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”

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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’

Tolpuddle1 bragg

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’”

Corbyn In

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Tony Benn and his ‘favourite’ MP

Jeremy Corbyn managed to get on the Labour leadership ballot. He probably won’t win. But he might do. It’d be an amusing irony if a one member one vote election process designed to prove Labour isn’t unduly influenced by the unions ended up delivering the most left-wing leader in party history.

With the three mainstream candidates pitching themselves to the editorial board of the Daily Express rather than people actually in the Labour Party, Corbyn is proving startlingly popular with the grassroots – far more so than even unrepentant Bennites who write rubbish internet blogs and have supported him for years would’ve expected.

Corbyn vs the Burnham-Cooper-Kendall axis doesn’t just represent a clash of wildly different political perspectives, but starkly opposing ideas of what Labour fundamentally is. Is Labour just the regional-accented wing of the neoliberal establishment? Or is a democratic membership organisation, aspiring to be a social movement? Continue reading “Corbyn In”

Corbyn For Leader

Jeremy Corbyn After the cataclysmic shitstorm that was GE2015, The Bemolution was very content to take an extended/permanent sabbatical from talking about mainstream parliamentary politics. In fact, we spent June 3rd having a long lie down in a darkened room, although that was as much to do with a nuclear-grade migraine as the seemingly insurmountable shitness of the Murdoch-mediated, corporate-pandering, learned-nothing-from-the-crash neoliberal consensus.

Then veteran left-winger Jeremy Corbyn announced he was standing in Labour’s leadership election. And it was fantastic, because so far the contest has been disgustingly, disgustingly bad.

Even after Blair, Labour still contains everyone from Simon Danczuk MP to people left of Lenin. But the leadership contest doesn’t reflect that at all. Instead, Labour members and supporters have been offered a dismal selection of centre-right drones built out of spare bits of Peter Mandelson. It’s looked more like a dull fringe meeting by Progress, the Lord Sainsbury-funded ultra-Blairite pressure group, than anything approaching a democratic election.

Liz Kendall, Mary Creagh, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham have heroically trundled out to say how much they’d secretly disliked Ed Miliband’s politics all along (a man even they now portray as an enterprise-hating communist), and that Labour lost because it was too left-wing. Various analyses of how Britain voted, from Labour MP Jon Trickett’s to exit pollster John Curtice’s, show that’s just plain wrong. But Labour’s rising stars won’t let mere fact get in the way of parroting corporate media narratives in an attempt to get a leg-up from The Sun. Continue reading “Corbyn For Leader”

Political Short Termism: The (Second) Biggest Loser of GE2015

Conservative Party activists wear face masks of Scottish National party leader Nicola Sturgeon during a stunt outside the Houses of Parliament, in central London

One (very) last thing to say about the election, before a lengthy moratorium on posts about party politics. Here’s a rubbish intervention in more mundane matters, having essentially said secede from Westminster’s jurisdiction and start self-sustaining hippy communes the other day.

Really, second only to the vast majority of the population, political short-termism was the biggest loser of the 2015 General Election – most notably in relation to Clegg’s dalliance with the Tories, and the Labour Party’s embrace of New Labour.

In 2010, Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems threw aside most of their principles for a shot at power with the Tories.

They knew that minority partners in coalition governments tend to be smashed the next time an election comes around.They knew that five years in Downing Street with David Cameron was very likely to alienate three core components of the Lib Dem vote – rural progressives who’ve traditionally voted Liberal to keep the Tories out, students who supported their tuition fees stance, and directionless anti-establishment voters who used them as a protest vote.

And they really should’ve known that the Tories would do their utmost to destroy them. Chris Huhne, ex-Lib Dem MP, Coalition minister and jailbird, recently said he first realised Cameron was planning to annihilate his party when, during the Alternative Vote referendum campaign in 2011, the Tories personally attacked Clegg for going back on his tuition fees pledge, something they insisted he do as part of the coalition agreement.

On May the 7th, the Lib Dems were predictably massacred. They went from having 57 MPs in Parliament to having eight. It remains to be seen whether they can recover. Continue reading “Political Short Termism: The (Second) Biggest Loser of GE2015”