Corbyn considers granting members right to elect Shadow Cabinet

JC with ordinary folkJeremy Corbyn will give party members greater say over Labour’s Shadow Cabinet and policymaking, the Observer reports. This “democratic revolution” could entail democratic elections for shadow cabinet positions and digital consultations for members on policy.

Labour’s NEC is expected to meet on Tuesday to discuss a proposal from Tom Watson to reintroduce Shadow Cabinet elections, but where only the PLP will be entitled to a vote.  Continue reading

Corbyn sets out vision to transform Britain’s economy

CorbynLast week Jeremy Corbyn set out his vision for the British economy at a major speech at Bloomberg. Railing against the austerity economy that has failed so many, from workers at Sports Direct to those on zero hour contracts, the Labour leader pledged to create an economy built on investment, tax justice and harnessing the new technologies of the 21st century. They included:

  • A comprehensive industrial strategy to deliver a high-investment, high-skill, high-technology new economy.
  • £500 billion in investment
  • Retaining John McDonnell’s Fiscal Credibility Rule
  • National Investment Bank, as well as regional investment banks
  • Super fast broadband in every part of the country
  • A National Education Service, providing lifelong learning
  • Meeting the OECD target of 3% of GDP spent on scientific research
  • An Advanced Research Agency
  • 300,000 jobs in renewable energy
  • Abolish Employment Tribunal fees
  • A “Philip Green Law” that would bar asset-strippers from loading companies up with debt.
  • “Right to Own”, giving workers facing a change of ownership or closure of a firm the first refusal in putting together a worker-owned alternative.

Corbyn’s stance remains on economic questions remains largely unchanged from last year, and many of his policies such as a National Education Service and his pledges to young people featured in the leadership contest a year ago. The challenge for Corbyn, if victorious again, will be to impress the policies upon the party and PLP.   Continue reading

Why the establishment doesn’t get Corbynism

JC with ordinary folkSpare a thought for the poor hacks paid to write about the Labour Party. Your job is to throw down boiler plate with a semi-original angle, while making a conscious effort not think about it unless you’re employed for that express purpose. Making matters trickier is that last year’s silly season saw every seam strip mined to throw dirt at Jeremy Corbyn. With little else left to be excavated we see a churn of pretty much the same stuff. This then has led to the new journalistic sub-genre of the anti-Corbyn missive, and their recycled insights come in two flavours. The first are attacks on the leader’s character, of which the tedious Traingate non-story is an example. And the second goes after his support, which typically entails questioning the intelligence of those who back him.

Of the second type is Euan McColm’s piece in The Scotsman. Reading like a desperate bid to get the thousand words necessary to hit pay dirt, Euan’s piece is at turns insulting, at turns patronising, and is nothing we haven’t read already. But what it does do is condense the common sense among plenty of journalists and politicians. And because it so often persists that Jeremy supporters are mendacious or brainwashed or thick or naive, we have to ask why it is the view is so widespread. Continue reading

Reluctant Corbynism, or why people are switching to Jeremy

unnamedI’m going to tell you a story. A friend of my went for a selection in an ostensibly safe constituency. The long and short listing exercise was observed, and my comrade made it to the final three. Not wanting to mess about, the prospective prospective parliamentary candidate got the members’ details and visited the first house on the list. They introduced themselves, and was told politely but firmly to save their patter. Why? Because they’d returned their voting papers by post the previous week, several full days before the shortlisting for the ballot was officially finalised. Knowing the selection was blatantly stitched for a favoured son of the party machinery, my comrade refused to participate in the farce, packed their bags, and went home. Continue reading