Jeremy Corbyn and the new mainstream

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

Tweeting earlier in response to Jeremy Corbyn’s conference speech, Ed Miliband observed that the centre ground had moved and was being shaped by Labour. Correct. The boasts about Labour being the mainstream have a solid foundation because, to be more exact, our party is one of two mainstreams.

There’s the one we’ve seen Labour pander to for the 20 years pre-JC. The “common sense” centre ground expressed by newspaper editorialising, which has seen a rough consensus around market economics and the role of state, groupthink about cutting social security and immigration, and a unity of purpose in scapegoating powerless minorities. Blair’s genius, if that’s the right phrase, was to constantly adapt to this consensus rather than challenge it. Even redistributive politics that assisted low wage earners were crafted in such a way as not to frighten the horses in the leafy marginals. One problem was once the Tories got their act together under Dave, all it took was Brown to bottle an election for them to cruise to pole position among your YouGovs and Survations. The progressive consensus the later Blair talked about as the timer ticked down lacked substance. For the policy achievements, and there were some, there was no legacy in terms of value and political change. Dog-eat-dog economics reigned and right wing populism and fascism started getting traction during his time. Dave certainly had his problems after ascending to the top job, but overcoming popular affection for New Labour wasn’t one of them. Continue reading →

On the Left Side of the Atlantic

by Chris MacMackin

The United States has long been unusual for the absence of socialist, or even social democratic, politics. There is debate as to why this is but, whatever the reasons, the US never developed a mass class-based social democratic party capable of seriously reforming capitalism. Then the 2016 Democratic primary happened, putting self-proclaimed socialist senator Bernie Sanders on the national stage. While his policies were those of middle-of-the-road social democracy (and he explicitly rejected any attempt to change property relations), millions of Americans showed themselves open to policies well to the left of acceptable discourse and that being a socialist did not make you unelectable. Even though Sanders ultimately lost the primary, in the wake of his candidacy we are seeing an embryonic socialist movement emerge in the United States. Given the “special relationship” between the two countries, it is worthwhile for the British left to know what their American counterparts are doing and Continue reading →

Labour’s progress, through the eyes of the right

by David Pavett

Guardian commentators like Rafael Behr knew from the start that a radical left turn in Labour politics, such as that which propelled Jeremy Corbyn from the backbenches to Labour leader, could only end in tears. They confidently predicted Labour’s electoral collapse and did whatever they could to support the disgruntled majority of Labour MPs who, did everything they could to humiliate Corbyn. They celebrated every electoral setback in local elections as proof that Labour was heading towards disaster. They told us that Labour faced a wipe out in the 2017 election. Continue reading →

Wednesday’s Yellow Pages at Conference 2017

by James Elliott

Each year the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, Left Futures and Labour Briefing (the magazine of the Labour Briefing Co-operative), produces a guide to conference called Yellow Pages. This guide aims to help delegates understand conference goings-on and point out which motions to support in order to best support Jeremy Corbyn and the policies he supports.

Wednesday’s version of Yellow Pages can be downloaded here.

Tuesday’s Yellow Pages at Conference 2017

by James Elliott

Each year the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, Left Futures and Labour Briefing (the magazine of the Labour Briefing Co-operative), produces a guide to conference called Yellow Pages. This guide aims to help delegates understand conference goings-on and point out which motions to support in order to best support Jeremy Corbyn and the policies he supports.

Tuesday’s version of Yellow Pages can be downloaded here.

Monday’s Yellow Pages at Conference 2017

by James Elliott

Each year the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, Left Futures and Labour Briefing (the magazine of the Labour Briefing Co-operative), produces a guide to conference called Yellow Pages. This guide aims to help delegates understand conference goings-on and point out which motions to support in order to best support Jeremy Corbyn and the policies he supports.

Monday’s version of Yellow Pages can be downloaded here.

An independent Catalunya?

by Mike Phipps

The Catalan regional government’s determination to push ahead with a referendum on independence on 1st October that has been ruled illegal by the conservative government of the Spanish state has put the two authorities on collision course. With no sign of negotiated agreement or climb-down by either side, things look set to polarise very quickly. How did it come to this in a modern western European democracy?

Continue reading →

Peter Willsman reports from Labour’s September Executive

by Peter Willsman

National Executive Committee 19 September 2017

As some of you will know, I have been on-and-off of all four of Labour’s National Committees since 1981 and I have been present when some very important decisions have been made. But in some ways, this NEC was very special. I think am not exaggerating when I call it historic. It was historic for several reasons. Firstly, Jeremy, my friend of 41 years, was now in every way the full leader of our Party. Secondly, for the first time since the Labour Party was formed, the CLPs and Party Members were properly treated as one of the two pillars of our party – the political wing and the industrial wing. Continue reading →

Sunday’s Yellow Pages at Conference 2017

by James Elliott

Each year the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, Left Futures and Labour Briefing (the magazine of the Labour Briefing Co-operative), produces a guide to conference called Yellow Pages. This guide aims to help delegates understand conference goings-on and point out which motions to support in order to best support Jeremy Corbyn and the policies he supports.

Sunday’s version of Yellow Pages can be downloaded here.

Is Corbynism a 21st century version of Bennism?

by Mark Perryman

In an exclusive and edited extract from the new book The Corbyn Effect Mark Perryman argues there are similarities but important differences too.

Alan Freeman in his 1982 book The Benn Heresy described the mood in the Labour Party while Jeremy Corbyn was getting ready to stand for the first time as Labour’s candidate for Islington North:

Benn now had grounds for hope. The left seemed on the verge of complete triumph. It looked as if only the last bastion – the PLP – needed to be conquered, and with the right wing packing its bags and reselection entrenched in the constitution, this would surely fall in time.”

It didn’t quite turn out like that. First the SDP split then the 1983, 1987 and 1992 defeats and finally Blairist-Brownite New Labour. Throughout these years the Bennite Left was in headlong decline. Thoroughly marginalised, by the time Jeremy stood for leader its parliamentary faction, The Campaign Group, barely existed and was seriously considering its continuing existence. Continue reading →

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