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Tory Backlash at Claire Regina Fox’s Peerage.

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Baroness, the RCP was all a “long time ago”.

Things change.

Who would have imagined that a revolutionary leader of the stature of Bob Avakian, of the US Revolutionary Communist Party, “the architect of a whole new framework of human emancipation, the new synthesis of communism, which is popularly referred to as the ‘new communism'” would be backing Joe Biden for US President?

Another one-time Revolutionary Communist, Claire Regina Fox, has come in for some stick about her Peerage.

Her first defence was launched through the pages of the far-right daily, The Express.

On Sky News last night, where she graced the Press Review, the one-time cadre of the RCP/Living Marxism, dismissed criticism of her acceptance of a seat in the House of Lords.

“It was all a long time ago” the Warwick graduate pointed out.

She promoted the mass line of a long march through the institutions,

Her comrade-in-arms, soon to be Baron Brendan O’Neill, spent yesterday vainly trying to dampen down the uproar by shifting the debate.

Referring to the ” friend of spiked, Claire Fox”  he hectored his readers, “nobody should be given a seat in the House of Lords.” ” The Lords must be abolished as a matter of democratic urgency.” If – he sighed – such a Peerage “adds new Brexit-defending voices to a notoriously Remoaner chamber.” The “Spirit of Brexit” (speaking to O’Neill) demands that Boris gives “the people a referendum on the future of the Lords”.

Baying Brendan asks, “What about the masses’ historic call for control and influence? What about making good on ordinary people’s radical insistence on their right to influence public life?

Abolish the House of Lords

Ignoring this maximum programme, Some ordinary people, members like Spiked mates, of  the Tory Party,  are making a minimum demand for influence on public life.

Why is Claire Regina Fox getting her seat in the House of Lords?

 

Ian Birrell wrote this for the ‘I’

Boris Johnson has revealed his total moral bankruptcy with his honours list

“consider the case of Claire Fox”

She emerged as part of a small Trotskyite splinter group called the Revolutionary Communist Party that discovered the value in constant contrariness and ended up indistinguishable from hard-right ideologues. She helped run their magazine called Living Marxism, which had to shut down after it accused ITV journalists who exposed some of the worst atrocities on European soil since the Second World War of fabricating their evidence. This cabal was so desperate for attention that during the Iraq War it did not just oppose the foolish misadventure but rooted for Saddam Hussein against British troops. After the 1993 Warrington bombing, which killed two children and left 50 casualties, it defended “the right of the Irish people to take whatever measures are necessary in their struggle for freedom”. No wonder Colin Parry, that dignified father of a 12-year-old boy murdered in the abhorrent attack, condemned her peerage and lack of apology as something that ‘offends me and many others deeply.’

After citing Fox’s defence of the right to download child pornograhy, singing about killing gay men, climate denial and attack on multiculturalism, Birrell concludes,

Yet for all the revulsion at seeing this figure handed a peerage, perhaps ultimately she deserves credit for achieving so much advancement from a few offensive opinions. But anger should be directed at her new patron Boris Johnson – along with all those Conservatives who stay silent as their values are trashed before their eyes.Imagine their fury if this were a Labour appointment.

 

Informed sources say that Cde John Rogan was asked to write this piece as part of the backlash against the Bolshevik Baroness.

John Rogan says,

As I have noted, but for whatever reason, Boris Johnson’s political team in NO 10 have opted not to, all during this time Claire Fox was a loyal, long-standing member – ‘I joined the RCP (Revolutionary Communist Party) in the early 80s. I’d be in it still but it was wound up at the end of the nineties.’

It would be interesting to hear what her present views are on Brighton, Birmingham and other scenes of Provisional IRA slaughter.  Will they be the same as her quote regarding the Warrington bomb last – ‘My personal politics and views are well known and I have never sought to deny them, though on this issue they have remained unaired for many years’?

Who told Boris to make Claire Fox a peer and why?

 

 

 

What is Keirism? Labour Membership Turns to the Future.

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What is Keirism?

 

A couple of months ago people wrote that ” no one knows what ‘Keirism‘ is.”

On the 15th of July Clive Lewis MP  said,

Critics of the Labour leader prefer to use the word Starmerism.

Phil even had a whole article on the subject, reproduced by his friends in Jewish Voice for Labour.

The Weakness of Starmerism

He claims that, ” Corbynism, like its Bennite forebear, was a movement from within Labourism that pushed it to its limits, And from there, perhaps a post-capitalist anywhere?”

Now, alas,

Starmerism, if we can speak of such a thing, is getting that genie back into the bottle. It does so by ostentatiously – not a word one normally associates with Keir Starmer – gripping Tory framing without contesting it, offering weak sauce managerial criticisms where it can muster a word against the government, stamping on anything one might construe as radical or, shudder, socialist, and evacuating anything resembling hope from the Labour Party’s platform – something even Tony Blair recognised the importance of and was keen to cultivate.

While it pretends itself pragmatic, it is the most dogmatic form of Labourism. It claims to be oriented to the challenges of the present, but wants to forever impose the past on the politics of the future. Sure, the party is improving in the polls.

It might win an election on its present course (we’ll see), but going by what Keir says and does all we can look forward is the status quo under more competent management. Therefore anyone thinking what we’re seeing now is “caution” so Keir, as the new leader, can get a hearing are kidding themselves. What you see now is what we’re getting, assuming he continues to get his own way. Coronavirus plus economic crisis plus Brexit equals a perfect storm for political polarisation, and inevitably demands a response equal to the moment. If Keir Starmer isn’t forthcoming then his careful project will come to naught

Many of his comrades and fellow-thinkers are less complimentary.

At the end of June the US owned Tribune carried this article by its editor.

How Keir Starmer Sabotaged Rebecca Long-Bailey

The socialist politics Rebecca Long-Bailey represents has no place within Starmerism, as the other Left members of the shadow cabinet will realise in due course. His political project is to present Labour to the British establishment as a safer pair of hands, a less disruptive force, than even the Tories. 

The article is reproduced in his boss’s paper, the one-time left populist Jacobin, with this title:

Labour Leader Keir Starmer Sabotaged Rebecca Long-Bailey to Undermine the Left

Yet, no doubt for, amongst others,  euphonic reasons, the Starmerism word hasn’t really caught on.

Will Keirism last the course? 

Perhaps we ought to take up the suggestions of Guy Lucas-Bhana and focus on giving offering to  ‘Keirism’ a wider content for the ‘Post Covid Labour Alternative’.

Paul Mason recently asked,

His answers, open to debate begin around these ideas,

Mass unemployment is on the horizon, the undermining of local government democracy and funding are looming, Tory abolition of the Human Rights Act is  in the offing, and moves to marginalise independent Public Broadcasting are already underway. 

Labour campaigns against these threats need support not in-fighting or a lash out into another break-away like the Socialist Alliance, or George Galloway’s Respect Party.

We need the positive ideas and energy Paul Mason outlines.

 

Inside the Party the ‘fighters’ are not on the up. It looks now as if whatever word we use, Starmerism or Keirism,  Keir Starmer’s new leadership faces no serious challenge.

People are not deserting  the party en masse, although yesterday 400 devoted  an early evening to watching the ‘stay and fight’ event of Labour Against the Witch-hunt.

That kind of frontal opposition is, and will remain, a fringe activity.

Contrary to the wilder predictions of an exodus of members people seem to be joining the party.

‘More people have joined Labour than left’ under Keir Starmer, NEC says

The New European reports,

Despite claims from the Labour left that the new leader is attempting to purge them from the party, the number of members has increased compared to a year before.

Jeremy Corbyn has been credited with growing the membership numbers, with the previous high reported at 564,000 in December 2017.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

July 29, 2020 at 4:14 pm

Keir Starmer: Poll Boost for 100 Days of Leadership.

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Starmer is doing better in the polls than his predecessors.

Net scores for leaders at around 100 days: Ed Miliband -21 Jeremy Corbyn -32 Keir Starmer +24 First impressions matter in politics, and Starmer has made a good one. (Chris Curtis).

Today sees many accounts of Keir Starmer’s first 100 Days as Labour Leader.

On Labour List Sienna Rogers writes (100 Days of Starmer) that,

The new leader has adopted a softly, softly approach to opposing the government and a ruthless one for internal party politics.

He has forged a slim but reliable majority on Labour’s national executive committee, replaced Jennie Formby with a general secretary who is widely considered to be on the party’s right, and sacked his Corbynite leadership opponent from the shadow cabinet. The Labour frontbench has been thoroughly overhauled, both in terms of who’s on it and the tone that they take in interviews. The leadership has slowly ramped up criticism of the Tories over Covid-19, but caution is still the watchword for media engagement.

She continues,

The core objective of Starmer’s team appears to be ‘detoxifying’ the Labour brand. If we’re assessing these 100 days on that basis, the leader’s brilliant personal approval ratings certainly give cause for optimism – but the party has some catching up to do, still lagging behind the Conservatives in voting intention despite their calamitous response to the crisis.

Faced with the divisions on the Labour Left, with a substantial fringe unable to accept Starmer’s legitimacy, it looks probable that the Labour leader will consolidate support on the National Executive Committee after the forthcoming internal party elections.

Toby Helm in the Observer yesterday (100 days on, Keir Starmer’s quiet revolution takes hold) accurately reflects the reactions on the wider left  to Starmer’s “ruthless” actions inside the Party..

Laura Parker, who has backed the internationalist Another Europe is Possible campaign, is cited,

.”….there has been no mass resignation from the membership, says Laura Parker, the former national coordinator of Momentum, because Starmer stood on a leftwing programme which he has stood by.”

She asks, 

Why would people leave when the centre of gravity has shifted? It may not have shifted as far to the left as some people want. But it is an anti-austerity, pro-common ownership party. It is a pro-peace party, and it is not a ‘relaxed about the filthy rich’ party – far from it,” said Parker.

She believes it is probably too early to judge Starmer, as Covid-19 has drowned out everything else and given the new Labour leader no real chance to show his true policy colours. But she sees definite signs that the entire movement wants to come together under him if it can.

“The vast majority of people do want to turn a page,” she said. “That does not mean the left is about to abandon all its principles, but there is an appetite for building more harmonious relationships.”

Indeed. We could do without the contrived attacks on Starmer’s “Blairism”and the claims of a wave of activists leaving, instead of a few individuals and a a hostile mood amongst those who placed high hopes in Corbyn.

But there is room for the kind of strategic questioning offered by Peter Kenyon in the left journal Chartist,

Peter Kenyon looks forward to a dismal future for Britain and its children post-Brexit

Labour remainers are engaged in one last bid to persuade Labour Party leader Keir Starmer to speak out about Brexit. It is a difficult ask. The new leadership wants the Tories to own the issue. But how to fix that in the minds of voters?

…..

Starmer needs to make a statement, without necessarily calling for an extension, about the consequences of Johnson’s plate-spinning. Lastly, now is the time to remind voters that there is no sector of the economy that will benefit from maximum divergence except the disaster capitalists represented by the current Cabinet.

In framing a starker set of messages about the future, they will need to be targeted at those newly-elected Tory MPs from so-called ‘red wall’ seats. Make them squirm. Unbelievably, they won their seats with promises of hope. What hope can there be for their constituents and their children when their local manufacturing base is having its heart ripped out by the Tories? Divergence from the EU means just-in-time supply chains will be wrecked with delays at ports, and the risk of tariffs. This is just one of the consequences of Johnson’s ‘fuck business’ policy. Agriculture is similarly at risk.

On the more radical left (also from the internationalist Another Europe is Possible anti-Brexit campaign) Michael Chessum also appears in the Observer Toby Helm article.

He says, 

For now, though, the party, like the country, is getting to know Starmer. Michael Chessum, a former member of Momentum’s steering group, says the sacking of Long-Bailey and appointment of Evans have split the left and caused irritation.

“But,” he said, “most members are probably willing to tolerate this, as long as the new leadership honours its promise to maintain Corbyn’s radical policy platform. The question is whether Starmer can really do this while at the same time completely changing Labour’s personnel and tone.”

Michael delicately refers to the self-righteous blasts that followed Long-Bailey’s dismissal,  a reaction that has only served to isolate the professional anti-Starmer current further.

This is how some of them reacted:

Today they are reduced to this:

Susan Press, a long-standing activist on the left of Labour, reflects a more widely shared take.

The anti-Starmer left, many of them from groups  inside and outside the Labour Party favourable to Brexit and whose campaigning against the EU helped bring Boris Johnson to power,  have struggled to find more than a role.

They are reduced to this kind of snipping:

Today Labour supporters and activists are beginning to digest this in full.

Conner Ibbetson writes,

Starmer vs Corbyn: how does Labour’s new leader stack up?

Since taking office as leader of the Labour party, Sir Keir Starmer has been presented with a tough set of challenges; unite the party following a crushing general election defeat, tackle the issue of antisemitism, and win back Labour’s key voters. Add to that list the COVID-19 pandemic and a resulting surge in support for the Government, and you’ve got a truly monumental task ahead of you – so what do Labour voters and the general public make of him 100 days in, and how does he stack up against his predecessor?

This is a crucial point:

Distancing himself from Corbyn could prove a winning strategy for the new Labour leader. When compared to Corbyn, Starmer is seen as universally more appealing to both Labour voters and general voters, by both the general public and Labour voters themselves. Overall, 60% of the public think Starmer best appeals to the general voter, compared to 56% who think he appeals to Labour voters more than his predecessor.

Among Labour voters, 73% back Starmer as most appealing to the general voter, while only 7% still hang on and say Jeremy Corbyn had a better appeal.

When it comes to who Labour voters think best appeals to the party, the majority still side with Starmer (65%) however 14% of Labour voters still opt for Corbyn.

Looking at younger adults under the age of 25, while a sizeable portion back Starmer in both cases, the group is split (40% and 39%) on which leader they see as most appealing to general voters and labour voters respectively.

Ibbetson concludes by saying that voters consider that Starmer has moved the party to the right, “a third (35%) of the general public thinking Starmer has already moved the Labour Party more towards the political right, with only 3% saying he has shifted the party towards the left. Approaching a fifth (19%) say the Labour Party has remained in the same place for now.

This will doubtless crop up frequently, “Among Labour voters, two fifths (40%) say Keir Starmer has shifted the party towards to the right, with 18% saying the party has stayed the same under his leadership.”

A poll is not a political analysis, and one would hesitate to call all of Corbyn’s policies, or rather his lack of clear ones on issues like Universal Credit or foreign policy, the gold standard of left wing politics. 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

July 13, 2020 at 4:31 pm