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We must not let this act of cowardice succeed

 

Corbyn addressing a support Rally outside Parliament

Barely ten months ago, I urged my branch, the New York City Labour Party Branch, to first nominate and then vote for Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party and for Tom Watson as his deputy. In this I was supported by longtime New York Labour activist, journalist and Tribune columnist, Ian Williams.

I cannot speak for the reasons of others in doing so, but for me, Jeremy Corbyn represented the best chance for Labour to finally move on from the New Labour years, to campaign against austerity instead of meekly accepting it and to re-engage with the many traditional Labour voters who had turned their backs on us. I supported Tom Watson because I believed that he represented another and honourable wing of the party and would be loyal to the new leader. Harold Wilson would always maintain that Labour needed; ‘two wings to fly’. Before any attempts are made to pigeon-hole such support, neither Jeremy or Tom come from the Tribune stable.

There were many good reasons why Jeremy Corbyn won such a compelling and overwhelming victory and brought some many new people, especially younger ones into a party that in many areas had become a hollowed out, empty shell. His candidature represented a hope that Labour could regain the moral authority it had lost so badly during Tony Blair’s reckless and illegal war in Iraq. One of the reasons Corbyn also ended up doing so well was the constant cacophony of shrill and ever more dire warnings from a range of Labour grandees. The more they sought to dissuade the more powerful the intent became to defy them. Perhaps David Cameron and George Osborne might have learned something from the same tactics that have so predictably backfired on them.

Fast forward today, and many of those who first sort to deny Jeremy Corbyn a mandate and then rejected it once it had been given, have launched possibly one of the most self indulgent, irresponsible and deeply damaging of coups that has ever been launched in the Labour Party. They have deliberately pre-planned each deliberate and damaging resignation at a time when the Government is in in turmoil. Their irresponsible, recklessness risks wrecking Labour’s chances when they are strongest. Today we have the irony, the grotesque irony, of many Europhile MPs, whose constituencies often voted heavily for BREXIT, using that as a threadbare, barely believable excuse for turning on a leader who campaigned for Remain.

By their lies we shall know them. The charge that the Labour leader did not to do enough to persuade traditional Labour voters vote to remain in the European Union does not survive a movement of scrutiny. Nor can the revolt of many of Labour’s traditional voters be put down to this one, albeit seminal referendum vote. The revolt has been building throughout the decades of growing inequality, industrial closure and poverty wages.  This squalid coup aimed at destabilising the new leadership, has been planned from the get-go; a self fulfilling prophecy from false prophets, many of whom owe their careers in Parliament to the Tammany Hall politics of provided parachutes or well connected parents.  This parade of Mannequins are dancing to the tune of yesterday’s men, Tony Blair and Lord Peter Mandelson.

And the same procession of baleful professional malcontents who cannot yet offer a pretender, nor any policies, want to stage a secret ballot of no-confidence to protect them from the ire of the members! They want to keep Jeremy Corbyn’s name off any ballot paper in case he should win again with an increased majority.

What contemptible cowards. We cannot let them succeed.

Mark Seddon is a former member of the Labour Party NEC & a former Editor of Tribune. He recently worked for as a Speechwriter/Communications Adviser for UN Secretary-General, Ban ki-moon.

79 Comments

  1. PETER KENYON says:

    I’m not sure that Jeremy was very wise regarding Hilary Benn however sorely tempted he was in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

    The triggering of resignations accelerated out of control and the rest is yesterday’s news. Pouring over the resignation letters and statements, has left me thinking they don’t stand up to scrutiny. So I would like to see the NEC exercising its authority on behalf of members and proposing a cooling off period, talks between key players and the restoration of a semblance of order ahead of the publication of the Chilcott Report.
    As a rank-and-file branch official, there is one issue that will affect my decision about whether to vote for Jeremy again. That is a rethink of his position over the outcome of the referendum. I remain a Remainer. For me, Jeremy can demonstrate his leadership skills by squaring the circle from last Thursday – offering the ‘Labour’ Leavers that more in sorrow than in anger realisation that they were conned by the right. There are no quick fix solutions. Indeed there are no solutions to their concerns until the Tories are voted out, and Corbynomics can be implemented.
    Final notes: 1) I’m really puzzled about allegations of lack of leadership when he told Benn, “You are fired.” 2) How can he be accused of not reaching out when he attracted so many new members, and pulls in crowds of ‘000s?

    1. Tim Wilkinson says:

      Corbyn had no alternative but to sack Benn. If you think this long-awaited coup attempt would have been shelved in that eventuality, you must have been watching a different political party from me for the last year (and more).

      This is the culmination of a series of failed attempts, and their last desperate roll of the dice pre-Chilcot and possibly their last chance before the NuLab nightmare of Corbyn fighting a winnable GE.

      There is nothing Corbyn could have done to stop it – he can only do his duty to the members who put him there and finish his first task: facing down and seeing off the intransigent and implacable cadre of right-wingers who took over the Labour party in the 90s.

    2. John Penney says:

      Do you seriously suggest that Jeremy Corbyn should oppose the outcome of a 18 million strong vote for “Leave” ? What sort of democrat are you , Peter Kenyon ? Do you realise that just this undemocratic intention lies behind much of the Labour Right’s current manoeuvring around the Brexit vote, and desire to “partner” the Tories in negotiations.

      If Labour refuses to acknowledge the validity of the “Out” majority decision, and to also acknowledge the validity of much of the underlying rejection of neoliberalism and austerity by masses of the working class that the “Leave Vote” represents for millions of workers in Labour heartlands, in the next election Labour will be wiped out as per Scotland in Northern England and the Midlands.

  2. Karl Stewart says:

    I think the Blue Tories have told their Red Tory allies that they’ll hold off on calling an election providing they get rid of Corbyn as quickly as possible.

    It certainly seemed to me from yesterday’s House of Commons exchanges that the Blue Tories and the Red Tories are in alliance.

    1. Robert Green says:

      And of course New Labour are buying time for the Tory Party to get their act together. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.

      Needs to be an immediate general election. The Tories must be forced to pick a leader straight away so that we can end the humiliation by the EU telling us to get out and elect a PM who will trigger Article 50 straight away and get on negotiating a deal that favours working people. Corbyn can be that man but he’s not exactly come out swinging.

    2. James Martin says:

      At the heart of the plotters stands the Henry Jackson Society, all the leading coup plotters are connected within that neo-con Atlantacist group, but of course so are a great many Tory MPs – they may be in different political parties but they all share the same ideology.

  3. Syzygy says:

    I think he should remove the whip from Yvette Cooper who seems to be unilaterally acting as leader. However, it seems that the whips office have been coordinating the coup and who knows which way the NEC will jump. It is increasingly unlikely that a leadership contest (that they will lose) will held .. in the hope that Corbyn supporters will leave on mass and give them ‘their’ party back.

    We have to persuade disgusted Corbyn supporters not to leave until it’s hopeless than JC can continue.

    1. Bazza says:

      Hear! Hear!
      Stay and fight brothers and sisters!
      We also need discipline – we are all furious but Perhaps “Labour MPs Intimidated by Corbyn Supporters” is the ‘victim’ narrative they are planning for tomorrow.
      Stand firm and use wisdom – we are a left wing alliance of the progressive middle class and working class.
      Use art, fun, music – remember we are dealing with nonentities!
      I have been singing my version of the James song all day: “Those of you who believe in justice sit down next to Jeremy! Oh sit down …”
      Solidarity!

  4. Syzygy says:

    Yvette Cooper steps into Corbyn’s shoes

    Kate McCann reports on Yvette Cooper’s attempts at steering Labour’s influence on Brexit talks.
    In Yvette Cooper’s speech this morning the former shadow home secretary disclosed that she has written to Jeremy Heywood to ask for access talks for opposition parties on the Brexit process.
    This is something that the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would ordinarily do.
    Asked why she had not approached Mr Corbyn to do this himself Ms Cooper said it was because he is not the right person to join the talks.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/28/labour-crisis-vote-jeremy-corbyn-leadership-david-cameron-brexit/

    1. Bazza says:

      Well 44 Labour MPs supported JC today so we know we have socialist friends.

    2. Karl Stewart says:

      The Red Tories are desperate to get rid of Corbyn before Chilcot is published.

      1. James Martin says:

        Yes, this explains a lot of the timing with the coup, all the leading plotters led by Bomber Benn gave enthusiastic support for the Iraq War and they didn’t want Jeremy near the dispatch box next week when the report is released. Incidentally, war criminal no.2 crawled out from under his stone today to add his knife to coup rabble – http://www.itv.com/news/update/2016-06-28/jack-straw-says-mr-corbyns-position-untenable/ – although I also wonder how he thought of his son’s woeful performance as the ‘Executive Director’ of Britain Stronger in Europe!

    3. John P Reid says:

      I note in your other comment, that you disagree with Yvette, but can’t find why you disagree with ayvettes actions on the EU talks,

  5. John says:

    Once the right-wing decide who their candidate is going to be, currently choice between AE (4th behind TW in deputy leader vote 9 months ago) or TW (I’ll hide in Glastonbury while the party I’m Deputy leader of implodes) the NEC must publish time table for the election and it must be a very quick one. There will only be 2 candidates both well known to party members so no need for a beauty pageant around the country. Any delay will only build support for the challenger, especially given the pressure the members will now be under from the media. We cannot still be fighting a leadership election once the Tories have selected their new one. It’s going to happen let’s get on with it, finish it and get back to fighting the Tories.

  6. Syzygy says:

    I doubt that they’ll risk two candidates and split the vote.

  7. David Pavett says:

    Fighting a battle against insuperable odds might demonstrate courage but it better called foolhardiness. No one thanks a military leader who fights on even when the only possible result is either to lose badly or to assure mutual self-destruction. It is not enough to have honour and virtue on one’s side. It is just not intelligent to fight battles without regard to outcomes. Sometimes it is worth fighting a losing battle but one has to be pretty clear about why and how that loss can help prepare for future battles.

    I voted for Jeremy Corbyn and have continued to support him since his election even though I have been critical of things he has done and said. I considered myself to be a semi-detached member of the LP prior to his election but felt after his election that an unexpected historical turn might have taken place which made me feel more at home in the organisation.

    There was a venal group of right-wing Labour MPs who bad-mouthed Corbyn publicly from the outset. I reject the politics of such people who are just puppets of established power and who will never back the difficult process of bringing about fundamental social change.

    But now we have to face the facts. The outright wreckers probably amount to about 25/30 MPs. Between the wreckers and those committed to a clear break with New Labour and One National Labour (maybe another 25/30) there is a large block of MPs spread around the centre. Keeping most of them on board was always key to any strategy to turn the Party round. If there was a strategy to do that (rather than a daily exercise in event management) then it seems clear that it has failed. To have alienated 172 Labour MPs surely means that the game is up. Many of that 172 are decent soft-left MPs whom it was essential to keep on board. This hasn’t happened and I find it impossible to believe that they have been fully involved in the efforts of the Corbyn team to turn the ship around. There are just too many good people saying “I’ve tried but enough is enough”. The Corbyn team have given the plotters the ground on which to make their revolt.

    The history of this will be written at some point. For the moment it is difficult to get precise details but my impression from many different indications is that the Corbyn team have operated as a left-wing version of Blair-type command and control freakery. This has been reflected in the almost total absence of policy development and the lack of direct appeals for help in policy development to the mass of ordinary party members. The latter, despite all the protestations of giving the Party back to its members, have been treated with as much disdain as under previous Labour leaderships. It seems that the Party was only going to be “given back” if the members made it clear that they had first signed up to the precepts of Corbyn’s inner circle of advisors – when they could get around to devising some policies.

    Corbyn became a symbol of the desire to change the Party into a genuinely democratic socialist party. There is a hunger for something different. But let’s face it he has not been able to deliver. With nearly 75% of the Labour MPs declaring their lack of confidence in the leader there really is no way forward. What could be achieved by re-electing him? Would they then say “Okay that’s what the members want so we must no act in concert on the basis of an approach that we are opposed to”. It just can’t work can it? It would be a full scale collision course that would lead to an SDP type breakaway which this time would be much more than 4 MPs.

    On the other hand if a continuity New Labour, or even a continuity One Nation Labour MP becomes leader then a mass exodus from the Party would be virtually certain (and which that leader would probably favour). There could then be an attempt to set up a new party of the left but is there anyone who believes that on the organisation and performance of Momentum to date that there is a viable basis for a mass Party of the left?

    We are are faced by a fork in the road and so far the prospect of either turning looked like a disaster. I would be delighted it someone can argue convincingly that this is not the case.

    I find it hard to write these things and I don’t see clearly as the bad news piles in. I am sure that these things need to be discussed calmly and objectively with no abuse or imputation of bad motives or bad character. What are the chances of that?

    1. peter willsman says:

      David,from memory there were 29 MPs that defected to the SDP.Nothing has changed.When JC was elected(and ever since)we have been told that only the merest handful of MPs support JC.In fact,in a secret ballot,it was more than we were told.We also have always known that a lot of MPs have no respect for our Party members or for Party democracy.That is why CLPD supports mandatory reselection,which you have always opposed.The NEC accepts the democratic decision of our members and thus supports the elected Leader.The Tories are on the ropes and this bunch of disloyal wreckers will never be forgiven.They will be defeated.

      1. Will Douglas-Mann says:

        Any resemblance to the situation which gave rise to the SDP split is superficial and irrelevant.
        It’s true that we face one of the most reactionary ( and incompetent ) Tory governments ever but the objection to the current Labour leadership is their incompetent and ineffective opposition rather than any policy or Ideology.
        Most of the country just want the Labour Party to stop squabbling and stop the Torys.

      2. David Pavett says:

        My mistake on the SDP. Thanks for the correction.

        Unfortunately you don’t deal with any of my points.

        Mandatory selection is a red herring since it is already possible to deselect MPs if that is what members want.

        Do you count all 142 MPs who supported the no confidence motion in your “bunch of disloyal wreckers”? That is 3 in every 4 Labour MPs. Do you want to deselect them all?

      3. John P Reid says:

        Agreed with you on the first paragraph,but the deselections, would it have been ok to deselect Jeremy Diane or Jeremy, during th new labour years?

    2. Karl Stewart says:

      Sorry David, but there really is no response to that other than to describe it as gutless.

      Corbyn has made concession after concession to try to appease the sceptics, but nothing has been enough for them.

      There are no more concessions that he can possibly make.

      We have two choices, stand and fight or surrender.

      You want to surrender. Gutless.

      1. David Pavett says:

        Not the first time you have called me gutless. So no surprises there. As I said, what is the chance of an intelligent debate without abuse.

        1. James Martin says:

          The labour movement is built on solidarity, of not walking away from hard battles, of fighting for justice and being there for each other when called for. Jeremy is in that tradition, he is there for us and in this time of great danger when dark forces are at work who have no loyalty to the labour movement then the question is simple, whose side are you on? That you even need to have an ‘intelligent debate’ about that rather than instinctively knowing speaks volumes.

          1. David Pavett says:

            This concept of solidsrity is one of blind loyalty. It means thst it is disloyal to think for oneself and to judge whether a battle can be won or not. It means that orderly retreat is not possible. It means that open discussion of where we are headed is not possible.

            I could be wrong. I wish I were wrong. But if I am then please show me. Telling me that the labour movement is built on solidarity and ignoring all specifics doesn’t hack it.

    3. C MacMackin says:

      I agree that there have been failures in Corbyn’s Labour. In fairness, not all of them can be laid on him–it’s hard to get members involved from the confines of the leader’s office. The supposed organs of the Left within the party (in their rather vestigial forms) need to take a good deal more blame in my book. I think much of what we’ve seen (with some exceptions) has come down from not knowing how to proceed more than anything. I include the grassroots in that too. The task of building the sort of democratic involvement that you and I want is a massive one. While I certainly would have hoped for more progress by this time, it would never have been completed in 9 months.

      Some of this also reflects the route by which the left took power (or rather, took office) in the Labour party. All of a sudden, as if out of nowhere, we found a left-wing leader. There had been no building up of left-wing forces, or even substantial member involvement, in the party beforehand. In that regard, we are actually in a far weaker position than the Bennites were in the 70s and 80s. The fact that the remaining establishments of the party’s left had become so atrophied and insular, with lack of a clear direction up until last year, of course made everything worse.

      Where I differ with you though, is that I never expected Corbyn (or anyone else) to be able to turn the Labour Party towards socialism without splitting it. From the start I figured it was only a matter of time before he was forced out or the party was split (or he was forced to accept a toothless centrist platform). The one good thing about a potential split this time, as compared to the SDP, is that it looks like ONLY the party’s left would remain. I don’t say this out of a purism, but simply out of the reflection that if we are going to lose elections, it might as well be around a Labour rump which has the potential to become some sort of effective socialist party. I agree that the lack of member engagement and top-down tendencies of the current left institutions would make this incredibly difficult, but arguably no more difficult than building such a party from the ground up.

      1. John Penney says:

        Good post, C. MacMackin. The people around Corbyn seem to be not the best organisers – have utterly failed to build Momentum into the democratic mass movement it needed to be – but there was never any chance of the bulk of PLP members , “soft Left” or otherwise, being won to support a genuine , even mildly ,socialist policy agenda. None at all.

        The Right led coup is now underway – you either capitulate and effectively support it , David – or join us and continue the fight for socialist politics – even if this splits the Party. A renewed neoliberal Labour Party for career politicians isn’t worth saving.

      2. David Pavett says:

        @C MacMackin. I agree with most of what you say and I think that you are very clear and have gone straight to the point: supporting a Corbyn candidacy in a new election will split the Party.

        I think your position makes sense and is open and honest. I just don’t think that it has many takers or that, even if it did, a new left party emerging frim such a split would be viable. But it’s a clear view and I will be interested to see how much support it gets.

        My loyalty is not too the LP as an organisation but to the idea that capitalism is now highly destructive making a pressing necessity to replace it with a socialist society. I am therefore not at all shocked by your view that it is necessary to split the Party. My difference with you is that I can’t see that the left, or any section if it, is currently anywhere near being able to make a success of a new party. We are in a very primitive state regarding the analysis of the society we oppose and our cupboard cupboard of policies on how to move from where we are to where we want to get to is virtually empty. The discussion threads on Left Futures bear thus point out again and again.

        I do not believe that the elements required to give a left party emerging from a split are anywhere near being in place. This is not our Bolshevik/Menshevik moment (and let’s remember too what the Bolsheviks quickly became). Do you think the left is in a fit state to be able to carry off what you suggest?

        1. C MacMackin says:

          You may well be right, but surely we need to try?

    4. John Penney says:

      So you seem to be suggesting the response to the aggressive “we’ll destroy the Party unless you retreat” blackmail that the Labour right have repeatedly flung at the Left when ever it has occasionally gained an advantage (eg, late 50’s over nuclear disarmament, 1980’s around Bennism), should be once again – total capitulation.

      This might involve a Leftish stooge for the Right like supposed “slight Leftish” MP Angela Eagle becoming leader . But the Labour Party would actually return to its utterly neoliberal policy bundle in reality. A Policy offer which would lead to Labour being wiped out across the North and Midlands, just as in Scotland. There is no compromise possible with this coup this time , David. You are simply deluding yourself about the “basic OK politics” of any of those MP’s who have stabbed not only Jeremy, but all of the Membership in the back.

      The very broad church Labour Party as was is now entering its final phase – history and changing class structures in the UK have moved on. Labour will either be fully recaptured by the neoliberal Right (behind the transparent veil perhaps of an opportunist careerist like Angela Eagle) -and then be slaughtered in the next General Election, or it will be captured by the Corbynite Left once again – and will split. The old , tired, many decades long forward, back, dance of the Labour Left is over – it’s total wipeout , or forward to a new type of Labour Party .

      Those who yet again retreat from confronting the rampant Right (and their fairweather soft Left dupes) in the name of “party Unity” will not only be helping to stab Jeremy, and socialism, in the back, but actually standing aside whilst the Right drive labour off the electoral cliff into Pasok like oblivion with a toxic unprincipled pro austerity, collaborate with the Tories over Brexit, policy offer.

      1. David Pavett says:

        Your position, like that of C MacMackin, makes perfect sense to me. You think that the “broad church” Labour Party is past its sell by date and that it is time for a genuine socialist party to emerge. This is a clear proposition. The question is whether it is based on a realistic estimate of the forces that would be required to make a success of such a new left party. In my view the state if the left in terms of organisational and policy preparedness is so abysmally low (as the last nine months of Labour in-fighting have surely demonstrated) that we are not even close to having a basis for that.

        When threatened with destruction it is better to ask “do we have the forces to see this through or should we withdraw and regroup?” rather than “are we going to give into blackmail?”.

        I have no brief for Angela Eagle. To me she is a political nonentity without two discernible ideas of her own to rub together. It is a good indication of the current state of the left that the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy backed her for Deputy Leader and Peter Wilsman argued that she was the right person for the job. Neither he nor anyone else was able to questions about her politically vacuous stance. What does that tell us about the state of the left?

        You misundertand me on the ‘centre ground’ MPs. I did not say that that they had a “basic OK politics”. I said that keeping most of them on board was essential for Corbyn’s success and that is not at all the same thing. I believe that most of them have a very shallow understanding of politics but genuinely concerned for the well-being of ordinary people especially the most disadvantaged. They generally have no theoretical understanding of capitalism so that neo-liberal ideas easily fill the gaps in their minds left by the lack of socialist theory. I believe nevertheless that most of them would support a turn to the left if they were presented with clear ideas on the way forward and if they were engaged in the development of those ideas and how to implement them. It seems that the Corbyn team has failed comprehensibly to engage them in this way and has alienated 75% of them.

        You seem to be saying that all 75% are venal backstabbers. Do you really believe that?

        The old , tired, many decades long forward, back, dance of the Labour Left is over – it’s total wipeout , or forward to a new type of Labour Party .

        You are confident that now is the moment but you don’t say why. You add that anyone who questions this will be helping to stab socialism in the back, which is not a helpful way way to discuss. Your PASOK analogy is worth pursuing. Do you think that Syriza proved to be the sort of alternative you are proposing?

        I hold no brief for the LP as it is. The “broad church” idea is just a way of ever confronting differences or even giving them serious thought. I agree that either Labour needs to change into a party committed to socialism or a new party will need to be created. My difference with you is that I cannot see that the conditions required for either of those possibilities to be realised actually exists at the moment.

        The choice before us is likely to be horrendous. The front runners in the anti-Corbyn camp are Blue-Labour Tom Watson or the vacuous Angela Eagle. I would prefer a genuine unity cadidate to emerge. That would be someone committed to a left programme, anti-austerity and who explicitly rejects neo-liberal thinking. At the same time it would need to be someone who knows how to work in an inclusive way and could keep the majority of MPs on board. Is that possible? I don’t know. Would a Corbyn/Watson confrontation lead to anything other that mutual destruction? I don’t think so. If there is such a clash the Party splits would Corbyn and those around him be able to organise and lead a viable party of the left? The experience of the last nine months doesn’t suggest that.

        1. Karl Stewart says:

          Anything other than a Corbyn victory will mean the left has been smashed by the Red Tory traitors.

          Either we smash them or they smash us. There is no ‘common ground’ here. There are no concessions that could possibly be made that would appease the Red Tories, they’re absolutely determined to seize back control of the Labour Party.

          Monday night’s Westminster rally was positive, angry and inspiring, and it was a tribute to the organising skills and energy of Momentum that such a sizeable protest was built in such a short space of time.

          But we must not take it for granted that we’ll win the leadership election – we can win, but it’ll be a much harder fight than last year.

          Let’s remember that last year, the Red Tories were taken by surprise and they’ve had almost a whole year to get organised for this.

          They most certainly will, for example, prioritise trying to win over younger student voters – the people who protested in favour of the EU yesterday for example.

          They’re ruthless and totally unscrupulous, and they’re put for revenge for last year.

          We can win, but it’ll be a hard fight.

    5. John Walsh says:

      Well said David – yes, phase 1 is over. Corbyn has failed to keep the middle ground on his side, despite the fact that recent by-election results have been good. But, it’s the very likely snap GE which has proved to be the tipping point for too many.

      As you suggest, I suspect that many soft left MPs will have had the same experience as new members – they offer help, but despite all the right noises it’s not wanted. They can see the leader’s office shambles (closer in than us) and could help but they’re not allowed in.

      Understanding where the ‘new kind of politics’ went wrong is surely crucial to finding a way forward. Unfortunately, there seems to be many good people on here, locally to me and nationally such as Jon Lansman who do not appear to understand the ‘grassroots movement’ that was sold to new members, which attracted so many but which hasn’t happened.

      There’s a certain irony in all the good activists blaming the Bitterites for Corbyn’s demise and the notion that Corbyn’s own ‘Blair-type command and control freakery’ has contributed to his downfall. However, this is where our understanding perhaps needs some work. In short, the managerialist takeover of the Party described by Minkin in ‘The Blair Supremacy’ seems different from the inability of Corbyn and others to be inclusive of the new membership. My initial hunch is that Corbyn’s model of membership and activism simply doesn’t scale up from Islington to a national movement.

      This is, for me, crucial to understand if the post-split Corbyn-inspired membership are to be part of the new whatever it is, rather than being dismissed as mere foot soldiers.

  8. historyintime says:

    Lets not repeat the mistake of 1980 when Michael Foot beat Denis Healey because some right wing MPs supported Foot to ‘keep the party together’.

    Better to stick with Corbyn or have a solid right winger in there. Angela Eagle is the Foot repeat.

    1. John P Reid says:

      Surely Jeremy did the foot candidate, John mcdonnel is the Tony Benn one. But what SDP types would leave if Angela won

      1. Historyintime says:

        Angela would be a weak leader with limited appeal to the working class. I’d expect that a Syrizia/Podemos party breakaway would be the eventual result if she wins.

        1. John P Reid says:

          You think the working class who in the North of England ,Essex just voted Brexit, care about Syria

  9. Peter Rowlands says:

    This has been a fairly sensible debate , where I broadly side with David Pavett, although I think that neither he nor anybody else has properly understood the situation because of completely overlooking – no-one has mentioned it – the electoral system. It is not possible for there to be a proper socialist party in the UK until we have PR. In Germany there is a substantial socialist party, Die Linke, which exists alongside the moribund SDP. In the UK it is not possible for a fairly sensible party like Left Unity to grow alongside Labour. What this means is that Labour cannot be more than a social democratic party, although that does not mean that it cannot pursue and promote left Keynesian policies which John McDonnell has been developing.
    If Corbyn wins in a leadership contest the party will split. Most MPs and perhaps a third of the membership will form a new SDP type party. Both will stand candidates in the GE which could be later this year. With UKIP strong in many traditional Labour seats both the old and the new Labour parties could be wiped out. This is not scaremongering. I believe it to be a serious possibility. If we have any regard for how the left advances its cause it must be avoided.

    1. David Pavett says:

      I agree with Peter’s point about the electoral system. I see it as additional to what I wrote and not as a criticism of any of my points.

      As Peter says a split now would be UKIP’s big chance. We could have a Parliament entirely dominated by the Tories and UKIP with a rump of ‘Labour’ MPs of various hues. A split down the middle or nearly so could even result in electoral annihilation for Labour. These are stark possibilities and have to be weighed in the balance to determine the best course of action in the leadership election. I think that risking such a result would have to be based on a high level of confidence in the viability and rapid growth of a left party resulting from a split.

      The best outcome would be that a unity candidate is found who represents a solid commitment to left policies and that Corbyn doesn’t stand. It is the ideas and policies that matter and not the individual politicians. We supported Corbyn to further left policies, not because we are Corbyn groupies.

    2. John Penney says:

      There is a , I think very deeply ingrained, deeply debilitating, Left Labour attitude evident in both of your perfectly reasonable position statements, Peter and David. That attitude is that “there will always be another day” for the Labour Left – so when Party Unity is threatened by the “political suicide vest wearing” Labour Right, better retreat today in hopes of a better tomorrow .

      This attitude has certainly dominated the Labour Left its entire political life – from capitulation to capitulation – as around it the Labour Party itself has meanwhile hollowed out into a neoliberal shell party – careerist politicians for the use of.

      There will be no “coming back” this time for the Labour Left , if the Labour Right ( with all the soft left collaborating in the mistaken belief this will win the next election) blatantly win in a coup to remove Jeremy. It’s entire strategy of endless compromise will have no credibility ever again. The idea that the Labour Left can somehow, retreat, retrench, and wait for better days , is pure fantasy – not least because it is also a fantasy by the Labour Right (and now a number of supposed Lefties like Owen Jones) that Labour under some nonentity new Leader, with a return to the Guardian approved “sensible” pro austerity, Pro Trident, neoliberal policies, which lost Labour the 2015 Election, can win New Labour Mk 2 the looming snap election. No it won’t comrades. Labour will be totally deserted by its working class base in the North and Midlands , just as Scottish Labour was destroyed in 2015. Only the (mildly) radical Left Keynsian politics espoused by Jeremy ever had a chance of winning back working class voters , particularly the millions who voted for Brexit.

      That is why I referred to the potential forthcoming “Pasok Moment” in the way Pasok’s voter base simply collapsed. Of course there is no Syriza in the UK – and yes indeed, the Syriza Leadership ion turn collapsed politically too in the face of the Troika’s economic terrorism .

      Unfortunately it is UKIP that is now well positioned in key Labour Party heartlands to benefit from Labour’s looming “Pasok Moment” – reenergised on a huge wave of “we were betrayed” anger by the mass of former Labour working class voters who voted Brexit, and now clearly see the Tory Brexiters backpeddling even on issuing Article 50, and the Labour Right apparently positioning itself to back up the Tories in comprehensively sabotaging the outcome of the Leave vote decision.

      Labour almost certainly will split as a consequence of , not only this coup specifically, but the surrounding much deeper historical context of a PLP now so firmly neoliberal in ideology (and that includes most of the supposed “soft” PLP Left actually) and personally corrupted by so many dodgy relationships with Big Business, that there cannot be a common home for genuine socialists and this dominant bunch within the same party.

      The Trades Union movement will be key here – if key trades unions continue to back Jeremy , the split can create a new Left Party (hopefully with the Labour Party “brand” – but if they capitulate (highly likely) the future for a new , non-Labour left Party will be long and hard indeed . Left Unity never broke out of the tiny incestuous bubble of the Far left.

      One thing is certain the status quo of a neoliberal Labour Party with a still retained “inertial, traditional voting” mass working class voting base is over, or soon will be. Political structures in the UK are in the melting pot in a way not seen since the early years of the 20th century.

  10. Karl Stewart says:

    There’s an old song that goes: “…cowards flinch and traitors sneer, we’ll keep the red flag flying here…”

    While cowards David Pavett and Peter Rowlands flinch and Red Tory traitors sneer, others are fighting to keep the red flag flying.

    For example, I’ve been told this morning that Hastings & Rye CLP adopted the below resolution last night:

    “That this CLP:

    is dismayed and angered by the antics of a section of the Parliamentary Labour Party who have sought to undermine our democratically-elected leader Jeremy Corbyn.

    “Notes Labour MPs would not have been elected without the efforts of ordinary members, trade unionists, trudging through the streets in the rain to deliver leaflets, putting the Party’s case across on the doorstep, organising in communities, and paying their regular subscriptions and making other donations.

    “Believes that this is a critical moment which will determine the future of our communities for years to come, and that voters in Hastings & Rye and across the country need Labour to be united and fighting to defeat any attacks on workers’ rights, environmental protections, and any increased racism and xenophobia.

    “And therefore resolves to support Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party, and to condemn the actions of those who are seeking to divide the party and overturn the leaders’ democratic mandate.

    “We urge the NEC to stand solid with the Party’s elected leader and take disciplinary action against those who have brought the party into disrepute by repeatedly undermining him and subjecting the party to an unprecedented crisis at the worst possible time, entirely in pursuit of their own agenda.

    “We would also like to express our thanks to the MPs of the new shadow cabinet and those who voted in support of Jeremy in the no confidence vote.”

    Well done Hastings!

    1. David Pavett says:

      “Cowards”, “Traitors”. I am afraid that this sort of stuff shows only how unready the left currently is to lead a viable mass party. I would not want to be in a Party in which disagreement is dealt with in that way.

      I could of course be entirely wrong in my views but then that would require a comradely answer explaining what I have got wrong. Abuse somehow just doesn’t do it.

      1. Karl Stewart says:

        It’s not my intention to be gratuitously abusive David.

        But the sad fact is that your position and that of Peter Rowlands is based, essentially, on a fundamental lack of courage and a general political softness.

        We can debate politely all day long – I’d far rather debate politely and avoid offending anyone.

        But ultimately, some courage is needed here. Some backbone, some determination and some political determination – qualities completely lacking in both yourself and PeterR.

        There is no ‘compromise’ candidate on offer here. There is no ‘concession’ that can possibly be offered to the Red Tories. Y

      2. James Martin says:

        David, the reason you are so horribly wrong is that you want a situation and a battle ground that doesn’t exist. Should Momentum have been better at being bottom up and inclusive around the country? Yes, of course. Should Jeremy’s office have been far more competent on some issues and better at communicating? Yes, undoubtedly.

        But here’s the thing. Jeremy, his office and Momentum could have been fantastic and this would still be happening. This coup has been planned since the day Corbyn was elected and has only been delayed due to the electoral success of Corbyn (ironic, eh?), and it is also a coup with clear outside support and direction from the Atlantacist groups like the Henry Jackson Society (all the leading plotters are members), from the media and includes groups with outside hostile links like Labour Friends of Israel (again all the leading plotters are members). So this is a coup that we didn’t create and we didn’t want, but it is here and happening before our eyes (it is a very British coup too, using corridors and snapchat rather than bombs on the presidential palace, but it is an anti-socialist coup nevertheless). And in nearly 40 years of active trade unionism I have never, ever had a situation where I have been involved in a strike or struggle where our side has chosen the battleground or the time. We fight because we have to, when we have to and with the forces available to us when the alternative to fighting is defeat. It was the reason why for all Scargill’s many faults our support for the miners who were being beaten and starved by the state in 1984/5 had to be full, active, uncrtical and unswerving, and it is why our support for Jeremy must be the same now – we can pick things apart afterwards, but this is one of those times in history like the miners in 84/85 where regardless of how left you are, how critical you are, or how bloody intellectual you are, you must choose sides and you must fight. To do otherwise *is* a cowardly betrayal, and while you may find those words uncomfortable they are no less true.

        1. Karl Stewart says:

          Well said James – and articulated far better than I did.

          But spot on.

          The fight is on – we’ve got to fight.

        2. David Pavett says:

          James, your argument doesn’t, nin my view, hold up. Had “Jeremy, his office and Momentum …been fantastic” then he would not have 80% of MPs calling for his resignation – whatever the plotters may have wished.

          Your call for uncritical and unswerving support is one that should never be made by a socialist. We should say “we want the benifit of your mind as well as your heartfelt support”. To you that is being “bloody intellectual” to me it is practicing the thoughtful participation without which socialist society is inconceivable. Besides, the history of the 20th century does not add to the attraction of such demands for uncritical support.

          Your reference to the miners’ only strengthens my point. The strike was badly led, blind loyalty was demanded, no criticisms were heeded and it handed an enormous victory over the labour movement to Mrs Thatcher. There is nothing admirable about that.

          P.S. Commenting that your own points are true doesn’t make them more likely to be so.

        3. John Penney says:

          Yes, well said indeed , James. Spot on -we can be critical of Jeremy’s team’s tactics and detail actions, but the coup was always going to happen anyway – so the struggle is joined ,and this is no time to waver and compromise.

    2. Sussexlabourleft says:

      Support for Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party in Hastings on the south coast of England was matched on a smaller scale last night in a branch covering two wards in the Hove constituency. (Hove is represented in parliament by Peter Kyle MP for Labour – a critic of Corbyn).

      Wish & Westbourne branch, after a thorough debate, passed an emergency confidence motion in Corbyn that read that this Wish and Westbourne Labour Party branch:
      is dismayed and angered by the antics of a section of the Parliamentary Labour Party who have sought to undermine our democratically-elected leader Jeremy Corbyn.

      Notes Labour MPs would not have been elected without the efforts of ordinary members, trudging through the streets in the rain to deliver leaflets, putting the Party’s case across on the doorstep, organising in communities, and paying their regular subscriptions.

      Believes that this is a critical moment which will determine the future of our communities for years to come, and that voters in Hove and Portslade and across the country need Labour to be united and fighting to defeat any attacks on workers’ rights, environmental protections, and any increased racism and xenophobia.

      And therefore resolves to support Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party, and to condemn the actions of those who are seeking to divide the party and overturn the leaders’ democratic mandate.

      This resolution will be heading upwards to the three-constituencies strong Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party A.G.M. on the 9th July for consideration if a large enough majority (2/3) approves it. This means that every Labour supporter in the city who wants to support a future for a functioning social-democratic party, representing the trade union movement in parliament with its allies, needs to attend this AGM meeting where they will have a vote and use it to defend Corbyn.
      The alternative is that the Labour Party is won by neo-liberal politics and ceases to advance working class interests.
      The trend of electoral decline shown in Scotland in 2015, where the LP lost its working class support and was almost completely defeated, and a trend towards UKIP or a similar populist party which may accelerate in northern England and Wales, can be stopped and turned around if the Labour Party can offer a political and economic alternative. In order to do this, with trade union support, the Labour Party and the leadership needs to defend itself from the hostile attacks of its neo-liberal anti-Labour PLP parliamentarians now and confront them politically while fighting the Tories at the same time. Labour has experienced and survived splits from its right in 1981 with the S.D.P. and before in 1931 after the Labour right wing joined the National Government. These main splits were always to the right of Labour against Labour; the same is true today with much of the neo-liberal Parliamentary Labour Party. To defend Labour, keep Corbyn.

  11. Karl Stewart says:

    …they want to destroy the left.

    Our choices are to stand and fight – a fight that we have a good chance of winning, although it will be a hard fight, much harder than last year’s was – or to surrender.

    There isn’t a ‘compromise’ option.

  12. John P Reid says:

    Jeremy didn’t win due to opposing Iraq,as Ed miliband opposed it,and we know how well he did at the election
    And there’s hardly anyone in the country who will now start supporting us, if they think we’re now ant I the war

  13. Peter Rowlands says:

    I support everything David has said, against what I regard as largely nonsense from John, Karl and James. I must say I have never before been singled out as one of the ‘flinching cowards’ that the Red Flag refers to, and no doubt I’m also one of those who, in the parody version, state:
    ‘And just to show that we’re sincere, we’ll sing the Red Flag once a year.’!
    All the talk of courage, determination and capitulation is ludicrous. It’s as though you were all Henry the fifth on the eve of Agincourt.We are not threatened with the Gulag or worse if we do not go down the road you advocate.
    The question is simply one of weighing up the likely consequences of particular actions. I believe that MPs should not have acted this way, as the clear priority should have been determining a manifesto with which to fight what is likely to be an election later this year. But we must avoid a situation in which the party splits and both its wings are wiped out at that election. That can only diminish the political strength of the left in ways far worse than maintaining a fractious unity. Dismissing this is not courageous, it is reckless.

    1. Karl Stewart says:

      As I made the same point to DavidP, the issue is yours and his fundamental lack of backbone.

      It’s not my intention to be offensive just for its own sake, but I can’t find another way to describe yours and DavidP’s position other than one of an absence of courage.

      I agree it’s a scary situation, and if there was another way, I’d advocate it.

      But there isn’t another way – we stand and fight, and have a chance of winning. Or we meekly surrender to the demands of the Red Tories and Blue Tories as you and DavidP suggest.

      It’s a fight or a surrender – you and DavidP are choosing surrender.

      1. John Penney says:

        Sorry Peter and David, but on this Karl is quite right. The final cathartic battle for the future of the Labour Party is now joined, and socialists either bottle it and unwillingly collude with the Right (on the age old , but now utterly pointless, excuse of “Party Unity at all costs”) , or help fight to defeat the Right putchists and their “soft Left” collaborators (because collaborators are simply what they are).

        The Labour Party IS now definitely going to split, of that there surely can be no doubt – we on the Left have to make sure it is us who walk away with the Labour “brand”, the cash, the Party properties, the trades union links, and the metaphorical “roneo duplicator” of old !

        PS: apparently 13,000 people joined the Party just this week – and 60% specifically stated this was in order “to support Jeremy Corbyn”. Looks like the Compliance Commission witchhunters are going to have some busy times !

        1. C MacMackin says:

          This is something of an afterthought to my longer comment below. (I suspect you won’t like how I concluded that comment, but anyhow.) I’m not convinced that a split is inevitable. It’s inevitable if the left continues to hold the leadership, certainly. However, if they are forced out, I don’t actually think Corbyn or McDonnell would walk away from Labour. What we probably would see would be the hemorrhaging of members and massive demoralisation of the base. Events may prove me wrong, of course.

        2. Historyintime says:

          Yep there is a very good chance of a split. Who walks away winners will, as with the SDP split, depend on where the traditional working class ‘right’ goes.

  14. C MacMackin says:

    Some rough thoughts from having skimmed through this debate. Hopefully I’ve been able to string them together into something more or less coherent. First of all, please don’t call David Pavett and Peter Rowlands “traitors”. Such incivility will not make this trying time any easier.

    The point around loyalty versus criticism is an important one. I probably fall closer to David Pavett on this one, but perhaps with a few more qualifications. I express absolute solidarity with Corbyn and (more importantly) the socialist movement, even in its rather feeble current form. However, to paraphrase the Left-thinker who has had probably the greatest influence on me, Leo Panitch, the worst sort of solidarity we can show is to uncritically say that everything is fine. I don’t harbour ill feelings towards Jeremy for the mistakes that have been made, as this was a difficult situation, but it is still very important for us to admit that mistakes were made and to discuss how things should have gone or could still go differently. I refuse to be a part of any movement which demands unquestioning loyalty and I would have hope so would everyone else here.

    So what of the situation we’re in? Whatever Jeremy and co’s flaws, I think it was monumentally stupid and self-destructive for the PLP to choose now to hold a coup. For that reason, I am not particularly inclined to be sympathetic towards the 170. What on Earth did they think they could accomplish? By siding with the hard-line Blairites, it looks like the centre and soft Left have effectively risked turning what may have been a small split of ~20 MPs into the destruction of the whole party.

    David Pavett has mentioned that the best-case scenario would be a unity candidate who essentially holds the same positions as Jeremy but could pull the rest of the party behind them. Objectively, he is correct. However, could any such candidate exist? Given the behaviour of the PLP, I don’t think any candidate holding such positions would be able to prevent a split. At most, they might be able to minimise its size, but if we’re looking at this in terms of winning elections even a small split could be dangerous. Another issue is whether any such candidate could get the nominations. I suppose it may be possible, but it is hardly a given. I also don’t know who such a candidate could be. John McDonnell would be the obvious choice but is probably too closely associated with Jeremy to have any hope of achieving unity. Dianne Abbot faces similar issues and can be problematic in any case. I suppose there might be one of the more junior Left MPs who were only recently elected, but do they have the experience?

    The more likely sort of unity candidate we’d get would be some sort of (Ed) Milliband-type figure. In that case, I’m afraid the Labour party wouldn’t so much be a dented shield as a colander. This candidate would probably put forward the same confused sort of platform as Ed, trying to straddle left and right but not convincing anyone. It may prevent a split, but it would probably not keep the Blairites in line and would probably not win an election. Furthermore, I’m not convinced that the left would have any success rebuilding under such conditions. We’d have a new set “Longest Suicide Note in History” horror stories going around warning why left policies should never be adopted and the party’s left should never EVER be let anywhere near power.

    So, what is to be done? I don’t know. My heart says to stick with Jeremy (or a candidate like him) even if it forces a split, as this was always going to happen one way or another. I really don’t think I could bring myselft to vote against a left candidate. However, I’m not sure if I’m willing to bear the responsibility for it if things go badly wrong and both factions end up destroyed. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a Canadian and am only over here to do a PhD. There is every chance that I’ll end up settling down back in Canada, regardless of how things go in the UK in the next few years. Given that, I’m going to sit out any leadership election. This is going to be a turning point for the British left. It is difficult decision to make and I’m going to leave it to those who will have to fully live with the consequences. I’ve suffered enough inner turmoil over the referendum and I can’t face it over this decision as well. Whatever the outcome, I’ll do my best to support the development of a viable socialist movement in the UK. Good luck, and I hope everyone comes to a decision that they can live with.

    1. C MacMackin says:

      Also, you don’t have to agree with my decision here, but please, please, please respect it. This is the first time since the referendum I’ve found some inner peace and I’d like to hold onto that.

      1. Karl Stewart says:

        Hi CMac, DavidP and PeterR are not “traitors” no-one’s called them that. But they’re recent contributions have shown an absence of courage and there’s frankly no ‘nice’ way to say that.

        Corbyn is our leader and it’s vital to rally round him.

        With a strong programme for a Labour-Exit, we can win this leadership election (if a challenger does actually emerge) and then go on to win an election.

    2. John Penney says:

      It is very instructive C. Mackmackin, that you cite the Left professor and writer ,Leo Panitch, as a key influence. I well remember watching him on “The Real News” during the crucial Greek/ Syriza battle with the Troika, debating the correct route to go. After many previous broadcasts in which Panitch took a strong L:eft line – when the crunch came, Panitch sided with Tsipras’s utter capitulation to the will of the Troika, and betrayal of the Left and working class in Syriza !

      And so, you, Peter, and David, when the decades in the making , crunch came in the Labour Party , have likewise capitulated , to the inevitable Right Labour perennial blackmail of “we’ll blow up the party if the Left doesn’t utterly capitulate” .

      Tragic stuff. Canadian you may be, but international socialism knows no petty national boundaries, C. MacMackin. A victory for the Left within Labour, and the creation of a serious mass radical Left Party in the UK, will be a victory for the entire global working class. A capitulation by the Left now will condemn the entire Left to total defeat for a generation – whilst the neoliberal Tory AND New Labour Right and an increasingly emboldened radical Far Right (feeding on the inevitable betrayal of the falsely raised populist rhetoric hopes of Brexit) battle it out for supremacy in UK politics.

      Sorry C. MacMackin your “inner peace” is of no concern to us serious radical socialists now girding up for the now open class warfare of multi generational significance to UK politics. Recover your backbone, comrade !

      1. C MacMackin says:

        Well, I didn’t say that I agreed with Panitch on everything. I doubt there is a single person in this world who I’d agree with on everything. I frankly do not understand his position on Syriza now–it seems damn near incoherent. However, he remains correct in saying that solidarity should mean asking the tough questions. Corbyn does not deserve to be forced out, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be very sober about his failings.

        You are of course right that socialism knows no borders. That said, I lack your confidence. I am a scientist and any good scientist has self-doubt. I worry that my views are affected by the knowledge that I will be sheltered from the worst of the fallout if things go badly wrong and we get a Tory-UKIP coalition. You have no idea of the anxiety and panic attacks I have been suffering for the last week. Yesterday morning I couldn’t even bring myself to get up out of bed, it was so bad. If you did understand, I don’t think you’d so easily be able to dismiss “peace of mind”. I did not bring that up as a political point but as a point regarding my own mental health. These feelings of guilt and anxiety may not be rational, but when you are in the grips of something like this, rationality is of no help. It may well make me selfish to take the route of abstention and I can see why you are arguing against it, but I’ll be a hell of a lot more capable of helping the left if I’m not in the grips of anxiety/depression. Perhaps in a few weeks when my head is a bit clearer and we have a better sense of the situation I’ll be willing to take the militant route, but for now I need to step back.

        If the UK had proportional representation then I wouldn’t hesitate to precipitate a split (just as I fully supported the split of Popular Unity from Syriza). If Labour were the third party (as in Canada) I similarly wouldn’t hesitate. Of course I am furious that the Right does this sort of blackmail. As I said, my instinct is to call them on it and let a split happen. You are right that a defeat for the Left now will set us back for a generation–something I alluded to in my post. You are also right that a victory for the Left will have implications worldwide. Are you really so confident that the Left can win even if we do split, though? I don’t even mean win the next election. I would be more than satisfied if we get a rump-Labour Party which could be built into a winning socialist vehicle over 10-20 years. However, we should admit that there is a risk we get nothing but two annihilated Labour factions. We should also admit that how much worse that would actually be than the alternative is unclear.

        You may well be right on the course of action to take. I hope you are, as it would be a lot more encouraging than David Pavett being right. But, for the moment at least, I need to step back from this. Would the support of someone going through what I’ve described be worth much anyway?

        1. Karl Stewart says:

          CMack, we stand firm and fight for our leader, at the same time, we start to argue and develop a Labour-Exit programme, based on defending foreign people who’ve come to live here, defending workers’ rights, jobs, pay, rebuilding our unions, rebuilding industry, defending public services etc.

          We call for new candidates to replace the Red Tory traitors.

          We fight for and win back the support of working-class voters, we call for and win the next election, committed to a working-class economic, industrial and political programme.

        2. C MacMackin says:

          Where I will admit perhaps doing something wrong though is that I should probably have waited a few days, until I’m in a better state of mind, before posting on here.

          @Karl Stewart
          What you say is all well and good as goals, but it doesn’t actually address any of the content of this post.

  15. John P Reid says:

    Didn’t CLPD and left futures back Angela for deputy?

    1. John Penney says:

      I even voted for the treacherous woman – on the basis she was “the least bad “- but then the entire field of candidates was a grisly series of very unsatisfactory candidates indeed. As it was we got the ,already at the outset nominated by the billionaire press, “future assassin of Jeremy Corbyn” , Tom Watson.

      Eagle is a totally unimpressive , faux Leftish, stooge of the Blairite Right – but meeting all the current putchist’s tick box needs , ie a woman, vaguely Leftish image, pro Trident, weak and malleable , not an open Blairite, NOT Jeremy. Unfortunately for the plotters and their Big Business backers, she has less backbone and political nous and speaking charisma than my electric toaster. She is to be dispensed with as soon as possible if she replaces Jeremy (which she has NO chance of doing).

      An Eagle-led Labour Party stuck with utterly unsellable Blairite-lite policies would be reduced to about 50 MP’s in a snap General Election. the tragedy is that the Right have now so blown the Party up, that the Party is probably going to do disastrously whatever transpires from the Leadership election.

      Lord Sainsbury must be so proud ! Money well spend.

  16. Peter Rowlands says:

    Still in Henry V mode John, but I deplore your pompous remarks directed at CMack who has obviously become very upset by this issue and I respect his wish to abstain.He has made many perceptive comments on LF and I hope he continues to do so.
    As to my own position , it may have been misunderstood. I am not in favour of accepting an Eagle leadership.( My position last year was that the left should not support any of the candidates for Deputy) I am outraged at the actions of 4/5 of Labour MPs who have without any consultation and with no good reason chosen to challenge the Corbyn leadership. Any adverse consequences flowing from that for our movement, and these are highly likely, will be their responsibility. However, I think that anyone who seriously has the interests of advancing the socialist cause would want to avoid a split in the party, although that cannot be at the price of capitulation. If not, there is little chance of avoiding a split. The only possibility would be for a negotiated candidacy for John McDonnell ( there is no other credible candidate) with guaranteed nominations and a simultaneous withdrawal by Jeremy. This would preserve left leadership and might avoid a split. It is highly unlikely. A Corbyn victory would make a split inevitable. In the event of Corbyn losing there would also be a split to the left. As I explained in a previous comment this could have, because of our electoral system, catastrophic electoral consequences.
    As I have said, the responsibility will lie with the majority of Labour MPs whose actions have needlessly precipitated this crisis. History will not easily absolve them.

    1. Karl Stewart says:

      Hard to believe your naiivete.

      There is no ‘compromise’ on offer here.

      If Corbyn had resigned, the Red Tories would have immediately chosen a ‘caretaker leader’, chosen a new front bench team and removed the Labour whip from Corbyn.

      Neither Corbyn nor McDonnell or indeed anyone else from the left would have been able to stand, as the Red Tories would have blocked their nomination.

      The ONLY way is for Corbyn to stay in post. It’s the ONLY way. It’s the ONLY way he can stand against a potential challenger.

      What do you think this is? A game of cricket on the village green?

      We’re up against totally ruthless enemies.

      1. Peter Rowlands says:

        Karl, you have not understood what I’ve said.

        1. Karl Stewart says:

          I don’t see any way there can be a McDonnell candidacy Peter.

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of McDonnell, but there’s just no way the sequence of events you outline can happen.

          Either Corbyn continues to stand firm, or the Red Tories win.

      2. John Penney says:

        Spot on , Karl.

        1. peter willsman says:

          Jerry will stand firm,and all comrades need to have some backbone.I put it down to his lack of experience in our Party,but Dave Pav. is talking utter nonsense to suggest that the Trigger Ballot is anything like mandatory reselection.The Trigger Ballot was designed to protect MPs from mand.reselection and it has done just that.Dave needs to come out of his ivory tower and get real.

  17. David Pavett says:

    The events surrounding the Labour leadership have taken on a clear logic of their own and the die is now clearly cast. The CLPD was telling us less than a year ago that Angela Eagle should be supported for Deputy leader (apparently for no better reason than that Peter Wilsman had known her for 30 years and considered her to be a good sort) is now going to stand against Jeremy Corbyn. Room for reflection there perhaps but I won’t hold my breath waiting for it.

    Eagle is, and was when the CLPD was supporting her, a total political nonentity. She rarely commits to expressing opinions and even more rarely to doing so in writing. When she does it generally amounts to no more than a string of platitudes. She had two such articles on Left Futures last year when she was looking for votes. I don’t remember her contributions at any other time.

    If this is what the anti-Corbyn coalition of the PLP thinks is an appropriate leader of the Party then, even while recognising the broad spectrum of stances among them, it has to be said that they have ended up supporting a candidate who is so ludicrous that it reveals that at best their reasoning is based on the shallowest of political considerations.

    We have a choice between a political non-entity leading the party straight back into the arms of the control freaks of the right who will feel that their manipulation of the party members and the party machine once again has the official seal of approval. The choice is between that on the one hand and on the other a candidate who, despite clear limitations, is genuinely committed to moving the party to the left and who wants the members to be to play their full part in determining party policy. Whoever wins Labour is likely to suffer from serious internal divisions and even possible splits. And this is at a time when there is likely to be an intensification of neo-liberal government policies which will hit the most vulnerable the hardest.

    In such a critical situation it would have been helpful if those calling for solidarity with Corbyn on the basis of “unquestioning loyalty” were more prepared to consider the consequences of the different courses of action. What kind of strategist doesn’t consider the consequences of different courses of action?

    It is therefore a matter of real concern that so many writing here think that the appropriate response to questioning about consequences and possible options is evidence of being gutless or cowardly, treacherous, “choosing surrender” or of being “collaborators”. I try to be moderate in my language but I am really stuck to describe this as anything other than infantile.

    As Peter Rowlands pointed out all this talk of having backbone, girding up our loins, for the “final cathartic battle” is rhetorical flim flam. It is no substitute for genuine political thought and discussion.

    And then, as regular readers know, in times of a serious clash of views Peter Wilsman can always be relied upon to come in with two points (1) that the person he disagrees with is talking “utter nonsense” and (2) that they are clearly speaking from an “ivory tower”. In all his years in politics Peter has not understood that political debate is not the same as abuse and requires point to be met with contrary points.

    I will vote for Corbyn but if he is re-elected this will very likely lead to a split in the Labour Party. Some people here celebrate that as a “final cathartic battle”. It is sobering, however, to remember that a split in the Labour Party under the first past the post system (defended by the CLPD) could well lead to a very serious electoral hit on Labour and the emergence of UKIP as a serious parliamentary force. I am not saying it will happen (I don’t have a crystal ball), I am saying that it is a very real possibility and that it would be good to see some reflection on this along with the excited talk of splits and cathartic battles.

    I have often expressed this concern in pieces I have written for Left Futures about the very seriously weak organisational and policy weaknesses of the left. Does anyone think that any section on the left has shown great organisational ability or has made significant policy developments in the last nine months? Not only that but the left is all over the place on practically every issue one might care to raise. It has no common analytical basis, no clear theories for its political and economic strategies and precious little in the way of any detailed draft policies. Finally, when in positions of power the left has shown the same tendency to control freakery as the right, the same lack of transparency and the same disdain for answering questions and criticisms.

    I do not want to give into 180 MPs who think that they have the right to veto the clear wishes of the members. But at the same time we need to (1) think about where we are going and how we are going to get there (2) to reflect on the repeated failure of left parties and left regimes across the world in the course of the last hundred years. Now the die is cast we have to try and make the best of our situation of extreme unpreparedness. But if these challenges are to be met with the dominant voices responding to questions, criticisms and alternative proposals with talk of cowardice, treachery, ivory towerism and the like then we can be sure of one thing: any attempt to drive through fundamental social in which such infantile rhetoric is substituted for genuine political reasoning is bound at some stage to fail. How many examples of that do we need?

    1. Tim Wilkinson says:

      This situation is very different from 1981, not least because we have already seen what happened to Labour (and the SDP) after that.

      I do not think the the Blairite right is in a position to form a new party of any significance. It would be morbidly fascinating to see them try, esp. with Chilcott in the air.

      I definitely do not believe that the headless chickens currently going along with them will be persuaded to defect and take a punt on re-election under the banner of the Progress Party.

      1. peter willsman says:

        DP,the Left had no candidate in the Dep.Leadership.Members expect CLPD to make a rec.There was not a lot to choose tween Eagle and Watson.Clpd are not in the game of recommending men for both positions and so we went for AE.In an Ivory Tower you don’t do that, but in the real world of the LP you do.

        1. James Martin says:

          Peter is right, the deputy election was really a game of least worse options. Had have been a choice between just Watson and Eagle I’d have probably abstained, but as it was there was no way that I wanted to risk Bradshaw, Flint or Creasy winning that contest as all 3 of them would have been far more of a danger to Corbyn on the hope that he would win, and as it turned out despite serious misgings about Eagle (particularly due to her previous performance at the Collins conference) she made some reasonable noises about Party unity and supporting trade unions, although of course she has been none of those things.

          1. Peter Willsman says:

            In reply to Dave Pav,,when I’ve got more time I will set out here why. what DP says re Trigger Ballot, is ”utter nonsense.”
            I also see that DP is still desperate for PR.It is estimated that UKIP would have won some 70 seats in 2015 under PR.After Brexit they could win treble that no.under PR.Only someone in an ivory tower could be desperate for such a situation.

    2. Karl Stewart says:

      Good point about policy development.

      It’s really positive that you’ve committed to backing Corbyn, and the Corbyn campaign needs to be simultaneous with campaigning on a working-class, industrial and economic agenda.

      It can’t just be personality-based campaign, or one based on platitudes about ‘new politics’ etc.

      It needs to be the Labour Brexit Plan.

      1. Karl Stewart says:

        That was intended as a response to DavidP at 12.32am.

  18. John Penney says:

    So, grudging and resentful at aspersions cast, you seem to have finally climbed back on board to support Jeremy, and much more importantly, what Jeremy represents in terms of a real , historically unique for the UK, mass breakthrough to the left – even though you state , quite correctly, that this is likely to lead to a breakup of the current Labour Party.

    We can agree wholeheartedly about the poor state of the Left, inside and outside of the Labour Party. We can agree about the extraordinary missed opportunity over the last 9 months or so to build Momentum into a real, internally democratic, Left Policy debating and developing, radical Left engine for transformation of the Party and beyond. The blame for that lies squarely with the people around Jeremy – and their inability to grow beyond attitudes and practices, universal in the small sect Left bubble they have been isolated in for 30 years.

    But we are where we are, David,
    this current point of fundamental conflict in the Party has been ever present within labour, but dormant after the complete victory of “Blairism” in the 1980’s , and has only now burst asunder because of the endless backwash from the 2008 UK and global capitalist crisis.

    That this re-emergence of radical Left politics didn’t happen in the formation of a new Left party , as happened across Europe, is really a fluke – particularly the ,for the Blairites, disastrous decision to introduce the new , open voting system for party Leader, and the amazing error in allowing Jeremy to be on the ballot. Miscalculations of epic proportions !

    So deep underlying Europe-wide social and economic forces, and the particularity of the Labour Party have got us to this critical point . Now is the time to just get on with the fight , all together , in solidarity, as socialists. The time for the essential rethinking and postmortem on the many, many, disastrous mistakes made since Jeremy was elected is simply not for now.

  19. David Jameson says:

    I joined the Labour Party five minutes after watching acting leader Harriet Harman urge the party via The Andrew Marr show to back or not oppose the government’s Welfare Bill. I suspect this will be a long drawn out war rather than a quick battle waged from 30,000 feet. Fix bayonets and ready yourselves for a messy war with lots of hand to hand combat and casualties. Surrender is not an option.Not for me at any rate.If I wanted a Tory or Liberal government I’d have joined or voted for them but I didn’t so I’ll stay.

    When you get to number 10 ,you’ve climbed there on a little ladder called the status quo.And when you are there,the status quo looks very good.

    Tony Benn House of Commons 1994

  20. David Jameson says:

    Another victory for the little people over those that think they know best.I’m actually optimistic that direct action and alternative news sources and social media are cutting through the bullshit.And I’m confident that in the end we will prevail. Maybe not in my lifetime but we will prevail. In the meantime democracy has won the day and so I’ll fall in line behind any leader the membership elect. It’s been a great day.

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