Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Everyone, we must be united and work together (now we've got rid of the Corbyn)

Yvette Cooper has written a piece in the Guardian outlinig 'Seven things Labour Must Do To Win The Next Election'.

I'll overlook the absurd headline - no-one is talking about Labour winning the next election and I assume that Cooper didn't write the headline (she doesn't mention winning the next election anywhere in her piece); I assume it is typically witless work by someone in the Guardian, drawing to much inspiration from the style of clickbait ads. There's enough wrong wirth what Cooper says to set that nonsense aside. She shows a spectacular lack of political self-awareness, attempts to duck all responsibility and implies everything is the fault of Corbyn and the 'narrow hard-left'; effectively continuing the condescending and arrogant attitude towards the membership.

According to Cooper, the party must:
1 Face the scale of defeat with humility.
2 Stop the factional infighting.
3 Be a party for the whole country – not just a liberal-labour party for the cities.
4 Learn to love the achievements of the last Labour government.
5 Be a strong and credible opposition, as well as a radical alternative government.
6 Bring kindness and integrity back into politics.
7 Get involved.
The seven basic points she makes aren't too wide of the mark - though one can't help but think 'trite' and 'obvious'.  I mean, would anyone advocate more factional infighting or call for increased unpleasantness and bitterness?

(Actually, plenty have done just that - since the December debacle I've read plenty of people demanding 'Corbynists' and 'Momentum' need to be 'eradicated' and 'driven out' of the party.  Cooper's oddly silent on that.

It is the commentary she expands them with that tastes foul. Who else but Yvette Cooper could write Labour must "Stop the factional infighting" and then continue "We cannot be a narrow hard-left party. That doesn’t reflect our values or history. Nor will we win next time if we collapse into polarised factional infighting. Parties are teams. If we can’t compromise with each other, we can’t hold any coalition of voters together"?  Remember, this is the person who refused to be part of Corbyn's cabinet - showing a distinct lack of team spirit - and And it is has only bothered to issue this fatwah on the importance of unity after Corbyn has been endured four years of undermining and back-stabbing. Strange she didn't bother to say anything before.

A more honest appraisal would have acknowledged infighting and factionalism originating on right wing of the party contributed massively to the failure of the Corbyn project, and that the party's 'establishment' never accepted the membership's choice of leader and worked to overturn it from the moment Corbyn was elected.  She does not even mention the Chicken Coup of 2016, or the rantings of Margaret Hodge and others.

(She then turns the rest of her commentary on that point into a puff piece indicating she isn't going to stand as leader this time, although people have been begging her - literally begging her - to do so. Because she knows this "isn't the time" as "there are many in our party who won’t see me as the person to pull all sides of the party together" - which isn't surprising given the attitude on display here. The implication being that she might stand next time - when the post-Corbyn leader has brought the party back to something like electability, and those pesky leftists (aka members) have been rooted out of the party.)

So not much effort to build bridges and heal there.

Friday, 3 January 2020

This is good

Still feeling very kicked in the head.  Took some time off over Christmas and New Year to think about stuff, contemplating the unthinkable idea that i might have been ... wrong.  But, after a thorough deconstruction of my cerebellum and rigorous self examination, I conclude I was not, am not.

Okay, obviously, I was wrong about the whole Labour-being-the-largest-party and the shy-Labour-voters bit, but I don't think I was wrong in y fundamental diagnosis post-election; that the catastrophe was brought about by the revolt on the right of the party, the sustained, deliberate attempts to undermine the Corbyn project and demonise a decent man.

This, from Corbyn's erstwhile spin-doctor, Marc Zarb-Cousins, shows I am not alone in thinking this:
I have been asked by some to "own" the defeat. I am happy to hold my hands up and say I misread the mood of the country. But I won't apologise for voting for the best candidate in both leadership contests, and then supporting the leader of the Labour party. I won't apologise for campaigning for a Labour government, or for working harder than I've ever worked as Jeremy's spokesperson 2016-2017. With what little profile I actually have, what did the people asking me to apologise want me to do? Did they think me using my platform to attack the leadership of the party would have made a Labour government more likely? 
People who have spent the past 4 years undermining the Labour party and the leader are now telling us to "own" this defeat, while we've been campaigning relentlessly -- in some cases for certain hostile Labour MPs who now have the temerity to say to us: "Look what you've done, this is all your fault." None of us, least of all those with a profile or a safe Labour seat, are passive observers in politics. We are all active participants, able to affect change and influence those undecided. If you've spent the past few years attacking the leadership of a political party, it's not exactly endearing to now be having a go at those people who had in the meantime been giving up their time and money to help bring about a Labour government.
He then goes on to suggest that the leadership contest will be between candidates all essentially claiming the 2017 / 19 manifesto policies.  Which is interesting as it suggests that even in their moment of triumph, the right of the party are already defeated.  The next leader will be elected by the electorate that twice voted - overwhelmingly - for Corbyn.  There will be no swing to the right.

Which will then reveal the Great Lie of 2017 and 2019.  When the new leader is monstered in the same way that Corbyn was monstered - by the right wing media and by the increasingly bitter right wing of the Labour Party - it won't be possible for them to claim that the problem was Corbyn.  We've been hearing that for four years.  It was never true.  The problem was that Corbyn challenged the hegemony of the Blairites over the party, and the policies that he put out there threatened wealth, power and privilege in Britain as a whole.  Only a tiny, tiny bit, but enough to bring down the fires of Hell upon him.

The right wing of the Labour party feared they would never get their party back (they won't) and so they were willing to crash the party and deliver the country over to Boris Johnson.  The Establishment didn't like to see their position under threat, so happily connived with them in a project that suited them even more than it suited Tony Blair and his successors.

And if Corbyn had been as hapless and hopeless as he is portrayed as he would not have been subjected to this - an epic, four year campaign of character assassination, intensifying to an unparalleled degree after 2017 when it looked like he might actually find himself in a position to do the things he said he would do.

Will the next leader be subjected to the same fire and brimstone?  Probably not.  The Conservatives probably have enough of a majority to make the next election another round of First-Past-The-Post attritional warfare.  Labour are in the position the Conservatives enjoyed in 2005 - no prospect of winning, but having to do the groundwork for the next again election.  Though a lot can happen in five years.

I think - once the dust settles a bit and the Blairite wing of the party realise that, in spite of everything, they still haven't got their party back - they may realise that they are and were the problem, not Corbyn.  They will slowly go through the process of realising that - if they ever want to taste power again - they need to actually accept the judgement of the membership and come to terms with Labour being a left wing party.

Right now they are accusing the left of being in dnial, or going through the stages of grief, or having their heads in the sand.  Truth is, it is them doing all these things, and they've been doing them since Corbyn's election in 2015.  Time for them to face up to the reality and accept it.  Theyre always going on about how to succeed in politics you need to be pragmatic, and be ready to sacrifice principles.  Always, this is directed at the 'naive' and 'idealistic' left; while the right don't budge. Well, let's see them doing some sacrificing and compromising.

Song for Georgia