jump to navigation

And with one bound he was free…to face the continuing leadership crisis July 13, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

As we learned last night when the BLP NEC voted conclusively to allow his name on the ballot. While I would think in some respects Corbyn has been too moderate in terms of pushing to overturn the nostrums of political activity in the UK he is at least in situ. As to his presentation, bitter as this may be, the reality is that despite the insincerity in regard to the rhetoric about him from some quarters he has been he has been weaker, less forceful than one might hope, oddly taciturn and truculent, perhaps too schooled in opposition than in leadership. And yet. A sense of calm when all else…

But for all that the thing I dislike most intensely is that Corbyn’s democratic legitimation of last year is ignored. It is not that that legitimation lasts forever. It requires testing in electoral contests or absent them across a reasonable period of time. Nor are the views of the PLP entirely without substance or validity. At some point they would have to have a significant input into the equation. There’s no point in arguing that that his ability to increase support is unimportant, it’s crucially important, otherwise why have a Labour party, why contest elections, why fret over whether he is leader or not. Because while it is true that a more leftward LP can change some of the tone, it cannot, by definition, change the substance without state power. And likewise the views of the PLP, given that they are contesting so many constituencies with each being its own little crucible, are important too.

But there’s something unseemly, something unnecessary, something perverse about the efforts to dislodge him so shortly after he was elected leader. And the reasons for this are not simply bound up in fairness to him, thought that’s a not unimportant part of it, but also in hard-headed practical political analysis.

His capacity to connect with the broader electorate remains largely untested. The referendum was sui generis, almost by definition. And yet, I still think that he had a better referendum campaign than might have been envisaged prior to it. That it might indeed have given him pause for thought as to how best he could marshal his programme through the LP – an LP fully a good two-thirds, maybe more, of whose voters supported Remain, whose members were even more wedded to that, a party who as leader he must take account of such matters.

His by-election track record is far from poor. Indeed it’s good.

The Tories are, it is true, doing well, better than they might even hope, in polling, though that is – one has to suspect – in part due to a sense of relief at the way in which finally there’s a move to some degree of stability after a fortnight and more of conflict at the top of that party. That may well not last for ever, particularly if Brexit as a process becomes contested itself. And without her own legitimation how long will May’s popularity last?

In a reasonable weighing of the options and the pluses and minuses all these factors would have to be taken account of.

And, as I’ve noted before, Michael White, who however much and with what good reason some dislike him remains a far from an uncritical observer to put it mildly, made the point that Corbyn might well develop an appeal as the term of this parliament lengthened. Certainly absent the noises off from various worthies in the PLP and further afield he would have been able to present a more united front to the world since his election. As it was, as with Brexit, the LP still retained a very good portion of its vote, has managed to keep its head above water.

Of course there are events. The collective disintegration evident in the PLP as regards his leadership is – one has to suspect, driven by electoral rather than supposed “principled” reasons, by the threat of an election in the next weeks or months. And Corbyn might well falter or fail. But their own actions have almost guaranteed that outcome were an election held any time in the near future.

And just as the overly exaggerated hopes pinned on him are inappropriate and bound to lead to disillusionment, so too are the overly exaggerated fears about him. Given the chance one suspects he will do better than his opponents will ever give him credit. A calming presence. A rebuilding, a renewed emphasis on the ground, stronger left approaches. All important given the LPs chances of an electoral victory have been slight in relation to the next election anyhow.

And I return to the basic point, it is simply too soon to tell how matters will proceed in relation to an election, at least one held a year or two out according to May. Perhaps she will pull a fast one and run to the country in the next few months, but perhaps not, perhaps she will want to calm the boat. Or perhaps she will treat the referendum itself as sufficient vindication of whatever policy she moves with.

I don’t believe in the talk of new parties. Michael White made another good point recently that it is unbelievably difficult to start a new party, whereas it is much easier to work within an existing one. The idea of SDP II is unlikely. And how does it work anyhow? But when one looks at those who have attacked his leadership from the off, or those who have recently converted to those ranks, what is their Plan B?

I can’t see it. And it shouldn’t be even an issue until Corbyn is given sufficient time to demonstrate his capabilities free of the constant drip drip of antagonistic briefings and suchlike. If Corbyn survives, and on any democratic level he should, the LP will be an uneasy entity – perhaps one where civil war is only just short of breaking out or perhaps where that civil war is frozen. Who does that benefit? What were they thinking? Where does this leave the only serious alternative to the Tories in contention?

If this piece seems sour and bitter – well so it is. I’ve never been a Corbyn fan as such, but he has been oddly impressive as time progresses. He is a clearly decent, in the best sense of the word, person who even his opponents admit, those with any balance, as such. He deserves better than this. The party he leads deserves better than this.


1. deiseach - July 13, 2016

Nuts, I thought this would be about Enda. Naughty clickbaiting, WbS!


2. Michael Carley - July 13, 2016

I wouldn’t be too sure about the NEC voting `conclusively’ to have Corbyn on the ballot. They also voted, under AOB after Corbyn and two supporters had left the meeting, to exclude from the ballot anyone who joined the party in the last six months and to increase the supporters’ fee from £3 to £25.


Éamann Mac Donnchada (@EamonnMacDonagh) - July 13, 2016
sonofstan - July 13, 2016

This might be the case:

. “Amazing rebels think this a win,” tweeted Ed Miliband’s former pollster James Morris. “Centrists could’ve recruited millions if tried. Hollande had no charisma & got 1.8m.” Rather than moderate floating voters, it is the most ideologically committed, the most left-wing, who may be most likely to stump up £25.


sonofstan - July 13, 2016

Apparently there’s loophole – see below – if you’re a registered supporter of the LP with an affiliated union? Does that apply with UCU?


sonofstan - July 13, 2016

‘see below’
Above even


Michael Carley - July 13, 2016

UCU’s not affiliated to Labour.


sonofstan - July 13, 2016

Ta – knew it would be quicker than checking through the union site:)


Pasionario - July 13, 2016

Hilarious move by the apparat.

A few months ago, the line was: registerd supporters are just three-pound Corbynistas and shouldn’t be involved in leadership elections.

Now, MEMBERS who joined since January will not be eligible to vote unless they also become registered supporters (at 25 quid a pop). Non-member registered supporters who sign up next week will be able to vote.

Goodbye, I must be staying.

I was vaguely planning to sit this one out. But I will definitely be paying the 25 quid now.

Liked by 1 person

3. Gewerkschaftler - July 13, 2016

Happy that all the trades unions on the NEC voted against he Blairites’ cunning plan.

It has the added benefit that people will have to join their unions and become an affiliated Labour supporter to have a say if they’re not already registered.

I still think that the Blairites will walk away into a ‘neo-liberal tribute band’ as Paul Mason put it if Corbyn is confirmed as leader. They really have nowhere else to go politically.

But time will tell.

Liked by 1 person

4. FergusD - July 13, 2016

My constituency held an all member meeting on the leadership issue. About 100 present, about 80% supported Corbyn. Some have criticism of Corbyn but feel it is important this challenge is beaten off in order to maintain a leftward movement in the LP. some were just outraged at the behaviour of the PLP. My feeling is he will win. The arrogance, and frankly supidity, of most of the PLP is astonishing. Don’t they realise the centre is crumbling across Europe? Neo-liberal austerity lite is NOT appealing to current and former Labour voters, all the evidence shows that, yet that is what they offer and claim it is the only way to win!!

I suspect Angela Eagle is a stalking horse, she is pretty much a nobody that has been pushed in to test the water.

Hodge going on about bullying by Corbyn supporters, the brick through Eagle’s office window is being made out to be as if it was attempted murder. Nobody knows who did it but the inuendo is there. The bullying of Corbyn (terrible according to those that have seen it) is just ignored. They are such hypocrites.

Then teher are the machinations of the NEC. Not just the increased fee for supporters but apparently all meetings of CLPs and branches are suspended, to “prevent bullying”. They really are shameless.


sonofstan - July 13, 2016

And with the supposedly liberal media as shameless as the Mail and the Express on (not really) the other side.
And all this going on about a broken window may just be a teeny bit tasteless given the Labour party had an MP actually murdered recently.


Ed - July 13, 2016

Someone posted up a link here recently to a shamelessly dishonest article by a Corbyn opponent about a CLP meeting in Bristol. The lowest thing about it was the fact that it had a picture of Jo Cox at the top: giving (at best) the subliminal message that the ‘nasty’ Corbyn supporters were insulting her memory by promoting discord in the LP ‘family’, and (at worst) suggesting that Momentum activists are the same as fascists who hack women to death in the street (I would say that’s a strained interpretation, if I hadn’t seen it said explicitly by countless Corbyn-bashers. J.K Rowling has been treating her Twitter followers to poisonous tirades against ‘fascists of left and right’). It doesn’t get much more cynical than using the death of a Labour MP who was murdered by a fascist for defending the rights of immigrants and refugees in order to deflect well-merited criticism from people who want to oust another Labour MP from the leadership because he defends the rights of immigrants and refugees.


Ed - July 13, 2016

This is a good account of yesterday’s NEC meeting, and gives a taste of the double standards about ‘bullying’:

“Alice Perry, an Islington councillor and one of the local government reps on the NEC, detailed how party staff were spat at during a weekend party meeting in Brighton. She added that she and others had received death threats and rape threats. And Perry said it was time the leadership and Momentum took real action to stamp out the intimidation by those using their name.”

I’ll believe the story about party staff being ‘spat at’ when I see evidence; yelled at in a heated meeting I can believe, but who comes along to a political meeting and starts gobbing on people like a 70s punk? You’d have to be an outright loon. The threats referred to were made online, I assume. What, exactly, does she propose ‘the leadership and Momentum’ should do to ‘stamp out the intimidation’? They have repeatedly, unambiguously and stridently condemned any personal abuse, never mind threats. Should they go around arresting people perhaps? Or physically preventing them from using the internet? And what evidence is there that the people making threats have any connection whatsoever with Momentum?

On the other hand:

“Corbyn said he’d rung Angela Eagle and discussed the shock news that her local office window had been smashed with a brick. He said he condemned the vandalism, but also said he had himself received a string of threats, and letters of abuse every day in recent weeks.”

No demand there that the Blairites must ‘stamp out the intimidation by those using their name’, no attempt to smear them through guilt by association. It would be very easy to play the same card in return but they haven’t done it.



5. Jolly Red Giant - July 13, 2016

This says it all – and is priceless –


6. Gewerkschaftler - July 13, 2016

Apparently the new 25-Windsor charge for supporters and the cut off date were voted through on Any Other Business after JC and two union leaders had left the meeting.

Deja vu all over again. It may well be overturned.


7. Aonrud ⚘ - July 13, 2016

Hopefully I’m not a total broken record on this, but here is an impressive bit of lunacy from the Guardian, even by the standards of their anti-Corbyn campaign.

‘Exclusive! Corbyn endorsed bullying’ … oh wait, according to one anti-Corbyn NEC member… oh wait, no he didn’t, it’s just a weak attempt to deliberately misinterpret the fairly good reasons for wanting an open vote. Once you get to the body of the article, it has become a ‘tacit endorsement’ – perhaps there’s still an editor in there somewhere. But, not to worry, because the real goal is still to come. A multi-paragraph quote from said NEC member (who normally “avoided speaking to the press about Corbyn”, of course), in which Corbyn is personally blamed for online threats, topped off with an excellent round of blaming Corbyn for things that haven’t even happened, by emphasising the attacks she is going to receive for saying this.

The sheer hypocrisy of the Blairite rage at the moment is remarkable.


sonofstan - July 13, 2016

Makes the Haughey/ Mara era FF look positively genteel.


gendjinn - July 13, 2016

Scrap Saturday needs a re-run.


CMK - July 13, 2016

‘Intimidation’, ‘bullying’, ‘threats’, ‘abuse’ once the Guardian keeps this up for a sustained period it will grow legs (it already has actually) and forever colour Corbyn in the eyes of British public.

Where a political figure has 100% of the media against him/her, their opponents basically have a free run to say what they want.

What I think is interesting about the whole process is the extent to which almost the entirety of the mainstream media is prepared to go right out on a limb to attack Corbyn and retail any smidgen of bad news about him. There seems to be very little self-awareness that the hatred of Corbyn is so naked that the credibility, what remains of it, of the mainstream (print and broadcast) media is evaporating. Social media is often criticised as a self-reinforcing echo chamber but it is a paragon of media fairness compared to the way the mainstream media has handled the Corbyn phenomenon.

Anyway, 71 years after his death Goebbels would be surely proud of the Guardian’s effort.

And they can stick that ‘support journalism for just 49 pounds a year’ think where the sun don’t shine.


Aonrud ⚘ - July 13, 2016

Get yourself a decent ad blocker and you don’t have to see their pleading for funds or their ads! Is it better to stop visiting the Guardian website (years since I bought the print edition, presumably like everyone else), or to keep visiting and costing them money? 🙂


Aonrud ⚘ - July 13, 2016

Then again, every time I think the media has passed the point of being worth it, I remember that we could be stuck with the likes of Fox News…

Liked by 1 person

Ed - July 13, 2016

You can see perfectly well at moments like this why journalists get so angry about d’Internet – not because of the genuinely toxic and unpleasant stuff that’s out there, but because of the opportunity it gives people to ridicule them for talking absolute rubbish. The stream-of-consciousness drivel that George Eaton was coming out with on Twitter got the response it deserves (I think the best was someone saying ‘I’m Eaton’s secret Labour source – I’m pissed in a pub toilet and I keep texting him nonsense, he thinks I’m Mandelson’).

Liked by 1 person

Ed - July 13, 2016

When you see ‘Exclusive’ at the top of a Guardian story nowadays, there seems to be an implicit asterisk

*because no other bugger would be daft enough to print this rubbish


8. roddy - July 13, 2016

What is really annoying is that a group of neo Unionists up here styling themselves “the Northern Ireland Labour party” are all over the airwaves commenting on Corbyn.Despite the fact they backed Burnham last time,they are now reinventing themselves as Corbynistas as they see the way the wind blows.They hope this will influence Corbyn to allow them to stand officially in elections here despite the fact they were humiliated 2 months ago ,polling less votes in the whole of the North than the ammount of members they claim to have. Corbyn ‘s Republican stance would be the total opposite of these shysters.


Aonrud ⚘ - July 13, 2016

I don’t know much about the NI branch, but when I saw them represented at a debate I was a bit surprised to hear the address open with ‘comrades’ 🙂


Jolly Red Giant - July 13, 2016

roddy has got his knicker wire crossed again


9. roddy - July 13, 2016

Mr and Mrs Liam Clarke. Need I say any more?


WorldbyStorm - July 13, 2016

Well well.


Deadon@hell.com - July 14, 2016

Big Liamo still getting up the Provie bastards from the grave – what a guy.


WorldbyStorm - July 14, 2016

A banning awaits you, take it somewhere else. This sort of stuff isn’t appropriate or wanted on this site.


10. Jolly Red Giant - July 13, 2016

Apparently LP branches have been banned from having meetings before the leadership vote – heaven forbid that members of a political party should meet to discuss politics.


11. Phil - July 14, 2016

I’ve worn myself out blogging & tweeting about all this (literally – I’d bounced back after marking, but this week I hit the wall again). The only sense I can make of it is that, for the core group of malcontents in the PLP*, when they talk about the LP as “their party” it’s literally what they believe. The party is rightfully theirs, not Corbyn’s and not the members’; until normality is restored, both he & they can – and should – be ignored. Which is a bit like saying that until the Jacobite line is restored we can ignore the Hanoverian imposters – it’s committing yourself to battering your head against reality. They could have a replacement for Corbyn, of course they could – if they could just find a candidate who would be acceptable to the membership. But admitting that they need to do that would require them to admit that the membership matters, and it’s going to be a while before that lesson sinks in.

I don’t think anyone is going to split; if Corbyn is defeated you can be sure that most of the people he’s attracted to the party will stay and fight (although some will certainly end up demoralised & demobilised). On the Right, they’re quoting Gaitskell atm – “fight and fight again to save the party I love” – so presumably that’s their game plan: have another challenge, and keep up the civil disobedience within the PLP, and generally keep doing everything that’s not working now until it starts to work. I guess if they keep busy they won’t have any time to stop and think. I’ve seen a very logical and well-argued analysis according to which it *is* all about a split – and specifically about maximising the number of MPs who are willing to go with it – but I think it’s a bit too conspiratorial, and probably a bit too logical for that matter.

*The neo-Blairites of Progress plus the “neither left nor right” merchants of Labour First, plus their friends in PR and all the people who fund them.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - July 14, 2016

It’s beyond depressing. What a shower.

BTW I’ve liked your analyses throughout this Phil. I think what you’re saying is absolutely spot on.


Jolly Red Giant - July 14, 2016

If Corbyn wins then whether a split occurs will be determined by the CLPs. If the CLPs begin deselecting the Blairite MPs then they will have little option but to split if they want any chance of maintaining their political careers.


12. Jolly Red Giant - July 14, 2016

Apparently when Corbyn had left along with two other supporters the NEC discussed the previously unnoticed election procedures under AOB. One section of this was the suspension of all branch and district meetings except for – a meeting to decide on supporting the nomination of a candidate – in the case of a by-election – with the explicit permission of the (right-wing) General Secretary.


13. Jolly Red Giant - July 14, 2016

3000 join UNITE to get around the attempt by the Blairites to stop new members joining LP to vote for Corbyn.

Multi-millionaire right-winger Michael Foster to take a legal challenge to NEC decision to allow Corbyn on the ballot. Claims that some NEC members had a ‘different political agenda’ and weren’t impartial.


FergusD - July 14, 2016

Yeah, bizarre isn’t it, members of the ruling committee of a political party have a “political agenda”! Who would have thunk it! Of course this can only be the left, the right don’t have a political agenda, they are just “pragmatic”.

Michael Foster has been in the news before:



Seems like a nice man, clearly committed to a class-based Labour Party fighting for that class (but which one?).

There was an interview with a CLP delegate to the NEC on the BBC. She was rather tearful. I can imagine the meeting was very fraught, perhaps sometjing she wasn’t used to. She was saying there was bullying. Part of that, in her view, was the presentation of a letter from a lawyer claiming that if the NEC did not put Corbyn on the list of candidates there would be legal action up to the High Court. Is that bullying? we know the other side were threatening, and indeed seems like they are to, take legal action to stop him going on the list. Wouldn’t you want to know about those legal arguments before you voted? I don’t know that I see that as bullying. She also complained about those calling for an open vote, although she said she would reveal how she voted via her NEC report. So what was the problem? The NEC is a representative body, surely we have teh right to see how our reps vote? All of them. Applies to MPs. She also claimed there were abusive emails to her and others. I can imagine there were, the situation is increasingly acrimonious – but who started it? Who is constantly briefing the press, stage managing resignations, flinging around accusations of anti-semitism. They are are truly nasty bunch the Blairites and co. Phil is right, the LP is theirs, how dare the membership think otherwise!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: