Tuesday 11 April 2017

For the McDonnell Amendment

It's getting to the time of year that Constituency Labour Parties are selecting their delegates for party conference. This time both the right and left of the party are scrambling members for the monthly meeting because there's something substantial on the table for when we meet in Brighton in September: the McDonnell Amendment. For readers not au fait with party jargon, this rule change for how the party selects its leader is very important. To qualify for a place on the ballot paper for a leadership contest, a candidate must now acquire the nominations of at least 15% of the parliamentary and European parliamentary party. Under the shadow chancellor's proposals, this would be reduced to five per cent. The right have set their face against, while the left are mobilising for it. In this case, the left are right and the right are wrong. Indeed, I would go so far to say that the party as a whole - all of its wings - would benefit if the amendment passes.

In an article from last August, Caroline Flint makes the case against. She argues that Labour is a party that uses the machinery of government to meet its objectives, has the tricky task of forging an electoral coalition crisscrossing a plurality of interests, and must have a leader who commands the support of the parliamentary team. The latter point is, ultimately, the litmus test for exercising confidence in the country as a whole. The role the PLP and its European counterparts have in acting as a gatekeeper - not her phrase - is balanced by the responsibility it carries as the main public face of the party. As she notes, politics is "a team game", a "collective effort". I therefore wonder if Caroline was one of the precious few Progress-affiliated MPs who tried reigning in the moaners and the whingers straight after Jeremy Corbyn won the the first Labour leadership contest in 2015?

No matter. There are two important features of the PLP, a strength and a weakness that cannot be separated from one another. The first is their collective proximity to mainstream public opinion. Taken as a whole, their positions on the NHS (keep it free), immigration (more controls), defence (replace Trident and support Our Troops), and the economy (growth and fairness) correlates roughly with the bulk of the electorate. Every time a poll drops from YouGov or whatever listing voters' priorities and fears, MPs can feel their views are shared by millions of people "out there". This then is a key resource MPs draw upon to legitmate themselves as representatives of constituencies rather than delegates of constituency parties, and its powerful because it is true. Getting a bellyful on the doorstep or a postbag bulging with complaints about immigrants, for instance, tends to reinforce the view that controls on immigration is a sensible position to take. Being conditions consciousness and all that.

The PLP's weakness is, well, their collective proximity to public opinion. What they think the electorate thinks is framed by the polls and the focus groups, and is subject to further filters. Every window looking out into the wider world is tinted by the preconceptions and hobby horses of the press, broadcast media and Westminster watchers. Effectively, the apparatus of the media is synonymous with public opinion. It washes over them all day every day, and is confirmed when one breaks free and speaks to constituents at surgery and suchlike. Politics here becomes reduced to addressing "very real concerns" and convincing voters that Labour has the means to sort them out. Of course, that is what any party should aspire to do, but also it should try to lead public opinion. Labour is the condensation of the interests of pretty varied groups of working people, a position guaranteed ultimately by the affiliation of the country's largest trade unions. To stand up for those interests in the context of a capitalist society in which a) workers are subordinate to capital, and b) the latter of necessity ceaselessly struggles against the former requires a knowledge of what the Labour Party is, who its natural constituents are (i.e. the vast bulk of the population), and a determination to challenge public opinion. For instance, introducing markets into public services helps break up our electoral coalition. Chasing the tabloid press into the gutter instead of challenging the lies told about immigration undermines the solidarity of our coalition. Promising to get tough with people receiving social security delegitimises the very idea of collective responses to market failure, putting a question mark over what our coalition is supposed to be working toward. And so on. In the topsy turvy world of Westminster, accepting the status quo as immovable and immutable is providing an effective opposition and leadership. Even raising questions about it, let alone vociferously attacking it is lefty indulgence.

There is, however, another link MPs have to the wider public, and that is through the party membership itself. While, as a rule, more left than the electorate (in much the same way the Tories' dwindling rolls are further to the right), they have far greater familiarity and exposure to what ordinary people think and say. The woman at constituency who bangs on about the bedroom tax, she knows people who are having a very tough time because of it. She might even be one of those folks herself. The chap who is concerned about the government's stance on bombing Syria - he works in a warehouse surrounded by blokes just like him, and knows how racist and xenophobic views ramp up when war talk is in the air. The new member concerned about Theresa May's encroachment on internet privacy works three part-time jobs and is struggling to scrape together a deposit for a flat. The old member who is concerned about the party's perceived distaste for the "traditional" working class is, at the same time, fighting for a care package for his wife. And there are those nice, "just-about-managing" middle class-types as well. Too many Labour MPs have little time for the members beyond their ability to deliver leaflets, but our army of unpaid couriers are more in touch with life in 21st century Britain than they because they live it in far less comfortable circumstances. More often than not, their politics are stamped indelibly by their experience. There is that, and the small matter of the members putting MPs there in the first place. There is not one, not a single Labour MP who'd be sat in the Commons without the party label.

And so, ultimately, I support the lowering of the threshold for exactly the same reason why I've always supported mandatory reselection for sitting MPs. If the parliamentary party has to actively work to keep onside members, to build deep roots in their communities to support them and ensure the party heads in the direction they desire, the less likely we are to see Labour actively pursuing policies that harm the universal interest. i.e. That of working people, of anyone compelled to sell their time to an employer in return for a wage or salary. Lowering the threshold means we won't ever have the spectacle again of what are effectively personnel managers (with the politics to match) being serious contenders. MPs who want to lead would have to up their game and pay attention to what Labour was set up to do in the first place. For sure, it's going to take more than nice write ups from your mates in the media.

This isn't a recipe for turning the Labour Party into a pure, permanent leftist opposition. The amendment is about building the rooted politics that has weight in communities across the land, a politics unashamed of its truly representative and transformative role. Socialism is the movement of the immense majority in the interests of the immense majority, after all.

Choose your delegates wisely.


gorsehill-labour said...

Worth reading as always Phil. You've given me something to ponder.

Blissex said...

I'll first mention because it is very respectable the opinion of the young Tony Blair here, because I also agree with it:

«The difficulty was that though the theory of greater democracy and increased accountability of MPs was fine, the practical context in which the theory was operating was fraught with danger. What was missing from the theory was any appreciation of the vital necessity of ensuring that, as well as MPs or leaders being accountable to the Party, the Party was accountable to the electorate. The one without the other was a recipe for disaster. Because the Party was small and did not encourage participation, it became prey to sectarian groups from the Ultra-Left. Moreover, the new situation allowed the Party to engage in the worst delusion of resolutionary socialism – the notion that resolutions passed at Conference have meaning or effect without real support in the wider community.»

But then I agree also with:

«If the parliamentary party has to actively work to keep onside members, to build deep roots in their communities to support them and ensure the party heads in the direction they desire»

But I think that for the purple/mandelsonian/New Labour/Progress people that seems to be completely irrelevant at best, or more precisely to be ballast.

Their view seems to be that political parties should be marketing campaigns, and that being a marketing campaign (even if with a a vestigial and irrelevant membership) has not stopped the Conservatives from gaining power and delivering huge benefits to the sponsors of their marketing campaign.
But then the secondary point as our blogger says is that a party of workers “should try to lead public opinion”, especially when public opinion is particularly receptive only to marketing campaigns funded by influential sponsors, and obviously New Labour seem to think that accordingly the party (or at least Progress for now) should be funded by sponsors like Lord Sainsbury rather than by trade union members and ordinary members and supporters.

In the end it always goes back to the 1999 strategy meeting as summarized by Lance Price:

«Philip Gould analysed our problem very clearly. We don’t know what we are.
Gordon wants us to be a radical progressive, movement, but wants us to keep our heads down on Europe.
Peter [Mandelson] thinks that we are a quasi-Conservative Party but that we should stick our necks out on Europe.»

Phil said...

Nice to see a bit of class politics coming through!

Speedy said...

You have the tension between the self-selecting minority interested in changing things for the benefit of the vast majority, although this vast majority may have an entirely different view about what is good for them.

I think the principles of your argument stand up, the practice however is indeed what you deny - permanent opposition.

Can we get back to the roots of the Labour movement? Didn't it "owe more to Methodism than to Marx"?

Your problem IS one of marketing, because as any marketer knows the product has to reflect the needs of the market, not the other way around.

So although I understand the evangelical impulse, I think in practice you will be abandoning the great majority you wish to serve - it is a recipe for self-righteousness and little more. It is a dereliction of responsibility (and almost a definition of the career of Jeremy Corbyn).

Organized Rage. said...

Phil unfortunately my CLP selected its delegate at a hastily called AGM at the beginning of the year before we began to get organised, is it possible to mandate our conference delegate to vote for the McDonnell Amendment

Jeremy Corbyn (Parody) said...

"Personnel managers". That is exactly what Liz Kendall and Emma Reynolds are like. Spot on. They look like personnel managers. They sound like personnel managers. They waddle like personnel managers. They are the very people that I joined Labour to thwart.

Phil said...

Hi Mick, yes they can be mandated but there is no sanction available should they decide not to observe the mandate (beyond ostracisation, awkwardness, etc.)

johnny conspiranoid said...

Non of the ways listed in the article are reliable ways of knowing what the majority want, so the membership, the PLP and speedy may all be labouring under a delusion.

Are people with the real majority opinions interested in joining political parties or are political parties necessarily full of people with minority opinions?

johnny conspiranoid said...

There is no way of knowing what the majority public opinion is.
Do people with the majority opinion even join political parties?
Why have two parties representing the same opinions?

Gary Elsby said...

I disagree Phil, there shouldn't be mandatory re-selections here in Stoke-on-Trent, that would be unfair.

There should be mandatory de-selections across the board for deliberately undermining the Leader, the party and wider membership.

'Jeremy is a IRA/ISIS terrorist sympathiser'.(for fucks sake!)

It should also be compulsory that Labour members are not allowed to choose who represents them.

We stand a chance if the above comes to pass.

Anonymous said...

Why 5% though? Why not 10%? If a candidate from the PLP cannot get a tenth of his/her colleagues to back them then they are doomed, in my opinion. Having a plethora of nominated candidates is no better than just having two or three. However it was lamentable that when Gordon Brown stood in June 2007 no one else got onto the ballot to oppose him. In order to secure a place on the ballot paper, candidates needed to be supported by at least 12.5% of Labour MPs (45 Labour MPs at that time) including the candidate themselves. John McDonnell could not pass that threshold and Brown got through unopposed. However Brown would have won anyway.

Anonymous said...

Gary Elsby. Can we please dispense with the SWEARING in this media forum and Jeremy was democraticly elected twice by the members of the party and he is not a terrorist IRA/ISIS sympathiser. Jeremy was elected the second time with a bigger majority than the first time. It is Angela Eagle and Owen Smith who are the very MP's we should be looking to deselect from ever being MP's in future for bringing are leader into disreput in front of the whole population of the country and making us look like a shambles of an opposition party.

Gary Elsby said...

Quite funny that.

Boffy said...

The PLP/MEP's should have no privileged position. We should have a minimum % of support from the whole party for a nomination, and that is it. In fact, as with the SNP?gReens, there is no reason why the party leader even has to be an MP. The current arrangement is actually undemocratic, and led even the Tory Lord Chancellor, Lord Hailsham to describe the British parliamentary system as an elected dictatorship, because of the power of patronage of the Prime Minister.

That has become even more the case with the Americansation of British politics with the introduction of Leaders Debates, as though the Leader was some kind of directly elected President.

The current situation, simply shows that we need wholesale deselections of MP's, who clearly are out of tune not just with Corbyn, but with 90% of the party itself. If we had Councillors, MP's and MEP's all of a similar persuasion as party members, the current divisions would disappear, and the party's standing in the polls would rise sharply.

There certainly is no justification for giving the PLP a privileged position, and the arguments given by Flint fall apart when you include the MEP's in that cohort, because they have their own leader in the EP. Moreover, why is it that unelected people like Kinnock, who pontificate in the House of Lords get to go to PLP meetings? And while we are on it, why is it that unelected people like Ayesha Hazarika, and McTiernan continually appear on TV to pontificate about Labour policy, rather than Shadow Cabinet members or Corbyn supporting MP's?

David Parry said...

'Jeremy was democraticly elected twice by the members of the party and he is not a terrorist IRA/ISIS sympathiser.'

I don't think he meant to suggest that he is. I think he's referring to that as one of the myths that have been propagated about Corbyn by his detractors.

Speedy said...

There is no way of knowing what the majority public opinion is.

Of course there is - there's a whole polling industry built around it. Also the media reflects that opinion - that is why there are more readers of the Mail than the Guardian. And people vote every now and then too.

Do people with the majority opinion even join political parties?

No, in so much as there may be people with the majority opinion belonging to parties, as Phil says, however the rub is that MOST VOTERS ARE NOT SUFFICIENTLY INTERESTED IN POLITICS AND DON'T DEFINE THEIR LIFE NEEDS IN A POLITICAL CONTEXT. Phil and others may see it as a political struggle, but most people just see it as the price of a loaf of bread. That's why the Tories are so successful in attracting voters who should vote for Labour. They have grasped this, but Labour - other than briefly under New Labour - rarely has. And this is why it is hurtling in the wrong direction now.

Why have two parties representing the same opinions?

Because this is the surface - you only need to look at the difference now between May's Britain and Blair's Britain. Personally I was critical of New Labour, and I think they did not go half as far as they could have in improving the lot of the working class, but even I can spot the difference.

John said...

What Phil fails to mention is that this isn't democracy, but control, It's called the McDonnell amedment for a reason and it's so John McDonell and others like him can get on the ballot paper. They know the PLP won't put them on the ballot paper so there trying to rig the system in their favour.

Anonymous said...

I really hope this passes, but what are the odds? The left hasn't been so good at the past two conferences, even though they're the party majority. I know Momentum are mobilising for this one though.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Caroline on this.

As far as I'm concerned anyone who cannot get the support of more than 5% of their parliamentary colleagues does not deserve to be a leader.

If someone is good enough - irrespective of the wing of the party they come from - they should be able to command enough support to get on to the ballot as it stands.


Phil said...

What John fails to realise is that a leadership election is an election, and the presence of a hard left figure on any future ballot paper isn't a guarantee they would win.

If you're having to rely on bureaucratic tricks to avoid arguing politics, then you are completely unsuited to lead.

Jack said...

To Anonymous
What if the majority of Labour MPs are there because of Blairite or similar gerrymandering? no one else would get a chance other than by 'accident' in the way Jeremy Corbyn was selected. Do away with minimum support requirements, let any MP stand and let the members decide.

Ben Philliskirk said...

"There is no way of knowing what the majority public opinion is.

Of course there is - there's a whole polling industry built around it."

Yes, and it's about as scientific and successful as your average punter at William Hill's.

Jack said...

To John
What you apparently fail to realise is that If there were no minimum support requirements and any MP could stand before the members, it would remove all filters, which could be manipulated i.e. 'controlled' and result in the purest form of democracy.

Anonymous said...

The party does need marketing, it has just been using the wrong kind. If you're selling something the public already understand, like soap, then you have to argue that you're the better soap. But these days every year brings new products that no-one has heard of before, and marketing departments have had to work out how to sell those too. This is the kind of marketing that the left needs. It's not about a pyrrhic attempt to sell people something they don't like, it's about making proposals and then tweaking both the message and the 'value proposition' (ie the actual substantive proposal) until a) the public 'get it' easily, b) they want it, and in this case also c) it's difficult for the adversary to undermine.

Jack said...

To Anonymous
How does Jeremy Corbyn get his (marketing) message out to the public if the media, including the BBC, is so right wing that they refuse to publicise it? Even if they do give it some publicity, invariably they put their own spin on it and then invite anti-Corbyn Labour MPs to reinforce their bias. The first stage of 'marketing' should be to neutralise the non-Socialist MPs in the Labour Party, it doesn't take a genius to figure out how that can be done!

Phil said...

A comment in two parts from James:

Phil I always enjoy your entreaties, though I don't see how what you have outlined above, which I agree with, sits with your support of Snell. Snell most definitely appears to have been selected for his complete inability to be a threat to flello, smeeth and faralley when the boundary changes come in. Snell won't be voting for a reduction of the 15% rule or supporting any centre left let alone hard left candidates.

Anyway that aside I think your thesis is correct. However I think it is confused by the high level of political illiteracy both amongst members and the wider public.

In the late 70's an economic liberal with a socially conservative outlook took over the Conservative Party. She then set about removing what would be recognised as 'traditional' or ' one nation' conservatives from their parliamentary group. This could not be described as what it was without raising alarm amongst the Tory rank and file and the wider public so new euphemisms were created.

This new form of liberalism was described as "Thatcherism' and the old conservatives were called "wet" and those signed up to the liberal economic orthodoxy were described as 'dry'. This process continued through the eighties and early nineties till the same process was undertaken in the Labour Party. Moving forward Blair not only accepted economic liberalism but also fully social liberalism, as with thatcher this rejection of what the electorate thought was the traditional ideology of the Party, ie democratic socialism, was couched in new descriptors namely "the third way" and "Blairism". By the mid noughties Cameron had also fully signed up to both social and economic liberalism but with the pretence of "fiscal conservatism" as a faux definer from the New Labour project. I say faux because Osborne set stringent fiscal targets then failed to meet any of them!

That brings us to now when nobody is talking about Mayism or Corbynism because the parties have infact in both cases rejected the liberals who dominated for the past thirty years In favour of what could be called 'authentic' or at least to anybody over 40 as traditional Conservatism or Democractic Socialism. This process has caused mass confusion in our party as many attempt to label Chris Leslie, Liz Kendall, Dan Jarvis, Hillary Benn et al as 'Red Tories' etc. This is nonsense, none of these people are Tories, but they aren't socialists either. They are liberals and the reason they appear to be like Tories is that under Cameron the Tory front bench were also dominated by liberals, don't forget while there was some argument around social policy in the coalition there was almost total unanimity between the Cameron/Osborne faction and the "Orange Book" liberals in the Lib-Dems on economic policy.

That is that they opted for a "rentier" form of capitalism which has a focus on asset protection and seeks wealth creation from chasing 'rent' mainly in the form of property, usury, copyright and shares. Again the misappropriation of a term people have a preconceived interpretation of, in this case 'entrepreneur', is used to justify the idea that ANY form of capitalist endeavour that generates profit, by any means, is not just acceptable but in fact desirable.

Phil said...

Pt 2

In reality part of the challenge which we have in the Labour Party is to create a genuine "entrepreneurial" economy which punishes "lazy" capital, as outlined above, and instead rewards/encourages innovative, productive and high skilled economic activity. You don't need to use Marx, Galbraith or Keyennes to make this argument. I would urge everybody to go back and read again Adams, Hayak and Friedman. These writers are used by the neo-libs to justify the current system, but they reject the very form of 'rentier' capitalism that we currently endure! It would almost seem that by holding them up as the "Gods" of our current free-market system ( though the only genuinely free markets I know of are the illegal drug trade and the, mainly, unlicensed sex industry and I'm still waiting for Sir Tim Selfmademan MP of Tunbridge Wells to hold them up as the shinning example of the system he supports) it has stopped the left from returning and re-examining what they ACTUALLY said not what the neo-libs just say that they said.

In terms of Labour policy in this area it's identical, but with two caveats. One, we will try though social policy to "take the edge" off the worst excesses of this system. I think in the desire to deny New Labour we on the left do forget that it did do very many good things, the Twitter feeds of many "moderate" Labour MP's are full of them and they were good and we should celebrate those achievements. However, the agreement on the economic system is where we fail. If you are going to have a system of protecting assets and cutting public services ( otherwise known as privatisation, or if your prefer private sector investment) then better to have in proper ruthless bastards who will make sure we take the medicine and don't chicken out half way through and put us through very real pain, but for no gain. Just think how terrible it would have been if that had been allowed to happen! Oh and two, we will look really sad when we make the same cuts as the Cameronites were promising and try to make maybe 10% less and avoid cutting top level tax to much. The current fight in our Party is not about social policy but about if we are even going to bother trying to have a discussion with ourselves, the electorate and the media about what sort of form of capitalism do we want. The idea that we are going to remove it, at least in any Marxian sense, is frankly bonkers. How we move it into a socially productive form or next phase post industrial form is challenging but, I believe, genuinely possible.

Does this mean that the Pre-Corbyn Faction (PCF) who were dominant prior to September 2015 are finished politically , no they are evidently far from powerless. As you rightly pointed out the PCF decided they wanted a final death match with the left and saw Corbyn as their perfect opponent.

The same arrogance and disconnect which lost us two elections ( I think 2005 could also arguably be seen as a defeat in terms of voter connection and we only maintained control due to the distorting effect of the 97 landslide) and can be seen in the complete lack of voter ID and campaign work in our heartlands meant that they had no idea what was going on in the membership

It should not be forgotten that Liz (4%) Kendall genuinely thought she would get 1,000,000+ votes when they threw open the selectorate with £3 membership in what was effectively a primary.

Phil said...

Pt 3!

This civil war though has been ever thus in our Party. The left has always relied on "democracy" ( that is we will listen to you in a comradely fashion, then ignore you because we have one more vote than you) whereas the right always try and control the "rules" ( yes you may have one more vote than us but if you have another look at the rules I think you will see that you now need two more votes!). This was fine when we accepted the idea of cabinet governance. Both left and right would jostle for control of the PLP but no matter who had the overall numbers ALL factions were represented in the shadow or actual cabinet. The rise of the liberals meant that the right(neo-liberal) faction were not content with just control, thy wanted complete homogeneity. If anything as You rightly say the PCF will now endeavour to completely purge any last vestige of anything remotely left if They retain power post Corbyn.

The choice facing us is simple, either Corbyn and the PCF either come to an accommodation on lowering the threshold for leadership nominations or we will continue as we are until the current game of chicken ends in calamity.

Lidl_Janus said...

I've gotta come down on "Against". The idea that the leader of a Parliamentary party (right there in Clause 1 as a guiding purpose) could be opposed by 95% of MPs and yet be leader is madness. What you're suggesting, in effect, is the creation of a party slightly larger than the Lib Dems, with an internal opposition of 200 MPs, i.e. a recipe for perfect gridlock.

The trouble is, the Corbynite side of the Labour Party won too soon with the wrong man. If Corbyn had finished second or even third, but brought in an influx of members, those members could have voted in, and become, PPCs in 2020, thus enlarging their faction and meeting the 15% faction next time. Instead, they've got Corbyn, who has no leadership abilities whatsoever, steadily discrediting themselves in the eyes of the wider electorate, maybe for good.

Organized Rage. said...

lidl Janus

You are come at this from the wrong end of the horse, what is madness is a totally isolated group of MP's, whose policies haven't won a general election in over ten years, believes it has the right to lead a party against the wishes of the majority of the membership.

As to Corbyn not having leadership qualities, well, he was leader enough to see off in leadership elections the best the right in the party could put up, not once, but twice. Leadership is an interesting conundrum we never know who will be a successful PM until they get into the job. Attlee for example was regarded as a no hoper by the LP right, while the Tories thought Cameron, and Anthony Eden would be first rate yet they both failed in the job.

If you truly wished to see Jeremy retire at a later date, you would support the McDonnell resolution at Conference, sadly at a guess like many on the right you will not, preferring to continue with this civil war of smears and hate.

People talk about Corbyn's lack of policies which I do not buy, we have clear guidelines and future policies on the table, but no leader would set out his stall in fine detail at this stage of the parliamentary cycle. However what gets my goat is those who claim he has no policies have not put forward a platform of policies themselves. Not in the first leadership contest, nor the second when Smith aped Jeremy's in the home the membership was brain dead; and we have seen nothing since. If they're confident they have policies which will gain both the memberships support and the nations they should put up or shut up. if not the dismal poll ratings can be firmly laid at their door. Its high time some of these people were charged with bringing the party into disrepute.

Lidl_Janus said...

@ Organised Rage, by paragraph:

1. Labour, by its own constitution, is a Parliamentary party. They are not Bolsheviks, and hence aren't looking to overthrow Parliament; nor are they pretending to be some kind of radical vanguard like the various timewasting far-left parties like the SWP, SP, TUSC, etc.; as a result, the front end of the horse is Parliament, and organisation and power there, because that's the ultimate end.

People here, including the OP, argue that the members' views precede the voters. The Tories made this mistake exactly once, with Iain Duncan Smith, and they're not going to make it again (see how there's no Prime Minister Andrea Leadsom). I have no idea why Labour is so committed to its own IDS moment now, nor why so many in Labour refuse to see they're in one.

You could argue that Labour should diminish the power of Parliament and decentralise (not devolve) power towards local government with a full federal framework - and I would strongly agree. But Labour under Corbyn shows little inclination to do this - if anything, the opposite.

2. By this standard, Donald Trump is the gold standard of leadership (in fairness to Corbyn and his team, they have a grasp on the English language which eludes the Trump administration entirely).

3. Once again, another Corbyn supporter leaps to the assumption that any critics of his can only be Blairites. You should probably ask yourself why the likes of Paul Mason, Owen Jones and Thomas Piketty have turned Blairite over the last year.

4. Honestly? The emerging policies from Corbyn seem more incoherent than non-existent. He swings between Milibandism and 'nationalise stuff' with no particular rhyme or reason. And yes, there is a vacuum amongst other factions. The Lib Dems are leaning way too much on 'oppose Brexit' (even if I agree with it).

I don't know who the hell someone like me votes for in a General Election. Luckily, this May it's easier - no-one left of the Lib Dems is standing.

Organized Rage. said...


Not sure you have much to be smug about the people you seem to support had their IDS moment when they elected Kinnock leader, and kept him there for three losing general election cycles. The Kinnock leadership actually was the longest suicide note in LP history.

Are you saying in your last sentence you will be voting for the LibDem? Is so you must have the memory of a gnat, and the empathy of a Nick Clegg. How anyone could vote for a party which set the austerity ball rolling and helped cause so much misery and hardship to millions of people is totally beyond me. More than that they betrayed their own members and broke their promises on student fee and much much more.

Lidl_Janus said...

1. It's true that I would have backed Kinnock over Militant at the time (I was too young to vote then). It's also undeniable that Kinnock wasn't PM material; but Labour gained seats in 1987 and 1992. I suspect Tony Benn would have driven the party down to 100 seats and applauded himself for doing so.

2. You'd rather a Conservative or UKIP candidate won? (There is no Labour option. Nor are there any Greens, far-left parties or, as mentioned, other options to the left of those mentioned).

Organized Rage. said...


Your view of the past is shaped by the media view of it today, it was never a case of Kinnock or Militant that is a daft thing to claim, Militant was never in a position to put up a viable leadership candidate. Of course there is a LP option today it will gain far more seats than the lib dems in the next general election yet you prefer voting for them despite the misery they helped create by entering a tory led administration, by doing that it is you who are supporting the Tories..

Why do you not admit you will support anyone but Corbyn, why because you oppose the socialist policies he advocates, be true to yourself and others, move on and stop masquerading under a false flag.