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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Forget Mondeo Man! #Labour under #Corbyn wooed & won London Porsche Man! #JC4PM Peoples Leader?

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Corbyn is the Peoples Leader, if you happen to be earning above £27k per annum

Not even New Labour won and kept the support of the likes of Porsche Man, for long …

Truly Corbyn is the Peoples Leader, if you happen to be one of the people earning above the national average income of £27,000 per annum.  40% of income earners are on £27,000 per year and above:

 

Before we have free school meals for everyone, let’s prove it works

Labour must return to first principles on child poverty

Labour manifesto ‘would keep £7bn of planned Tory welfare cuts’

Labour’s scrapping of tuition fees isn’t the progressive measure it appears

Sure Start worked. So why is Theresa May out to kill it and Corbyn under fund it?

More than 350 Sure Start children’s centres have closed since 2010, says Major Dan Jarvis MP

Forget Worcester Woman! #Labour under #Corbyn wooed & won London Porsche Man! #JC4PM Peoples Leader?

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Corbyn is the Peoples Leader, if you happen to be earning above £27k per annum

Not even New Labour won and kept the support of the likes of Porsche Man, for long …

Truly Corbyn is the Peoples Leader, if you happen to be one of the people earning above the national average income of £27,000 per annum.  40% of income earners are on £27,000 per year and above:

 

Before we have free school meals for everyone, let’s prove it works

Labour must return to first principles on child poverty

Labour manifesto ‘would keep £7bn of planned Tory welfare cuts’

Labour’s scrapping of tuition fees isn’t the progressive measure it appears

Sure Start worked. So why is Theresa May out to kill it and Corbyn under fund it?

More than 350 Sure Start children’s centres have closed since 2010, says Major Dan Jarvis MP

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

Comrade Liz on #LabourDoorstep Manoeuvres, with apologies to Ian Fleming #Corbyn Films for #Labour

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Comrade Seumas Milne says he always knew Liz Kendall was really a comrade. After all, any admirer of General Kalashnikov’s work can’t be all bad …

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Comrade Kendall takes aim with an AK74

Kendall responds to Milne by releasing further pictures of herself, armed with an M16, in US Marine Corps dress uniform.

Milne calls her a capitalist running dog …

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From the left, Toby Perkins MP (Missing In Action), and (hostiles) Liz Kendall MP and Graham Jones MP

Milne says everyone knows that a Beretta .25 is the gun for a lady (with little stopping power). Then realises he is starting to sound like Q in Doctor No …

Jeremy Corbyn asks, if you are Q, does that make me C?

John McDonnell observes that M was C in the Ian Fleming novels.

Jon Lansman is seen stroking a white cat …

Meanwhile, Andrew Fisher, dressed all in black, lurks in the shadows, perfecting his Rickmanesque sneer …

Behind the arras, a confused Len McCluskey suspects one or more people in the Labour leadership is in MI5 and working to bring down the party, but surely it cannot be anyone who was educated at a public school and went on to Oxbridge?

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Watch out, Seumas, Liz is gunning for you!

Out in the car park, Liz Kendall offers to show Seumas Milne the stopping power of Bond’s Walther PPK 7.65mm.

Kendall says it’s, allegedly, just like a (rioter’s) brick through the plate glass window of a Labour MP’s Constituency Office …

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Liz Kendall tries out a Challenger Mark II for size

Andy Burnham, never one to miss an opportunity, says he’ll make tackling gun crime a priority, if only Labour members will elect him Greater Manchester Mayor …

Yvette Cooper asks why no one is extolling the merits of a UK manufactured firearm …

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Liz Kendall gets to grips with an SA80

Len McCluskey, sensing an MI5 inspired attack on Jeremy Corbyn, accuses Cooper of disloyalty, whilst at the same time insisting that Trident renewal is a done deal.

McCluskey insists that in no way has he told Corbyn that there is no alternative to Labour’s current nuclear weapons policy …

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Liz Kendall anticipating bayonet practice on a life size cut out of …

Liz Kendall says she is looking forward to the reaction to her second day with the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme.

Sun Picture Editor collapses and has to be rushed into hospital …

Jeremy Corbyn brushes up his feminist credentials on International Women’s Day

Len McCluskey: intelligence services using ‘dark practices’ against Corbyn

#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

Has #Corbyn4All @UKLabour Missed the Bus by Running for the Train? #ImWithCorbyn #InOurBritain

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Train fares in Britain to rise by average of 1.1%. Bus fares in Birmingham rise by 4.8% whilst the number of bus journeys falls.  Meanwhile, Corbyn and Labour fret over the price of travelling by train.

During the Labour Party Conference of 2014, Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Hastings and Rye, Sarah Owen contended that, if I have something good to say to commuters on their doorsteps about season ticket prices then I will win the seat.

Sarah Owen did not win the seat which Labour had lost to the Tories in May 2010. The Tory share of the vote rose from 41.1% in May 2010 to 44.5% in May 2015. Labour’s share of the vote fell, in the same period, from 37.1% to 35.1%.

Labour gained the Hastings and Rye seat in May 1997 with 34.4% of the vote. Labour had not held the seat since its creation in 1970. Hastings and Rye was a marginal in 2010. It is today, in 2016, a Tory safe seat and, likely to remain that way, whilst New, New Labour remains unwilling to review why Labour failed to win seats like Hastings and Rye in May 2015.

The Smith Institute gave one very specific piece of advice about the future formulation of Labour Party policy. Labour should avoid adopting a list of retail policies tailored-made for marginal seats.  Banging on about rail re-nationalisation and freezing or cutting fares is just such an approach. Like much of Corbyn’s New, New Labour leadership election policies it is designed to appeal to middle class voters and, thus, does not travel to many of the areas wherein low income voters dwell.

Labour needs to be willing to learn from its mistakes and forge a political strategy with policies and campaigns that resonate with both its supporters and with voters who have walked away.

People on low incomes are, more likely than not, to be the users of buses. People on middle to high incomes are, more likely than not, to be rail passengers. Moreover, people who use rail have access to a range of railcards to obtain discounts on fares, including First Class tickets. The vast majority of public transport journeys are by bus and 70% of those journeys are outside of London. Cue, but John, Jeremy uses the bus!

Jeremy Corbyn uses the bus in the city with the best public transport infrastructure in the United Kingdom. Corbyn uses the bus in the city where bus services have only been lightly deregulated. Elsewhere in the country, in the places where Labour needs to win votes to win seats to win power, bus services have been deregulated.

Deregulation has meant fewer services, less frequent services on routes that remain and inconvenient timings. There are many parts of the country where there are no railway lines at all, but rail, in comparison to buses that cover most of the country, is a success story.

Reflect on this, what is the point of giving pensioners free bus passes when there are ever fewer, convenient services on which they may use them? 51% of the electorate will be over 55 by May 2020. Talking bus to them (and other bus users) is a way of getting their attention so that you may engage with them about other issues and may be then they will put Xs against the names of Labour candidates in the only elections that really matter, elections to public office.

Corbynettes will earn the right to speak with voters about the issues that they think voters should be concerned about, when they start to discuss with voters about the issues that do concern them. Jeremy Corbyn says, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I say, in a diverse society, treat others in the way in which they would wish to be treated (with certain caveats). And that means listening to the concerns of the people well before acting. Plan, Do, Observe, Act and repeat, ad infinitum.

May be, just may be, this time next year, Labour candidates and activists will be standing at bus stops engaging with voters, who might vote Labour, rather than standing outside of railway stations chatting with commuters who either already vote Labour or who never will. Of course, it would help if Labour candidates (kudos, Mark Shurmer) and activists actually use the bus from time to time. I guarantee that there are more floating voters at bus stops than on railway station platforms.

(New) Labour won seats in places like Hastings and Rye in 1997, because it had, as much under John Smith as Tony Blair, reconnected the party with the working class. Jeremy Corbyn, a scion of the affluent middle class, was elected Labour leader by a mostly middle class selectorate, whose hackles rise at any mention of Iraq like those of Republicans do over 9/11, and who now use the word, moderate, in the same way a swivel eyed Republican uses the word, liberal.  The working class, many of them liberal and moderate in outlook, are mostly an unknown country to a fair few Corbynettes.  Moreover, some Corbynettes now rival some Blairites in their fanaticism.  As I look from one to the other of those two groups, I am finding it ever harder to tell them apart.  What the average voter thinks of them, I shudder to think.

Jeremy Corbyn and his backroom boys seem to have their work cut out in terms of grasping what matters to the average voter. Hopefully once, not if, they have done so they must then persuade a fair few Corbynettes that most voters are disinterested in Iraq and Trident, the cost of student tuition fees and rail fares.  The only way to get their attention is to start talking to them about knife and fork issues.  In other words, engage in straight talking, honest politics with the electorate.

The days of Corbynettes indulging in mutual backslapping, high fiving on social media and saying how principled are we, should have ended by now.  For Jeremy Corbyn, the days of  basking in the warm glow of an adoring selectorate are definitely long gone, despite him trying his utmost to avoid poor ratings by playing smaller, more intimate gigs since last summer’s headlining tour.

Corbyn has not got off to a very good start in 2015.  And things look to set to get worse in 2016 as Mahatma Corbyn and Seamus Robespierre prepare to smash the party to pieces over Trident.