This is what I think happened in the Courts who have I believe let the Labour Party’s members down.
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That was a shock, a soul deadening shock. In the words of the meme, I felt a grief for the loss of the future I thought I and my children had. How did this happen? How could we have voted to follow the corrupt and the vain, Johnson and Farage. The answer may have been most rapidly and accurately identified by John Harris of the Guardian in an article, entitled “If you’ve got money, you vote in … if you haven’t got money, you vote out” in which he identifies those whom we’ve known about for years, who can be described in a number of ways. In my micro blog post, “Pebbles”, I describe them as ‘globalisation’s losers’, the working class whose towns, communities and institutions have been smashed during the neo-liberal ascendency, communities that Labour stopped listening to and representing in 1997 leading to a loss of 5 million votes between 1997 and 2010. Making this even more problematic for Labour is that nearly ⅔ of Labour’s voters, voted remain, and just as globalisation’s losers cannot be ignored, nor can Labour’s majority of remainers. What is to be done?
I was hoping to write a piece on a response to the “Leave”vote and a response to the Chakrabarti Inquiry but Ann Black of Labour’s NEC in a circular wrote and asked what her maillist thought of the shenanigans. I had to reply and decided to share it with you all. She stated she planned to vote to include Jeremy on the ballot paper, which I support but asked for opinion on if there should be a freeze date for inclusion on the electoral roll and what to do about registered supporters. I argue to include all members, including those that have just joined in the ballot for Leader. I also argue that the Party should offer its supporters an opportunity to register and join in the ballot. I also commented that the collapse of the National Policy Forum is an opportunity.
Over the weekend, for the first time ever, I attended the AGM of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, their 43rd it would seem. Much of the right wing media locate the intellectual and organisational engine room of Corbyn’s victory in this body. It’s been around for a while, over 43 years it would seem, but I think it underestimates the changes in society occurring over the last 10 years and the changes available to and needed by the Party, and they’re not alone. The meeting was as those of with experience of the movement know, a mix of set piece speeches from in several cases very worthy individuals, the receipt and acceptance of reports, and debate around motions. At the end of the day, I left disappointed.
I went up to London to attend the Labour Representation Committee Special General Meeting. The original LRC was the fore runner of the Labour Party, but today it is a left-wing pressure group and it called a special meeting mainly to discuss strategy after the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Party. The most important debate would be the LRC’s relationship with Momentum as Momentum regularises its position within the Labour Party. The meeting was opened by John McDonnell MP who reprised the previous nine months and then followed by the debate which shows the Left are as conflicted as the Right about the new members and renewed interest in the Labour Party.
I was invited to attend Tom Watson’s speech building on much of his campaigning work and presented in the New Statesman as reclaiming civil liberty for the Left, although sub titled by him as “David Cameron is governing from the shadows”. In this article I review the speech; I try to report on it and to comment by adding some personal views and insights, in some cases new ideas provoked by Tom’s speech. It was quite a long speech and it takes a diverse route to get to its polemical heart which is that Democracy is the choice by an informed citizenry of a government, subject to the rule of law and that the Freedom of Information Act is one of the pillars of this contract and should not be diminished or repealed.
In this blog, Hopi Sen, allegedly a Labour Party member argues to fight Corbyn and the party until the day of the election and to resign from it for the election so as not to breach the rule prohibiting campaigning against it. This could only be suggested by one of the majority of LP members who only read the rules they want, or more accurately only quote the rules they like.
Ann Black reports on the September, pre-conference National Executive Committee at Left Futures. These are clearly hard things to write since getting a balance between hope for the future and a description of what’s happening can be hard. I felt the need to comment. on the running of the election where the point needs to be made that barely legal is not good enough. The coming exclusion of registered supporters is a mistake, and the party has changed; most MPs mandate to speak for the Labour Party has expired as has the utility of the National Policy Forum.
What a week-end. Jeremy Corbyn is elected Leader of the Labour Party and just as the first thing he did after nomination was to go on a demo, he immediately went to speak to the “Refugees Welcome” demo in Parliament Square. The German suspension of its European borders is a sad reaction to those who won’t pull their weight, which includes the British Government acting in our name. Even after the Government’s belated reaction to the popular will of the masses, we are still below the UN recommended quotas and as with nearly everything done by the Cameron Government, they’re tone deaf, in that they announce a five year commitment and plan to fund the refugee programs with the International Aid budget.
These news events have buried Cameron’s acquiescence in using military action to kill two British citizens who were allegedly ISIS fighters. This will come back to bite him, possibly as badly as new Labour’s decision to go to war in Iraq. I have done a storify sharing my views on the (il)legality of the act. Make no mistake, it’s a massive escalation in the militarisation of the state. In Britain, we suffered and fought a terrorism/counter terrorism campaign for over 30 years while maintaining civil primacy and ensuring that the rule of law was paramount and that the police and courts were our primary defence.
In the dying days of Labour’s Leadership selection, the key issues remain those of economics & strategy, but also unfortunately now one of mandate.
The debate on economics has come to be between Cooper and Corbyn. Demanding credibility is not an economic policy and so we can ignore Kendall & Burnham. I summarise the other’s two positions below and conclude that Corbyn’s economic manifesto is not just a shopping list of desirable reforms, they are a single set of reinforcing measures to fix and rebuild the economy so it works in the interests of the majority of people.
This was meant to be a short blog, emphasising the economy and virtuously circular, self reinforcing nature of Corbyn’s programme, but I also take the opportunity to look at the defence and foreign policy debate and conclude with some comments on the election process itself and Labour’s future.
I am glad I voted for Jeremy Corbyn, but I am not a Corbynista, I am Real Labour.
Finally, Vote for Diane Abbott for Mayor and give Sadiq Kahn your second preference. This is an odd one, there’s little to choose between the candidates on policy, although Gareth Thomas is for Heathrow Runway 3 and all the others oppose it. Jobs vs. Air Quality. I like Sadiq Kahn’s commitment to planting trees and buying up London’s Hospital’s debt, although there may be issues of ultra vires and I like Abbot’s bravery in pursuing rent controls, which should be Labour policy. With few exceptions, I expect each of the candidates to nick the best policies from each other, so it’s important to hear from them using their own words. Certainly at the South London hustings, Christian Wolmar was congratulated by several of the candidates for his transport policy initiatives and there’s little doubt that many of his ideas will make it into the manifesto.
The issue here is heart and commitment and I am supporting Dianne. She has a record of getting the big questions right.
Labour’s electoral roll for its 2015 elections has now closed. We took a decision last year to extend the franchise for the election of Leader, Deputy Leader and its candidate for Mayor of London to supporters and over 120,000 people have signed up as well as over 100,000 new full members. I hope that this is a first step for them in helping Labour rebuild and create an effective opposition, although not only do we need them to stay with us, we need to respectfully listen to them.
As one minor elected voluntary official I welcome you to Labour’s movement.
Left Foot Forward publishes an article “Who is the ‘human rights candidate’ for Labour’s leadership?”. This is based on a post on the Labour Campaign for Human Rights, who publish the candidates answers in their own words on their own blog. One of the LCHR’s questions was on Surveillance, and none of them have consulted me ;), but Cooper and Burnham both support the need for judicial authorisation and probable cause. Kendall and Corbyn both support strengthening the legal framework in favour of civil liberties. Kendall states she opposes the privacy breaches inherent in mass surveillance. Corbyn that he thinks mass surveillance is ineffective (and thus not justified?).