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BLP – a hill to climb October 4, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

The scale of the challenge facing the British Labour Party is underlined by this poll from last week for the Times in Britain. As the piece from UK Polling Report notes it came after the Corbyn speech.

…with topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 30%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 3%. The Conservatives continue to have a solid lead and there is no sign of any benefit to Labour from their party conference (fieldwork was on Wednesday and Thursday, so directly after Jeremy Corbyn’s speech).

And as has been long said on this site, the chances of a Labour victory at the next election have been – for various reasons not least the situation in Scotland, low enough to begin with. The painful but necessary task of consolidation has to take precedence, as well as the projection of a somewhat more left wing orientation of the BLP and all that that requires in regard to building the ground of a credible approach to policy etc. Which in itself is a huge task given the forces arrayed against just such a project. And yet, last week will have made all this a little easier I suspect.


1. Jim Monaghan - October 4, 2016

The challenge is to turn the members (near a half million) into canvassers etc. Train them in how to interact with the broader public. Canvassing is an art. Talk about progressive policies in a clear manner. Not overreact to reactionary opinion but challenge them in a friendly manner (Don’t do a Browne). Our far Left parties who do elections, WP, S P, SWP etc. have learned these lessons.

Oh and be careful about stupidities, like not understanding or ignoring anti-semitism or excusing it, among other things.

Lave no local government byelection unchallenged. And win them.


WorldbyStorm - October 4, 2016

Very much agree – that could if they can deploy them be a game changer for the BLP. I’m hugely impressed by Corbyn in that regard.


FergusD - October 4, 2016

Jim, what is the anti-semitism to which you refer? I call out what I have heard in the way of accusations of anti-semitism at Corbyn supporters as bullshit. It dissolves into air when you look at it closely. Long time Jewish members of the Labour Party have been suspended for anti-semitism because they are critical of Zionism – a political movement. It is a part of the smear and slander campaign, most of the anti-Corbynites have just picked up on it as mud to sling. Some use it as a weapon to silence criticism of Israel. That is the real scandal, and teh BLP are getting away with it, it has become a trope, Corbyn supporters are anti-semitic.


gendjinn - October 4, 2016

Why do people keep accusing Corbyn supporters of hating Palestinians?


FergusD - October 5, 2016

I haven’t heard that one, or are you being sarcastic?


gendjinn - October 5, 2016

Jews are not the only semites, Palestinians are semites.


2. Ed - October 4, 2016

One important point is, it’s only now that the Tories are having to take responsibility for Brexit and put their cards on the table; it’s been a silly season over the summer, all the focus on Labour and the government not actually doing anything to act on the referendum. With May’s speech the other day they’re having to start putting their cards on the table and some of their divisions will come to the fore. There was a poll the other week which told you something about how subjective opinions of politicians can be: people were asked if they thought May was doing a good job as PM, and the majority thought she was; they were also asked if she was handling the EU/Brexit question well, and an overwhelming majority thought she was handling it badly. That’s the only bloody thing she’s had to do in office! I wouldn’t underestimate how much of a mess they could get themselves into over this stuff, if the right-wingers in the PLP can be prevented from sabotaging Labour’s effort (a very big ‘if’).


Gewerkschaftler - October 4, 2016

If they track every attempt to worsen workers’, human and environmental rights that the Tories will push through by executive decision, there’s a lot of propaganda ground to be gained, and potential for extra-parliamentary mobilisation.


WorldbyStorm - October 4, 2016

Great point re how given this is the main focus they’ve bee pretty poor about it. I’m more optimistic re the BLP than I was five months ago.


3. Ed - October 4, 2016

On the positive side for Labour: the FT has been almost as relentlessly sneery about Corbynism as the rest of the British press (their Westminister correspondent poetically claiming that most Corbyn supporters were ‘thick as pigshit’, etc.), but in the last week they’ve had a couple of good articles about the need to take it seriously: Wolfgang Munchau yesterday saying the received wisdom that elections were only won from the centre no longer seems to apply in the age of austerity, and Labour’s economic programme makes perfect sense; and a piece by Martin Sandbu last week going through McDonnell’s economic platform and explaining why it was worth taking seriously. There was also a quite sympathetic editorial in the New York Times, of all places. Some of the more intelligent mainstream commentators who’re not caught up in the hive-mind of the Westminster media seem to be recognizing that it’s not all a terrible aberration that will soon come to an end.

OTOH, the hard-line anti-Corbyn faction in the Labour Party seems to be as arrogant and delusional as ever (demanding that McDonnell be sacked as a precondition for them rejoining the shadow cabinet), and there’s an emerging line of attack on Corbyn for not pandering to racism: two columns by Polly Toynbee and Jonathan Freedland in the last few days quite explicitly saying that Labour needs to pander to irrational fears about immigration, coming on the back of Rachel Reeves’s disgraceful conference speech, channelling the spirit of Enoch Powell. It shows how much the ‘liberalism’ of that Blairite/Guardianista set is worth when the chips are down: they’re clearly willing to use anti-immigrant racism as a weapon in their struggle against the Labour left. So there could still be some very rocky times ahead.


sonofstan - October 4, 2016

” they’re clearly willing to use anti-immigrant racism as a weapon in their struggle against the Labour left.”

Absolutely. Had a disgraceful episode of coat-trailing at constituency meeting last week where older white member ‘invited’ the predominantly Asian committee and local councillors to condemn hate preaching at the local mosque as reported in the Bucks Free Press, a source even less reliable than the Sindo. It was the politics of the ritual condemnation, so familar from Irish politics, and so useless.


4. fergal - October 4, 2016

Plan b for those in the LP that wish to keep doing the same things as before as if nothing has happened since 2008- get John McDonnell. They can’t get Corbyn..yet but in the meantime they want his ‘bootboy’s head, Some Tory witch on question time called McDonnell a ‘nasty piece of work’ and Dimbledy did nowt. Get a lacky into shadow chancellor position and half your job is done, then go onto the rest of the shadow cabinet. I think Corbyn needs to a) unite the party and b) decapitate a few in the PLP can both be done?


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