Monday, July 27, 2015

Channel 4 News covered the Lord Sewell sleaze scandal (drugs and prozzies):

And one immeditely thought "dirty old man".

But what of that other dirty old man Lord Rennard?

This "open letter" by Luke Akehurst, Keith Dibble and John Spellar MP seems a bit underhand:

"Labour First is very publicly calling on people to use their second and third preference votes for the other two mainstream candidates to stop Corbyn winning".

Do they really think Progress would put expediency above principles?

Lies and cynicism and power for the sake of power

Ian McKenzie (formerly a Special Adviser to Ann Taylor MP and John Prescott MP) writes on Labour Uncut:  "I wish that the left had been able to see the Blair and early Brown New Labour formula for the Tory-bewildering common sense it was. All they had to do was understand how political compromise works..."

Was a free run for cigarette advertising in Formula One a compromise?

Was peerages for cash a compromise?

Was a Government Of All The Talents (including Lord Sugar!) a compromise?

Was pulling the rug from under Mo Mowlem a compromise?

Was secretive sofa government a compromise?

Was "no return to boom and bust" a compromise?

Was the dodgy dossier a compromise?

Was the Iraq war a compromise?

Or were they all just lies and cynicism and power for the sake of power.
The Labour leadership election is becoming a cathartic moment for all who care about British politics.

As Louis Norman points out, without honesty we have nothing:
Let's get this stright right from the start.

If Chuka Umuna intends to flounce out of the Labour party in the event of a Corbyn win we are NOT having him in the Conservatives.

Liz Kendall maybe (she's a Conservative in all but fact) but not Umuna.
Who paid for Nicola Sturgeon to visit China to talk about Women's Rights?

Do taxpayers in Scotland know this scam is being worked?

They have lost trust in politicians to spend their money wisely

Robert Priest (Lecturer in History at Royal Holloway University of London) writes: "the proportion of people in favour of higher taxation and spending has collapsed from 63 per cent to just 37 per cent in the ten years from 2004 to 2014".

That is not because ordinary people are resistant to higher taxation.

It is because they have lost trust in politicians to spend their money wisely (too Blair/Brown channelled it to communities where they bought votes by lavishing public money). 

"Of the new members, one third are under the age of 30..."

 Tom Quinn (Senior Lecturer, Department of Government at University of Essex) writes for The Conversation about the Corbyn phenomenon:

Note the line:  "Of the new members, one third are under the age of 30 and their most common age is 18. Young people can become full members for just £1 per month or simply pay £3 to become registered supporters."

These are the idealists who will become active.  This is the way you win elections.I would like to see the Conservatives match this recruitment of young people. 

I would swap George Osborne for Jeremy Corbyn any day

 "...only allowed his name to go forward out of a sense of duty and responsibility to the left..."

In this one line the sneering cynical Stefan Stern writing on LabourList unwittingly reveals why Jeremy Corbyn should be admired across the political spectrum:

When do you EVER see the word "politician" coupled with the phrase "sense of duty and responsibility" ? (except when they are talking about themselves and bigging each other up and talking about each other's "bottom").

Stefan Stern, if you want a wily crafty do-anything-to-get-power politican you can have George Osborne.

I would swap George Osborne for Jeremy Corbyn any day.

PS this is not to decry what George Osborne has achieved, I just don't think he is the right person to become leader of the Conservative party, not with his record on social issues and lax attitude to immigration.
Lord Sewel is no friend of the Conservatives describing David Cameron as "the most facile, superficial prime minister there's ever been", and Boris Johnson as "a joke" -

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Enough of this scaremongering Ms Kendall.

"In a forthright interview with The Independent on Sunday, Ms Kendall says those who are backing the MP for Islington North are “looking for easy solutions but they’re the wrong solutions” and that his policies “won’t change the country for the better”. She also points out that Mr Corbyn has failed to rule out voting for Britain to leave the EU, which she says would be a 'catastrophe' " -

It is not enough for Liz Kendall to just say leaving the EU would be a "catastrophe".

She needs to say why.

A "catastrophe" according to the dictionary is an apocalypse, a calamity, a cataclysm, a convulsion, a tragedy, a bloodbath, a collapse, a crash, a meltdown, Armageddon, doomsday, the end-time.

I suggest that leaving the EU will be none of these things.

Even for those who will not benefit (and there will be some, notably big business corporations not keen on paying tax) will at most suffer mild discomfort and the necessity for some reorganisation.

Most ordinary people in the United Kingdom will benefit significantly from leaving the EU.

So enough of this scaremongering Ms Kendall.

Sunday Times sensational headline "Hard left plot to infiltrate Labour race"

On the front page of today's Sunday Times sensational headline "Hard left plot to infiltrate Labour race" and an article by James Lyons and Robin Henry that confidently asserts that many of the 140,000 new activists being signed up by the Labour party are from the Communist Party of Great Britain:

The Opinion Editorial of the Sunday Times, presumably written by Martin Ivens, again insinuates that "many" of the 140,000 new members are from the Communist Party of Great Britain.

This is mendacious nonsense.

The Communist Party of Great Britain gained a total of 1,229 in the nine constituencies where it fielded candidates in the 2015 general election.

According to the BBC the Communist Party of Great Britain has a total membership of 1,000.

So even if the total membership of the party and all the voters who voted for it in the general election were to "infiltrate" the Labour party they would have no statistical influence on the outcome of the leadership election.

These lies by the Sunday Times do not simply besmirch a once-great newspaper. 

They damage democracy - which belongs to the ordinary people, not to Rupert Murdoch.  

Politicians never ask "What kind of society do we want to live in?"

On the Andrew Marr Show this morning Jeremy Corbyn was interviewed, and said "What kind of society do we want to live in?"

In that one question you can immediately sense that this is no normal politician.

Politicians never ask "What kind of society do we want to live in?"

All you get from most mainstream politicians is the patronising formula "WE ARE POLITICIANS we will decide on your behalf what kind of society you want to live in.  You have elected us as your representatives and so you must not question us or curb us in any way for WE ARE POLITICIANS we know far better than you what is best for you.  Oh and in case you think you can play us one party off against another you had better think again for WE ARE POLITICIANS we all think the same in all the essentials and there is nothing you can do about it." 

That is why Jeremy Corbyn is so refreshing, even for a Conservative like myself.  He has not been got-at by the establishment and processed so that he follows the establishment line.  His rise has been unexpected and assymetrical, without having to pay anyone off.

Andrew Marr tried to set a trap for him, asking "Do you regard yourself as a Marxist?" which Jeremy Corbyn sidestepped.
At Sung Eucharist this morning:

Intercessor, Friend of sinners,
Earth's Redeemer, plead for me.
Where the songs of all the sinless
Sweep across the crystal sea.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Neil Henderson draws attention to the front page of the Sunday Times alleging extremist infiltration of the Labour party by pro-Corbyn "hard-left" activists:

This is obviously a scare tactic wrapped in a conspiracist theory.

From Jeremy For Leader "Andy Burnham's own constituency rejects him and decides to back Jeremy Corbyn" :
Nora Mulready writing on the Progress website says "Has Labour any coherent answers to the big issues facing the country and the world? Many in Labour are not yet even prepared to hear the questions."

Of course John Prescott would pretend no-one has ever heard of Nora Mulready. 

An opportunity to say NO to globalisation

"Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed for the first time that he is prepared to campaign for Britain to quit the European Union if he becomes Labour leader" writes Paul Waugh for the Huffington Post:

This is a very significant development.

Even I would vote for a Labour party led by an OUT leader.

And do not underestimate the popular appeal of such a policy.

The referendum will give the population of the United Kingdom an opportunity to say NO to globalisation and all its dirty ways.

Also see:
Discussing the Jeremy Corbyn phenomenon 0n Dateline London Agnes Poirier has said the Labour party is regressing to the 1890s:

Friday, July 24, 2015

Not being seen as a liar is a strong personal asset for any politician

Abby Tomlinson in The Mirror distills the Corbyn charisma:  "Unlike many politicians, when Jeremy speaks, it is hard to believe that he would purposefully lie to or mislead you".

Not being seen as a liar is a strong personal asset for any politician, and one that few possess. 

The disconnect between the Labour party and the country

Anne Perkins analyses the disconnect between the Labour party and the country:  "But members in any party are not the same as party voters. Post-election research by Tim Bale and Paul Webb into the party’s membership found the typical member was white, middle-class, left of where SNP supporters say they are and further left of the Lib Dems, but sharing many Lib Dem-ish preoccupations. They are pro-Europe, pro-immigration and libertarian on matters such as controls of speech and the media. They are also disproportionately – 40% - employed in the public sector. This is not the profile of the average Labour voter, and even less so of the people who need to vote Labour if it is ever to form another government."

To introduce a genuinely radical programme (whether right-wing or left-wing) a party needs to build trust.

And it takes more than one parliament to build trust.

And yet leave it too late and the electorate becomes bored with you.

Elite members of a spadocracy

Ain't this the truth:  "New Labour’s second generation often looks like a smooth, besuited set of careerists, elite members of a spadocracy against which Corbyn appears the paragon of rumpled authenticity."

I read that line and the image of Chuka Umuna came to mind.

Jonathan Freedland writing in the Guardian -

What is Andy Burnham's track record on blue sky thinking?

Lord Falconer tells us that Andy Burnham "... is the leader who can build a bold new radical programme for Labour":

Excuse me, but what is Andy Burnham's track record on blue sky thinking?

What books has he written?

What learned articles has he published?

It is all very well being a blokey scouser who likes to kick a football about.

But for Prime Ministerial candidates we do need an intellectual behind the man-of-the-people facade.  Someone who understands society, its make-up, and how it works.  Someone who can grasp abstract economic theory and translate it into practical policy.

I am afraid Andy Burnham is not that person.  Even the use of the familiar "Andy" indicates he is not a serious person (as any Andrew can tell you, "Andy" when used outside the family is almost always a self-infantilisation).  Outside of social care I cannot think of one original idea that he has had.

Andy Burnham will not do.

Philip Collins has some down-to-earth analysis on the Jeremy Corbyn phenomenon

Writing in The Times Philip Collins has some down-to-earth analysis on the Jeremy Corbyn phenomenon:

"Labour party members are pretty angry with the electorate" (and presumably plan to punish the electorate by making them swallow Jeremy Corbyn, much as a waste-not-want-not Victorian matriarch would keep serving up a meal cold until her errant children ate it).

"The Labour party... is drunk on the lack of power".

"Only 5 per cent of Mr Corbyn's supporters think he can win a general election".

But if you are an aficionado of political biography you will know that the same sort of things were howled by "moderates" in the Tory party back in 1974 when Margaret Thatcher dared to stand against Willie Whitelaw.

It does not matter if Corbyn is not likely to help Labour to victory in the 2020 general election

James Walsh writes about attitudes to Jeremy Corbyn in the Guardian:^gdnukpolitics

Note the line:

"Also common was the sentiment that it does not matter if Corbyn is not likely to help Labour to victory in the 2020 general election, so long as he is leading a party offering a genuine alternative."

 This indicates that Guardian readers have already discounted any hope of Labour winning in 2020 and want policies developed ready for 2025.

There is no short cut to electoral success.

Ideas win elections, as Ted once said (back in the 70s - it's in his autobiography somewhere).

Angela Eagle reveals she is unfit to be a Deputy Leader of the Labour Party

I am rather incredulous at a line Angela Eagle MP has written in an article for LabourList:

She tells us "...replacing the politics of fear which dominates the debate on immigration with a more hopeful narrative that celebrates our diversity. These are the issues that people have wanted to talk to me about as I’ve toured the country..."

I am willing to bet NO-ONE (real people, not activists) wanted to talk to her about a "hopeful narrative that celebrates our diversity".

All the doorstep conversations would have been about curbing the rate and pace of immigration, not coming up with a "narrative" that magics away the consequences (with the usual menacing implication that if you disagree with the official narrative you are a racist and a bigoted person).

Same old lies and out-of-touch analysis of the problems facing ordinary working people.

In this one line Angela Eagle reveals she is unfit to be a Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.

Tom Pursglove has slammed President Obama for his arrogance

Conservative MP Tom Pursglove has slammed President Obama for his arrogance. The MP for Corby said that EU membership was “a matter for the British people … It isn’t for anyone else to tell Britain what they are going to do.”


Thursday, July 23, 2015

"Open" letter by John Mann MP to Jeremy Corbyn MP

This is an astonishing "open" letter by John Mann MP to Jeremy Corbyn MP:

Note Mr Mann says  "The so called ‘trendy left’ politics of the early 1980s was a contributory factor in covering up child abuse." 

This letter is of course a tactic in the Labour leadership election.

But why has John Mann sat on this information until now?

Does that not represent a cover-up in itself?

Labour has become a fashion statement

If I have followed Helen Lewis's argument correctly she is saying that Labour activists are more concerned about their self-identity as Labour activists than they are about winning power and changing the country:

Effectively she is saying that Labour has become a fashion statement (which would explain the enthusiasm with which public school RADA luvvies proclaim they are socialists).

As Karl Marx did not say, history repeats itself three times.

Once as tragedy (Blair/Brown), once as farce (Miliband), once as a fashion statement (Corbyn).

Rob Marchant on the Labour leadership contest

Shocking but addictive candour from Rob Marchant on the Labour leadership contest (Rob Marchant is an activist and former Labour Party manager who blogs at The Centre Left):

many in the party are no longer expecting to get the best candidate, merely looking to avoid a disastrous one….

the situation is far worse than the leftward drift that led to the Foot years…

Unite already represents an existential threat to it and does not have the party’s best interests at heart…

members which attend local party meetings is far too weighted towards public-sector workers and the retired…

Parliamentary selections are still largely subcontracted to unions…

All Women Shortlists are patronising, unfair and an unacceptably blunt instrument for equal opportunities… 

the party’s open espousal of identity politics on race and gender is slowly killing it…

John Prescott would probably ask with an exaggerated air of faux bewilderment "Who's Rob Marchant?" but if I, as a Tory, know who Rob Marchant and John McTernan are then surely Labour grandees such as Lord Prescott must know.

Liz Kendall is an intellectual

At least Liz Kendall is an intellectual:

She thinks deeply about issues.

She is not afraid to say the unsayable.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Jeremy Corbyn's rise in the Labour party

On Radio 4's PM programme Emily Thornberry (a very pushy, VERY opinionated Labour backbencher) dismissed Tony Blair's intervention into the Labour leadership debate, and also tried to laugh off John McTernan's description (on Newsnight) of her as a "moron" for nominating Jeremy Corbyn in the first place:

Former Labour Leader Margaret Beckett self-identifies as one of these "morons" for her own nomination of Mr Corbyn.

It seems that Ms Beckett and Ms Thornberry only approve of democracy so long as you vote for candidates they approve of.  Presumably they nominated Jeremy Corbyn to set him up for a fall, and expected that after a crushing rejection of Corbynism they would be able to stamp on any revanchist socialists who try to reclaim the party for the Left.  Instead it is the Blairites who are being crushed and stamped on.

As a purple Conservative (a Conservative who is prepared to vote UKIP when necessary) I welcome Jeremy Corbyn's rise in the Labour party.  If they move to the left it gives us permission to move to the right.  The whole of politics will be refreshed.

For too long political parties in the United Kingdom have resembled those professional wrestlers who deliberately bear-hug each other so that neither of them has any freedom to act.  Neither of them can get advantage from the bear-hug, but equally neither of them can fail or fall.  It's boring, static and phoney, and we need in politics to get away from it.

The Morons:

Is Jeremy Corbyn Labour's Margaret Thatcher?

Sensational news on Newsnight this evening - Jeremy Corbyn is top of the poll by a wide margin to win the Labour leadership:

There is a precedent for this of course.

In the 1970s when the Conservatives were mostly just going along with Labour policies in a "consensus" sort of way and politics had become a left of centre mush Margaret Thatcher emerged on the right and against all expectations won the leadership and then won the country.

Is Jeremy Corbyn Labour's Margaret Thatcher?