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

Might as well post it here too

(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

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.

The Westminster-Whitehall establishment is radicalism-proof. That was the case pre-Corbyn. That’s still the case now. Our electoral system pivots around affluent, individualistic, quintessentially neoliberal middle-class voters living in a few strategically important swing seats. The opinion-shaping machinery of the corporate mass media strictly enforces a neoliberal default worldview and seeks and destroys anything that opposes it. And what that means in practice is that it’s now staggeringly unlikely that anyone or anything worth voting for will a General Election in the foreseeable future. Even bland old Ed Miliband’s chances were crushed over five years of sustained belittlement, misrepresentation and ritual humiliation. Continue reading “The Corbyn movement is obsessed with an election it can’t win”

This is the end? The anti-Corbyn coup and the death of Labour

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Settling into the most outrageously ridiculous period in modern political history, as this stupidity-blighted few weeks is surely now destined to be remembered, it’s quite difficult not to be overwhelmed by angry, pulsating disgust at almost everything.

Having cattle-prodded the most vulnerable, abused, and ill-informed bit of the population into authorising as seismic a political shift as we’ve seen in this country, it now turns out the Leave camp has given absolutely no thought to what would happen if they actually won – and if their wake-like victory press conference was anything to go by, it’s looking increasingly like they wish they hadn’t.

Around the UK, thousands of people opted for Out having got so used to the anti-democratic absurdity of First Past the Post that they didn’t expect it to count – with even lowlife ex-Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie reporting symptoms of Brexit remorse. Encouraged and legitimised by poisonous campaign rhetoric, racist abuse has soared all around the country. And now, as was always inevitable, a Parliamentary Labour Party stuffed with time-servers, careerists and establishment lickspittles has launched a coup against Jeremy Corbyn.

As tempting as it is to run full-tilt for the nearest woods and start your own off-the-grid agrarian-socialist utopia, we should probably all pause for a minute and try and digest what’s going on. It’s time for critical thinking and brute, unflinching honesty. Continue reading “This is the end? The anti-Corbyn coup and the death of Labour”

Disagreeing with Corbyn about growth

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Corbyn & McDonnell at the Labour Conference, just after John’s (very growthist) Shadow Chancellor’s speech

I was always going to have to write this post eventually. It’s about an annoyingly difficult moral problem I’ve found myself faced with since September.

That month, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, two men I’d seriously consider sacrificing one of my lesser appendages to see put in power, became leader of the opposition and shadow chancellor. It was stupendously unexpected, and probably the best thing that’s happened this decade.

But it quickly raised a big, fat, inconvenient moral-strategic question: what do you do when the two people you’ve long considered the finest protectors of the public good in parliament end up leading the Labour Party – and, in addition to a vast array of stuff you completely agree with, end up doing, saying or standing for one thing you majorly don’t?

Do you start publically disagreeing them with them on the one and only issue that separates you? Or settle into the groove of loyally bigging them up in each and every way you can, and countering the fusillade of media hate and state-backed propaganda that’s being hurled at them? Unfortunately, when the contentious issue in question concerns the most important thing in human affairs, silence isn’t an option. Continue reading “Disagreeing with Corbyn about growth”

Media Lens on Corbyn-Kuenssberg-Dugher-Doughty

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I started writing something about the Corbyn-Kuenssberg-Dugher-Doughty debacle myself, but then found this post by Media Lens which basically says all I wanted to say better (and more exhaustively researched) that I could.

http://medialens.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=810:our-only-fear-was-that-he-might-pull-his-punches-bbc-caught-manipulating-the-news&catid=54:alerts-2016&Itemid=248

Corbyn, Oldham, Syria

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Last week parliament authorised British airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, and the Labour candidate won the Oldham West and Royton by-election. It was, unsurprisingly, a week in which the omni-tentacled neoliberal establishment was especially shameless in its attempts to spin, manipulate and mind-control its way to getting what it wanted.

The Syria vote was spun as a choice between hitting back at the culprits behind the Paris attacks, or doing nothing. Opponents of military action were painted as people who “don’t want Britain to take action”, passive to the point of cowardice – or branded as “terrorist sympathisers” by David Cameron.

The media obviously failed to substantively go into any of the arguments against – let alone question the government’s laughably flimsy case for military intervention. Continue reading “Corbyn, Oldham, Syria”

The ‘Corbyn is sexist’ thing

UK Labour Party Leader ship Hustings

Today, I’m going to quickly talk about something I don’t usually talk about – women, and their scandalous lack of representation in public life.

We live in a grim society where, for thousands of years, being a man had been treated as the default setting. Men were naturally assumed to be superior, more suited to leading and dealing with big responsibilities, and women were thought to be naturally predisposed towards domestic chores.

Eventually, after a painfully long wait, a good chunk of the population woke up to the fact that was utter bollocks. But unfortunately, that hasn’t proved enough to shift us from a situation that’s still fundamentally skewed in favour of penis owners.

50% of the population is female. Thus, 50% of practically every profession should be female. To help achieve that, we need all sorts of positive discrimination – society acknowledging the historical disadvantages women have faced, and giving them a leg-up to real equality. Continue reading “The ‘Corbyn is sexist’ thing”

Luke Akehurst and Labour loyalism (and Corbyn)

Luke Akehurst
Luke Akehurst

Labour rightist ray of sunshine Luke Akehurst has been criticising Jeremy Corbyn for being a rebellious MP. He’s also been criticising Jeremy Corbyn for everything up to and including having the sheer temerity to exist, but this newest line of attack is especially revealing about the way he and the other Anyone But Corbyn zealots see the world.

Akehurst and others have been heavily implying that Corbyn’s record of defying the Labour leadership in parliament makes him unsuitable to be Labour leader. Asked whether, as a self-described party loyalist, he’d back whoever won the election, Akehurst said he would – bear that in mind if Jeremy does win – but that “Corbyn displayed no loyalty at all to Kinnock, Smith, Blair, Brown and Ed Miliband”.

Meanwhile, waves of spleen-rupturingly funny Labour right-wingers have been tweeting variations on the theme: “lololololol what’s he going to do if he wins, rebel against his own party line?!!???!!!??! Lolololololoololoolololollool”. Continue reading “Luke Akehurst and Labour loyalism (and Corbyn)”

Tolpuddlin’

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For the second time ever, and the second year in a row, the Bemolution went to Tolpuddle on the free Sunday. It was basically the same as last year, but we’re reliably informed it’s basically the same every year. And there’s value in that consistency – it’s a respite weekend/networking event for socialists in neoliberal society, and it does it very well.

Essentially a sort of far-left Alan Partridge, we can take or leave the chanting and the speeches and the fist-pumping renditions of “There Is Power In A Union”. But what we particularly appreciated this year was the dedication shown by the staff and organisers – from the hi-vis-jacketed stewards spending literally hours in the sun making sure lemming-like festival-goers weren’t mown down trying to cross a main road, to the boundingly enthusiastic volunteer chuggers collecting spare change to help pay for it all (hello Sophie from Bromley Unite).

It’s a huge undertaking, and the TUC runs and pays for it every year, at a loss. Veteran Tolpuddler Dave Chapple, quite possibly Somerset’s most dedicated and active socialist trade unionist, was telling us that by the early ‘90s the festival had become a bit rubbish – a toothless, mainstream jolly for old-style trade union bosses, with tea and cake provided by ‘the wives’. Tony Blair even came. Then current South West TUC regional secretary Nigel Costley took it over, and turned it into the vibrant, egalitarian, subversive event it is today. Continue reading “Tolpuddlin’”