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Poll shows Corbyn can’t be deposed. Do his critics want Labour to win or not?

A YouGov poll whose findings are published today by the Times shows that the membership of the Labour Party are more supportive of Jeremy Corbyn now than they were in November 2015 and there is no realistic chance of him being removed now or in the foreseeable future. It is time for all his critics to decide, do they want to see him elected Prime Minister or not?

Seventy-two percent of Labour members think Corbyn is doing well as party leader (compared with 66% last November) including 43% of those who voted for Yvette Cooper or Andy Burnham last summer. A majority of members think we’re on course to win in 2020 , and more so with Jeremy as leader than someone else (53:39 compared with 42:41).

Sixty-four percent of Labour members say they would definitely (50%) or probably (14%) vote for Corbyn against 33% in the event of a challenge. And that’s before you add in affiliated supporters or those who could be persuaded to join to vote as registered supporters who the poll says are even more supportive of Jeremy than members (75% would vote for him).  And next time we will recruit many more of those who voted last time who haven’t yet joined the party. The numbers are consistent across all age groups and all regions and nations.

Constructive debate is fine. It wasn’t permitted under New Labour – being “on message” was always expected and rebellion the only form of dissent – but it is now in the new pluralist Labour Party. If Jeremy loses a vote at Labour’s conference, he must accept it. And so must everyone else.

No challenge to the massive mandate Jeremy won only a few months ago will succeed, this year or next. And his support is growing so any challenge would be futile. No other leader would do better. What we need now is unity, but for all their talk of the importance of “winning” Jeremy’s critics don’t seem to accept it.Whilst Jeremy Corbyn offers hope of a better future, his small band of Westminster critics just reflect the past.

When you factor in the excellent results in London and Bristol, Jeremy Corbyn improved on the best results of Ed Miliband’s leadership. And significantly improved on last year’s defeat putting us ahead of the Tories. And let’s not forget too that in spite of his defeat in 2015 and the Labour collapse in Scotland, Ed Miliband improved on Labour’s performance in 2010.

There is a long way to go. A positive offer across the range of policy areas must be developed. But we must reject the negative narrative on recent elections of the “bitterites”. They are bitter not about Labour’s defeat last year but about Corbyn’s victory.




  1. jeffrey davies says:

    you mean the blairites untill they cross the floor then more trouble will they cause

    1. rod says:

      We’ve seen how the Blairites attempted to sabotage Labour’s prospects in the run-up to the Oldham by-election and the recent local and mayoral elections.

      The Labour Party needs to prepare to counter Blairite sabotage, backed by the Murdoch media etc., in the run-up to the 2020 general election.

  2. Verity says:

    Really reassuring to see positive indicators when they appears. I would be a lot happier though if this cult of the individual and/or refreshing change of style was accompanied by some features of a strategy for advancing further. With the exception of McDonnell’s noble work in the economic sphere we lack the necessary components of strategy in almost all areas of potential government intervention. Since in general the Labour Party (except Progress), appears uncomfortable with strategy and policy development from anywhere outside parliament we should now be asking MPs what they can offer?

    Given the Labour party’s preference to await parliamentary leadership, it is worrying that no one else in the shadow cabinet has anything innovative or developmental to offer. I would prefer to see Corbyn asking each shadow cabinet members to take policy/strategy initiatives in the period immediately after Conference. Even better would be for Labour party groups to be formed to promote policy initiatives and let shadow cabinet members know. In my personal opinion, Momentum has shown no signs of capability or appreciation of the urgency or necessity of building alternatives at the policy/strategy levels. Before this work begins, one year of the five available will have be used on appeasing Labour opponents and we will have advanced few solutions to some very difficult problems for which we should be rightly sceptical that we have the formed alternatives to offer.

    1. Tim Wilkinson says:

      1. At this point with so much in flux, keeping the strategic and policy powder dry seems a good idea.

      2. Fighting fires fuelled, and often set, by the Progress/NuLab faction has taken up a lot of time and energy which could have been directed elsewhere.

      3 Perhaps most importantly, my understanding is that Progress types have control of much of the party’s PR, strategy & research arms and have been deliberately withholding cooperation with the leadership.

      I went along to the Progress ‘Rally’ at conference as an observer (they hired an auditorium at the Odeon cinema, as you do). Every speaker with the exception of one or two (Creasy, Burnham)were very much rallying the troops, explicitly stating that Labour is ‘our party’. Hunt’s written speech had a line referring to Corbyn voters as ‘fly-by-night Trots’. Creagh managed to shoehorn three instances of the phrase ‘rise up’ into a (nominally) 3-minute speech.

      The mood of indignance and the deepseatedness of these peoples’ sense of entitlement was palpable. It was obvious that few of them would be in any hurry to progress beyond the ‘denial’ and ‘anger’ stages of greiving and that things were going to get very nasty indeed.

      So it doesn’t surprise me that they have been so willing to follow the playbook of Mandelson (as vulgarised, often revealingly, by McTernan) by trying their best to sabotage the party until they get their way. As far as I’m concerned, a fair few of them have behaved so badly as to be beyond redemption, and I think more still will remain unreconciled to the final failure of the NuLab project.

      1. John Penney says:

        I don’t think there can be any doubt that the hard core of the Labour Right are quite prepared to actively disrupt the Labour Party to the extent of securing a Corbyn-led defeat in 2020 – rather than let a radical Left government come to office.

        The ever deepening European and global economic crisis , and the probably now irreparable rift in the Tory Party, combined with the completely unreformable hostility to any , even mildly , Left programme, of the Blairites, means that by 2020 the UK Westminster Parliament and party structures across the spectrum could well be very different to today’s frankly, unworkable Tory and Labour Party formations.

        First Past the Post makes fundamental redistributions of political party formations difficult – but in the context of economic crisis and fundamental internal party division , not by any means impossible – just look at Greece.

        1. John Penney says:

          Not that I am suggesting Greece has a FPTP electoral system. – I am just referencing the way the Greek economic crisis utterly restructured the Greek party structures.

      2. Verity says:

        If it was a managed tactical decision to keep powder dry then I would at least be partially reassured. But getting policy right takes an enormous amount of time, argument, discussion and commitment to debate amongst a wide range of people including well – informed opponents. After good formulation, it takes considerable promotional campaign activity to win support for it against internal Party and Media opposition. Policy in one area has to be reconciled with in policy in others and the whole has to have coherence and have comprehensible messages. My concern is that five years is hardly sufficient time as it is, four years is a challenge but next time it is commented upon it may be three. After years of absence of socialist strategy many mistakes will be made on the way so we need to give some momentum to early work whatever the tactical decisions about the benefits of keeping the work to in – house activity

      3. Richard Tiffin says:

        I agree Tim, so I think Jon Lansman’s call to get behind the Party will fall on deaf ears, particularly so if we take into consideration what you witnessed at the Progress conference.

        This begs the question that nobody but the ultras on the left seem to want to grapple with, what should we do?

        The press will undoubtably carry on printing every bitter right wing utterance as the ruling elites have decided that they don’t want a Corbyn led Labour government and this will undoubtably make a hard fight to win in 2020 even more difficult. So I ask again, what should we do?

        I have always believed that we need to take the fight to the far right wreckers. The leadership were happy to take the fight to the Militant who were argued to be responsible for damaging Labour at the polls, and they didn’t worry about splitting the party. On the other hand we can spend the next four years moaning about them and giving them carte blanche to damage Labour in any way they can, pretty much like they a doing.

        1. Verity says:

          Could we not attempt to drown them in policy challenges using the exposure gained as a means to win arguments amongst wider groups of people and also bring about their increasing isolation. The fight would then be on our terms rather than those invented by the irreconcilables.

          1. C MacMackin says:

            That’s fair enough, but we have to be aware of and willing to accept the fact that adopting substantial left-wing policy will induce a split. Furthermore, when reselections come around, if the left does try to replace the more right-wing MPs (as it should), there is a good chance that those deselected would split if they hadn’t already.

    2. John Penney says:

      Good points ,Verify – particularly on the Labour Left’s incomprehensible unwillingness to get down to the hard but vital work of developing a coherent radical Left (Left Keynsian that is) “Corbynite Programme” for 2020. Getting a comprehensive Left “policy offer” together seemed perfectly do-able in Jeremy’s Leadership Campaign . But now he is Leader all we get is John Mcdonnell’s celebrity economist roadshow – which is NOT actually the same thing as broadly based economic policy creation at all.

      The absolutely key weakness so far for progressing a radical Left agenda, and taking the fight to the Right, has been the disastrously lacking momentum of Momentum. The way the “centre Left ” NEC candidates emerged from smoke filled rooms is a good indicator I’m afraid that so far the huge Momentum supporter database and membership are looked upon as a stage army for Jon and a few pals to deploy as they choose – rather than a vital , self mobilising, Democratic, radical Left wing of the Labour Party.

      The only motives for this failure to develop Momentum properly can be that, firstly the Momentum “Leadership” simply aren’t used to operating in a mass membership Democratic forum – after decades of small sect-like maneuvering and constant defeat, and secondly, that Momentum’s leadership are far too frightened of the press and Labour Right accusing Momentum of being “the new Militant” , to build Momentum into the real mass Left force in the Party it needs to be.

  3. John P Reid says:

    It’s not his critics ,you should be questioning,if they want him to win,it’s his supporters when they break party rules or don’t listen to constructive criticism.

    1. David Pavett says:

      That is like saying that in a war it is not the enemy you should be aiming your fire power at but rather against the stupid generals who do counter-productive things on one’s own side. Clearly one has to improve the performance on one’s own side but without ever for a moment losing the central focus.

      1. john Reid says:

        no it’s not the real enemy is the tories, ,the reason we’ve lost wars or election is that we’ve been surrounded by too many boot lickers,not listened to the critics

        1. Nestor says:

          “no it’s not the real enemy is the tories”

          Tell that to the Bitterites.

          1. John P Reid says:

            Well they know about winning elections

          2. Tim Wilkinson says:

            John P Reid:

            “Well they know about winning elections”

            That’s the problem – they think they do, because Balir took over just as the long Tory govt finally ran out of steam and collapsed in a mess of sleaze, infighting and economic mismanagement. Everyone at the time including Blair acknowledged that the 97 election was a vote against the Conservatives (as confirmed by studies of tactical voting, opinion polls etc).

            In fact NuLab saw a massive loss of members and voters, most of all in the first term. Meanwhile the Conservatives rebuilt, accommodated the ‘social’ aspects of neoliberalism and allowed memories to fade. Steadily reversing then rebuilding their vote until by 2010 it stood somewhat above its 97 level (though still below even Labour’s vote level after its collapse in 2001).

            They were helped in this task by the fact that NuLab had ceded the rhetorical, and largely the actual, economic, fiscal, FP & justice policy agendas to Thatcherism. The 2010 defeat was the culmination of a long trend of dwindling suppport for Labour that began in 1997. Remember that before the 200-5 election, the Tories dropped their slogan ‘vote Blair, get Brown’ because they discovered it was working in Labour’s favour.

            The damage done to the party and public discourse by this episode (Mandelson said he considered NuLab a Conservative party) was immense. 1. The loss of traditional loyalists and support in the ‘heartlands’ (noticed in 1997 & especially 2001 but under FPTP only reaching its most obvious manifestation with the rise of the SNP), 2. the muddying of the waters between the parties, and the implication of so much of the PLP in essentially Tory policies, undermining attempts to oppose those policies even among those inclined to try. 3. The lack of any real alternative voice in public discourse, leaving the way clear for Thatcherism’s basic assumptions to pose as ‘common sense’.

            And now we see the same people getting their mates to rig up a load of dodgy focus groups and even dodgier reports and ‘analysis’ of their findings to try and convince us that continuing to chase an ever-rightward-bound Tory agenda is a good idea.

            This whole ‘election-winning’ mythology is a total inversion. Labour won in 97, 01 & (just) 05 because of the Tories’ unelectability, and because NuLab was able to use the Labour brand. Blair jumped on a moving bandwagon, ran it down, and jumped off just before it finally ground to a halt.

            So I don’t have much patience for these people, especially serial failure John McTernan, telling us how to run our party.

          3. rod says:

            John P. Reid: “they [the Blairites] know about winning elections”

            Even the hapless Michael Foot won more seats in Scotland than the Murphy-McTernan Blairites.

          4. John P Reid says:

            The Scottish defeat was along time coming we’d have lost there if we’d had left winger,as we just did with Dogdale
            And thatcher won elections without Scotland ,something Churchill did, and Churchill never won the popular vote.

          5. John P Reid says:

            Tim wilkinson if you call new Labours first election 1992( in fact left futures say it was 1987) then yes new labour did increase Labours vote by 5.2m, between 1983-1997′ so we lost 4.9m votes by 2010″ when the Tories didn’t get a overall majority

            And who got all those members to join in the first place, by the way if we couldn’t win in 92 with the poll tax, recession,the idea that Blair only won, cos the Tories lost,ignores, that we would have won in 1992 then

          6. Tim Wilkinson says:

            John P Reid – No this is quite wrong.

            Without going into the 1983 disaster in much detail (the Falklands, the SDP splitters, the internal sabotage prefiguring the current situation), the 87/92 recovery of most of Labour’s vote (1979: 28.1% of electorate; 1983: 20.0%; 1992: 26.7%) was clearly in large part regression to the mean, but in any case, it was not due to NuLab, which took over in 1994 and was a step-change from Kinnock.

            The collapse in the Conservative vote is what decided the 1997 election (1992: 32.8%; 1997: 21.9% – a larger proportional drop than Labour saw in 83).

            Labour’s vote increased in 97 too of course, but that increase (i.e. proportional rather than percentage-point differences) followed a dead straight line from ’83 (87: +16%; 92: +15%; 97: +15%).

            Even imagining Labour’s vote level, bizarrely given the huge preponderance of tactical voting in 97, remaining unchanged from 92, the respective vote levels would have been Con: 21.9%; Lab: 26.7% – enough for a comfortable majority. As was clear at the time, Blair didn’t use his oversized majority to reverse Thatcherism, and as a result alienated the large core of Labour voters. Instead Blair made Labour reliant on the overlapping constituencies of:

            1. ‘Peter Oborne’ types (he reports being happy – even elated – to see the back of the Con govt – and even specifically to see Blair in no 10 – but of course remained a natural Conservative) who were obviously not indefinitely going to continue choosing Tory-lite over the real thing;

            2. voters who were won over by slick marketing and the bandwagon effect of the prevailing mood – and who could of course just as easily be lost in the same way;

            and perhaps most dangerously,

            3. those who knew the Tories were wrong ‘uns but had no real political consciousness and following the media zeitgeist were settling into taking on the dominant Thatcherite nostrums as obvious common sense assumptions. Blair did nothing to challenge those nostrums and following that lead, neither did the more left-wing (or less right-wing) sections of the media.

            All this was clear enough at the time, and no amount of rewriting history can alter the fact that New Labour was a bloody disaster both for Labour values and for Labour as a party.

          7. Tim Wilkinson says:

            Oh yeah, one more, ad hominem, point: if you really did include 87 & 92 in NuLab’s roster of elections, you would surely also have to include the Brownite election of 2010. On this strange basis, we must condlude that NuLab lost as many elections as it won. Thus even the facile mantra ‘you can’t argue with success’ becomes unavailable.

          8. C MacMackin says:

            And if we’re counting ’87 as New Labour (which would be an odd thing to do, admittedly), then surely ’15 counts too. Even in ’92 Kinnock was still calling for some renationalisation, which is well to the left of anything Ed Milliband did. That would mean, all told, New Labour lost more than it won.

          9. Tim Wilkinson says:

            Yes, I think that has to be right. I don’t like to smear poor old Ed as New Labour as he was trying to break with it. But one way or another he hadn’t been able to by GE15. It’s certainly far more plausible to count 10 & 15 as elections at which Labour took a NuLab offer to the country than it is 92.

            (Note even John Reid couldn’t actually bring himself to make the claim that 87 was a NuLab election, though he was happy to rely on it once he’d smuggled it in!)

          10. john P Reid says:

            we’ll agree to disagree, the SDP splitter s no one forced the electorate to not vote for us in 1983,yes thatcher milked the Falkland’s war,but she’d just gone ahead in the polls a week before hand

            it was left futures who said that new labours first election was 1987 after kicking out militant and look what happened due to 2015,Momentum the new militant re-joined
            Ed miliband spent the last 5 years denouncing new labour, so new labour were around in 1987, but Ed miliband wasn’t new labour

  4. Bazza says:

    Yes good news and perhaps hopefully power will pass to grassroots members.
    Perhaps we don’t really need the ‘great men and women of history’ from the Right and just need ourselves.
    The days of top down control should be over but of course the remnants of the control freaks of it could be argued the not very well read middle class ‘Progress’ and the lacking in ideas and ambition for the working class/working people ‘Labour First’ will continue their manoeuvres, they have no alternative as empty vessels in their case make the loudest noise.
    Labour should reflect the society we want;working class/working people are not there to serve the economy; it should be there to serve us.
    So it is the Left who want real change in society v those who just want crumbs for the working class/working people (and well rewarded and interesting careers for themselves?).
    Perhaps organising the left at times can seem like what someone once said of the voluntary sector “like herding cats!”
    But we must be organised to maintain the momentum – get left wing democratic socialist resolutions to conference, get pro-Jeremy delegates to Conference, support moves to empower the grassroots, and support the left wing NEC slate (all 6 of them) and next time left wing democratic socialists should choose left wing democratic socialist Parliamentary candidates.
    But we can start practising what we preach.
    For the NEC left slate next year we could invite all interested members to send a 500 word statement or so then circulate these amongst left factions then by OMOV let people choose the top 6 and allow people to vote for their 6 by letter, email or at a meeting and remember not everyone can make meetings because of caring roles, childcare, work or other commitments and then throw these 6 into the negotiations with others.
    Of course the best way is to hear and question people is at a meeting but perhaps we are separated by geographical distance and some argue many decisions may be London based although some meetings do involve participating on-line and via Skypte plus perhaps one day we will have candidates offering video podcasts – all to be explored and it could be done!
    I remember taking part in a public meeting with speakers from Syriza on-line and you were able to ask questions to the Left in Greece in the middle of their crisis.
    Perhaps we should also reform the National Policy Forums and just call them National Policy Working Parties by topic and we could elect them by topic and in each area we could have a balance of experts, and experts by experience.
    So take Housing – we could have 20 reps elected in 5 categories of 4 – 4 housing academics, 4 housing campaigners/housing workers, 4 social housing tenants, 4 private renters, 4 owner-occupiers.
    The Forums should meet (and exchange ideas if possible on-line in between) between Sept-Jan and in February their reports are sent to CLPs etc. who are asked for their comments, additions, amendments and are encouraged to consult widely and say the CLP could hold a Saturday discussion events in March/April on these where small groups could each look at each policy to add, amend then report back and everyone can then further suggest additions and amendments – all to be sent in before June.
    And in Parliamentary Selections if 51% of a CLP want a shortlist of one (they may have an excellent socialist and why waste people’s time) then that’s fine but if not again interested people could register with a CLP and share their ideas and make video podcasts which are put on CLP websites then the members choose 6 to be invited to speak (and nominations would also be noted) and perhaps at least 2 of the 6 should be working class as per occupation parent(s) at least 2 should be women and at least 1 LGBT/BME/Disabled.
    Of course these are all just ideas to be explored.
    So organise now and think about the future.

    1. Verity says:

      There is some very good thinking here providing at least a start. I particularly like the idea of the working groups which could be started in the absence of initiatives from the ‘centre’. We do need an identification and a list of the appropriate policy areas to be addressed of course.

    2. David Pavett says:

      @Bazza. Yes, “The days of top down control should be over” but they are not – and it is not just a “remnant” of the control freaks. The same people still largely control the Party machine. Electing Jeremy Corbyn did not change the current place holders.

      Don’t imagine that Progress/Labour first “have no alternative”. They will present lots of detailed alternative. They will not be ones that you or I could accept but they will be alternatives and they will fit into popular ideology and prejudices neatly as they are of the same mould. Don’t underestimate them. The worrying thing is the low level of left activity on this front. It is not even mentioned on the Momentum website.

      Yes “Labour should reflect the society we want”. And yes, we need to “get left wing democratic socialist resolutions to conference”. The problem is that there is a route to Conference and the left has so far shown precious little interest in following it (through the NPF).

      I agree that the left-slate must in future be determined democratically and your proposals on this should be taken seriously.

      I am sure that “we should also reform the National Policy Forums”. What we need is clear reforms proposed to be proposed based on an analysis of the weaknesses of the present system. You put forward some draft ideas. Why not work this up into detailed proposals in article which you offer to Left Futures? We really do need to get this debate off the ground and get the left involved in it.

      1. Bazza says:

        David, I have offered to write pieces but no response.
        I don’t underestimate Progress and I await their ideas to attempt to crush them and for Progress Scotland doesn’t offer a good example!
        I have just joined CLPD (although probably most of the meetings take place in London) and perhaps you should too at least they are trying to organise and I am a Momentum member so will put forward ideas through them too.
        In my job which I have done for 24 years I have to put something in my diary six months ahead to do 6 months later so I have learned a great life skill in forward planning.
        Ideas and organise, organise, organise!

    3. Bazza says:

      Yes take my branch for example -there are 179 members but only about 15 attend meetings and make policy plus select Council candidates.
      I can’t make meetings but I may email my views and we could seek these on resolutions and print people’s comments to be read at meetings.
      It would be good to seek for example interested left people as NEC candidates for next year and each has to produce a 500 word statement and do a video podcast and if you think about it these could have subtitles for the deaf and audio versions for the blind.
      Why they could be shown as a post on here and by Momentum etc.
      Of course face to face meetings are the best where you bounce ideas and learn from each other but we should try to give everyone a voice and say and if for some it is by email or letter (may not have access to a computer) then we should try it.
      We should also try to be brief and clear in resolutions etc. using as straightforward language as possible to try to commnicate with millions.

    4. Tim Wilkinson says:

      The Conference Arrangements Committee is vital too. Its name suggests (not by accident) that it’s just an administrative body or responsible for tea & biscuits, but in fact it controls the agenda at Conference & thereby exerts a strong influence on policy.

      In more general terms of What Is To Be Done, one thing I’d like to see is the Labour & Momentum membership being encouraged/facilitated/coordinated to give the party the benefit of the wide range of skills at their disposal – for example setting up “people’s think tanks”, and a wide range of informational websites. There are enough of us to in effect run a parallel media system, and this is bound to have an effect, including being picked up by the mainstream media where we can organise the facts into eye-catching form. Just as a random example, a site which catalogues Tory interests in privatisation. If set up as some kind of think-tank-like body, this could generate press releases giving suitably headline-grabbing figures. Another example is mining anecdotes. The right-wing press has been using (often spurious) anecdote to frame issues and avoid pesky statistics. We can instead use genuine anecdotes to illustrate reality. Both Miliband and Corbyn have done some of this kind of thing, but we need to try and get these stories into the media regularly and in volume. One possible outlet, always on the lookout for human interest stories, is the TV Quick type of publication. It’s quite possible that a working relationship could be struck up with such a publication, which could then provide a reliable conduit for important real-life stories to copunterbakance the Tory propaganda.

  5. David Pavett says:

    There is clearly at least a section of the old guard who are so convinced that Jeremy Corbyn’s politics cannot result in a viable programme that they would rather see Labour fail than have it elected with him as leader.

    The latest to join the anti-Corbyn chorus is Neil Kinnock in the current edition of Prospect magazine.

    Kinnock recommends that Corbyn supporters should “just grow up and realise that the world isn’t what they imagined in their theories”. He adds that he cannot find a “civilised word” to describe “some in the current Labour Party”. A big “NO” to party unity then.

    When asked if progress was being made under Corbyn’s leadership he said “The fact’s tend to contradict that, don’t they”.

    The interview then trailed off into ramblings about the EU so, unfortunately, that is all the detail we have on Kinnock’s view of the current leadership. He clearly doesn’t like it and is prepared to bad mouth it (whilst restricting himself to “civilised words”). What he doesn’t do is to give reasons for this public display of disunity. One is left to guess that were he to do so what we would get would be a stream of raw prejudice.

    1. Richard Tiffin says:

      I’m not surprised at Kinnock at all. His battle against Militant shows what he thought of the left back then, and not simply Militant, the ‘far left’ and Bennites as well. What is more, his son appears a chip off of the old block.

      I would have thought his display of disunity is obvious though, it is ideology. Ever since Blair rallied the troops in his infamous “heartless” Progress interview the ideologically opposed right wing whose intention has always been the transformation of the Labour Party have had their go. Kinnock is firmly in the camp that the Labour Party has to be ‘sensible’. They use the terms ‘moderate’ and ‘electable’ but I am convinced they are words that cover the idea of making the Labour Party ‘safe’ from the perspective of the ruling classes. They were shook by the rise of the shop stewards movement and the left in general through the late 1970’s, so they resolved to take organised Labour on. Lord Sainsbury’s cash first funded the SDP and later Progress to undermine and organise against the left and this was matched with anti TU legislation and the battle against the miners. My epiphany occurred when Corbyn won and Osborne commented how Corbyn’s victory had “undone 30 years work”. This is why they are not going away, why they will not pipe down. They would sooner Labour lose than a leftist government come to power, they proved that with everything they threw against Corbyn in the recent elections.

      Time to wake up, time to smell the coffee, time to accept then for what they are and have a strategy to beat them.

      1. john P Reid says:

        Kinnock said he voted for Benn for the shadow cabinet elections in 1981, and Militant weren’t socialists at all, Kinnock also increased labours vote form 8.4m to 11.55m

      2. David Pavett says:

        What intetests me is to understand the reasons for the animosity against Corbyn both objective and subjective.

        People like Kinnock have a lot of political experience but lack any critical evaluation of the concepts through which they evaluate that experience, hence the windbagerry.

        Kinnock’s stance is “go with what works” but has no means of comprehending social trends and broad shifts in opinon. He has no concepts of social evolution. He is the ultimate empiricist.

        My problem is not in rejecting that approach but rather in dealing with the fact the most people on the left have a broadly similar narrow empiricist approach. They are not interested in discussion of the concepts through which they view the world. The left has, broadly, the same limited perspectives as the right but with a different starting point. That’s why exchanges between the right and the left of the Labour Party have more the form of a shouting match than a debate.

        1. John Walsh says:

          Interesting point about empiricism – as someone new to the Party, I’m surprised to find a common experiential mindset that defines the place of new members. We have to perform the activists rituals, do our time stomping the streets before we can be begrudgingly allowed in, but as for contributing to thinking about campaigning methods, no chance, our elders know best. This isn’t how it was supposed to be. Presumably, this is the way it has always been and change will be resisted (e.g. opening up policy debate to include all members will take some doing – it can’t just happen because it’s a sensible idea).

        2. John P Reid says:

          He certainly should have condemned Scargill for not balloting the members in the strike,he later regretted not doing so’ but he said he didn’t want to have the bother,of arguing why they should have done,

        3. John Penney says:

          Neil Kinnock, and now his ghastly chip off the neoliberals block, scion, Stephen Kinnock ( he of the memorable statement last year that. “I never want to hear that phrase , let the broadest shoulders bear the greatest burden , again “), are self-interest career politicians , for whom all ideology is subsumed by the primacy of their personal advantage.

          The supreme example of this career politician type, with which the PLP is stuffed, is probably that legendary opportunist and French political chameleon, Francoise Mitterand – Far Right conspirator before WW2, Vichy collaborator official during the Nazi Occupation, then helping the Resistance once the tide had clearly turned, then successful politician of the Left for the rest of his career.

          The Kinnock’s of this world are all of this mould. They actually have no personal morality or ideology, just a constant personal assessment of personal advantage. The Blairite in the PLP are completely bought creatures of Big Business,and will help destroy the Labour Party without a second thought, if a Left government looks likely – endangering the now well trodden Labour grandee route, post political office, to sinecure seats on well remunerated boards of banks and companies who have fed copiously off the teat of government contracts from departments they controlled as ministers.

          We on the Labour Left simply have to rid ourselves of this fifth column if we are to have any chance of winning in 2020.

          1. John P Reid says:

            Because the electorate will vote for a party that’s anti big business?

  6. Syzygy says:

    ‘ What [Kinnock] doesn’t do is to give reasons for this public display of disunity’

    Isn’t that exactly what characterises the criticisms and attacks on the Corbyn left? There are never any substantiated reasons or alternative policies offered. It is always vacuous statements or innuendo. It is taken as unrefutable that Corbyn is unelectable, that he offers no opposition to the Tories and has no coherent policies. It is doublespeak.

    (Particularly memorable was Rachel Reeves’ lauded alternative budget which was embarrassingly pathetic.)

    1. David Pavett says:


  7. Ray Visino says:

    Even if Corbyn is unable to win the election he will have reformed the Labour Party into a real democratic force and have proper representative MPs. Who knows what dirty tricks will be used against him but less are being fooled.

  8. Chris says:

    They want Labour to win under right wing leadership. With Corbyn in office? I doubt it.

  9. Tony says:

    The only positive thing that I can say about Kinnock is that he persuaded Bob Marshall-Andrews to seek to be a Labour candidate again.

    Bob Marshall-Andrews “Off Message: The Complete Antidote to Political Humbug” (p17).

    But apart from that, he is dreadful and his son seems no better.

    1. Bazza says:

      Yes we need to destroy the Myth of Blair”s electoral popularity.
      The public by then had had enough of the Tories.
      And of course the Right always forget John Smith.
      If John had survived perhaps there may still have been an Iraq War but possibly without us and Labour may then not have leaked subsequently 4-5 million votes.
      Labour may also not have neglected working class communities leaving a vacuum for the political imbeciles of UKIP et al to try to fill.
      I always want to hear the Right in Labour”s ideas so I can attempt to crush them with counter arguments but to me they come over as middle class careerists ‘the great men and women of history’ (who don’t have an original idea in their heads) and who are clearly very poorly read.
      You can almost hear the brains of Right wing Labour MPs calculating what to say – what they they think is popular rather than being free socialist human beings confident in saying what they actually believe – which actually may be popular if you put your arguments over well!
      The rich and powerful of the World are perhaps the true little people of the planet and perhaps our Right are our little people?
      In short we only have one life and we should fight for what we believe in; but I actually pity the Right in Labour as human beings, what actual real and profound difference will they REALLY make in their lives?
      I am a working class left wing democratic socialist who wants grassroots power in Labour.
      I also want a Social World and an end to global poverty plus for humanity to be free with 20 hour working weeks with good pay!
      I voted for Jeremy Corbyn and hope Jeremy will be the leader/facilitator for Grassroots Power in Labour!
      Yours in Hope & Solidarity!

      1. john Reid says:

        if Labour couldn’t win in 1992 with the poll tax, Recession destroyed NHS, 4m unemployed,we could never win as old labour, the Democrats won 5 time son the trot in the 30’s 40’s so the tories could have won a fifth term, yes after the ERm they were behind in the polls as they werein 1986 and 1990, and even if Smith had won in 1997 he wouldn’t have got 13.6mvotes ,maybe he’d have won with 11.5m votes

        so yes he wouldn’t have lost 4million votes,if he’d won with 11.5m as there wouldn’t have been that many to lose

  10. Bazza says:

    I am afraid Labour in 1992 was and alliance between left wing middle class liberals and thick right wing working class Labour MPs and few if any really understood what Thatcherism/Neo-Liberalism was really about.
    Now at least the Left does and we are formulating a powerful alternative to benefit humanity.
    Labour Conference delegates back Jeremy or vote Progress/Labour First to make Labour in the whole of the UK like Labour in Scotland!

    1. John P Reid says:

      Labour didn’t win in 92′ despite ousting militant, not supporting flying pickets, closed shop, people still hadn’t forgot the winter of discontent,and the loony left

      1. Bazza says:

        It had a crap leader a paucity of thinking and no counter vision to Neo-Liberalism.
        Militant were and are in the new ‘Socialist Party’ Bourgeouis socialists like the rest of the far left – top down with a ready made programmes – they believe in the banking concept of political education – all they need to do is fill the heads of the working class/working people with their ready made programmes and their elite central committes will lead us to socialism, and they deserved to be kicked out.
        But the thick top down right wing working class Labour MPs were holding us back too, they paternalistically belived theyknew what was best for us.
        The future is left wing grassroots, bottom up, participatory, democratic socialism – power from below – a concept beyond the imagining of the right wing Labour great men and women of history.
        Labour delegates at Conference should back Jeremy and grassroots power or vote Progress/Labour First & get Labour in the UK like Scotland!

      2. John P Reid says:

        A crP leader who increase labour cote by 3milluon, by the way kinNock got more votes when he lost in 92 than Wilson when Wilsin won 17 /2 years earlier,so Wilsonwas wore,

        Who were these righ wing labour ?mPe that lost it in 92 Denis healey.

        The idea that either progress or labour first have anything to do with Scotland is silly, by the way Dugdal just fought a ejlection in Scotland on a far left manifesto,did worse than Jim Murphy,

        1. Bazza says:

          It was despite him.
          In Scotland then why did the SNP not win outright?
          Oh and it wasn’t a ‘far left’ manifesto (whatever that is) it was mildly centre/left but had a little bit of traction.
          People who use the term ‘far left’ about left wing democratic socialists in Labour n my view qualify for the term ‘thick right.’
          The right wing in Labour in Scotland like Murphy followed Bairism and as I warned it achieved oblivion.
          We need a Corbynite type Leader and membership in Scotland and I beliee it will win working class/working people back -it will then be left wing democratic socialists against the born again fake social democrats of the SNP.

          1. John P Reid says:

            It was too the left of before,and far to the left of where the centre ground now is, which is further right than labour was in 1997
            The idea that people would have voted for is in Scotland if and was leader instead of Dugdale ,I.S. Silly

          2. Bazza says:

            It was a mild social democratic approach from Right Wing Scottish Labour and people can get a pretence perhaps a bit more mild social democracy from the fake SNP so why vote Labour.
            We need to win elections but where we differ is as a left wing democratic socialist I believe we should stand for what we believe in and fight for this.
            Labour will never win Scotland back until it recognises this!
            Because you are not a left wing democratic socialist you believe we should know tow to a mythical centre despite the power of capitalist hegemony.
            If you don’t fight the rich and powerful and try to politicise and empower working class/working people then you may have never existed.

  11. Tim Wilkinson says:

    While John Reid is of course just rehashing the same old folk-tales (‘repetition, repetition, repetition’) it is an interesting question why Labour didn’t win in 92.

    On the Labour side, I do think it had something to do with polling-booth cold feet about Kinnock personally, due in particular to his almost manic tendency to clown about and act in what a sizeable chunk of the electorate would regard as a distinctly un-Prime Ministerial fashion.

    On the Conservative side, Major taking over gave them a dead cat bounce, and we know that by GE92 they hadn’t quite completed their total meltdown in public support.

    The most interesting thing is why although the recession & ERM/Black Weds fiasco did appear to destroy the Tories’ entirely undeserved reputation for economic competence it didn’t seem to happen until about 6 months after the election. This delayed effect was I believe confirmed by opinion polling.

    One caveat is that respondents often answer a rather different question from the one apparently – to a literalistic reader – being asked, or answer in symbolic ways that can’t be used to predict behaviour. This is how polls can so easily be manipulated and used to mislead, and why careful psycho-linguistic analysis of poll questions is so vital. But I don’t think that can explain this phenomenon, which does appear to have been real.

    Maybe it reflects the general inertia of the public’s attitudes. Further or alternatively, it may relate to the complex, interdependent nature of these opinions – positive or negative opinions in one area tend to colour opinions in others in various ways. I wonder too if media silence or mitigatory narratives helped to stave off the reckoning until after the election. However, ersonally I don’t remember what the media were saying at the time.

    It is true I think to some extent that the public attitude to them is bound to have been, like most judgements, framed by the available alternatives, and electoral scenarios loom large in any assessment of a political party. Perhaps it was in part Smith taking over from Kinnock (Blair stepped in after the event) that prompted or allowed people to reassess.

  12. Tim Wilkinson says:

    On the general topic of New Labour and how Blairites have re-written its history, I think the situation was very aptly summed up by these prescient comments from Brian Gould in a 1995 interview:

    “I think it’s been a painful process: a painful withdrawal from hope and idealism. It may or may not have been necessary; I don’t believe that it was, and I think we have simply given up. We will secure power, but I don’t think we’ll make much of it, and as soon as the voters recover their confidence in the Tories, we’ll be removed in order to make room for the real thing.”

    1. John P Reid says:

      Public recovered frimthe Tories it took rhem18 years,Bryan’s disappointment with labour was as early as 1993

      1. Tim Wilkinson says:


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