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The New Politics is shifting the political landscape

Corbyn at PMQsOn 12 September, I attended the packed Labour Party Special Conference to see the announcement of Jeremy Corbyn’s resounding victory in the Labour Party leadership election with more than 251,000 of 422,000 votes. As John Prescott commented at the time, “the party gave an overwhelming endorsement to this man” who “got more votes than Tony Blair.”

Two months on – and despite much media coverage being relentlessly anti-Jeremy – we can see that the new way of doing politics Jeremy stands for is starting to shift the political landscape in Britain, shaking the Government on key issues (most notably cuts to working families’ tax credits) and bringing new support to the Labour Party. The key to these successes has been a new approach to opposition to the Government – reflecting the wish expressed in Jeremy’s landslide victory this summer for a clearer, stronger opposition to ideologically-driven austerity measures from the Conservative Government that attack people’s living standards and threaten the economy’s fragile growth.

The most obvious of these issues has been on the issue of tax credits, with Jeremy continually taking the opportunity to question David Cameron on this matter of how many people will be worse off due to the policy changes, and the Labour teams in the House of Commons and House of Lords taking the Tories to task. The defeat the Government suffered in the House of Lords on tax credits was a clear vindication of this clearer stance.

But there have been important achievements in other areas too where Jeremy has made clear his principled stance and Labour has provided a clear opposition to the Tories. From Labour fighting for intervention to save steel, to opposing damaging cuts to the police, a clear agenda is coming forward that can win in the years ahead.

Other new ways of doing things have emphasised how Labour can become the party of public opinion rather than the Westminster bubble. Using questions from members of the public in Prime Minister’s Question Time has been effective and popular. Adopting an attitude of working constructively with the movements and campaigns that exist across civil society in Britain against the Tory’s devastating cuts agenda will also help strengthen Labour’s support. As I have written elsewhere, Labour Party Conference under Jeremy’s leadership was a breath of fresh air and extremely positive for the Party. The Party’s conference in Scotland also went well.

Indeed, In terms of the Labour Party itself, membership of the Labour Party has practically doubled since May’s General Election, mostly due to the entry of Jeremy into the race and then his subsequent election as leader. By October 8, Labour already 370,658 members, our highest total since the days of 1997. Of these, 183,658 joined since May and over 50,000 between 12 September and 8 October. To put this into context, the total number of Conservative members is thought to number around 150,000.

We need to turn this support and enthusiasm into electoral victories in the year ahead – join with us if you want to make Britain a fairer country and return Labour to power in 2020.

Diane Abbott is the shadow international development secretary and Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington

22 Comments

  1. John P Reid says:

    It wasn’t just the party that gave an overwhelming endorsement,it was the £3 supporters as well

    1. James Martin says:

      Yes, it’s worth remembering that Jeremy won in all sections of the Party, full members, affiliates, unions, registered supporters. It’s the reason why the section of the PLP who are briefing negatively about Corbyn are looking so utterly isolated and out of step – because they are.

      1. Robert says:

        Yes but Reid does not mean it as a good thing, but the £3 voters are not labour, and Corbyn only won with these people, even thought without them Corbyn would have beaten the others hand down.

        1. John P Reid says:

          I didn’t mean as bad, but as it brought new members it it could only be good for the party.same as £3 bunham,copper or Kendall supporters have joined

          1. Robert says:

            John your so right wing and your ideal are to the right your a Blair rite plain and simple.

          2. John P Reid says:

            apart from the fact that is not true, why on earth you felt to put it,when I congratulated Corbyn on getting all wings of the electoral college vote,
            Is beyond me

  2. Will says:

    I don’t want to carp, but hasn’t the most effective opposition to Tax Credit Cuts come from inside the Tory party, Heidi Allen and others seem to feel they have to do the oppositions job for them.

    1. John Penney says:

      The growing awareness of sundry Tory MP’s of just what a future local vote loser the reduction or abolition of tax credits will mean for them personally in their constituencies has certainly produced significant schisms within the Tory ranks. But to lay credit for the growing “poll tax -like” disaster that the tax credits issue represents for the Tories in general , and Osborne in particular , anywhere but the newly radicalised Corbyn-led Labour Party, is a bit grudging.

      Imagine what craven opposition the Tories would have had on the tax credits issue if any of the Blairite contenders had won the election for Labour Leader. No one has forgotten the craven abstention on the Welfare Bill of the Blairite-led Labour PLP immediately before the contest !

      The fact is that Jeremy Corbyn and his team are not only radically “changing the narrative” on the bogus Austerity Offensive of the Tories within the Labour Movement and the wider electorate – but their principled opposition and subsequent national mood changing is actually forcing or allowing a section of Tories too to oppose some of the more viciously damaging measures in Osborne’s economically illiterate and inhuman Cuts programme.

      Labour’s ability to build its growing effectiveness as a principled Left opposition party in Westminster and the country at large ,and obvious next 2020 government in waiting, is now solely handicapped by the deliberate sabotage and mixed messages from the more loudmouth of the Right Blairites in the PLP, in alliance with the non dom billionaire owned mass media.

    2. John P Reid says:

      Unfortunately true, the gov’t is doing lots of terrible things, cuts to the civil service, selling off the banks we nationalized, misleading us on the Eu renegotiations ,

    3. Mukkinese says:

      I agree. It is disgraceful that those who want to oust, whether we agree with them or not, are actively helping the Tories.

      Even Gordon Brown, a politician who I thought had the right “moral compass” if nothing else, has now joined the attacks on his own party.

      All this effort should be spent on attacking the Tory party and maximising the publicity over the Tax credit cuts.

      Sometimes, I am ashamed to be a Labour member. We seem to create our own worst enemies…

      1. Robert says:

        First of all labour tax credits was a way of setting up a trap for the Tories he knew in 2009 his days as labour leader were over, he also knew or hoped that one of the Right wingers would win, Brown was all over the place he was so poor at his ideology he was not trusted by most.

        Tax credits were also his real last attempt to show people he would be a great leader by offering people a bribe.

        Not forgetting this lump of a politician also decided that Disability benefits for the sick the disabled was a wasted benefits and should be stopped by saying it was a wasted benefits. This of course was an attempt to show his right wing credentials .

        Brown was a walking talking disaster who did not know whether to go to the left or the right, as he had shown for a while he dithered.

  3. Bazza says:

    Yes and we have recently had the Tories grovelling to the top down, undemocratic, bourgeois dictatorship of the proleteriate in Cihina (the elite CP exploiting 200m rural workers) when we need a democratic socialist China Labour.
    Then grovelling to the thug Sisi from Egypt then the grovelling to the thug Modi from India who apparently laughed at a Muslim rival whose life was in threat who rang him for help (and was later killed by a Hindu mob).
    And Cameron has been working hard to get in with Hindus in the UK (to make Tory inroads into the BME vote).
    But as a democratic socialist I would argue for Muslims and Hindus (and all diverse human beings) to unite – perhaps some groups are being set against each other by the rich and powerful.
    Aparently there are 600,000 Hindo voters in the UK.
    A friend of mine told me how some Hindu Leaders used to help Labour in elctions but not since the nationalist Hindu victory in India.
    India and Pakistan were once on the verge of war and as a democratic socialist (for the equalty of all human beings) I argued the only people who would be pleased at this were western racists.
    Hindus as human being are perhaps being used by the Right and should come back to the side of the equality of diverse humanity.
    Hindus be aware of the Tory Con- as human beins you are better than that.
    Yours in interrnational love, peace & solidarity!

    1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      “I call on, (argue,)for Muslims and Hindus (and all diverse human beings) to unite.”

      Seldom has any comment here been quite so embarrassing or cringe-worthy and as guilty of cheap stereotyping; but then I live among Muslims, (and a smattering of Hindus, as well,) and they both represent just as diverse and heterodox a group of individuals as any other community in the UK and who exactly are you to be giving other people that kind of advice anyway ?

      You manage somehow to combine being profoundly patronizing with an implicit attitude that’s rather too reminiscent of, “The white man’s burden,”)which in it’s it’s way is probably as racist as any member of say, the National Front, as they were in my day.

      But then the many of attitude Labour members to most social other groups; not represented in it’s charmed inner circle of like minded, wealthy and connected and well heel, (“the kind of people worth talking to,”) often public school educated, “mates,”can be just as condescending as well, but particularly so and always, towards the working classes generally of whatever religious persuasion or ethnicity.

      And it lost them the last 2 elections and has landed to country in the mess we’re all now in.

      1. gerry says:

        Excellent point, Jeremy P – Bazza’s comments on “Hindus and Muslims” are beyond silly, naive, patronising, and profoundly unsocialist! He – like so many on the Left eg Galloway, Milne, Stop the War etc – identifies BME people only by their faith, and so plays right into the hands of jihadists, Islamists, religious fundamentalists of every stripe whose narrative is exactly the same as his: “Muslims” vs the rest.

        Whereas as any proper ocialist knows, its CLASS that must be the unifying factor, not religion. Bazza – Stop lumping BME groups together, Stop identifying groups only by their faith, start talking class unity and class consciousness. Basic socialism in other words!

        1. John P Reid says:

          Quite.

  4. David Pavett says:

    What Jeremy Corbyn needs most from the left is robust and imaginative policy development. If the left does not develop a platform of well-conceived policies based on thorough analysis and backed by strong convincing arguments then it is certain that the historic opportunity opened up by Corbyn’s election will be lost.

    What we need from Diane Abbott is not light-weight pieces like this which many Left Futures readers could produce with minimal effort. We need her original and creative analysis of the many difficult issues associated with her International Development brief. I hope that the next time she writes it will be to present her ideas on that issue.

    1. David Ellis says:

      Don’t hold your breath. The New Politics isn’t that new.

      1. Robert says:

        And that is one of the main issues we are waiting to see what the policies are, but with Cruddas being in charge of policies and he is pushing out his boat for the Blue Labour, and the so called One labour ideology, will Corbyn fall in line with this obvious Tory lite ideology .

        I do not know because policies are not yet forthcoming because Corbyn has other things to battle like Progress.

  5. David Ellis says:

    The Tax Credit cuts will go ahead. They were a job subsidy for the consumer boom designed to get women into part-time work which they otherwise could not afford to do the minimum wage being worked out on the basis of a full-time week. The bubble as we know well and truly burst. Capitalism collapsed in 2008. The British state is now bankrupt. It cannot afford to pay benefits and bail out the super rich creditors of the banks. Those who have wondered how come the long recession has not be accompanied by mass unemployment can wonder no more. When the tax credit job subsidy is gone the jobs will go with it and millions will join the steel workers and civil servants on the non existent dole. Yes there has been a political kerfuffle about the tax credit cuts caused by some Tories made nervous by the election of Corbyn but they will be persuaded to fall in line. Capitalism will do what capitalism objectively has to do and will not be stopped until the working class takes power. Since when has it not thrown millions on the scrap heap if the situation called for it?

    So, if we want to stop capitalism and its elites imposing mass poverty we will need to develop a programme for working class power and the transition to socialism. Policies that physically impose the will of workers on capital.

  6. Verity says:

    To return to the introduced theme introduced.

    You do not see Corbyn and McDonnell diverting their attention to this site to appeal to the rest of us to do more electoral work. Thank goodness they are spending their time on policy development work leaving the other activities to those quite capable of doing it.

    If there are sufficient hours in the day and Shadow Cabinet members have resolutions to all possible policy difficulties in their areas then I am happy for Shadow Cabinet members to spend time on what for them and responsibilities need to amount to supporting challenges.

    To help, I can offer Diane some thoughts on issues that require her attention. In what ways can the International development issues help contribute towards the unmanageable migration issues in the UK and EU? Given its historical world role how will the UK promote its own developmental contributions independently of that other transnational organisations or will the UK only contribute via other bodies? What additional measures are needed to demonstrate effective implementation of overseas policies given cynicism about who gains from the spending? How will the ‘EU preference/EU only)’ immigration policy deal with responsibilities to many non – EU nations with whom we have had past ties? How can UK International development work challenge the latent racism inherent in (future) influence dominance in essentially white East European backward political forces? In what ways can we gain population support for overseas development work given past Labour Government restraints imposed upon communities?
    I am happy to carry out my own responsibilities and contribute as appropriate to those held by others. I promise not to seek diversionary activities so as to avoid those which are difficult.

    1. David Pavett says:

      Good questions. I strongly agree. It is policy that need to be developed and argued for throughout the Labour Party. Without that Corbyn is stuffed.

      If the left remains in its traditional mould of trying to win positions to get support for its policies (a mirror image of the right-wing approach) then any gains are as like to be removed as the famous Conference win for nuclear disarmament in 1960 (overturned the next year).

      We need to win positions on the basis of having won the arguments for left policies and not win positions in order to be able to advance policies to which the membership has not been won. And, of course, to argue for policies we need to have them. So where are Diane Abbott’s International Development policies?

      1. Robert says:

        Glasman a mate of Crudas and with Cruddas being in Charge of policies it will be interesting to see what the policies are across the board.

        Glasman Blue labour and the attempts to pull labour to the so called Tory Lite will be interesting.

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