UK Labour leadership

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Ken Burch

I was glad to see that you offered a definition of what you CALL "Corbynism"-it is clear that about 70% of what you define as that "ism" is simply the state of not despising Jeremy Corbyn and not believing that he was obligated to resign when the bogus and totally outside of party rules "no-confidence motion" was held.   

My questions on that are:  why was it not enough that he submitted to a second leadership contest?   And can you tell me how it would have been in any way democratic for Corbyn to agree to simply stand down when the PLP would have made sure that no one but "moderates" were on the ballot to replace him?  How could that have been democratic when the overwhelming majority of the party didn't want him to agree to that and didn't want everything the Corbyn movement stood for simply erased from the party?

Why didn't they offer him a guarantee that a socialist-there was no such thing as an anti-Corbyn socialist in the PLP; the only ones who wanted him to stand down and not even be on the next leadership ballot were on the right wing of the party-would be on the ballot, and guarantee that his supporters would not be purged?

Those would have been personally legitimate things to agree to.

And looking back, you can't seriously argue that Owen Smith, the man who never drew crowds at any of his hustings during the leadership campaign, would have been an improvement?  Owen Smith has no personality, no charisma, and was a lobbyist for Pfizer.   What would anybody like that have had to offer?   For that matter, what would right-wingers like Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham or Liz Kendall have had to offer?

the disaster in 2015 proved Labour had gone as far to the right as it could go, and that it's only chance for relevance was to reconnect with socialism.   There were no policies to the right of Ed Miliband's that even you would have been able to call "Labour policies" with a clear conscience.

Basically, you're saying that Labour should have been turned back over in 2016 to the people who had just lost the previous two elections.   What did any of them have to offer?  What chance was there that the people who had blown the 2010 and 2015 elections could ever win another election after that?

And why should Labour have listened to their policy ideas, when all they were saying was to go further and further and further to the right, like the mainland European "social democratic" parties that no longer support social democracy and are in permanent, irreversible electoral decline?

Are you really going to argue that Labour should be more like the German SPD? As in, the German SPD which now barely gets 20% of the vote and will never win another federal election in that country?

josh

Pictures have emerged showing Nichole Brennan holding a sign calling Israel a “racist, apartheid state” in a protest two years ago at Hove Town Hall against the adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism by the local authority. The Definition lists “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour”) as an example of antisemitism.

Brighton and Hove City Council adopted the Definition.

In a statement, Cllr Brennan said: “I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused to the Jewish community and I sincerely regret campaigning in this way…This happened two years ago, before I was a councillor. At the time I was not as knowledgeable about the [D]efinition of antisemitism as I am now. I do not seek to excuse my actions.”

She went on to say: “I have referred myself to the Labour Party and will fully cooperate with any investigation and have stepped aside from my role as deputy chair of housing and lead for homelessness and rough sleeping, pending its outcome.”

Cllr Brennan reportedly added that she now fully supports the Definition.

https://antisemitism.uk/brighton-and-hove-labour-councillor-apologises-and-resigns-leadership-role-pending-investigation-over-potentially-antisemitic-protest/

Worse than McCarthyism.  Entering show trial recantion world.

 

Ken Burch

For those who want to discuss the Labour AS Inquisition outside of the leadership discussion, I've started this thread:

https://rabble.ca/babble/international-news-and-politics/british-labour-...

Ken Burch

More people wanting the leadership race to be delayed until after the coronavirus pandemic has been resolved:

https://www.thecanary.co/trending/2020/03/22/a-storm-is-brewing-over-the...

nicky

What a disaster it would be to put off the vote and maintain an inept and thoroughly impotent leader.

it is blindingly apparent that the great majority of Labour members want to turn their backs on Corbyn. By almost two to one they do not even want him in the shadow cabinet. To keep him in place by canceling the vote, the Corbynites want to engineer a coup comparable to Trump calling off the November election. And subvert a democratic vote they know they cannot win.

it is a postal ballot so there is minimal health risk. 

Postponement would be like using the excuse of WW Two to maintain the discredited Neville Chamberlain as PM.

Ken Burch

nicky wrote:

What a disaster it would be to put off the vote and maintain an inept and thoroughly impotent leader.

it is blindingly apparent that the great majority of Labour members want to turn their backs on Corbyn. By almost two to one they do not even want him in the shadow cabinet. To keep him in place by canceling the vote, the Corbynites want to engineer a coup comparable to Trump calling off the November election. And subvert a democratic vote they know they cannot win.

it is a postal ballot so there is minimal health risk. 

Postponement would be like using the excuse of WW Two to maintain the discredited Neville Chamberlain as PM.

That is going way the hell too far.  In what universe did Corbyn EVER do anything remotely comparable to appeasing the Third Reich by handing it control of the Sudentenland?

 

Ken Burch

You hate Corbyn because you want Labour to go back to being just barely not-Tory again, as it was under Blair and as it was when it lost what should have been easily winnable elections in 2010 and 2015.

That's what wanting Labour to be "moderate" means.

It means wanting any Labour victory to be irrelevant.

Corbyn was made unpopular by slanders, but he isn't hated, and he's not going to be leading the party in the next election anyway.

In any case, Labour would have no reason to exist if it erased all of Corbyn's policies.  There wouldn't be any still-existing differences between Labour and the Tories if it did that.

Labour also has nothing to gain by purging socialists and going all "we don't like peace campaigners 'round here" on foreign policy again.  Military intervention in other countries can never again serve Labour values-and other than World War II, it never did.

nicky

There you go again Ken. 

Is there no limit to your appetitive to misquote and mis-attribute?

I didn’t compare anyone to Nazis (and will refrain from any comparisons with you and the big lie.)

Some of Corbyn’s supporters called for a delay in the leadership vote because of the corona emergency. I merely compared it to the replacement of Chamberlain, another useless leader, in 1940 despite the wartime emergency.

By the way, there are now calls to bring the leadership vote forward in order to provide Labour  as soon as possible with a credible leader who can respond more effectively to the crisis.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/mar/24/labours-long-leadership-battle-hampering-coronavirus-response

Ken Burch

Starmer is no more "credible" than anybody else.  He chose not to stand for the leadership in 2015 because he didn't feel qualified.  He has gained no more qualifications since.

And people in the UK are actually admiring the eloquence and courage Corbyn has shown in this situation.  He's done a good job speaking out against the madness of the Tory approach.

nicky

If only Corbyn had alsorecognized in 2015 that he was unqualified for the job....

In 2015 Starmer had only briefly been elected an MP. It is not surprising he did not run despite an impressive career in law.

As for Corbyn’s supposed “eloquence” in the current crisis perhaps you can read the Guardian article I posted which reports widespread frustration at his incompetent contribution to the pandemic.

Ken Burch

Corbyn had to run in 2015.  None of the other candidates stood for anything different than the Tories.  There was no meaningful difference between the policies Cameron offered and the ones Yvette Cooper or Andy Burnham would have offered.  the results of the 2010 and 2015 elections had proved that Blairite-Blue Labour policies were never going to win another election.  Liz Kendall would have lost seats, since her policies were to the RIGHT of Blair and nobody in the electorate would ever have voted Labour again if it had gone to Blair's right-going there would have meant agreeing that Labour should cease being a separate party from the Tories-nobody wanted Labour to get even closer to the Tories on policy.

Why do you STILL refuse to accept the fact that Corbyn's victories in the 2015 and 2016 leadership elections were proof that the Labour base had totally rejected the bland centrist status quo?  Or that the PLP needed to accept that, whoever was leader, Labour was going to have to re-embrace socialism and become clearly anti-austerity?

If the anti-Corbyn types in the PLP had agreed that Corbyn's departure as leader-he never actually wanted the job and never expected to win the leadership race-would not mean the erasure of the policies and values the vast majority of the Labour base had said they wanted, he'd probably have stood down from the leadership the day after winning it.

Why couldn't the PLP do that?

Why couldn't they accept that the"centre ground" no longer existed and that there was no longer any good reason to blur the differences with the Tories?

Why did they force Corbyn to stay on by refusing to guarantee that his supporters and their principles wouldn't be erased from the party?

In any case, he's just done his past Prime Minister's Questions, and that means you need to let your pointless rage towards the man and his supporters die.

He HAD to stand for the leadership, the behavior of the PLP gave him no alternative but to stand on-it was never reasonable at any point to expect him to resign without getting any guarantees that his supporters and what they stand for wouldn't be erased from the party-and it's arrogant to insist that he and his supporters should just have handed the party back to the PLP-the ONLY people in the party who still wanted Labour to go back to centrism during the Corbyn era-since the PLP and the New Labour "establishment" had proved in 2010 and 2015 that THEIR policies could never produce a Labour electoral victory again.

Labour needs the passionate support of both pro-and anti-Corybn people if it is to win.  It cannot purge Corbyn's supporters and still have any genuinely socialist values-I assume you'll agree that Labour without socialism is pointless and worthless-or any chance of victory.

YOUR organizing principle is hatred of Jeremy Corbyn.

You can't assume that is the main concern of the British electorate.

Move on already.

Labour has only two choices-be socialist, or stand for nothing.

Aristotleded24

nicky wrote:
As for Corbyn’s supposed “eloquence” in the current crisis perhaps you can read the Guardian article I posted which reports widespread frustration at his incompetent contribution to the pandemic.

I read that article, and it is trash. When Corbyn stepped down, nobody had any idea that there would be a coronavirus pandemic that would shut down the whole world. It's not unusual for an outgoing leader to stick around while a successor is chosen, and the timeline that was proposed at the time is not that uncommon for political parites. Shame on the Labour Party to use the coronavirus as an excuse to grind an axe with Corbyn, and shame on the Guardian for giving that any air time. On this basis alone, Labour deserves to die and something better should rise up from the ashes. As the final paragraph in that article states:

Quote:
But a Labour source said: “Using a time of national crisis to get in a last dig at Jeremy is divisive, silly and about as low as you can go. They should be ashamed of themselves.”

Ken Burch

Michael Foot wasn't replaced as Labour leader until six months after the 1983 disaster(a far worse result in the popular vote total than this result, and caused, as this was, by the Labour Right refusing to accept that a left-winger had won the leadership contest and refusing to work for a Labour victory under that leader).

Other than Ed Miliband and Gordon Brown, Labour leaders who lost an election have generally tended to hang on for awhile after blowing the elections they blew.

James Callaghan-a far more comprehensive failure than Corbyn, since Callaghsn destroyed any chances for his party being able to stop Margaret Thatcher when he allowed Denis Healy to accept the completely unnecessary IMF austerity package in 1976-stayed on as leader for over a year and a half after disastrously losing the 1979 election.

It's not as though every defeated Labour leader of the past resigned and then had himself publicly executed the morning after Polling Day.

It's enough that Corbyn is gone.  He doesn't need to be anathemized and it's silly for you to act as though he brought something diabolical to the party.

As to Starmer-he still has nothing more to offer than Corbyn.  Prosecuting people is a useless skill set for a party leader.  He's not an inspiring speaker.  He has no personal charisma.  I'm sure he's a decent guy but clearly Labour wouldn't have done any better in the last election with Starmer as leader-especially since it was never going to be possible to get voters in the North, Northeast, Midlands and Wales to get behind a Labour leader who was an all-out Remainer.  It did damage enough to the party that those on the Remain Right-there was never any such thing as a socialist or even social democratic case for staying in the unchangeable, permanently Thatcherite EU-wouldn't stop badgering Corbyn about Remain until he agreed to back a second referendum and then STILL wouldn't do the decent thing and accept that he'd gone as far as he could towards their position on that.

If Corbyn looked weak as a leader, more than half the reason for that was that the Remain Right and the PLP wouldn't give up on forcing Corbyn out as leader, even DURING election campaigns.  How can you justify them NOT stopping the "Corbyn must go!" thing AFTER the election was called, in a time when there was no democratically valid way to change leaders and when no one who was imposed as leader by the PLP or the NEC would ever have been accepted as leader by the Labour rank and file?   

How can you justify these people deciding, in the end, that ousting Corbyn was more important than beating the Tories. 

That's what they decided.

That's what YOU decided.

You all knew there was no way that forcing Corbyn to resign was ever going to lead to an increase in support for Labour in the polls or in elections.  

Final thing: People went on and on about Corbyn's 
"associations".

But here is the thing.

It's not possible to free of "associations" anybody would object to and still have left wing or even left-of-center views.  It's not possible to care about ending the Israel/Palestine dispute without associating with Palestinians.  It's not possible to have decent, progressive, transformational views about Northern Ireland without supporting dialog and powersharing with Sinn Fein.  And it's not possible to oppose Islamophobia without sharing platforms with imams.
There's no way to take decent, humane positions on those issues without talking to and working for dialog with people that some in the power structure disapprove of.

Starmer will demonstrate this if he does what you want; if he anathemizes the left-there's no such thing as a person who wants Momentum expelled who supports anything remotely similar to socialism-if he anathemizes solidarity with Palestine-there's no left-of-center, progressive, or even humane way to take Netanyahu's side on the issue, which is what the push to persecute non-Zionists is about, since it cannot be about supporting peace and justice-if he anathemizes peace activists and goes back to the useless idea that Labour defense policy has to be just as militarist as the Tories-if he does those things, Starmer won't GAIN any votes for Labour.  He will, however, massively increase support for the Greens and possibly push the Greens past Labour in the popular vote total.

 

nicky

Ken confabulates:

"How can you justify these people deciding, in the end, that ousting Corbyn was more important than beating the Tories. 

That's what they decided.

That's what YOU decided."

When did I ever say this? You really should not engage in this repeated mendacity.

What Corbyn and his crew did decide was that it was better for them to preside over a monumental defeat and maintain control over Labour or step aside for a leader who could win the election.

Aristotleded24

Nicky, seriously, give it a rest. Corbyn is gone one way or another. Nobody who matters actually gives a fuck about how bad a leader he alledgedly was at this point. That's going to be resolved one way or another. What matters is that we have a new viral disease that has effectively brought humanity to a standstill, and people don't know what's going on.

Ken Burch

nicky wrote:

Ken confabulates:

"How can you justify these people deciding, in the end, that ousting Corbyn was more important than beating the Tories. 

That's what they decided.

That's what YOU decided."

When did I ever say this? You really should not engage in this repeated mendacity.

What Corbyn and his crew did decide was that it was better for them to preside over a monumental defeat and maintain control over Labour or step aside for a leader who could win the election.

There wasn't anyone who fit that bill.  Starmer was all-out Remain, which guaranteed he'd have done worse.  Nobody else you'd preferred had any personal popularity nor any capacity to develop it.

Boris got his majority by chanting "Get Brexit Done" over and over again, while Labour MPs kept trying to force out their leader after the election had been called, even though they knew a leadership change was impossible once the election campaign was underway.  They knew all they could do was hurt Labour's chances by continuing to try and force Corbyn out, yet they kept doing it anyway, even though they had no one at all who'd have been better.

Ken Burch

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Nicky, seriously, give it a rest. Corbyn is gone one way or another. Nobody who matters actually gives a fuck about how bad a leader he alledgedly was at this point. That's going to be resolved one way or another. What matters is that we have a new viral disease that has effectively brought humanity to a standstill, and people don't know what's going on.

Well put.  

nicky

What nonsense Ken:

“There wasn't anyone who fit that bill.  Starmer was all-out Remain, which guaranteed he'd have done worse.  Nobody else you'd preferred had any personal popularity nor any capacity to develop it.”

Almost anyone off the street would have done better than Corbyn. He was spectacularly unpopular. Polling showed that any other unnamed leader would have added 10% to Labour’s vote.

As Aristotle points out, and as you applaud, there are more important things going on in the world.

Yet  you continue to wallow in your incessant cheerleading for Corbyn. 

 

Ken Burch

I'm not cheerleading for the man.  All I've ever said was that it wasn't ALL his fault or even mostly his fault.  

It's enough to say that he made mistakes.

But he wasn't the only one in the party making them.

And it's silly to act as though the voters of the UK are demanding that Labour make Corbyn live out his life in complete disgrace.  And the people on his staff most likely won't need to be sacked; they will simply resign on their own.  

In any case, Labour can't win the next election if whoever leads it next spends the next four years taking revenge 0n people and there's no reason to ever again do a Kinnock-style mass purge-Labour didn't benefit from Kinnock's war against socialism anyway-the voters took his willingness to abandone all of his lifetime convictions and reduce Labour's program to nothingness as a sign the man couldn't be trusted.

That's how it would have to be taken if Starmer did the same thing.

And if Labour abandoned the Green New Deal, nationalization of water, rail and electricity, and full funding for the NHS, it wouldn't still be Labour.   It would be back in the dead zone it was in under Brown and Miliband-and the 2010 and 2015 election results prove the voters don't ever want Labour to go back to that.

Does it not matter to you that everyone who stood against him for the leadership, in both campaigns, lost to him badly among the party rank-and-file?

 

Ken Burch

In any case, Corbyn clearly would have stood down far earlier if only the PLP hadn't made it clear they would erase his policies and his supporters from the party.  No good would have come of the PLP erasing all of that and resetting to a pointless obsession with a "center ground" that no longer exists in UK politics.

I accept that Starmer probably will win the leadership-he does have an obligation to not be as ugly about things as you want him to be.   MOST of the rank-and-file doesn't want Corbyn's policies abandoned, and since there are no policies to the right of Corbyn's that are anything but Tory, moving to the right would be moving to make the party's existence meaningless.

Nobody wants Labour to reduce it's policy offer to anything close to "we can do it better", "we're going to punish people on benefits, too", or "let's invade MORE Arab/Muslim countries and btw, we revoke the party's apology for the Iraq War".

 

nicky

Ken , you have made this point a number of times:

“In any case, Corbyn clearly would have stood down far earlier if only the PLP hadn't made it clear they would erase his policies and his supporters from the party.”

can you document this? Where did Corbyn ever offer to stand down on such terms?

Ken Burch

It doesn't matter whether he made that point himself.  Corbyn clearly wasn't in this for ego or glory-this was a lacerating experience for him and my point is that, if the PLP had taken any attitude towards him other than "not only Corbyn himself, but everyone who supports him and everything they stand for are alien to and unwelcome in the party.  They simply all have to be erased and we have to go all the way back to where we were in 2015", it is my conviction that he would have gone.

Can you not see how the arrogance and instransigence the PLP showed, in not only opposing Corbyn but acting as though it was perfectly legitimate for them to seek total erasure of everything the Corbyn phenomenon as about-was at least partly to blame for Corbyn's conviction that he had to stand on?

You'd have to concede that it wasn't a legitimate explanation for Corbyn to not only stand down but leave his supporters totally unprotected.

Why couldn't they have given at least some indication that they didn't want to just go straight back to the Blair-Brown policies, that they were willing to accept that the party had to change after 2015, that it had to make a clean break with support for austerity and a foreign policy based on nothing but military intervention in non-European countries?

Why couldn't the PLP have made it clear that there'd be no Kinnock-style mass purges and no erasure of socialism?  Why couldn't they have accepted that they were simply one part of the party and should not be above the paid membership in influence within the party?

It's not as though the PLP, especially the Blairite loyalists, had any better policies to offer.

Aristotleded24

nicky wrote:
As Aristotle points out, and as you applaud, there are more important things going on in the world.

Ken isn't the one posting trash pieces from the Guardian by horrible people using the coronavirus pandemic to score petty political points against their own party.

nicky

Really Ken? “It doesn't matter whether he made that point himself.”

it mattered enough for you to have claimed this innumerable times as you cut and pasted your standard excuses for Corbyn’s leadership.

It now “doesn’t matter” because you know it is false. Corbyn NEVER made an offer to step aside if his faction was “protected”.  You know you cannot document this. It is at best a fantasy of yours, if not a deception. SO STOP SAYING IT.

If anything, the Corbynites were prepared to wage an ongoing purge of the moderates as Corbyn admitted to Lisa Nandy.

https://www.politicshome.com/news/article/labour-leadership-race-erupts-after-lisa-nandy-accuses-corbyn-team-of-factional-war

And Aristotle, I have refrained from linking the Guardian’s report on this since you have pointed out to us how right-wing the Guardian is.

Perhaps you can recommend another publication that you think is objective and authoritative on British politics.

 

Aristotleded24

Nicky, just give it a rest. None of this matters right now, even to average every-day Britons who would never consider voting Labour. The only people who care at this point are political hacks who have the luxury of being able to work from home and are insulated from the day-to-day reality of how coronavirus is impacting the majority of the working public. Corbyn's time as leader will end soon.

Even the federal Conservatives (minus Peter McKay) are showing more decency by postponing their convention. That is more decency than we have seen from  you, many within the Labour Party, and the Guardian in this past week.

Ken Burch

nicky wrote:

Really Ken? “It doesn't matter whether he made that point himself.”

it mattered enough for you to have claimed this innumerable times as you cut and pasted your standard excuses for Corbyn’s leadership.

It now “doesn’t matter” because you know it is false. Corbyn NEVER made an offer to step aside if his faction was “protected”.  You know you cannot document this. It is at best a fantasy of yours, if not a deception. SO STOP SAYING IT.

If anything, the Corbynites were prepared to wage an ongoing purge of the moderates as Corbyn admitted to Lisa Nandy.

https://www.politicshome.com/news/article/labour-leadership-race-erupts-after-lisa-nandy-accuses-corbyn-team-of-factional-war

I read that article.  Corbyn made no such admission, Nandy herself didn't CLAIM that Corbyn had made any such admission, and you left out the part where another Labour figure called Nandy's allegations of a planned purge of moderates "bullshit".  Corbyn and the majority he stood with never wanted the moderates gone-they just wanted the moderates to give the sabotage a rest, to stop acting as though they, the "moderates", were simply ENTITLED to be treated as the Labour's internal aristocracy.

You mentioned the 1930s-if you were going to mention how badly Labour did in that decade, you might have mentioned those who were to blame for Labour's electoral troubles then-the right wing of the party, the ones who deserted, along with Ramsay MacDonald-a man who forever lost the right to be considered a Labour prime minister for doing this-and joined a Tory-controlled "National Government", in which "Ramsay Mac" spent every moment betraying the working classes that had put him into power in 1924 and 1929.  In the 1980s, the equivalents in treachery were those members of the Labour Right who splintered off-mainly over Europe; btw, it's valid to ask why the Labour Right cares more about being "part of Europe"-something that never required setting up institutions that exist solely to impose perpetual Continental austerity and the privatization of all assets owned by the people, something that could have been egalitarian and democratic but was never allowed to be and can never be made to be within the EU-than it does about defending the social welfare state and solidarity with the working and kept-from-working-by-the-system poor.  Don't YOU wonder why the Labour Right places "Europe" before solidarity and the common good?

All there was in those allegations was was a desperation ploy by the no hope third-place candidate in the leadership contest to pull out a victory the vast majority of the party doesn't want her to win.  In making these claims-and thereby making it clear that she would expel all socialists from the party if she was elected-Nandy is demonstrating her unsuitability for the job.

And btw Corbyn didn't lead "a faction"-you can't win the Labour leadership if you represent no one but a splinter-he was elected by the vast majority of the Labour rank-and-file, and his victory in the leadership contests were as legitimate as any other leadership candidate's victory would have been.

Whatever you think about Corbyn himself-and I have made criticisms of him myself in the exchanges we've had-wouldn't you HAVE to agree that the 2015 and 2016 leadership results means that the Labour base wanted a clear break from centrism, austerity, and perpetual war?

Wouldn't you agree that the PLP has an obligation to respect the views of the majority expressed in those elections and accept that the party NEEDED to re-embrace socialist principles, needs to be significantly less militarist than the Tories-it should be more than enough to pledge to defend the UK itself from external attack, and there is clearly nothing else that can be done with Western military force in the Arab/Muslim world or any other part of the planet outside of Europe-and needs to move away from the Blair model in which the leader has exclusive say over how the party is governed and what it stands for?

Can you justify the PLP's refusal to accept all of that and its bloodyminded seeming insistence on erasing not only Corbyn but everything the majority of the party he stood with on the issues wanted?

It would be one thing if Labour had won EVERY election before Corbyn sought the leadership-that, in theory, could justify your attitude about the policies he brought in-but it had lost solidly in both 2010 and 2015, when the party was being run exactly as you want it to be run again.   Why should we treat the people who lost those contests as though they know any more at all about how to win an election than anyone else?  All the anti-Corbyn had to offer was "go back to what WE used to do", and 2010 and 2015 prove that what THEY used to do was never going to be effective again.

That's what I've been trying to say to you-not that Corbyn was an infallible saint; that would be a ludicrous thing for anyone to think-but that the 2015 and 2016 leadership results(the second of which made the "no-confidence motion" a moot point, just as Trudeau's 1974 election victory made the no-confidence motion passed by the Canadian HoC against HIS government a moot point) weren't just about him; they were about a massive change in what the rank-and-file wanted.

You have never acknowleged that those leadership results were valid on that level.

And the plain and simple fact is, it's not going to improve Labour's response to the coronavirus to have a had a new leader come in earlier and lead with the message "we're not socialist anymore and we've kicked out all the socialists".  Nobody out there in the wider electorate would have been impressed by that, nor would it have made any meaningful difference in how Boris' "government" responded.

 

 

 

 

Sean in Ottawa

Please indulge my crossposting of this comment in the Covid-19 page. I am doing it not to get my comment seen in another place but to have it read in the context of the Labour party's struggles in the UK. Corbyn had flaws and we should not be litigating whether he should be leader now that he is gone. However, I firmly believe that he understood the principles behing my comment I am crossposting below with apologies. My fear for the UK is if they revert back to a person who will place the party, the system, ahead of the very reason they are there.

In this Canada has missed the point with all parties onside. It has recognized people as workers but not recognized them as people. In that sense Canada is only somewhat better than the US. Countries have to stop  seeing people as actors in the economy and start to see the economy as an actor among people. Until they do so responses to emergencies will always have the wrong emphasis and will always miss the mark. 

We do not need to be kind to people as we manage the economy as centre left parties tend to do (rather than Conservative parties who do not bother). Instead we have to manage the economy to service the people and maintain the economy to that end.

This crisis is exposing the tendency of systems (economies and governments) to protect the systems more than people they serve.

The charity and kindness of the religious to the needy rather than a recognition of the entitlement and obligation to and of other humans, is something the political left speaks of. The problem is that this vision is the foundation of politics and comes through even the most social democratic of parties in a crisis.

This should be the lesson of Covid-19.

Ken Burch

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Please indulge my crossposting of this comment in the Covid-19 page. I am doing it not to get my comment seen in another place but to have it read in the context of the Labour party's struggles in the UK. Corbyn had flaws and we should not be litigating whether he should be leader now that he is gone. However, I firmly believe that he understood the principles behing my comment I am crossposting below with apologies. My fear for the UK is if they revert back to a person who will place the party, the system, ahead of the very reason they are there.

In this Canada has missed the point with all parties onside. It has recognized people as workers but not recognized them as people. In that sense Canada is only somewhat better than the US. Countries have to stop  seeing people as actors in the economy and start to see the economy as an actor among people. Until they do so responses to emergencies will always have the wrong emphasis and will always miss the mark. 

We do not need to be kind to people as we manage the economy as centre left parties tend to do (rather than Conservative parties who do not bother). Instead we have to manage the economy to service the people and maintain the economy to that end.

This crisis is exposing the tendency of systems (economies and governments) to protect the systems more than people they serve.

The charity and kindness of the religious to the needy rather than a recognition of the entitlement and obligation to and of other humans, is something the political left speaks of. The problem is that this vision is the foundation of politics and comes through even the most social democratic of parties in a crisis.

This should be the lesson of Covid-19.

Excellent.  Thanks for posting that, Sean.

nicky

Ken, I read your very long post in vain for any evidence of your contention that Corbyn offered to step down in return for his faction not being purged by the party. Or in the alternative your admission this is inaccurate.

Instead you keep claiming that Corbyn represents a majority in the party whose views should be respected

If in fact the majority was with him why would he need a guarantee that the minority would not purge the majority?

In reality, the majority in the Labour Party became disenchanted with Corbyn, as the leadership ballot will show, and Corbyn clung to the leadership notwithstanding he was dooming Labour to an awful defeat.

I hear what some are saying about the crisis. Perhaps I have to much time on my hands because I am self-isolating.

I assure everyone I do not take Corona lightly. It has uprooted my existence. It is nice to have some diversions from the dismal news.

Ken Burch

All I have been saying here, really, is that the time for demonizing Corbyn should be done.  He wasn't evil and his policies weren't wrong.

Ken Burch

All I have been saying here, really, is that the time for demonizing Corbyn should be done.  He wasn't evil and his policies weren't wrong.

Ken Burch

All I have been saying here, really, is that the time for demonizing Corbyn should be done.  He wasn't evil and his policies weren't wrong.

You've wasted much of the past four years on your obsession with the idea that nothing mattered more than removing Corbyn from the leadership.  

Owen Smith-the man who literally had no one turn up at all at his leadership rallies, would not have been an improvement.  It's not possible to go from getting no crowds when you stand for the leadership to leading your party to victory in an election.

In truth, there probably wasn't anybody who could have led Labour to victory in 2017 or 2019.  It's time to admit that and it's time to stop obsessing about a former leader.

Just move on.

 

nicky

Ken, I still await your link for any offer Corbyn offered to stp down in return for a promise his followers would not be purged.

If you can't provide a link can we assume you just made this up?

Ken Burch

I never SAID Corbyn actually MADE that offer.   I said it was a reasonable surmise that he would have agreed to those terms.  Since there is no way anyone would agreed to go through the misery Corbyn was subjected to relentlessly for four years, he was clearly acting to protect his supporters and their values from being erased from the party.

Why is it so important to you, even now, even with the man's tenure as leader done, to continue to vilify the man?  To continue to treat him as though he acted out of ego and selfishness?  

And why are you still obsessed with having everything he stood for erased from the party?  The big thing voters in the UK are going to be looking for now is whether Labour can do a more effective job at communicating a program for change.  They aren't insisting that the first words of the next leader be "we renounce Corbyn and all his works".   You are the one obsessed with vengeance against the Labour Left, not the voters there.

Nobody else who led the party after him, even Long-Bailey, would lead it in exactly the same way, would make the same mistakes without learning.  It's just that the next Labour leader can't unite the party and can't stand for anything significantly different than the Tories if that leader takes punishing the Left the organizing principle of their tenure as leader.   Punishment is a waste of time and energy.  

But the voters aren't demanding that Labour move massively to the right, that it go back to being just as militarist as it was under Blair and just as miserly as it was under Brown.  

And Labour can't win if the hundreds of thousands of people who joined in the Corbyn years to fight for a socialist future are driven away, or if Labour goes back to fetishizing the reactionary, imperialist Union flag and loudly, pompously singing that ridiculous hymn of adulation to an irrelevant German monarchy-a monarchy whose allowance kept increasing even as the remnants of the welfare state were being cut to nothing.

Labour can't go back to being "moderate" and still have any reason to exist.  Nobody wants the differences to be blurred, OR for the next Labour leader to go back to the 2010-2015 era, when the party endorsed the Tory narrative about the alleged immorality of the poor.

 

nicky

“ I never SAID Corbyn actually MADE that offer.”

yes you did Ken. Numerous times. 

Ken Burch

No.  I never actually did.  I said I thought he'd have agreed to that.

The PLP never ever tried to negotiate a real compromise with him-they just kept demanding that he leave and offered the majority of the party whose ideals he supported anything at all, other than offering him a powerless, pathetic and irrelevant position as "party president".

If the issue was simply getting him out of the leadership, why couldn't the PLP offer the majority of the party he represented some REAL guarantees that they wouldn't be purged and the policies they supported-policies that were almost always popular with the voters, btw-wouldn't be erased and replaced with the bland centrist dead zone policies people like Tom Watson wanted to drag the party back through?

Now that Corbyn is out of the leadership, would you not have to concede that he has been vindicated in his argument that there would have to be major, sometimes massive increases in public investment in solving those problems?  And that none of the issues the UK currently faces can be dealt with under a balance budget and while continuing military intervention in non-European countries?

Ken Burch

And now that Corbyn is out to the leadership, shouldn't you be calling for Labour to find someway to get to unity between its factions, rather than focusing on a pointless campaign to purge the Left from the party?

Sean in Ottawa

I have not spent much time responding in this thread but I think there is a point that needs to be made.

I certainly agree that the left is not soemthign that should be purged from the point of view of the ideals of the party. But I would add a second reason. 

The idea that you could purge the left to win is ridiculous. If Labour purged the party of the left what do you think that purged group would do? Form a new party and then compete with them is what they woudl do. They might fight for maybe a decade until one side destroyed the other. In the meantime the Conservatives would have no chance at a loss. 

If the point of having a leader from the moderate side is to unite the party any purge would destroy it.

nicky

Agreed there should not be a general purge of the left. But there is a need to remove incompetent Corbynista from the party bureaucracy.

https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/politics/keir-starmer-labour-party-leadership-jennie-formby

To Formby’s allies, this would plainly be unfair. She has loyally served the party’s duly elected leader, and should not now be punished for doing so. Her critics, of course, observe exactly the same stance, but draw the opposite conclusion: with Corbyn gone, she should go, too. Starmer needs a general secretary who will be loyal to him, not an enthusiastic ally of his predecessor.

That is not all. Importantly for Starmer, the case against Formby goes further. As General Secretary, she has presided over two catastrophes: Labour’s handling of the anti-semitism scandal, which forced loyal Jewish MPs out of the party while allowing some of the least savoury party members to stay; and the management of last year’s general election campaign, when resources were largely directed to the wrong constituencies. There is also another controversy on which the jury is still out: have all party members been able to take part in the current leadership contest? Anecdotally, there are too many examples for comfort of anti-Corbyn members having huge trouble obtaining their ballot papers either online or by post. That is not sufficient to draw conclusions but nor should it be ignored.

Where Formby has been completely successful is encouraging a number of the party’s most experienced and knowledgeable staff to resign, and surrounding herself with people whose passion for Corbyn’s politics is manifest, but whose management skills are not. They should go, too.

There are, then, practical and not just political reasons for Starmer to act. This matters. The party’s rule book shows why. It states that the general secretary “shall remain in office so long as her/his work gives satisfaction to the NEC and Party conference.” On the face of it, Formby could resist any immediate attempt to dismiss her, and insist on taking the issue to the National Executive Committee. Meanwhile, she and her fellow Corbynistas could remain in place, doing whatever they can to pursue their own agenda and frustrate Corbyn’s successor.

However, the rule book also contains these words: “The [party] Leader shall… ensure the maintenance and development of an effective political Labour Party in parliament and in the country.” Thus the rule book imposes a large, vital and general obligation on its leader. Nowhere does it spell out the powers that the leader has to “ensure” effectiveness—but neither does it spell out their limits.

This is why Formby’s practical failings, over anti-semitism, the election campaign and so on, matter so much. Starmer could argue—and as a lawyer he would know how to make the argument—that Formby is a massive obstacle to his ability to “ensure” the party’s recovery from its worst election defeat for more than eight decades. He couldn’t fire her outright—that would still need the national executive’s approval—but he could use his “ensure” obligation to suspend her and send her on gardening leave, pending a full NE

 

 

Ken Burch

Thank you for FINALLY saying there shouldn't be a general purge of the left.  

As to the specific people you have an issue with in the party bureaucracy...I think we can asusme they would stand down on their own if Starmer won, to give him a chance to pick others.  

Ken Burch

Again, there was never any significant increase in AS under Corbyn.   There were only a few hundred allegations made at all-not that it's ok that there were any-and vast majority of accusations that were brought were dismissed as being without merit-including virtually all of those made by Margaret Hodge.

And it was always clear thta those hounding Corbyn about this-most of whom were Gentiles, and none of those who were Gentiles had given a damn about bigotry against Jewish people or against Judaism as religious or cultural expression prior to Corbyn's election-would have let the whole thing drop once either Corbyn stood down or he agreed to impose unquestioning public support for everything the Israeli government did to Palestinians, as every previous Labour leader had always done.

And no Jewish Labour MP was ever forced out of the party-the handful who defected to Change and then the LibDems did so solely out of ego and spite.  Nobody was doing anything to them.

The most infamous of the non-victims was Luciana Berger

There was no excuse for Berger to get up in the House and stage that tearful performance about emails that were sent to her years before Corbyn was leader, a performance that implied that Corbyn and his supporters were somehow to blame for those emails.  

The truth is, Corbyn couldn't have done anything about the emails sent to Berger even if he had been leader at the time- the Metropolitan Police investigation into the matter determined that those emails, loathesome and indefensible as they were, were all sent by right-wing extremists.  Whatever other mistakes Corbyn made, he and his supporters did nothing to deserve what she did to the party that day.

And it was not, in any universe antisemitism for Corbyn's supporters simply to confront anti-Corbyn MPs who happened to be Jewish and call them out on the bullshit in their attacks against the man.   To accept that it was is to beleive that it is antisemitic to disagree in public with a person who happened to BE Jewish, no matter what you might be disagreeing with the disagreement was about.

Some of the allegations of AS were utterly ludicrous-in one case, someone claimed that it was AS for a member of a constituency party he was having a conversation with to ask him the question "where are you from?"   The person making the claim of AS there made the ludicrous inference that the person he was talking to was asking if he was from Israel, of all things.  In reality, the person who asked that question, speaking to someone who was not a member of his constituency party-was simply asking what part of the UK the other person was from. And to top it off, the person asking the question was himself Jewish-a fact which proves the question could never have been antisemitic in intent at all.

There has been so much overreach in that witch hunt.

The Hove councillor forced to recant, as if she was a medieval heretic, simply for holding up a sign saying that Israel was a racist state-something that is neither antisemitic NOR untrue, since the very concept of a state in which people of one race or ethnicity are considered effectively inferior to the majority community within the state can't be called anything OTHER than racist.

Or the persecution of Tony Greenstein, who is simply a Jewish non-Zionist, a position many people in the world's Jewish communities are now moving towards; 

AS is wrong.  But we both know that actual AS was never what the AS smear was about.

In any case, Corbyn is gone and there is no reason to continue with the mass investigations.  

And I'll ask this again:  if the issue was actually AS, why not just adopt the IHRA guidelines WITHOUT insisting on the inclusion of those parts of the guidelines that were written to suppress debate about the Israel/Palestine issue.

Ken Burch

BTW, as to the leadership ballots, it is much more likely, from what I've seen, that it's Labour members associated with the Left who have had trouble getting their ballots.

There's no way you can seriously argue that Starmer or Formby are being cheated out of anything here.

 

nicky

What is your evidence that the Laft has trouble getting ballots?

Ken Burch

I'm a member of several Labour Left Facebook pages, and there are continual comments on those pages in which people say they haven't received ballots.  And given the obsession of the party bureaucracy with making sure Starmer becomes leader, it's more likely that it would be people known to be on the left of the party who would have trouble getting ballots.

Not sure why anybody would be making any insinuations that it's moderates being stymied here-your candidate is way ahead in most of the polls, so it's kind of absurd to imply that Starmer's supporters are being victimized.

And Nandy, the candidate of the extreme antisocialist wing of the party, is stuck in third place because all she brings to the discussion is an obsession with punishing the Left-she's in trouble because she offers no positive or unifying message and speaks only in the language of retribution.   Her showing reflects the fact that most Labour members and supporters do not think that the most important task of the party is inflicting vengeance on anyone.   There's no way she can fairly claim that her supporters are being singled out for being impeded in getting ballots.

nicky

But the Corbynites control the party bureaucracy. Why would they try to disenfranchise the left?

NDPP

Evening Standard Endorses Keir Starmer

https://twitter.com/afshinrattansi/status/1245725386480197633

"London's main local newspaper endorses #darkmoneystarmer (whose agency conspired to prolong the persecution of WikiLeaks' Julian Assange) as Jeremy Corbyn's replacement..."

Won't hurt him a bit. Bourgeois social democrats here and there continue silent support for official malevolence towards Assange.

Ken Burch

Whoever wins the leadership should consider what this article says.  In the days and years to come, NOTHING can be solved through increments, or on a balanced budget, or while continuing to subject those on benefits to sanctimonious personal judgment. or while continuing to militarily intervene in other countries in what we now know will always be unwinnable and unending wars:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/03/coronavirus-crisis...

NDPP

"On Corbyn's last day, a reminder of how The Guardian helped the establishment ensure his defeat. It specialized in the anti-semitism smear, with dozens of articles, relentlessly. These 4 were all in the week leading up to the 12 December 2019 election..."

https://twitter.com/markcurtis30/status/1245747227789852674

DistinguishedFlyer

Result out:

Sir Keir Starmer - 275,780 (56.2%)

Rebecca Long-Bailey - 135,218 (27.6%)

Lisa Nandy - 79,597 (16.2%)

 

No surprise that he's won, though 56% on the first round I wasn't expecting.

Ken Burch

That's pretty much in line with what the polls predicted.

We've all known this was how the contest would end, and we've all known that this was the highest possible vote share he could get.

Starmer is elected and now he has to act in a purely positive manner.

Starmer needs to pledge to no drive for mass expulsions of socialists and to not agree to the BoD's insistence on equating antizionism with antisemitism.  

He should also agree never to adopt any policies to the right of the 2017 manifesto, since there are no policies to the right of that that could ever be considered anything but Toryism.

Unity can only be built on positive steps...it can never be built harshly or punitively.

If he really wants to be decent and unifying,  Starmer should

1)Issue an apology to Corbyn on behalf of the PLP for all the years of unjustified nastiness they subjected him to, and   2)Admit that he had no justification for pushing Corbyn to reverse the 2017 manifesto position on the EU and then, once Corbyn had compromised with him on that and agreed to a second referendum, which he knew was as far as Corbyn could go on the issue, push Corbyn to go allout Remain when he knew Corbyn couldn't do that without guaranteeing Labour would lose even more seats in the heartlands.  Starmer shares a significant amount of responsibility for Boris' majority by virtue of having done that-if Labour had stayed with the 2017 position, Boris would never have had the phrase "Get Brexit Done" t0 use over and over and over again.

Here is the most telling thing:  Lisa Nandy, whose campaign was nothing but a call for a purge of all socialists and the embrace of xenophobia, reaction, austerity and poorbashing, who offered no positive vision of the future and who would, if elected, have stripped Labour of all meaningful differences, took a pathetic 16% of the vote.  This means there is no significant support in the party for going back to the pathetic dead zone policies of 2010 and 2015, and no mandate for punishing the rank-and-file left.  This is great news, because Labour can't win if it punishes the left and drives it away.

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