Category: jeremy corbyn

politicalsci 2018-09-22 11:42:47


Here’s the reason “centrism is really struggling to make headway”

In a speech to the Lib-Dem conference Gina Miller lamented the fact that “centrism is really struggling to make headway” before going on to call people to the left and right “fascists” with “cold hard ideologies”.

The obvious problem with centrism is that the term itself is a complete misnomer that implies that hovering aimlessly around near the centre has some special moral virtue no matter how far off into the political extremes the prevailing political orthodoxy might go.

Thus during the post-war decades the political centre was the mixed economy of public ownership of vital infrastructure, services and industries combined with a strong welfare state and regulated capitalism (a position occupied by Labour, the Liberals, and the Tories), and the privatise everything, “greed is good” deregulate the financial sector right-wingers were fringe lunatics.

Fast forward to 1979 and the hard-right fringe were propelled into power and their mass privatisation, welfare-wrecking, deregulation mania has continued unabated for four decades with truly appalling consequences.

Just look at the behaviour of the self-declared centrists between 2010 and 2016 and you can see the disastrous consequences of this morally weak and utterly wrong-headed determination to occupy the centre ground between raving ideological extremism of the Tories and the Blairism that went before it:

  • In 2014 Theresa May introduced her extremist “hostile environment” legislation and bragged about how the Tory government could “deport now, hear appeals later”. Dozens of black British citizens were deported under these rules. Several died in exile. Thousands more were denied employment, housing, access to public services, access to banking services, even medical treatment. The majority of ‘centrists’ either voted in favour of this disgusting legislation, with only a tiny minority of MPs opposing it on principle (or because their “cold hard ideologies” wouldn’t allow them to enable it as Gina Miller would no doubt describe it).
  • After their election defeat Labour centrists like Chris Leslie actually tried to argue that losing the election by copying Tory extremism rather than opposing it meant Labour should shift even further to the right! Thankfully the Labour membership strongly disagreed and voted for a candidate who would actually oppose ruinous Tory austerity dogma instead of meekly copying it.
  • During the Labour leadership election the Labour centrists decided to abstain on a massive programme of Tory welfare cuts designed to further impoverish the poor, especially the working poor. Jeremy Corbyn was the only Labour leadership candidate to vote against it.

Centrist collusion with Tory austerity dogma had appalling consequences: The longest period of sustained wage devaluation on record, public services put under massive strain or shut down entirely, in-work benefits slashed, soaring food bank dependency, exploitative employment practices like Zero Hours Contracts and fake self-employment spreading like wildfire …

Then it came to the Brexit vote and suddenly the complacent centrists were trapped in a pit of their own digging. The far-right Brextremists opportunistically blamed immigrants and the EU for the wage collapse, the failing public services, the in-work poverty, the suffering … But the centrists couldn’t fight back with the truth that these things were the result of austerity, because they were all complicit with austerity.

The only way the centrists have countered the far-right anti-immigrant anti-EU lies would have been to admit that ‘centrism’ itself was a fraud!

Amazingly centrists still occupy this bubble of delusion that it’s somehow morally superior to triangulate with hard-right Tory austerity dogma than to oppose it. That all the ‘centrist’ MPs abstaining on Theresa May’s vile “hostile environment” policy was acceptable and palatable xenophobia, but the xenophobic Brextremist lies were somehow so much worse than a policy they couldn’t even be bothered to oppose that eventually led to British citizens dying in exile abroad!

The problem is that centrists promised us that their watered down version of neoliberalism would bring prosperity, but what it’s actually delivered is Tory austerity dogma, collapsing wages, failing public services, exploitative employment practices, ridiculous privatisation scams, grotesque “hostile environment” policies, soaring in-work poverty, and eventually the centrist‘s own worst nightmare; Brexit.

But rather than admit their culpability in creating this dreadful situation, they’re intent on moral high-horsing and abusing everyone to the left, and everyone to the right of them as “fascists”!

And it’s exactly this kind of self-aggrandising and aloof sneering that’s going to keep them in the political wilderness, because like it or not, the idea of aimlessly drifting around in the totally artificial territory of the ‘centre ground’ is finished.

The choice now is between the hard-right neoliberals who want to keep us on the same course we’ve been on for four decades (more privatisation, more undermining of workers rights, more public service cutbacks, more under-investment in infrastructure spending and research and development, more welfare cuts for the poor, more tax cuts and lavish handouts for the mega-rich) or those on the left who want to change direction and make Britain more of a high-tech, high-skill society with a decent welfare system like Norway, Finland, Germany, or Denmark.

Of course it’s necessary to take an ideological position to step away from the complacency and aimlessness of the political ‘centre’, but there’s nothing “cold” or “hard” about opposing the political orthodoxy of welfare cuts on the most vulnerable people in society (the sick, the disabled, the working poor, the jobless, the children, the elderly and infirm …) in order to lavish corporations and the mega-rich with ever more tax cuts and handouts.

Quite the contrary, it takes a “cold hard” heart to go along with such barbarity solely because you want to maintain the illusion that by doing so you’re somehow a ‘moderate’ occupying the ‘centre ground’!

When centrism actively helps the Tories grind the most vulnerable people in society into absolute destitution for five years in order to feed the greed of the mega-rich, and then centrists accuse others who object to this horrific agenda of “fascism” and having “cold hard ideologies” then you really can’t expect anyone other than your ever-diminishing echo chamber of delusional ‘centrists’ to applaud your unbelievably hypocritical message.

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


When it comes to democratic reselection and a 2nd EU referendum Jeremy Corbyn’s reputation is at stake

One of Jeremy Corbyn’s main points of appeal (beside his longstanding commitment to genuine democratic socialist values when so many Labour MPs abandoned them), is his policy of democratising the Labour Party and making it much more responsive to the views of ordinary Labour Party members.

Given that so much of his support relies on this reputation as a democratiser, his leadership is facing a huge litmus test at the Annual Labour Party Conference (September 23-26).

It’s becoming absolutely clear that huge numbers of Labour Party members want to see changes, and two specific changes in particular.

Brexit referendum

The first clear demand from the membership is the widespread call for a second referendum on the terms of the Brexit agreement. Jeremy Corbyn’s policy to date has been to subject the Brexit terms to Keir Starmer’s six tests, and then oppose Brexit in parliament if the tests are not met.

So far scores of local Labour Party branches have called for a Conference vote on a second referendum, which would almost certainly be won given that well over 70% of Labour Party supporters are opposed to the Tory Brexit shambles.

A vote in favour of Labour supporting a second referendum would surely force Jeremy Corbyn to adapt his method of opposing Tory Brexit from parliamentary opposition (if you look at the actual parliamentary records, Labour have opposed the Tories on practically every single Brexit vote) to officially backing a second referendum on the final Brexit agreement.

Democratic reselection

The second demand from the membership is the introduction of democratic reselection of Labour MPs in order to put an end to the complacency of the ‘jobs for life’ brigade by allowing local constituency parties to weed out the most corrupt/self-serving/abusive/lazy/incompetent of Labour MPs.

Under the current system the only way to get rid of a disgraceful Labour MP is through the trigger ballot process, which necessitates negative campaigning against the incumbent MP rather than positive campaigning for a rival candidate.

Democratic reselection for all Labour MPs (including Corbyn and his allies of course) would create a much more positive environment where individuals who wish to challenge their local Labour MP get to run a positive campaign focused on how they propose to do a better job of representing the Labour Party and the local community in parliament.

Democratic reselection is hardly a controversial policy (except for those incumbent MPs who would feel understandably afraid of being held to account for their atrocious behaviour of course).

Every single one of the 54 of the Scottish National Party’s MPs were democratically reselected before the 2017 General Election because they’d all done a fantastic job of representing the party in Westminster.

But then look at the Democratic primaries in the united States for examples of how open selection contests have reinvigorated Democratic politics. Consider the shock selection of the 28 year old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over a 10-time incumbent, and a wave of other progressives taking Democratic slots in the midterm elections.

Without open selection contests how many potential Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez type figures within the Labour Party are being denied the chance to shine in favour of keeping utterly complacent and self-serving old-timers in their party political sinecures?

If MPs do a good job of representing the Labour Party and their local communities then there’s hardly any chance of them being ousted through democratic selection (because removing the incumbent MP and replacing them with a newcomer risks increasing the chance of losing the seat to a rival party), but democratic reselection would certainly invigorate local Labour Party politics, gives local people a fair shot at getting rid of the laziest and most self-serving Labour MPs, and give rising stars in the Labour Party a chance to make their own positive cases to be selected as candidates in their local areas.

The litmus test

If the Labour leadership deliberately stonewalls either of these internal democratic campaigns, then Corbyn’s reputation is surely going to take a significant hit.

Personally I think it’s an incredibly dangerous idea to hold a second referendum when the electoral rules haven’t been reformed to prevent the absolute tidal wave of dark ads, lies, distortions and outright fraud we saw in 2016, and because the Electoral Commission who would oversee it are a shockingly discredited joke (just a week before Labour Conference the courts found they had given Vote Leave misleading and unlawful advice that they could channel excess funds through shell campaigns).

But if it’s the will of the Labour Party membership to hold a second referendum under such risky conditions, Corbyn would tarnish his own reputation as a respecter of democracy by stonewalling it.

When it comes to democratic reselection I’m strongly in favour. I can’t see any reasonable objection whatever against Labour MPs being required to renew their mandate to serve in democratic processes. All the objections centre around a seething contempt for the whole concept of democratic accountability.

If the Labour leadership caves in to the demands of Labour MPs in safe seats that democratic reselection proposals be taken off the table, this would be a much bigger betrayal than stonewalling a second referendum because Corbyn has staked his reputation on the internal democratisation of the Labour Party,.

If the Labour Party ignore the membership calling for democratic reselection in order to protect incumbent Labour MPs from democratic accountability, it’d be a betrayal of one of Corbyn’s main points of appeal.

Next week Jeremy Corbyn faces probably the biggest test of his credentials since the General Election, so let’s hope he manages to pass it. 

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Theresa May and the Tories are the ones with the serious anti-Semitism problem

One of the first world leaders Theresa May met after she was appointed Prime Minister was the fanatically right-wing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Since then the Tory party have continued to cosy up to Orbán and his anti-Semitic, xenophobic, judiciary-rigging, free speech-attacking regime.

After Orbán retained power in the 2018 Hungarian elections which featured a massive anti-Semitic poster campaign the then Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson Tweeted gushing praise for Orbán and his party.

And in September 2018 Tory MEPs in the European Parliament sided with all the exreme-right nasties in Europe (Front National, Golden Dawn, PiS, PVV, AfD, Swedish Democrats, True Finns, FPÖ, Lega Nord, and Britain’s own UKIP) in order to defend Orbán’s government against a motion of censure that was overwhelmingly supported by the European centre (from conservatives, through liberals to the socialists and greens).

The Tories were the only (supposedly) mainstream government in Europe to ally themselves with Orbán and the extreme-right.

Here’s one of Orbán’s most notorious quotes about Jews: “We are fighting an enemy that is different from us. Not open, but hiding; not straightforward but crafty; not honest but base; not national but international; does not believe in working but speculates with money; does not have its own homeland but feels it owns the whole world”.

Isn’t it extraordinary that the mainstream media spent the entire summer digging around in Jeremy Corbyn’s past to cherry-pick absurd out-of-context quotes, fixate over images of him laying a wreath (at a graveyard where none of the Munich terrorists were even buried), and even smear a Jewish Holocaust survivor as an anti-Semite to paint Corbyn as an anti-Semite … but when yet more evidence of the Tories’ active collusion with a horrifically right-wing government led by an unmistakably anti-Semetic tyrant comes to light, suddenly the mainstream media anti-Semitism guns have fallen silent?

Orbán’s extremism isn’t just limited to anti-Semitism either. He’s continually attacked Muslims as “invaders”, he’s been rigging the Hungarian judiciary by stacking it with pro-government figures, he’s clamped down on free speech and attacked the free press. His supporters have even drawn up a blacklist of charity workers, campaigners, journalists, academics and other public figures considered “enemies of the state”.

It’s quite incredible that Theresa May and the Tories have openly colluded with this vile regime right in front of our eyes, for years, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be held to account for it by Britain’s docile, compliant, and ridiculously right-leaning press.

Even now, when the Tories’ scandalous support for this vile regime is incontestably recorded in the voting record of the European Parliament, there’s nowhere near as much condemnation and noise from the people who were howling at Corbyn, and making hyperbolic accusations that Labour are an “existential threat” to Jewish people just a few weeks previously.

Instead of vehemently condemning this outrageous Tory collusion with one of the most notorious anti-Semites in Europe, the Jewish Board of Deputies expressed only “disappointment”!

Others to have whipped up the anti-Semitism furore to attack Jeremy Corbyn and undermine the momentum towards genuine democratic socialism haven’t even said a word.

The day after this Tory collusion with Orbán, Jonathan Sachs stood up in the House of Lords to talk about anti-Semitism and didn’t even mention it!

BBC heavyweight Andrew Neil, who has repeatedly pushed the anti-Semitism attacks against Corbyn remained silent, which is hardly surprising given his personal involvement with the Hungarian government.

All of this raises the question of how stupid and gullible they think we are. 

They seem to imagine that they can manipulate us into believing that the lifelong anti-racist campaigner Jeremy Corbyn is the Jew-hater, whilst they actively turn a blind eye to Theresa May and her party repeatedly sucking up to the most notorious anti-Semite in Europe!

In reality this is such a spectacular display of over-reach that swathes of the mainstream media are permanently wrecking their own reputations. 

Repeatedly trying convince people that black is white is bad enough, but then after posing as valiant anti-Semitism campaigners for the entire summer of 2018, their deafening silence on the Tory collusion with Orbán clearly exposes their political partisanship and their utter hypocrisy.

If you decide to present yourself as a valiant anti-Semitism campaigner all summer, then you’d better not turn a blind eye to it in the autumn when your political allies are up to their necks in it, otherwise you’ve just burned your journalistic reputation to the ground.

Anti-Semitism is a vile form of racist bigotry that needs to be confronted wherever it’s found.

It’s not a convenient issue to be weaponised and used as political ammunition, only to be immediately forgotten about when your political allies decide to defy the European political consensus and actively support the most notorious anti-Semite in Europe.

This political weaponisation of anti-Semitism is particularly disgusting because it cheapens the fight against anti-Semitism by making the issue seem like partisan political point scoring, rather than a serious problem that need to be confronted wherever it arises.

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


politicalsci 2018-09-12 12:24:30








An open letter to the self-styled Labour “centrists”

Dear self-styled “centrist” Labour politician,

With the prospect of democratic reselection of Labour MPs (to weed out the corrupt, self-serving, lazy, incompetent, and the deliberate internal wreckers) looming on the horizon you Labour right-wingers have agreed amongst yourselves that your new propaganda line is that everyone in Labour needs to unify to fight the Tories.

The problem of course is that we all remember what you lot did in the wake of the Brexit vote in 2016.

On the day of the worst Tory cock up in decades you Labour right-wingers didn’t come together with the rest of the party to criticise the Tories over their decision to gamble the entire future of the UK in order to nick a few votes off UKIP, and their utterly reckless failure to draw up a contingency plan in case their extraordinary gamble backfired.

No, you decided to use this once-in-a-lifetime Tory cock up to launch a pre-planned coup against your own democratically elected party leader meaning the entire summer of 2016 was spent on a bitter internal battle, rather than in condemnation of the Tory Brexit farce.

You lot were so confident of successfully removing Corbyn that you even briefed your mates at the Daily Telegraph about your plot to oust him three weeks before the Brexit result came in!

Nobody summed up the idiocy of this anti-Corbyn coup better than your stalking horse candidate Angela Eagle who went from praising Corbyn for campaigning against Brexit on a schedule that “would make a 25 year old tired” on June 13th, to claiming that he campaigned with “an ambivalent half-heartedness” in her resignation letter just 14 days later.

And now the very same Angela Eagle is calling on everyone in Labour to unify to fight the Tories, without any mention of the fact that she was one of the Labour Coup-plotters who utterly squandered the best opportunity to fight the Tories in decades in 2016, or showing the slightest contrition for having acted in such a divisive and damaging way at such a crucial time in British political history.

The tragedy is that you lot really seem to think that us ordinary folk have such short political memories that we’d just forget the last three years of your divisive and destructive internal wrecking.

You really seem to think that we’re stupid enough to forget the way you lot squandered the best chance to fight the Tories in decades to launch your spectacularly failed Anyone But Corbyn coup.

You really seem to think we’re stupid enough to forget the way you’ve spent the last three years rudely and arrogantly slagging off hundreds of thousands of ordinary Labour Party members as “trots”, “dogs”, “rabble”, “entryists”, “Stalinists”, “Nazi storm troopers”, “cultists” and conducting vast purges of left-leaning Labour Party members for crimes like once retweeting Caroline Lucas or liking the Foo Fighters too much!

You really seem to think that we’re stupid enough to believe your reality-reversing nonsense that you’re the poor innocent victims after your backstabbing, your efforts to “break Jeremy Corbyn as a man”, you’re barrages of insults, abuse and condescension against ordinary Labour members, and your failed attempts to rig both of the Corbyn leadership elections by ruthlessly purging thousands of left-leaning Labour Party members.

If you really cared about unity, why on earth didn’t any of you speak out against the purges and all the abuse at the time?

The reality is absolutely obvious to anyone with a few brain cells to rub together.

If you lot were genuinely motivated by a desire to unify and fight the Tories, you would have unified to fight the Tories when it would have counted the most, in the wake of the Brexit vote. 

But you didn’t show unity then, you launched a staggeringly divisive and destructive internal civil war instead.

Now that the prospect of democratic reselection of Labour MPs is looming on the horizon you’ve suddenly had a massive change of heart because nothing frightens you as much as the prospect of having to justify your actions to the ordinary Labour Party members you’ve spend the last three years insulting, smearing, defying, and purging.

So now you’re desperate that everyone unify and fight the Tories, rather than holding you lot to account for your actions and replace you with people who will actually fight the Tories!

My advice, if you want it, is simple: If you get on board now, show some genuine contrition for your divisive and destructive actions in the past, and show that you’re intent on expending every effort on opposing the Tories rather than on continuing to defy the will of the Labour Party membership, then maybe that will be enough to save you from the democratic reselection you’re so afraid of.

But if you resort to yet more gratuitous insults and abuse towards ordinary Labour Party members like Joan Ryan (trots, Stalinists, communists) and Chuka Umunna (dogs), you’re clearly just making the situation worse for yourselves by insulting and abusing the very people who you’re going to have to justify your actions to when it comes to democratic reselection.

The tragedy is that if you’d taken your own advice in the past, you’d never be facing the prospect of democratic reselection now because Corbyn never wanted it this way, and it’s even possible that it’s not too late for you now, if you’d just get with the programme instead of continuing your internal wrecking. 

But there’s little doubt at all that most of you will have forgotten this unify to fight the Tories argument within a few days in order to return to plotting and smearing, because it seems that many of you couldn’t stick to a principle, even if your parliamentary careers depended on it.

I honestly wish some of you would follow through on this unify to fight the Tories argument you’ve come up with, because all it takes is a bit of humility to understand that the vast majority of Labour Party supporters actually want genuine democratic socialism, not the kind of pro-austerity, pro-privatisation, pro-war, anti-welfare, unregulated neoliberalism that’s dominated UK politics for so many decades.

But you’ve spent so long wrapped up in the “how can we get rid of Corbyn?” groupthink that even a tiny bit of humility and realism about the direction Labour is moving in is probably beyond you.

So all the best in developing a sense of humility, and coming to terms with the reality that Labour has returned to democratic socialism, and that it’s headed towards becoming a genuine grass roots organisation where members have a real say, rather than just serving as campaign fodder to help people like you get elevated into the unaccountable “jobs for life” brigade.

Best regards and good luck for the future,

Tom (AAV)

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.