Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer
July 27, 2015 7:27 AM   Subscribe

The election of a new leader of the Labour Party looked like being a rather uninteresting affair with three candidates from the moderate to right wing of the party. A token leftie was added to open up the debate but he stood now chance... However against all expectation, that leftie, Jeremy Corbyn, is surging ahead in popularity and may actually win. Perhaps because unlike the other candidates Corbyn speaks like a human being and has anti-austerity policies that the public like. posted by fearfulsymmetry (131 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
The social media drum is certainly beating hard and strong for Corbyn, but I wonder whether we'll see a) a backlash, b) the media machine out in force and c) shy "Labour centre-righties" coming out in droves for Burham.

I'm sadly cynical about these things having seen a huge discrepancy between Twitter opinions and election outcomes twice in less than a year.
posted by kariebookish at 7:42 AM on July 27, 2015


I'm sadly cynical about these things having seen a huge discrepancy between Twitter opinions and election outcomes twice in less than a year.

You mean Bernie Sanders isn't commanding a imposing lead in the Democratic Presidential nomination?
posted by Badgermann at 7:45 AM on July 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


So, who are you supporting to win fearfulsymmetry?
posted by Drinky Die at 7:47 AM on July 27, 2015


The spectacle of Labour disembowelling itself at the horrific prospect of an actual left-winger being their next leader is both sickening and hilarious.

What's the point of them being Tory-Lite? Real Tories won't vote for their milquetoast version of rightist bastardry when they have the real thing there instead, actual leftists are abandoning them at a rate of knots and everyone in the middle has no idea what they actually stand for anymore. They're an empty shell of a party, as evidenced by their complete collapse in Scotland.

I hope that Labour goes back to the left and actually does some real Opposing. This pathetic act of following the Tories around the playground copying them in the hopes of teasing away a few of the slightly less vicious voters is a betrayal of what the party was established to do. And there's significant support out there for some kind of real alternative to austerity-forever and gutting the state to enrich already rich men. If they choose to ignore what their own membership is screaming at them, then they deserve to die and the UK deserves the horrendous governments it's going to get for decades.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:53 AM on July 27, 2015 [32 favorites]


An actual left-wing leader of the Labour Party? How quaint and refreshing would that be!
posted by billiebee at 7:54 AM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


So, who are you supporting to win fearfulsymmetry?

Wolfie Smith
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:02 AM on July 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


What's the point of them being Tory-Lite? Real Tories won't vote for their milquetoast version of rightist bastardry when they have the real thing there instead, actual leftists are abandoning them at a rate of knots and everyone in the middle has no idea what they actually stand for anymore. They're an empty shell of a party, as evidenced by their complete collapse in Scotland.

If only there were some sort of social democrat party in the UK. I hear there used to be one before the shitstain of a party leader decided to fuck his base in his quest for being the deputy PM for one term.
posted by Talez at 8:02 AM on July 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


Tony Blair: If your heart's with Jeremy Corbyn, get a transplant – video

Corbyn admits links to Islamic extremist

Jeremy Corbyn is close friends with an Islamic extremist who says that adulterers should be stoned to death and compares gays with paedophiles.

Daily Telegraph urges readers to 'doom' Labour by backing Jeremy Corbyn

Article provides step-by-step guide on how to register as supporter of Labour party and vote for ‘socialist voter-repellent’ in leadership contest


An Open Letter To Jeremy Corbyn: Why I Can’t Take a Believer of Homeopathy Seriously

The Corbyn tribe cares about identity, not power

Labour leadership hopeful Jeremy Corbyn attacked for calling Hezbollah and Hamas 'friends'

Jeremy Corbyn is not a serious politician. I should know
posted by Drinky Die at 8:06 AM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


That's a lot of Murdoch press links in one post, Drinky Die. Consider the source, I'd say.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:13 AM on July 27, 2015 [13 favorites]


People are so desperate to see something in Corbyn that I don't think is really there. It's just wishful thinking (backed up the fresh wound of the recent election), coupled with the other contenders being such obvious mediocrities.

People who aren't in this bubble though (the people who need to switch over to voting Labour in large numbers if there's to be any hope in 2020) are more likely to see an aged old leftie with ossified Bennite politics from the middle of the last century, an undistinguished career politician with zero experience in leadership or running anything and a petulant persona in interviews, a wooly-minded supporter of homeopathy and the vile George Galloway, and a pal of the IRA and Hamas (however unfair this may be).

I remember laughing my head off at the Tories in their wilderness years electing Michael Howard and IDS - how could they be so stupid? could they not see how these people looked to outsiders? - but I'm not laughing now.
posted by sobarel at 8:15 AM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Happy Dave has a point. In the wake of Charles Kennedy's death, it was revealed he was quietly looking into setting up a new leftwing party in the UK. I wonder what could have been - a bit like what would have happened if John Smith hadn't passed away.

The UK desperately need a centre-left party. Labour definitely isn't it and the Lib Dems are quietly imploding.
posted by kariebookish at 8:17 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's a lot of Murdoch press links in one post, Drinky Die. Consider the source, I'd say.

Only one of Drinky Die's links was from a Murdoch source.
posted by sobarel at 8:21 AM on July 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


Richard Seymour:
So, let's be clear. The candidate the Conservatives are most frightened of is Jeremy Corbyn. They know this isn't 1981, and they know that he isn't an erratic egomaniac. They know that in an unstable ideological climate in which the dominant parties have an increasingly shaky relationship with their traditional base, unexpected things can happen. It is precisely the opposite of what Blair claimed: there is no guarantee of any "traditional result". They have no idea what the result would be if Corbyn actually won; because they had no idea that Corbyn even stood a chance.
Matthew D'Ancona:
My straw poll of Tories... revealed certain unmistakable trends. Yes, there are some who cannot disguise their glee at Corbyn-mania and their general disdain for the mediocrity of the contest. Complacent Tories are not a pretty sight.

Yet there are surprisingly few of them, truth to tell. One cabinet member says that Corbyn’s leadership “would drag the overall debate to the left and the tiny risk of his victory would be a catastrophe for Britain”...

...what if the rules have changed? What if Corbyn’s moment in the sun is more than an anomaly, a quirk, an exception that proves the rule? The smart politician allows for such possibilities. Which is why smart Tories, far from gloating, are asking themselves if this is the start of something; and if so, of what?
As Tory leader, Thatcher stood for ideology – right from the start:
Yet go back 40 years, and the day-in-day-out reporting of the contest stressed Mrs Thatcher's dogmatism, and the risks for the Conservatives as a national, centre ground party should they be foolhardy enough to vote for her. Not a single newspaper backed her candidacy largely because of that fact...

In her first major speech after being elected [leader], she acknowledged that people were already calling the party – and her – ‘extremist Right-Wingers’. ‘They’ll dredge up all their tired and silly slogans’, she said, ‘but we can deal with those.’
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:22 AM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Only one of Drinky Die's links was from a Murdoch source.

Forgive me, I find it so hard to tell right wing press barons apart. Though to be fair there was two Guardian links in there as well, for the full New Labour circular firing squad effect.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:26 AM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


The perspective on Corbyn from Scotland is a little different: Salmond on Corbyn (and Corbyn himself from the same show); "The English SNP" the advantages to both parts of Labour in splitting to form separate parties.
posted by rongorongo at 8:31 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Corbyn would be hammered by the right wing press of course... but then any Labour leader is going to be hammered by the right wing press (unless the Tory party and / or economy utterly melts down before the next election)

The 35% Strategy - add a few ex-Lib Dems to your core vote to limp over the line was a complete failure - the core has started to drift to other parties or just not voting at all. Scotland is naturally more left wing than England (esp Southern England outside London - the express Tory strategy to win post WWII was shore up SE England and keep enough of the the rest of the country scared) however the rise of SNP shows that there are people out there who support anti-austerity policies. Are there enough in the whole country to win? Well perhaps we'll see.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:52 AM on July 27, 2015


One of the best things to come out of this is the Twitter account, Jeremy Corbyn Jokes, which has such gems as:

Knock knock
Who's there?
Boo
Boo who?
If you would just let me finish. Boosting production with state intervention is economically essential
posted by The River Ivel at 9:14 AM on July 27, 2015 [15 favorites]


I've been a Labour party member for over a year, but I admit I know next to zero about Burnham, Cooper and Kendall (the other leadership candidates). Are they really all identical? Corbyn would be my choice, however I've seen a lot of commentators (not just right-wingers) saying he would be a disaster for Labour. So I have not got the slightest idea who to vote for. Would anyone be prepared to briefly lay out the positions of the other three candidates in a way which would allow me to easily differentiate between them? Which one is the most left-wing, for example?
posted by rubber duck at 9:14 AM on July 27, 2015


The current split in the Labour party (one reflected in a similar rift among Guardian columnists) isn't so much a left/right split as a difference between those who think that Labour must do whatever it takes to win the next election, and those who think the party should be driven by a set of core principles and not continue drifting to the right.

Thus we have the Blairite side who maintain that a party must get into power at any cost if it is to effect change (a reasonable argument) and the Corbynites who believe that voters have turned away from Labour because it no longer represents a clear alternative to the status quo (another reasonable argument). The truth, as always, probably lies somewhere in the middle.

And so we have half the Guardian writers enthusiastically writing off Labour's chances for the next five years (or two decades - they've been trying to outdo each other on the timescale) and the other half seeing this as the welcome final nail in the coffin of New Labour and a chance to move on to something better that resonates with the electorate.

Personally, I'd like to hear more leftist political voices across the whole of Europe, not just in the UK. Clearly we don't want a return to a bickering, internally fractured Labour party that (if you'll pardon the standard narrative) handed Thatcher the country on a plate and then turned in on itself for nearly two decades. But the idea that a left-leaning party cannot be politically 'credible' is one of the big lies to which the Tories and their press owe their success. As Corbyn's popularity demonstrates, most people identify very readily with many of the ideas of the left (as long as they aren't obviously labelled as such).

Politicians in the UK and elsewhere lost my faith when (as demonstrated in the linked video clip) they became professionally non-committal. Saying nothing is less likely to cause a media storm than saying something, and so the politicians use weasel words or duck questions entirely. I worry about Corbyn's potential as a Labour leader because he speaks clearly, and as such will provide a constant stream of material that can be wilfully misrepresented by the media. But perhaps that's just the cynical me talking.
posted by pipeski at 9:21 AM on July 27, 2015 [8 favorites]




a difference between those who think that Labour must do whatever it takes to win the next election, and those who think the party should be driven by a set of core principles and not continue drifting to the right.

I'm going to do something terrible now and quote something that George Osborne said that I genuinely think is insightful: "In opposition you move to the centre. In government you move the centre."

Remember the Compassionate "hug a hoodie" Conservative David Cameron used to be? Or the "we'll match Labour's spending plans" Shadow Chancellor George Osborne was? See how, now they've finally got a majority, they're embarking on a totally radical and comprehensive right-wing agenda? That's the lesson that Labour needs to re-learn, and god help us for being outmaneuvered and out-thought by a little shit like Osborne.
posted by sobarel at 9:38 AM on July 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


Well, this is what I know. Labour keeps saying it cannot win if it moves to the left, but it keeps moving to the right and losing.
posted by eriko at 9:47 AM on July 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


Really? When has it moved to the right and lost? Huge majorities in 1997, 2001 and 2005 with Blair, then collapse with Brown and catastrophe with (elected by members as the most left-wing candidate) Miliband. I think you could draw quite the opposite conclusion.
posted by sobarel at 10:00 AM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm probably to the left of Corbyn, in an ideal world, but the one thing I've learned in the last five years is that New Labour were not the Tories in any way shape or form and that anything is better than the Tories (UKIP / BNP etc aside). The New Labour government was a disaster in foreign policy terms, and the window they opened into privatisation of the NHS was a mistake and their deregulation of the financial sector was stupid, but. They didn't starve the public sector deliberately, as a policy aim. They didn't think they could toss out the Human Rights Act, the basic principles of legal aid and access to justice, and EU membership. They weren't blindly and aggressively hostile to the welfare state, they didn't push so hard on sanctioning benefit claimants for every little thing, and I'm pretty sure they would have ditched the horrible workplace capability assessments by now after the mountain of evidence we've had about it.

After all that, I want to take back every time I called New Labour Tories-lite before 2010 - I had no idea what Tories were, clearly. I hope Labour picks whichever candidate can win in 2020 and then fixes the country as best they can, making what compromises are necessary. I don't think Corbyn can win in England in 2020, unfortunately. He'll be demonised as Ed Milliband was and his public persona lends itself to caricature in the Tory press in a way that Andy Burnham's doesn't. I regret that fact but I'd rather have an ideologically messy Labour government sometime soon than an ideologically pure Labour Party in opposition for the next decade.
posted by Aravis76 at 10:43 AM on July 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


The problem with the 'anything is better than Tories' argument is that, for many voters, it turns into a case of 'better the devil you know'. A lot of people told me before the election that they felt there was little to choose between the Conservatives and Labour (even under Miliband), and that they might as well vote for the Tories again because (rightly or wrongly) they believed they'd be getting pretty much the same result.
posted by pipeski at 10:52 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


This column made me snicker, uncomfortably.
So Labour passed the welfare bill with the passive silence of a married orgasm. It has lost touch so badly that it is now getting lectures on empathy from someone from Paisley. Harriet Harman might as well stand down and leave the party to be managed by an out-of-office email. It’s as if their MPs know they lost the election but don’t realise they actually still have jobs in parliament. Like when a nursery kid finishes their one line in the nativity play then carries on picking their nose in front of the school … LABOUR WE CAN STILL SEE YOU.

.......

I suspect that what all the Corbyn-bashing really means is that our media thinks the only people who are fit for anything in this society are those who have internalised the assumptions of its propaganda. That banks are too big to fail but countries aren’t. That unbelievable foreign villains have made movies ridiculous, but not history or the news. I honestly don’t think that Corbyn would make a good leader but only because he would quickly take his own life in a highly unconvincing manner on a long country walk, an inquiry taking 15 years to report that he had kicked himself to death.

posted by Rumple at 10:52 AM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Labour is now so passive, it might as well be led by an out-of-office email

Its Frankie Boyle, which will not meet with everyone's approval on this site, but I think worth reading to the final paragraph for what it says about Labour's current state and the nature of its failure to have any meaningful values.
posted by biffa at 10:55 AM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Knock knock
Who's there?
Boo
Boo who?
If you would just let me finish. Boosting production with state intervention is economically essential


I don't understand why this is a joke... noted left-wing loon Barack Obama pushed this policy through in the wake of the Great Recession to a far greater extent than the supposedly more social-democratic European states and, well the US economy is not where it should be but it's a lot better than the austerity-stricken Continent no?
posted by tivalasvegas at 10:57 AM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't understand why "they're both the same (too far right for me)" would lead to voting Tory. Wouldn't it lead to either not voting at all or voting for the Greens?
posted by Aravis76 at 11:05 AM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Something I read following the May election debacle was that Unite leader Len McCluskey had said Unite's backing of Ed Miliband in the first place was supposed to be some sort of "punishment" inflicted on Blairites in the Labour Party, a way for the unions to say "You don't back us? We'll continue to put forward unelected leaders like Miliband."

AFAIK Corbyn has the backing of the Unite leadership, so...
posted by Nevin at 11:05 AM on July 27, 2015


None of them are jokes by the criteria you put forth, tivalasvegas.
posted by klue at 11:07 AM on July 27, 2015


Yeah, I too thought that Ed Miliband was meant to be the move to the left Labour sought.
posted by Rumple at 11:31 AM on July 27, 2015


I don't understand why this is a joke... noted left-wing loon Barack Obama pushed this policy through in the wake of the Great Recession to a far greater extent than the supposedly more social-democratic European states and, well the US economy is not where it should be but it's a lot better than the austerity-stricken Continent no?

That's the joke. Or, rather, the underlying humour is that Corbyn's left-wing approach will be relentlessly pilloried, even when it has a proven track record of success, popular support from the electorate, and a body of MPs willing to support it, because of the Overton Window. Or perhaps just the fear of an Overton window; it seems that a large portion of the UK's leading left-wing party are actually left-wing, which has come as a shock to the leadership.
posted by The River Ivel at 11:33 AM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Its Frankie Boyle, which will not meet with everyone's approval on this site, but I think worth reading to the final paragraph for what it says about Labour's current state and the nature of its failure to have any meaningful values.

He's completely right to point out the horrible effects on the poor, sick and disabled of the Tory "reforms" of welfare. He's not at all correct in saying that Labour voted for them.

The Welfare Bill includes a great deal of Labour policy - extra apprenticeship places, cuts for social housing rent, etc - so voting against the Bill in its entirety was decided against. Instead the decision was to abstain, and submit copious amendments to the Bill which will be discussed at the Committee stage. If the amendments are not adopted then the Bill will be voted against by all Labour MPs at the next reading.

Of course this is a bit complicated, so it gets translated to "Labour voted with the Tories! They're all as bad as each other!" I mean, politically it would have been better to throw a wobbly and vote against the whole thing, but a) that's not how government is supposed to function, and b) the Tories have a majority and would just force the whole unaltered Bill through.
posted by sobarel at 11:39 AM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


There is a good argument that Labour needs a leader that is willing to be pretty sharped-elbowed at opposing for at least the next two or three years. The Tories have gone from a de facto majority of 70-odd with the Lib Dems, to one of 11, where there are potential wobblers among the usual 'awkward squad' on the right, but also on the Tory left. There is also no longer a government majority in the House of Lords. While the UK model of government doesn't reward blanket opposition in the way that it does in the US -- the 'we'll make government dysfunctional so you'll vote to kick out the incumbents' approach -- in the first half of a five year term there's probably more to be gained in deliberately fucking up the best plans of your opponents than presenting yourself as a government in waiting. (Read Alex Harrowell on rejectionism.)

To be a good opposer, you need some degree of ideological... coherence, integrity, that stuff, and that's not really offered by the other three candidates. You have to not look like a squish. But it also requires the ability to maintain the discipline of the parliamentary party, and that's not really offered by Corbyn, who has always been willing to vote against the Labour front bench.

Ed Miliband was probably too quick to resign. Had he offered to stick around for another couple of years while the party licked its wounds, with a focus on throwing spanners in the works of Osborne's schemes to punish the poor for being poor, the right-wing press wouldn't be wanking itself blind over the idea that it's 1981 all over again.
posted by holgate at 3:38 PM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


My interpretation of @corbynjokes was that Jeremy is a fairly serious chap and so, this novelty twitter account claims, would be incapable of telling jokes without digressing into serious discussions about policy.
posted by eykal at 4:34 PM on July 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


What's the point of them being Tory-Lite? Real Tories won't vote for their milquetoast version of rightist bastardry when they have the real thing there instead, actual leftists are abandoning them at a rate of knots and everyone in the middle has no idea what they actually stand for anymore. They're an empty shell of a party, as evidenced by their complete collapse in Scotland.

I hope that Labour goes back to the left and actually does some real Opposing. This pathetic act of following the Tories around the playground copying them in the hopes of teasing away a few of the slightly less vicious voters is a betrayal of what the party was established to do. And there's significant support out there for some kind of real alternative to austerity-forever and gutting the state to enrich already rich men. If they choose to ignore what their own membership is screaming at them, then they deserve to die and the UK deserves the horrendous governments it's going to get for decades.


Wow. Substitute "Republican" for "Tory" and "Democrat" for "Labour" and that's a pretty spot-on description of politics in the US.
posted by SisterHavana at 4:43 PM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Tory and Liberal in Canada.

What is it about the right wing that foments such naked hatred?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:45 PM on July 27, 2015


Really? When has it moved to the right and lost? Huge majorities in 1997, 2001 and 2005 with Blair, then collapse with Brown and catastrophe with (elected by members as the most left-wing candidate) Miliband. I think you could draw quite the opposite conclusion.

Right. Not that I'm happy about this, but Labour was destroyed electorally in 1983 when it ran on a genuinely left-wing platform, and became more electable throughout the 1980s/90s as it moved to the centre.
posted by Pink Frost at 6:00 PM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


but Labour was destroyed electorally in 1983 when it ran on a genuinely left-wing platform

...in the wake of the Falklands war, which changed everything for Thatcher.

The job of Labour over the next couple of years isn't to present itself as a government in waiting -- it's to make sure that the Tories look like a government of shitheads, especially when they try to govern as if they have a majority of 100.
posted by holgate at 7:19 PM on July 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


I find the hysterical new labour bleating about corbyn's unsuitability bizarre : what did it day about the other candidates then??

Also given the turgid rate of turn out at the election, somebody with values that are actually attractive to the electorate could well get more people out.
posted by smoke at 7:38 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Corbyn has weird friends for a leftie. It isn't even just a matter of being friends with Jew-hating, gay-hating clerics. He lobbies with and for them and sits on platforms with them and supports their demands. Here, for instance, he apparently calls for an enquiry into Jewish influence in the Conservative Party.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:33 PM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


You have to bear in mind that the Blair governments (2001 and 2005 anyway) were in no way representative of the people.
(Here are some graphs)

They had the lowest percentage of the electorate voting for them in the history of the UK.
(Even worse than the current government, on 24%)
Blair might have done ok in '97 when he was pretending not to be right wing, but after that he did terribly.
I don't believe this repeated assertion that no one will vote for left wing policies.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 12:40 AM on July 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, yes, first past the post means that winning elections doesn't mean being fully representative of the people. Winning elections is nevertheless the only way to get control of the NHS and the DWP, though, so the ability to win one is still an important skill and Blair possessed it.
posted by Aravis76 at 4:06 AM on July 28, 2015


Here, for instance, he apparently calls for an enquiry into Jewish influence in the Conservative Party.

How does not wanting pro-Israeli lobbyists influencing UK government policy equate with 'Jew-hating'? Are you saying that UK government policy should be influenced by pro-Israeli lobbyists, because to do otherwise would be antisemitic?
posted by pipeski at 2:52 PM on July 28, 2015


feckless fecal fear mongering: "What is it about the right wing that foments such naked hatred?"

Are you asking because you genuinely don't understand, or are you being obtuse?
posted by Happy Dave at 12:34 AM on July 29, 2015


How does not wanting pro-Israeli lobbyists influencing UK government policy equate with 'Jew-hating'?

The two groups of concern that he identified were the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and the Community Security Trust. The first is the peak Jewish community body in the UK; the second is a UK Jewish communal body that runs anti-racism programs and looks after things like synagogue security and so forth. They're not foreign policy lobby groups. You don't get a pass on anti-Semitism just because you refer to Jews as "Zionists".

The linked Youtube video, incidentally, is the record of a press conference held to complain about the exclusion of Raed Salah from the UK. Salah is a notorious anti-Semite and conspiracy theorist; it is extraordinary that any senior politician should associate with an anti-Semitic cleric who alleges that Jews consume the blood of Christian children, and conspired in the destruction of the World Trade Center. And yet, he does. As I said above, Corbyn has weird friends, for a leftie.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:01 AM on July 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


it is extraordinary that any senior politician should associate with an anti-Semitic cleric who alleges that Jews consume the blood of Christian children, and conspired in the destruction of the World Trade Center

I think this is where I differ with you, Joe. It's true that most politicians these days engage in a very strong kind of reputation management, where 'association with' anyone whose views or politics are considered extreme is considered to be politically risky, to say the least. And although this distancing seems to be the default approach these days, there are some who believe that sitting at the table with those people and having a frank conversation is preferable to simply 'othering' them.

Corbyn in particular has a long record of being open to discussions with pretty much anyone, and I tend to think that reading this willingness to talk as some kind of uncritical endorsement is at best simplistic, and at worst disingenuous. In 1984 he invited Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams to London, and was widely vilified for doing so. And yet, nearly a decade and a half later, those discussions happened, and here we are, arguably in a much better place.

In short, I don't see Corbyn's willingness to talk as a moral failing. It's an approach that ties into his political convictions. Corbyn is pretty clear on what he does and does not believe, and it ought to be fairly apparent that his views don't coincide particularly with those expressed by Raed Salah. The media as always, paints an overly simplistic picture.

The Rael Salah hate-speech and blood libel issue was covered fairly extensively here when the UK Secretary of State tried to deport him (his words were judged by the court to have been mistranslated or used out of context).
posted by pipeski at 5:44 AM on July 29, 2015


Are you asking because you genuinely don't understand, or are you being obtuse?

Obtuse is a thing I don't do. I truly, at a fundamental level, do not understand the utter contempt and hatred that right wing people have for everyone else. Oh sure I can get on an intellectual level why it happens; I just cannot fathom how anyone can look at [insert everyone else here] and go "you know what you need? you need your life to be worse."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:42 AM on July 29, 2015


I truly, at a fundamental level, do not understand the utter contempt and hatred that right wing people have for everyone else.

Ah, I see. I thought you meant you couldn't understand why some people have hatred and contempt for right wing political parties.

I fully agree with you. Although for me it's is tempered by a knowledge that a lot of the people I know who have rightwing leanings genuinely think they're doing the right thing, but they're being suckered into supporting a bunch of asset-stripping, grasping, borderline-sociopathic rich white guys who have decided they want to be kings of the world, even if that world is a burning ash-heap.

The men and women in the Tory party dismantling the NHS and eliminating every public good they can get their hands on while making a tidy profit on the side know exactly what they're doing. But many of the voters who support them have genuine (if overblown) fears about dependency, about lack of competitiveness, about the apparent stultifying effects of state bureaucracy. Even as they lose their jobs, the economy goes down the double toilet swirl of large-scale automation and demand destruction and the environment steadily shits itself, they'll remain convinced that everyone just needs to buckle down and pay off their debts, study hard, check the papers every day for opportunities for advancement and get on the housing ladder.

It's a sad irony that those who believe most strongly in the strength of our social contract and 'the rules' of British society (work hard, get on, save money, be responsible) are most complicit in enabling the steady, acidic destruction of the underpinnings of that contract. It took us literally centuries to get to this point and it could all be undone inside of a human lifetime. Except now your serfdom will have a shiny digital edge and instead of just the priest screaming at you that it's your own fault from the pulpit, the blame will be projected directly into your eyes from every video billboard you pass.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:37 AM on July 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


The Jeremy Corbyn effect: 'Jez we can'

From one of the summer's big gatherings of the left, the Tolpuddle festival, to the streets of marginal Bedford and a big campaign rally in Luton, John Harris charts the rise of Jeremy Corbyn and his effect on politics. He finds a political world where everything is suddenly turned upside down, and where anything is possible

As often with Harris, it's the vox-pox he manages to find that are the most interesting / shocking thing here... ie just how little some people know about politics
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:25 AM on August 1, 2015


(Note: not me.)
posted by JHarris at 12:18 PM on August 1, 2015


I truly, at a fundamental level, do not understand the utter contempt and hatred that right wing people have for everyone else.

With respect, you probably have some people that you hate, and some people that you acknowledge are thugs but you tolerate because they're fellow-travellers of a sort. I don't think Corbyn would endorse Raed Salah's position on gays and Jews, but Salah's an anti-Israel agitator so Corbyn would fight to the death for Salay's right to say it - even if it happens to be about gays being criminals and Jews drinking babies' blood.

When you're politically active it's hard or impossible to police your boundaries very strictly. I.e., you don't sit on a platform with the National Front, but maybe you sit with someone who does. Or maybe you sit with someone who sits with them. Or there's a guy who brings a lot of people to your rallies, and you tolerate him even though some of the signs his supporters hold are a bit equivocal. I mean, who can complain about a sign that says "OUR ENGLAND"? Then you find out they're actually anti-immigrant ...

There's a reason why the ideology of Oceania in 1984 was nominally socialist. Orwell had fought real fascists in a real war, but he knew the socialist movement from the inside; he had personal experience with harsh, uncompromising ideologues on the socialist side. It's not right-wing or left-wing; it's just a question of how narrowly you define your goals and how narrowly you define your comrades.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:21 PM on August 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


and some people that you acknowledge are thugs but you tolerate because they're fellow-travellers of a sort

No.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:03 PM on August 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


There has always been a strong pro-Russian element in the UK left. Remarkably, it has been pro-Russia regardless of the party ruling Russia at the time. Apparently Corbyn falls into that camp.

Corbyn and Ukraine: it's not pretty
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:07 PM on August 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


That linked post is such weak sauce -- conflation, creaky juxtaposition, innuendo, guilt by association -- that it's barely broth.
posted by holgate at 6:37 PM on August 4, 2015


Eh. He's right, though. Corbyn's Stop the War Coalition does support Russia's line on every policy policy issue I can identify. With respect to Russia's invasion of Crimea, it's not necessarily pro-invasion, but it's anti-anti-invasion. With respect to Syria, it's not necessarily pro-Assad, but it's anti-anti-Assad. With respect to Yemen, it's not necessarily pro-Iran, but it's anti-anti-Iran. There's not a whisper of a suggestion that maybe Russia was committing an act of war against a relatively defenceless country, or that Assad has been waging war against other Syrians, or that Iran has been arming a vicious militia on Saudi Arabia's border: the impression it gives it that these are good wars, or at least ones that we shouldn't complain about.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:19 PM on August 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


With respect to Russia's invasion of Crimea, it's not necessarily pro-invasion, but it's anti-anti-invasion.

So in your world you can't be against a position without being implicitly for its opposite?

I can think Putin is up to shady shit in Ukraine while simultaneously thinking it's a really bad idea to park tank divisions in the Baltics.

And frankly, I'd really like a few politicians who can hold and express nuanced opinions instead of hewing to frankly absurd black-and-white, us-and-them, for-us-or-against-us divisions.

The world is complicated and full of shades of grey. Our media and our politics seek to obscure that when they should be digging into it and helping us to understand it. Extreme polarisation is how you get wars, as both sides gradually back into their respective corners and then come out swinging.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:34 AM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


the impression it gives it that these are good wars, or at least ones that we shouldn't complain about

But you know full well that's not what it means. Those of us who support the anti-war movement oppose Western interventionism because it's a scam. Because it doesn't make things better. Because it doesn't stop wars, it just breeds new wars. That's why the "Stop the War Coalition" is called what it is. A coalition that grew out of the interventionism that destroyed the credibility of the last Labour government. The interventionism that is the last desperate grasp for dominance of the heavily armed, stagnant powers of Europe, Russia and the US.

So far you've had Corbyn down as an anti-Semite and a Russian mole. I want to see what the third suggestion is.
posted by howfar at 4:06 PM on August 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


His friends include anti-Semites: there is literally no other word for someone who goes around saying that Jews drink Christian children's blood and start wars for profit and seduce people into unnatural sexual practices and so forth. And Corbyn calls them his friends, and he lobbies on their behalf. That doesn't make him an anti-Semite, but it does make him someone with very strange friends.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:29 PM on August 6, 2015


And Corbyn calls them his friends, and he lobbies on their behalf.

He lobbies not to have them excluded from the UK. As you know.

The linked Youtube video, incidentally, is the record of a press conference held to complain about the exclusion of Raed Salah from the UK.

The "friends" point seems massively overblown. It's clear that Corbyn's foreign politics are founded on the belief that you do talk to terrorists. And given the fact that both Thatcher (secretly) and Blair (publicly) came around to his point of view and as a consequence ended a low-level but bloody civil war in our country, he seems to have a bit of a point.
posted by howfar at 12:42 AM on August 7, 2015


I don't think a desire for dialogue explains Corbyn's actions in this case.

There's a big difference between someone who says that Ireland should be a single independent country and someone who says that Jews drink children's blood. The former is a rational person whose views must be dealt with; the other is a racist loony. There's simply no point having a political discussion with someone like that and, if there were, you could do it by phone rather than by allowing them to enter your country and spread their poison.

Lots of people (e.g., Fred Phelps, Michael Savage) have been excluded from the UK for similar reasons; why should Salah be any different? Why does he get to have an MP lobby on his behalf?
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:25 AM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


From today's Daily Mail:
Jeremy Corbyn's 'long-standing links' with notorious Holocaust denier and his 'anti-Semitic' organisation revealed
  • Paul Eisen, a self-professed Holocaust denier, says that he has been close to Corbyn for more than 15 years
  • He has come out in support of Corbyn's campaign on his blog
  • Eisen wrote that Corbyn has attended 'every single' one of his annual events and has even donated money to his anti-Israel pressure group
[...]
The bit about Eisen being "a self-professed Holocaust denier" presumably refers to this: Why I Call Myself a Holocaust Denier by Paul Eisen. Eisen's claims about Corbyn appear here, on the website of jazz musician Gilad Atzmon, widely described as a racist and anti-Semite. Eisen's story can be at least partially confirmed: Deir Yassin Remembered has a photo of Corbyn attending the 2005 event, also featuring a performance by Gilad Atzmon. As I've said before, Corbyn has weird friends for a leftie.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:17 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Friends". From the actual blog post, not the antisemitic Daily Mail (I'm a bit surprised at you, if I'm honest):
Since then [15 years ago] I’ve seen him here and there. I’ve seen him at solidarity meetings and also at events unconnected with Palestine. One was a meeting of firmly middle-class Islingtonians rabbiting on about protecting the trees in their neighbourhood. But Jeremy Corbyn was there and Jeremy Corbyn was as Jeremy Corbyn always is – fair, approachable, non-judgmental and always committed to the finest ideals of a British Parliamentarian i.e. representing the wishes and feelings of his constituents.

But there’s one final thing I want to tell you about Jeremy Corbyn because it means a lot to me. During the time when I felt so marginalised and isolated, when the movement with which he was associated so despised me, Jeremy always said hello. What’s so great about that? Well, if you ever find yourself in that situation you’ll know exactly what so great about it.
So he is a supporter of the Palestinian cause and has met a man who is an antisemitic supporter of that cause. It appears that he has given some support to this man's activities in support of Palestine, but there is no suggestion that he has supported his antisemitism.

This is little more than innuendo. It starts to read dangerously close to: (1) JiA doesn't like Corbyn's views on Palestine, (2) JiA can't find any evidence that Corbyn is an antisemite, (3) JiA repeats that Corbyn has "weird friends" over and over again, to insinuate antisemitism without ever actually making that unsubstantiated claim.

It may very well not be your intention, but it comes off as something unworthy of you.
posted by howfar at 2:10 AM on August 9, 2015


There's a big difference between someone who says that Ireland should be a single independent country and someone who says that Jews drink children's blood.

You do know that the Troubles were a explicitly sectarian conflict, yes? That the IRA engaged in campaigns of intimidation in Derry/Londonderry that have been described as "ethnic cleansing"? That people were killed or spared on the basis of religion alone?

And lets be very clear, McGuinness is either a murderer or complicit in murder. He didn't just say bad things about Protestants, he was part or an organisation that murdered them on the basis of their religion. His reinvention as a politician came through the process of dialogue that Corbyn always called for. But don't be telling me that 30 years ago McGuinness was some sort of rational figure whose connections to religious violence could just be put to one side for a moment. Antisemitism is horrific, but it's not intrinsically more horrific than any other form of ethnic and religious hatred and violence.
posted by howfar at 2:25 AM on August 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


So he is a supporter of the Palestinian cause and has met a man who is an antisemitic supporter of that cause.

It goes a bit further than that. Corbyn's a donor, and has allegedly gone to every event Eisen organised - at least fifteen. And Eisen is hardly the only anti-Semite involved with Deir Yassin Remembered: there's the egregious Gilad Atzmon, whom even The Electronic Intifada has rejected; a brief perusal of the other names shows many of the usual suspects. And every page of its website links to its "partner web site", RighteousJews.Org which is nothing but a nest of Holocaust deniers.

Do you think Corbyn didn't notice this? Or do you think his socialising with Holocaust deniers is part of his "talk to terrorists" philosophy? The Daily Mail seems to have updated their article, incidentally; the boot has been inserted a bit further.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:02 AM on August 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think we have no way to know, particularly as the Mail clearly didn't contact Corbyn for comment.

Please don't forget the antisemitic lies that the Mail published about Ed Miliband's family when you quote it as a source.

But given that this remains at the level of innuendo, I don't know what more we can say. Making common cause with unpleasant representatives of oppressed people has been part of the leftist tradition for a long time. Where you or I stand on that is one matter, but it's clear where Corbyn stands on it, and it seems to me overwhelmingly likely that he does so as a matter of socialist principle, rather than out of hatred for Protestants or Jews.
posted by howfar at 3:30 AM on August 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Making common cause with unpleasant representatives of oppressed people has been part of the leftist tradition for a long time.

? What oppressed people does Paul Eisen represent? According to his website he was born Jewish, although he has now renounced that status. Actual Palestinians say they don't want anything to do with him.

Incidentally, the Daily Mail did reach out to Corbyn for comment.
When asked to confirm whether Corbyn knows Eisen personally, or whether Eisen's accounts of Corbyn attending 'every single' one of his events and 'opening his cheque book' to his organisation are correct, the spokesperson declined to comment.
And here's Corbyn courageously stating his view on the IRA:
When the interviewer asked Mr Corbyn if he was refusing to condemn the IRA's actions, Mr Corbyn said he could not hear the question because he was on a train.

Asked the question a fifth time, he said: 'I feel we will have to do this later you know', before the line went dead.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:58 AM on August 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Rather sounds like he was on a train. Your insistence on relying on the Mail is a bit weird here. Its innuendo supports your own, granted, but if you can't find a reputable source, I'd ask yourself questions about what motivates your desire to see Corbyn in the way you do. Is it his underlying principles, or is it his foreign politics? The problem is that I'm not how often we have a conversation about any critic of Israel without you stating or insinuating antisemitism. There comes a point where it looks like it's more about your view of critics of Israel, than the facts in any individual case.

Because at this point, what have you actually got? Even if all the claims are literally true as stated? What would it tell us? Something? Nothing? Seems like the solid thing you're grabbing onto is Corbyn's disagreements with your own political view of Israel, and building from there. It doesn't tell anything to anyone who doesn't start from your position.
posted by howfar at 5:33 AM on August 9, 2015


I think what I'm trying to say is you have the word of a Holocaust denier and an antisemitic rag, and think we should be drawing conclusions from this. Given your ability and general fairness of mind, that seems problematic to me.
posted by howfar at 5:40 AM on August 9, 2015


I don't think Corbyn's office disputes that he attended those functions. In any event, there are photos. I suppose Corbyn might say that he didn't know what Eisen was really like, but it's not like Eisen was shy about expressing himself- and they've reportedly known each other for more than fifteen years. It's odd.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:50 AM on August 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


It would be super sweet if we could drop this, there's a lot more to Corbyn and his campaign than alleged anti-Semitism and it's kinda sucked the oxygen right out of the thread...
posted by smoke at 6:04 AM on August 9, 2015


I mean, I think it's pretty clear where you stand on this at this point, Joe.
posted by smoke at 6:05 AM on August 9, 2015


Fair point. Sorry.
posted by howfar at 8:06 AM on August 9, 2015


Fair enough.

Oh, look, more from the Daily Mail! With a different high-profile Jew-hater publicly supported by Corbyn! The guy just can't catch a break. It's almost like, stuff that gets ignored when you're a back-bencher gets dragged out when you're running for leadership.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:13 PM on August 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


[A couple of comments deleted. Joe in Australia, you've made your point over and over and over again in this thread, please dial it back now. And everyone, maybe we can open this to more than just one person's points or opinions. Thanks.]
posted by taz (staff) at 1:49 AM on August 10, 2015


I thought Rachel Shabi's explanation of the Corbyn phenomenon was interesting: firstly for the idea that Corbyn has been successful because he is a politician suited for grass-roots-controlled - rather than top down campaigns. Secondly for the idea that he has shone because his competitors are so anodyne.
posted by rongorongo at 6:21 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I had not seen that, rongorongo, but it definitely chimes with my perception. I am not sure whether Corbyn represents the centre ground of UK politics (although he's clearly not "hard left" in any meaningful sense), but he is very much a centrist in terms of the views of Labour voters and members. And the change is more fundamental, as Shabi identifies: power is shifting away from the media to set the agenda. This leadership election is a sign of things to come, not in so much in content (because while I think that there is huge demand for what Corbyn represents I think we could also easily see a huge growth of radical and racist right, as Scandinavia has), but in form.

New Labour was founded on its relationship with the British press, above all else. Its means are outdated and its policies are vaccuous. Corbyn's policies may not be as radical as I would want, but his success so far is truly significant in terms of the shape of things to come, for all parties.
posted by howfar at 6:45 AM on August 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think it is the idea of the "Overton Window" - as explained for a British context by Owen Jones. The range of political ideas considered acceptable has moved to the right under Thatcher, Blair, Brown and Cameron. Over time the range of movement has become sufficiently extreme that some quite moderate central ground - with wide public backing - is left uncovered - and up for grabs by the likes of Corbyn. This is pretty similar to what has happened in Scotland where the SNP have stepped into political territory that was once occupied by a right moving Labour party.
posted by rongorongo at 9:58 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I'm supporting Corbyn for the same reasons I supported Thatcher":
British politics occasionally seems to slip into a consensus, a status quo bias, that is wrong, and harmful, and needs to be overturned.

Thatcher overturned a political consensus that the mission of the British government was the orderly management of British decline and championed the market capitalism that was needed to make Britain prosperous. Now that market capitalism has deformed into neofeudalism, the political consensus that we need more austerity, fewer public services, lower taxes, no public housing and a collective surrender to the decisions of a handful of corporations needs to be overturned instead.

So I support Jeremy Corbyn for what I consider the obvious reasons...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:04 AM on August 11, 2015


Jeremy Corbyn is going to win the leadership.

I must say, I've found the panicked reaction of the "Labor establishment", such as it is, to be quite revealing over this prospect. Someone who resides even a millimetre outside of the neoliberal compact is clearly viewed as dangerous. The party is terrified of democracy - they have no one to blame but themselves.
posted by smoke at 3:59 PM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


What is weirdest, for me, is the reluctance of those on the right of the party to own their own politics. If they genuinely believe that a sort of neoliberal managerialism is what is best for the UK, then why not just say it, propose some policies and campaign on them? Just repeating "Corbyn can't win" is wholly ineffective - if they want to beat him they need to propose an alternative, just like with the Tories.

Because, Jesus Christ, if these three professional politicians can't persuade Labour voters to vote for them, with the support of every paper in England, how in Satan's name were they going to win the 2020 election? It's a kindness to give them a kicking now, and get it over with, rather than let them spend 5 years naively imagining that doing precisely the same (fuck all) as last time will achieve anything but an increased Tory majority.
posted by howfar at 4:15 PM on August 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Economist article with an interesting breakdown of Labour party member voting intentions sorted by length of membership. It shows Corbyn as the winner in every round and by every cohort - with the exception of old guard members who would (narrowly) go for Burnham or Cooper in the final round.

What is weirdest, for me, is the reluctance of those on the right of the party to own their own politics.


Me too. As a Scot I'm reminded of the "Better Together" consortium of Conservative, Labour and LibDem. They won the referendum but did so without being able to cite positive reasons for a no vote - only negative ones for a yes. The problem with this scare approach is best illustrated by Scooby-Do: the ghostly apparition yells more and more loudly and everybody runs away - until Shaggy tweaks off his mask to reveal the owner of the protected old mill who wanted to sell to a property developer. The problem for Blairism is that Blair is neither around to champion it - nor indeed as a fondly remembered figure.
posted by rongorongo at 12:00 AM on August 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


(Er, it's Fred who usually removes the mask. Yeah, that's all I have to contribute here sorry.)
posted by JHarris at 12:55 AM on August 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


If they genuinely believe that a sort of neoliberal managerialism is what is best for the UK, then why not just say it, propose some policies and campaign on them? Just repeating "Corbyn can't win" is wholly ineffective - if they want to beat him they need to propose an alternative, just like with the Tories.

This is how things tend to look from the perspective of people responsible for the operations of a political party:
It's an unspoken universal truth that political parties get a lot of their resources from their MPs. It might simply be a quid-pro-quo that electoral office employees put in unpaid labor campaigning for their MP. It might be (shh!) photocopying branch minutes on the office photocopier. It might even be a campaign schedule built around the sites that an MP or Minister or even Shadow Minister can plausibly visit while on official business. What this means is, losing MPs really hurts parties badly. For instance, Labor in Scotland is screwed. It will take a fortune to replace the use of assets lost in the last election, even ignoring the loss of the actual MPs.

Now, bear in mind that there's a huge amount of crossover between Party staff and party activists. From a staff perspective, Corbyn looks like a potential CEO who has announced his intention to radically restructure a business. Even if you feel that it will be a better business, the fact is that he's threatening to embark on a risky path that will very likely cause you or your friends to lose your job. It's possible that the gamble will pay off and that extra people will end up being employed - but that's only a small benefit to you, and doesn't compensate for the huge risk of losing your job. It would be much better for you if the Party maintains a steady-as-she-goes approach, even if it doesn't win office for a long time.

So when party stalwarts say "Corbyn can't win", they don't mean "we have a candidate who has a chance of winning". What they really mean is "Corbyn has a good chance of losing badly and potentially taking the party down. We would have to do something like sell our headquarters to cover the deficit." That's what they're really afraid of: not so much being out of office, or being irrelevant, but losing more seats.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:44 AM on August 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


While I think the above is both accurate and insightful, it still leaves the question of why the hell they're all making it the basis of their campaigns (albeit in a somewhat disguised form). A political pragmatist who will do anything to get elected does not say that they are, not unless they're a fool. They say they're an idealist with strong convictions that x, y and z is right (look at Blair or Boris Johnson if you want to see how this is done in modern British politics). It's as if these people don't actually have any idea of how to run a political campaign, or at least are so terrified of committing to any political idea that they are entirely hamstrung.

Again, I have to ask how any of the other three believe they have a reasonable chance of winning the country if they can't even work out the very basics of how to beat Corbyn.
posted by howfar at 3:09 AM on August 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Again, I have to ask how any of the other three believe they have a reasonable chance of winning the country if they can't even work out the very basics of how to beat Corbyn.

Well, there's the saying that oppositions don't win elections; governments lose them. In Labour's case, given that they're starting with the millstone of Scotland tied around their necks (i.e., seats that they formerly relied upon and which will be very hard to regain) it will take a very great government loss for Labour to achieve anything but a coalition victory. What I'm saying is, I don't think any of them expect to win the country, which means that they sound a bit hollow when they say Corbyn can't win. They can't win on ideology, because Corbyn has that sewn up. They can't win on pragmatism, because that well is dry. That mostly leaves them with a negative campaign - you know my view of Corbyn, but I'm not so naive as to think the stories are coming from nowhere.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:38 AM on August 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Corbyn Warnings
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:53 AM on August 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


They've have to push back the deadline as so many people rushing to join up / register at the last minute have crashed the Labour Party's website.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:58 AM on August 12, 2015




Why is anyone on the right of Labour allowing a shit-Midas like McTernan to keep opening his mouth? Ask Tony Blair, Julia Gillard and Jim Murphy how well relying on McTernan turns out.
posted by howfar at 9:15 AM on August 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Why is anyone on the right of Labour allowing a shit-Midas like McTernan to keep opening his mouth?

See also drinking mate of Nigel Farage, Simon Danczuk... Labour MPs plotting coup against Jeremy Corbyn 'on day one'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:18 AM on August 12, 2015


"Am I going to put up with some crazy left wing policies that he is putting forward and traipse through the voting lobby to support him? It's not going to happen is it? So I would give him about twelve months if he does become leader."

So...wait? He's saying that he won't do crazy left wing shit like opposing the most right-wing government in the postwar era? What?
posted by howfar at 9:40 AM on August 12, 2015


Urgh,
It's depressing how rabidly the establishment is opposing Corbyn.
I've been reading a lot of comments about how if he wins there will be no Labour party left because of his purges!
(Seriously, the word Purges has been drastically overused this week)

And yet, he's the only candidate who has spoken about who he'd have in his cabinet and every time he says he wants a broad church inclusive cabinet.
I wonder how it will end. Increasingly Corbyn looks likely to win, so where do all the posturers stand? Will they retreat to the back benches and sulk like toddlers? Will they really vote for Tory policies just to spite him and the majority of their party members who voted him in?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 10:00 AM on August 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


And now Blair is back, saying that he is certain that a Corbyn victory will cause annihilation. Who on Earth thought getting the least popular member of the Labour party (with a record for lying about the destructive power of his enemies) to come out against Corbyn again was a good idea?
posted by howfar at 11:25 AM on August 12, 2015


I wonder how it will end. Increasingly Corbyn looks likely to win, so where do all the posturers stand?

I took a quick look at the Labour Party's Rule Book 2013. [PDF]

Yes, basically all an MP can do is complain and/or leave the Party. I don't know what the Labour Party would do if its leader didn't have the support of the Parliamentary Party and didn't stand down. Maybe the National Executive Committee could allege that the leader was in breach of the Rules, and suspend them while appointing someone else pro-tem, but otherwise I think it would take a Party Conference to replace leader.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:54 PM on August 12, 2015


Yes, it would take 20% of the current PLP to trigger another leadership election at conference, but in reality that would seem fairly insane, given that the likely response would be a re-elected Corbyn and nothing but damage done to the party. That doesn't mean it won't happen, though. There is a genuine chance that the Labour party will tear itself apart over this. It's not like there isn't precedent for people leaving Labour when things don't suit them (although I should be clear that the Gang of Four had some very firm policy reasons for leaving, and stood for some genuinely progressive policy positions, which doesn't seem to be the case with those currently on the right of the party, who just seem scared and confused right now, rather than coherently opposed).
posted by howfar at 8:24 PM on August 12, 2015


It's not like there isn't precedent for people leaving Labour when things don't suit them

Yeah, talking of which...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:33 AM on August 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love the language used by Baroness Williams: the "the slightly leftier end of the Liberal Democrats" vs "the slightly centralist area of the Labour Party". Apparently the Labour Party has a left, and a center, and nothing else.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:08 AM on August 13, 2015 [1 favorite]








If Jeremy Corbyn wins leadership Labour faces 'annihilation', says Tony Blair
With Blair, Campbell, McTiernan and Straw all opposing Corbyn, and Corbyn claiming Blair could face a trial over an illegal war in Iraq, it is interesting to speculate how much these people may be worried about the outcome of Chilcot.
[Edit: fearfulsymmetry - snap]
posted by rongorongo at 5:37 AM on August 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Corbyn campaign responds to Blair and Cooper, with class:

"I don’t do personal, I don’t do reaction, I don’t do abuse. Life is too short and it devalues the political process. I think we should try and enhance the democratic life of this country, not reduce it to that level"
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:46 AM on August 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


The parallels with the Scottish referendum are striking.
The palpable fear from Blair and his smarmy army, the brazenly undemocratic tactics and the inevitable collapse in New Labour support.

New Labour : "If Corbyn wins he will drag the labour party back to the left"
Everyone Else : "We know, that's the point"

A purge of the wrong kind of voters? Please, are you even listening to yourself?

Corbyn will win or thousands upon thousands of labour members will be disenfranchised.
Either way New Labour is finally dead, I just wish they'd fuck off and join the Yellow Tories like they're threatening.

Defeating the Tories by being nicer Tories is pointless, the last 30 years have shown us that.
posted by fullerine at 3:14 AM on August 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


The parallels with the Scottish referendum are striking.
Indeed - Labour are exhuming Gordon Brown at the 11th hour. Expect a "vow", a veiled attack by the queen and a motion forbidding Corbyn from using the pound.
posted by rongorongo at 4:35 AM on August 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Love that on BBC lunchtime news Corbyn is referred to as the "left-wing candidate".
posted by billiebee at 6:07 AM on August 16, 2015


Rumours abound that Mandelson is trying to persuade Burnham, Cooper and Kendall to drop out, and therefore anull the election.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:32 AM on August 17, 2015




Why would that annul the election, even supposing that they could drop out at this point?
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:42 AM on August 17, 2015


Why would that annul the election, even supposing that they could drop out at this point?


It wouldn't... The rumour is Mandelson put feelers out to arrange to do it earlier and was told that Corbyn would just win by default in that case.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:56 AM on August 17, 2015




Jeremy Corbyn's address to this year's annual conference of the Citizen's Electoral Council, the "political party of Australian collaborators of the LaRouche movement".
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:28 PM on August 19, 2015


Jeremy Corbyn could face Labour MPs' coup 'within days of being elected leader'

Mere speculation, obviously, but it shows the mechanism and schedule that would allow it:
Corbyn's apotheosis is scheduled for September 12th;
Parliament rises on September 17th, after which is the Autumn conference in Brighton;
At least 20% of the Parliamentary party (46 MPs) need to ask for a new election;
A new election for Party Leader is held, and presumably there would be much to-ing and fro-ing about the candidates and the process in order to avoid a complete cockup in which in the nominal "Leader" has no "Followers".
Alternatively, it turns out that Corbyn has sufficient support, and the challengers "consider their position", and their pensions.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:18 PM on August 19, 2015




A coup of a leader elected by popular vote and with the backing of the unions would be the beginning of the end of the Labour party in its current form, as far as I can see. I don't think it would happen, because of Unite and Unison mainly, but who knows anything about British politics this year?

Hardly a ringing Murdoch endorsement which doesn't actually endorse him and clearly implies that what Corbyn believes in is wrong. I don't really know what it means, either. Does Murdoch actually favour Corbyn? Seems bad for his long-term UK strategy of controlling whichever party is in power. But equally he could see it as a guarantee of a one party state. Or he could just be talking, as he sometimes does.
posted by howfar at 5:35 AM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm curious about the coup business.

If polling suggested that a Corbyn led party was something the electorate desired would Liz Kendall then support him?
Or is her platform of power above all else actually not true?

All the candidates objections seem to be that no one will vote for a Corbyn led party, I don't see many objections on actual policy grounds?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:04 AM on August 20, 2015


I think there is actually a fair degree of policy criticism, but the reason it's relatively muted is because the Labour party has a fundamental problem that this situation is exposing, rather than causing. The parliamentary party has ended up, on the whole, much more right-wing than the bulk of Labour voters and members. Most MPs and party employees disagree with Corbyn's policies, because they're too left-wing for them, but they (with the exception of Kendall, who is playing a long game - although I suspect it will come to nothing) can't attack them too directly, because they're popular policies. So they have to say that his 'approach is wrong' or that he's 'unelectable' or that he's 'tainted by association with XXX'. They are unwilling to deal with the fact that one problem the Labour party has is its failure to engage its base for a good 15 years or more.

Personally, I think it's better to do all this now, pretty much no matter what the cost, than blunder on for another five years slowly bleeding out without even acknowledging it. The Labour party is a profoundly troubled entity, but it is better for the party and UK politics to just get this over with and try to work out how to move forward.
posted by howfar at 2:05 PM on August 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


I tend to agree. The Labour party can clearly not hope to win office by Tory default; the SNP ate its lunch, and other contenders will likely pick away at formerly-safe seats. If the Labour party is to survive it needs a coherent platform that is acceptable to the majority of its members.

Corbyn's policies have been criticised, but not in detail. That's because they're vague. How can you criticise a policy without any specifics, when the response will be "well, we would avoid the problem by not doing it the way you suggest."
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:18 PM on August 20, 2015






May I, as a British person, take this opportunity to apologise to America for sending you Louise Mensch? While you'll never take any notice of her, she will be there amongst you, dragging down a number of key demographic indicators.
posted by howfar at 6:27 AM on August 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I actually also feel a bit sorry for Louise Mensch. I like Twitter as much as the next bigmouth, but what a way to waste your time in one of the most interesting cities in the developed world.
posted by howfar at 6:30 AM on August 22, 2015


Mensch may have made a mistake, but
The Labour Party confirmed it had launched a formal invest­ig­ation after John Mann, who has chaired the All-Party ­Parliamentary Group Against Anti-Semitism for 10 years, received more than 40 emails and additional Tweets referring to him as “utter filth” and a “Zionist stooge”.
Oliver Kamm has received them too.

And according to Shane Croucher at the IBTimes, his Jewish colleagues are increasingly receiving anti-Semitic tweets from Corbyn supporters.

So yes, Mensch made a mistake, but her error should not be used as an excuse to mock a very real problem.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:39 AM on August 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm a little dubious about this.
The jewish chronicle and ibtimes are hardly neutral sources.
Given the rabid attack campaign against him from all sides, 40 emails from supporters (as John Mann says:
" I know they’re from Corbyn supporters because they all express this openly.”) would not be hard to come by.
I'm not even saying they're not from real supporters (although, frankly I could send 40 emails from 40 different addresses this evening with out much trouble), but given his current support base I'd be shocked if there weren't some crazies in there.
You could probably spend 10 minutes and find 40 daily mail commentators who support George Osborne and also want to institute forced internment of the unemployed. It doesn't mean Osborne's shares their beliefs.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:12 PM on August 22, 2015


I presume the reason the Labour party is investigating the Tweets is that they appear to have come from members of the Party.

Also, I hope you're not suggesting that Jews should not be believed when it comes to reports of anti-Semitism, or that anti-Semitic abuse is trivial, to be expected, and not a cause for outrage.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:40 PM on August 22, 2015


I am of course not suggesting that.
What I'm saying is, given their desperation to find something negative it's pretty thin stuff.
I don't mean anti-semitism is thin stuff, because it's obviously vile and unnaceptable as all racism is, I mean that it's not even an accusation against the person. It's a claim supporters, or supposed associates or some guy he maybe met once 10 years ago, and it's on an emotive topic that even reasonable people* struggle to discuss dispassionately.

If only he had repeatedly and consistently spoken out against anti-semitism


[I was gonna link to an article called 4 reasons the “anti-Semitism” attacks on Jeremy Corbyn are dishonest but it was published by a newsletter about palestinian issues, which would somewhat undermine my media bias argument :) ]

*By which I mean MeFites....

posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:06 AM on August 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


If only he had repeatedly and consistently spoken out against anti-semitism

He's certainly staunchly opposed to neo-Nazis, and their brand of anti-Semitism- as far as I can tell, though, he has never said a word about it when it's anti-Semitism coming from Islamists or pro-Palestinian activists (unless one counts the recent statements he's made defending himself against the accusations, and personally I find them pretty weak). And furthermore, he's deeply involved with movements that bring him into contact with both of those groups on a regular basis- he has been in a position where he's certainly been exposed to plenty of anti-Semitism among his allies and would have the power to speak out against it and have some impact- but as far as I can tell, he hasn't at all. Instead, he's apparently befriended some of the worst purveyors of it.

And on that, he didn't just refer to Hamas and Hezbollah as friends- he called them a force for peace and social justice, and said that they shouldn't be considered terrorists. The claim that he was just being diplomatic by calling them "friends" doesn't fly here at all when one sees the actual context of what he said there- it was an open, direct statement of support, and his later statements about it seem completely disingenuous once one has seen the original context of it. (There are also no cases, as far as I know, of him speaking to right-wing Israelis and referring to them in equally positive terms- one would think there would be if all this really was just about meeting all sides, including those he profoundly disagrees with, and trying to make peace.)

Another recent connection that's come out is Ibrahim Hewitt, referred to by Corbyn in this clip as a "very good friend" who he's gotten to know "extremely well". Ibrahim Hewitt, in addition to having once referred to the "so-called Holocaust" (which he did sort of retract, though if you ask me that's a total non-apology- "not wholly accurate", indeed), favors the death penalty for apostasy and refers to homosexuality as a "deviant practice" that should be "severely punished" under Islamic law, among other things. Given that he claims to know him extremely well, I find it impossible to believe that Corbyn could have been unaware of Hewitt's views.

Where all this leads me is that, while he may not personally hold those views himself, I simply do not think that Corbyn regards the anti-Semitism (or misogyny, or homophobia, or really anything else of that sort) found among Islamists and some pro-Palestinian activists as any sort of problem- neo-Nazi anti-Semitism may be a different matter for him, but not if it's coming from groups he regards as political allies. Honestly, if I were a British Jew, I would be extremely worried about the prospect of Corbyn as Prime Minister. There's a lot to like about many of his policy ideas, but all of this stuff is completely beyond the pale, as far as I'm concerned. (And also, IMO, shows some pretty deep-rooted problems in the particular part of the British left that Corbyn comes from. If one holds left/progressive views, it makes no sense whatsoever to regard far-right Islamists like Saleh and Hewitt as allies, but there are so many examples of significant figures and groups within the British far-left seemingly regarding them as such- Corbyn, Galloway, Azad Ali being the vice chair of Unite Against Fascism, the list goes on. )
posted by a louis wain cat at 6:12 PM on August 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Jeremy Corbyn Must be STOPPED
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:18 AM on August 26, 2015


How will Labour top losing the election? By losing its own leadership contest - Frankie Boyle

"Liz Kendall, with her permanent air of an office manager who has just come back from a course," Boyle deadly on point with this one
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:35 AM on August 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Thread'll be shutting down soon... Result on Saturday 12 September 2015
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:37 AM on August 27, 2015


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