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Pro-Brexit ‘left’: Paul Embery, Trade Unionists Against the EU, Backs Polish National Populist Law and Justice Party.

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Paul Embery, Trade Unionists Against the EU.

Embery is not only a FBU member, the leader of the above campaign, he is a” Member of the Labour Party since 1994, and active within the Blue Labour tendency.”

Why Poland’s Law and Justice Party appeals


Commonly – though somewhat lazily – characterised as ‘Right-wing’, PiS, after coming to office in 2015, set about redressing economic inequality. It boosted the minimum wage, lowered the retirement age and increased the state pension. It also made heavy investment in a variety of social and welfare programmes, helping to free thousands from poverty. That Poland currently enjoys an economic growth rate superior to many of its European neighbours should command attention.

PiS also promotes the type of cultural traditionalism – with much emphasis on family values – that is in keeping with the country’s Catholic heritage and appeals to much of small-town and rural Poland. It is certainly far from perfect: its opponents have accused it of authoritarianism, and it is seen as hostile to the LGBT community.

But its wide support and retention of power should be seen as instructive.

Some of us have been arguing for a long time that a similar sweet spot exists in British politics, where an enthusiasm for economic radicalism fuses with a desire for cultural security. 

Millions of voters here would see themselves as falling into this category, but feel unrepresented by any of the mainstream parties. It was the anger and alienation of these millions that gave us the Brexit vote, and has been instrumental in the ongoing polarisation of our politics and breaking down of normal tribal loyalties.

These voters, often (though not exclusively) residing in the poorer parts of the UK – such as the post-industrial towns across the north and Midlands – would find great appeal in a party that was, on the one hand, committed to delivering an economy built around redistribution, intervention and investment, while, on the other, placing a high value on place, family and nation. The politics of economic fairness mixed with the politics of belonging.

The Polish Law and Justice Partym  Prawo i Sprawiedliwoś (PiS) is called right wing and far right.

This is one of the reasons:

Critics accused the PiS of fomenting homophobia during the election campaign, with party officials calling lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights an invasive foreign influence that threatens Poland’s national identity.

“They are trying to impose a narrative that we are in a culture and civilisation war,” Scheuring-Wielgus said, adding the bill is aimed at intimidating and silencing educators and activists.

Al Jazeera.

This is another,

The re-election of the conservative-nationalist group, founded and led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has heightened fears among the journalists and academics that freedom of the press will be further restricted in the party’s pursuit of a proposed “new media order”. 

PiS announced in its 232-page election manifesto that it wanted to regulate the status of journalists, promising a “new media order”.

And another,

Poland’s democracy is not a priority for many of its voters

Derek Scally Irish Times.

A week ago, the “wrong kind of Pole” won the Nobel Prize in Literature. This is the friend-foe language of Poland’s Law and Justice (Pis) party, winner of a second term in Sunday’s general election.

For her admirers, Olga Tokarczuk is a writer who brings dignity – and, now, international attention – to the lives of ordinary Poles. In PiS doctrine, Poland’s sixth Nobel literature laureate is a targowiczanin, a traitor, that the country would be better without. Why? Because in her writing and activism she questions the populist ruling party’s claim to be supreme arbiter of the Polish soul.

Because she, and other “traitors” like her, challenge the PiS campaign for absolute control of public institutions and debate. Because they warn against reshaping the Polish history as a patriotic pick and mix that ignores, obfuscates or contests everything that does not serve a Polish victim narrative – from Nazi collaboration to Polish anti-Jewish pogroms. (In the muddied waters of PiS Poland, a critic cannot be a patriot.)

Days before Tokarczuk was awarded the highest prize in the literary world, the PiS culture minister said he had never finished any of her books because they were too difficult. That was a mild criticism by PiS standards of the writer who, in the election campaign, warned of the social cost of a united church-state alliance against the LGBT community.

Embery’s right wing cultural politics and caring for our own folk economics has got the backing of the former Henry Jackson Society chief, Marko Attila Hoare.

Embery campaigned for Leave during the 2016 referendum.

His group, Trade Unionists Against the EU appeared on platforms organised by the Socialist Party front, TUSC.

In Ipswich a speaker ranted and raved about their internationalism. As evidence he bellowed about a Paris Meeting – which turned out to have been run by the dodgy French nationalist Trotskyists of the  Parti ouvrier indépendant démocratique (POID). They published this: International anti-EU rally report.

POID published a real account, emphasising the role of their own party in holding the rally and the speech of their chauvinist  General Secretary (at the time) Gérard Schivardi  ( 123 540 votes, 0,34 % in the 2007 French Presidential elections): Le grand meeting de la Porte Charenton du 26 septembre (La Tribune des travailleurs).


Embery spoke at this event in Cardiff:

Paul Embery speaks at the TUSC meeting in Cardiff photo Ross Saunders

“We built a united front of speakers from genuine workers’ organisations, willing to come together to fight the EU ‘Employers’ Union’. This included Owen Herbert, regional secretary of transport union RMT; London regional secretary of firefighters’ union FBU, Paul Embery, from Trade Unionists Against the EU; and Hannah Sell, deputy general secretary of the Socialist Party.” TUSC anti-EU tour touches down in Wales

Trade Unionists Against the EU received money from Arron Banks.

Donations were also made, between March and June 2016, to WAG TV Limited (who made an anti-EU film), Ukip (led at the time by Farage), Veterans for Britain… and Trade Unionists Against the EU (TUAEU). Hang on a minute! Trade Unionists Against the EU! Isn’t that a supposedly “left wing” organisation, regularly promoted in the pages of the Morning Star? And it received funding from Arron Banks? Yes, dear reader, I have to tell you that it did: £54,000 according to the Electoral Commission.

Jim Denham

More on this: Lexit and Brexit collaboration-what did the Morning Star know? John Rogan

There was this (April 2019)

Union official told to ‘cease’ social media after ‘rootless cosmopolitans’ tweet

Paul Embery refused to apologise despite criticism over an ‘antisemitic’ comment about Brexit referring to ‘rootless cosmopolitans’

Embery’s antics meant he got into a spot of bother with this FBU.

He received the support of the Red-Brown National Populist site Spiked,

The scandal of Paul Embery’s sacking

He was dumped by the Fire Brigades Union for speaking at a pro-Brexit rally.

Now Embery is onto higher things….

The politics of national populism, a new leash of life for “solidarisme”,  in the sense of solidarity between people from the same society, the  ‘somewhere’ people, social Catholicism, nationalist economics, intolerant towards cultural diversity and critics of good order, is now on Blue Labour’s agenda.

Perhaps they will invite somebody from these traditions to speak at a future Full Brexit event er, possibly somebody like Marine Le Pen, who also combines a conservative social agenda, hostility to  globalisation (‘Globalism’), support for social protection, and a staunch defence of the Somewhere people.

ewhere people.His new best friend elaborates on the future strategy.


Labour Backs Putting Boris Brexit Deal to a Referendum but pro-Brexit Labour wing may split the Party.

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Latest Stumbling Block.

Brexit is not a subject for the faint-hearted.

The news that the DUP has thrown its rattle out of the pram is only one incident in the continuing efforts to Boris Johnson and his publicists  to create an unstoppable momentum towards his  deal to Saturday’s Parliament.

Johnson continues to plough on.


A Brexit deal has been agreed between UK and EU negotiating teams before a meeting of European leaders in Brussels.


Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control.”

The two sides have been working on the legal text of a deal, but it will still need the approval of both the UK and European parliaments.

The DUP has cast doubt on its success, saying they still cannot support it.

This is Labour’s latest response.

Brexit: Labour says it would back putting Boris Johnson’s deal to referendum.

On the Today programme Tony Lloyd, the shadow Northern Ireland secretary, has confirmed that Labour would push for a referendum on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. This should not be a surprise – Jeremy Corbyn has been saying for some time that if the country is facing either a no-deal Brexit or what he terms a damaging Tory Brexit, there should be a referendum – but in recent days there has been some uncertainty about what the party would do, because it also wants a general election ahead of a referendum.

But Lloyd said the party would back moves to subject Johnson’s deal to a referendum. He said:

If there is a majority for that deal, and if in turn there is an amendment moved, and that’s put to a confirmatory vote, a public vote, then, consistent with what Labour is saying that any deal ought to go back to the public, then we are almost bound to vote for that amendment …

It would be very hard for us to support a deal [along the lines proposed by Johnson, with employment rights in the UK potentially falling behind EU standards]. Labour doesn’t have a majority in parliament. It doesn’t necessarily have a blocking minority in parliament. And on that basis if Prime Minister Johnson is able to push through a deal, even a deal that we don’t like, if an amendment were moved to subject that to the test of public opinion, that would be the right thing to do.

With Labour backing a plan to put Johnson’s deal to a referendum, it is possible, although not yet certain, that such an amendment could pass.

But what would happen then? It is almost impossible to imagine circumstances in which the government would agree to put the proposal to a referendum. Inside No 10, a no-deal Brexit is seen as preferable to a second referendum. And legislating for a referendum, and then having a campaign, would probably take several months. This suggests that, for any referendum on Johnson’s plan to actually happen, opposition MPs would have to vote for some sort of interim government to replace Johnson’s.

Already we can see that the pro-Brexit factionalists of the Morning Star today (Editorial) look favourably on some aspects of Johnson’s plans,

There are anxieties in Berlin and Paris that the hegemony exercised over the EU’s markets by these two main economic players may be compromised if Britain’s Tory government gets away with a deal that tilts the so-called “level playing” field — actually the rules which privilege German and French exports — towards a British industrial and export sector less encumbered by the regulatory framework which presently underpins their increasingly troubled economies.

Their allies in Labour and the Trade Unions, as well as their friends in Spiked, would like to push forward Brexit. This will unleash, they believe, the conditions for a  democratic revolution as people ‘take back control’.

The daily of the trade union subsided Communist Party of Britain, also notes,

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn voiced his “deep concerns” over what Johnson would be agreeing with the EU — saying that the PM’s ongoing negotiations would lead to a “mega loss of rights.”

Mr Corbyn said: “This is not a deal that we can support.”

But Corbyn added that he would not remove the whip for Labour MPs that vote for such a deal.

Johnson could be forced to eat his words on refusal to ask EU for Brexit extension

This is has been welcomed by Labour supporters of  voting for a Boris Brexit,


Corbyn to urge ‘outriders’ to stop attacks on Labour ‘leave’ MPs, promises no whip withdrawal.

The pro-Brexit site continues,

A series of recent columns by ‘blue-tick left’, remain-supporting commentators have demanded that Corbyn must withdraw the whip – essentially expel from the parliamentary Labour party (PLP) – any MP who votes in favour of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, should he succeed in reaching an agreement with the European Union.

A number of MPs submitted written complaints to the Labour leader about those articles, which they believe are an attempt to publicly bully or intimidate them into turning against the wishes of their constituents.

Corbyn has backed down from acting against pro-Tory Labour MPs,

  • MPs will not lose the whip for any vote on Johnson’s deal
  • he will ask blue-tick outriders to cease the ‘bullying’ of northern MPs

This commitment effectively means that the vote on any deal Johnson brings back to Parliament will be treated as an ‘unwhipped’ conscience issue, allowing MPs freedom to vote as they believe best.

Labour’s problems with its pro-Brexit wing  are deep rooted.

In the unlikely event of the referendum referred to above happening with Johnson’s consent, those who back Leave in the Labour Party, from the Blue Labour Red-Brown extremes to the so-called ‘Northern’ faction, may well campaign for the government. No doubt, on the above evidence, their alliance with the Tories will also go unsanctioned.

Yesterday this Blog covered some of the bases of the pro-Brexit wing of Labour.

The Clarion today identifies this trend within the ‘left’ movement, Momentum. It’s centred on the issue of immigration and the EU.

An influential current within Jon Lansman’s organisation is opposed to freedom of movement.For a time part of the pro-Brexit left tried to justify their campaign to vote with the Tories and Nigel Farage for Brexit with rhetoric denouncing ‘Fortress Europe’. Apparently groups, with membership running into the thousands, would be able, outside of the EU, to open the borders to the world.

But actually existing freedoms to move within the EU will be removed by Brexit. There are no MPs with any weight who support this version of Lexit, promoted by the SWP, Counterfire and whatever is left of  Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century (RS21).

As fine words have emptied away, it has not taken long for something like a Blue Labour nationalism to take hold on the Brexit left.

Linking Momentum to Unite and some other unions is the increasing strength of Stalinist-nationalist politics in the circles around the Momentum office, dominating Young Labour, etc. These people saw ending free movement as a good or necessary thing in itself, part of their project for a “socialist Britain”. These people provided a particular line of ‘labour movement’ anti-free movement arguments, for instance the absurd idea that limiting immigration could mean converting Britain into a giant “closed shop”.

Momentum’s immigration problem

The  project to assert the cultural and national identity of Britain through the tools of sovereignty unites disparate strands in this mouvance. There are groups like the fragmenting Socialist Party which has its own stand alone position on the immigration ‘closed shop’. The Full Brexit brings togther others, from the Morning Star CPB, members of the Brexit Party, and – embedded within the Labour Party’s right wing, Blue Labour.

This Blog yesterday posted on Jon Bloomfield’s critical account of the emergence  Blue Labour.

Focusing on migration we can see that the Clarion article identifies an important aspect of this approach.

At first sight  the demand against free movement may seem to have some purpose.

Jon Bloomfield notes that ” There are genuine concerns among those at the lower end of the labour market about wage competition from newcomers and pressure for long working hours.”

But he argues for for “tight regulation of the labour market, for a high minimum wage which is legally enforced; the mandatory imposition of the EU Working Time Directive setting out a maximum forty‐eight hour working week; and stronger rights for trade union organisation.” There is a material context, “the optimal economic area is now continental in scale. In Europe, all the main production processes rely on integrated supply chains operating across borders. ” Progressive Politics in a Changing World: Challenging the Fallacies of Blue Labour.

A socialist Britain cannot “opt out” of these economic links without great damage to its own union supporters. It cannot opt out of freedom of movement, giving the power to control labour movement to national government with a record of abuse of immigration rights. Perhaps a future Labour Cabinet may make this more equitable. Perhaps the Tories will win – now or in the future – and make things worse.

It is obvious that Europe wide rules go with Europe-wide economies.

Those denouncing the ‘neo-liberal’ European Union are intent on giving succor to a  project that will create neo-liberalism in one country, national neoliberalism, National Populism.

Against the politics of the pro-Brexit factionalists in the Labour Party and Unions internationalists support the movement against Brexit.

Update (Independent).

Jeremy Corbyn says Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal ‘worse than Theresa May’s’

Jeremy Corbyn has branded Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal “worse” than Theresa May’s, as he called for a Final Say referendum.

In a statement released just minutes after No 10 and Brussels announced a new deal had been reached, the Labour leader said: “This sell out deal won’t bring the country together and should be rejected.”

He added the “best way to get Brexit sorted is to give the people t

From what we know, it seems the prime minister has negotiated an even worse deal than Theresa May’s, which was overwhelmingly rejected,” he said.

“These proposals risk triggering a race to the bottom on rights and protections: putting food safety at risk, cutting environmental standards and workers’ rights, and opening up our NHS to a takeover by US private corporations.”



As Pro-Brexit National Labour Stirs, “Rooted cosmopolitans” answer back.

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Image result for Progressive Politics in a Changing World: Challenging the Fallacies of Blue Labour Jon Bloomfield

This nationalism plays into the hands of the hard right.

The latest scoop by Skwawkbox is news on the creation of a factionalising group, known informally as the ‘Four Yorkshiremen’ to campaign for a Labour deal with Boris Johnson on Brexit. At present they are fighting the party’s Shadow Chancellor.


The party’s northern MPs are now in discussions to build on their successful rearguard action by caucusing as a parliamentary bloc. One, speaking of an attempted ‘remainer take-over’ to force Labour to into a full ‘stop Brexit’ mode, said:

We need to make sure no one region of Labour can ever acquire this much dominance over policy and the narrative again. The north fought back and this episode has taught us that when we stand united we can make our voice heard.

The Red-Brown Front, the Full Brexit, has its own take on the developing national Labour  strategy.

They retweeted George Galloway,


And national populist New Left Review Stalwart,


And their allies in the Morning Star,

Anti-rootless cosmopolitan campaigner Paul Embery, has his own take on the need for National Labour.

The rooted, yet tasty geezer, continues,

The Red-Brown Front, the Full Brexit brings together the Communist Party of Britain, ‘funny money’ ‘leftists’ associated with Counterfire, like Thomas Fazi, Eddie Dempsey,  supporters of the Brexit Party linked to the Spiked network (including at least one candidate), ‘Marxist’ Wolfgang Streeck, Labour Leave, Larry O’Nutter (better known under his pen name of Larry O’Hara), and Paul Embery’s Blue Labour. To name but some.

How does these ideologues hang together?

This  Blog cannot recommend too highly this article which gives some answers.

Progressive Politics in a Changing World: Challenging the Fallacies of Blue Labour Jon Bloomfield : 11 October 2019

Bloomfield traces the national populist turn back to the Blair and Brown years.

As popular doubts about the UK’s headlong embrace of neoliberal globalisation grew, elements of left opinion shaped their critiques within this nationalist framework. As the Blair–Brown era drew to a close, instead of a focus on the fundamentals of neoliberalism, critics of the New Labour project concentrated on their own variant of cultural wars.

Within Labour’s ranks a newly ennobled Maurice Glasman gave these ideas prominence after Ed Miliband’s leadership win in 2010. The Blue Labour movement he pioneered asserted that traditional working class communities had been ignored by New Labour’s trendy cosmopolitanism, which had paid too much attention to feminism, multi‐culturalism and sexual politics, and had ridden roughshod over the assumed conservative cultural sensitivities of the traditional working class. One of the leading protagonists, Jonathan Rutherford, used his role as editor of the Soundings magazine to promote these ideas and declare that ‘the future of English socialism is conservative’.5

Whatever its initial concerns, this new way of framing politics quickly gave primacy to cultural and national identity rather than the economic or social. The initial flurry of interest within Labour waned, as did its brief ‘Red Tory’ counterpart, Phillip Blond.

Soundings, in effect, was the vehicle by which, for some people, Gramsci’s ideas on the ‘national popular’ could become transformed into nationalism tout court. The references sometimes made by Glasman to the Italian Marxist have to be seen in this light.

Bloomfield then looks at sovereigtism – one would have wished for some wider Euripean context where sovereignty has been the turning point from left to nationalism in France since the 1990s, summed up in the career of JeanPierre Chevènement. Paraellels exist across Europe, as can be seen in the development of the German former leftist Streek.

The Brexit debate, with its focus on national sovereignty, has given the label new vigour and a purchase stretching well beyond Labour’s ranks. David Goodhart, when editor of Prospect, was an early straw in the intellectual wind with his polemic in 2004, claiming that large numbers of immigrants undermine the solidarity essential to a welfare state.6 He developed his thinking in The British Dream: Successes and Failures of Postwar Immigration, which argued that integration cannot be a ‘two‐way street’ and that immigrants ‘must carry the burden of any adaption that is necessary’.7 He wove this argument into a wider narrative about the major problems within modern Britain—the lack of jobs for the white working class and the decline of a shared sense of community at both local and national level—as being caused by immigration. His 2017 book The Road to Somewhere. The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics develops this argument and provides the bedrock of Blue Labour thinking post‐Brexit.8

This book, by another of the founding figures of the red-brown Full Brexit cast, has been reviewed on this Blog and in many, many, other places. But Bloomfield looks at its more recent impact and the circles and ideas which seem to have thriven in the worst aspects of the stand against ‘Anywheres’

For Goodhart, the world is basically divided between the ‘Anywheres’, ‘the upper professional class’ with their global world outlook and the ‘Somewheres’, with their preference for place, stability and nation. These are Britain’s ‘two value blocs’ and the book is a paean of praise for the preferences and prejudices of the latter. Paul Collier, a development economist, articulates similar views. His recent book The Future of Capitalism suggests that the biggest social rifts are between the highly educated and the less educated and between the cosmopolitan metropolises and declining provinces.9 Matthew Goodwin is an initial critic of the UKIP right who has now gone native, while Eric Kaufmann gives it more intellectual heft with his demographic and cultural arguments that justify immigration policies based on racial criteria.10 These views are increasingly given a sympathetic hearing and plenty of space within the pages of the left‐wing weekly magazine the New Statesman, where they blend with its increasingly nationalist agenda.11

One can remark here as with above, there are clear parallels in France, not just in the arguments about Bobo metropolitan elites, but against the ‘liberal’ fragmentation of minority ‘identity politics’ against the voice of national identity, rooted identities. The Three Yorkshiremen faction has its counterparts across the European left.

Looking at the economics of Blue Labour Bloomfield offer as sketch which could apply to every attempt by ‘left wing’ pro Brexitetrs to argue for an independent UK, free from the burden of globalisation to make its own policies,

Blue Labour writers either ignore, disregard or diminish the realities of a globalising world, whether in terms of ecology and climate change, terrorism and security, the digital revolution or economics. The UK—or sometimes England—is deemed to stand above and apart from these grubby realities. The writers refuse to face the fact that since the Second World War, modern production has leapt the boundaries of the small and medium‐sized nation‐states that comprise Europe. Of course, hairdressers still cut people’s hair in the high street, while many small businesses access their supplies locally.

But with regard to the main elements of the economy, both in manufacturing and services, there is no way that they are going to be forced back into their national boxes. The days of a set of independently‐owned, British car companies trading primarily within a domestic market have gone. Rootes, Humber, Austin, Triumph, Morris will never return. Today, across old industrial Britain, their factories have been transformed into retail parks, business units and housing estates. And a no‐deal Brexit will do the same to Ford, Honda and Vauxhall in Bridgend, Swindon and Ellesmere Port.

The Brexit Bolsheviks, in effect, would try to in vain to recreate the 1970s industrial base of the national  labour movement..

This section is so good somebody should make it into a workshop.

Brexit has crystallised these arguments. Blue Labour has converged with those unchanged voices from the 1970s left, who still believe in ‘socialism in one country’. Embery, Goodhart, Glasman and Goodwin are all signatories to ‘The Full Brexit’ manifesto which claims that, ‘Brexit offers an unprecedented opportunity to reshape Britain for the better … to develop a genuinely internationalist and democratic politics of national sovereignty’.23

This nationalism plays into the hands of the hard right. They gleefully sense an opportunity to split the progressive and labour movement. Blue Labour proudly calls itself conservative, so it is not surprising when Conservative media outlets offer them space to promote their ideas. The libertarian, ex‐Trotskyists of the Spiked website, supported by $300,000 from the US Koch brothers, give space to ‘Lexiters’, while the conservative UnHerd website hosts Embery, Goodwin and Giles Fraser as regular columnists.24 In the post‐financial crisis maelstrom, Blue Labour initially asked how progressives should express their values. What is amazing about their current trajectory is how willing they are to discard the core values of any progressive movement—liberty, equality and solidarity—and the speed with which they have moved to become fellow‐travellers of the nationalist right.

Bloomfield has a lot to say on a “positive view of migration” which is resoundingly clear.

He concludes,

 Blue Labourites find it hard to conceive that a person can approve of European integration and yet still retain a national and local identity. As the Green movement—largely ignored by Blue Labour—expresses it, ‘think global, act local’. There is no gulf between the two. Most people can ‘walk and chew gum’ at the same time. The modern world is interconnected and overlaps. The wings for an Airbus are made in North Wales and Bristol, but the aircraft as a whole is put together in Toulouse. The blue flag beach at Bournemouth is checked, monitored and authorised by the local council, but to a European standard set by Brussels. Indian and Chinese restaurants are now part of our ‘national identity’ in every town and city in Britain. In answer to Paul Embery, in the twenty‐first century most citizens are rooted cosmopolitans.

Say it loud and clear: we are internationalists and leftists. We too are “rooted cosmopolitans. Join us on the Left Bloc on Saturday’s March!

This how we respond to the Three Yorkshiremen (they’ve split, once they were four):

John McDonnell, the Fall of the House of Left Brexit, and the ‘Centrist Remainer Take Over’.

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.Image result for JOhn Mcdonnell another europe is possible

 A Man of the Left.

John McDonnell is a serious politician of the left. Just how deliberate the Shadow Chancellor is can be seen in the way he has carefully built up an economic strategy for the Labour Party. A closed circle of aides did not create a programme that brings parts of the economy into social ownership, that looks into the details of redistributive taxation, that is open to experiments in egalitarian welfare reform. McDonnell opened up to those on the left who know their subject and listened. A long-standing figure on the left of Labour the MP for Uxbridge has experience of voicing constituents’ concerns, and of responding to a wide range of radical left-wing campaigns. John McDonnell is somebody on the best side of politics: somebody you can do business with.

Brexit has, and is, shattering British politics. Boris Johnson’s government claims to rely on the force of national history to push through the project of national neoliberalism. Can the European Reform Group and Dominic Cummings “rediscover”, as Stuart Hall put it of Margaret Thatcher the slumbering “ people” “our culture and way of life” the “instinct of the ordinary British people”?  Are the Conservatives and the Brexit Party together creating a new Great Moving Right Show? (1)

Johnson and Caesarism.

Pushing Brexit through, ratcheting up the prospect of a ‘deal’ against Parliament and a direct appeal to the nation, looks more like a war of manoeuvre than the war of position that built Thatcherism in the late 1970s. A rallying call against corrupt liberal elites scores well in opinion polls. Like the 19th century French would-be Caesar General Boulanger, Johnson promises to wield the Sword of the Nation against its enemies.  But outside the EU, ‘Global Britain’, now confronted with an EU which registers the country a potential threat, the benefits of a new age of national neoliberalism look measure, economically and socially. There are plenty of people who can see that, and their numbers are bound to grow.

Labour Policy, perhaps intelligible to those who consider that the party is trying to balance internal disagreements and the need to appeal to a minority of its own support that backs Leave, is not settled. Those, though they come from a very different political trajectory to Stuart Hall, who wish the party to take on board what the Marxism Today writer called the ‘national popular’ are at a loss. Lexit, a People’s Brexit, a mass movement to ‘take back control’, has not emerged to challenge Johnson’s actually existing Brexit. All we have now is pleas to respect the small numbers of Labour members who back some kind of compromise with Boris Johnson and get through the leave process. Increasingly internationalists in Labour have joined together to oppose leaving, to call for a third referendum in the light of changed conditions, and to campaign to turn to transform Europe rather than sit in isolation.

John McDonnell campaigned, actively, for Remain; within the broad ambit of the politics of Another Europe is Possible. He has now reached out to other remainers, notably Alistair Campbell. His reasons may include a wish to appeal to the very large constituency that identifies with Campbell’s broad politics, though not necessarily the man himself or his record at Tony Blair’s side.  McDonnell pointed out, reasonably, that neither he nor Jeremy Corbyn were Labour leaders for life. Their position had to be justified through electoral success. Few who have watched the Shadow Chancellor will doubt his commitment to making a Labour victory possible.

The Fall of the House of Lexit.

This has caused grief and a gnashing of teeth. A change in Labour full-time personnel, essential with the approaching electoral horizon, has been presented as “centrist-remainer take-over” (Skwawkbox which has  a way of quoting “Labour insiders” as if the rest of us are a bunch of outsider chumps).  McDonnell (who apparently opposed the EU so much he campaigned for remain) is “triangulating” and ” has failed to defend the internationalist principles that define Corbynism for so many”, shouts Holly Rigby on Novara Media. Labour’s newest stalwart Tariq Ali suggests that McDonnell is to the right of Donald Trump. John McDonnell is an arrant numbskull who’s had a “flirtation with the right”  (Counterfire onwards). What we need is mass demonstrations!  Some of these yelps come from the ultra-minority pro-Brexit left. Others, political birds of passage, in perpetual flight, are preparing their departure.  The Fall of the House of Lexit, a mansion of gloom, continues.

John McDonnell is a serious politician. He is of the left, that broad current of the left which spans democratic socialism and democratic Marxism. He continues to oppose Brexit. He opens up the prospect of a more egalitarian and democratic Britain, “transformational socialism”. The Shadow Chancellor is somebody well worth supporting.


The Brexit supporting Skwawkbox carries this further “insider” talk:

“Labour MP and close ally of Jeremy Corbyn Jon Trickett has responded furiously to a claim in a New Statesman ‘whitewash’ of John McDonnell’s now widely-acknowledged take-over of Corbyn’s office.”

Many Labour and union insiders believe that Murphy was removed because of her success in resisting damaging attempts to force Labour into a ‘full-remain’, referendum-first position.

Image may contain: 1 person, text

See also a must-read critique of the pro-Brexit critics of ‘rootless cosmopolitans’:




(1) The Hard Road to Renewal. Stuart Hall.  Verso. 1988.


Written by Andrew Coates

October 15, 2019 at 11:11 am

Brexit Bolsheviks of Counterfire Join Galloway and Skwawkbox Attack on John McDonnell’s “Flirtation with the Right.

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Image result for galloway and john rees

Counterfire  Cadres with an Old Friend.

And perhaps finds a new one:

A senior Labour source told the SKWAWKBOX:

They want to rig the referendum and disenfranchise four million Labour leave voters by forcing them to choose between Boris Johnson’s bad deal and remain, instead of the credible deal that Conference agreed only last month – not to mention millions of other sensible leave voters who want to leave on decent terms.

And of course, it’s a slap in the face for the millions of Labour and union members who voted at Conference to back Jeremy’s plan. They’ve boxed Jeremy in and isolated him from his team – and now this.

Skwawkbox now recommends this list of heroes, including Kate Hoey, to stop the rot,

Coming to the rescue?

In March this year, the Commons voted on a motion to hold a new Brexit referendum – and it was heavily defeated. If Labour’s largely centrist remainers, emboldened by the power grab in ‘LOTO’ last week, try to force a referendum on Boris Johnson’s bad deal, the Labour MPs who voted to defeat the March motion – many of whom then wrote to Corbyn urging him to reject a divisive referendum – are:

  • Kevin Barron
  • Ronnie Campbell
  • Sarah Champion
  • Rosie Cooper
  • Jon Cruddas
  • Jim Fitzpatrick
  • Caroline Flint
  • Yvonne Fovargue
  • Stephen Hepburn
  • Mike Hill
  • Kate Hoey
  • Dan Jarvis
  • Helen Jones
  • Kevan Jones
  • Emma Lewell-Buck
  • Justin Madders
  • Grahame Morris
  • Melanie Onn
  • Stephanie Peacock
  • Dennis Skinner
  • Ruth Smeeth
  • Laura Smith
  • Gareth Snell
  • John Spellar
  • Graham Stringer
  • Derek Twigg
  • Tracy Brabin
  • Julie Cooper
  • Judith Cummins
  • Gloria De Piero
  • Chris Evans
  • Mary Glindon
  • Andrew Gwynne
  • Carolyn Harris
  • Mike Kane
  • Stephen Kinnock
  • Ian Lavery
  • Liz McInnes
  • Jim McMahon
  • Ian Mearns
  • Lisa Nandy
  • Jo Platt
  • Paula Sheriff
  • Jon Trickett

Counterfire  joins the anti-McDonnell fray:

With friends like this: John McDonnell’s flirtation with the right is damaging and inexcusable

The non-Labour groupuscule  Counterfire, which controls the Stop the War Coalition and the People’s Assembly, writes,

The article begins with an account of the Labour position on Brexit, which few understand, and certainly not those who’ve tried to sell it to the public.

But bear in mind, Coutnerfire supported Brexit, seeing as an opportunity to turn the slogan “take back control” into a mass progressive movement.

They repeated this during this year’s Labour conference,

Labour need to distance themselves now and go into the coming election arguing for a Brexit in the interests of working people. Only by doing that can it free up space to talk about everything else.

Labour’s Brexit slide September 2019.

Keep focused on that. Beneath the dripping with contempt sentences, that all the comments on McDonnell’s conciliatory remarks about Alastair Campbell is this opinion,

Thankfully the recent Labour conference rejected proposals to push the party even further down a divisive and high-risk ‘Full Remain’ path.

Writes the Full Brexit Bolshevik Alex Snowden.

The piece continues,

McDonnell failed to articulate the compromise position adopted at Conference, undermining it by suggesting that a referendum happening before a general election is a real possibility. This is yet another example of the policy-by-media approach perfected by his shadow cabinet colleagues Emily Thornberry and Keir Starmer, both of whom are known for exerting political pressure via comments during media appearances, irrespective of what Corbyn might be saying or what Labour conference may have voted for.

The Brexit Bolsheviks go in for the kill,

Such rhetoric has the effect of downplaying the importance and urgency of a general election. Meanwhile, the status of Brexit is enhanced: suggesting that a referendum could take precedence over an election reinforces the centrality of Brexit to British politics.

Whatever McDonnell’s intentions might be, that strengthens the forces of liberal centrism (embodied by Campbell) against a Left that seeks to overcome Brexit divisions in favour of class politics and a left-wing platform. It emboldens Boris Johnson and the Tories who want to trap Labour in a narrative that cynically pits Johnson as the people’s champion, upholding the democratic will, against an obstructive Remainer parliament.

One can only imagine McDonnell’s reaction to the patronising conclusion,

McDonnell has made important contributions to the renaissance of socialist politics in recent years, but his latest interventions point in the wrong direction. It’s time to get back on track.

These are the forces, hostile to socialist internationalism, that Counterfire has joined.


Brexit: The Tunnel, the Left and Labour.

with 4 comments

Image result for brexit

Left needs to fight National Populist Brexit.

Over the last few days Britain has seen Johnson and his team use, to a maximum, the  use of “feeling” in talks with the EU on Brexit.

It’s been a kind of multiple mirrors, reflecting the prejudices of the pro-Brexit constituency and the real issues at stake.

The most obvious intention behind the PR stunts and playing has been to prepare a “deal” which can be presented to the House of Commons tomorrow.


Boris Johnson news – live: EU gives green light for secret Brexit negotiations on PM’s plan, amid Tory polling panic


Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay has held a “constructive” meeting with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels as the chance of a breakthrough on a withdrawal deal appeared to rise.

Mr Barnier has been given the green light from the EU27 ambassadors to move talks into the “tunnel” of more intense and secretive negotiations. EU Council president Donald Tusk said the UK had still not delivered anything “workable”, but conceded there were “promising signals”.

It comes as details of private Tory polling emerges showing Mr Johnson cannot get a Commons majority unless he delivers Brexit by 31 October. Leaving after Halloween – with or without a deal – would leave him more than a dozen MPs short after a general election.

Labour faces a threat from pro-Brexit MPs, as Patrick Maguire argues in the New Statesman.

For Downing Street, the incentive to compromise is clear. If you are Johnson or Dominic Cummings, looking at a parliament in which the DUP can no longer really be said to hold the whip hand, hearing 20 or more Labour MPs almost begging to vote for any deal, seeing the Tories who lost the whip over no-deal asking for the same, you noting that plenty of the 28 Spartans who voted against May’s deal three times are now serving in your government, and that those who aren’t are softening their opposition, and imagining the electoral dividends you’ve convinced yourself you might reap by just getting Brexit done… is it really so implausible that you’d execute this sort of U-turn?

“The 19 backbenchers said their support would be “decisive” in ensuring any new accord won the backing of the Commons.

Their pledge, in a letter to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, is a further challenge to the authority of Jeremy Corbyn, who last week insisted no Labour MP could support the Prime Minister’s Brexit plans.

In the letter, the MPs say the EU referendum result should be “honoured without delay”.

“It is now over 1,200 days since the UK people made the decision to leave the European Union,” the MPs wrote. “The British people have become exasperated with parliamentary deadlock.

“If a new deal can be brought back to the Commons in the coming weeks that avoids a no deal Brexit and ensures greater certainty during the UK’s departure, we believe it serves Britain’s national interest to approve it.

“Our votes will be decisive in determining the approval of that deal.”

This may well happen, stabbed in the back by the constituency Corbyn has been at such pains to appease.


In the meantime Labour Party interest is on the following.

This is from PA Media, confirming some of Campbell’s tweets from earlier.

John McDonnell has said he and Jeremy Corbyn would have to resign if Labour loses the next election.

Asked by former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell whether it was “possible for him to stay on” if Labour failed to win next time round, the shadow chancellor said: “I can’t see so.”

“I can’t see… I think it is the same for my own personal position, I can’t see so,” he told Campbell for an interview in GQ magazine.

“What we’d do is as the tradition, which is have an election for a new leader.”

McDonnell said he thought Mr Corbyn’s successor should be a woman.

“I’m still of the view now that whoever comes after Jeremy has got to be a woman,” he said.

“We’ve got to have a woman leader. If you look at the new youngsters that have come through, they are fantastic.”

Sectarian opponents of socialist internationalists moblise.

One section, McDonnell’s “main target is Seumas Milne” sums up this professional produced attack.

Speculation grows on the origin of this twitter account, with only 1 tweet to its name.

Skwawkbox posts a similar attack, though shorter.



Written by Andrew Coates

October 11, 2019 at 1:28 pm

German Anti-Semite Murderer, Stephan Balliet’s ‘Manifesto’ Emerges.

with 4 comments


“Gunman recorded the attacks on a head-mounted camera and uploaded it online .”


Attentat de Halle : un « manifeste » qui pose plus de questions qu’il n’apporte de réponses

Le Monde.   and .

Three documents attributed to the perpetrator of the Halle bombing, including a “manifesto”, have begun circulating online, just hours after the attack that killed two people in Germany on Wednesday (October 9th).

The manifesto attributed to Stephan B. is not really one: only four pages long, one of which is left blank, with a tiny legend “thank you for reading” , it is more like a shitpost exercise , a willingly parody-style online publication designed to trap or annoy the recipient. The document is accompanied by two other files, one detailing his project of attack, and the other containing the address of the Web page where his live video was broadcast.

The documents contrast with the previous manifestos published by the perpetrators of extreme right-wing attacks: almost empty of any theoretical elaboration, they abound on the other hand with references to weeb culture , that of Internet users who are followers of video games and animation forums. Japanese ultrapointus, the “weeaboo”.

The manifest file name is written in Japanese; the “doctrine” of which it claims to be “technobarbarism” is thus in fact a reference to the Warhammer 40,000 board game  ; he associates with his act objectives of missions presented in the manner of an Xbox video game as “achievements” , while he promises waifus (souls in Japanese animation) as a reward.

The documents do not reveal much of the political motivations of the author of the attack. The file in Japanese “manifesto” , which presents itself as “a spiritual guide for discontented white men” contains only one sentence, a call to kill Jews, Muslims, communists, or “traitors” . In another file, he also targets “bonus” members of the “Zionist occupation government  , a fictional government that, in the neo-Nazi imagination, rules the planet.

This seems widely covered in French language media;





Written by Andrew Coates

October 10, 2019 at 12:00 pm