If @UKLabour lasts a 1,000 years then May 1940 will always be one of its finest hours … There is no Left or Right in a foxhole @JeremyCorbyn … What Would #Labour’s Bevin Have Thought of #Corbyn’s Request for My Views on #Syria

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If Labour lasts a 1,000 years then May 1940 will always be one its finest hours …
There is no Left or Right in a foxhole Jeremy Corbyn …

I am convinced he would have thought twice about extending the Royal Air Force’s strikes from Iraq into Syria, but I am even more convinced that he would shape any response to ISIS in the terms of this philosophy that he expounded in 1950:

“Foreign policy is a thing you have to bring down to its essence as it applies to an individual. It is something that is great and big: it is common sense and humanity as it applies to my affairs and to yours, because it is somebody and somebody’s kindred that are being persecuted and punished and tortured, and they are defenceless. That is a fact.”

I mention Bevin for two reasons, he is more in tune with those who vote Labour today than is Jeremy Corbyn and he was in very much the same position in his own day. He also persuaded the Labour Leader of his time, considered to be the one with whom Corbyn has the most in common, to resign as Leader of the Labour Party.

He addressed George Lansbury thus:

“You are placing … the movement in an absolutely wrong position by hawking your conscience round from body to body asking to be told what to do with it.”

They say history repeats itself, first as tragedy then as farce. Is Corbyn now setting the stage for a farce? Bevin ended the tragedy of the early 1930s thus:

“(George) Lansbury has been going about dressed in saint’s clothing for years waiting for martyrdom. I set fire to the faggots.”

Lansbury’s successor was Major Clement Attlee.

I am ever more certain that Corbyn does not look at how policy, foreign or domestic, applies to an individual. He thinks in terms of abstracts.

Corbyn recently said, “How dare Cameron’s Conservatives pretend that they speak for Britain.” I assume that this was an attempt to challenge any suggestion that Corbyn, personally, is unpatriotic. Corbyn went on to remark:

“We stand for this country’s greatest traditions: the suffragettes and the trade unions.. the Britain of Mary Wollstonecraft, Shelley, Alan Turing and the Beatles… and perhaps our finest Olympian – and a Somalian refugee – Mo Farah.. an Arsenal fan of course.

And for the working people of this country who fought fascism.. built the welfare state.. and turned this land into an industrial powerhouse.

The real patriots.”

Setting aside the fact that Corbyn’s idiosyncratic list is one requiring many footnotes, he succeeds in making his definition of patriotism an exclusive one. He divides when he should be seeking to unite, even in the margins of quite a lengthy, rambling speech. Please, Seumas Milne, I beg of you, get Jeremy Corbyn enrolled on some public speaking and presentational skills courses, pronto! And fire his speechwriters whilst you are it!

Corbyn could not, it seems, bring himself around to put the case, the extremely credible case, that, without the support of Major Attlee and Arthur Greenwood in May 1940, Winston Churchill might well have been forced to sue for terms with Hitler by the leaders of the rump of the Conservative Party, Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax. Churchill, supported by Attlee as his Deputy Prime Minister, went on to lead a coalition of all the political parties, represented in the House of Commons. Any other Leader of the Labour Party, except seemingly Corbyn, may cite the history of the darkest days of 1940 to show just how patriotic the Labour Party is when it really matters. One in the eye, surely, for Tories like Cameron?  Tories, who have much more in common with a Halifax than a Churchill, but not one in the eye for many a Conservative voter who would, I am sure, recognise the contribution that Labour made, alongside their chosen party, in defeating Nazism.  There is no Left or Right in a foxhole.

On 2 September 1939, Neville Chamberlain spoke in a Commons debate and said, in effect, that he was not declaring war on Germany immediately for having invaded Poland. This non declaration greatly angered Leo Amery, a Conservative Member of Parliament present in the House at that moment, and was felt by many present to be out of touch with the temper of the British people. As Labour Party Leader Clement Attlee was absent, Arthur Greenwood stood up in his place and announced that he was speaking for Labour. Amery called out to him across the floor, “Speak for England!” —which carried the undeniable implication that Chamberlain was not. England then meant the United Kingdom.

Corbyn now has the chance to speak for the UK (and not just Islington Man and Woman), to craft a compromise that would put him at the head of the Labour Party and allow him to create a (temporary) coalition within the House of Commons to defeat David Cameron’s plan to extend the Royal Air Force’s strikes from Iraq into Syria. He must, however, do more than merely oppose the Government. He must stop adopting the persona of a rather irritated headmaster of a third rate prep school, who, a few months off retirement, is wearily having to correct, once more, the homework of the school dunce. He might start by arguing that extending the RAF’s operations into Syria would be a diminution of force, a weakening of its efforts in Iraq, and that its schwerpunkt, its main effort, should remain Iraq and Iraq alone.

Corbyn must also accept that he is not only the Leader of the Labour Party, but the Leader of the Opposition, a role which requires him to make alliances across party lines, if he is to be effective. He must articulate an alternative course of action around which his party may unite and which will attract the support of the other opposition parties and those members of the Conservative Party, who are doubtful of the arguments presented to date by David Cameron. Corbyn must accept the fact that until now he has managed to do what Miliband never did, make Cameron look statesmanlike!

If Corbyn needs any advice about how to build a consensus on a single issue then he need look no further than Labour’s leadership in the House of Lords, but of course the party there is headed by a woman and Jeremy shares David’s disease, when it comes to women. If he needs advice about what might constitute an effective considered amendment to that being put down by Cameron then he should consult with, not lecture, his colleagues in the Shadow Cabinet and Parliamentary Labour Party. He should speak with the leaders of the other opposition parties, including Nicola Sturgeon; experienced statesmen like Lord Ashdown; foreign affairs and defence experts and last, but not least, representatives of the victims of ISIS.

Corbyn must not think, for one moment, that his 50:50, Phone a Friend and/or Ask the Audience approach is anything, but an abrogation of his responsibilities as the leader of the Labour Party, his own 21st Century take on Lansbury’s “hawking” his “conscience round from body to body asking to be told what to do with it.”

Corbyn needs to understand and seek to address the genuine concerns and positions being taken up by MPs, like Chuka Umunna. Umunna has said he would vote on his conscience whatever the leadership decides and is minded to vote in favour of the government’s plans:

“My own personal view is that where are our national security is threatened it would be wrong simply to leave it to others to deal with it. We can’t ignore the barbarity of this death cult, who throw gay people off buildings, systematically rape women, [and] carry out mass executions. Now, do I think that military action – and by the way I am minded to support military intervention, but we have yet to see the wording of the motion – is going to resolve this conflict? Of course not. Do I think it is the only solution? Of course not. But what I do think it can do in the interim is … start to dismantle what Isil are doing.”

Corbyn may be paralysed by Iraq, but others genuinely fear that inaction may have worse consequences than action. No one, I am sure, wants to see any reruns of what happened in, for example, Rwanda. Yes, the deaths there were on a massive scale and one hopes unrepeatable, but then how often before has the human race said that? Moreover, one preventable death is one too many and to misquote Harold Wilson, to the murdered man or woman, murder is 100%.

Corbyn runs the risk of not just portraying the Labour Party, under his leadership, as unpatriotic, but as a national socialist party. A party for whom troubling issues in faraway countries, of which we know little and care less, are best left to media columnists, those with views of disturbing certainty, and the echo chambers of the Internet. Such an isolationist policy is similar to that advocated by Farage. The Labour Party of Bevin was, as is today’s, an internationalist socialist party. Bevin spoke for the many not the few and, especially the working classes when he said, “I’m not going to have my people treated like this!” The people of whom he was speaking at that moment? They were the Jews and trades unionists being persecuted by the Nazis.

Corbyn’s indulgence of the (self appointed) fascists of Momentum (aka New, New Labour’s Sturmabteilung or Thought Police) and their bully boy tactics provides unwanted echoes of the 1930s and is a sure fire recipe for splitting the support that brought him to power. Momentum’s bend your conscience to our way of thinking or face deselection approach is not endearing itself to many who voted for Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party. People, who I am convinced, believe in freedom of conscience, even for elected politicians.

Will Momentum, the militant wing of the Stop the War Coalition, soon don (ethically sourced) oatmeal coloured hair shirts in order to police Labour Party meetings? Many of them are not Labour Party members and would fall foul of its rules, if they tried to join the party today, but will that obstacle be removed in the coming months as dissatisfaction with Corbyn’s leadership increases and he feels ever more besieged?

Corbyn’s “sudden consultation with party members” is one “for which there is no constitutional basis in the party, and anyway is so haphazardly organised that it cannot be a reliable test of party opinion,” and it “also looks like an effort to ally the leader with the party rank and file against MPs.” In fact, Corbyn’s poll was “statistical junk”.  Yet another example of Corbyn adopting an exclusive, not an inclusive approach which is unlikely to be sustainable in the medium to long term.

Corbyn won the leadership of the Labour Party not a General Election in September 2015. He was elected leader of the Labour Party with 251,485 votes out of the 422,664 cast. The turnout was 76.3% and the total number of eligible voters was 554,272. The party’s national poll ratings are currently around 27%. They are heading towards parity with the polling figures for the Scottish Labour Party, currently at 25%. The Labour Party received 9,347,304 votes on May 7th 2015. Jeremy Corbyn’s 251,485 equates to 2.7% of the voters represented by the Labour Party as a whole.

“A mooted emergency meeting of the national executive, asserting that the terms of the Labour conference motion on Syria have not been met, would also portray him as the party democrat fighting his out of touch MPs.” A viewpoint that may be undermined when people wise up to what Corbyn means when he talks about indicative online polling. Such polls will not result in binding resolutions and may well be ignored, if they produce results which do not accord with the views held by the person who put the poll in the field.

Corbyn is considered to be doing badly or very badly by 13% of those who voted for him as leader and 1% are unsure about him. A 14% drop in support in about 3 months that equates to a decline in support from 59.5% to 51.2%. Does Corbyn really want to be remembered as the Leader of the Labour Party, who ruled, not led the party, with the help of Ken Livingstone, George Galloway and Diane Abbot and the support of intimidatory tactics deployed by Momentum? One might think that Momentum, going on current form, see themselves as the descendants of Mosley’s boot boys.

Chamberlain’s Government fell at the end of the Norway Debate in May 1940. Amery spoke in that debate, “This is what Cromwell said to the Long Parliament when he thought it was no longer fit to conduct the affairs of the nation. You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.”

Corbyn may face that injunction, possibly from the trades unions, if he does not stop following a Bushite line. Remember if you are not with us then you must be against us? The Labour Party is a broad church and rarely has less than three strands of opinion on any issue. And you may not call yourself a socialist, if unable to start a disagreement about ideology, with yourself, in an empty room!

Oh, and, if you are unfamiliar with the biography of Ernie Bevin, he was a British statesman, trades union leader, and Labour politician. He co-founded and served as General Secretary of the powerful Transport and General Workers’ Union from 1922 to 1940 and as Minister of Labour in the war-time coalition government. He succeeded in maximising the British labour supply, for both the armed services and domestic industrial production, with a minimum of strikes and disruption.

Bevin’s most important role came as Foreign Secretary in the post-war Labour Government, 1945 to 1951. He gained American financial support, strongly opposed Communism, and aided in the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Bevin’s tenure also saw the end of the Mandate of Palestine and the creation of the State of Israel. Bevin was arguably the greatest British Foreign Secretary of the 20th Century. He was, to quote his own words, “A turn up in a million” and he never forgot “it is somebody and somebody’s kindred that are being persecuted and punished and tortured, and they are defenceless. That is a fact.”

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Say hello to Jeremy #Corbyn, #Labour Party leader, management guru & author of the Slacker’s Guide to Management … “I find if you are in an office, the crisis finds you. If you’re not in the office, the crisis finds somebody else.”

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Labour-Leadership-Contest-Comes-To-Scotland“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?

DPoOMcfW4AAoCBi

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

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

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“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

What Would #Labour’s Bevin Have Thought of #Corbyn’s Request for My Views on #Syria (#SyriaGasAttack)

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I am convinced he would have thought twice about extending the Royal Air Force’s strikes from Iraq into Syria, but I am even more convinced that he would shape any response to ISIS in the terms of this philosophy that he expounded in 1950:

“Foreign policy is a thing you have to bring down to its essence as it applies to an individual. It is something that is great and big: it is common sense and humanity as it applies to my affairs and to yours, because it is somebody and somebody’s kindred that are being persecuted and punished and tortured, and they are defenceless. That is a fact.”

I mention Bevin for two reasons, he is more in tune with those who vote Labour today than is Jeremy Corbyn and he was in very much the same position in his own day. He also persuaded the Labour Leader of his time, considered to be the one with whom Corbyn has the most in common, to resign as Leader of the Labour Party.

He addressed George Lansbury thus:

“You are placing … the movement in an absolutely wrong position by hawking your conscience round from body to body asking to be told what to do with it.”

They say history repeats itself, first as tragedy then as farce. Is Corbyn now setting the stage for a farce? Bevin ended the tragedy of the early 1930s thus:

“(George) Lansbury has been going about dressed in saint’s clothing for years waiting for martyrdom. I set fire to the faggots.”

Lansbury’s successor was Major Clement Attlee.

I am ever more certain that Corbyn does not look at how policy, foreign or domestic, applies to an individual. He thinks in terms of abstracts.

Corbyn recently said, “How dare Cameron’s Conservatives pretend that they speak for Britain.” I assume that this was an attempt to challenge any suggestion that Corbyn, personally, is unpatriotic. Corbyn went on to remark:

“We stand for this country’s greatest traditions: the suffragettes and the trade unions … the Britain of Mary Wollstonecraft, Shelley, Alan Turing and the Beatles … and perhaps our finest Olympian – and a Somalian refugee – Mo Farah … an Arsenal fan of course.

And for the working people of this country who fought fascism … built the welfare state … and turned this land into an industrial powerhouse.

The real patriots.”

Setting aside the fact that Corbyn’s idiosyncratic list is one requiring many footnotes, he succeeds in making his definition of patriotism an exclusive one. He divides when he should be seeking to unite, even in the margins of quite a lengthy, rambling speech. Please, Seumas Milne, I beg of you, get Jeremy Corbyn enrolled on some public speaking and presentational skills courses, pronto! And fire his speechwriters whilst you are it!

Corbyn could not, it seems, bring himself around to put the case, the extremely credible case, that, without the support of Major Attlee and Arthur Greenwood in May 1940, Winston Churchill might well have been forced to sue for terms with Hitler by the leaders of the rump of the Conservative Party, Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax. Churchill, supported by Attlee as his Deputy Prime Minister, went on to lead a coalition of all the political parties, represented in the House of Commons. Any other Leader of the Labour Party, except seemingly Corbyn, may cite the history of the darkest days of 1940 to show just how patriotic the Labour Party is when it really matters. One in the eye, surely, for Tories like Cameron?  Tories, who have much more in common with a Halifax than a Churchill, but not one in the eye for many a Conservative voter who would, I am sure, recognise the contribution that Labour made, alongside their chosen party, in defeating Nazism.  There is no Left or Right in a foxhole.

On 2 September 1939, Neville Chamberlain spoke in a Commons debate and said, in effect, that he was not declaring war on Germany immediately for having invaded Poland. This non declaration greatly angered Leo Amery, a Conservative Member of Parliament present in the House at that moment, and was felt by many present to be out of touch with the temper of the British people. As Labour Party Leader Clement Attlee was absent, Arthur Greenwood stood up in his place and announced that he was speaking for Labour. Amery called out to him across the floor, “Speak for England!” —which carried the undeniable implication that Chamberlain was not. England then meant the United Kingdom.

Corbyn now has the chance to speak for the UK (and not just Islington Man and Woman), to craft a compromise that would put him at the head of the Labour Party and allow him to create a (temporary) coalition within the House of Commons to defeat David Cameron’s plan to extend the Royal Air Force’s strikes from Iraq into Syria. He must, however, do more than merely oppose the Government. He must stop adopting the persona of a rather irritated headmaster of a third rate prep school, who, a few months off retirement, is wearily having to correct, once more, the homework of the school dunce. He might start by arguing that extending the RAF’s operations into Syria would be a diminution of force, a weakening of its efforts in Iraq, and that its schwerpunkt, its main effort, should remain Iraq and Iraq alone.

Corbyn must also accept that he is not only the Leader of the Labour Party, but the Leader of the Opposition, a role which requires him to make alliances across party lines, if he is to be effective. He must articulate an alternative course of action around which his party may unite and which will attract the support of the other opposition parties and those members of the Conservative Party, who are doubtful of the arguments presented to date by David Cameron. Corbyn must accept the fact that until now he has managed to do what Miliband never did, make Cameron look statesmanlike!

If Corbyn needs any advice about how to build a consensus on a single issue then he need look no further than Labour’s leadership in the House of Lords, but of course the party there is headed by a woman and Jeremy shares David’s disease, when it comes to women. If he needs advice about what might constitute an effective considered amendment to that being put down by Cameron then he should consult with, not lecture, his colleagues in the Shadow Cabinet and Parliamentary Labour Party. He should speak with the leaders of the other opposition parties, including Nicola Sturgeon; experienced statesmen like Lord Ashdown; foreign affairs and defence experts and last, but not least, representatives of the victims of ISIS.

Corbyn must not think, for one moment, that his 50:50, Phone a Friend and/or Ask the Audience approach is anything, but an abrogation of his responsibilities as the leader of the Labour Party, his own 21st Century take on Lansbury’s “hawking” his “conscience round from body to body asking to be told what to do with it.”

Corbyn needs to understand and seek to address the genuine concerns and positions being taken up by MPs, like Chuka Umunna. Umunna has said he would vote on his conscience whatever the leadership decides and is minded to vote in favour of the government’s plans:

“My own personal view is that where are our national security is threatened it would be wrong simply to leave it to others to deal with it. We can’t ignore the barbarity of this death cult, who throw gay people off buildings, systematically rape women, [and] carry out mass executions. Now, do I think that military action – and by the way I am minded to support military intervention, but we have yet to see the wording of the motion – is going to resolve this conflict? Of course not. Do I think it is the only solution? Of course not. But what I do think it can do in the interim is … start to dismantle what Isil are doing.”

Corbyn may be paralysed by Iraq, but others genuinely fear that inaction may have worse consequences than action. No one, I am sure, wants to see any reruns of what happened in, for example, Rwanda. Yes, the deaths there were on a massive scale and one hopes unrepeatable, but then how often before has the human race said that? Moreover, one preventable death is one too many and to misquote Harold Wilson, to the murdered man or woman, murder is 100%.

Corbyn runs the risk of not just portraying the Labour Party, under his leadership, as unpatriotic, but as a national socialist party. A party for whom troubling issues in faraway countries, of which we know little and care less, are best left to media columnists, those with views of disturbing certainty, and the echo chambers of the Internet. Such an isolationist policy is similar to that advocated by Farage. The Labour Party of Bevin was, as is today’s, an internationalist socialist party. Bevin spoke for the many not the few and, especially the working classes when he said, “I’m not going to have my people treated like this!” The people of whom he was speaking at that moment? They were the Jews and trades unionists being persecuted by the Nazis.

Corbyn’s indulgence of the (self appointed) fascists of Momentum (aka New, New Labour’s Sturmabteilung or Thought Police) and their bully boy tactics provides unwanted echoes of the 1930s and is a sure fire recipe for splitting the support that brought him to power. Momentum’s bend your conscience to our way of thinking or face deselection approach is not endearing itself to many who voted for Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party. People, who I am convinced, believe in freedom of conscience, even for elected politicians.

Will Momentum, the militant wing of the Stop the War Coalition, soon don (ethically sourced) oatmeal coloured hair shirts in order to police Labour Party meetings? Many of them are not Labour Party members and would fall foul of its rules, if they tried to join the party today, but will that obstacle be removed in the coming months as dissatisfaction with Corbyn’s leadership increases and he feels ever more besieged?

Corbyn’s “sudden consultation with party members” is one “for which there is no constitutional basis in the party, and anyway is so haphazardly organised that it cannot be a reliable test of party opinion,” and it “also looks like an effort to ally the leader with the party rank and file against MPs.” In fact, Corbyn’s poll was “statistical junk”.  Yet another example of Corbyn adopting an exclusive, not an inclusive approach which is unlikely to be sustainable in the medium to long term.

Corbyn won the leadership of the Labour Party not a General Election in September 2015. He was elected leader of the Labour Party with 251,485 votes out of the 422,664 cast. The turnout was 76.3% and the total number of eligible voters was 554,272. The party’s national poll ratings are currently around 27%. They are heading towards parity with the polling figures for the Scottish Labour Party, currently at 25%. The Labour Party received 9,347,304 votes on May 7th 2015. Jeremy Corbyn’s 251,485 equates to 2.7% of the voters represented by the Labour Party as a whole.

“A mooted emergency meeting of the national executive, asserting that the terms of the Labour conference motion on Syria have not been met, would also portray him as the party democrat fighting his out of touch MPs.” A viewpoint that may be undermined when people wise up to what Corbyn means when he talks about indicative online polling. Such polls will not result in binding resolutions and may well be ignored, if they produce results which do not accord with the views held by the person who put the poll in the field.

Corbyn is considered to be doing badly or very badly by 13% of those who voted for him as leader and 1% are unsure about him. A 14% drop in support in about 3 months that equates to a decline in support from 59.5% to 51.2%. Does Corbyn really want to be remembered as the Leader of the Labour Party, who ruled, not led the party, with the help of Ken Livingstone, George Galloway and Diane Abbot and the support of intimidatory tactics deployed by Momentum? One might think that Momentum, going on current form, see themselves as the descendants of Mosley’s boot boys.

Chamberlain’s Government fell at the end of the Norway Debate in May 1940. Amery spoke in that debate, “This is what Cromwell said to the Long Parliament when he thought it was no longer fit to conduct the affairs of the nation. You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.”

Corbyn may face that injunction, possibly from the trades unions, if he does not stop following a Bushite line. Remember if you are not with us then you must be against us? The Labour Party is a broad church and rarely has less than three strands of opinion on any issue. And you may not call yourself a socialist, if unable to start a disagreement about ideology, with yourself, in an empty room!

Oh, and, if you are unfamiliar with the biography of Ernie Bevin, he was a British statesman, trades union leader, and Labour politician. He co-founded and served as General Secretary of the powerful Transport and General Workers’ Union from 1922 to 1940 and as Minister of Labour in the war-time coalition government. He succeeded in maximising the British labour supply, for both the armed services and domestic industrial production, with a minimum of strikes and disruption.

Bevin’s most important role came as Foreign Secretary in the post-war Labour Government, 1945 to 1951. He gained American financial support, strongly opposed Communism, and aided in the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Bevin’s tenure also saw the end of the Mandate of Palestine and the creation of the State of Israel. Bevin was arguably the greatest British Foreign Secretary of the 20th Century. He was, to quote his own words, “A turn up in a million” and he never forgot “it is somebody and somebody’s kindred that are being persecuted and punished and tortured, and they are defenceless. That is a fact.”

What #InOurBritain Gospel Will Follow the Gospels of St Anthony of Blair & Saint Jeremy of #Corbyn4All?

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I endured the Blairites, but I was not a Blairite.

I had confidently assumed that the Church of St Jeremy of Corbyn, the lineal successor to the Church of St Anthony of Blair, would allow freedom of worship. The same freedom of worship practised by St Corbyn during his 32 years in the Wilderness of Westminster. After all, the Labour Party has since its founding always been a broad church, owing “as much to Methodism as Marx” (Gospel of St Anthony of Benn).

Alas, it would seem that the acolytes of St Corbyn have decided that Corbyn is my God, who brought me up out of the land of Blair, out of the house of bondage. I shall, therefore, have no other gods before him, but Corbyn. I shall not make for myself an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: I shall not bow myself down to them, nor serve them, for Corbyn, my God, is a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who disagree with his followers, and showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love him and keep his commandments.

It would seem, if I do not bow down before the Blessed Corbyn and worship him without dissent or doubt then I shall be named Blairite and thrown into the outer darkness by his devoted disciples, blessed be their name for they are perfect in their own sight.

It would seem that I study the teachings of too many ‘false’ gods such as the Webbs, Bevin, Bevan, Brown, Castle, Benn, Attlee, Hardie, Wilkinson, Foot, Kinnock, Miliband, Cook, Crossman, Crosland, Jenkins, Healey, Callaghan, Hain, Lloyd George, Churchill, Gladstone, Disraeli and so on. The Church of St Corbyn is a monotheistic one and ‘my’ god’s followers are suspicious ones and constantly on the alert for any ideological backsliding by the congregation.

As I look from the fanatical acolytes of St Anthony of Blair to the fanatical acolytes of St Jeremy of Corbyn and back again, I find it ever harder to distinguish between the two claques.

I fear that I may soon have to turn my back on the church of my forebears and head off into the wilderness in search of a more tolerant church that allows, if not encourages dissent.

But, lo, what do I see in the distance? Is it a diverse group of people? Is it the 9 million who put their faith in that band of Tribunes of the People beyond the Walls of Islington?

I believe it is!

And do I see the Standard Bearers of the Tribunes at the head of the crowd?

I believe I do!

And are some of those standards being held aloft, proud, soaring Eagles?

Indeed, they are!

Is that a man called Smith leading the charge?

A Welsh Smith to pick up where the Scottish one left off?

Although he never entered the Promised Land of Government, John (the Baptist) Smith, as St Anthony freely admits in the Letter to St Roy of Jenkins, created the momentum that swept Labour into power on Thursday 1st May 1997.

Owen Smith may not, himself, lead Labour once more into the Promised Land, but he may set it back on the road to being a broad church once more.  A church listening to the concerns of its parishioners a lot more and lecturing them a lot less about their sins.

Time will tell, as it always does, as to whether or not the Popular Representatives of the People will triumph over those hard faced men of the Praetorian Guard of St Corbyn, that ‘fine’ body of affluent, middle class white males led by the Arch Angels, John and Seumas the Wykehamist.

And so, for now, I will tarry by the Rivers of Babylon and pray for deliverance from the fanatical followers of St Corbyn, as I pray for him to be delivered both from his delusions of adequacy and his captors, those self same, self serving fanatical followers.

@Corbyn4Leader Pandering to Middle & Upper Classes With Uni Tuition Fees Cut #JezWeCan? #Corbyn4Leader

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“If your heart is on the left, don’t carry your (share) portfolio on the right.”

(Updated) graffito from the French student riots of May 1968

One has to admire the chutzpah of that portion of Jeremy Corbyn’s enthusiastic, articulate supporters who are arguing the case for free tuition fees.  They are selflessly campaigning for a policy that will, of course, in no way benefit them and their class.  Will it not, though?

Tony Blair, in introducing tuition fees for university students, levied a poll tax on middle and higher income earners.  He levied a tax on people like himself.  ‘Surprisingly’, they did not appreciate that other people were not going to continue subsidising the university education of their offspring (via the tax system).  And those ‘principled’ middle and higher income earners have been hacked off ever since.

One has some respect for those middle and higher income earners, including Tories, who have not whinged on and on about the introduction of free university tuition fees.  They seem to have been sufficiently self aware in recent years to avoid the trap of being accused of asking lower income taxpayers to subsidise the university education of taxpayers in the brackets above them.  The Tories, though, were not quite so savvy back in 2003.

What to do, if one is principled and unhappy about one’s offspring and/or the Bank of Mom and Dad paying for university tuition fees?  Of course, one does what the middle class always does in such situations.  One prays in aid the plight of the working class.  Simple, eh?

It would be simple, if it were not for the fact, that most people in the UK do not go to university and maybe never will.  I know what you are thinking.  Surely many more students from the poorest fifth of backgrounds would go to university, if they did not have to pay tuition fees?  I mean they have them in Scotland, courtesy of the left wing SNP, do they not?  And that has been a great success, has it not?  That rather depends on your definition of success:

“The SNP’s totemic policy is the abolition of tuition fees.  In 2001, the Labour-led government in Edinburgh removed “up-front” fees for Scottish students, introducing a “graduate endowment fee” of £2,000 to be paid after graduation.  This fee was abolished by the SNP minority administration in 2008.  In England, meanwhile, the higher education reforms of the previous coalition government ensured that annual fees can now reach £9,000 per year.

The cost of Scotland’s fees policy keeps rising.  Partly as a result, in 2013, the Scottish government cut bursaries for poorer students, while increasing the amount of debt students can incur.  Grants have been cut by half in real terms since 2007; Scotland now has the lowest rate of bursaries in western Europe.  As research by Lucy Hunter Blackburn, a former senior civil servant responsible for higher education, has shown, young students from families earning less than about £30,000 have lost out under the SNP: grant cuts since 2007 have more than outweighed any benefit from the abolition of the graduate endowment.”

Two months before last May’s General Election, Nicola Sturgeon in a speech at the London School of Economics “spoke of how student debt would have stopped her from going to university; but because the SNP government has prioritised funding universal free tuition over targeted grants, Scotland is the only nation in the UK where poorer students will borrow more than richer students.  The student grant system is the only welfare policy that the Scottish government directly controls, so one might also consider it indicative of where the party’s true priorities lie when it comes to choosing between helping poor Scots or appealing to the middle classes.  Tellingly, when challenged about these effects, the party has been evasive or even denied them, appearing unable to recognise, much less admit, when its decisions will be damaging to the less affluent.

At the same time, the end of tuition fees has had no impact on the number of poorer Scots going to university, according to” Sheila Riddell, Director of the Centre for Research in Education Inclusion and Diversity at the University of Edinburgh.  “Students from the poorest fifth of backgrounds made up only 8 per cent of entrants to Scotland’s ancient universities in 2008/9; in 2012/13, the share was also 8 per cent.  The same pattern is clear among entrants to newer universities: 11 per cent came from the most deprived fifth in 2008/9 and 2012/13.” “

The SNP has failed Scotland

I would have more time for those backing Corbyn, who have cited free university tuition fees as a major reason for their support, if they were calling for targeted support to give a hand up, not a hand out, to working class youths wanting to go to university.  Of course, such support would need to be about more than just money.  And past experience suggests that such targeted interventions are quite often not popular with middle class cuckoos, those people who not only know their rights, but who make sure everyone else knows they do too!

Personally, I thought it was presumptuous, if not arrogant of a member of the Labour Party, even if he has been a Member of Parliament since 1983, “to apologise on behalf of the Labour party to the last generation of students for the imposition of fees, top-up fees and the replacement of grants with loans by previous Labour governments.”

The Guardian did observe, when reporting Corbyn’s mea culpa on behalf of others, that the “move is also designed to strengthen the already strong support his campaign is gaining among younger Labour members.”  Support from people like Matt Monk who wrote an article, in The Guardian of Friday 24th July, entitled “Corbyn has given young people like me new hope in politics.

Matt is 19 and starts university in October 2015, studying politics and sociology.  I wish him well, but forgive me for thinking he is not representative of the majority of today’s youth.  “Tuition fees, graduate employment, housing, gender equality and climate change: these are the issues that young people care about, not the short-term deficit, which is fairly irrelevant to achieving these ends,” says Matt.  I think it rather significant that the cost of his university education and the type of employment that he thinks he has a right to expect, if he graduates, are points one and two in that list.

I do agree with Matt that housing is an issue for all young people, but it is not an issue just for them.  I believe, wholeheartedly, that access to rights or opportunities should be unaffected by gender, but I also think that rights should be enjoyed by and opportunities open to all, regardless of their class.  Matt does not use the word class anywhere in his comment piece.

As for climate change, I think if we stopped talking about the measures needed to address it as, well, addressing it and instead focused on those measures as being a way of creating a wide variety of jobs, improving energy security as well as lowering both energy prices and (harmful) energy consumption then we would, ‘accidentally’, produce the outputs and outcomes needed to address the problem.  I confess that such an approach lacks the sturm und drang of popular campaigning, demonstrations and going toe to toe with climate change deniers, but I guarantee it would resonate with the average voter.

Incidentally, I do not believe in climate change.  I accept the evidence for it.  No climate change denier, to date, has presented any factual arguments to change my opinion on climate change.  Even if they did, the sound economic and social arguments for de-carbonising our economy would still stand.  I know that, because I have sat in meetings with hard faced men and women of business, no hippies them, who see de-carbonisation as making good business sense.  On any other day, I might have been very opposed to their points of view, but in those meetings we were as one and that, Matt and Jeremy, is how you achieve real, sustainable change.

Like Matt, I want a Labour Party “that stands up for its values of fairness, equality and social justice.”  Alas, for Matt and Jeremy Corbyn, I do not think “the cutting of tuition fees” is about fairness, equality and social justice.  I do think it is about those, already well off in our society, seeking to further entrench their position and reduce even further social mobility.  A socialist, who believes that Labour is for the many not the few, not the advantaged, but the disadvantaged, should surely have started his bid for our party’s leadership with a policy for the many and not the few?

I do not think that Corbin’s National Education Service in any way balances his stance on university tuition fees.  The NES is a back of a cigarette pack idea which noticeably does not incorporate university education.  It is university education, with all the benefits that accrue from it, for Matt and the NES for AN Other Youth.  Corbyn is, I assume, ignorant of concerns about the perpetuation of an uneven playing field between academic qualifications on the one hand and vocational on the other?  Calling it the NES does not address that point, in fact, it underlines it!

I fear that I am sounding like an Old Labour Class Warrior, but then I was AN Other Youth.  I did not go to university.  I did work with people like me to get jobs, some of them through education and training.  I think their needs, their life opportunities should come before those of Matt, who seems to be doing more than ok already.  Arguably, if he were a real socialist, he would be writing articles in support of improving the condition of all young people and not just the privileged few.  After all, how many AN Other Youths are invited to write a Comment is Free (but facts are so sacred, we think them best not exposed to the light of day) piece?

Every generation goes through an Angry Young Man phase and I imagine Matt is no different from his forebears in that, but, by now, one would have thought that Corbyn would have got past his, at least in the matter of who really benefits from university education, regardless of the party in power.  If he is sincere in what he is saying, that university tuition fee cuts will be a bold plan to bring us in line with other European nations which do not charge tuition fees for university education, and he may be sincere in saying that, then he is too stupid to be leader of the Labour Party and a future Prime Minister (with due apologies to Aneurin Bevan).

Countries like Germany pay more than lip service to the idea that academic and vocational qualifications are of equal value as Peter Chivers discovered when he tried to claim unemployment benefit in Berlin.  The 41-year-old, from Bradford, “who speaks fluent German and has a language degree, said: “At the Jobcentre, they said to me: ‘You must have learned a trade?’ I told them that an apprenticeship wasn’t crucial to start a job in the UK – you could get a job just with a degree. But they struggled with that concept,” he said.  When Chivers asked if it could assist with job training, the Jobcentre refused. “To be honest, I found the authorities incredibly obstructive … They put every obstacle in my way that they could.” ”

I must confess to having experienced a degree of schadenfreude when reading of Mr Chivers’ experience, but then you do not have to go to a Jobcentre in Berlin to meet graduates with a well developed sense of entitlement.  You may even come across them in an inner city Jobcentre in Birmingham.

As an aside, Mr Chivers’ “experience with benefit claims stood in stark contrast to that in Britain: “When I had to apply for benefit in the UK, I just turned up at the benefit office and had to fill out one form.  Later, someone came around to check whether I really lived at my address.  That was it.  In Germany, I needed to certify everything from what kind of car I drove down to how I heated my flat.  At times it felt like I was doing paperwork for paperwork’s sake.  I found it a very demeaning experience, but then that may have been the point.” ” Actually, those detailed questions about heating may have been part of a process of awarding benefit supplements to reflect differing levels of cost.  Once upon a time, UK Supplementary Benefit included payment supplements to help those with high fuel bills.  Food for thought there, Matt and Jeremy?

Who needs a degree in politics and sociology, Matt, to get on in politics, elected or unelected?  One may fail to graduate and still get a good, well paid job at taxpayer’s expense.  I did it as did Jeremy Corbyn.  He failed to complete his course at North London Polytechnic, because he was already embarking on a life long career in politics.  I suspect graduating might actually have proved to be a drag factor back in those heady days of student sit ins, demos and the like.  Incidentally, those were the days, Matt, when students demonstrated about issues without one eye on the main chance.  I think, Matt, Jeremy also remembers those days when he says, “Education is not about personal advancement but is a collective good that benefits our society and our economy.”  Do you agree with that statement?

Finally, Matt, if you have aspirations to be a Special Adviser (SPAD) or an elected politician then reflect on the fact that voters say that politicians (and by implication the media and others) are out of touch with them.  In part they must be out of touch, because they have had different life experiences, in particular most have gone to university and graduated.  Are you part of that problem, that disconnection, or are you part of the solution?

The personal is still the political, ask Jeremy, and what suits you politically suits you personally.  Free university tuition fees, on their own, do not guarantee equality of opportunity for all young people, but they would be in your best interest.  If you want to emulate Jeremy, be “clear and explicit” in your views, genuine too, then please have the decency to admit you and middle and higher income earners would be the major beneficiaries of the end of university tuition fees.

PS  Whilst I may have got past my angry young man phase some while ago, I am still fighting the fire.

Billy Joel – Q&A: Inspiration For ‘Angry Young Man?’