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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

First topic message reminder :

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 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)

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:24 pm

Such notions are not restricted to socialists of course.

Businessmen are well acquainted with the practice of borrowing money at (say) 5% in order to earn 10% on the commercial activity thereby enabled.

Nobody ever loses money through showing a profit, whether it is financial or a social one.

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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Ivan on Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:31 am

Here are some extracts from two articles which offer thoughts on how the left can reconnect with voters it has lost during forty years of neoliberalism.

The free market isn’t working – and Labour now dares to say so

From an article by Clive Lewis MP:-

Perhaps the greatest trick of free market fundamentalism was to have us believe all forms of state intervention and partnership were doomed to repeat the failures of the past. This is at best a distortion of the truth and at worst a naked lie. Domestically, you only have to look at our current economic and political predicament to understand that. Internationally, it’s confirmed – from Germany to South Korea – that an active state is not counter, but essential, to succeeding in a modern, dynamic economy.

The genius of the market is supposed to lie in its ability to allocate society’s resources to their most efficient uses without central direction. Labour has long recognised that efficiency doesn’t always correspond with what is socially optimal or, in other words, “fair”. We’re now facing up to the fact that the market is not always the best guarantor of efficiency either.

An industrial strategy is important because it allows us to democratically decide the kinds of economy and society we want, and the goals we wish collectively to achieve. The question is whether the Tories are ready to do this. We need to ensure that every part of our country has a vibrant local economy, that every person displaced by technological change and decarbonisation finds new, decent employment, and decisively end our destructive dependence on carbon.


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The UK's left-liberal fightback must start with communities

From an article by John Harris:-

Since the start of the neoliberal era in the early 1980s, the great economic changes that have ripped through western economies have led to an erosion of traditional communities. The factory towns and secure mass employment of yesteryear are long gone; institutions such as trade unions and the church – even the local pub – are locked into long-term decline. In the place of the collective spirit they underpinned has come a quicksilver individualism that just about benefits those who manage to keep up, but renders millions of lives unpredictable at best, untenable at worst.

Going against the grain of the individualism that has been embedded in advanced economies for nearly 40 years will be an uphill task. The left ought to rediscover its faith in some of the things that once embodied its collectivism – social housing, schools that serve communities rather than a specious idea of ‘choice’ – while belatedly realising that they ought to be pulled away from the big, distant state, and returned to the grassroots.

With the obvious caveats about racism and xenophobia, if people want to protect the most basic cornerstones of where they live, hang on to their sense of home and belonging, and have a dependable sense of the future, the political left ought to be their ally. Here, perhaps, lies the key to at least the beginnings of its revival.


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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by boatlady on Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:10 am

Following my recent experiences with Labour, I recently started voluntary work for an organisation called the unemployed workers centre, sponsored by the TUC, which provides employment and benefit advice to 'workers' in the local area.
Most of my fellow volunteers are Labour party members or retired union officials and the centre has quickly become a hub for local party activism and the go-to place for advice and information for the unemployed and those in precarious and low paid employment.
One of my colleagues specialises in helping people with job searching and maintaining a claim, and a big collection of tins and toys took place late in the year for the benefit of local foodbanks.
The premises are provided by the local Portuguese community centre and we're seeing mostly EU residents at present, although a trickle of locals are coming to us after not getting the help they need from the bigger organisations.
We started at the end of October and already have more work than we can really manage - I think your sources are right - local action is the way to go because people are currently being left behind by central government and let down by the navel-gazing of the national Labour party
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by sickchip on Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:00 am

The Labour party are looking weaker than ever at the moment. They seem to have a habit of tying themselves into knots / balls of confusion, and I can understand the electorate's confusion as to what Labour stand for, or what their policies are.

Their position on the EU and Brexit is one such example.......

It's most frustrating.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by boatlady on Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:47 am

I think the world as a whole is going through a very dark patch and every political party is coming out with confusing and self-contradictory messages - Labour of course benefits from getting every gaffe reported in detail whereas the current government is cut a fair bit of slack in the media - might be a time for 'least said, soonest mended'
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:34 am

There are an awful lot of words being put into Jeremy Corbyn's mouth by the Press and social media trolls.
Check for yourself what he is REALLY saying about Brexit. No contradictions. No vacillation.
Respect for the result of a democratic vote. (How could it be otherwise?)
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by boatlady on Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:43 pm

Absolutely
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:55 pm

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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by boatlady on Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:00 pm

Anyone brought up in a working class community saw this process - for many the only route to betterment was via the influence wielded by the 'Con club'
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:50 am

The question becomes more acute as each day passes.

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The Parliamentary system is now revealing those dissidents within the Labour Party who have always resisted Jeremy Corbyn's attempts to restore a Socialist agenda.  Against a three-line whip they have nowhere to hide, and live in interesting times.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Phil Hornby on Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:29 pm

"...dissidents within the Labour Party ..."

A label with which the leader himself would not be unfamiliar, given his past record of 'loyalty'... Shocked
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:51 pm

Loyalty to his unwavering beliefs, one might say:

"Corbyn one of the most rebellious in Parliament. Since 2001 he's defied Labour whips more than 500 times, according to voting record website The Public Whip. That includes on some of the most controversial issues of the Blair years.
Mr Corbyn voted against the Iraq war , ID cards and increasing tuition fees."


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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Phil Hornby on Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:05 pm

All very commendable , of course.

But such practice does little to remove from others a similar excuse for following theirs, too...
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Ivan on Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:58 pm

I have no problem with Corbyn ignoring the whip and following his own conscience on hundreds of occasions in the past, especially if he was being asked to vote against the core values of the party or policies passed by conference. It’s called integrity. Which is what makes it all the more astonishing that yesterday he imposed a three-line whip on others wrestling with the same problem. Labour is a pro-EU party, as defined by its party conference in September 2015, and it fought the last election opposed to holding a referendum on our continued membership.

47 Labour MPs defied the whip yesterday. They may well have included a few malcontents who will take any opportunity to undermine Corbyn’s leadership. But they also included MPs who are not only pro-EU themselves but whose constituents voted heavily for Remain. Others may have been concerned that it is certainly “undemocratic” to force Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar out of the EU against the wishes of the majority who voted in those places. And there may be some who, like Tory Ken Clarke, feel that it is an MP’s duty to vote according to what they think is in the best interests of the country, rather than be shackled by the close result of an advisory referendum.
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Do they trust the people?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:17 pm

MPs have begun two days of debate in the Commons over the government's bill to invoke Article 50.

David Davis, the secretary of state for exiting the European Union, opened the second reading of the Bill, which enacts the Brexit referendum result saying: "At the core of this bill lies a very simple question - do we trust the people or not?"


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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Ivan on Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:59 pm

do we trust the people or not?
Yes and no.

Yes – we have to trust them to elect MPs and councillors of their choice, even if they often seem to be voting against their best interests. They may choose someone because they know them or like them as people, rather than for the policies they are promising, but that's up to them. Whatever the reason, after a few years, they can change their minds and vote for someone else if they so wish. In that sense, the decision they make in the polling booth is only temporary.

No – we can’t trust people to vote on complicated issues about which most of them know very little. What they tend to do in such circumstances is believe the mythology of the tabloid press, or the bare-faced lies of politicians who take advantage of their ignorance. And worst of all, we can’t trust them to vote on issues which are more permanent than a single parliament and aren’t likely to be reversed in the foreseeable future. Isn’t that why we pay MPs to take important decisions on our behalf?
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by boatlady on Fri Feb 03, 2017 12:25 pm

I guess, though, the people, having been told, against all sensible advice that they DID have the experience, knowledge and skill to vote on a complicated issue on which many felt strongly, deserve at least the respect of having their opinions listened to, and acted upon if it is at all practicable - or having it very carefully shown to them why it is not practicable.

I think, in this debate, we may all be in possession of the same facts but opinions diverge widely.

Mr Corbyn, trying to lead a very fractured party against extreme hostility from the establishment, was never going to make a decision that we could all agree to - however, for the sake of Socialism, my feeling would be that anyone who wants to see a Socialist government needs to go along with him on matters of policy - at least until he is proven wrong.

I suspect, however this Brexit mess plays out it will remain a mess - but I'd rather have a mess with a strong opposition and hopefully a socialist government than give the Tories the free ride we give them when we howl with outrage every time Corbyn makes a decision.

Them's at least my opinions based, I think, on substantially the same information as anyone else
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Penderyn on Sat Feb 04, 2017 1:03 pm

Well, you are probably right, boatlady. I don't think the media will ever give anyone any facts myself, just the usual litany of hatred and lies, and I am deeply distrustful of the fascists who rant about 'the People's Will', as if a few percent majority of ignorant persons share the Voice of God, but I have resigned too often, and Mr Corbyn is about the best we are going to get, even if he makes mistakes like voting for these crooks and their incoherent decision.
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What now for Labour? (Part 4)

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:58 am

Thus the Labour Party remains fixed fast between Scylla and Charybdis - 'twas ever thus because Tory supporters know what they're voting for, self-interest and greed.  Anyone with altruistic motives for the common good may find themselves attracted to any of three or four distinct party groupings.

In the actual circumstance of one by-election victory balanced by one defeat, the Labour Leader is probably spared a palace coup for a few months longer, but Tom Watson has  £500K in campaign funds currently burning a hole in his pocket.

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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by boatlady on Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:09 am

I think Tom ~Watson was a very big mistake - I'd say snake in the grass except for his build, which is more warthog
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:21 am

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A warthog
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Penderyn on Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:21 pm

I was at first at least mildly sympathetic to the notion that so many former Labour supporters supported Brexit that we had to compromise. After their performance in Cumberland, I realise these characters are so brainwashed that it is a waste of time:
apparently those who canvassed were struck by how often the NHS came up! There's nice!
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"Positions for take-off, please."

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Feb 25, 2017 7:06 pm

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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by boatlady on Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:28 pm

Separated at birth
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Phil Hornby on Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:42 pm

Wasn't Watson as 'democratically elected' as Corbyn by Labour Party Members - or did I miss something?

And seeking to draw a parallel between the evil IDS's jubilation at the demise of the poor and a snap of Watson doing something rather different is a smear worthy of the Daily Mail [i]or the [i]Sun.

We have to do better than that, surely...
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:55 pm

"May I say, for the benefit of those who have been carried away by the gossip of the last few days, that I know what's going on. [pause] I'm going on, and the Labour government's going on."

(Harold Wilson, at a May Day rally in London, 4 May 1969. There had been a series of reports that Wilson's leadership might be challenged).
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by boatlady on Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:56 am

Yes, Watson was democratically elected - and has in a background sort of way been one of the consistent anti-Corbyn voices in my opinion.

If Corbyn's leadership can be twice questioned and plotted against by PLP members aided and abetted by Watson, I think it's reasonable for the membership to ask the question as to whether Watson continues to be the right man for the job (deputy leader - supporting the elected leader) - I would think by now their relationship is poor - Corbyn can hardly feel much trust in a deputy who consistently undermines him, and many of the membership seem to feel that Watson has brought very little to the table in terms of pushing a labour agenda - has been too busy trying to get publicity for himself by undermining the elected leader.

Speaking personally, if I find myself in a job where I'm not in sympathy with my boss's aims, I usually find another job - I don't hang on using my position to attack my boss. If Watson wants to be a rebel voice there's always the back benches, where he can complain to his heart's content
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Penderyn on Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:42 pm

While there's a gap between the Labour Movement and its careerist 'representatives' we are going to have constant tension, I suppose. Pity we allowed Blair et al to get us into this mess, which given the power of Murdoch and Co is going to take some fixing.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Phil Hornby on Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:26 pm

Corbyn Sums It Up...

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" I know just how corrosive a lack of loyalty to the Party Leader can be from the many times I didn't show any myself..."
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:27 pm

Some colleagues also have form.

"co-conspirator Tom Watson in the notorious 2006 curry house plot in which a number of MPs told Tony Blair his time as Prime Minister was up."

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"The strange thing about this whole affair is that I do genuinely lack personal ambition now. There are things I do because I enjoy it and I’m very ambitious for Ed Miliband but I don’t have to do it. I can do it in whatever capacity. You know if he wanted me out of the shadow cabinet tomorrow I wouldn’t be unhappy.” He laughs. “In fact I’d probably be relieved.”

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"Tom Watson attacks Jeremy Corbyn's Shami Chakrabarti nomination as Labour Peer."

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"Tom Watson urged Labour to unite and prepare for an early general election as he launched a passionate defence of the achievements of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

The deputy leader of the party told delegates Labour "can't afford" to carry on with its internal fighting and divisions.  He also insisted capitalism "is not the enemy" just a day after shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Labour had a "vision to rebuild and transform Britain", and that "in this party you no longer have to whisper its name, it's called socialism".

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Tom Watson gets a standing ovation as he says: “I don’t know why we’ve been focusing on what was wrong with the Blair and Brown governments for the last six years.  “But trashing our record is not the way to enhance our brand.  “We won’t win elections like that! And we need to win elections!”  On stage, delegates stand up and applaud him furiously.
However, video footage from the hall shows the response from Mr Corbyn - who pointed out many failures of the last Labour government - as more muted. He is seen applauding briefly, then stops.

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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by boatlady on Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:44 am

I seriously doubt Watson's claim that he lacks personal ambition - he strikes me as a publicity hound of the worst sort - don't know what he's ambitious FOR - but it doesn't seem to me he's ambitious on behalf of the Labour party - or indeed on behalf of ordinary voters - who knows? maybe he's being paid for his fractious attitude
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:20 pm

There are several examples of successful people who got it right just once. (In the world of pop music "The one-hit wonder".) In business there was Clive Sinclair who brought us the pocket calculator, followed by Alan Sugar who realised that people wanted a calculator which also enabled them to write letters. That was curtains for the typing pool.

We need say nothing about Sinclair's electric tricycle or that Sugar obsession with a phone/e-mail device which nobody bought.

The relevance in politics is that Tony Blair's 1997 success might fall into the same category, although he extended it for two more terms. But that was them and this is now. The world has of course moved on, and pretend-socialism just doesn't hack it in the face of unbridled Capitalism.

When the going gets tough, military men speak of falling back on prepared positions and Captains of Industry reposition themselves in the market. Which is what the Labour Party has to do. Pronto. Without squabbling internally over an idea that worked ONCE.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Ivan on Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:46 pm

Is this part of 'the soft coup' which is now being talked about on Twitter and elsewhere?  scratch

Peter Mandelson: "I try to undermine Jeremy Corbyn every single day."

Something, however small it may be – an email, a phone call or a meeting I convene – every day I try to do something to save the Labour Party from his leadership.

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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by boatlady on Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:39 pm

I don't think Mandelson's the only one employing those tactics - and I think those who do are showing clearly that they want a Tory government in perpetuity.

Undermining a leader with such a large mandate 'saves' no-one - except Theresa May and the rest of the Tories
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:43 pm

I'm reminded of a Thatcher utterance, "Is he one of us?"
Blair, Mandelson, Miliband D, and a long list of fellow travellers seem to have a shared understanding of the answer to such a question when it's asked about Jeremy Corbyn.

Which is what makes him the right man for the job in 2017.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by boatlady on Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:02 pm

I do think you're right OW
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:31 pm

All that we need to do now is to convince the Murdoch Press, yesterday's men, all the Brexiteers, the disenchanted, and those who firmly believe that you can't beat The System.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:41 pm

Whoa! Whoa! Breaking News....
(I never expected to say this) JOHN MAJOR !!!!

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Can a snap election be far off ??
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by boatlady on Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:26 pm

John Major is a bit of a mould breaker, though - a boy who ran away from the circus to become an accountant - and a decent Tory
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

Post by Ivan on Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:42 pm

"Decent Tory" sounds like an oxymoron, but I know what you mean; sometimes people don’t seem so bad once they’ve left office. I can’t forgive John Major for the pig’s ear he made of privatising the railways, or the 53 tax increases (including imposing VAT on gas and electricity and trying to raise it to 17.5%) after promising “tax cuts year on year” in the 1992 election campaign.

I don’t see why Theresa May would want to call a snap election. Yes, she would win it by a landslide, but in the current climate of nationalism and xenophobia the Tories will almost certainly win in 2020, so why start the clock ticking now? Besides, though not for the first time, May would be contradicting what she said last year if she called an early election. And then there is the little matter of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act of 2011, which makes a certain amount of absurd manoeuvring necessary if a PM with a majority wants to see Parliament dissolved.
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Re: What now for Labour? (Part 3)

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