Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘Europe

Daily Express Hails Corbyn’s “Major Blow to a Second Referendum Hopes”.

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No Alternative from Corbyn to Brexit.

BREXIT LIVE: Corbyn deals MAJOR blow to second referendum hopes – exit ‘can’t be stopped’

JEREMY Corbyn has dealt a major blow to campaigners pushing for a second Brexit referendum as he declared Britain’s exit from the European Union cannot be stopped.

The Labour leader said Theresa May’s negotiating strategy is leading the UK down the wrong path but when asked whether he would stop the split if he could, he said: “We can’t stop it.”

Labour members overwhelmingly backed leaving the door open to a second referendum at the party’s conference in September.

And activists campaigning for a final say on the divorce deal have been hoping Mr Corbyn will eventually cave to public pressure and support another vote.

But the Labour leader, who is a well-known Eurosceptic, today insisted Brexit cannot be stopped.

This is the Interview in Der Spiegel the story is based on,

The man upon whom the hopes of young men and women in Britain rest enjoys taking pictures of drain covers and making jam. He wears baggy blazers and, when necessary, smuggles English cheese into his Mexican vacation lodgings. In other words, he leads the averagely eccentric lifestyle of your standard British retiree.

This is the key section:

DER SPIEGEL: Not just Labour, but the whole country is extremely divided at the moment — not least because of Brexit. If you could stop Brexit, would you?

Corbyn: We can’t stop it. The referendum took place. Article 50 has been triggered. What we can do is recognize the reasons why people voted Leave.

DER SPIEGEL: And they are?

Corbyn: I think a lot of people have been totally angered by the way in which their communities have been left behind. We had high Leave votes in the most left-behind areas of the country. In a lot of deprived areas, working conditions have deteriorated over the decades, protected by European legislation. Indeed, we would enhance workers’ rights, where the Conservative Party wants to go in another direction of a largely deregulated economy.

This is the “answer” to the issue of what he would do to ensure that Brexit is implemented.

DER SPIEGEL: Wouldn’t you face pretty much the same problems as Prime Minister Theresa May if you were in charge of the Brexit negotiations?

Corbyn: No, because we wouldn’t be trying to face towards the deregulated economy of the United States, which the one wing of the Tory Party is trying to do all the time. We would want to make a new and comprehensive customs union with the European Union, one that would obviously protect the Irish border — that’s crucial — but also ensure that our supply chains worked in both directions. People voted Leave, or they voted Remain, but nobody voted to lose their job. Nobody voted to reduce their living standards or working conditions.

DER SPIEGEL: Some people have argued that if Labour had had a pro-EU leader, the result of the Brexit referendum would have been different. What would the EU have to look like for you to support it?

Corbyn: I’ve been critical of the competitions policy in Europe and the move towards free market, and obviously critical in the past of their treatment of Greece, although that was mostly the eurozone that did that. My idea is of a social Europe with inclusive societies that work for everyone and not just for a few.

DER SPIEGEL: Less neo-liberal?

Corbyn: Well, as you probably gathered from following me, I’m not really in favor of neo-liberal economics.

DER SPIEGEL: Looking at the almost impossible task facing Theresa May, that of sealing a deal not only with Brussels but also with her own party, do you sometimes feel sorry for her?

Corbyn: I am a decent human being, I feel sorry for anyone in distress. But the best way for anyone to alleviate distress is to take yourself away from the source of it.

There are many things one could say about these statements.

Restricting ourselves to one: Corbyn has decided to ignore the decision of the Labour Conference to leave a “second vote” option open.

Labour has taken a significant step towards backing a public vote on Brexit after its annual conference voted to keep open the option of another referendum.

Delegates at the gathering in Liverpool voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion saying Labour “must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote”.

It says that if Theresa May manages to negotiate a Brexit deal with the EU, the government “should not be afraid to put that deal to the public”.

The motion reads: “If we cannot get a general election, Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote.

“If the government is confident in negotiating a deal that working people, our economy and communities will benefit from, they should not be afraid to put that deal to the public.”

Independent. 25th of September.

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

November 10, 2018 at 5:43 pm

Anti-Brexit Momentum Vote, “not Scientific” says Skwawkbox.

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GUARDIAN DELETES FAKE NEWS RE MOMENTUM POLL. REALITY IS VERY DIFFERENT

Fake News Site Skwawkbox (Grenfell Tower ‘D Notice*) is wriggling today (note to Steve Walker, thanks for the tip!).

The complaint from this pot to a Guardian Kettle cannot hide this news:

On Tuesday, Momentum published the results of a poll of its members’ opinions on Brexit and Labour’s priorities.

To Skwawkbox this,

Far from showing strong support for a fresh EU referendum, the poll showed that Momentum members fully recognise the far greater importance of a change of government – exactly the priority of Jeremy Corbyn’s intelligent handling of the Brexit issue.

This will send – or should – cold shivers down the spine of any Labour rebels considering supporting Theresa May’s eventual excuse for a Brexit deal in order to undermine the party’s leadership.

Turnout in the poll was low – around 16% of Momentum’s members – even though voting was electronic and needed only a couple of minutes to complete. Of those who did vote, barely over half – 53% – favoured committing to a new referendum now.

53% of the 16% who voted. The idea of committing to a new referendum could only generate support – from Momentum members, surely one of the UK’s most pro-EU constituencies – of just over half of respondents, while around 84% did not even participate.

The hardcore, mostly-centrist ‘stop Brexit’ faction claims that a Labour commitment to a new referendum would result in a surge of support for Labour. But Momentum’s results show there isn’t even a surge of support for it among Momentum members.

A majority is a majority, let us not forget.

SKWAWKBOX comments: the Poll was “not scientific”.

The Momentum poll was not scientific. Geography and demography were not factored in, for example. Nonetheless centrists – and a few in Momentum – have been trying to cast the results as supporting their claim that Labour should commit to a new EU referendum. The Guardian’s fake news headline was barely more blatant.

Tendance Coatesy Comments.

It is hard to see how this poll endorsed ” the priority of Jeremy Corbyn’s intelligent handling of the Brexit issue.”

Perhaps Walker could explain how his actions (no mention of  Keir Starmer,  supposedly in charge of this policy,  are in line with these parts of the vote, and how he has stood up to his adviser on Brexit, Andrew Murray who is reported  to favour backing May’s Brexit Deal?

  • 92% of members want all Labour MPs to vote down Theresa May’s Brexit deal
  • 89% believe a no-deal Brexit should be rejected as a viable option
  • 82% believe Brexit is likely to make things worse for their friends, family and community.

The fact is that a majority did vote for a Referendum now.

Skwawkbox makes no mention of the socialist Left Against Brexit, which initiated this vote in Momentum.

Nor of the diehard sovereigntists pro-Brexit forces in the labour movement and the left who voted Leave with the far-right, UKIP  and the Tories.

What of the non-“scientific” claim?

The previous all member vote of Momentum supporters was in 2018 for Members’ Representatives (four for each region.) 13,000 votes were cast – 35 per cent of eligible members. Positions on this “national co-ordinating group (NCG)” also include 4 Momentum members who are Labour public officer holders (of the UK, European or Scottish Parliaments, Welsh or London Assemblies, Elected Mayors or Police Commissioners, or Labour members of a British local authority), 6 members nominated by affiliated trade unions, 4 members nominated by other affiliated organisations (a subject of controversy). Like the consultation on the Constitution of the organisation, is again not comparable to the present ballot.

There have been no previous internal votes on specific issues still less anything comparable to Brexit.

What ‘scientific’ comparison between the (complex) vote on Momentum’s position on Brexit  with the  election of (some) of the Leadership?

What Labour supporter is going to deny the importance of an election to get rid of Theresa May?

But Brexit is a disaster, and cuts us, the left and the labour movement off from the key EU fights for a left project.

Nationalist isolation, the dream of the sovereigntist left, is a dead-end.

The Momentum vote boosts the Left Against Brexit.

 

********************************

* “On 16 June, in an article headed “Video: Govt puts ‘D-notice’ gag on real #Grenfell death toll #nationalsecurity”, Skwawkbox took up the claim made by grime MC Saskilla on the BBC Victoria Derbyshire programme that the number of victims in the Grenfell Tower fire was far greater than had yet been officially admitted, with as many as 200 people having died.

Skwawkbox used this claim to give credence to rumours that the government was engaged in an attempt to prevent the media reporting the true extent of the disaster: “At the same time, multiple sources told the SKWAWKBOX that the government has placed a ‘D-notice’ (sometimes called a ‘DA Notice’) on the real number of deaths in the blaze.”

Bob Pitt. June 2017: Skwawkbox — an embarrassment to the Left.

Here is another example of their fake news: “DISABLED CLAIMANTS TOLD: 2 YRS TO GET JOB OR BE SANCTIONED FOR A YEAR.”  17th of July. 2017.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 7, 2018 at 12:55 pm

In Praise of George Soros.

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Soros: Open Diamond Geezer and His Enemies.

Frank Furedi, guru of Spiked,  wrote in the Daily Telegraph earlier this year.

My encounter with George Soros’s bright-eyed missionaries left me deeply disturbed

Soros does not believe in the legitimacy of borders nor in the authority of national electorates. Consequently he feels entitled to influence and if possible direct the political destiny of societies all over the world. Today it is the future of Britain; tomorrow it might be Italy or Hungary that will be the target of Soros’ largesse.

The problem with Soros is not that he is rich. (Note, like the proprietors of the Telegraph, the secretive Barclay brothers).  The rich, like the poor, are entitled to act in accordance with their political views. However, there is something morally wrong when a single individual seeks to use his wealth to alter the will of millions of people who constitute the electorate. It is even worse when an oligarch is able to exercise significant influence over the future of a society that he is not a part of.

Former Revolutionary Communist Party Furedi is not the only disturbed person around:

The Morning Star, happy with millionaire far right-winger Arron Banks backing for the anti-EU cause, and Trade Unionists Against the EU<  threw a wobbly about Soros during the Labour Conference,

The Chuka Umunnas, Anna Soubrys, Tony Blairs, Peter Mandelsons, Vince Cables, Andrew Adonises and sundry nationalist and greenish politicians, bankrolled by George Soros and other financial interests, are linked by their contempt for democracy and their hostility to Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and the socialist policies they champion.

Demonising Soros they join the nationalist far-right.

As the Financial Times points out today:

The Soros conspiracy theory goes global

Three years ago, Hungary’s prime minister accused billionaire George Soros of trying to flood the country with Middle Eastern migrants.

In recent weeks, a similar allegation against Mr Soros has emerged in the US: internet conspiracy theorists and some Republican politicians have accused him, without evidence, of funding a caravan of Central American migrants heading for the US border.

Asked last week whether Mr Soros was financing the caravan US president Donald Trump said: “I don’t know who, but I wouldn’t be surprised. A lot of people say yes.”

Mr Soros denies any connection. The frequency with which such unfounded allegations have been aired in the US highlights how divisive the issue of illegal immigration — a favourite campaign theme of Mr Trump— has become. But it also shows how anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories have spread from the fringes to the political mainstream, in both Europe and the US.

Soros can speak for himself. And does:

George Soros has been a prominent international supporter of democratic ideals and causes for more than 30 years. His philanthropic organization, the Open Society Foundations, supports democracy and human rights in more than 100 countries.

As in this:

budgets

 

George Soros is a supporter of Karl Popper’s idea on the ‘open society’.

In the Open Society and its Enemies  (1945) and the Poverty of Historicism (1957) he attacked ‘holism’ and the claim, notably by those claiming to be Marxists, to have discovered the ‘laws of history’ and to subject societies to their closed views. Popper painted a contentious picture of political philosophy. His account of the history ideas, a broad-brush picture of totalitarian inklings from Plato, to Hegel and Marx, is contested. The idea that there is a “falsification””principle in science which demolishes and claim to objective explanations of historical development, how societies work, or how modes of production and class struggle operate, is not one Marxists – of (probably) all stripes –  would agree with. But there are some who would certainly find fault with “total” explanations and the orthodox and Hegelian use of the term “totality” as a category.

Since democratic socialists, including democratic Marxist, stand for open debate and are not afraid of criticism, one can hardly fault Popper for stirring things up.

There is a vast literature on the debates created by these books, open as can be.

And do we disagree with the concluding words of the Open Society and its Enemies?

For to progress is to move towards some kind of end, towards an end which exists for us as human beings. History cannot do that ; only we, the human individuals, can do it;we can do it by defending and strengthening those democratic institutions upon which freedom, and with it progress, depends. And we shall do it much better as we become more fully aware of the fact that progress rests with us, with our watchfulness, with our efforts, with the clarity of our conception of our ends, and with the realism 28 of their choice.

Instead of posing as prophets we must become the makers of our fate. We must learn to do things as well as we can, and to look out for our mistakes. And when we have dropped the idea that the history of power will be our judge, when we have given up worrying whether or not history will justify us, then one day perhaps we may succeed in getting power under control. In this way we may even justify history, in our turn. It badly needs such justification.

Soros’ writings on ‘reflexivity’ need more a a glace oto get to grips with.

But this can surely be met with some sympathy:

Although the primary manifestation of the reflexive process that Soros discusses is its effects in the financial markets, he has also explored its effects in politics. He has stated that whereas the greatest threats to the “Open Society” in the past were from Communism and Fascism (as discussed in Open Society and its Enemies by his mentor Karl Popper), the largest current threat is from Market fundamentalism.

Faced with the kind of attacks Soros has received this is welcome:

Mr. Soros was born into a Jewish family in Hungary, and survived the Nazi occupation as a child in part by posing as the Christian godson of a government official.

After World War II, Mr. Soros fled Hungary for England as the Soviet Union consolidated control in his home country. He worked as a waiter and a railroad porter and studied at the London School of Economics, where he was deeply influenced by the theories of an Austrian philosopher who taught there, Karl Popper. Mr. Popper wrote about the consequences of what he called “closed” and “open” societies — concepts that shaped Mr. Soros’s investment strategy and philanthropy for decades.

His daring investments in companies and currencies proved hugely lucrative, prompting The Economist to call him “surely the world’s most intriguing investor” in 1987. His decision to short the British pound in 1992 earned his funds a reported profit of $1 billion.

By then, he was turning his attention to democracy-building in Eastern Europe.

Mr. Soros and his foundations supported groups and individuals seeking to bring down Communism, including the Solidarity and Charter 77 movements in Poland and Czechoslovakia. The leaders of both groups would later lead their countries in the post-Communist era.

In Hungary, Mr. Soros distributed photocopiers to universities and libraries as a means to fight government censorship, and he paid for dissidents to study in the West. The recipients included a young Mr. Orban, then a liberal activist.

After the end of the Cold War, with the Open Society Foundations as his main vehicle, Mr. Soros funded new work for destitute Soviet scientists in Russia, paid for free school breakfasts for Hungarian children and set up a college, the Central European University, that later drew the ire of Mr. Orban’s government.

In the United States, where Mr. Soros was granted citizenship in the 1960s, Mr. Soros’s efforts often won bipartisan applause. A professed admirer of President Ronald Reagan’s efforts to topple Communist rule in Eastern Europe, Mr. Soros, who at the time described himself as a political independent, was seen by anti-Communist Republicans as a fellow freedom fighter.

As his activities grew more prominent in Europe, and he began funding drug reform efforts in the United States, he started being cast in the 1990s as a central figure in a shadowy Jewish cabal by extremist figures such as the fascist presidential candidate Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. and allies of repressive Eastern European leaders who were targeted by groups funded by Mr. Soros.

The theories were initially confined to the anti-Semitic fringe, though Mr. Soros is not closely associated with Jewish or Israeli causes, and in fact has been accused of being anti-Israel and was criticized by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

From: How Vilification of George Soros Moved From the Fringes to the Mainstream New York Times. October the 31st 2018.

Here are some serious criticisms of Soros (201*

Throughout his career, Soros has made a number of wise and exciting interventions. From a democratic perspective, though, this single wealthy person’s ability to shape public affairs is catastrophic. Soros himself has recognised that “the connection between capitalism and democracy is tenuous at best”. The problem for billionaires like him is what they do with this information. The open society envisions a world in which everyone recognises each other’s humanity and engages each other as equals. If most people are scraping for the last pieces of an ever-shrinking pie, however, it is difficult to imagine how we can build the world in which Soros – and, indeed, many of us – would wish to live. Presently, Soros’s cosmopolitan dreams remain exactly that. The question is why, and the answer might very well be that the open society is only possible in a world where no one – whether Soros, or Gates, or DeVos, or Zuckerberg, or Buffett, or Musk, or Bezos – is allowed to become as rich as he has.

His response:

 I have been a passionate critic of market fundamentalism at least since I first discussed the phenomenon in my essay The Capitalist Threat in the Atlantic Monthly 20 years ago. Moreover, I have been a steadfast promoter of what Bessner calls the “root-and-branch reforms” that could bring about the better world that I and many others desire – for example, I would cite the positions I adopted regarding reforms after the financial crisis of 2008. Anybody who reviews the record will see that my proposals were far from the mainstream “centre left” approach that eventually prevailed. In the same vein, regarding eastern Europe post-1989, Bessner writes: “It was more than a lack of political will that constrained the west during this moment. In the era of ‘shock therapy’, western capital did flock to eastern Europe – but this capital was invested mostly in private industry, as opposed to democratic institutions or grassroots community-building, which helped the kleptocrats and anti-democrats seize and maintain power.” I agree. But Bessner continues: “Soros had identified a key problem but was unable to appreciate how the very logic of capitalism, which stressed profit above all, would necessarily undermine his democratic project. He remained too wedded to the system he had conquered.” To the contrary, my interventions were entirely in support of “democratic institutions and grassroots community-building”, and I urged others, including governments, to follow me in this approach.

Likewise, Bessner’s conclusion that my status “as a member of the hyper-elite and [my] belief that, for all its hiccups, history was headed in the right direction made [me] unable to consider fully the ideological obstacles that stood in the way of [my] internationalism” is unfounded. I don’t think I have ever expressed an optimism that history is headed in the right direction. Martin Luther King famously said “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”. I am less of an optimist, which is why I have spent my life actively trying to bend the arc in a positive direction. But recognising that I am a biased evaluator of my life’s work, I will submit it to the judgment to history.
George Soros
Open Society Foundations

It is still unfortunate that somebody with money can have a great influence on politics.

But this is hardly ‘post-democracy’ when Soros has helped stir up democratic action and debate from those excluded by the truly powerful – the right and the nationalists.

If we are unlikely to agree with all of his views then, tough.

He is a respected interlocutor.

And clearly, from the enemies he has: Soros is a diamond geezer.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 6, 2018 at 1:18 pm

Varoufakis and DiEM25: No to the Left Against Brexit.

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DiEM25: No to the Left Against Brexit!

Yanis Varoufakis condemns ‘toxic’ campaign for a second EU referendum.

The Sovereigntist and ‘progressive’ Pro-Brexit Morning Star reports.

FORMER Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis condemned the “toxic” public campaign for a second referendum on British membership of the European Union today.

The economist, who served under the left-wing Syriza government in 2015 when it confronted the EU over enforced austerity politics, accused anti-Brexit campaigners of dumping left politics.

In an interview for Jacobin magazine, he said he had campaigned on the Remain side during the 2016 referendum, but he explained: “I think that we should respect the outcome of the people’s vote.

“I really despise the way that [second referendum campaigners] talk about a ‘People’s Vote’ as if the first one was the wrong people’s vote.

“This kind of toxic language does not suit progressive politics.”

Mr Varoufakis said he backed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s calls for a fresh general election and added that the “silver lining” to Britain leaving the EU was that a Labour government could nationalise industry “more easily.”

Is his interview to the ‘progressive’ Jacobin magazine the former firebrand, speaking “as progressives” he rejected the Left Against Brexit call for a Second referendum, said,

.. let’s not re-run the referendum debate: I think that we should respect the outcome of the people’s vote. I really despise the way that they [campaigners for another referendum] talk about [the need for] a “People’s Vote” as if the first one was the wrong people’s vote. This kind of toxic language does not suit progressive politics.

To me what is now essential is for Britain — and this is possibly something Jeremy and I don’t agree on — to maintain freedom of movement. The Left should always fight to keep borders away and not to create new borders among people. So, for me a “Norway plus” solution would be ideal for Britain and even if that doesn’t happen, our New Deal for Europe, proposed by DieM 25, details how even after a hard Brexit [the UK breaking from all EU-related structures] British institutions and European institutions could coordinate in such a way as to simulate a European Union in which Britain is an integral and progressive part.

DiEM25 members now have the option of choosing between two versions of the “Progressive” acceptance of Brexit.

For DiEM25 to support this important initiative, its members must be consulted and the call must be made compatible with DiEM25’s long standing position in favour of a Norway Plus agreement, as per our all-member vote in the autumn of 2016. The two versions that members are now being asked to endorse differ in the following main way:

Option 1.
Take A Break From Brexit to Give Democracy the Time it Deserves
Proposed and defended by Andrea Pisauro of the thematic DSC justifies the one-year extension of Article 50 by calling not just for a general election, but also to permit the UK’s participation in the European Parliament elections of May 2019, participation to which this extension opens the doors.

Andrea Pisauro’s Call to Take a BREAK FROM BREXIT to give democracy the time it deserves.pdf

Option 2.

Take A Break From Brexit for a General Election
Proposed by Yanis Varoufakis, aims at a campaign for extending by one-year the Article 50 negotiations solely in order to enable a general election to take place so that a new government, with a real mandate, can complete the UK-EU negotiations.

Yanis Varoufakis’ Call to TAKE A BREAK FROM BREXIT for a general election.pdf

As an alliance with the ambition to reshape European politics, in (you guessed it) a “Progressive” direction  DiEM25 is busy building a Europe-wide front for the 2018 elections to the European Parliament.

DiRM25’s latest catch is the French ‘party’ Nouvelle Donne.

Led by  Pierre Larrouturou this new hand of old cards originated in a centre-left current in the French Parti Socialiste, expressing its admriation for the ‘progressive’ US left under the name of the Collectif Roosevelt,. It managed to score 11.5% of the internal congress vote in 2012.

Nouvelle Donne  has laid (optimistic) claims to 11,000 members.

In the European elections of 2014 it won 2,90% of the vote. They backed, after failing to secure support for their own candidate, the sovereigntist  Jean-Luc Mélenchon in 2017. Standing 20 candidates in the Parliamentary elections that followed some are said to have won more than 1% of the ballots cast!

The ideology of Nouvelle Donne, is inspired by the American New Deal, progressisme, l’écologie politiquehumanisme, participatory democracy, and, some say, an element of democratic socialism.

They are also kind to flowers and animals (I just made that bit up.

It has had  two elected figures: David Derrouet, Mayor of the small town, Fleury-Mérogis until 2017, and Fabienne Grébert,a regional councillor in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.

Onwards and upwards DiRM25!

Andrew Murray Defining Labour’s Brexit Strategy?

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Andrew Murray now a Player at Labour ‘Strategy” meetings.

There were considerable concerns expressed, when it was announced that Andrew Murray, full title,  Andrew Drummond-Murray of Mastrick, whose father was Slains Pursuivant, one of Scotland’s most senior heraldic titles, was to become a key adviser to Jeremy Corbyn.

Jeremy Corbyn makes Unite’s Andrew Murray a part-time consultant.

“Former communist, loathed by those on Labour’s right, will help hone party’s Brexit strategy.”

Guardian February the 26th 2018.This worries extended far beyond “Labour’s Right’”.

Those backing the politics of Another Europe is Possible were far from happy to see somebody wedded to the Sovereigntist anti-EU stand of Murray’s former party, the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), having a central role in shaping Labour’s policy on Europe.

These views are justified. This key section of an article in the New Statesman yesterday indicates……..

Most of the piece is about taxation.

But this stands out:

At a recent strategy meeting, Andrew Murray – who works part-time as Len McCluskey’s chief of staff and part-time in Corbyn’s office – argued that the Labour Party should vote for Theresa May’s deal to avoid a no-deal exit. At that point, Abbott intervened to disagree. She argued that the party’s pro-European membership would never forgive them for bailing out a weak Tory government and that May’s Brexit agreement would in any case be a disaster that Labour should not be seen to endorse.

Then she warned her old friend Corbyn that their pro-Remain constituents in the north-east of London would be “protesting outside your house” if Labour voted for May’s deal. “That last point really spooked him,” recalls one of the attending staffers.

How the “end of austerity” presents a challenge to the Labour Party Steven Bush.

So, Murray is a player at a Labour “strategy meeting“.

For a different view see (extract)

WHY DEBATING BREXIT IS STILL VITAL FOR THE LEFT

John Palmer says a Schrodinger’s Brexit, neither in nor out, is the likely outcome from the May government unless Labour forces a General Election while keeping a people’s vote on the table.

……….

Labour is right to say to May that unless you produce a deal that meets the six tests we will vote it down. Corbyn can also say that Labour is in a much better position to negotiate a much more satisfactory relationship. Labour is far more supportive of EU-proposed reforms on workers’ rights, anti-discrimination measures and tougher environmental controls than any Tory government. The EU knows this too and would likely allow more time and offer more negotiating concessions to a British government led by Jeremy Corbyn to get an agreement leaving the UK in the EU.

Labour, however, needs to spell out its willingness to be more positive in any new negotiations if it wins an early general election. It is worth remembering the ‘renegotiation’ of Harold Wilson in 1974/5 after Labour rejected the Heath Tory government’s EEC Accession Treaty. It is not unprecedented for Labour to go back and renegotiate with Europe. There is little in Labour’s programme to provoke hostility from the EU. No EU opposition has been expressed to the  proposed nationalisation of rail, energy and utilities, contrary to what Lexiteers have alleged.

The rest of the EU wants the UK to remain – renegotiating a completely new relationship after the past 45 years, post-Brexit, would be a nightmare. If Corbyn wins an election and says to Brussels ‘we would like urgent talks with you’ he is likely to meet a weary but a positive response. You don’t say ‘No’ to a newly elected government. The need for more time might require some extension of article 50. There may soon not only be a new government in the UK. There will also be a new European Commission taking office next year and also a newly elected European Parliament.  So any new negotiation will take time.

In terms of how Labour should approach a people’s vote, I have some sympathy with John McDonnell in not wanting to risk everything on a referendum – if we got anything like the same result as in 2016 the right would be on a rampage. The question is what happens if Labour cannot force an election? In that event, a People’s Referendum should remain on the table. There was a strong consensus on this issue at the party conference. The questions will be set by Parliament not by Government. It would make sense to have tripartite options: ‘support the package’, ‘reject the package’, or ‘reopen negotiations on membership.’

The problem with a referendum is that it can only be indirectly couched within a broader context of policies and arguments on inequality and social justice. I believe the best time for a referendum would be after a new Labour government had returned with its reform and remain package from Brussels. If that has to take place after March next year when we leave the EU, it should include an option to re-apply for membership on the terms negotiated with Brussels.

Meanwhile it will be crucial to work with progressive political forces elsewhere in Europe. Who might they be? Think of the Portuguese left coalition government, Podemos and its allies in Spain, France Insoumise (which has rejected any desire to leave the EU or even leave the Euro), the SDP left, Die Linke and the Greens in Germany, the very successful Green Left and its social democratic allies in the Netherlands and many social democratic and socialist parties from Greece and Italy to Sweden and Finland.

Now is the time for the British Labour party to call for more collaboration with the European left and centre-left parties on a common programme of EU reform and further democratisation. The Labour leadership could call a conference in London to debate the common threats we face and to prepare a common fighting platform to tackle the far right, corruption and climate change across Europe.

Labour should make it clear that following a Labour victory it will prioritise a Reform and Remain strategy for the UK. For now Labour should coordinate with the SNP, Greens and Plaid to ensure a progressive vote against the May deal.

Does Murray even represent the interests of UNITE workers?

Jim Denham argue he does not:

Unite’s McCluskey and Turner – backed by Morning Star – betray automotive workers.

No, I don’t understand what that’s supposed to mean, either: but it sure as hell offers no hope and no way forward for Unite’s automotive members now staring into the abyss at Toyota, BMW, Honda and JLR: presumably, they must be sacrificed to satisfy the pro-Brexit predilictions of McCluskey, Turner and the Morning Star.

Spiked Does Funny on the People’s Vote March, Transgenderism, Universal Credit Dependency, and Mansize Wank Tissues.

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The Old Ones Are Still the Best.

I like a larf, me.

Spiked is on rare form this week, with top tips like “Bring back the mansize tissues”, Universal credit as an answer to why “many today are so dependent on the state to get by”,  and “Why isn’t transgenderism ‘cultural appropriation’? We chastise white women who have afro hairstyles but cheer men who dress as women.” by Brendan himself.

Not to mention defending the Italian far-right against the Brussels Tyrants.

But this – oh my aching sides! – is surely the best:

The People’s Vote march changed my mind on Brexit. Luke Gittos. 

It was the middle-class, puntastic placards that clinched it for me.

 As we assembled in London’s Mayfair, a working-class Leave voting stronghold, of course, I was blown away by the level of banner bantz.

‘Bears for Brexit’, and was carried by a group of very burly men with beards. I assume they were woodsmen of some kind.

After all, I saw at least 200,000 young people on that march. All we need to do is allow them to vote 87 times each and we will have a majority. That is what I call democracy.

They say this is pretty funny as well:

Luke Gittos is the author of Why Rape Culture is a Dangerous Myth: From Steubenville to Ched Evans.

So why the bleeding fuck do they publish this load of New Age cack that’s there today?

 

Daily life for our forefathers was harsh. The natural world was a brutal environment where life was competitive, callous, ferocious, merciless and short. Like all animals, we faced daily hazards and threats: freezing, drowning, disease, dying of hunger, thirst, and death from predators. This was not David Attenborough’s natural world, a spectacle we can enjoy from the comfort of our heated living rooms on plasma TVs. This was the savage natural world we, like all natural objects, came to exist in; not a Garden of Eden, but a gladiatorial arena ‘steeped in blood’.

Human consciousness, our ability to think abstractly, to develop language and speech, to cooperate and collaborate – in short, our sociality – enabled us to develop the collective imagination and creativity to overcome nature’s limits.

The example of flight illustrates this beautifully. One of the prices we paid for bipedality was that while our arms and hands were freed, they were not wings. Nature ‘forgot’ to give us wings. We could not escape predators by leaping into the air and flying out of harm’s way. Nor could we travel long distances over natural barriers like mountains or rivers. We do not have the size, strength or indeed the appendages to make this possible.

We are able to fly today as individuals because as a society we developed, over centuries, often in the face of a great deal of human scepticism, the knowledge of the materials to manufacture aeroplanes, the expertise to design jet engines and fuels to power them, and the grasp of the laws of aerodynamics. Our ability to fly, once limited by nature, is now a freedom, a new human need as commonplace and safe as walking, and far more impressive than anything conjured up by nature. In overcoming nature’s limitations, mankind has truly shown itself to be collectively ingenious — a species that can fly despite lacking the biological make-up for flight. The expertise developed to achieve this served change far greater than just flight. It helped to push the boundaries of knowledge and expertise in many other areas of human endeavour.

Contrary to the elite narrative, these accomplishments could never have been achieved in isolation from the mass of society, no matter how smart the individuals involved. The elite narrative presents a one-sided story of how innovation works. It mystifies innovation as being solely driven by the experts, while underestimating the critical importance of the many. In reality, experts are not born; they are created by society, through solving the problems confronting society.

Norman Lewis. The Enduring Wisdom.

People’s Vote March for “neoliberal, racist EU” (Socialist Worker), backed by “neoliberal media” (Morning Star).

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Big Business Agenda, says Socialist Worker.

Socialist Worker leads with,

Huge march for a ‘People’s Vote’ boosts the big business agenda Sarah Bates.

The People’s Vote is a cross party alliance with warmongering spin doctor Alastair Campbellgiving leadership. Many people have pointed out that as director of communications and spokesperson for Tony Blair’s Labour Party he ignored a march against the invasion of Iraq which was three times the size of Saturday’s.

The organised left were largely absent on the march although there was a number of Labour Party banners. There was virtually no trade union presence.

Whatever the individual motivation of marchers, it is a vehicle to deliver the big business agenda of defending the single market and the neoliberal, racist EU.

..

…the People’s Vote campaign is a desperate bid by sections of the ruling class to maintain the status quo.

The Morning Star carries on in the same vein,

Their patronising demand for a “People’s” Vote, with its implication that extraterrestrials or farm animals voted to leave first time round, oozes New Labour marketing style.

Whereas obstacles were placed in the way of the Stop the War Coalition in 2003, from media misrepresentation or censorship to Blair government attempts to prevent marchers gathering in Hyde Park for fear of “damaging the grass,” the neoliberal media, including the BBC, has been wholeheartedly behind the People’s Vote project.

Neither of these two accounts mention the Left Bloc on the March, organised by Another Europe is Possible.

Walsall Wadical Giles Fraser takes another approach,

The pious Padre’s answer for the Walsall un-Washed?

Giles Fraser on People’s Vote:

If you are not religious, you may not like the following parallel. But the core appeal of Christianity is that it imagines a God that is not distant, but that has made himself close to ordinary lived experience by being born as a human in a shed, and has lived among us. This is a God that seeks closeness to people in their concrete reality, so much so that they call Him “Abba”, an intimate term that is better translated “Daddy” than the stern Victorian-sounding “Father”. Today’s global capitalism is a very different sort of religion. In theological terms, it is a form of Deism: a distant god that creates everything but does not intervene in the world. It is a god with whom there is no interaction.

The emotional core of Brexit, and the reason I remain a passionate Brexiter, despite all its problems, is that it seeks to collapse the distance between power and ordinary people.

For some proper reports see:

Workers’ Liberty went on the People’s Vote demonstration on 20 October with placards (see below), red flags, banners, stalls, and chant sheets.

Ours was the only organised left-wing presence on the demonstration. The full count is not yet in, but we must have sold about 300 copies of Solidarity on the demonstration, as well as books, pamphlets, etc., and collected contact details from many people who want to keep in touch.

We distributed the “Left Against Brexit” leaflet produced by the Nottingham and Sheffield Left Against Brexit groups.

We distributed chant sheets. We joined the “Left Bloc” organised by “Another Europe is Possible”, and most of the bloc took up our chants. They were the only chants anywhere on the demo to go beyond “we want a people’s vote” and “bollocks to Brexit”, as far as we could tell.

The demonstration numbers are reported as 700,000, and it was certainly huge. The speakers at the end were more on a Lib-Dem, SNP, Plaid Cymru wavelength than left-wing: the middle-of-the-road Labour mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, was probably the most left-wing.

There was hardly any Labour Party presence as such. We came across many Labour voters and Labour members on the march. Like the majority of Labour supporters and members, according to many polls, they oppose Brexit, and are unhappy with the Labour leaders’ fence-sitting on the issue.

There were very few banners from Labour Parties or union branches, or indeed from any organisations, on the huge march. The marchers were on average a more prosperous, more Lib-Dem-ish crowd than those who join other leftish protest marches, and non-white marchers were a smaller minority than they are in London’s general population; but given the huge overall size of the march, it was also a big turnout of non-white marchers.

Our aim now is to expand and step up the activity of the network of local “Left Against Brexit” groups.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 22, 2018 at 11:46 am