Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Andy Burnham Shows Sense as Factionalist Tristram Hunt Visits Ipswich.

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Essential reading on where Jeremy Corbyn comes from. 

“For students of entryism, Engels’s tactics were textbook stuff: a brutally successful medley of threats, divide and rule, denunciations and ideological bullying.”

Tristram Hunt on the political practice of Marx’s comrade amongst German workers in Paris the  mid-1840s.

Page 141. The Frock Coated-Communist. Penguin 2010.

Andy Burnham To Reach Out To Jeremy Corbyn

“I want to capture that and involve Jeremy and his team in rebuilding our party from the bottom up,” he said, also promising to “take the best ideas of the other candidates, where there is common ground between us, and use them to shape my radical vision”.

He said it would be “unforgivable” if infighting after the new leader is elected prevented Labour standing up to the Tories.

Sky News

Shadow Cabinet MPs form ‘the Resistance’ group in anticipation of Corbyn win.

A moderate Labour pressure group dubbed “the Resistance” is being formed by two top shadow cabinet members as Jeremy Corbyn pulls ahead in the leadership race, the Evening Standard can reveal.

Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt have written privately to Labour MPs calling on them to meet four days before the leadership result is announced. It is being seen by MPs as a rival to Mr Corbyn’s Left-wing  platform and the start of guerrilla warfare for Labour’s soul.

The group, Labour for the Common Good, will meet on September 8 and include some peers, council leaders and trade unionists.

Evening Standard.

Tristram Hunt supports Liz Kendall.

Dear Andrew.

This is just a reminder that Tristram Hunt MP, Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent and Shadow Secretary of State for Education, will be in Ipswich this Monday 17th August to meet with local members and supporters.

The event will take place at 33 Silent Street, Ipswich, IP1 1TF at 12.15pm. Parking can be found at Cromwell Square or at the Buttermarket Shopping Centre.

RSVP to meet Tristram this Monday

We hope you can make it along!

Liz Kendall for Labour Leader
http://www.lizforleader.com/

Labour for the Common Good...

Students of Labour politics will be reaching for their copies of  Defeat from the Jaws of Victory: Inside Kinnock’s Labour by Richard Hefferman and the much missed Mike Marqusee (1992).

One of the central themes in the book is the story of how the Labour Co-ordinating Committee (LCC) emerged. From the soft left of the party it evolved into a part of what would (after Kinnock’s exit) become Blairism.

Progress, one of the leading forces in the present ‘anybody but Corbyn’ campaign carried a couple of years ago  an interesting article by Luke Akehurst  on this topic,

…the LCC did play a role in rescuing Labour, they came late to the match having been playing on the other side in the first half. The heavy lifting had already been done by the Old Right around the MPs in Labour Solidarity, the union leaders and political officers in the St Ermins Group and the newsletter ‘Forward Labour’.

We can see an attempt to reforge this bloc of the former left (in the present instance perhaps some ‘Eustonites’?) and the hard Labour right,  with Liz Kendall’s claim to promote a “new politics: blue Labour in dialogue with the revisionist tradition that started with the Gaitskellites in the 1950s.” (17th August Progress).

She states,

To make this a reality, Labour must win back economic credibility, the argument goes. In no uncertain terms, Kendall argues that Labour has to be known for being ‘careful with people’s money’.

 ‘If we’re deaf to these calls from the public for fiscal responsibility, we’ll be out of power for decades’ she warns. Turning the left’s critique on its head again, Kendall insists, ‘the politics I’m putting forward is actually the real anti-austerity politics’. When Labour puts its energies into ‘running sound public finances’ it ‘win[s] elections’, meaning Labour politicians ‘can actually stop some of the awful, vile things that the Tories are doing’. The current shadow care minister is able perhaps better than anyone currently at the top of Labour politics to identify the real divide between the Conservatives and Labour: George Osborne’s summer budget promotes ‘inherited wealth for the few’, she says, while Labour’s mission under her will be to ‘tackle the inherited poverty for too many people’. ‘This is the politics that will really be anti-austerity. It will allow us to win power and to have a totally different alternative from what the Tories are doing.’ Articulating this fundamental difference and putting flesh on the bones of a plan to achieve this is what will make clear how Labour differs from its array of competitors.

For those tempted to take these claims seriously Dave Osler’s New Labour PlC (2003) is essential reading.

‘Labour Party Plc’ tracks the party’s relationship with business from the early steps made by Neil Kinnock, to John Smith’s more overt flirting, to the love that dared speak its name under Tony Blair. David Osler looks in turn at funding of the Labour Party by rich individuals and big business, the scramble for lucrative government contracts once Labour was in office, and the way that business has been invited to help formulate government policy.

Osler suggests that one key turning point was Black Wednesday in 1992. On that day the pound was kicked out of the scheme that was the precursor to the euro and the Tories looked like they might never win another election. John Moores, director of Littlewoods football pools, described the motivation of big business in forming closer ties to the Labour Party during this period: ‘Since Labour is going to form the next government, it’s worth getting to know them.’ Another executive was more explicit in saying why he supported a New Labour initiative before the 1997 election: ‘Some of those involved are clearly dedicated Labour supporters. But most, like us, simply want to influence policy.’

This new receptiveness on the part of business was only part of the picture. Former leader John Smith signalled Labour’s desire to court business with a series of meetings with people from the City of London–dubbed the prawn cocktail offensive. Up for discussion were not just policies on the economy and companies, but also anything that might upset the wealthy.

Blair pledged to keep top-rate income tax at 40 percent in the 1997 election manifesto. Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, after his £1 million donation had been returned following a scandal over tobacco advertising, explained that his gift was a result of Labour’s pledge not to raise income tax. ‘As a substantial contributor to the Inland Revenue, I have clearly benefited from this decision,’ he wrote. After all the questions about the possible link between party donations and government policy, such an explicit connection did not merit many column inches.

Socialist Review.

Meanwhile the anti-Corbyn factionalists are in disarray.

Gordon Brown declared yesterday (BBC) that Labour should not be a party of permanent protest.

He also stated,

“I have to say that if our global alliances are going to be alliances with Hezbollah and Hamas and Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela and Vladimir Putin’s Russia, there is absolutely no chance of building a world-wide alliance that can deal with poverty and inequality and climate change and financial instability, and we’ve got to face up to that fact.”

Mr Corbyn has previously described Hezbollah as “friends” and said that he wanted Hamas to be “part of the debate”.

Some points:

  • Labour supporters are not voting in the leadership contest on whether to ally with Hezbollah, Hamas, Putin, and the (late) Hugo Chávez.
  • Corbyn has, however ill-chosen some of his words have been, never  suggested an “alliance” with these forces.
  • It is up to the Labour Party, and preferably a strengthened internal democratic process, to decide on our foreign policy, not Jeremy Corbyn,

The Telegraph states,

Lord Mandelson tried to persuade the three mainstream Labour leadership candidates to quit en masse to stop leftwinger  Jeremy Corbyn and force the party to suspend the election.

It also emerged that Liz Kendall urged Yvette Cooper to stand down because Andy Burnham is the only candidate who can win – but Miss Cooper refused.

The Independent reports today:

Dozens of Labour staff members and Shadow Cabinet aides could be dismissed within hours of Jeremy Corbyn winning the party’s leadership, it has emerged.

The Independent understands that large numbers of Labour staff members are on contracts that expire the day after the new leader is elected. This means Mr Corbyn and his new shadow cabinet team will have a completely free hand at choosing who works for the party, with little or no legal obligation to existing staff.

Labour aides, who have worked for the party for the past five years, fear those around the new leader will use the opportunity to “purge” party HQ of those considered to be on the right, and replace them with people whose views are more in tune with the new leader. Other staff members intend to leave of their own volition and are understood to be already sending out their CVs in anticipation of a Corbyn victory.

Our own hope is that Leadership contenders  follow Andy Burnham’s suggestion – it follows Jeremy Corbyn’s own calls for opponents to work with him if he wins.

This will strike most people as the way forward.

Unless we wish to follow Labour for the Common Good, with its hint of “threats, divide and rule, denunciations and ideological bullying.”

10 Responses

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  1. It is really pathetic that it is now we get the ‘calling out’ of Corbyn on Putin – and it’s from Brown and it’s done in this pathetic, sideways fashion.

    But he is right. Corbyn’s anti-Americanism means that in something like the UN vote on a tribunal for the Malaysian airliner MH17 how would the UK vote? Presumably we would abstain? That is being in ‘alliance’ with Russia.

    There is far more to it of course but the minute Corbyn wrote about Russia being “provoked” over Ukraine that meant he was buying into their whole spiel, their whole shtick. That is being in ‘alliance’ with Russia.

    In saying that Poland (and the Baltic states, one assumes) should not ‘have been allowed’ to join NATO, that is being in alliance with Russia.

    There is no formal agreement between the Kremlin and Marine LePen, and if you talk about the bank loan they go crazy claiming it’s just business, but of course the FN are in ‘alliance’ with the Kremlin. Same goes for Syriza or Der Linke.

    Brown should have nailed it – he had long enough time to! The media, including the left media, are – let’s be honest – giving Jeremy a soft soaping on Russia.

    Meanwhile, the war in the Donbas continues with Russia building new bases and sending in new weapons and shelling more villages and towns. Plus, in a ‘demonstrative act’, Russia is burning Ukrainian ducklings alive:

    It is really pathetic that it is now we get the ‘calling out’ of Corbyn on Putin – and it’s from Brown and it’s done in this pathetic, sideways fashion.

    But he is right. Corbyn’s anti-Americanism means that in something like the UN vote on a tribunal for the Malaysian airliner MH17 how would the UK vote? Presumably we would abstain? That is being in ‘alliance’ with Russia.

    There is far more to it of course but the minute Corbyn wrote about Russia being “provoked” over Ukraine that meant he was buying into their whole spiel, their whole shtick. That is being in ‘alliance’ with Russia.

    In saying that Poland (and the Baltic states, one assumes) should not ‘have been allowed’ to join NATO, that is being in alliance with Russia.

    There is no formal agreement between the Kremlin and Marine LePen, and if you talk about the bank loan they go crazy claiming it’s just business, but of course the FN are in ‘alliance’ with the Kremlin. Same goes for Syriza or Der Linke.

    Brown should have nailed it – he had long enough time to! The media, including the left media, are – let’s be honest – giving Jeremy a soft soaping on Russia.

    Meanwhile, the war in the Donbas continues with Russia building new bases and sending in new weapons and shelling more villages and towns. Plus, in a ‘demonstrative act’, Russia is burning Ukrainian ducklings alive:

  2. I loathe wordpress …

  3. Andrew – trying to find your comments on Corbyn’s proposals on policy forming. Where are they? Having no luck.

    Paul Canning

    August 17, 2015 at 1:56 pm

  4. In general terms the Corbyn proposals to change Labour Party policy making are in his contribution here: Leading Labour The Fabian essays Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn
    and Liz Kendall

    “Labour has drifted into a presidential model of politics in which the leader and their office comes up with all the policies. I want to change that.
    In the past when Labour party conference voted for something the leadership didn’t like, senior MPs were wheeled out to tell the press that it would
    be ignored. That alienates our support and undermines our principles as a democratic socialist party. That top-down behaviour has to end
    – we make the best policy through inclusive democratic discussion.

    But we cannot simply make policy at party conference once a year. We need to review our policy-making process to ensure that it is inclusive, accessible, participatory and able to take democratic decisions quickly when necessary.

    http://www.fabians.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Leading-Labour-the-Fabian-essays-Aug-15.pdf

    There has been a great deal of detailed discussion on the changes brought in by the Blairities during Party in Power in 1997.

    See here on the system as it evolved subsequently :
    Partnership in Power: Partnership Made Easy – Labour’s Policy – Making Process 2006 / 2009

    Ann Black: http://www.annblack.com/partnership_made_easy.htm

    Michael Meacher was optimistic that this system was changing in 2011.

    ” After the long, dark interregnum of the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown years, a major review is under way about every aspect of party organisation and functioning. Proposals to implement the necessary changes will be presented to the party conference in September. To help bring this about, a Campaign for Labour Party Democracy taskforce, which I chair, was set up to propose appropriate reforms.”

    http://www.tribunemagazine.org/2011/03/labour-has-hit-the-progressive-comeback-trail/

    Nothing essentially changed.

    Andrew Coates

    August 17, 2015 at 4:04 pm

  5. An example of how desperate the opponents of Corbyn have become:

    “The verbal abuse directed at insufficiently left-wing members of the Labour party during the leadership contest is both comic and sinister. Comic because there is something unserious about a person making a judgement about you (who they don’t know) based on the fact that you don’t plan to vote for Jeremy Corbyn. Sinister because the abuse has brought to the surface a simmering undercurrent of anti-Semitism on the left (hurling the word Zionism around every two minutes is demonstrative of several things, of which concern for the Palestinians is not one).”

    ” As a member of a small conspiratorial group with a theory about everything, the activist and his comrades can invert things and project their own inadequacies on to the world: we do not have a problem; it is everyone else. Living human beings (who are obviously the victims of false consciousness) are also sometimes replaced by vague notions of ‘humanity’; in extreme cases non-believers become non-people who can be treated with brutality and indifference (or called ‘scum’ on Twitter).”

    James Bloodworth.

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/labour-leadership-race-why-are-corbynites-so-fond-dishing-out-insults-1515765

    Author with Bobby Friedman of the eminently rational.

    “A cold fish relishing his red-hot moment.”

    Jeremy Corbyn twice put socialism before love and family, as one of his ex-wives reveals, but the sacrifice may yet pay off.

    Jeremy Corbyn may have become an unlikely sex symbol, but being married to him doesn’t sound like a huge amount of fun. His total fixation with politics was the root cause of his two divorces.

    Corbyn, now 66 and the frontrunner for the Labour leadership, was for a long time accompanied only by his dog, Mango, whom he used to bring into the office when working as a political agent in the Hornsey constituency in the 1970s.

    Sunday Times: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/newsreview/features/article1593664.ece

    Andrew Coates

    August 17, 2015 at 4:39 pm

  6. Which part or parts of what James Bloodworth has said there do you take issue with, Andrew?

    He simply describes the MO of Corbynite supporters, especially in the Guardian, over the past month. Any Labour member or even MP who’s not for Jeremy gets absurdly slagged off as a ‘Tory’. Categorising Bloodworth’s account as ‘desperate’ doesn’t begin to refute that.

    I think you are very misguided in voting for Corbyn, but I am sure you are doing so for entirely honourable reasons. That doesn’t mean you have to buy into the mentality of Corbyn’s worst supporters or engage in the same tactics.

    Lamia

    August 17, 2015 at 6:24 pm

  7. The Corbyn campaign made a very strong statement telling supporters off for abuse at the weekend.

    Here’s my expansion on my comment here and response to the lovely Andrew :]

  8. To be honest – as we are both on Twitter – I have not seen any of this vitriolic abuse myself: have you?

    Andrew Coates

    August 18, 2015 at 11:46 am

  9. @Lamina

    Bloodworth is one of the key figures in the left wing ABC “campaign” http://hurryupharry.org/2015/08/17/the-left-wing-case-against-corbyn/

    His second paragraph above seems psychobabble reminiscing about his time in the AWL. If there is only one positive thing you can say about his former comrades, which way well be the case, it is that they have lead the line in opposing the leftwing anti-Semitism he refers to in his first para.

    “Desperate”? – well it is certainly a confused and pretty feeble addendum to the main left ABC angle of attack; Corbyn comes from an ugly section of the “left” particularly on international issues. What this misses is that many/most of Corbyn’s votes will come despite, not because of those views.

    Furthermore it echoes the common ABC theme I’ve witnessed on twitter – that Corbyn supporters are “cultist”, “morons” or dope-on-a-rope entrysts. I am not sure if this counts as abuse but it’s no better than #Torylite. I have seen more of the former, but to be fair that says more about who I follow etc. than anything else.

    I fully get why ABC people fear Corbyn is unelectable and how this motivates them – I even share some of that concern and this is a pretty good summary why;

    http://fatmanonakeyboard.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/labour-pains.html

    On the other hand I really do not think that the ABCs get the views expressed here;

    http://averypublicsociologist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/an-open-letter-to-tristram-hunt.html

    Boleyn Ali

    August 18, 2015 at 2:22 pm

  10. “Bloodworth is one of the key figures in the left wing ABC “campaign” ”

    Come now. James Bloodworth is a left wing journalist with a mind of his own. He will be familiar to readers of this place, Shiraz, HP, Liberal Conspiracy and even Socialist Unity. He is deserving of respect, whatever one thinks of his positions on individual matters, because (like Andrew Coates)) he pays attention to researching his subjects.

    Along with a number of left bloggers, Bloodworth is against Corbyn. That does not mean there is some sort of orchestrated ‘campaign’.

    Jim Denham himself is on record a few years ago condemning Corbyn as others were and still are doing, and for the same reasons. The difference is that now Andrew and Jim are evidently holding their noses and voting for Corbyn, Most of us who differ from you on this get do understand why you are voting as you are, and do not question the integrity of either of you, because we respect you on past form.

    The least Andrew and other Corbyn supporters can do is reciprocate that good faith – that there are people opposed to Corbyn for perfectly sincere reasons and due to long-held beliefs, not because of some sort of conspiracy.

    Lamia

    August 18, 2015 at 6:50 pm


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