Keeping Corbyn off the ballot paper risks a lasting division in the party

Watson & CorbynI am dismayed at the statement issued by Tom Watson announcing his withdrawal from talks aimed at resolving the crisis in the Labour Party.

Extraordinarily I received no notice of this statement before it was issued. I had made arrangements for a meeting of trade union leaders, Tom Watson and representatives of the PLP and the Party Leader for tomorrow, arrangements requested by Tom Watson and his colleagues, specifically for Mr Watson’s convenience.

In that context, when the possibility of a workable plan had never seemed closer, Tom Watson’s actions today can only look like an act of sabotage fraught with peril for the future of the Labour Party. Continue reading

Leadership Coup: MPs on strike against their own members

commons bench by UK Parliament, file at http://www.flickr.com/photos/uk_parliament/2700549765/sizes/s/in/photostream/Two thirds of SNP voters, voted to remain. Two thirds of Labour voters, voted to remain. However, Jeremy Corbyn is blamed for not delivering more than this number. He is even blamed by his own party members whose own constituencies voted to leave. Labour MP’s who failed to win a majority for remain prefer to blame Corbyn rather than understand that the referendum was not a vote for the Labour Party.

Rather like Harry Perkins, Corbyn has been harassed and bullied by the Blairites and fellow travellers, who have contempt for the membership and overdue regard for the neoliberals. They do not seem to be ashamed to be on the same side as Cameron, nor have they been ashamed to be on the side of bankers and warmongers. It appears, according to Len McCluskey, that the PR company Portland Communications, seems to have written the script for this elongated coup, in which every hour a resignation has been choreographed to ensure that the headlines remain focused on the Labour Party, rather than the shambolic Tories and the disaster they have managed to engineer. Continue reading

Momentum can open democratic participation in the political system.

RheaWolfsonThroughout my NEC campaign I have had the great privilege of speaking at Momentum meetings across England. From Southampton to Liverpool I have been so inspired by the inclusive and democratic local groups that have sprung up in such a short space of time. I met countless young people who were enthused by the Jeremy’s Leadership campaign and tried to get involved in their local Party only to be confronted by bureaucracy and, in some unfortunate cases, outright hostility. It is interesting how Momentum groups are serving as a bridge between the new and enthusiastic membership, and the party’s out-of-date structures. For many members it is their Momentum group that tells them when, where and how to get involved with their CLP or Branch, not to mention being the friendly faces to welcome them when they arrive. Continue reading

The Delusions of the anti-Corbyn plotters

assassination of caeserOn Thursday 23rd June the unexpected triumph of the Leave campaign can only be read as a rebuke to the authority of the political class. Certainly racism and anti-immigrant prejudice informed many voters, but that was far from the only motive for so many people rejecting the overwhelming consensus view of experts and professionals who counseled caution.

What credibility did George Osborne have in saying that leaving the European Union would jeopardize the prosperity and strength of the UK economy, when millions work on zero hours contracts, or with only a few hours through agencies; when a million people rely upon food banks; when there is a crippling housing crisis; when there is both a growth of in-work poverty, and also a brutal and inhuman regime of sanctioning the unemployed; when thousands of graduates are burdened by an unimaginable yoke of debt. Continue reading

Don’t blow up the Labour Party

support your own teamThe Labour Party in opposition needs to present itself as an alternative government, but just as importantly the role of the main opposition party in a parliamentary democracy is to seek to influence the decisions of government, and shape the political debate.

Given the potentially economically catastrophic vote to leave the EU last Thursday, an outcome that most Labour Party members, and most Labour voters opposed; and which was opposed by the overwhelming majority of affiliated trade unions; then it is essential that the Labour Party quickly develops a policy of how to deal with the fall out. Continue reading