Saturday, 14 November 2020

Pfizer will save us from COVID!

 What, this Pfizer?

A team of Pfizer doctors reached the Nigerian camp just as the outbreak, which killed at least 11,000 people, was peaking. They set themselves up within metres of a medical station run by the aid group Médecins Sans Frontières, which was dispensing proven treatments to ease the epidemic.

From the crowd that had gathered at the Kano Infectious Diseases Hospital, 200 sick children were picked. Half were given doses of the experimental Pfizer drug called Trovan and the others were treated with a proven antibiotic from a rival company.

Eleven of the children died and many more, it is alleged, later suffered serious side-effects ranging from organ failure to brain damage. But with meningitis, cholera and measles still raging and crowds still queueing at the fence of the camp, the Pfizer team packed up after two weeks and left.

That would probably have been an end to the story if it weren't for Pfizer employee, Juan Walterspiel. About 18 months after the medical trial he wrote a letter to the then chief executive of the company, William Steere, saying that the trial had "violated ethical rules". Mr Walterspiel was fired a day later for reasons "unrelated" to the letter, insists Pfizer.
(That's from the Independent back in 2009 - as reported on the ever prescient lefthandpalm.)

Hopefully, because lots of the people needing the putative vaccine will be wealthy white Westerners Pfizer won't try any of their old tricks.  But let's not pretend that a massive international drugs company is anything other than a savage money making enterprise with the moral instincts of a psychopath.

Monday, 2 November 2020

The anti-Semitism report and Corbyn's suspension

It seems pretty clear to me that the outpouring or rage, directed at Jeremy corbyn, following the publication of the long awaited report on anti-Semitism in the Labour party is a phoney whirlwind, a sort of twitterstorm of the mainstream.

This isn't about anti-Semitism.  This is about making sure Corbyn is left holding the blame and - taking a longer term view - the leadership of the Labour Party.

As the report confirms:

The Labour party had - prior to Corbyn - inadequate processes for dealing with anti-Semitism. I don't see any claims that he took a good system and trashed it.  This was a party that had failed ot set up adequate processes for years - years and years - before corbyn became leader.  But it only became an issue after he was elected ... hmmmmm.

Things started to get better from 2018 after Formby took over. Before that, of course, the system was over seen by the likes of McNicol and 'whistleblower' Sam Mathews, who was meant to be overseeing the response to anti-Semitism ...

(as an aside, I'm bemused by the criticism of LOTO 'interfering' with the disciplinary process to speed it up so more anti-Semites could be expelled from the party, in a report that criticises the party for not dealing with complaints swiftly enough.)

This isn't about Corbyn. He's a scapegoat for the people who set up an inadequate system to deal with anti-Semitism,then tried to weaponize it to damage the leader.

None of this needed to happen, except, from the point of view of the self-proclaimed 'centrists' it did.

If Corbyn had been left to his own devices, he would probably have been leader for 3 years, stepping aside before the putative 2020 election to let someone younger and less controversial take over. In all probability, he'd have been content to see through the 'McDonnell amendment' so the left would always have been able to field a candidate.

Instead, the 'centrists' of the party decided to make a fight of it. You will recall they started tweeting their resignations and refusal to serves during his victory speech. No "Well, let's see where he's going with this" - just straight in with the attempts to sabotage his leadership, from the get-go. Then there was the conspiring, the planned rebellion before the referendum, the Chicken Coup, the second leadership contest, the deliberate breaking of the discipline system with the intention of making the party look anti-Semitic and so on, all sauced with briefings and leaking and so on, which the rightwing media lapped up and which the Labour 'centrists' were too dim-witted to think 'why?'

So instead of May trundling along with the majority she inherited from Cameron until 2020 and suffering the same fate as John Major, we had the 'blood in the water' election intended to finish Labour off, which instead broke May's government. Then suddenly Corbyn looked potentially electable - so the campaign intensified, culminating in the 2019 election and the election of a thumping Conservative majority.

The concern for the 'centrists' was that Corbyn would stand down to be replaced by an ideological soul-mate.  So getting rid of corbyn wasn't the point.  The point was to get rid of him and make sure no-one from the left ever wanted to be Labour leader again.  So the demonisation and the undermining was ramped up, resulting in the disaster of 2019.

That's all down to the 'centrists' and their dim-witted 'grown up' politics. I hope they are pleased with what they achieved.

Though I suspect they actually are - leftists will look at how Corbyn was monstered and think twice about standing for the leadership, even though they know they will be in with a good shout. Because who would want to go through what Corbyn was put through, and is still being put through, by the right wing media and their enablers in the Labour Party?

This isn't about anti-Semitism, or even Corbyn per se, but about showing any prospective leftwing leadership candidate what they are in for.

The 'centrists' can't win under one-person-one-vote, so they are making sure no-one from the left will ever want to be Labour leader again. 

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Johnson spreads the blame

 Apparently, the resurgence of Covid-19 is down to the British people getting 'complacent':

In total, at least 16.8 million people in the UK - about one in four people - face extra coronavirus measures on top of the national rules, including two-thirds of people in the north of England.

The prime minister, who has been speaking to BBC journalists from around the country, denied that a lack of testing in north-east England had caused the virus to get out of control in the region.

That's not the reality… the nation came together in March and April, what happened over the summer was a bit of sort of fraying of people's discipline and attention to those rules," he said.

Nah, Boz.  this one is down to you.

 You failed to take obvious, timely measures.  You failed to provide effective leadership.  You didn't manage to get a clear message out.  You and your cabal of goons and carpetbaggers and borderline sociopaths didn't stick to the rules you did come up with.

People died.  Tens of thousands of them.  Because you got it wrong.

You had TWO chances to get it right.  You blew both of them.

To nick something from Oscar Wilder, to screw up the biggest challenge of your premiership once could be regarded a misfortune; screwing it twice looks like carelessness.

Sunday, 6 September 2020

Left Out - a serial review

 So, a few weeks ago a book was published, under the title of Left Out.  It was written by Graham Pogrund and Patrick Maguire and purported to tell the tale of Corbyn's leadership from its zenith in June 2017 to the disaster of December 2019.

I hadn't been terribly interested in reading it, frankly, because of some of the immediate media coverage had suggested it was going to be something of a Corbyn bash.  Hell, the Daily Mail got into a lather about it, though I won't link to their write ups.

Then I happened upon Pogrund's twitter account and I thought, "Well, he might work for Rupert Murdoch, but that doesn't sound too bad."  So I acquired a electronic copy of it and will now treat you - my riveted readers - an occasional chapter-by-chapter summary of it.

So now ...

THE PROLOGUE

This is very interesting.  Obviously, I am pro-Corbyn and am mostly interested in things that show him to be the luckless victim of the 'centrists' in Labout who thought they new better than the leader of the party and the membership who elected him (twice.)  But I'll try to be honest and reflect the opinions of the writers.

I am glad to report the opening pages offer plenty of rick pickings.

It opens - almost inevitably - at the moment of neesis, as the exit poll is announced on the 12th of December, 2019, and whatever hopes Labour supporters had of a repetition of the miracle of 2017 were dashed.  I was there, I remember how it felt.  The authors note - without comment - that Corbyn was viewing the exit poll at the offices of a charity called Freedom From Torture.  Perhaps, after the travails of the past few years, that was appropriate.

The authors note that Corbyn's inner circle had been aware they were up against it for sometime - that the grim, static polls in the run up to the election were reflecting what their own polling was showing (if anything, Labour outperformed their private polling, which indicated the party would win fewer than 180 seats.)  Never-the-less, the sense of shock and misery is well described in these opening pages, and rendered sympathetically.

The prologue quickly defines the fault line at the top of the party - between Corbyn's inner circle (McDonnell, Milne, Murphy and a few others) and those who opposed him, implacably, from the start.  Here the authors do not hold back, describing the latter as "the seditious officials at party HQ."  Dwell on that word for a few moments - "seditious."  That isn't all of it.  A few lines later, they quote an email from Corbyn complaining about "self-absorbed disloyalty" following the leaking of the party's campaign grid.  Think on that - someone had opted to divulge information they were trusted with relating to the conduct of the election campaign.  This isn't small stuff.  I'm nervous of throwing words like 'treachery' around, but sabotaging your party's camapign ... what else do you call it?  Let's foll the lead of Pogrund and Maguire and call it sedition.

Later on, they hark back to the happier result of 2017, commenting how that apparent high point really marked the beginning of the decline.  Though "the Project" had earned the authority to try things its way, in the face of "two years of bitter resistance from its internal opponents" it would really be all down hill from June 2017 - "the hostility of MPs and party officials did not abate" the authors note, referring to the leaked report on anti-Semitism, cataloguing the "toxic, distrustful and openly mutinous culture of Southside".

It isn't effusively pro-Corbyn, however.  The authors do note, even ain these aearly pages, that Corbyn and his inner circle aren't blameless in their undoing and offer some wanings of what may come, commenting on the issue of anti-Semitism in ambivalent wording, "Corbyn's own stances on anti-Semitism and foreign affairs came to wreak such damage on the Project."

Saturday, 29 August 2020

FOX news for Britain?

Seriously, as the BBC and the Guardian have demonstrated over the last few years, this really isn't necessary:
Rival efforts are under way to launch a Fox News-style opinionated current affairs TV station in Britain to counter the BBC. 
One group is promising a news channel “distinctly different from the out-of-touch incumbents” and has already been awarded a licence to broadcast by the media regulator, Ofcom, under the name “GB News”. 
Its founder has said the BBC is a “disgrace” that “is bad for Britain on so many levels” and “needs to be broken up”. 
A rival project is being devised in the headquarters of Rupert Murdoch’s British media empire by the former Fox News executive David Rhodes, although it is unclear whether it will result in a traditional TV channel or be online-only. 
Both are pitching to a perceived gap in the market for opinionated video output fuelled by growing distrust of the BBC among some parts of its audience, especially on the political right over culture war issues such as Brexit and whether Rule, Britannia! should be sung at the Last Night of the Proms.
Obviously, this will greatly improve the quality of journalistic discourse in Britain.

The BBC and the Guardian will doubtlessly respond to a challenge from the gutter-right by providing high quality, impartial and balanced news.

No way it would be dragged further and further to the trash heap.

We already have the Mail, which supplies plenty of bias and bile in print form.  Why the need to add 'opinionated video'; or is it a tacit admission that a substantial part of the target demographic aren't capable of reading the hate speech and propaganda of the Mail and the Sun?

Saturday, 15 August 2020

The diagnosis isn't good, Judith

Watching National's Health spokesman, Dr Shane Reti, on TVNZ yesterday morning was instructive:


In four minutes, he managed to undermine both his leader and deputy leader - refusing to twist th knife Collins had attempted to plant in Labour, by acknowledging the government was doing "the best they can" and they were confronted with a "hard problem" and referencing a "productive" meeting with Health Minister Chris Hipkins.

This moderate - dare I say commendably mature attitude? - distances him from Collins' complaint about the government withholding information from National and Brownlee's conspiratioral mutterings and indicates a fissure between three of the four most important people in the putative National government just weeks out from the election.

If the chap you've got lined up to be Health minister is quietly signalling he doesn't agree with the leader - in the middle of a pandemic - it doesn't give voters many reasons to be enthusiastic for you.

Covid is kinda of a big deal in 2020 and National have blown their chance to actually make the government look shakey on it by being even shakier themselves.

With the polls suggesting National will struggle to reach the 35% threshold Collins has indicated represents 'victory' in her curiously inverted world, perhaps Reti is looking beyond the election, aware that he has a future – either in in politics, academe or medicine – and Collins and Brownlee do not?

He seems to represent a less dangerous future for National and - given there will occasionally have to be National governments - that needs to be encouraged.  All the more reason for centrists inclined to (sometimes) support National to vote AGAINST the party this year - to crush the Collins leadership and drive her faction (promoted by Cameron Slater and his allies through dirty tricks and blackmail, as outlined in Dirty Politics) out of the party.

Saturday, 8 August 2020

I haven't gone away. Neither has this problem.

 The attempts to sabotage Corbyn's leadership seems likely to do more damage than Corbyn supposedly ever could have done, even if all the stories about him were true:

So, yeah, six months down the line, I'm still raging about this.  And bear in mind, gentle reader, I'm far, far removed from all this.  British politics has almost no relevance to me (though it does affect directly many of my friends and family.)  So if I am incandescent about this, think how angry people intimately involved in Labour - members and those who worked in 2017 and 2019 towards victory, not against it - must be.

Ryle's account is fascinating and depressing - how juvenile were these people, nicking off with computers and leaving offices untidy?  It almost makes you wonder if the sort of people capable of such petty spiteful acts are capable of the grander allegations against them - the alleged diversion of funds which is identified as possible fraud alleged by Corbyn and key members of his team, which even the Guardian has felt compelled to report on.

And the frankly bizarre story of the Facebook ads and promos that were prepared just for Corbyn's team to see:

Perhaps the most kafkaesque example is the bizarre story of party officials designing Facebook adverts to be seen by only Corbyn’s team. A party official helpfully explained the strategy to the Sunday Times

 “They wanted us to spend a fortune on some schemes like the one they had to encourage voter registration, but we only had to spend about £5,000 to make sure Jeremy’s people, some journalists and bloggers saw it was there on Facebook. And if it was there for them, they thought it must be there for everyone. It wasn’t.”

 This souns like something from the latter days of the Soviet Union, with the Great Leader being assured by his self serving toadies and placeholders that everything is being done, everything is just right and the new tractor production statistics are most impresive, as the nation collapses all around them.  Or, more pertinently, the bonkers press appearances of Donald Trump citing - apparently with complete conviction - misleading Covid data offered up by his staffers.  Only, of course, Trump wants to be told everything is awesome and rejects anything that suggests otherwise - he's a willing participant in his own deception; Corbyn and his team wanted the truth, but were being lied to by people they should have been able to trust.

If accounts like Ryle's - and the allegations in the leaked report - are true, people behind this grim farceshould be expunged from the party.  Their work contributed to the Conservatives winning a further five years in power, with the prospect of another them beyond that.

Instead, apparently, they are calling for Corbyn to be thrown out.

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

A new left party?

So, I saw this on the interweb this morning:

EWHqbf-FWk-AAUGrc

Now, it looks like a big ol' fake - probably a bit of Guidoesque mischief making, but it strikes a chord and a lot of people on the left are probably thinking of splits or mass purges and so on.

It's an instinctive response to finding people in positions of power within the Labour Party plotting against the Labour Party.

Everyone knows splitting the left vote is idiocy. Usually it comes from the centrist part of the bloc, who imagine there are lots of people who are just desperate to vote for 'moderates' and 'sensible policies' in the middle ground. There aren't.

But nor are there stacks of votes to be won on the left. So the idea of setting up a new left wing party is delusional. If it was centrists splitting off, it would be called as at best naively and at worst deliberately trying to help the Tories (as happened with TiG/Change). And it would be true and correct to call it that. The same applies to the left. As long as there is FPTP there has to be an accommodation.

The current problem isn't permanent. It is the result I think of people who came into the party in the 90s, or who attained power in the Blair era genuinely coming to believe the had found the Holy Grail and they could keep the Tories out of power forever, as long as everyone listened to them. Remember Bill Clinton used to talk about 'The Project' of gradually reforming society in increments?

The Blairite 'Third Way' would lead eventually to socialist nirvana, so incrementally slowly no-one would notice and everyone would be happy. Blairites had the same vision and it was a genuine belief. It wasn't necessarily a false belief or a delusion. We talk about Corbyn shifting the Overton Window to the left in four years - the Blairites thought they could do the same, gradually.

It was essentially a dispute about strategy, not the ultimate goal. Everyone wanted a fairer, more just society. For the record, I think the Blairites were incorrect in 1997 - they did not need to make as many compromises as they did and could have been more radical. But I can understand why they felt the need t compromise - I can remember 1992, my first election, and the sense of growing shock as the result came in and people realised we'd somehow managed to lose to John Major.

The idea that perhaps the same thing might happen influenced Labour a lot in the 90s, prompting the party to make more compromises to ensure they didn't lose the whole game.

Over time, the Blairite belief in gradualism became a fixed idea and a mania - just like a lot of people on this thread are talking about traitors and saboteurs, they viewed their internal opponents on the left as deliberately trying to wreck their glorious Project. Everything could be sacrificed to The Project - the reasoning went, "Yeah, Iraq was a terrible blunder, but was it worth throwing everything we've done and everything we can still do away over?" In other words, support us or let the Tories back in.

People whose thinking has been over-awed by the worship of this sort of gradualism have too much influence within the party - that's been shown in the report and the history of the last four years. But that does not make centrism itself the enemy. If there is going to be a civil war, and it results in the Labour Party hacking itself to pieces, all that will be left is a lot of limbs strewn about on the floor.

The people who have failed in their office need to be investigated and sanctioned. I don't think anyone gloating about Labour losing an election has any place in the party, nor do people who have been diverting money to support their own candidates. If there is genuine evidence of racism and bullying, that needs to be dealt with, just as genuine examples of anti-Semitism have to be dealt with. But it isn't necessary - or remotely sane - to talk about splitting the movement.

To borrow a real quote from Len McLuskey, leftists shouldn't “risk dramatic damage to the interests of the British economy and working people just in order to scratch their factional itch.”

In other words, support each other or let the Tories back in.

Monday, 13 April 2020

I was, of course, completely right - the plot against Jeremy Corbyn

The right wing of the Labour Party actually preferred the party to lose elections than see Jeremy Corbyn become Prime Minister.

This is made clear in a massive internal report that has been leaked.

It's stunning, as it reveals not just the vindictive, self-destructive madness of the supposed 'centrists' and 'pragmatists' of the party, accustomed to being in charge and reacting with fury to the discovery that they were not.

This is how they responded to the 2017 exit poll:
08/06/2017, 22:48 – Patrick Heneghan: Everyone needs to smile
08/06/2017, 22:48 – Patrick Heneghan: I’m going into room of death
08/06/2017, 22:48 – Emilie Oldknow: Everyone needs to be very up beat
08/06/2017, 22:48 – Julie Lawrence: Its hard but yes
08/06/2017, 22:52 – Iain McNicol: I’m not in smiling and mixing and doing the 2nd floor.
08/06/2017, 22:53 – Iain McNicol: Everyone else needs to do the same.  08/06/2017, 22:53 – Iain McNicol: It is going to be a long night.
It goes on an on, example after example.

They were ecstatic at the idea of Labour losing an election; they celebrated polls showing substantial Tory leads and fretted about ones that showed the gap narrowing. And when reality hit them in 2017 they were devastated:

"They are cheering and we are silent and grey faced. Opposite to what I had been working towards for the last couple of years!!"

The response of Tracey Allen to the 2017 exit poll. She's not a Tory and the people she identifies as cheering are pro-Corbyn members. She's identified in the report as 'executive assistant/office manager, general secretary’s office'.

So, what had she been 'working towards for the last couple of years'? The overwhelming defeat of the Labour Party?

I note she is now identified as an ex-Labour staffer.

Remember how we were told - repeatedly - that Corbyn and his supporters were professional protesters and campaigners and weren't really interested in winning elections? Turns out the people saying that were self describing. They weren't interested in winning; in fact, they wanted Labour to lose.

Further, the report seems to back up claims made by Jon Lansman that the anti-Corbyn faction (that maintained control of the party apparatus until 2018) neglected to take any meaningful action over anti-Semitism:


They did nothing to address what they were later to claim was an incredibly pressing and urgent issue; it's hard to escape the conclusion that this failure to act was wilful and their goal was to discredit the leader, in spite of the damage this would cause the Labour Party - in the hope of forcing Corbyn to resign, either before or after an electoral defeat.

After discovering that Corbyn wasn't the hapless mook they thought he was they concocted an active smear campaign against him, resulting in two years of constant smears and exaggerations about anti-Semitism before they finally got what they wanted.

That's the 'pragmatism' of the 'concerned' Labour centrists for you.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Keir Starmer elected

Comfortably, in the very first round, with an impressive 56% of the votes.

I wonder, did members of the Shadow Cabinet start tweeting their resignations during Starmer's victory speech, or is that only a trick the right pull?

It is odd how all the talk of how the next leader "needs to be a woman" and how the party is "too Londoncentric" and too "elitist" we've just elected a male lawyer who was born in Southwark and represents a London constituency.  I won't even mention his hue - a whiter shade of pale - I don't expect miracles.  But I think he serves as something of a rebuke to the more radical / woke / open-minded (delete according to preference) part of the party.  You can be Labour and small-c conservative as well, and the preference of the party membership for older white blokes has been made abundantly clear, everytime we've been here.  How we respond to that, I'm not sure, but you can't just wish it away.

In spite of that carping, I think Starmer will be adequate.  I don't expect miracles from him, though if Covid 19 takes off proper, he might not need one.  The political and economic landscape in a couple of years time will be utterly, utterly different to just now.  History books will perhaps congratualte Corbyn on his strategic nous in passing on winning in 2019 - can you imagine what the press would be doing to a Labour government just now, trying to deal with Covid while still getting lost on their way to their ministerial offices and forgetting which side of the House they are meant to sit on?

It will be interesting to see how Starmer adjusts his position now he's got the prize - was all that somewhat leftish talk during the campaign just a tactic to stall RLB, and will he stomp right?  Or is there a genuine, if rather paternalistic, social conscience there?

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Mr Freedland in the Guardian

Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian has penned a column which chastises the left wing of the Labour party for daring to retain principles and ideals, qualities - it seems - that should be jettisoned in pursuit of power.

Never mind that Freedland was an ardent Remainer, that is to say, one of the people who fundamentally didn't get it and argued vociferously for the Labour Part to commit ever more public acts of self-mutilation.  Now he's on the job and about his usual business of telling the little people what's best for them to think.

He ends it with a paragraph of blatant self-justifying, it-weren't-my-fault-guv blame shifting:
But the first step is to accept its importance, to recognise that winning power is the sine qua non of politics, literally the thing without which there is nothing. Labour deputy leadership candidate Richard Burgon might worry that party members will panic and “just reach out for whatever is most conventionally electable”, rather than opting for the most “radical” wishlist of promises, but there is a ready response to that. Labour’s experiment with the not “conventionally electable” ended in a conventional crushing two months ago – and there is nothing socialist or radical about that. Its only achievement was to grant the Tories five more years – and the power to reshape the world around them.
Mr Freedland should have spent the last four years writing columns like this reminding the right wing of the Labour party that winning power was far more important than undermining and besmirching the reputation of the Labour leader.

Instead, as I recall, he and his ilk in the allegedly leftwinf media were more than happy to join the Mail, Telegraph and the howling decayed giblets of the Murdoch press in demonising Corbyn. To borrow Freeland's own climactic line, "Its only achievement was to grant the Tories five more years – and the power to reshape the world around them."

But, of course, the same people who gleefully joined in the kicking to death o the Labour party between 2017 and 2019 are the same people busily re-writing history to disguise their culpability in handing Johnson those five years. By repeating the lie that defeat was all down to Corbyn and his radical policy platform they mask their own guilt.

I'm a forgiving chap but the likes of Freedland, Cohn and Toynbee need to acknowledge their own responsibility rather than pointing the finger elsewhere.

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.

I'll take the masks and vaccines, thank you

From Stuff : I don't want to be pedantic, but I'm pretty sure neither masks nor vaccines figure much in the Gospel of Saint John; no...