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Good analysis July 14, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I think this from Corbyn loyalist, Clive Lewis MP, is one of the most balanced and sensible accounts I’ve seen in regard to the situation facing the British Labour Party. No pointless boosterism, but also none of the near frenzied machinations evident amongst many of those opposed to Corbyn. And a long cold look at the realities facing Labour which are far and away more significant than the leadership contest and which the latter is essentially a diversion and distraction from. I think his point about a ‘vision’ is particularly well made, in relation to how the SNP and GP have managed to offer something that voters are attracted by as distinct from Labour. I genuinely cannot see how the current situation resolves in a way that is good for workers in the UK or the Labour Party itself. The unseemly haste to jettison Corbyn seems both in terms of principle and tactics completely wrong-headed. Another self-inflicted blow from the experts in same whose track record since the Blair years has been unprecedented.

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1. EWI - July 14, 2016

It’s in defence of their own self-interest (a cosy relationship with business, the civil service and even the Tories), so to them I suppose it does make sense.

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2. sonofstan - July 14, 2016

It’s a good point he makes; labour used to be a culture that encompassed the unions, the co-op, much social life in working class areas as well as the party; the parliamentary party grew from that rich soil, not the other way around. The Blairites just want the party as an adjunct to the PLP.

Funny he didn’t mention SF as a UK party with a culture and mission beyond the focus group🙂

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Michael Carley - July 14, 2016

It really is an argument between people who see Labour as part of the labour movement, and those who see it as a route to slightly better administration of capitalism.

There seems to be little understanding of how the labour movement works and its relationship to the party. Time was, you could think of the union movement defending workers when the Tories were in power or times were otherwise hard, and the Labour party making improvements when it was in government, so that Thatcher was right about the socialist ratchet: gains won were not conceded.

The last twenty five years of Labour have seen that mechanism broken: the unions were flattened by Thatcher and a docile party under Kinnock, so they could barely hold what they had, and the Labour party in government abandoned any vision of moving towards socialism, or `socialism’, and any organic link with the unions. It was happy to take the money, and say `vote for us or they’ll get in’, but they didn’t reverse the decline in union power and try to maintain a link with the movement which would get it through the hard times.

Now the PLP is faced with a membership which has not been used to union or party discipline, coming from the social movements, and which expects its representatives to embody the values of the party. They literally do not understand what is going on and a large active membership scares them.

Old Labour, for all that it was right-wing by the standards of day, understood the connection to the movement(s), and understood that you have to offer something beyond simple management of capitalism if you are going to hold the party together, and have a coherent movement to lead.

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FergusD - July 14, 2016

TIGMOO = ThIs Great Movement Of Ours. Every LP MP would refer to it (perhaps not the gang of 4), if only on May Day. No mention of it now.

We musn’t get starry eyed about the “old” BLP though, it was always about managing capitalism, that’s what social democracy is about, but at least most of them meant it, to manage capitalism more in the interests of workers.

At one of my recent branch meetings a member complained that he didn’t want a party of protest (and so critical of Corbyn), but even Harold Wilson (bless him) said that “The Labour Party is nothing if it isn’t a crusade”, but I suppose our Harold was just a mad hard leftie. I shouldn’t have shouted “Traitor!” at him back in the day then (rather simplistic anyway to be honest!).

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Michael Carley - July 14, 2016

“Party of protest” would be a start, if nothing else.

You’re right about the old BLP: it was about managing capitalism, but it did try to do so in the interests of workers or even, to use an antiquated phrase, the `working class’. It did also have a connection to the labour movement, and it felt itself accountable to it. Blair’s great achievement, from his point of view, might have been to break that sense of a link to the labour movement, so that the Labour party no longer had to behave as part of the movement.

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3. Ed - July 14, 2016

It’s probably telling that I’ve only just come across this article, nearly a week after it came out; sensible, realistic, grown-up political analysis, the sort of thing that’s been drowned out by all the gossipy rubbish and screaming in the last couple of weeks. I doubt many of the anti-Corbyn Labour people who’ve been putting themselves about in the media over the last while would even be capable of thinking about politics at this level, which used to come naturally to any serious Labour politician from left or right. That’s precisely the problem that he’s talking about, of course.

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4. Michael Carley - July 14, 2016

Calling someone, e.g. Tristram Hunt, a `scab’ will now have you ruled out of voting in the Labour election.

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Ed - July 14, 2016

But no mention of ‘thug’, ‘fascist’, ‘anti-semite’ or any of the other abusive terms directed at Corbyn’s supporters, mirabile dictu.

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sonofstan - July 14, 2016

The NEC can’t spell ‘publicly’ …

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5. Pasionario - July 14, 2016

I’d never heard of Clive Lewis. Reading this and his Wikipedia profile — grew up on council estate, ethnic minority, NUS V-P, Sandhurst! — I’m tempted by the idea that this is the sort of young left-wing MP who could be, wait for it, an electable Labour leader.

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