Cohen versus Corbyn: The fucking praise of fucking folly

Observer columnist Nick Cohen

It has been a while since I last read How to Win Friends and Influence People, but I do not recollect Dale Carnegie advising Sunday newspaper columnists to win over readers by branding them “fucking fools” who need to change their “fucking minds”. But such is now the level of debate in the Observer, which yesterday carried an extraordinary piece of Corbyn-bashing from the pen of Nick Cohen, concluding in just such a fevered peroration.

Let’s just say the polemic has all the hallmarks of being a product of what we must now learn to call “the late night typewriter”. At least the sight of the guy who likes to style himself the Orwell de nos jours descending into two minutes’ hate of Goldstein is not without a certain entertainment value. Continue reading

Is the Corbyn moment over?

CorbynRallyThe seisometers are registering something. Is it a tremor triggered by the usual grumbles, or are the plates storing up a major event? This is the problem when it comes to analysing the travails of the Labour leadership. With the irreconcilables tactically and temporarily reconciled to the present state of affairs, the cracks are feeling their way across the Corbynist edifice. Clive Lewis had to resign his business brief after defying the three line whip to support the triggering of Article 50. Diane Abbott’s migraines were the stuff of Westminster gossip. Owen Jones has cast doubt on whether he would vote for Jeremy Corbyn again, while doing his bit to big up our Clive. There is (unserious) speculation about another leadership challenge, and the papers recently are stuffed with grumblings – including leaked focus group findings checking out the viability of Angela Rayner and Rebecca Long-Bailey as heirs to Jeremy. Is this yet another episodic difficulty, or a sign the Corbyn era, barely 18 months old, is drawing to a close? Continue reading

After Corbyn: Lessons from Scottish Young Labour conference

12698712_463223943883332_7488740259695838113_oYouth politics can be miserable. The culture in NUS and Labour Students is particularly toxic and it is to blame for a generation of jaded and cynical young activists. The student movement no longer churns out leaders like Dutschke, Wilkerson, or Hayden.

It’s understandable then that socialists are reluctant to engage in youth politics. The idea that youth politics is irrelevant and indulgent is a common refrain on certain strands of the Left. It is argued that we should spend our time on different projects with more immediate returns.

But the reality is that youth politics is much more important than we think. NUS, Labour Students, and Young Labour have long been training grounds for future parliamentarians and bureaucrats. They do more than teach how to pack a room. Youth politics teaches a generation of activists what is politically possible. Continue reading

Trump exempts British citizens from “Muslim ban” after pressure from UK

Donald_Trump_by_Gage_Skidmore_4Donald Trump conceded ground to opposition last night by exempting British dual citizens from his Executive Order, dubbed by many as a ‘Muslim ban’, which prohibits any entry to the United States from seven majority-muslim countries, namely, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya.

After Theresa May instructed Amber Rudd and Boris Johnson to lobby their US counterparts, the policy seems to have relaxed marginally, as the Foreign Office confirmed that the ban will only apply to British dual citizens flying directly from the countries identified, meaning that dual citizens could fly from the UK or another, unaffected country. It will still, however, prevent millions of Muslims from the seven countries from travelling to the US at all.  Continue reading

Labour demands answers into Trident nuclear test ‘misfire’

Trident II missile (US Defense Dept)Labour are demanding a “full explanation” of why Theresa May four times dodged the question of whether or not she knew about a calamitous failure on a Trident missile test last summer, just months before the House of Commons met to debate the controversial programme’s renewal. Andrew Marr asked Theresa May, “did you know the misfire of the missile had occurred when you made your first speech about Trident to Parliament in July 2016?”

HMS Vengeance, one of the UK’s four Trident submarines, which each carry up to forty-eight nuclear warheads, was running a test off the coast of Florida in December 2015 when it fired an unarmed missile at a sea target off the coast of West Africa, some 9,000km away. Instead of flying towards its intended target, the missile flew towards the US coast, the BBC reports.  Continue reading