What, that was "good in the Labour tradition" was "mindlessly repud(iated)?"  The Iraq War wasn't in the Labour tradition.  Austerity was never good in the Labour tradition.  Neither was "anticommunism"-an ideology which is pointless in an age in which neither Stalinism nor Trotskyism exist as significant currents in UK politics.  Austerity was never good and anti-immigrant policies were never truly in the Labour tradition.  And the EU had nothing to do with Labour tradition-it was antisocialist and antiworker and was designed to be.

 

 

4)There were no situations, ever, where the constituency party wanted a centrist candidate but a leftist was imposed from above.  That simply didn't ever happen.  

5)Labour would not have done any better in the last election with tight-budgeted domestic policies and while advocating continued military intervention in the Arab/Muslim world.   Nothing Labour can co-exist with post-1980 austerity capitalism, it really is that simple.

6) The people you want control ceded to-and it is amazing that you don't hear the contradiction in accusing Corbyn's supporters of being "an anti-democratic clique", and then, only a few words later, insisting that control of the party be ceded to the PLP, a group who can only be called "an anti-democratic clique", since they oppose Open Selection for all MPs and believe they are entitled to automatic renomination as Labour candidate until they either lose their seats, stand down, or die.  And this same people, the ones you claim were the ones who had "learned the lesson of defeat", are the ones who are solely responsible for the Labour defeats in 2010 and 2015, and probably cost Labour the 2017 election by refusing to stop trying to remove their party's own leader even after the election was called, even though it's impossible to force out and replace a leader during an election campaign and even though there could be no legitimate and democratic means to do so.  In any case, what Tony Blair did correlated with a Labour victory a generation ago-it is not an unchallengeable point that Blair's insistence that Labour repudiate anything remotely similar to socialist values was the reason Labour won, and even if it was, you can't seriously be arguing that the only way Labour can ever win another election is to obsess on winning a "center ground" that no longer exists, or that we should assume that the choices that were followed by a Labour victory a generation ago could be assumed to have any chance of leading to a Labour victory now.   In case you've not noticed this, Tony Blair is now one of the most hated people in British politics, and that his militaristic foreign policies are now destested by one and all.   

7) Again, no one has said that Corbyn was a flawless or blameless leader-including Corybn himself.   All that you are seeing is the rejection of the idea that EVERYTHING was his fault and that a rejection of the idea that no one should challenge his vilification.   He is going.  Even if Long-Bailey won the leadership, she wouldn't lead exactly as he did-she would have a far better communication strategy and, as a working-class Northerner, she would have a report with voters in the Labour heartlands(something Starmer, an upper middle-class Londoner, can never have).

8) This again? Corbyn always fought hard against antisemitism and never, EVER deserved to be accused of not doing enough to confront it within the party-it's time to let the AS slur be put to rest, since the man it was used to slur has gone and since there was never any real incidence of it in the party-and Corbyn should never have been asked to agree to "guidelines" that would essentially forbid Labour Party members expressing any solidarity with the people of Palestine.  Criticism of the Israeli government is never antisemitism; for that matter, non-Zionism and even anti-Zionism aren't either in the prohibitive majority of cases.

And once again, Corbyn never made excuses for terrorism.  It's not "making excuses" simply to point out that, in situations like Northern Ireland or the Israel/Palestine dispute, it was stupid to simply say "this is terrorism" or to imply that what was being called that was not a product of arrogant stupidity of the dominant force in the conflict.  There would have been no IRA if both communities had been treated as equal in the Six Counties from the start; there would have been no Hamas if the terrotories put under military occupation by Israel in the Six Day War hadn't been kept under military occupation for the next six decades, with ordinary Palestinians denied anything remotely close to self-determination the whole time.  The way to rid the world of what you call "terrorism" is to make sure that no side in any conflict is ever so utterly disregarded and ignored that it reaches the conclusion that the armed struggle is its only possible choice.  "Condemning terrorism" is an utterly useless thing to do in practical terms and no such condemnation has ever made any meaningful difference in any conflict.  In any case, in the Northern Irish situation, the leading source of terrorism has always been the British government itself, for creating the situation in the first place.

9) As to "litmus tests", what is your alternative? reducing the objective, once again, to the meaningless goal of just electing something CALLED "a Labour government"?  I assume that, after the 1997-2010 era, even you would admit that the party didn't need to give up that many core values in order to win in name-that Labour would have won without going as vindictively antisocialist as it went in that era?   Essentially, Blair's choices punished the party for electoral failures which were the sole responsibility of the never-popular Neil Kinnock.

You can't really condemn people simply for rejecting the absolute vilification of Corbyn.  The man isn't evil, and his election as leader was never about personal adulation.   It was a way to fight for what that generation of people stood for-and what they stood and stand for wasn't wrong.  

Why not at least move to a significantly less militarist foreign policy?
Why not put human needs on the same level of priority as corporate profits?
Why not end the shaming of the poor?

 

nicky

Gee Ken, I thought you would be happy to learn there is in fact such a thing as Corbynism.

so much of your response misses the point and accuses me of thing I never said and views I’ve never held.

I am nursing a bad cold and want to go to bed so I cannot deal with all of your misstatements and non sequitors.

to deal briefly with your assertion in yourpoint #4 that the NEC never imposed candidates on unwilling constituencies,well this is so well documented I am surprised you missed it. Perhaps you would like to read:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/18/labour-accused-skewing-candidate-longlist-selections

https://unherd.com/2019/11/how-the-hard-left-has-seized-control-of-labour/

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/elections/2019/10/team-corbyn-are-using-old-old-labour-trick-get-their-people-selected-will

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/elections/2019/10/team-corbyn-are-using-old-old-labour-trick-get-their-people-selected-will

https://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2020/01/07/hard-left-stitch-up-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-la

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/uproar-continues-over-theresa-may-at-gunpoint-labour-candidate-kate-osborne-as-local-party-rages_uk_5dc936f2e4b02bf579430453?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNhLw&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAAWbnbqM-Pdan_f303_QuvLWUwd_J7C2vQT_SrG86yjesT1UxjLRDdwYTssxFtUKXmVpnfVpzdEw22l9_l9X6uX3nsN5JFiiLfeGSva8W1LddTcwSXHLmbhI00OdCBpOG4BeEsiBp5i8ZiDkYknYhXk8sOS0tE9lt_DRqh6BL1tE

I could go on but I really must crawl into my sickbed.

just think Ken. Only 3 more weeks and Corbynism will be consigned to the dustbin of history. Trotsky was so prescient .

 

 

 

Pages