Sunday, 26 June 2016

Murder followed by disaster followed by stupid self-indulgence

In the words of Tom Paine: - “These are the times that try men’s souls”. I have never felt so despondent about British politics as I do now. All those who want a decent, socially just society must resist succumbing to despair.

It was only just over a week ago that Jo Cox MP was brutally murdered in the street. She was a strong advocate for the rights of refugees and for a tolerant multicultural society. The man who killed her was linked to an extreme rightwing group. Her murder led to a discussion about the toxic political culture in the UK. Many, rightly, criticised Nigel Farage and the Leave campaign. In my view, David Cameron, who has used inflammatory language in the Commons and elsewhere, also bore significant responsibility for the political climate.

One politician might serve as an example of a better way to conduct politics. Jeremy Corbyn, despite being constantly vilified, has remained dignified and has never responded in kind. He practices the kinder, gentler politics which he advocates for everyone. Corbyn is nothing like Cameron, nothing like Tony Blair, nothing like Boris Johnson, nothing like any other recent leader. Millions of people like him precisely for that reason.

Last Thursday, the UK inflicted a disaster on itself. The Leave campaign succeeded with the help of lies and fomenting of hatred. The British people will suffer as a result for decades to come, economically and in many other ways. It is no consolation at all that Cameron will go down in history as one of our worst and most destructive prime ministers.

It is now said that somehow Corbyn is to blame for the result in the referendum. Here, I need to explain something. I put it in bold for emphasis. The BBC and the Guardian give as accurate an account of Corbyn as the Mail and the Sun do of the EU. I know this because I follow events involving Corbyn on social media. I know, for example, that Corbyn travelled frenetically around the country during the EU referendum but he was not properly reported on the BBC or in the Guardian (or in most of the rest of the media). 

In any event, according to the journalist Paul Mason, Corbyn did get the Labour vote out.

And now, Corbyn’s enemies within the parliamentary Labour Party are moving against him. They say, as if it was as true as 1+1=2, that Corbyn “can never win an election”. What many, probably most, members of the party believe in contrast, is that it is these same MPs' refusal to accept Corbyn’s overwhelming mandate that hampers the party’s electoral prospects.  I certainly believe that if the party united behind him, Corbyn could win.

No doubt, the MPs will depose Corbyn. There will then need to be another leadership election. All candidates will need to get the nominations of a certain number of MPs in order to go forward to then be voted on by the party in the country.

If Corbyn’s name goes forward, I expect that he will be re-elected by an electorate composed of those who voted for him overwhelmingly in September last year plus many more who have joined the party since because of him. 

If, however, the MPs conspire so that Corbyn’s name does not go forward, I think it is inevitable that the party will split. The money and the members would then mostly go with Corbyn. 

The rebel MPs have no realistic prospect of achieving any outcome favourable for them: they are being stupidly self-indulgent. They are damaging the party and helping the Tories at a time when the country is crying out for mature leadership from the political class.

And here are some questions for the rebels

  1. Who is your candidate? 
  2. Do you have any significant policy differences with Corbyn, apart from Trident?
  3. If Corbyn wins again, will you this time respect the result and work with him to beat the Tories?


  1. Funny enough I was thinking about the mass resignations as I listened to Radio 4 news in the car this lunchtime.

    And it seemed to me that Jeremy Corbyn is just the leader of what should be a team - so if the Labour Party was not getting its message across then it is nearly as much the responsibility of his fellow shadow cabinet members as it is for him as leader.

    As Tom says, resigning from the shadow cabinet on the excuse of blaming your leader for not getting the message across is just the next step from a shadow cabinet that wanted Corbyn to fail and are looking for an excuse to oust him.

  2. I am anti Tory but not always labourI agree with many of your sentiments. I even agree that jc does not get fair media coverage. BUT. What I see with my eyes and hear with my ears tells me that he does not fit the macho stereotype that we expect from our most senior leaders (male and female) you and I may wish it were not so but it is. As is the need to get mainstream media At least half on board. And if we ignore this we will probably fail the ultimate electoral test. Its no use wishing things were different.
    And I cried with frustration watching and listening to him make the case for remain. It was a politics seminar rather than an appeal to the heart.
    Lastly: if Labour had a decent alternative jc would probably not be leader now. So I fear deeply for progressive politics and values. The ukip genie is well out of the bottle and in Labour heartlands. I don't know who can slay it but I'm sure its not jc

  3. And I forgot: in answer to your second question. Much as I dislike saying it. Uncontrolled immigration or did you not hear the message from the Labour heartlands. If we do not listen and respond they will vote for someone that does listen. Post 2010 David milliband went on Tele to say Labour was "late to the immigration game". Glad he went away. How any politician can be crass enough to call immigration a game is beyond me

  4. "As is the need to get mainstream media. At least half on board." Do you really think that is the way to go ? Hasn't that been the very reason why Labour has not spoken for the disenfrachised. Tony Blair did a backroom deal with the Murdoch press we now know for sure. This submission of principles in exchange for power, isn't this exactly the root cause of what is happening now ?

    1. ...and of course, we now know for sure, Murdoch companies subverted our democracy by hacking politicians phones (See Nick Davies's "Hack Attack")

  5. Everyone really has to take on board what the Labour coup plotters are all about. They say "Corbyn is unelectable" and is "not a leader", but the reality is different. It is they themselves who are not electable,and it is they themselves, where you will not find ONE single leader. Why? Just take a recent example for instance, and the time the same block of "performing seals" - who are trying to force Corbyn out - abstained on the Welfare Bill vote, while bowing to the mainstraem media narrative of "scrougers v strivers." then pushing their own "Labour for Hard Working families" sell. So when the time came,and Iain Duncan Smith finally resigns, admitting those on welfare were targeted for cuts because they were unlikely to vote Conservative, it SHOULD give us all a very clear example of their politics, their lack of leadership qualities, their priorities and importantly,their extremely poor decision making. That is the truth of it.

  6. Tom London,
    have watched with ever greater amazement the unfolding coup attempt by the PLP. Am watching from afar so don't get all the details but please tell me did one of the leading "visionaries" who are so desperate to get rid of Corbyn stand up and thank Cameron for speaking for the nation when he declared that Corbyn should go now? I mean this was the language used when booting out Neville Chamberlain for having failed to stop Poland being invaded by Hitler.
    Watching that sequence almost made me feel ill.
    It would appear that this abysmal Brexit process and its unexpected result is all the fault of Corbyn. Not that of the government which followed up several years of the most vicious attacks on working class people (dressed up as "fixing the roof when it is not raining") by calling a referendum as a proxy for settling an intra Tory party feud; not that of a would be PM who would stoop to any level to win the glittering prize; not that of the rest of the PLP, only Corbyn. Nice and simple.

  7. Again I agree with many of the comments but my centralcppint is that Corbyn is not a credible leader and will not be able to achieve power for labour. O wish I could identify a Labour figure who is