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Labour’s Choice

Watson & CorbynIn the 2010 Labour leadership election, Labour faced a choice between two Miliband brothers, with David offering polished Blairism and Ed offering a soft-Left alternative. With the backing of trade unions, Ed narrowly won. The early days of his leadership were suggestive of a marked break with New Labour. He condemned “predatory capitalism”, with calls for limits to executive pay and controls on the excesses of the financial industry; under his leadership, he said, Labour would reform capitalism, building what he called “responsible capitalism”. But as Miliband’s leadership progressed, and under pressure from the Right of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), he became more cautious and more reactionary, with Labour going into the 2015 general election committed to austerity, pandering to right-wing anti-immigration rhetoric, and without a clear vision of the sort of society it would build. In the election post-mortem, Labour elites blamed defeat on Miliband being too left-wing. As the 2015 leadership election commenced, the most left-wing mainstream candidate, Andy Burnham, launched his campaign from the offices of Ernst & Young (the global accountancy firm) to demonstrate his “pro-business” credentials. And under Harriet Harman’s post-election stewardship, Labour made the cowardly decision to abstain on a draconian Welfare Bill. After decades of moving to the Right, and in the context of ever more brutal austerity, it looked like Labour would respond by shifting to the Right yet again.

Embracing austerity, demonising benefit claimants, scapegoating immigrants: This was Labour’s ‘opposition’ to the cruellest of Tory governments. Here ‘opposition’ meant accepting the Right’s axioms and offering voters a moderated policy package of those axioms. This strategy was central to the New Labour project, and it guarantees defeat before a vote has been cast. It involves capitulating on anything distinctively Leftist, with the predictable result that the centre of politics is pulled further and further to the Right. With minimal resistance from Labour, policies of the post-war consensus – public ownership of industries, serious redistributive taxation, meaningful trade union protections – are now seen as dangerously Leftist. Even by its own limited standards Labour’s move to the Right failed, since the endless attempt to triangulate in search of the “floating voter” erodes trust and alienates Labour’s base; 5 million lost voters over the New Labour years is testament to that.

Things changed last summer. Jeremy Corbyn, an MP who has spent his life fighting the injustices of capitalism, imperialism, racism, sexism, and homophobia, was elected leader with the largest mandate a Labour leader had ever received. Labour members and supporters sent a clear message: No more would Labour accept the Tory’s agenda, no more would Labour pander to the Right’s myths; instead, Labour would confidently fight for its principles of equality, justice, and peace. Rather than offering the electorate a choice between unapologetic neo-liberal capitalism – with its rampant inequality, its corrosion of community, its poverty, and its war – and apologetic neo-liberal capitalism – with its rampant inequality, its corrosion of community, its poverty, and its war – Labour members voted to offer the British people something different: real social democracy, and laying the foundations of socialism itself.

The significance of this change of direction is difficult to overstate; for decades Labour had accepted the inequality intrinsic to capitalism as a brute fact – something to be worked around, not worked against. It is unsurprising, then, that the establishment has done its all to undermine Corbyn’s leadership. This has included consistent distortions of his views, attempts to ridicule and delegitimize his leadership, and even threats by army generals to overthrow Corbyn were he to be elected PM. The establishment now stands firmly behind Owen Smith’s leadership campaign, recognising that for Smith to defeat Corbyn, he must imitate Corbyn. Smith’s pitch is that he is “radical and credible”; he promises to continue Corbyn’s mission to radicalise Labour, offering voters “good old-fashioned socialist policies”. To this end, he has even borrowed many of Corbyn’s policies. Some on the soft-Left of Labour have been persuaded, thinking that Smith will continue Corbyn’s radical agenda but with the bonus of a more compliant media and a more united PLP. On this view, Corbyn has done the service of reconnecting Labour to its values, but it is now time to discard the harbinger of this change.

This is remarkably naïve. Not only does it mischaracterise the dynamics of the contest – it is precisely Corbyn’s politics that generates the hostility against him – but moreover there’s simply no good reason to believe Smith will advance even a moderated form of Corbynism. Why? Well, it’s first worth remembering that a standard tactic in leadership elections is to tack to your base, and then move to the centre once elected. This obviously isn’t a tactic Corbyn has adopted – we know he’s committed to the politics he professes. So why shouldn’t we believe the same is true of Smith? It’s not only because so many of his backers are deeply wedded to the status quo (though that is also true), but also because of the man himself. Even if we ignore his willingness to be richly rewarded for promoting the interests of a global pharmaceutical company at the expense of the British people (in his role as a lobbyist for Pfizer), and instead focus on his explicit political acts, it’s clear that he is not someone who will lead a Labour Party fighting for real change. Instead, he has the record of someone who will say what is easy, who will bend to the will of prevailing forces, and will engage in nasty politics to advance his career.

Let’s take a few examples. In a recent interview, he said that he was against the Iraq war and that he would have voted against it had he been in Parliament at the time. This isn’t what he said in 2006, when he said he wasn’t sure how he would have voted and ludicrously compared the war to a noble left-wing tradition stretching back to the Spanish civil war. What’s changed? He now needs to appeal to the Labour membership, who are overwhelmingly opposed to that disastrous war. That’s foreign policy though; maybe he really is committed to the domestic policy he now says he is. Well, only last year Smith said austerity is necessary; now he claims to be a champion of anti-austerity politics. He used to be in favour of academies and PFIs; not now he’s a “radical”. Either Smith has had a damascene conversion and has truly become a committed socialist just in time for the Labour leadership election, or he’s misleading Labour members in order to win an election. Clearly his claim to ‘radicalism’ is, at least in part, dishonest, but perhaps it’s also the result of some rather peculiar definitions: In an interview in 2006 he described Tony Blair as a fellow socialist, and said that they agreed on domestic policies.

Maybe his beliefs really have changed, or even if they haven’t, maybe the Labour membership would exert sufficient pressure on him to keep him true to his new “radical” commitments. Even if this were the case (which I don’t think it is), Smith has recently been willing to use political rhetoric at total odds to the radicalism he claims to represent. For example, in the context of a post-Brexit surge in racism and hostility towards immigrants, Smith said that there were too many immigrants in parts of the UK. (Where exactly? Where particularly are immigrants unwelcome, Owen?) This is not the politics of a radical, left-wing politician. Not only has he pandered to anti-immigration rhetoric, but he also courted controversy when he said he wants to “smash” Theresa May “back on her heels”. This sexism is not out of character; in the past he has opposed all-women shortlists and told Leanne Wood that she gets invited onto Question Time instead of him because she is a woman (and not because she led a political party and he was a one term MP…). And let’s not forget his highly questionable boast that he is “normal…[and has] got a wife a three children” – unlike, by implication, his then leadership rival, Angela Eagle.

It seems, then, that Owen Smith is not the real deal: We have no good reason to believe he’s committed to the radical agenda he now claims allegiance to. His record suggests that he will give credence to left-wing views only when fighting against the Left; when the going gets tough – when the media and the PLP are pressing for a rightward shift – how will “radical” Owen respond? Will he do what is necessary for the Left, and stand up for marginalised people and take the fight to the establishment? Or will he fall into line, like his backers expect and will demand? His record leaves little room for doubt.

Perhaps, however, the membership would keep him to his word? This again seems naïve. If Smith were to win, we can be confident that the Labour elite would do all they can to prevent a repeat of last summer. As we have seen in recent weeks, they are not afraid of intimidating, silencing, and alienating the membership. Add to this the understandable dejection and bitterness many Labour members and supporters would feel, if Smith were to win the Labour Right would be greatly strengthened, to the detriment of Labour offering a real alternative to the Tories (not to mention the fatal harm done to Labour’s prospects of becoming a social movement).

Labour members and supporters face a stark choice. A vote for Corbyn is a vote for Labour to fight the establishment – to fight society’s gross inequality and its scapegoating of the vulnerable. A vote for Smith is a vote for Labour to once again side with the establishment – to accept rampant inequality and the myths of the Right, along with their brutal material manifestations. Transforming society will not be easy, but it’s easy enough to know which leadership candidate will really fight to achieve it.

36 Comments

  1. Paul Dias says:

    Excellent article.q

  2. Barry Hearth says:

    Not sure if you can say that Blair shifting the Labour party to the right was a failure, ultimately it was so, but….. Blair had the backing of the media particularly the BBC, Sky (of course) and “papers” like the Sun. In short he was somewhat personable, reasonable and promised NOT to change Tory policy.
    Thatcher changed the agenda promising “freedom” and abolishing the unions all while following a neocon fiscal policy, Blair gained power by apeing that, but as you rightly point out it was to be at the cost of Labour support. But he’d loaded the party with henchmen/women, babes as the media called them, and together they ensured that the party toed his line.
    Having said all that it’s refreshing to read a critique of the last election that begins with the truth.
    Thank you.

  3. Bazza says:

    Yes and Watson now making unhelpful comments today re “Trotskyists.”
    Why can’t people focus on ideas?
    Watson is supposed to help to keep the Party together.
    Why doesn’t he perhaps refer to Smith supporting Progress and it’s questionable acceptance of money from a very dubious Government in I think it is Azerbajan or something.
    I am a left wing democratic socialist and don’t want someone telling me I am something else especially as the Right in Labour and Trots it could be argued share a common trait – perhaps both believe in top down elite control by them and they think they have all the answers.
    I support JC and oppose both of the above.
    I never voted for Watson and will certainly never vote for him again.

  4. john Reid says:

    anti immigration rhetoric, it was the Blairties who wanted unlimited immigration to drive down wages, and there’s nothing left wing about cheap labour, in fact the EU prevented less Commonwealth immigration Ed miliband said it at the time as an attack on Blarites and Jeremy agreed

    Ed M,didn’t stop his attack on New labour soon after he became leader, when they calls we’ve got our party back rallied around conference, in 2011 he said I’m not Tony Blair too boo’s for Blair’s name, as well as saying new labour is over in 2014 conference he said unlike labour in the past I’m moral with capitalism, that implies new labour was ill moral with Capitalism.

    what this has to do with watson I don’t know it was Attlee who said that a labour government that had to give out, was a sign of failure, and s for Smith regretting his abstension, did Jeremy regret not voting to ban Al queda a week before 911 or not voting for the Anglo irish agreement?

  5. David Pavett says:

    I agree with Dan Iley-Williamson’s conclusion:

    Labour members and supporters face a stark choice. A vote for Corbyn is a vote for Labour to fight the establishment – to fight society’s gross inequality and its scapegoating of the vulnerable. A vote for Smith is a vote for Labour to once again side with the establishment – to accept rampant inequality and the myths of the Right, along with their brutal material manifestations. Transforming society will not be easy, but it’s easy enough to know which leadership candidate will really fight to achieve it.

    But I am not so sure about some of his arguments.

    For example DI-W says that the early days of Miliband’s leadership were suggestive of a marked break with New Labour that he condemned “predatory capitalism” and advocated “responsible capitalism”. There are two problems with this. firstly, condemnations of predatory capitalism (or some such phrase) are ten a penny, even Teresa May can do that. It is part and parcel of populist political rhetoric and can even be heard from the far right. Secondly, what kind of promise is the promise of “responsible capitalism”? It is a promise to treat capitalism as the only possible form of economic organisation and therefore to stay within its limits. What this sort of rhetoric illustrates is the gulf that exists between saying that a line under New Labour has been drawn and actually working out and advocating policies which would realise that promise.

    Similarly it is one thing to point out that Corbyn “has spent his life fighting the injustices of capitalism, imperialism …” and actually having having policies which will chart the way to a different kind of society. Let’s be frank about this, the policies advanced by Corbyn and MacDonnall are no more than what would have been considered mainstream social democracy before Labour’s massive ideological shift to the right under Blair/Brown. Does Labour have policies which go beyond making capitalism more “responsible” through through higher taxes and changes in company governance? No it doesn’t, in fact even those things have not been discussed as part of the party’s policy forming process.

    So, all I am saying is that I agree that Corbyn should be supported but I think this should be on the basis of the promise of proper democracy in the party (not yet delivered) and the development of a raft of policies to change the direction of travel across the main policy areas (also not yet delivered). With Corbyn there is some hope of getting those things (I put it no higher than that) under Smith I am sure that this would not happen. We have yet to make the promises of a turn to the left a reality. This cannot be done by a few individuals but has to involved all those in the party willing to participate in the exercise. That in turn will involve informed democratic debate the like of which Labour has never yet organised. It’s a big challenge but if we don’t do it then the attempt to build a radical leadership will ultimately hit one of the many rocks which will be placed in its path.

    1. Barry Hearth says:

      your reply is reasonable and carefully crafted, but i hope the ship of Labour can steer a path through those rocks.

  6. Giles Wynne says:

    Too much Ow-en by the Bliarites to the Oso cialists.
    Those trying to make capitalism work are as finished as the system itself.
    However if Corbyn’s kid gloves are the beginning of a “velvet revolution”, he has to think again.
    They will be coming for you Jeremy and now is the time to get some more insurance.

    E.G.

    Don’t take it all on your own shoulders.
    Get your own media station to promote your message
    Extend your elbows to the Bliarites and reorganise the management.
    Power to the members, take decision making from PLP
    Be more inclusive,the Left needs them all
    Invest in a Tin Hat

  7. David Jameson says:

    I consider myself to be fairly radical yet voted for Corbyn despite what he was saying about defence and immigration and not because of it. To be frank his views made what should have been an easy decision into a difficult one.I don’t trust Smith and will back Jeremy again but I am concerned.Having sensible views on immigration and defence is ethical and doesn’t turn me into a raging right winger or closet racist and is probably in line with what most potential Labour voters want.I’d like to think that more will join our party and that Corbyn will continue democratizing it, giving us the opportunity to shape policy ourselves.

    1. David Pavett says:

      Like you I voted for Corbyn and will do so again despite having considerable reservations. His views on immigration a based on abstract humanistic ideals and not on the political and economic reality of capitalist society. They are strangely in line with neo-liberal doctrine. As for defence I don’t believe that he has a policy. Being against nuclear warheads in Trident and being opposed to foreign interventions (is he actually opposed to all under any circumstancies?) doesn’t contitute a defence policy since you have to be for something as well.

      I also agree with you that the key thing is to democratise the party (little has changed on that front so far) so that members can be involved in policy formation in a meaningfull way. It is the hope that that might happen that is my main reason for voting for Corbyn. I believe that if this it doesn’t happen then the left advance will inevitably be reversed.

      1. Paul Dias says:

        “His views on immigration a based on abstract humanistic ideals and not on the political and economic reality of capitalist society.”

        And what are your views on immigration, David? And how would they fit in a long-term electoral strategy for Labour, considering:

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/10029547/Third-of-children-born-in-England-has-foreign-born-parent.html

        1. David Pavett says:

          I am not sure what you see as the significance of the Telegraph like you give in terms of your question. It really makes no difference as to my answer.

          I would say only that large scale movements of population need to be controlled in terms of available resources (e.g. housing, health, education), available jobs and the the working conditions for those jobs (by agreement with employers and trade unions). Without such control and such agreements the free movement of labour is simply a way of internationalising the “reserve army” of the unemployed and can therefore be used to weaken trade unions and worsen working conditions.

          As Paul Stiglitz explained recently the free movement of labour and the free movement of capital are twin demands of neo-liberalism. So it is strange that so many on the left have embraced the former and remain silent on the latter.

      2. John Penney says:

        During the 30 year long night of neoliberal ideological hegemony, too many on the Left seem to have entirely forgotten that key tool of a Left Government to significantly transform and limit free enterprise capitalism for the greater public good , ie, comprehensive State-led economic Planning – aimed at benefitting as a first , but not exclusive, priority the citizens of the democratic state which elects that Left government.

        Comprehensive economic planning intrinsically involves state future planning of Labour Supply needs (with associated educational, training, housing and Welfare provision) just as much as limitations and direction of capital flows and the disruptive activities of the financial sector generally. A Left government should still have as a key policy objective “Full Employment” of its own, voting, citizens , BEFORE trying employ the rest of the world. That isn’t racism – its a socialist objective – standing up to the unlimited labour supply objective of neoliberalism.

        It is indeed pure wishy washy liberalism to create the shibboleth of “complete freedom of labour movement across all state boundaries” with nothing in common with traditional socialist principles at all. At the end of the day, THE key difference between a mixed economy in transition and a fully socialist society compared to a neoliberal capitalist one is that the power of the Capitalist Market to allocate resources and distribute wealth is replaced by the conscious, democratically determined, use of State Planning to allocate resources and set priorities rationally according to an overall , democratically agreed comprehensive Plan.

        The Left desperately needs to rediscover its socialist theory and principles, too long diluted and submerged in a sea of liberal moralism.

        Socialism and pacifism are also very uneasy bedfellows. There is of course a deep historical connection in the UK between the two – but anyone believing that the answer to all the threats in today’s world – or indeed the route to a radically Left transformed society lies via a “nice cup of tea and a scone shared by all the contesting social forces” needs to think again. The lesson of pacifist sincere socialist George Lansbury and his failure to stand up to Mussolini’s fascist aggression is a warning from Labour’s past. There is nothing to be ashamed about in seeking to secure non-aggressive viable national self defence alongside key objectives like Full employment and a Welfare State. In fact the current utter money squandering chaos reigning in all spheres of UK defence procurement (eg, the useless giant aircraft carriers, the useless F35 fighter-bomber programme, the unusable money squandering Trident programme, the now complexly non seaworthy Type 45 destroyer programme , the air tanker scandal, the early warning surveillance aircraft scandal, the utter lack of coastal defence ships and on it goes endlessly) – and should be something Labour can make hay on, not avoid.

        1. Peter Rowlands says:

          An excellent summary of what should be a left approach in these two areas, but soggy liberalism and pacifism would appear to prevail.

        2. David Pavett says:

          I agree about the “wishy-washy liberalism” of complete freedom of movement and also about the distance between a radical left stance and pacifism. Both serve as signs of the lack of clarity in the current struggles to change the Labour Party in that the figurehead of those struggles (Corbyn) advocates free movement on purely liberal grounds and fails (in various interviews) to distinguish his position from that of pacifism. We have no real choice but to vote for him but let’s no pretend that doing is a vote for a clear socialust perspective.

        3. Danny Nicol says:

          Well said, John Penney. I strongly support Jeremy against Owen Smith and shall certainly vote for him, but don’t always find myself agreeing with him.

          What you say, John, on the free movement of persons is equally true of the free movement of goods, freedom to provide services, the free movement of capital and freedom of establishment. We should be for planned trade. We should seek an end to supranational guarantees for private enterprise and limitations on the expansion of state monopoly. The “Norway option” and membership of the European Economic Area, which is the opposite of democratic socialism, is not therefore something we should be wishing on ourselves.

    2. Robert Green says:

      There is absolutely nothing reactionary about wanting to restore democratic control over borders and immigration. It is the job of a national democracy to defend such things. The ultra-left `open borders’ nonsense destroys our credibility. The EU is Norman Tebbitism writ on a continental scale. We need a New European Settlement based on socialist principles that does not treat workers like migrating cattle. We need a regime of full-employment for a start maybe then we could actually have a passport less Europe without all the job tourism.

      As for Trident, I’m no pacifist but despite Corbyn its abolition is an idea whose time has come. All it does is make Britain a target and with Trump knocking on the door of the White House Trident will put us in the front line of his provocations. In any case deterrence doesn’t work unless mutual destruction is assured and it isn’t. Britain is just a pawn waiting to be sacrificed.

    3. Paul Dias says:

      “Having sensible views on immigration and defence is ethical and doesn’t turn me into a raging right winger or closet racist and is probably in line with what most potential Labour voters want.”

      I seem to remember Ed Milliband ran on a ‘controls on immigration’ platform. It was one of his 6 pledges, in fact. How did that turn out for him?

      1. David Pavett says:

        Is this a discussion about whether having some level of control over immigration is a vote winner? We are not a focus group. What principles are involved.

        Besides, at the level of winning votes it could be agrued that Miliband’s slogan ‘control immigration’ had no impact because it was no more than a slogan. He had no proposals. On the other hand, it seems from the referendum that when people thought (however mistakenly) that immigration controls could be reintroduced this had a signiicant effect on voting.

        1. Paul Dias says:

          “He had no proposals.”

          Only he did, and I quite remember hearing about them.

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29742865

          As to the EU referendum outcome, a narrow majority of the British public did vote to Leave, and it’s likely a majority of those who did vote to leave did so because they perceive EU and non-EU immigration as being a problem, just as they were told by the rags.

          What is less clear to me is how on earth Labour expects to win any election by turning into a – for all practical purposes – nativist-lite party, particularly given ed Milliband’s failed courtship of the racist vote and changing demographics, among others.

          1. David Jameson says:

            I agree with you with regards to what Miliband was saying about doubling the period of residence before immigrants can claim benefits, but can’t see much else to complain about. It’s mostly about protecting British and immigrant workers from unscrupulous bosses using immigrant labour as cannon fodder to suppress pay, conditions and rights.

          2. David Pavett says:

            I stand corrected. Thanks.

            All the same this was flim flam because (1) it did not and could not address the basic problem of free movement and was unacceptable because (2) it is not on to tell people that they have the right to come and work here but that they must have less support than the rest of the working population.

        2. Robert Green says:

          As far as I am concerned a democracy has the right and even the duty to control its borders. The ultra lefts talk about `open borders’ but that is pure ultra left bullshit. Capitalism without borders, capitalism without a state would be a recipe for permanent civil war and warlordism which is actually what rapidly disintegrating neo-liberal capitalist globalization offers. A New Dark Ages. What Labour needs is a policy for a regime of full-employment whereby every school and college leaver and unemployed worker who cannot find their own job are bought into the local workforce to share in the productive work with each paid the minimum of a trades union living wage. After that we can talk about what levels of immigration are feasible but in actual fact we need to stop stealing off the peg workers, so that we don’t have to pay for training and education for the workers already here, from countries that need them more than us and that they have paid a lot of money to train. It is the worst kind of imperialism and is in fact racism dressed up as anti-racism.

          1. Bazza says:

            We are socialists and should also be about good planning and management. We are not laissez faire free market Neo-Liberals & should be wary of the free movement of labour and capital.
            There are also I am afraid some not very nice human beings in the World today from sex traffickers to criminal gangs etc. and we should be wary of open border liberalism.
            We should be open to the workers we need whilst offering compassion to refugees and having the capital that we decide we want.
            I wonder if we could consider a triple lock on immigration (a) a maximum of 10% of the adult working population (b) migration adjustment funds for local councils (c) encourage migrant workers to join trade unions to build community solidarity whilst attempting to prevent the undercutting of wages by unscrupulous employers.
            Whilst we are at it why don’t we ask refugees agencies to encourage their service users to think about joining trade unions too and again to help to build community solidarity; unions could offer very cheap rates for these groups or actually free membership for refugees who often have very little (until they get work then they can pay full rates).
            After all what are migrants and refugees but unorganised international working men and women!
            We shouldn’t be afraid to think critically about these issues.
            Yours in solidarity!

      2. John P Reid says:

        He got more votes than foot or Brown?

  8. Bazza says:

    Is Watson currently working on a dossier on the extremely well funded Progress?

    1. John P Reid says:

      Maybe he should and if he funds they gave progress only meetings with the intention,nor putting motions claiming to be CLP ones, then they can be driven out, or if they back non labour candidates

  9. Bazza says:

    Read Watson’s letter and everything he says could perhaps also refer to Progress and perhaps the mysteriously well funded ‘Save Labour’ (for the Right Wing top down Neo Liberal MPs)?
    There may be a tiny, tiny of number of bourgeois socialists (top down, elite central committees, ready made programmes, all the answers etc.) hovering around the Left but the overwhelming majority of people around JC want left wing democratic participative socialist change.
    And can’t people change their perspectives?
    I look forward to Tom’s dossier on Progress and the Right of Labour (elite, top down, ready made Neo-Liberal programme, all the answers etc.)
    And Tom whilst you are at it perhaps your time could be better used looking into the claim in the Observer that an ex-Shadow Cabinet Minister & Labour MP went to their ex-office after resigning and wiped the computer clean of Labour’s considered position on the Finance Bill?
    Me thinks Sherlock Holmes may say, Watson is on the wrong trail!

    1. David Pavett says:

      Worth noting also that the words “revolutionary” and “democratic” slip by in Watson’s letter as if they were obviously incompatible. For him “democracy” evidently means “tied to the present power structures” and “revolutionary” means against the interests of the majority. This is language as sanctioned by the Daily Mail and the Telegraph. I think that Watson is sincere but politically a complete ignoramus. A “democratic revolution” is for him a linguistic and therefore also a political impossibility.

    2. John P Reid says:

      But top down or neo liberal, isn’t against the party rule, backing non labour candidates, or having ,momentum only branch meetings is

      1. David Jameson says:

        Are coups, gerrymandering and lying and treachery in the rules. How about putting out literature saying if you join your entitled to a vote. If not perhaps they could get the next NEC meeting to consider it. Or perhaps not eh.

        1. John P Reid says:

          Any proof of this, as lying about being entitled to a vote(on labour issues.) would be wrong, but treachery, I mean really!!

  10. David Jameson says:

    My partner rejoined explicitly to vote for Smith. She paid her money expecting a vote because it said on the website she would get one. She was firstly denied by the NEC then allowed back in courtesy of a court ruling and now finds herself out again after the appeal. A Labour member for many years and a loyal Labour voter all of her life. I see nothing wrong with placing time constraints on voting eligibility but to introduce it retrospectively is pure and simple rigging of the vote and the decision today is clearly bent and nonsensical. As for treachery only Andy Burnham comes out of this with any credit after the rest of the PLP have acted like a law unto themselves.

  11. David Jameson says:

    Maybe she should have paid £25

  12. David Jameson says:

    Like any other Tom Duck or Harry.

  13. Bazza says:

    WE WILL DEFINE OURSEVES!
    Trots or Nazi Stormtroopers?
    Right make up your mind.
    As decent people I have met.
    Peaceful, humble and kind.
    A movement that is from below.
    With reasons to believe.
    And no-one leads us but ourselves.
    As Borgeois Socialists and Neo-Liberals deceive.
    But there’s another story.
    It’s waiting to be told.
    What about this ‘Progress’.
    And Sainsbury’s and Kazakstan Gold?

  14. Leftwinger said his life has been a ‘moral opposition to nuclear weapons’, as he seeks to retrain Faslane workers for more peaceful endeavours to protect jobs Labour leadership’s team rejects accusations of antisemitism and says north London MP is ‘proud to represent a multicultural constituency’

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