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What now for Labour? (Part 3)

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What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Ivan on Mon Dec 19, 2016 12:29 am

Many of the members who regularly take part in the ‘Labour doorstep’ campaign are told in working class areas that the party doesn’t seem to care about those who should be its core supporters. This isn’t a response which has become prevalent in the last year or so, it goes back much further. Tony Blair, and to a lesser extent Gordon Brown, took the working class for granted, probably assuming that they had nowhere else to go. They were wrong. Labour’s parliamentary representation in Scotland has been virtually extinguished, and in England enough of its natural supporters have gone to UKIP to damage the party and let the Tories in. This all happened before Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party, so let's not try to blame him.

If Labour has been perceived, rightly or wrongly, as deserting the working class, maybe it’s because it has been too concerned with chasing the votes of ‘moderate’ Tories. But ask yourself – what price has to be paid to gain the support of people who approve of the bedroom tax, savage cuts to welfare, the trebling of tuition fees, tax cuts for the rich and the creeping privatisation of the NHS? What sort of a Labour Party would emasculate itself to the extent that it is attractive to people who hold such views? The Tories have moved the centre of political gravity ever further to the right, so why should Labour try to occupy what Tories and their media poodles now define as ‘the centre ground’?

Those who have deserted Labour for UKIP have been persuaded that the EU and immigrants are the cause of most of their problems. If Brexit happens – and even if it doesn’t – at least some of those people will eventually realise that imports (and in particular food) are going to become dearer, an extra £350 million a week is not going to go to the NHS, and many bosses will continue to pay low wages, regardless of the number of immigrants in the country. They may even notice that the NHS is becoming ever more short-staffed. Labour must never pander to the ‘Alf Garnett’ mentality; to do so would betray the party’s basic principles and offend most of the membership so seriously that they would leave. History has also shown that trying to appease racists and fascists doesn’t work.

On the second part of this thread we were told by one poster that socialism is dead. I would suggest that it is merely dormant across most of the Western world, and that the needs which caused it to develop in the first place are very much in existence and requiring solutions. Capitalism doesn’t provide them, it just produces ever greater hardship and inequality. We can already see how in the UK home ownership is becoming out of the reach of more people, especially younger ones. The 62 richest people on the planet have as much wealth as half of the world’s population. On its present course, it will be capitalism that will destroy itself if low-wage workers can’t afford to buy what is produced.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by boatlady on Mon Dec 19, 2016 11:00 am

I agree that we need a resurgence of socialist politics and that the lot of the common man and woman will get very much worse if we don't get it.

I feel sad that so many of the electorate have been seduced by the arguments of the right, as expounded by the likes of Farage, Britain First, the EDL and the current Tory party.

I'm very much afraid that the Labour party, hampered by 'moderate' elements in the PLP and the NEC is going to fail to provide the socialist solution for England, and that Great Britain will splinter and continue its journey towards Third World status.

After the 2015 election, my feeling was that the task for Labour was to first of all establish a clear distance from any and all Tory policies and concerns, then to frame the discourse not around 'the mess left by Labour' but rather around 'the needs of the electorate'. A leader was elected who seemed to share that perspective and it seems since then that vested interests within and outside the party have done nothing but vilify, ridicule and denigrate both him and his supporters within the party, culminating in the egregious 'purge' of members back in the summer.

The party needs to clean up its act and get rid of the notion that being like the Tories but nicer is anything like a solution to our current mess - we need a new politics and a new dialogue - this is going to result in a lot of upheaval and discomfort and I'm not rejoining Labour until I see some evidence that there's some appetite for the struggle to come - which has to mean getting rid of a lot of the 'old school' in the PLP and the NEC.

All of that having been said, I would still say that Labour is our last best hope for a socialist government that will look to repair the ravages visited upon us all by the Tories
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Phil Hornby on Mon Dec 19, 2016 5:44 pm

Corbyn Speaks Out...

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.](mirror.co.uk)
" How dare those wretched and treacherous Labour MPs oppose the leadership....er....just like I used to do, in fact..."
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:29 pm

Phil Hornby wrote:[b]Corbyn Speaks Out...

Consistent with his beliefs - then and now - that poncing about pretending to be Tory-lite is no way to run a Socialist party. I would assume.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Phil Hornby on Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:39 pm

There is really no alternative to sticking to one's beliefs - and accepting any repercussions for so doing...
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:45 pm

Precisely.

"At 1115 BST the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, announced the British deadline for the withdrawal of German troops from Poland had expired.

He said the British ambassador to Berlin had handed a final note to the German government this morning saying unless it announced plans to withdraw from Poland by 1100, a state of war would exist between the two countries.

Mr Chamberlain continued: "I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received and consequently this country is at war with Germany."


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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by witchfinder on Tue Dec 27, 2016 11:52 am

The two basic types of Labour voter

(1) The real working class, people who live on council estates, or may have bought their council house, people who live in private accomodation and work in a factory, and some middle class people who have true working class backgrounds.

(2) People who work, but dont really get their hands dirty, Guardian readers, teachers, politically aware students, people with degrees who often work in public services andwho belong in middle income brackets.

In section 1 there are few Corbyn supporters, in section 2 there are many Corbyn supporters, and allthough both sections are, or perhaps were traditional Labour voters, the two groups have as much which separates them, as what they have in common.

The traditional ( get yer hands dirty ) working class, has its roots in the belief of a hard days work for a fair days pay, patriotism, methodism and respect. Whereas the Guardian reader types want to alter the course of history, the universe, and have grandioso ideas on how to change the world in three easy steps.

THIS is what the problem is, it is not about not been Socialist enough, or too far to the centre, as the Corbynites would have you believe, its about been in touch with what real working class people actually believe, which isent Corbyns style of Labour.

Here is a statement which will make Jeremy's disciples take sharp intake of breath : "most working class people believe there are too many immigrants coming into the country, and that the issue is a major issue"

So how in touch with this concern is Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott or any of the grass roots Labour members who have suddenly swelled the membership over the last 18 months. ?

Could the two differing sets of ideals and principles be brought together ?, could the traditional working man live with the slogan "migrants welcome" or "ban the bomb" or "scrap the monarchy", well personally I doubt it.

The Labour Party is allready doing badly, yet Mr Corbyn buries his head in the sand and astonishingly declares "we are ready for an election", well Oh Dear, just what plannet does this man live on ?.
One hope is to pray that after a disasterous election, Corbyn resigns, and that it wont be too late to rescue the party and drag it back to a winning formula once again.

The other possible road is for the PLP and their many supporters to formulate a plan, a strategy, whether it be electing their own leader or threataning to resign the whip, either way the party cannot go on falling apart and producing one bad by election result after the other.

Perhaps he will go if Labour lose Copeland, and I think this is very possible, and if this does happen it will be the first time that a seat is gained in a by-election by an incumbent government since 1982.

Perhaps Corbyn would resign if such a disaterous result happened - lets hope so.

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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by boatlady on Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:18 pm

A YouGov study commissioned by the Election Data website found 72 per cent of Labour members approved of Mr Corbyn, with 17 per cent disapproving.

Quoted from Vox Political

Could you possibly be just a little bit out of touch?
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Ivan on Tue Dec 27, 2016 11:28 pm

witchfinder (in 2015):-
Either way I truly cannot wait to see the shock on the faces of all the new Trot's and antique socialists in the party when they are humiliated in forthcoming elections, because humiliated they will be……It is already widely accepted that the result will not be good in Oldham, indeed some feel the party may even lose the seat.
Really? Remember how that turned out? A 7.5% increase in Labour’s share of the vote in Oldham. Of course that was then ‘spun’ to having been down to the candidate, as was Sadiq Khan’s victory in London. Nothing whatsoever to do with the many new members of the largest political party in Europe, mostly Corbyn supporters, who take to the streets to campaign for Labour candidates, whoever they are. I think we all understand – if Labour wins, it’s down to the candidate; if Labour loses, it’s all Corbyn’s fault.

And now we have:-
if Labour lose Copeland, and I think this is very possible
By-elections are notoriously unpredictable but, unlike you, I wouldn’t dream of trying to predict them. Of course Corbyn won’t resign if one marginal by-election is lost, he’s been elected leader twice with massive majorities. Apart from your wild predictions, do you have anything else to offer us? More opinion polls perhaps? We know how accurate they were with the 2015 election, Brexit and Trump.

Why can’t you, as a supporter of another party, just accept Labour’s internal democracy? 330,000 members recently elected Jeremy Corbyn as their leader, the second landslide majority he’s received in just over a year? Why are you so arrogant that you think you know better than all of them? What makes you think you can categorise Labour voters - and what they believe - into just two types? Your comments are absurd and suggest you haven’t met many Labour voters and probably had very little to do with the working class.

You’ve previously accused Corbyn of being “half-hearted and lukewarm” on Europe. Now you’re complaining because he doesn’t pander to the UKIP line that there are “too many immigrants coming into this country”, which goes against the core EU principle of free movement. You’re just twisting and turning now, using any excuse to attack Corbyn and satisfy your prejudice. You may be stuck in a late 1990s time warp, but the world has changed dramatically since then, especially since the global crash of 2008.

Pandering to racism and fascism is never the answer, it didn’t work in the 1930s and it won’t now. Giving credence to such filth just legitimises it, we must stand up to it. The morons who think immigrants are the cause of low wages need teaching that the number of jobs in a country is not finite, that immigrants are also taxpayers and consumers who make the economy grow, and that nobody forces greedy employers to pay low wages. Of course if we had stronger trade unions, as we did back in the wicked 1970s, employers wouldn’t get away with paying low wages, but of course unions became ‘the enemy within’ under Thatcher and Blair did nothing to change that demonisation; no doubt you subscribe to it as well. Maybe if Labour MPs who seek to undermine the elected leadership instead spent their time reminding working class people that UKIP leader Paul Nuttall supports the privatisation of the NHS and the scrapping of workplace rights, then Labour’s fortunes might improve.

Congratulations on dragging me out of my sickbed to answer that load of semi-literate twaddle. Rest assured that an unsubstantiated statement from you won’t make anyone take “a sharp intake of breath”, but it will make people yawn because you won’t stop peddling the same tired old claptrap that we can read in any Tory tabloid. Clearly 2016, with Brexit and Trump, hasn’t taught you anything, but hopefully others will wake up to the fact that whatever New Labour stood for has long since become both irrelevant and toxic, and that it was under New Labour – not under Jeremy Corbyn - that the party lost its connection with many members of the working class. You seem to have developed some sort of unhealthy obsession with a man who in Scandinavia would be seen as a run-of-the-mill social democrat, and perhaps you ought to seek help.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Phil Hornby on Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:21 am

I am not convinced that witchfinder deserved  a response which is so abusive.

But it does show that the opposition to the Tories is fragmented and has no single focus. That is liable to keep them in power for a lengthy period. If one were looking for a leader who might unite the diverse elements of opposition,  I do not have confidence that Corbyn would be the answer and that may form part of witchfinder's frustration.

If so, it is a frustration I share and therefore I am as guilty of being 'arrogant' and nurturing 'unhealthy obsession' and dispensing 'claptrap' and 'twaddle'.

But if Corbyn is destined to bring success on the back of the support from so many Labour Party members, then what do such unwelcome contrary opinions matter...?
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by witchfinder on Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:49 am

boatlady wrote:A YouGov study commissioned by the Election Data website found 72 per cent of Labour members approved of Mr Corbyn, with 17 per cent disapproving.

Quoted from Vox Political

Could you possibly be just a little bit out of touch?

No - not at all boatlady, and your point in my view is totally irrelevant, I would think that the vast majority of Lib Dem members are satisfied with Tim Farron, and that most Green Party members are satisfied with Caroline Lucas, but so what. ?

It is not Labour Party members we are attempting to persuade is it ?, its the electorate that matters, and based on all findings from all annalysis and every poll, Corbyn is leading Labour to disater, and quite possibly oblivion.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by witchfinder on Wed Dec 28, 2016 12:15 pm

Thankyou to IVan for the very bitter, angry and abusive answer to my post.

It is a true and very sad reflection of what the Labour Party has become, and now is, and its a sign of the very real and very harmful divide which now exists in the party, and it is entirely the fault of the old Militants who once again have reared their disgusting and vile heads, and are destroying the party, just as they always did back in the 1980s, and how they destroyed people, livelyhoods, split families and almost devastated a whole city ( Liverpool ).

This forum is described as a "left leanning forum", supposedly where SNP, Green, Lib Dem and all progressives can contribute.

We all detest the Tories, we all want to see the back of this government, but that has got to mean an opposition party with a real chance of beating them and winning power, yet Ivan and many like him wont accept reality, Corbyn is a disaster, its never ever going to happen, not now, not next year, not in 2020, your arguments are based entirely on political ideology and dogma, with nothing based on been pragmatic.

You people, the old style Socialists are as bad as the Tories, you are obsessed with the purityof your political ideals, and havent a care in the world about what the electorate thinks.

The Corbynites are 100% guilty of prolonging the pain of Tory government, you are all ensuring the continuation of rule by these profiteering, blood sucking hoorah Henry's, destroying the NHS, destroying lives.

Deleted because this really was offensive.
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What now for Labour? (Part 4)

Post by Penderyn on Wed Dec 28, 2016 12:49 pm

There aren't particular style socialists - only socialists and tories. The entrist tories are good at confusing issues for the mugs. What is the point of replacing one tory government with another wearing a different hat?
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by boatlady on Wed Dec 28, 2016 2:31 pm

and your point in my view is totally irrelevant

my point being that the Labour party largely is happy with its leader and if you want the party to change perhaps you are out of touch with what's happening in the party.

As I understand your point, the Lib Dems are attempting to persuade the electorate - great - and you are happy with what they are doing along those lines - again, great. That's the party you support - it's not a party I would support because I consider it a party that lacks integrity and I consider Tim Farron, like Nick Clegg before him, lacks the strength or the integrity really to challenge the neo-liberal consensus. That is my opinion, based on my own understanding of the political process.

The party I support - the Labour party - has elected a leader, with a massive majority, who is seeking to develop a rather different view of politics - a view I find myself in sympathy with. It has been shown more than once that the policies being proposed by the party at present are largely ones that the country would like to see enacted - the barrier is the unremitting abuse and ridicule heaped on Mr Corbyn which in this toxic age of personality politics means that no-one at present is listening very attentively to him.

Nick Clegg was given the opportunity to try out his formula of coalition with the Tories - I think that turned out badly and showed a lack of judgement as well as a lack of integrity - Tim Farron also seems to me to be showing a little more flexibility in his ideas than I would want to see - but I'm not a supporter of the Lib Dems, so I accept that the leadership are entitled to act as they see fit, as long as their supporters continue to support them.

It may be that we live currently in a world where principled politicians and honest policies will not in the end succeed - but someone needs to be articulating these principles, and currently Corbyn and his team seem to be among the very few politicians doing so - which to my mind makes them worthwhile. I very much wish the Labour PLP members who are so eager to denigrate the elected leader would take themselves off and maybe join the LibDems so that those of us who do support the leadership could focus on formulating a more coherent message for voters.

On another point, I understand that some members found Ivan's recent post to be abusive - I've read through it again and wasn't sure just what people were objecting to - but please feel free to PM me with any specific comments and I will look at it again
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Dec 28, 2016 5:19 pm

With an entire Parliamentary system of government which is itself adversarial, it is hardly surprising that voters should hold different views.  My own well-known opinion is that Blair won in 1997 by default after John Major's government showed itself to be unsatisfactory.  I believe a recurrence of such a situation is almost inevitable with the way our current Tory "Leadership" is floundering around over Brexit, but time will tell.

There is nothing new under the sun, as a quotation from the time of the First Queen Elizabeth shows:

(The play Christmas Prince, was first performed at Cambridge, around 1608):

Laugh on laugh on my freind
Hee laugheth best that laugheth to the end
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Phil Hornby on Wed Dec 28, 2016 5:38 pm

The voice of reason, as so often...
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Dec 28, 2016 5:48 pm

Though perhaps, as Kipling nearly put it:

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools


You've probably missed the point, OW!
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by boatlady on Wed Dec 28, 2016 6:11 pm

Thanks OW - the children WERE getting a little fractious
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Phil Hornby on Wed Dec 28, 2016 7:57 pm

Some of the 'adults' weren't exactly setting a good example, either... ! Shocked
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by boatlady on Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:34 pm

If you have specific concerns, I'm happy to hear them Phil
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Phil Hornby on Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:51 pm

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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by boatlady on Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:46 pm

I believe everyone had the opportunity to say what they believed - belief is based on a perception of facts. Challenging the perception of facts is a legitimate form of dispute - again I would say - if you have specific concerns, please state them.

Witchfinder put forward a set of ideas that we have heard before and that some of us don't agree with - he was challenged on his ideas - again - and rather than stay to argue chose instead to make a series of statements saying points that disagreed with him were irrelevant, divorced from reality etc. etc. and round it off with a paragraph that I considered so incoherent and offensive that I deleted it.

If you want to take up the argument, you are of course free to do so - if you want to complain in a specific way about anything about how the moderators have dealt with this situation you are also very welcome to do so. I'm sure both Ivan and I, if we have given offense, would be willing to make suitable amends.

As I said previously, I have read all the posts and found very little that overstepped the limits of civil argument - but I may of course be mistaken and if so I would wish to put matters right - so please, if you have specific concerns, share them.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Chas Peeps on Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:27 pm

Penderyn wrote:There aren't particular style socialists - only socialists and tories.   The entrist tories are good at confusing issues for the mugs.   What is the point of replacing one tory government with another wearing a different hat?

Wow! I've been missing all this! Catching up now....

I read witchfinder and Ivan's detailed posts with great interest and took some really valid and cogent points from both, however angry some of the the tones were.

Penderyn, the crucial issue here is how politics splits, not into just left and right economically but also into libertarian and authoritarian socially and both are obviously on a sliding scale. I have suggested before that Labour could find a political position between the Liberal Democrats and Greens by becoming economically left wing with a relatively illiberal secular socialist stance on issues of social cohesion and integration i.e. more like the French model. This may allow Labour to reconnect with its core supporters, deprive UKIP of oxygen and allow the metropolitan liberals within Labour to consider joining either the Liberal Democrats or Greens depending on how right or left wing they are economically. Just a thought....

All of that said, there is a very real risk that as those of us in the progressive centre or left of politics dance and argue on top of a pin head, the jackboots of the authoritarian right march down our high street to commandeer and garrison our town halls and Parliament. We must all focus on what is now the greatest threat. As capitalism fails to create prosperity for its peoples and loses legitimacy, the only way they will be able to protect those at the top is with fascism. That in my view is now our most pressing common enemy. I view neither you, Ivan or witchfinder as mine.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Ivan on Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:39 pm

What we need more than anything else right now is moderation
To post such a remark is to completely misunderstand the current febrile political environment almost everywhere in the Western world. Did ‘moderation’ give us Brexit? Did it give us Trump, or did the more ‘moderate’ candidate lose (even if it was via the vagaries of the electoral college)? Does anyone seriously believe that those angry people who feel left behind after forty years of neoliberalism are screaming out for a large dose of moderation? And how has moderation fared in the past? After the fall of Tsar Nicholas II in 1917, did Alexander Kerensky’s moderation assuage the Russian people, or did they turn to the Bolsheviks within a few months? Was the milk-and-water Weimar Republic in Germany successful in keeping Hitler out of power?

Anyway, what is this ‘moderation’? It’s hard to think of anything more subjective. We all think our views are moderate, don’t we? Or maybe some of us see ourselves as moderate extremists, while others may be extreme moderates. Would Hitler have been a moderate if he had only murdered three million Jews?

From the late 1940s until 1979, there was a post-war consensus in the UK that the railways, domestic utilities, our prisons, our NHS, welfare, and much more of the fabric of our society, should be state-run in a mixed economy. It was not considered ‘extreme’ to accept that, but apparently it is now because the Tories have been allowed to define the centre ground of British politics as being wherever they are, and that's been progressively further and further to the right. What angered many Labour members and supporters was that their party didn’t appear to be doing anything to shift the so-called ‘centre’ back towards our turf.

When the 2015 Labour leadership election was announced, my first inclination was to support Andy Burnham, as I did in 2010. I changed my mind when he, Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and many other Labour MPs, decided to abstain on the Tories’ welfare bill. I was disgusted that they were prepared to abandon some of the most vulnerable people in society, presumably because they feared getting a bad press and being accused of supporting ‘scroungers’. As with the demonisation of trade unions from the moment that the miners defeated Edward Heath, Labour was accepting the Tory agenda rather than countering it with arguments compatible with traditional Labour values. That’s not ‘moderation’, it’s capitulation.

Anyone who bothers to look past the tabloid hysteria and sees exactly what it is that Jeremy Corbyn stands for will realise that his views are anything but extreme. Is it so outrageous to believe in a free national education system, which we had until Blair introduced tuition fees and which then became £9,000 under the coalition from hell? Are security at work, more homes, a less unequal society and better provision for social care, extreme policies? The most controversial of Corbyn’s policies is probably his opposition to nuclear weapons, yet only nine countries in the world have them. Why do we need them? Did they deter the invasion of the Falklands, or the 7/7 attacks in London? Nuclear weapons are utterly useless against suicide bombers and other terrorists. And there’s nothing ‘moderate’ about squandering billions on weapons of mass destruction, which no sane person would ever use, when 124,000 children in this country were homeless at Christmas.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Chas Peeps on Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:06 am

Ivan....
I agree with most of your views. I'm then left confused whether you should be in the Green Party or me in the Corbyn led Labour Party. Or is this really so important? We have to get past the tribalism.

I agree with you about Burnham. He's what Tony Benn called a weathervane. He was a no-show at our UNISON AGM - one of the biggest branches in the country. He is a total opportunist, a careerist. Soon to become Greater Manchester Mayor no doubt - he's now anti-fracking don't you know!

Whatever people's views about Corbyn, without a progressive electoral pact (Corbyn doesn't seem to want it) Labour needs a true miracle to stand any chance in GE2020. Our biggest hope remains that the Tories tear themselves apart over the terms of Brexit. It's so sad that we have to wait for our political enemies to implode to stand a chance of victory.

I'll see you on the barricades when the fascists take to our streets.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Penderyn on Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:37 pm

Chas Peeps wrote:

Penderyn, the crucial issue here is how politics splits, not into just left and right economically but also into libertarian and authoritarian socially and both are obviously on a sliding scale. I have suggested before that Labour could find a political position between the Liberal Democrats and Greens by becoming economically left wing with a relatively illiberal secular socialist stance on issues of social cohesion and integration i.e. more like the French model. This may allow Labour to reconnect with its core supporters, deprive UKIP of oxygen and allow the metropolitan liberals within Labour to consider joining either the Liberal Democrats or Greens depending on how right or left wing they are economically. Just a thought....

If we start being clever-clever and taking positions we don't believe in, people will just equate us with all the other crooks. The essential tactical problem at the moment I that all the means of propaganda are in the hands of the very rich, or their servants. As far as the press went we could have stopped that back in the 'seventies, but the Right lacked the guts. The core of the Labour Party is, as it always was, the organised working class, not the brainwashed servants of Murdoch etcetera, and playing games to win the brainwashed is a recipe for total disaster. Patiently explain!
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Ivan on Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:24 pm

I agree with oftenwrong that the Tories lost the 1997 election (rather than that Labour won it) - probably on 16 September 1992, when their claim to be the party of economic competence was shown to be a sham. Others prefer to think that Tony Blair was the reason.

Those who believe that Tony Blair was good at garnering votes for Labour - whether they were marginal or 'moderate' ones or otherwise - should take a look at the chart below. He lost 4 million votes between 1997 and 2005. Yes, some Tories lent him their votes while their own party was going through a string of leaders in an attempt to find one that didn't look like someone from the Munsters, but once they did they were soon gone. And what price has to be paid to keep natural Tory voters on your side?

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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by sickchip on Thu Dec 29, 2016 7:15 pm

My brother is a member of the Labour party, and has penned a few letters to his local Labour mp - about Brexit, housing, etc. Never heard a thing back. Got a nice Xmas card though. And gets the usual / standard post when they're after your vote, or help. While the referendum campaigns were running not a thing was heard or seen of this Labour mp in his constituency; and yet there he was during the Labour rebels coup slagging Corbyn off for not campaigning enough to convince people to remain......in fact my brother, and I, attended a Corbyn talk in this constituency about the EU during the campaign - which is more than it's Labour mp managed. I wonder now how many Labour mps were deliberately mute during the campaign so they could use it as an excuse to oust Corbyn......clearly the plot had been in place for some time.

Is it any wonder Labour have lost so many votes when their mps are so lazy that they have spent years bungling along taking support for granted? If an mp can't even be arsed to respond to a party member about concerns, I wonder how often they even bother with constituents?

I realise this will not be a complaint restricted to Labour mps, and won't be representative of all mps; but Labour are in opposition and need to be working twice as hard to connect, and communicate, with communities around the country.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Dec 29, 2016 7:29 pm

Some unsung heroes of the Labour Party are to be found at a local level. When I returned to Britain after living abroad for several years it was a pleasant surprise to receive a visit from the Labour chap who had presumably noted our addition to the Electoral Register on his patch.

It's the sort of thing you remember when push comes to shove.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Phil Hornby on Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:01 pm

Attlee Bemoans his Luck...

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" Just one measly term in office - it's all the fault of that wretched chap, Blair..."
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Ivan on Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:43 pm

Who did you have in mind, Eric Blair?  scratch

Strictly speaking, Attlee had two terms in government from July 1945, being re-elected with a much-reduced number of seats in February 1950. Despite having a majority not much smaller than what May enjoys at present, he called another election in October 1951 and ended up with fewer MPs than the Tories, despite winning more votes than them.

It’s testimony to the popularity of the post-war Labour government that, far from losing a third of its supporters over the course of two elections, it received 1.98 million more votes in 1951 than it had in 1945.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Chas Peeps on Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:08 pm

Penderyn wrote:

If we start being clever-clever and taking positions we don't believe in, people will just equate us with all the other crooks.   The essential tactical problem at the moment I that all the means of propaganda are in the hands of the very rich, or their servants.   As far as the press went we could have stopped that back in the 'seventies, but the Right lacked the guts. The core of the Labour Party is, as it always was, the organised working class, not the brainwashed servants of Murdoch etcetera, and playing games to win the brainwashed is a recipe for total disaster.   Patiently explain!

Isn't Labour's problem that it has lost Scotland to Scottish Nationalists and was severely wounded by a bleed out of votes to the English Nationalists currently oxygenated by UKIP? Over the past 25 years, I have watched exceptional working class orators with trade union or industrial backgrounds like Dennis Skinner gradually diluted and virtually displaced by polished Oxbridge career politicians like Tristram Hunt. The senior positions in the Labour Party have largely been filled by people who are from the metropolitan liberal wing of the Party (from which Corbyn himself comes). The two styles could not be more starkly differentiated.

One of the many things that being married to someone from a large working class Catholic family has taught me is that most working class people are socially more conservative (with a small 'c') than a lot of 'Champagne Socialists' ever want to accept. Her family view a lot of liberal left agendas as being 'Loony Left' for 'The Luvvies' and a distraction from what really concerns them in their everyday lives. For his 13 years as Labour Leader, Blair convinced Labour that it wasn't socialist any more, that supporting trade union strength didn't matter and that the only way to win elections was to swing Tory voters to Labour in sufficient numbers. I agree with Ivan and what his graph makes clear. Blair did not win three elections as much as the Tories losing them. Therefore Blair's apparent miracle for Labour was built on a lie. Without a strong trade union movement supported by its political arm, there can be no solidarity or unity of purpose for the working class whose people have suffered great hardship as unions have been crushed.

Labour used to acknowledge the importance of trade unions and by extension gave working people a voice and empowerment. As the trade unions were pushed away (thanks though for all the cash!) Labour itself was saying to working people that unions were something to take or leave rather than crucial for the promotion of working class interests.

In post-industrial Lancashire, Islamophobia is endemic and at a very worrying level. The white working class feels abandoned by mainstream politicians and tragically sucks up a lot of the scapegoating poison pumped out by MSM. I am not suggesting that Labour panders to UKIP policies on race and immigration or changes its core values (if anyone actually knows what they are - a serious not flippant aside). I am suggesting that Labour could become a distictively secular socialist party for which there are strong traditions in countries like France. I am asking whether Labour can muster sufficient support to win in 2020 without taking votes back from UKIP. There is currently no evidence that Corbyn's Labour is winning any vote share back from the Liberal Democrats or Greens. In the North, UKIP did far more damage to Labour than to the Tories and however unpalatable it may be, I suggest Labour must find a way of reconnecting with and representing the interests of the forgotten white working class, its original power base. At the same time, the challenge is to do that while protecting race relations, fairness and human rights for all ethnic communities. My idea of a secular socialist party may offend or concern liberals in Labour but they could find homes in other parties.

I will not return to Labour as there are no signs that Corbyn will ever change the Party policies on Trident, HS2, nuclear power, renationalisation of key sectors etc. and most Greens feel the same - the policy gap is simply too wide.

I do believe however that the Labour Party's role in UK politics is too crucial right now to allow it to be broken by hopeless division, bitterness and paralysis on clear policy direction.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Chas Peeps on Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:24 pm

sickchip wrote:

Is it any wonder Labour have lost so many votes when their mps are so lazy that they have spent years bungling along taking support for granted? If an mp can't even be arsed to respond to a party member about concerns, I wonder how often they even bother with constituents?

I realise this will not be a complaint restricted to Labour mps, and won't be representative of all mps; but Labour are in opposition and need to be working twice as hard to connect, and communicate, with communities around the country.

What would Labour give to have MPs like the Green Party's Caroline Lucas, MP of the Year 2014, Politician of the Year in The Observer Newspaper Ethical Awards 2007, 2009 and 2010 or the SNP's indomitable Mhairi Black?

The tragedy is, Labour used to.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by sickchip on Fri Dec 30, 2016 1:14 am

Chas Peeps,

Good posts......you make some interesting points and observations. thumbsup
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Phil Hornby on Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:19 am

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You know it makes sense

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:30 am

This final week of an "interesting" 2016 has confirmed that intelligent debate makes for good reading, on Cutting Edge.

Some of the year's events have been beyond satire, but change is in the air amidst a public realisation that something is wrong with "Politics" when whatever emerges seems only to provoke further discord.  Advocates of Democracy run out of enthusiasm when the results of referenda repeatedly show a simple split down the middle of public opinion.  52% to 48% leaves half the electorate unsatisfied in all circumstances.

Moving from the general to the particular, views expressed on Cutting Edge can be roughly described as opposing continued government by the Tories, who seem not to like us any more than we like them.  Even if they are headed towards self-destruction as many of us think (and hope) it's not easy to declare what might replace them in the next General Election.

Entering the New Year, no single opposing party looks in shape to form a Government, not even a minority government as was the very-first-ever British Socialist one of Ramsey Macdonald following the First World War.

Presumably then, the various left-of-centre factions have to forego the luxury of narrow independence in 2017, stop sniping at each other and unite in common purpose to win an election, as has been mooted several times before on these pages.  But will they?

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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Phil Hornby on Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:10 pm

" unite in common purpose to win an election"

How I agree with that.

But which individual might lead such a 'coalition' successfully...?
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Ivan on Fri Dec 30, 2016 3:23 pm

Gary Lineker maybe.

The real problem is that we somehow need to wean people off their 'X Factor' attitude to politics and to understand that it's the policies which are more important than the personalities.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Chas Peeps on Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:52 pm

Phil Hornby wrote:" unite in common purpose to win an election"

How I agree with that.

But which individual might lead such a 'coalition' successfully...?

29th June 2016.....

Open letter to: Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Farron, Leanne Wood on behalf of Green Party of England and Wales,

In a spirit of openness and transparency, we are writing to you as Leaders of parties which oppose Brexit, to invite you to a cross-party meeting to explore how we best rise to the challenge posed by last week’s vote to Leave the EU.  

Britain is in crisis and people are scared about the future. Never have we had a greater need for calm leadership to be shown by politicians.  

We have a UK Government in chaos, an economy facing a crisis and people up and down the country facing serious hardship. There is an urgent need to make a stand against any austerity and the slashing of environmental legislation, human and workers’ rights, that may come with Brexit.

With the growing likelihood of an early General Election, the importance of progressive parties working together to prevent the formation of a Tory-UKIP-DUP government that would seek to enact an ultra-right Brexit scenario is ever more pressing.

This is an opportunity to recognise that a more plural politics is in both the Left’s electoral and political interests. This crisis exposes the absurdity of our first past the post electoral system.  Just 24 per cent of those eligible to vote elected the government that called the referendum. The only fair way to proceed is to have a proportional voting system where people can back the politicians who they believe in, rather than taking a gamble and not knowing who they will end up with.  

The idea of a progressive alliance has been floated for several years, and proposals have once again been put forward in the context of the current crisis. We believe that the time has come to urgently consider such ideas together in the context of a Westminster Government. We recognise the very different political situation in Scotland, given the strongly pro-EU majority there. We hope that co-operation between progressive parties there can ensure that this mandate is respected, and we will support them to keep all options open.

We look forward to your response,

Natalie Bennett, Leader of The Green Party of England and Wales

Steven Agnew MLA, Leader of the Green Party of Northern Ireland

Alice Hooker-Stroud, Leader of Wales Green Party

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Ivan on Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:09 pm

witchfinder wrote:-
His economic plans are a strange mix of experimental fiscal jiggery pokery and the tryed and failed policies of yesteryear, something a cross between Francoise Hollande's failed plan and that of Syriza, investing money using notes of promise written by yourself with no flesh or assets to back them.
Making any comparison between Labour’s plans and the policies of governments within the eurozone is spurious. France and Greece have to conform to the ‘one size fits all’ policies of the European Central Bank, the British government does not.

Far from being the “failed policies of yesteryear”, Corbyn and McDonnell’s ideas have a great deal in common with the very successful policies of Attlee and the post-war Labour government. In 1945, the UK national debt was 238% of GDP, more than three times the figure which Osborne inherited in 2010. Yet Attlee instigated a massive investment programme which included the foundation of the NHS and the construction of whole new towns and hundreds of thousands of houses per year. He also stimulated the purchasing power of consumers by making major improvements to pensions, unemployment benefits and disability allowances. By the time Attlee left government in 1951 (with nearly 2 million more votes than he’d won in 1945), the debt had fallen by well over 40% of GDP, and by the time the post-war consensus was torn up in 1979 and replaced with the Thatcherite economic ideology, the debt was down to 43% of GDP.

A pub bore in Whitby might think otherwise, but history is on the side of Corbyn when he says that public debt can be reduced through intelligent investment in things that stimulate more economic activity than they cost. Ever heard of John Maynard Keynes? The alternative is to continue with ideological Tory austerity and deliberately reduce the wealth and standards of living for the majority of the UK population - in order to meet the rising standards in China and India on our way down. I suppose that counts as ‘moderation’.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

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