All socialists in Britain should join Labour

JEREMY CORBYN TONY BENN FOR BLOG

I’m calling – not for the first time – for all socialists in Britain to join Labour. Nobody has any legitimate excuse not to do this; certainly not the alleged impossibility of a parliamentary road to socialism, the equally impossible socialism in one country or similar abstractions that won’t be in voters minds at the next election. None of these count as anything other than lame excuses for dereliction of duty. That kind of sectarianism is a luxury the exploited and oppressed can’t afford. Not on the eve of Jeremy Corbyn entering 10 Downing Street.

If you live in Scotland, as I do, then you may resist joining Labour for a variety of reasons. That’s okay. I’m patient. You’ll get no ultimatums from me. The reality is left wingers have joined, or at the very least voted for, The SNP and/or the Scottish Greens for the last few decades. That isn’t going to change overnight.

Scotland’s much healthier electoral system, as well as the legacy of a Blairite stranglehold over the apparatus as well as most of the elected politicians here, mean socialists will have to make common cause across the party divide for years to come. The left should face up to this as our second best option. Outside Scotland, however, joining Labour is a no-brainer.

As arch Blairite Alan Johnson conceded on last week’s ‘This Week’, the so called ‘hard left’ within the Labour Party has never come close to being as strong as it is today. Jeremy Corbyn is extremely popular with the membership. And it’s now obvious that only his supporters have any prospect of winning any elections within the party regardless of the smears and censorship of all the mainstream media, whose behavior is so bad it’s actually counterproductive.

The left have won the leadership in Scotland, as well as the National Executive Committee, and – indirectly through the NEC – the powerful general secretary’s position. McCarthyite purges of the left should now be history.

Only the Parliamentary Labour Party and associated other legacy politicians in the European Union and Holyrood resist the onward march of the left. The era of Tony Blair’s counterrevolution is less a serious obstacle so much as it is a bad dream from which socialists are waking up. Alan Johnson conceded the Blairites have no good options left. He is praising his friends who he admits are now leaving the party in droves. Those in the PLP are reduced to sitting around waiting for deselection, while doing their damnedest to transform their party into a train wreck before skulking off to form another SDP in an electoral pact with David Cameron’s glovepuppets of the Liberal Democrats. The latest anti-Semitism row could prove the last straw for the membership. Lies on this scale won’t be forgiven.

How should the 600,000 members behave this side of the PLP’s rejuvenation with fresh blood? That is the question the left needs to pose. Clearly we need to get this right. We need to debate. And we need to listen carefully to each other since none of us is the font of all wisdom. We need to refine our own ideas as we discover better ones suggested by our comrades. And where there are differences that are not brought to an end by facts, logic and persuasion? Then what? The left has a long established means of settling such differences: we base them on democratic and respectful debate at the end of which majority votes give us our answer. Even when a minority fears the majority has ignored something important, they need to concede defeat if the debate was conducted fairly. Only by conceding defeat do we earn our right to be listened to next time, even if the next thing we get a change to say is ‘I told you so’.

Should the left call for expulsions of Jeremy Corbyn’s enemies? Insofar as we are dealing with elected members of parliament, that is not something we should be striving for. Of course it can’t be ruled out if someone has brought the party into disrepute, but it has to be the last resort. There is no question that Jeremy Corbyn’s enemies in the PLP have been trying desperately to provoke expulsion for a very long time. One problem with giving them what they want is anyone deprived of Labour membership earns an immediate right to stand in elections against the official Labour candidate. Since we don’t want to hand Blairites the moral high ground by blaming Jeremy Corbyn for spliting the anti-Tory vote, expelling MPs is a bad idea.

The right of those expelled to split the anti-Tory vote is a problem for those wanting excessive discipline of MPs. But it has an upside for Jeremy Corbyn. It gives all Labour’s left their incentive to bring to an end generations of McCarthyite witch hunting. Any sectarian who wilfully splits the left vote in circumstances where they had the option of joining Jeremy Corbyn’s broad church is asking for trouble at the ballot box and with their potential radical reservoire of recruits in the universities and trade unions. If all socialists are invited to take out Labour membership, then the few who refuse will wither away and cease to be a problem for the left. The choise is theirs. I don’t expect many to opt for sectarianism when such a credible alternative exists.

Is it possible to just deselect Blairites and then make life intolerable for them once they’re reduced to rank and file members? So long as they behave as loyal members, they should earn their right to rehabilitate themselves in the eyes of the rest of the membership, so a return to parliament etc can’t be ruled out. Expulsion should not on the agenda for ex-MPs. But they do need to act constructively. The ball is entirely in their court.

Should Blairite MPs turn over a new leaf this side of a general election is it still too late for them? This is tricky. Many of them have behaved so badly for so long it doesn’t look like Labour voters or members could ever trust them. However, forgiveness is good for the soul wheras bitterness destroys those who can’t give people a chance to redeem themselves.

Furthermore, Jeremy Corbyn’s sacking of Owen Smith has lead to an outbreak of public collective responsibility. Because Britain is nothing like a presidential system, we have never had the ability to elect Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister. His Queens Speech and his budget could be voted down en masse by the PLP. That is certainly what I would predict if today’s Blairites are reelected as MPs despite making clear to everyone that they are as committed to removing Jeremy Corbyn as leader as they always have been. Nevertheless, at least some of them have to be given time to prove they can be trusted to loyally implement the manifesto if they get elected on as Labour MPs.

It’s very easy to be suspicious about Tom Watson’s motives when he spoke so well on this week’s Andrew Marr Show. But, regardless of what his real motives are, he did say pretty much all the right things. If he is capable of maintaining such loyality he would deserve a reward: carrots and sticks are the order of the day in real politics.

MPs determined to continue to sabotage the local elections will pay a very heavy price. Those smearing Jeremy Corbyn as anti-Semitic don’t do so because they believe it. Their sole motivation is to protect Theresa May in the local elections. And they will never be forgiven for that. These MPs are queuing up to sign their own deselection papers. The more they exploit television and radio interviews to damage their own party, the quicker their CLPs will  pass votes of no confidence in them. If they’re too stupid to realise that, that’s not our problem. By effectively deselecting themselves they would simply give the left more time to decide who should represent Labour at each constituency when Theresa May’s gawd awful government finally bites the dust. And that could be long before most commentators think.

Posted in Labour, politics, Scottish Independence, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Random Deejay versus Renaissance Woman

WIA

“What the **** does J***** F******* have in common with G**** S****?”

“Both are available to present a radio show between 2:00pm and 4:00pm?”

“Brilliant. We’ll call it BBC**Afternoons.”

Extract from the screenplay of the Oscar winning comedy film adapted from the WIA comedy in a parallel universe. Unfortunately reality in this one.

#HeadsShouldRoll

 

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Second DM exchange on cops and Mhairi Black

Your politics & your (possibly?) bad relationship with your mp has nothing to do with you possibly needing medical help. If you phone the NHS on 111 they won’t know anything about all that anyway. Just keep calm & they’ll ask you a few questions about your leg etc & they’ll decide what help you need. They’d rather come round, have a look & tell you you’re fine after all than have you waiting till you’re nearly dead x
20m 17 minutes ago
Tom Delargy #StopToryBrexit #PCPEU

I am sorry. I don’t know what you know about why I won’t do what you say, but if you don’t know you should read my blog. I won’t be talking to any doctor without an advocate who I trust. And I want my MP involved. If I die before that happens, then Mhairi Black, Stewart Maxwell and Andy Doig can explain to a public inquiry why they ignored my requests to speak to them.

Posted in Dr Bennie, politics, Renfrewshire Council, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

DM exchanges on Twitter about threats from cops

mhairi black

No. I live in Scotland. #RenfrewshireCouncil
is my council. Mhairi Black is my MP. Tried to contact her, MSPs and a
councillor. None of them have agreed to speak to me in person. Only one
has even been willing to speak to me on the telephone, and he was worse
than useless.
Sue H/C

Tom,
I don’t wish to be alarmist. Have you seen a doctor about your leg
recently? It’s probably something minor but it *could* be something
serious & life-threatening. Phone 111 now darling.
14m 4 minutes ago
Tom Delargy #StopToryBrexit #PCPEU

You
are not being alarmist. I’ve told you I see no prospect of my leg
getting better by itself. A few days ago when I left my armchair after
being at it for many hours the pain seemed to have gone although I was
talking small steps. But due to the mess, I had to start twisting both
legs, and the pain returned. The absense of pain might have something to
do with hours of sleep then hours doing nothing but sit at a keyboard.
Resting that leg may be part of recovery. However,…
Tom Delargy #StopToryBrexit #PCPEU

I
don’t have a doctor. Please remind me what 111 is. Like calling for an
ambulance? I think I’ll soon need a wheel chair or at least a walking
stick. Don’t think I can leave my flat to buy food. Only got a few days
supplies left…
Tom Delargy #StopToryBrexit #PCPEU

I
am not going to call emergency services due to past experiences. My MP
Mhairi Black needs to agree to speak to me before I speak to any
authority figure. But two cops turned up and told me she had sent them
to threaten me for trying to speak to her. When I went to get a glass of
water and returned one minute later, they’d ran away. I don’t believe
Mhairi Black spoke to them. I believe they threatened me because they
know I want her to raise my case at Prime Ministers Question. #PMQs

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Jeremy Corbyn will #StopToryBrexit

JEREMY CORBYN TWITTER AVATAR

Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters are debating what to do about Brexit. Some have added #FBPE to their Twitter accounts, and many of their tweets. The left is split on what to do about this. As far as I’m concerned, at least initially, good people became part of this Twitter ‘movement’. I chose to debate with them. I now follow some, and they follow me. But I’m still not adding #FBPE to my account. Why not?

The ‘FB’ in #FBPE stands for #FollowBack. Essentially we are dealing with a classic ‘Popular Front’. Such strategies subordinate everything to a single issue. Socialists don’t play that game. At least we don’t play by the same rules.

Socialists prefer united fronts which allow us to discriminate on the basis of broader perspectives. We refuse to bite our tongues to protect reactionaries jumping on a bandwagon. And many of the most prolific #FBPE keyboard warriors are deeply reactionary across the board and,  as such, are an albatross around our necks. Try debating with these trolls for long and you’ll face abuse if you are a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. These opportunists have adopted #FBPE primarily to identify potential activists for a new Social Democratic Party, one that will revive the role played by the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable.

The SDP never entered government. But they did succeed beyond their wildest dreams by splitting the anti-Tory vote under first-past-the-post. They did this in a way that allowed Margaret Thatcher to form three reactionary Tory governments despite most voters rejecting her at the ballot box. This is what lays in store for progressives if we allow Vince Cable to put together a second electoral pact with Tony Blair’s supporters in the Parliamentary Labour Party. That is their agenda. It’s obvious to me. No one can seriously dismiss this as an idle ‘conspiracy theory’.

Nevertheless, despite the reactionary role played by the Liberal Democrats, by Blairite MPs committed to stopping Jeremy Corbyn entering 10 Downing Street, and by Tory MPs to this day proudly propping up Theresa May, it is possible to map out some common terrain between all the above and Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters. Thanks to these narrow but nonetheless real common interests, this rotten Tory Prime Minister lost a key vote on Brexit. This could happen again. And it must happen again. And that is why it would be wrong to rule out cooperation between some #FBPE supporters and Jeremy Corbyn’s voters.

As the best #FBPE supporters reluctantly concede, the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister is their best hope of stopping a ‘Hard Brexit’, and/or securing a referendum on any negotiated deal with the EU. They are right on both counts. Trying to split the anti-Tory vote will condemn us to a Nigel Farage dystopia. Alastair Campbell and Vince Cable may not want to admit it, but they both know it is true.

After a preliminary debate on Twitter, some former supporters of #FBPE are now adopting #PCPEU to identify each other. A few use both. For obvious reasons, the latter is better, but it is an unfortunate sounding acronym. I prefer #StopToryBrexit. I recommend all Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters adopt that instead. It is a hashtag all socialists can adopt. And it is one Liberal Democrats, Blairites, The SNP and Greens will find impossible to argue against although many will desperately seek excuses to do that. Even Tory MPs who want to stop Hard Brexit, possibly hoping for a second referendum, will struggle to undermine socialists tweeting under this banner. Consequently, it will place the greatest pressure on Theresa May while simultaneously uniting every single anti-Tory regardless of our respective attitudes towards Brexit in the past.

#StopToryBrexit has one additional advantage for the left. It extends the time available to develop strategy and tactics needed to put Theresa May’s government out of its misery. This hashtag has the potential to unite left wingers who did – mistakenly in my view – vote for Brexit with the rest of us. It places no ultimatum on any leftist to apologize for what they did.

The left needs to get to grips with why Brexiteers won the referendum. Calling everyone who voted Brexit a racist and/or a moron plays right into the hands of Theresa May and Nigel Farage. Furthermore, unless we wake up and smell the rotten politics of those who lead the Remain campaign – David Cameron’s MPs, Liberal Democrats who propped up a Tory government for five years and Blairites -, we’ll never be in a position to win people over who did make a mistake.

As the nominal leader of the Remain Campaign admitted, voting for Brexit would – other things being equal – increase wages. This David Cameron appointee forgot that most of those voting in the referendum would be employees, not employers. According to the laws of supply and demand, voters were reliably informed, they should vote for Brexit.

Liberals have been tying themselves in knots dismissing voters as narrow-minded bigots, necessarily racist, for wanting to increase their standards of living. In reality, many of them want no more than to keep their heads above water. Every socialist needs to empathize with these voters, not abandon them to the clutches of right wing populists like Nigel Farage.

UKIP as well as their Tory fellow travelers in the Conservative Party were given access to the airwaves let a racist genie out of the bottle. But this was never inevitable. And we can put it back in again, provided we exposing the horrendous Thatcherite dystopia awaiting all of us if we leave it to Tory MPs and their unelected appointees to reconstruct the post-EU society.

Many on the left failed to appreciate who would be in the driving seat should Brexit win. It’s not too late to convince them to add their own not inconsiderable political weight within the organized working class and those living in poorest parts of the country to get us out of this mess. Such people are not racists. And they’re not Tories. They can play a key role in stopping Tory Brexit. They too can proudly promote #StopToryBrexit to their tweets.

 

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Toby Young would jail Jeremy Corbyn voters

TOBY YOUNG ON MOMENTUM

Theresa May appointed Toby Young to guarantee freedom of speech for young people in our universities. Toby Young then had to delete over 40,000 tweets that exposed him as a sexist, homophobic, racist idiot who hates the working class and those with disabilities. His incompetent attempt to destroy the evidence is reminiscent of totalitarian governments rewriting history. And isn’t that what he’s supposed to be protecting us from?

Theresa May is trying desperately to ignore hundreds of thousands of petitioners demanding she comes to her senses. Her buffoonish, equally racist and misogynist Foreign Secretary – Boris Johnson – defends Toby Young: possibly he doesn’t want to lose someone so awful that, by contrast, he looks relatively harmless. Good luck with that, Boris.

Anyway, something that hasn’t been raised in the objections to Toby Young’s appointment so far – at least as far as I am aware – is his truly remarkable performance in the penultimate edition of last last year’s Sunday Politics, 35 minutes in: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09hbmhp/sunday-politics-london-10122017. During that outing, Mr Potatohead compared Momentum’s so-called stranglehold on the Labour Party as equivalent to the violent fascistic Britain First pulling the strings of Prime Minister Theresa May. Britain First, let’s remember, is having its leading members arrested all over the place. And this is the man she appoints to defend civil liberties and free speech in the universities? This government is quite literally beyond parody.

If anyone’s interested, I wrote about Toby Young comparing Momentum to Britain First at the time. You can find it here: https://derekthomas2010.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/helen-lewis-toby-young-and-momentum/

If you want to sign the petition to dump Toby Young, here is a link: https://www.change.org/p/theresa-may-mp-sack-toby-young-from-university-watchdog-post

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Jeremy Corbyn’s broad church or #FBPE?

Prime Minister's Questions

Some who claim to be on Labour’s left back the #FBPE ‘movement’ on Twitter. I’ll refrain from calling them liars, at least until I find some proof. Most of them, I am sure, have their hearts in the right place, and that’s what matters most. But they are nevertheless, imho, making a very big mistake.

#FBPE is a popular front strategy. It works by subordinating everything and everyone to a single issue and this always benefits the right and is always a disaster waiting to happen. What the left wing supporters of this hashtag haven’t worked out yet is it is a key pillar in the Blairites’ strategy for crushing Jeremy Corbyn.

172 members of the PLP outrageously voted to overturn the democratic decision of hundreds of thousands of Labour Party members. If they had their way Jeremy Corbyn would even have been banned by the capitalist courts from getting his job back democratically by exposing precisely how disgusted members were with these Blairites plotters. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, imho, #FBPE is an indispensable tool to identify potential activtists for a second Social Democratic Party which will offer jobs to Tory rebels such as Corbyn-hating Anna Soubry.

Today’s Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable, has form. He helped split the anti Tory vote alongside other Lib Dem MPs under first-past-the-post ensuring Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister three times despite most voters rejecting her at the ballot box. Most of the 172 Blairite MPs are preparing to repeat this treachery. They have to deny it, of course. But they would say that, wouldn’t they. Shirley Williams denied the Gang of Four split right up until the day they split.

#FBPE isn’t just designed to help ballot rigging McCarthyites like Tom Watson. Those behind it hope 600,000 Labour members will turn against Jeremy Corbyn while extending an olive branch to Tory MPs who have, thus far, voted to keep Theresa May in power, and David Cameron before her. This is not a well thought out strategy, imho. Baldrick’s name springs to mind.

Vince Cable’s pledge breaking bastards who kept David Cameron in power for five years; Blairite war criminals and vote-rigging McCarthyites; Tory MPs to this day unwilling to withdraw support for Theresa May’s rotten government. Unite with these people? Are you on drugs?

How did Brexit win?

The reality is Brexit was lost because the only voices who weren’t vetted by the Tory editors on telly and radio during the referendum were almost never any better than the Brexiteers. It was a choice of the lesser evil. Many who consider themselves on the left don’t accept this. They think voting against Brexit was a no-brainer. These people suffered from complacency, and they need to wake up and smell the rotten role played by David Cameron, George Osborne and the Blairites. They screwed up big time. The #FBPE ‘movement’ is nothing more than a clone of the original bullshit position of Cameron and Blair.

Is Brexit inevitable, and should it be?

This may seem counterintuitive given what I’ve said up to this point, but I don’t think the left should rule out a second referendum. Having said that, it’s far more likely that if the hard version is to be delayed it will almost certainly be by voters electing parties committed to renegotiating Britain’s relationship with the EU, potentially in a way that postpones Brexit more or less indefinitely. The alternative Vince Cable wants begs too many questions: for instance, if Theresa May’s deal is rejected in a referendum, what happens next? Just because she screwed it up, that doesn’t prove voters don’t want to leave on different terms, or possibly renegotiate continued membership in a way that is different from what David Cameron so pathetically negotiated. A second referendum can’t be taken seriously until we get answers to: ‘what happens next?’

Don’t insult most voters unless you want to keep losing votes

The left needs to stop insulting everyone who voted for Brexit. You have to be an idiot to not recognise just how counterproductive that is. The majority needs to be won round, and telling them they’re all racists and morons is hardly likely to accelerate a change of mind. On the contrary, doing that would guarantee most voters turn a deaf ear to everything we say, making it much more likely they’ll do the exact opposite of what we advocate no matter how perverse they admit that is.

Of course if every Brexiteer was a racist moron there’s no harm pointing it out, but it’s just not true. Many Brexit voters were and remain daft racist bastards. But others are anything but. Despite what you would gather from watching the BBC, SKY News, Channel4 News, ITV and C5, there were those promoting a left-wing defense of Brexit, the kinds of arguments Tony Benn deployed, arguments Jeremy Corbyn used to take for granted, not all that long ago. Pretending this is untrue makes it impossible to change people’s minds, as Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott changed their minds. Ignoring the arguments that lead to the large left vote for Brexit helps Theresa May and Nigel Farage. Unlike most people, I think Brexit in its hard version can be avoided, and must be avoided. But this cannot be achieved by embracing the reactionary methods of those who champion the #FBPE hashtag.

How can Hard Brexit be stopped?

The leader of David Cameron’s official Remain Campaign admitted publicly that Brexit would lead to higher wages. Being a capitalist, he thought that was a bad thing, confident that absolutely everyone would agree with him. The leader of the campaign was too stupid to realize that most voters are employees, not employers. He effectively told the majority of the electorate that if they wanted to raise their income they should vote for Brexit. Since most bosses at the television and radio networks opposed Brexit, and since they were not all quite as stupid as the man handpicked by David Cameron to win this vote, they didn’t go out of their way to publicise this own goal by their man. On the contrary, they clearly hoped voters might have missed it. But the truth remains that by cutting the supply of unorganized and unskilled labour, wages will rise — other things being equal. For self interested reasons, this basic fact is exploited by xenophobes and racists, as it was by UKIP and those even further to their right. But this economic law doesn’t need to lead to xenophobic conclusions. The democratic and internationalist left can deploy basic supply and demand economics to fight racism, provided we make the case for organizing everyone, regardless of country of origin, into trade unions. That is what was argued by some who campaigned for Brexit. The liberal ‘Remoaners’ who continue to stick their fingers in their ears on this issue of wages only alienate most of the unemployed, underemployed, and the living-from-hand-to-mouth low wage workers, into the bargain insulting them for not having been able to get degrees, snobbery which merely adds to the hatred of most workers against this smug, pampered ‘liberal elite’.

The behavior of the EU towards people of Greece — which we now see repeated vis-a-vis the people of Catalonia — exposes the alleged democratic credentials of these Bureacrats. The truth is reactionaries are to be found on both sides in the Brexit debate. Denying this fact when most voters know they are being lied to by politicians they already dislike, those they already dismiss as incorrigible lying opportunists…. Any attempt to bury the truth about the Tory ‘Remoaners’ makes it simpler for Nigel Farage’s right wing populists to exploit voter alienation. By calling for unity with the Blairites, with Lib Dem bastards, and with Tory MPs, the #FBPE hashtag risks playing into the hands of Theresa May and Nigel Farage. I vote that we don’t go down that road to nowhere.

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