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A Corbyn victory is not only possible, it is our only hope

uk_child_povertyLet us be clear what the Tory welfare bill will mean. If the parents of more than two children are precipitated into claiming benefits through a change in circumstances, like redundancy, a partner leaving them or being bereaved, then their children will suffer. If you are a women with, say 4 children, in a violent abusive relationship, you might be unable to leave and still feed your children. If you already have two children and get accidently pregnant, you may feel coerced into an unwanted abortion.

These are measures that are deeply, deeply wrong, and it is a moral requirement to oppose them. What is more, concern about an equitable welfare system and social safety net has not historically been the preserve of only the left of the party, but also of the traditional right, of the revisionists, and even of the Blairites. It was Tony Blair himself who championed the reduction of child poverty.

So the twitterstorm outrage of opponents of Jeremy Corbyn about the 48 Labour rebels is ridiculous. Let us point out that half of the rebels are newly elected, and are therefore MPs most recently connected with the real world outside the Westminster bubble.

In contrast, Liz Kendall – the only candidate to actually support voting for welfare cuts – got the lowest number of nominations from newly elected MPs, and her CLP nominations come overwhelmingly from safe or unwinnable seats – where activists are least attuned to swing voters. What sort of sense of entitlement inspires someone who has led such a disastrous campaign for the leadership, to think that any campaign they might wage towards a general election would be successful? What makes politicians who have had a career as special advisors, and working for Labour aligned think tanks or charities, believe that the years they have spent in meetings in Portcullis House makes them well suited to judge the mood of ordinary voters, struggling with precarious employment, unaffordable housing, and benefit cuts?

It was clear that there would be a rebellion as soon as Harriet Harman backed the Tory proposals, and was later pressurized into abstaining, but not opposing.

The responsibility of leadership is to manage the differences of opinion within the party. Instead Harman took a course of action that seems to have been calibrated to create division. The fault for the fiasco over the welfare bill lies squarely with Harman, and her supporters in the PLP.

Was this a miscalculated plot to adapt to an indefensible Tory policy, perhaps hoping to deter Corby supporters from joining Labour, or becoming supporters, and seeking to provoke a small rebellion, with the objective of showing Corbyn isolated? If that was the plan it has massively misfired.

This week I’ve spoken to three former Burnham supporters, two of them Swindon councilors, another the chair of a CLP, who have now switched to Corbyn.

The right wing in the Labour Party are desperate, when John McTernan, who presided as chief of staff of Jim Murphy’s utterly routed Labour Party in Scotland is wheeled out on Newsnight to give advice to Labour on how to win! Let us remember that McTernan spoke at 2014 Conservative Party Conference fringe, where he gave advice to Cameron on how to beat Labour.

A Jeremy Corbyn victory is not only looking possible, but like it is our only hope.

This post first appeared on Socialist Unity

12 Comments

  1. David Ellis says:

    If Labour elects another Blair clone they will emerge from 2020 with less MPs than the Tory-collaborating Lib Dems. As Scotland showed the left MPs will not be spared either. They will all go into the dustin of history together. For the Labour Left this is the last chance saloon. They either take it or the party perishes.

  2. swatantra says:

    Hope lies eternal in the savage breast.
    I’d rather have efficient practical pragmatic government doing what it says on the tin, than forlorn Hope stringing us along with better days to come with vague promises of the here after, and elysian fields and lands gushing with milk and honey. People in poverty want bread o the table and a roof over their heads now, not in 30 years time. JC is not the Messiah, not even John the Baptist. But he may be just the man to help a few; but the many will still have to go on suffering.

    1. Robert says:

      Seems to have worked well in 1945 when labour stated we will undergo a large social housing building program and form the NHS and give welfare to the many people injured after wars.

      The problem with labour tin is it’s rusty and nobody can read it any more.

      1. swatantra says:

        In ’45 they had to embark on a major house building programme because of the extensive War damage to properties; similarly as you say to the casualties and injuries to soldiers and civilians during the War, it had to be State run.

        1. John P Reid says:

          Quite

  3. David Ellis says:

    By the way for those who thought that Tony Blair was a sincere but perhaps misguided pragmatist:

    `Let me make my position clear. I wouldn’t want to win on an old-fashioned leftist platform. Even if I thought that was the route to victory. I wouldn’t take it.’

  4. Mukkinese says:

    The furore over left or right is ridiculous, the ideas from both sides of the party are not mutually exclusive.

    Firstly, Corbyn is not exactly a Bolshevik, his views are quite moderate. Secondly, the so-called “leftist” agenda of Miliband is not what lost the election.

    Even these slaves of focus groups must be aware of that.

    What we need to do is stop playing by the Tories rules. Stop letting them tell us what our choices are and start declaring another set of choices.

    We can keep those policies which were popular, play on our perceived good points; fairness and willingness to take on the “establishment”, as well as appealing to the “aspirational” and business.

    Fat-cats are not all there is to “business” and voters are well aware of the difference between medium and small firms and the giant corporations that they feel rip them off.

    We only need the will to craft a message that does not conform to the Tories narrow story and iis in tune with the public mood on key areas.

    Why must we either attack welfare of support “Scroungers”? Why can’t we attack the need for welfare and support the workers who have to claim it because they are not paid enough?

    Why do we need to attack housing benefit at all? The bedroom tax is widely seen as unfair and we can argue that a living wage, backed up by more affordable new housing would cut that dramatically.

    We need to reframe the arguments and show a different point of view without falling into the silly trap of only talking about the choices that the Tories declare as viable…

  5. Damien Quigg says:

    I could not agree more. Not only is this last chance saloon for the labour left, I suggest it is the last chance for the labour party before it is diminished to relative insignificance.

    The labour party is so fundamentally broken that I fear even if Jeremy Corbyn is elected as party leader, the task at hand will prove too big even for him.

    In response to the democratic crisis in British politics, I’ve setup a new grassroots group of the people. It’s purpose is to provide a platform for UK residents to come together to discuss, debate, design & build a better, fairer, more democratic UK society, where everyone will have a equal chance to prosper.

    Group meetings will be held online as webinars and the first meeting will take place this coming Monday 27th July from 8.00-9.30pm. Anyway who is UK resident may join the group by sending an email to redesigndemocracy@yahoo.co.uk

    1. Robert says:

      Do you know how many times I’ve hear people state labour are done and dusted it’s all over .

      We will always need a party to take over when the Tories become old tired and useless, it may take a few terms but it will happen and then labour will win one or two terms and then think they are back have made it the Tories are gone only to find it’s wrong.

      We may have a recession next year or the year after or in ten years time and then labour will fill it, it’s what labour does.

  6. David Ellis says:

    There is no doubt that the Corbyn Campaign is a great moment in British politics promising a movement akin to the Scottish Referendum Yes Campaign. But such a mass and vibrant movement cannot long be satisfied with mere `anti-austerity’ and vague allusions to socialism. It will at some point need to develop a programme for working class power and the transition to socialism the stellar points of which should be:

    1. End the bail out of the banks. Bring their staff, estates and deposits into administration to form a People’s Bank lending at base rate to small business and funding social investment in accordance with a democratic plan;

    2. Full-employment by sharing the available productive work. All school and college leavers and unemployed workers to be bought into the local workforce with each paid the minimum of a trades union living wage. We must move to making part-time the new full-time as quickly as possible;

    3. Socialisation of the means of production and exchange and the replacement of Old School Tie and absentee shareholder-imposed fat cat managers with those elected by the workforce. Democracy cannot end at the office turnstyle or factory gate;

    4. The revokation of all anti-trade union legislation and the defence of all necessary and desirable public spending to be paid for by a fair and sufficient system of taxation;

    5. The replacement of the Westminster Union with a voluntary federation of sovereign nations and the replacement of the EU founded on neo-liberal principles with one founded on socialist principles such as EU-wide living wage and EU-wide full-employment to end the misery of mass economic migration, EU-wide health service free at the point of use. Another Europe is Possible. Vote Out for a Socialist Europe in the EU Referendum.

  7. Darren Styles says:

    I fail to understand how those on the “right” of the party can blame an anti-austerity stance for the election defeat when austerity was the main plank of economic policy within the campaign?

    If you try and wear Tory clothes they just won’t fit and you will look ridiculous

    I agree that Jeremy Corbyn is our only hope, if he wins the leadership then the real work will start and it will be hellishly difficult to win the election, but at least he stands a chance.

    Let me be clear, no-one in the leadership race inspires me to think they will be a future PM, and I am horribly convinced two things will happen

    1) The Tories will make a complete mess of this country and their chums in the media will blame everyone else
    2) There will be no credible opposition AGAIN

    At least with Corbyn as leader we can offer a genuine alternative and appeal to voters fed up with ten years of an austerity which owes everything to Tory ideology and nothing to good economic sense.

    Let’s give it a try because I don’t see Cooper, Kendall or Burnham winning anything let alone a general election

    AND do we wan’t five years of Labour exposing the Tory hypocrisy with Jeremy Corbyn or more of what really lost the election?

    Vote Corbyn

    1. John P Reid says:

      It was the perception that we hadn’t cut quick enough when we were in power last time, that meant the cuts had to be so savage,and that, although we were saying now,we would cut,it was the fact,that we didn’t back the cuts,the coalition were doing at first

      Darren,the idea that the government policies are Tory ones,overlooks that originally things like selling social housing, or welfare reforms or charging for the nHS were labour ideas at first.

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