An expectant opposition


Jade Azim

It’s been a busy few days, with many a Commons and Twitter spat.

With the backlash to the Budget, the resignation of IDS, and the complete disintegration of the welfare agenda, the Tories’ modernisation process, and Osborne himself, this should be a joyous occasion whereupon we bask in the realisation of the 92′-97′ folklore that many of us young ‘uns were promised would happen again.

I admitted that I was wrong on a few grounds; I thought we’d have to be careful navigating welfare, though never did I agree to agreeing with welfare cuts. I now think we should go full throttle against welfare cuts; and that we should ensure that we build our anti-austerity case and hammer this home. Maya Goodfellow wrote a great article today in LabourList about using this opportunity to build a narrative; and a competent party definitely could. I’d be really excited about this…

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#Corbyn is out of the office, period … #Labour #Unite


“I find if you are in an office, the crisis finds you. If you’re not in the office, the crisis finds somebody else.”

Corbyn had, before becoming leader, power without responsibility and now he has both.  Does the way in which he is handling his new responsibilities explain his failure to be a fully rounded, effective leader of a political party?

“Our problem is simply the capacity to respond to everything. After only two or three weeks in office we discovered we had a backlog of a hundred thousand emails sent to me. We had a backlog of a thousand invitations to speak at places all over the country, and all over the world for that matter. We started from scratch with our office, so just the sheer management of issues off this is huge. It’s now much better, it’s getting better. We’ve got more staff in place, a better team in place, it’s growing but it is quite difficult.

Also I’m quite concerned that if I spend time in the office someone will always find something for you to do. There’s always a crisis that needs your urgent attention. If I wasn’t there, either the crisis wouldn’t happen or it wouldn’t need your urgent attention. But the fact I’m there means that it becomes my problem, not somebody else’s. So I’m quite assertive about the need to ensure I go travelling round the country. I’m doing basically three days travelling every week. So we’re going everywhere. I did over a hundred events during the leadership campaign and by the end of the year I will probably have done 400 to 500 public meetings.”

“I feel constantly concerned that I’m spending all this time doing everything involved in all my leadership activity and sometimes I feel a tear between that and my responsibilities to the community that I represent. So I have a weekly fight over the schedule set out in my diary. That’s where I do get quite assertive, because I insist on spending time with those people and groups I always have represented even while now also travelling across the country – and also I make sure that I have time for myself. Half a day, or a day a week, so I can dig my allotment.

‘What we’ve achieved so far’: an interview with Jeremy Corbyn

“Corbyn’s team prepare for PMQs over Monday and Tuesday, with Wednesday morning the key prep session.”

How Jeremy Corbyn is preparing for PMQs

“He keeps his feet on the ground by visiting not just his own constituency, but also by getting out of London altogether. Corbyn has built into his new routine a strict edict that nearly every week he only spends three and a half days at Westminster and that the rest of the time he’s out on the road, away from the Parliamentary bubble.

“There is a sort of relentless demand on one, so every week Prime Minister’s Question Time comes round, every week there’s a whole lot of things that have to be done.

And it’s balancing that with the need to not spend one’s whole time in one’s office, dealing with whatever crisis appears. I find if you are in an office, the crisis finds you. If you’re not in the office, the crisis finds somebody else.

And so I’m very insistent on doing my constituency work and constituency surgery. I had to cancel two interviews yesterday because so many people came. I was there for five hours [which is two and a half hours longer than he’d put in his diary].”

Jeremy Corbyn Interview: On His First 100 Days

When does Corbyn find the time to deal with matters such as the charges of anti-semitism?  Or, are such matters crises that are best left to somebody else?  And, if so, who is dealing with them?

Power, like nature, abhors a vacuum.  Who, then, is the Sergeant Towser, exercising power in the Labour leader’s office whilst Corbyn is perfecting his portrayal of Major Major for an upcoming remake of Catch 22?  Seumas Milne?

Seumas Milne expected Guardian to endorse Jeremy Corbyn and felt “very let down”

I wanted to believe in Jeremy Corbyn. But I can’t believe in Seumas Milne

Has Jeremy Corbyn’s spin doctor, Seumas Milne gone rogue?

Seumas Milne will finish Labour off

The Thin Controller

Thursday 26th May Update: Corbyn Decides to be Own Chief of Staff

In an email to staff, Fletcher said: “this is ‘flat’ structure in which there is no Chief of Staff but instead a senior team that reports in to Jeremy.  Thanks all very much for all your work for Jeremy and the Labour party. The changes we are making should have a further positive impact on our ability to work as an effective, well-organised unit that develops a stronger policy and campaigning edge.

Jeremy Corbyn Calls In Ex-Civil Service Chief As He Overhauls Labour Leader’s Office

Corbyn orders review to ready Labour for potential snap election

Tuesday 5th July Update:

Life inside Jeremy Corbyn’s “paranoid” HQ laid bare as Labour staffers blow the lid on leader’s top team

#Corbyn4All #Labour Brushes Up His Feminist Credentials #LabourLeadership #bbcWH #Owen2016 #NASUWT #UCU


Jeremy Corbyn: Seumas, people are saying, well, that I’m a bit sexist … What shall we do?

Seumas Milne (Labour’s Director of Strategy and Communication): Don’t worry.  It’s only the usual suspects who think you don’t know what’s best for women.

Jeremy Corbyn: May be, but even so …

Seumas Milne: Ok, I know, we’ll hold a ‘symbolic’ Shadow Cabinet in Dagenham to mark International Women’s Day.

Jeremy Corbyn: Great idea!  Will I be able to take some selfies with the women car workers?

Seumas Milne: Jezza, we have been through this before, this is 2016 not 1976!

Jeremy Corbyn: You know, Seumas, my Mom would be so proud of her little boy, the feminist’s feminist for, as I told Jess Phillips I am a feminist, because my Mom was a feminist!

Seumas Milne: We’ll announce this wheeze at the Parliamentary Labour Party meeting on Monday next alongside your campaign to increase the number of female statues.  That’ll show the feminists you know what needs to be done in the fight for equality.

Jeremy Corbyn: Seumas, what’s that whining sound?

Seumas Milne: Jess Phillips, Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall, Harriet Harman, Stella Creasey, Caroline Flint …  I mean there are so many of these so called feminists from which to choose.

Jeremy Corbyn: Err, no, I think it is Barbara Castle, Ellen Wilkinson and Jennie Lee spinning out of their graves …

Seumas Milne: Remind me again, who were they?  You know I am bit hazy on the history of the Labour Party …

To be fair to Jeremy Corbyn, he is a product of his time and background.  Corbyn, like Cameron, went to an all boys secondary school and we know how much of a problem Cameron has with confident, assertive women, partly as a result of going to Eton.

However, one would have thought, expected even, that the leader of the Labour Party in the second decade of the 21st Century would be rooting out tokenism, institutional discrimination and nepotism rather than practising them.

Enthusiastic female Jeremy Corbyn supporter goes on Woman’s Hour and says he, Corbyn, is the answer to a feminist’s prayer!

When will Labour women, Jeremy Corbyn, be free from being told to know their limits?

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Pary, a movement of words not deeds when it comes to equal opportunity?

The White, Middle Class Male Power behind the Labour Throne

Jeremy Corbyn’s male-only retinue will never tell him he has no clothes

Jeremy Corbyn appoints his own son as John McDonnell’s Chief of Staff

The Labourite Belief in False Inevitability


Jade Azim

There’s a similarity between the Corbynite Left and Right of the Labour party; both have a tendency to utter the words “they’ll come around in the end.” For the left, they refer to the general electorate; to the Right, the Labour selectorate.

“You’ll come around eventually.”

Those words sum up the arrogance of past hegemons or current hegemons. When an audience is not receptive to an argument you consider, it’s tempting to consider your audience stupid.

[Note: this blog for the very nature of pointing out trends I have noticed, is rather strawman: not everyone on either side is guilty of this, but enough are to validate this blog entry]

The Left

On the face of it, and from a rational perspective of policy appeal, poor poll ratings make no sense. Labour’s new social and economic programme is popular: cracking down on the excesses of the City, public ownership of the railways, an…

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