They don’t understand — liberals, the media, and the Corbyn surge

Corbyn hasn’t won, but Labour got its biggest vote share since 2001 (41%), and the biggest swing from one party to another since 1945.

Thanks to an abysmal nineteenth-century voting system, those gains haven’t translated into a majority Labour government, let alone a landslide (in 2005, Blair got a majority of 66 on the back of just 35% of the vote, because of the way those votes were distributed around the country) — but a Tory Prime Minister who said, ‘if I lose just six seats, I will lose this election’ lost twelve.

Now the commentariat is trying to compute what’s happened. Pundits have spent eighteen months insisting Corbyn would be an electoral catastrophe. In fact, he’s become the most successful Labour leader since Blair — despite going against almost everything Blair stood for. Continue reading “They don’t understand — liberals, the media, and the Corbyn surge”

Forget Corbyn – vote for the policies

polling station

Whether you like the man fronting them or not, Labour’s manifesto pledges would transform lives

If you’ve voted Labour in the past but don’t like Corbyn, vote for the policies.

The manifesto he launched last month contained proposals that would measurably improve the living standards of almost everyone in Britain.

It sets out to create what generations of Labour members joined the party to try and help achieve – a fairer, more equal society.

No more fawning over ‘wealth creators’ and dead-eyed social vandalism under the guise of ‘balancing the books – here’s a 1945-style vision of a country that works for the majority of the people who live in it, not just big business and the rich. Continue reading “Forget Corbyn – vote for the policies”

Someone asked me what I thought of the Owen Jones thing so I wrote them this

(written in response to: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/01/corbyn-staying-not-good-enough)

I’d seen the fuss about this but hadn’t read it before now — largely because I think Owen Jones has been saying the same thing over and over again for about six months.

Now I have, and it’s basically what he always says. Labour’s heading for calamitous defeat, Corbyn’s got to get his act together, otherwise he’s got to go.

I think he’s right that Labour will lose the election. Then again, I’ve thought that since 2015. Regardless of who was in charge.

In my view, Jones always massively underestimates the level of bias and hostility Corbyn or anyone radical faces in the media. The way he tells it, it’s a challenge for Corbyn to get his message out, but, if he and his team were clever enough, they’d have a fair shot. I think the slickest media operation in human history can’t help you when you’ve got an agenda that far outside the neoliberal consensus. Continue reading “Someone asked me what I thought of the Owen Jones thing so I wrote them this”

The Corbyn movement is obsessed with an election it can’t win

Next election-ism is the biggest threat to radical Labour

Edit: I’m delighted to say the argument I made in this article has been proved wrong – Corbyn supporters were right to throw themselves into electoral politics, and it’s much more possible than I ever thought for a radical party to win an election. But I still think that left-wingers need to not get sucked into seeing politics purely in electoral terms. I don’t think a Corbyn government, or a socialist project more broadly, will ever be successful without widespread grassroots organisation to build institutions outside the mainstream.

The charge most often thrown the Corbynistas’ way is that they don’t want to win elections. They’re supposedly fixated on ideological purity at the expense of getting into government.

But go to a Momentum event or a New Model Labour Party meeting, and you’ll find the opposite is true. Corbyn supporters are obsessed with winning in 2020, on the whole — to an extent that’s setting themselves, and socialism’s best chance in decades, up for a massive, quite possibly catastrophic fall. Continue reading “The Corbyn movement is obsessed with an election it can’t win”

Is there a progressive case for Remaining in the EU? Yes or yes, says Momentum

corbyn remain

The other day, I was in Bristol, mostly to see Mephistophelean magic man Derren Brown and eat curry until I passed out –  but I did, semi-reluctantly, drop in on a Momentum event about the Europe referendum.

Broadly, I hate the EU. Whatever the intention was when it was first established, today’s it’s about the neoliberal zombification of a continent, via financialisation, privatisation, and permanent austerity. I think it’s so utterly riddled with corporate corruption and contempt for democracy that it should be shut down, and that a fair few of the dead-eyed goons that run it should be thrown in jail for crucifying Greece in the name of the banks.

You’d be forgiven, then, for thinking that made me an obvious Leave voter – but I’ve been just about won round by the line of argument some have dubbed Brexiters for Remain. In a nutshell: the EU is terrible, we need to leave – but not now, when its few benefits protect us from the most despicably right-wing government in our history, and Leave politics is dominated by turbo-Thatcherite racists. Continue reading “Is there a progressive case for Remaining in the EU? Yes or yes, says Momentum”

Bem Bulletin #6: Ken, Kuenssberg, and climate catastrophe

Laura-Kuenssberg-anti-Corbyn

A few years back I used to put out something I called the Bem Bulletin. Essentially, it was a collection of shorter bits about current goings on I’d write in gaps between rambling pseudo-intellectual essay type things. Now, with full-time work meaning those gaps are getting longer and longer, I decided it was a good time to resurrect the concept – and this one’s largely about last month’s local and mayoral elections and media bias, with a dash of me-standard ecological doom.

This month:

  1. Electoralism blues – Labour and the local elections
  2. Flak attack #1: that Ken Livingstone anti-Semitism thing
  3. Flak attack #2: Kuenssberg/sexism
  4. We should probably just shut the BBC down and be done with it
  5. Obligatory reminder of impending eco-doom

Continue reading “Bem Bulletin #6: Ken, Kuenssberg, and climate catastrophe”