Friday, July 08, 2016

The View From The Outside

If nothing else, we can agree that there aren't many middle class British writers who will ever get bored with cranking out columns attacking other middle class people for being middle class.

Even so, I note that despite the endless wails and complaints about Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters, he is still at least as secure in his current position as leader of the Labour Party as he was last September.  Possibly more so.

Now as I always say, I'm not a member and people who are can accept my advice or tell me where to stick it, as they see fit.

From where I'm sitting however, it looks very much like the Labour right are going to have to come to some kind of accommodation with Corbyn, no matter how much it sticks in their craw to do so.  Or, they can put up a challenger and duke it out.

Simply put, there is no other way

Why do I think so?  Well, a quick recap:

In the leadership campaign last year, the members indicated that they were going to reject the candidates offered by Labour's centre-right.  Maybe this was a wise choice and maybe it wasn't but ultimately it doesn't matter, because that's what happened.

The centre-right of the party were outraged about this, and so they ran to the press wailing and screeching and beating their breasts...

...And they got absolutely walloped in the leadership election, because the members wanted politics that were more like the ones that Corbyn was offering, and less like the austerity-lite ones of the centre-right.  Nor did they much appreciate the wailing and the screeching, and so on. 

Corbyn's leadership victory outraged the party's MPs all over again.  Almost as one, they ran to the press, wailing and screeching and beating their breasts.  They denounced Corbyn and decried the members as a bunch of entryists and loonies.

Now, maybe the wailing and screeching was a good idea, and maybe it wasn't.  It probably wasn't a good idea for politicians to attack people whose votes they might later need to win.  Either way, it doesn't matter whether it was a good idea, because it didn't work.

And unsurprisingly, the wailing and screeching only annoyed the members who had voted for Corbyn, and their support further solidified Corbyn's grip on the leadership.

Finally, after the Referendum disaster, the MPs decided that they'd had enough.  And so they ran to the press, wailing and screeching and beating their breasts.

Again, maybe this was the appropriate response, or maybe not.  I think it was a daft idea but to be absolutely clear, it doesn't matter, because it didn't work.

Worse, the renewed wails and screeches caused another huge influx of new party members, most of whom will now probably support Corbyn, rather than the party's centre-right.

Which leaves us where we are today, with the MPs and the hacks still wailing and screeching and beating their breasts and insulting the party members.

And yet, it looks like Corbyn's position is more secure than ever.

At this point, I have to ask the right of the party - How's that Corbyn Out strategy working out for you, folks?

What's your plan now, and how much wailing and screeching does it involve?

Because the wisest thing the Labour right could do now is this - forget all the complaints about Corbyn's unelectability and his faffing, bumbling public persona.  They're irrelevant.

Put all the outraged cries about his supposedly unacceptable comments to one side, and dismiss the endless garment-rending and teeth-gnashing over his terrible, outrageous personal politics.

All of these are mere details I realise that they're vitally important to some but in the long run, they just don't matter.

There's one cast-iron truth that everyone has to face up to here, and it's this - if the Labour Party is to have any chance of winning a national election in the next few years, then there will have to be a decisive fight.  If not, then everyone will have to plaster on a fake grin and swallow half a ton of humble pie.

Corbyn is not going to go away and barring an unforseeable miracle for the MPs, it looks like no amount of wailing, screeching or breast-beating is going to get rid of him.

The only viable choices are:

a)  Come to some kind of horribly awkward, grudging, mutually demeaning accommodation with Corbyn and hope that you can, for example, agree on a suitable successor for the next election;

b)  Put up a challenger who will espouse vaguely Corbyn-esque politics, and beat him at his own game, or

c)  Keep wailing and screeching and beating your breasts until either Corbyn retires, or you lose the will to go on.

And that's it.

Now, choose carefully.


Luis Enrique said...

I'm a centrist, lots about Jeremy and his supporters that I do not like, but I can't helping thinking that for years centrists have known that the Labour party contains those further to the left and have expected these further lefties to pull for the team despite them not really being too fond of it ... would it really kill the centrists to swap roles for once? If there was a realistic chance of a centrist getting the Tories out, I might think differently, but as there isn't, and as people ought to have learnt by now that we don't know as much about who is and who isn't electable as we thought. If he's going to fail, better he fails after having had a proper go, rather than being pushed out and leaving his supporters aggrieved.

all this said, I really do not like what I see from some Corbynites, and find myself thinking unrealistically optimistic thoughts about coalitions politics with separate parties for yon true socialists and us weaselly compromised centrists.

Gary Othic said...

It is somewhat puzzling that the people who denounce the middle class for putting their own moral rectitude ahead of supporting policies that would (supposedly) lead Labour to victory and helping those struggling, are the same people who loudly insist that there can be no compromise or accommodation with Corbyn.

I'm still struggling to see why editors up and down the land can't spot the obvious flaw in those pieces.

Igor Belanov said...

The real core issue in the Labour crisis is control. The policies that Corbyn has been offering up so far have been very moderate and focused on opposing the greatest excesses of Tory 'austerity'. Many of these policies, such as rail nationalisation and housebuilding, seem to have a lot of support amongst the public. I would have thought that this is the only way a vaguely left-wing opposition could go? Corbyn appears to have left his more 'controversial' opinions on issues such as Trident in the background for now in an attempt to compromise with the PLP, even though these have a great deal of support among the members.

Given that the current party policy could hardly be described as revolutionary, the crux of the matter is that the MPs have lost their ability to control the party. The PLP are terrified of Corbyn's instinct to go to the party members and to the country, and the last thing they want is an increase in activism. In essence, anything that seems to move politics outside of Westminster and away from the political establishment really sends shivers down the spines of most Labour MPs. They have demonstrated how out of touch they are with the ridiculous coup attempt. However, all their behaviour, and the fact they still have many friends in the media, points to the fact that they will never reconcile themselves to the current balance of forces in the party, whether Corbyn is leader or not.

Armando said...

"for years centrists have known that the Labour party contains those further to the left and have expected these further lefties to pull for the team despite them not really being too fond of it"

But this was never a two way street. The left are expected to pull for the team because they have nowhere else to really go (the Greens, I guess, but there is little hope for power there). My conversations with the Labour right indicate that they would rather see the Tories in power than have Corbyn as PM. And his unelectability is as much of a threat as a prediction.

I wouldn't expect compromise any time soon. They would rather lose than help Corbyn.

Anonymous said...

I agree accommodation is not possible.
Corbyn directly threatens the interests of the Labour right in a way the Tories do not.
Do not underestimate the network of corporate interests and PR people that make up Labour First/Progress etc...e.g. they're putting up a candidate for the NEC who is a direct corporate and nation state lobbyist.

ejh said...

What enrages me about all this isn't people being hostile to Corbyn, or to his supporters or programme or whatever it may be. It's the simple refusal to go by the proper democratic procedures and stand a candidate against the person you don't like, connected to which is the refusal to engage in the practice of convincing the people who disagree with you that you are more right than they thought. Of course the reason why they won't do the first of these is if they do, they expect to lose, and for some reason it escapes lots of Labour people that this is not a proper excuse for not doing it.

I genuinely think that a large part of the explanation for this lies in mainstream Labour culture, in particular the feeling - justified in all kinds of ways - that they cannot win an election by saying what they think to the public, and that therefore you go about it in a sideways manner, trying, in a sense, to fiddle your way in: good, concerned people trying to do something for people who don't seem to want it. And of course this is true to a degree.

I think this is exacerbated by the effect the Blair years had on Labour Party democracy, in whittling away the understanding that you needed to argue within the Party for support for your policies. Then they adopted the three-quid scheme and everything went boom.

I didn't agree with the three-quid scheme, though I don't think I said so anywhere - not because I'm against a wider franchise than the PLP, but because I thought it might foist a leader of the Party that the subs-paying membership didn't agree with. Come to that, I didn't agree with the Corbyn project as such, basically because - to cut a long thesis short - I don't think a disunited party can win and I don't think the party can be united from the left because the right will always wreck it. However, I'm also an advocate of democracy both generally and within the sort of leftwing parties for which I might vote, and the way some people within those parties just abrogate to themselves the right to ignore it - because they decide that they're the people who can win elections and their opponents are not - this disturbs me, disturbs me a lot. I won't vote for a party in which people like that get their way.

Ken Eadie, the prince of strikers said...

Kinnock’s leaked secret speech to the 20th Congress of the A.B.C. (Anyone But Corbyn) was pretty special wasn’t it? The architect of the party’s Great Moving Right Show once again aiming his guns at his own party whilst the Tories are in full on Godzilla mode, much in the same way as Labour leader he set about shafting the miners and the wider Labour movement whilst Thatcher happily turned the U.K. into Karl Polanyi’s ‘stark utopia’.

The democratically elected Labour leader must step down, the leader who won an overwhelming mandate must go says the former appointed and democratically unanswerable EU Commissioner and current life peer in the House of Lords. His secret speech was quintessential Kinnock- desiccated Bevan- and his execrable attempt to portray himself as the elder statesman of the Party is simply embarrassing.

ejh said...

It should be said that since I posted above, my comment has been overtaken by the fact of somebody actually standing. If only they had done that in the first place. As it is, I imagine all the nonsense that preceded it - from the refusals to serve in the Shadow Cabinet and the idiot resignation of Jamie Reed onwards - may have a permanently poisoning effect on PLP/Party relations.

Maybe not. I mean maybe it only brought to the surface what was festering beneath anyway. And maybe if Labour picks up in the polls, then all will be set aside for the while. Nothing in politics heals wounds so effectively as winning.

But given that the ruck has caused people to remember the circumstances in which Eagle got the Party nomination in Wallasey many years ago, I'm far from confident that people's grudges are so easily forgotten, and quite a lot of these grudges are really very justified.

Igor Belanov said...

Given what has been said against Corbyn and his supporters, not just over the past fortnight but the last year, this leadership campaign is not about the future of the party but which group in the party gets to keep the 'Labour' name. Given that Corbyn seems to have the support of the majority of the members, the only tactics that the PLP are going to adopt are an intensification in the already ridiculous level of defamation and smear against Corbyn, and to continue to blackmail the party by suggesting that they will keep deliberately undermining the party until they get their way.

My nagging fear is that the PLP will wear enough people down that they win, but that the Corbyn-supporting members will not have the self-respect to leave the party as a bad job after this.

gastro george said...

"... which group in the party gets to keep the 'Labour' name ..."

Which is why Corbyn's place on the ballot paper is likely to end up in court.

And also why the last refuge strategy is a realignment, creating a new party with centrist Tories if Leadsom wins, because SDP mark 2 = fail

Igor Belanov said...

'And also why the last refuge strategy is a realignment, creating a new party with centrist Tories if Leadsom wins, because SDP mark 2 = fail'

If there is an actual contest, then this is the one tactic that the PLP will use (other than continual insinuations that Corbyn is a closet Nazi/open Stalinist). They have to threaten to split the party if Corbyn wins again, because it is the only way possible to scare enough members that they have a chance of winning.

Even so, I suspect that things have gone too far. The attempts at manipulation have been so clumsy that I can't see the majority of members siding with people who have been so untrustworthy and have treated the membership with such contempt. I also can't see the party holding together if the PLP's bid to prevent a contest is successful.

sloppy said...

The blairite führerprinzip is finally being laid bare. The constant, constant talk from them of a "leader" and leadership and how Jeremy isn't one... It is frightening. These same people let a unilateral leader take us to an illegal war, so starry-eyed they were with Blair.

If the blairites want Jeremy out they need an alternative option. That appears to be the pro-Iraq war nobody Angela Eagle. I wonder how that's going to pan out.

Then they'll say "but the three pound members infiltrated and voted in corbyn...." -- the 3 £ voters were a ploy by the blairites to limit the power of the trade union block vote that had elected Ed over David Miliband, given ed vaguely resembles what labour is meant to be about and David is less labour party than he is S.P.E.C.T.R.E Bond Villain.

They got done by their own medicine. And the shocking thing to them is, the socialism Jeremy pronounces is - wait for it - actually quite popular. Yes,the idea that labour should represent labour-ers and vote against Tory budgets and not go on illegal wars is actually kinda popular with people who vote labour. Who knew. Here we were thinking labour was a party for latte sipping southeast based metrocratic élite, Motorway Man and Holby City Woman with their 2.4 children and dislike of big government. Sheesh.

Now that Jeremy is actually kind of popular and actually very good on TV because he is very measured, the blairites bang on about their hard-on for a führer but in reality they oppose corbyn because they are aware that he might *win* an election - not lose it.

In fact I'm pretty confident another blairite,pro-Iraq-war labour right winger would lose a general election, and lose pretty heavily. Especially in Scotland,once the home of Blairism.

The truth is it's the Right of labour who have infiltrated the good old party and essentially raped it. Theyre riding on the coattails of the working class vote in order to sustain their own neoliberal agenda. Angela Eagle and wallasey and Tristram Hunt and Sheffield have as much to do with each other as a haggis and a kangaroo. They are parachuted into safe seats from the right wing NEC and they claim they represent thousands of constituents but they don't. Peiple vote for the party not the candidates. It's führerprinzip again, it's madness.

What will happen is ; Angela illEagle-war-supporter will lose the leadership election heavily ; new NEC will also be left wing ; mass de-selection of red tories ; we get our party back and go avout winning the next election and reclaiming our industries and assets and rebuilding this country before Thatcher Mk II gets her way.

Just my tuppence for what it's worth.

P.s. - Just thought I'd add that the sheer gall of A. Eagle on TV today had me reeling. She said the labour party could do without this strife at a time of national crisis -- ya don't say, hen, it's you and your lot that are causing it!!!
It's the beginning of the end for them anyway. I welcome their demise. I don't accept that labour drifting rightwards won it elections. By '97 the public was so bone -tired of the Tories, recession after recession, the IRA and sleaze that a plant pot in a red rosette would've won most seats that year.
Blair is now toxic, if he wasn't before, and this should discredit this right wing labour movement that is far too well represented in the media. The truth is the blairites represent nobody but themselves. They have engineered a situation where a third or so of the population look at the ballot paper and go - nah,theyreall the same. Jeremy corbyn is the most principled man in a 300 mile radius of Westminster.

Lang may his lum reek.

ejh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ejh said...

It might be better to make those points without using rape as a metaphor.

organic cheeseboard said...

I imagine all the nonsense that preceded it - from the refusals to serve in the Shadow Cabinet and the idiot resignation of Jamie Reed onwards - may have a permanently poisoning effect on PLP/Party relations.

I think I agree on this and on the likely future changes in behaviour if accompanied by an upturn in the polls. Part of the 'tactics' - if you can really call them that - of the PLP seems to have been to make voting Labour as unappealing as possible from the second Corbyn got the nomination, with the aim to demonstrate Corbyn's lack of electability. For instance, loads of anti-Corbyn types on Twitter e.g. Glen O'Hara are bandying around the 'Labour on 30%, Tories on 38%, and Tories have no leader' thing. But there's a lot more to say on that score. In early July 2016, the Tories did actually have an outgoing leader, David Cameron, who has proven relatively popular with swing voters, and who Leave types might actually admire for e.g. providing them with Brexit, and the tory leader looked nailed on to be Teresa May, and so it proved; at the same time, the Labour vote hasn't increased, and that clearly has nothing to do with e.g. the fact that for weeks now Labour has not had a shadow cabinet, because they'd done a coordinated trickle-resignation, and had voted no confidence in their own leader. I'm personally of the opinion that the Tory party fixing it to have an uncontested coronation of Teresa May was not an especially good idea in the long term, especially if they don't call an early election, since dissent, especially over Brexit (how, for instance, will May manage to deliver a 'deal' that works for both leave-ers and remain-ers, given that the latter are more likely to be swing voters interested in the economy and its performance), will only rise over time.

But whatever. As I've said before on here, I don't think Corbyn is a competent leader who's made too many obvious mistakes to continue, and should have looked at all that and stepped down - but that's fantasy thinking on my part, it just won't happen. As such, we finally get a challenge, from the ultra-talented PLP who know EXACTLY what will beat him and... it's... er... Liz Kendall's 4% campaign, back from the dead, only with fewer policies.

organic cheeseboard said...

Because let's remember the electorate who are going to vote in this leadership election. Those who voted Corbyn will have seen his flaws and thought he's worth a punt anyway, especially given that they saw Ed Miliband as a centrist unifier who lost because of ultra-hostile press coverage (and that's not exactly an unfair assessment of our Ed). They'll have gone for something different - something that makes LABOUR look different - as a result. They'll then have seen two of the 3 other leadership contenders ostentatiously refuse to work with him. They'll have seen MPs sniping at him immediately and conducting business that had always previously done in private, in public. They'll have seen his shadow foreign secretary calling out half the party as Nazi-appeasers in Parliament, and being cheered for this by the Tories. They'll have seen the media coverage this all generated - which was the PLP's intention.

Given all that, their decision on who is to blame for his lack of ability to get MPs onside is very unlikely to conclude that it's all his fault. Instead they'll think 'Why didn't Yvette Cooper try to help the party? Why did my local MP barrack their own party leader in the house of commons? Why did so many MPs who'd previously followed the party whip rebel whenever possible on the grounds that 'Corbyn did it first'?' etc etc.

I don't think PLP members are entirely stupid by any means. But they sure as fuck look stupid at the moment. And if their aim is to split and form a new party - well, good luck, chums. Where's the money going to come from? And the members? Sure, they'll take a few centrist types with them, but the only thing they'll have going for them is slightly more positive media coverage and a completely incoherent set of policies. Let's see how it goes.

gastro george said...

I almost spilt my breakfast this morning when Eagle appeared on the morning news and came up with astonishing announcement that she had a policy - albeit a pretty uncontroversial one concerning maintaining workers' rights after brexit, that Corbyn would be quite pleased to support - but, yes, a policy.

Igor Belanov said...

No doubt she thought she was safe to announce that particular policy now that Theresa May has announced that it is her position as well.

flyingrodent said...

I don't think PLP members are entirely stupid by any means. But they sure as fuck look stupid at the moment.

I really have no idea what it is that the PLP think they're doing, now. I said ages ago that I think they confuse the opinions of their mates and the hacks with reasonable analysis, and the whole coup plot nonsense smacks of Let's You And Him Fight - the Times ran about five front-cover stories saying that Labour MPs were blaming Corbyn for the referendum result, before anyone knew what the result was going to be.

It looks pretty clear now that there was no plan at all - they just decided to throw everything they had at it, then crossed their fingers. And now, they look worse than Corbyn and Co: scheming, incompetent, ridiculous.

If I didn't know better, I'd say it was an insurance job. Torch the party then collect the cash and retire. If that wasn't the plan all along, then something's gone pretty wrong somewhere.

gastro george said...

Given some of the stuff in Jonathan Freedland's latest piece, they are deranged:

"The rebel MPs and their backers don’t consider hardcore Corbyn supporters to be Labour people at all."

I think the word "hardcore" in that sentence is redundant, as they appear to think that any Corbyn supporter is by definition hardcore.

"They are squatters, who in the last year have taken to telling the longterm, rightful owners of the Labour building how things should be run – even having the nerve to tell people who’ve lived there for 50 years that they no longer belong in their own house."

Just feel that self-righteousness.

But then the Guardian calls Stephen Kinnock, parachuted into his safe seat two years ago, a leading backbencher.

organic cheeseboard said...

I think we can all agree that yesterday went about as well for the PLP as could be expected, i.e. it was another serial clusterfuck born of misjudgment and arrogance. and now they're planning to split the anti-Corbyn ballot. My god. I know they all think that 'deselection is a terrible threat' but let's face it, their competence really has to be called into question, doesn't it? McDonnell is right - from start to finish they have been absolutely fucking useless.

Anonymous said...

Sloppy - You say "the socialism Jeremy pronounces is - wait for it - actually quite popular. Yes,the idea that labour should represent labour-ers and vote against Tory budgets and not go on illegal wars is actually kinda popular with people who vote labour."

Except it's not. Among Labour supporters, 48% are unhappy with his leadership against 45% who think he's doing well. And in the wider world, only 24% of the electorate think he's doing a good job compared to 65% who are dissatisfied with his performance - his lowest approval rating ever. (All figures Ipsos/Mori as of yesterday.)

The point is not his policies, but his competence as a leader. In my view, if he'd been any good at his job the current situation wouldn't have arisen in the first place.

gastro george said...

@Anon - it seems strange to attempt to refute Sloppy's statement, which is based on attitudes to policies, with polls based on attitudes to leadership or approval.

The latter, of course, will be heavily influenced by the media and the behaviour of the PLP.

Igor Belanov said...

"The point is not his policies, but his competence as a leader. In my view, if he'd been any good at his job the current situation wouldn't have arisen in the first place."

Why, should he have dissenters shot?

gastro george said...

It occurred to me this afternoon - wasn't May rather missing in action in the Remain campaign - yet apparently the Labour Right haven't bothered much to criticise her for her inactivity, especially as the Tories only voted 35% Remain.

Igor Belanov said...

She seems to be practically their ideal leader.

andrew adams said...

I don't think Eagle is just another Liz Kendall type, she's more on the centre-left, and to be fair she did serve in the shadow cabinet and tried to make it work. OK she hasn't had the greatest of starts to her campaign, maybe she'll improve or perhaps this is actually as good as it gets, in that case she has no hope. But in that case I'd put more blame on more capable alternatives who have not come forward (I don't know much about Owen Smith but I'm not massively impressed by him so far either).

TBH I'm pretty much in a "plague on both your houses" position. Yes, much of the PLP and their mates on the right of the party have behaved appallingly and made Corbyn's job much harder, but he's not shown much sign that he'd be much of a leader even without that, and some of his supporters are pretty unpleasant as well. Labour was already in a huge hole (not of his making) when he became leader and I don't think he even recognises the extent of the party's problems let alone having any kind of strategy to overcome them and win the next election. It's all very well wanting to do politics differently, but you still have to *do* politics, not sod off to a Cuba solidarity meeting instead of attending your own PLP meeting at a time when your party's going through a huge crisis.

Bonnemort said...

Isn't the point that this is All About Israel and his card is well and truly marked?

The guy funding a legal challenge to his inclusion in the list is the same guy who was shouting at him in a meeting because he didn't say 'Israel'.

Corbyn shared a platform with Hamas and has sympathy with the plight of the Palestinians. No one who matters in the Labour Party cared about his meetings with Adams and McGuinness when the IRA were killing MPs, but Hamas? No way.

Therefore no matter Labour's performance in elections (not bad so far) or in the referendum* (ditto), attacks on him will continue regardless, even if he put Labour high in the polls. Especially then, in fact, because that would raise the terrible spectre of a UK Prime Minister who was neutral or agnostic about Israel, and we can't have that.

* 36% of 2015 SNP voters went for Leave as compared with 37% of Labour voters - but no one's calling for Nicola Sturgeon to step down, instead she's the Voice Of Scotland.

Anonymous said...

Gastro George: You say that it would “seem strange to attempt to refute Sloppy's statement, which is based on attitudes to policies with polls based on attitudes to leadership or approval”.

Maybe I should quoted Sloppy at greater length. What he said was that “Jeremy is actually kind of popular” and seemed to base this conclusion on what he claimed was public approval of his policies, though his examples that “Labour should represent labour-ers and vote against Tory budgets and not go on illegal wars” seem pretty uncontentious and by no means unique to Jeremy Corbyn.

You dismiss public opinion as “heavily influenced by the media and the behaviour of the PLP”. This is too easy an excuse. The idea that public opinion can be set aside in selected instances because it’s been “influenced” strikes me not only as wrong but also as profoundly anti-democratic.

My point, though perhaps not clearly expressed in my previous post, was that it’s perfectly possible to agree with Jeremy Corbyn’s policies but also to think that he’s not succeeding as leader of the Labour Party. Which latter is what the evidence shows.

Igor Belanov: You ask whether I think that Jeremy Corbyn should “have dissenters shot”. No I don’t. I think that if he were any good as a leader he would have been able to manage and contain dissension. He’s failed.

gastro george said...


"'Labour should represent labour-ers and vote against Tory budgets and not go on illegal wars' seem pretty uncontentious and by no means unique to Jeremy Corbyn."

Pretty contentious for many of the PLP, who failed to vote against for Tory benefit cuts, and wanted to bomb Syria, let alone voting for the war on Iraq.

My point about the effects of the media is not meant to be anti-democratic, although it might on the surface appear so. As with the Brexit vote, the public voted and we have to deal with it. It's more that if you have the media (and the PLP) announcing every day that Corbyn is not a leader, then that is bound to sink in to some extent, and when polled about Corbyn's leadership qualities, the public's answer is predictable.

I mean I'd agree that Corbyn is not a great leader, but he represents a non-leadership kind of politics, so that's not surprising. Blair was a good leader, and that didn't end too well, did it.

"I think that if he were any good as a leader he would have been able to manage and contain dissension. He’s failed."

Given the determination of many Labour MPs, I think it's optimistic to have expected him to contain dissension. I suspect that, rather like the way Livingstone sometimes acts, it's not just that they disagree with Corbyn, it's the way that he treats them with such disdain, that he does recognise their importance. It's a direct attack on their vanity.

The problem is that this kind of passive aggressive reaction of Corbyn's is not the most constructive thing to do. But, in a way, they deserve each other.

Anonymous said...

@gastro George

Re Corbyn v. the PLP: "In a way, they deserve each other." Amen to that.

organic cheeseboard said...

if you have the media (and the PLP) announcing every day that Corbyn is not a leader, then that is bound to sink in to some extent,

This is much clearer in the case of Ed Miliband - I spoke to relatives who knew nothing about him except for the fact that he 'wasn't a good leader' and 'wasn't Prime Ministerial'. Given that the bloke who everyone considered Prime Ministerial, David Cameron, lasted an amazing 13 months as PM when running his own Govt (as opposed to in coalition), and given what a bunch of absolute, near-unmanageable schoolchildren the PLP have turned out to be, I wonder what Ed could have done to demonstrate his actual leadership skills. But no, the media spoke, and Ed's fate was more or less sealed.

I'd agree that Corbyn is not a great leader, but he represents a non-leadership kind of politics, so that's not surprising. Blair was a good leader, and that didn't end too well, did it.

Problem is that Corbyn simultaneously represents that kind of politics yet also seems prone to making statements as leader, and thus figurehead, that directly go against what the people who he is leading were asked to do, or which undermine the agreed-upon strategy for promoting new policies. (am not talking about Trident here btw - this is a running theme in the more convincing 'reasons I resigned' pieces eg the transport one).

I agree that they deserve each other - both Corbyn and the PLP have essentially been reduced to 'but he did it first', if they were ever above that. A core part of Corbyn's job is to manage them, and he's not done it, their twattishness notwithstanding. He could, and should, have done a better job. Hire a journo to do press who's actually well-liked in journo circles. Ask people to do jobs, and let them do them - don't more or less intentionally undermine them. If there's a meeting for a cause you passionately believe in, don't let it take precedence over basic responses to big events. Just be the bigger man ffs. There are some things he was never likely to be able to do well e.g. deal with things like Syria and Trident, but the party would be disunited on those whoever was in charge.

Al Roth said...

Just when it seemed Nick couldn't get any lower

organic cheeseboard said...

Glad to see that 'the moral case against Corbyn' is to - wait for it - shout 'PRESS TV! RUSSIA TODAY!' over and over again. That argument worked so well last time round didn't it?

The below isn't on topic with Nick, but that's probably for the best since he's essentilly not worth reading any more - he's got no new material and will not convince anyone at all, in fact that piece is totally incoherent - its message is 'Owen Smith is both totally wrong and also 100% right to be vaguely flattering Corbyn voters'.

I might have already said this but I'm getting really sick of people (such as EG on Sarah Ditum's timeline just now) saying 'Corbyn had an open goal with Tory divisions after Brexit but through incompetence allowed them to return to being the natural party of government'. Have these people a) forgotten that the Shadow Cabinet began resigning almost immediately following Brexit, meaning that Corbyn never had a chance to do anything other than fight internal fires after it, or that b) Leadsom was obviously leant on VERY heavily to drop out of the race to exploit the situation outlined in A)? That coronation will, as I've said before, come back to haunt the Tories.

It's fine to say that Corbyn is an inept leader - I agree. But Labour tanking in the polls is directly correlated with the Shadow Cabinet resignations and subsequent protracted leadership bollocks. If you blame Corbyn exclusively for those, then you're just as guilty of a 'cult of personality' as people who say he can do no wrong.

I'm glad to see that Dsquared is continuing to highlight the issue of anti-Corbyn people avoiding the welfare bill abstention's centrality to Corbyn's support. People think the 'Red Tory' stuff came from nowhere but it didn't - it came from Harman's Labour deciding that it was a good idea to allow Tory welfare cuts to go through unopposed in the middle of a fucking leadership contest, and made it clear that this was a direction they'd take in the future. Witness Harman (via a Guardian report):

In what was clearly designed as a watershed interview on the BBC’s Sunday Politics show, Harman seemed intent on shaking the party out of what she fears is a reversion to its comfort zone after election defeat. “We cannot simply say to the public you were wrong at the election,” she said. “We’ve got to wake up and recognise that this was not a blip; we’ve had a serious defeat and we must listen to why.”

organic cheeseboard said...

On lo, it came to pass that Owen Smith turned out to be a hopelessly uncharismatic leadership candidate who looked a bit geeky and weird, who had no idea how to engage the members of his own party, and instead wanked on about 'patriotism'. And this is the man the PLP thought could beat Corbyn in an election where the only voters are party members.

Really couldn't see this one coming eh.

gastro george said...

Re the welfare bill abstention - has any of PLP actually ever publicly repudiated their actions? You would have thought that this would be the first step towards rejoining reality. I note that Owen Smith was "absent" from the vote. Has he said that it was a bad idea?

gastro george said...

Nick gets even nastier:

"But after the killing of Jo Cox by an alleged rightwing extremist, Angela Eagle, Jess Phillips and all the other anti-Corbyn MPs who are speaking out know that the death and rape threats from left-wing extremists may not just be bluster."

A beautiful elision there, ramping up a Twitter storm that includes a few idiots into actual real-life death.