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That General Election: Friday morning, the cold light of day and the results so far… December 13, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Okay, well this has been depressing, went to sleep around one, woke up at two thirty and then got back to sleep much later. I wish I could claim some foresight but I can’t, but I looked at those polls this last week and couldn’t shake the thought that a Tory majority possibly, say 18 or so, was feasible, indeed likely. But all seemed in ferment so who could say?

Things much worse in Britain for the BLP with considerable losses. DMOC made a good point during the night, that it would be good if the LP breached the 200 barrier. They’re on 203. Conversely the Tories have won a large number of seats, cruising inexorably in the early hours of the morning to the key 326 seats of majority and then on. Currently they are at 362 and in places absent Brexit one wouldn’t have expected. As to the LDs…farewell Jo Swinson, we hardly knew you. The SNP not quite as heady an evening as they might have expected from the exit poll but still very very solid.

So the exit poll was just about right, a bit low here, a bit high there.

There’s going to be plenty of time for analysis starting now but this is a Johnson era and an SNP era too and the fractures in the union hardly more explicit than they are now.

Speaking of which what of the North here? A picture emerges of an almost considered response at local levels with Alliance taking the liberal unionist Hermon seat, the SDLP back in Foyle and SF ousting Nigel Dodds and John Finucane taking his seat. The overall situation, 8 DUP, 7 SF, 2 SDLP and 1 ALL. Rory Carroll in the Guardian just before 6 in the morning had an odd analysis where he argued that SF had a grim election. I wonder. One could argue that they had a better election than they could possibly expect. As recently as 2015 SF gained just 4 seats, before a further 3 in 2017. Even keeping 6 was a big ask. Losing 1 to the SDLP and gaining another was actually a good day for them by any reasonable measure and losing vote share is not quite so unexpected given the broader context.

But more broadly Carroll didn’t note one crucial aspect, that there were now more nationalist MPs returned than unionist MPs.

The DUPs Brexit position has cost them dear and their pretensions over confidence and supply have come back to bite them. It has certainly delivered a situation where they are no longer the only voice from NI in the HOC. That alone is a significant change as is the sense that Brexit or not new configurations of political support are emerging.

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1. Paddy Healy - December 13, 2019

Was there a Secret deal Between Boris Johnson and the Confederation of British Industry based on the facts below which I circulated over a month ago?- CBI did not support Liberal Democrats in Election
EU Mulls Brexit Delay as Leak suggests Johnson aims to Cut Workers’ Rights https://wp.me/sKzXa-brexit
Press Association,c Saturday, October 26, 2019
There are fears in some quarters of the EU – and especially in Berlin – that Boris Johnson is preparing to reform Britain into “Singapore-on-Thames”, a low-tax, lightly regulated economy on the edge of Europe, once it has left.
According to the FT’s report, the leaked Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) document said the way the political declaration – the agreement setting out the aims of the future trade negotiations between the UK and the EU – had drafted the workers’ rights and environmental protection commitments left “room for interpretation”.
Labour shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman said the documents, which reportedly had Downing Street input, “confirm our worst fears”.
She said: “Boris Johnson’s Brexit is a blueprint for a deregulated economy, which will see vital rights and protections torn up.”

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Alibaba - December 13, 2019

As I mentioned a few days ago:

‘Corbyn secured a leaked document written by British civil servants stating that Johnson’s Brexit deal wasn’t workable from many points of view, including the checks on goods going from Britain to the North. … Isn’t it nice to fancy the chances of Brexiteers to disentangle themselves from that particular deal? If Johnson gets his majority, the shit will hit the proverbial.’

Also what about the United Kingdom? An oxymoron made electorally — with SNP decisive victory and more nationalist MPs than unionist ones.

Then low budget shite will be dumped on the people who voted for Johnson in the hope of getting something better with Brexit. 

Then the dangers that will come with any deregulated economy, and so on, and so on.

So much stuff there for mobilising people by any Opposition that has the will to do so in a bold, brazen and unapologetic way which does not come with any more fence-sitting. Seizing victory from the jaws of defeat won’t happen without an orientation to action, for sure.

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2. Paddy Healy - December 13, 2019

The Labour crash must be understood in the context of the failure of the social democratic approach all over Europe. Corbyn may have been an inadequate leader but it is a mistake to put the huge electoral defeat principally down to him. In a world in which ruling capitalist elites are moving sharply to the right, talking in parliament is not enough. Mobilisation of millions is necessary. Where were British Union leaders during the election? Current events in France give some hope

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Paddy Healy - December 13, 2019

Addendum: The surge in the value of the pound indicates that British Big business is happy.

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3. gypsybhoy69 - December 13, 2019

Jaysus WBS the English/Welsh election results are hard enough to take. The thoughts of that fuckwit Carroll I could do without. It was bad enough when he wrote about Venezuela and Spain at least you had the consolation of him that he wasn’t constantly wrong about things close to home.

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WorldbyStorm - December 13, 2019

Yeah he has form

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4. oliverbohs - December 13, 2019

Sayonara England. Good knowing yous. But the decent pop music ran out, and all that dark energy returned to nationalism eventually. Someone somewhere on the internet (more perspicacious than me) pointed out that the post war settlement era was an anomaly, and history in the main doesn’t look like that, it being unsettled and prone to conflict.
Please cd as many posters as can be bothered tell me to go down to the shop and buy a two litre bottle of Shut The Fuck Up

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5. tafkaGW - December 13, 2019

Brexitania will be an unpleasant place for people who seem in any way ‘foreign’. Or Muslim.

There are some positives.

The country that has done much to set the agenda of neo-liberalism and Fortress Europe within the EU over a couple of decades is now out. Also we’ll be getting rid of the racist xenophobic neolibs that pack the majority of the British representatives in the European Parliament.

PiS, Fidesz, AfD and FPÖ will mourn their passing.

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Liberius - December 13, 2019

I think that’s a silver lining we can all get behind!

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6. Paddy Healy - December 13, 2019

Labour Crash in Britain :https://wp.me/pKzXa-18R
The Labour crash must be understood in the context of the failure of the social democratic approach all over Europe. Corbyn may have been an inadequate leader but it is a mistake to put the huge electoral defeat principally down to him. In a world in which ruling capitalist elites are moving sharply to the right, talking in parliament is not enough. Mobilisation of millions is necessary. Where were British Union leaders during the election? Current events in France give some hope
Movement of the Labour Party leadership back towards the centre is no solution for British workers. It was the Blair governments which abandoned the interests of workers and left sections of the class vulnerable to the right and the far right. (This happened in the lead up to the victory of Hitler in Germany)The Labour Party Leadership needs to mobilize the power of the working class in action-political strikes, demonstrations etc. Big attacks are coming as the leaders of British state move further to the right

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7. tafkaGW - December 13, 2019

Percentage of votes for pro-Brexit parties (Cons, DUP, and Brexit) = 43.6 + 0.8 + 2.0. Total 46.4%.

So 53.6% voted for parties that supported at least a third referendum on the issue.

Which fits well with the polling that for a year has shown remain beating leave by about 5 – 6%.

So the popular vote will be overruled and Brexit will happen on the basis of the votes of less than half of the voters in this general election.

Johnson’s first big lie after the vote was that this election had endorsed Brexit. The first of many big lies.

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8. irishelectionliterature - December 13, 2019

The results in the North were amazing. Huge wins for the SDLP in Foyle and South Belfast. Great to see Dodds beaten. Good to see The Alliance win North Down too.
Another thing was that there are formerly safe constituencies now in play. Reduced DUP majorities all over the North, East Belfast the DUP held on from Alliance ,Lagan Valley, East Antrim not impregnable.
South Down was tight between SF and the SDLP.
Talking to a friend this morning who’d be very familiar with Darlington (which fell to the Tories), he reckoned the anti immigrant, anti Muslim and Racist sentiment will now get far worse and be even more open than it was before.

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tafkaGW - December 13, 2019

Yes the Unionist vote in the bit of NI I know a bit: North Belfast, is down to 43%. Extraordinary.

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Joe - December 13, 2019

Yeah. The north (of Ireland). Inching closer and closer to the inevitable Border Poll. And then the inevitable (?) UI. That’ll keep us all busy, those of us that are still above ground by then.

But after last night in the UK I’ve no energy for lame jokes. I want to lash out and blame the coterie of pessimists and defeatists. But those jokes aren’t funny anymore (alright, they never were).
I’m with whoever it was on that other thread who said they were going down the shop now to buy a bottle of Shut The Fuck Up.

I’m gonna miss the Blades (again) tomorrow night but there’s a gig in the Hut in Phibsboro on Sunday – songs of the Behans and the Kearneys. Donations to the Homeless I think. Should be good.

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ar scáth a chéile - December 13, 2019

Díreach é a Joe. badly need the consolation of the arts right now , like Bakunin said ater years in the Tsars dungeons “we’ll always have Beethovens Fifth” – or whatever wiil get u back up off the floor. Thanks to CLR for easing the pain with thoughtful responses, a refuge from lazy MSM left baiting

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EWI - December 14, 2019

Yeah. The north (of Ireland). Inching closer and closer to the inevitable Border Poll. And then the inevitable (?) UI. That’ll keep us all busy, those of us that are still above ground by then.

Excellent. Has to happen, sooner or later, and it’s needed for reconciliation (as has happened in the south).

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EWI - December 14, 2019

Talking to a friend this morning who’d be very familiar with Darlington (which fell to the Tories), he reckoned the anti immigrant, anti Muslim and Racist sentiment will now get far worse and be even more open than it was before.

Yep: the wind in their sails, now.

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9. tafkaGW - December 13, 2019

Turns out the polling models and revised sampling more or less got it right, as far as the popular vote was concerned.

YouGuv for example were pretty good on their final figures but their seat model was a bit out. Which must be extraordinarily hard to get right in the UK case.

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10. tafkaGW - December 13, 2019

Paul Mason’s quick takes:

The Labour left is now subject to three lines of attack.

– We should have supported Brexit

– We moved too far left

– We should not have backed Corbyn

I reject them all.

To understand how much bullshit is being talked about Brexit take a look at the polling averages for 2019. Between April and June Labour’s support slumped from 32% to 22%, while the Libdems surged, at the very moment we rejected the second referendum. If we had followed the advice of the Lexiteers we would have started this election neck and neck with the Libdems, and probably lost numerous activists to the Greens and disillusionment.

As a result of the line imposed by Corbyn’s inner circle and the Unite/CWU general secretaaries, we had to spend the entire summer and autumn fighting to regain 10+ percentage points lost to a liberal centrist pro-Remain party. That was time we could have spent working in the constituencies we have now lost. Instead we spent the summer in the ludicrous position of worrying about losing Brixton to the Liberal Democrats.

On Corbyn’s shortcomings:

There are many reasons for Corbyn becoming an electoral problem, and despite our gratitude and solidarity to Jeremy for enduring the past two years we need to be honest about them:

– First, the absolute levels of vilification and slander aimed at him by the right wing media and the neoliberal centre.

– Second, his indecision over Brexit. For a man sold to the electorate as a conviction politician, to dither for months, and go into the election neutral on the biggest issue of the day, was fatal

– Third, his abject failure to get a grip over the antisemitism crisis, which became reputationally damaging for the entire 500,000 activist base. The low point of this was when his advisers tried to rewrite unilaterally an internationally accepted IHRA definition, against strong advice

– Fourth, his decision to surround himself with people determined to build walls around him instead of alliances; the use of bureaucratic means to impose wholly unsuitable candidates, and to delay the selection of candidates to facilitate this.

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Brian Hanley - December 13, 2019

I’m sure every commentator in the labour movement will have their analysis out soon and everyone of them will be sure that they are correct and don’t have to reexamine any of their core beliefs.
The ‘Americanization’ thing rings true to me in that Johnson clearly made stuff up and the Tories promises of spending on this and that don’t withstand scrutiny – but many people did not care. They are ‘trusted’ with finances in a way the left are not- the Labour promises were derided as fantastical. And that relates to something that is apparent in the US- when a working class person (in work) with a house and maybe aspirations to doing a bit better hears ‘tax the rich’ they don’t imagine the oligarchs getting squeezed- they imagine themselves paying more tax. And when they hear about a big expansion in social services they may agree in the abstract- but then they remember the family on the estate whose kids cause havoc, who have never worked and who never seem to be short of a few bob. And they think, no not paying for them. The right know this and can appeal to it. Right back to Kevin Philip’s playbook for Nixon in 1968 which was ‘who hates who- that’s the key.’ The left isn’t really able to have that emotional appeal, certainly not in world in which the majority no longer associate work with trade unionism etc.

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CL - December 13, 2019

“Support for raising taxes is widespread, according to a new poll, which found that 76% of registered voters want the wealthiest Americans to pay more.”
https://fortune.com/2019/02/04/support-for-tax-increase-on-wealthy-americans-poll/

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tafkaGW - December 13, 2019

“…don’t have to reexamine any of their core beliefs”. Touché, comrade 🙂

The emotional level is the fundamental problem. The anger and competition channels in suicidal capitalism are so broad and multifarious; whereas we are trying to push empathy and solidarity through an ever thinning straw.

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11. CL - December 13, 2019

Gender breakdown of MPs in the next parliament:

Labour: 104 women, 98 men

Conservatives: 87 women, 277 men

Lib Dems: 7 women, 4 men

SNP: 16 women, 32 men

DUP: 1 woman, 7 men

Sinn Fein: 2 women, 5 men

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sonofstan - December 13, 2019

Labour: 104 women, 98 men

That’s amazing.

One thing that struck me when I was jones-ing on Parliament TV during the Benn bill etc, was how different it looks to our own set up precisely because 30% female looks a lot different to 20% (or whatever it is)

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12. Joe - December 13, 2019

A friend put this up on Facebook. Not sure the source but I presume it’s accurate:
Conservative: +1.2% increase in vote share (gained 47 seats)
Labour: -7.8% (lost 59 seats)
Libdem: +4.2% – biggest increase for a party from 2017 to now (lost 1 seat)
Green: +1.1% (no change)
SNP: +0.8% (gained 13 seats)

If it is accurate, the SNP one is the one that stands out for me – a Yes win in another Scottish Indie Ref is no gimme.

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tafkaGW - December 13, 2019

Tories got a seat for every 38k votes. Labour for every 50k. Lib Dems 1 per 330k votes and the Greens one per 850k votes.

Superb functioning electoral system you’ve got there. Shame if anything was to happen to it.

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Colm B - December 13, 2019

Ok but the SNP got 45% which is effectively all of the 2014 yes vote. This means that pro-indy core is rock solid. Now if you add the weensy Green vote and a small section of Labour’s 18% you’re effectively where the polls say we are: almost 50:50 with a slight No advantage.
Of course nothing is inevitable and we face an enormous struggle but we’re starting from a pretty strong base. The prospect of years of Tory rule imposed on Scotland will certainly make it a bit easier to win more people over.

The challenge is: will the SNP continue to monopolise the struggle for independence or can the left get its act together to play a key role in that struggle? With any illusions about Labour now well and truly shattered that may not be as hopeless a cause as it seemed yesterday.

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13. tafkaGW - December 13, 2019

Has Milne been sacked yet? He was/is strategy and communications whatsit during this whole debacle.

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Jim Monaghan - December 13, 2019

Milne. Sure his main experience of elections were the ones the Party won by 98%.

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tafkaGW - December 13, 2019

He probably already at the centre of Leadership succession battles following a defeat. That’s what Leninists do best. Actually they started well before the vote, by all accounts.

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WorldbyStorm - December 13, 2019

That raises an interesting though not entirely related question. Do you think the LP leadership was aware well in advance of how bad things could be? I remember a couple of months back wondering just why they were pushing for an election so hard given the fairly poor polling (did the LP ever go ahead of the Tories since Johnson became PM? One, just one in July. After that the ratings were between roughghly 4 and 19% and in the last month or so tending towards the double figures ie 10% or so for the Tories. So by any reasonable measure the situation wasn’t looking good, and then there’d be internal polling.

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tafkaGW - December 13, 2019

To the first question I don’t know. I’m always suspicious of ‘internal polling’ because it can often tell you what you want to hear.

But I can understand why they went for the election.

Firstly, you can only take so much ‘to chicken to take it to the polls.’

Secondly, there was a fair chance that had they stuck it out till spring some Labour MPs would have defected to Johnson’s withdrawal agreement.

That said they would have then been in a position to fight a non-Brexit cliff edge election and the Lib Dems main platform would have been irrelevant. In hindsight, this was the better option.

And thirdly, they were fighting the last war, as all but the best do. i.e. 2017.

I’m sure however, that Milne could have talked Corbyn into it, in order to ‘build the party through glorious defeats’ kinda stylee.

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FergusD - December 14, 2019

He is not a Leninist, but a former Stalinist, which is really a form of left reformism. No way is he a revolutionary Marxist.

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14. Dermot M O Connor - December 13, 2019

You know it’s bad when you look at the results from NI to cheer you up…

Glad Lab finally got over 200, 203 is bad but somehow not as bad as that 191 exit poll number. Remember the tories who are cock-a-hoop now won 198 in 2005 under Howard, and that was after 166 (2001) and 165 (1997).

‘Carouse ye sovereign lords,
the wheel will roll’

Tories may be tub-thumping at the moment, but this result masks real dangers for them. Five years from now will anyone give a fuck about Brexit? And also, the tories now get to eat their own dogfood, good luck with that m’lud.

The fate of the Tory / Lab / CHUK rebels (ALL gone IIRC) will put manners on future defectors – leaving a party in a huff will now be seen as political suicide, so that pressure valve is sealed.

Jo Swinson = a woman who questioned JC’s fitness for office, and who loses her seat AND leaves her ‘party’ -1 on the previous GE, as well as losing her pwecious intake of Tory/Labour MPs. Come back Jeremy Thorpe all is forgiven.
Christ, how can a professional political build an entire political strategy around EURO ELECTIONS? Remember when FF had their meltdown in 2011/2, they asked a tory who had been in the Blair wilderness years on how to deal with the collapse. “Don’t be fooled by good opinion polls”, “Don’t be fooled by good local results” and “Don’t be fooled by European election results” was his (very good) advice. Speaks volumes for the poor caliber of LibDem leadership that they had such a delusional view of their chances.
(ADVICE to new LIBDEM leader: Buy a good minivan.)

The idiots who voted for LibDems might want to take a moment and wonder how different the result might have been had they not voted for such a wreck of a party. Enjoy your hard brexit, idiots.

Reminded of Mencken’s quote:
“Democracy is the idea that the people know what they want and deserve to get it, good and hard.”

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15. Daire O'Criodain - December 13, 2019

I detect a strong consensus on this thread that the Left in Britain (and possibly in Ireland also) deserves a better people. Perhaps if the Left had accommodated itself better to the people it has got, things might have been different. Less talking and more listening will be a good start. This was a Tory party in disarray and incoherence since 2016, a leader who makes Bernard Dunne look like Muhammad Ali. As Scar said to the hyenas in The Lion King, the election should have been practically gifted to the Labour party, but there were never any jaws of victory remotely in sight from which defeat had to be snatched.

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Jolly Red Giant - December 13, 2019

The British working class, particularly North of the Watford gap, wanted Brexit over and done with – Boris promised to ‘get Brexit done’ – Corbyn caved into the Blairites and promised more talks and a referendum. The election became a single issue election for many people and Corbyn was blown up with his own petard.

Corbyn should remain as leader and launch a struggle within the LP to remove the Blairites. However, I suspect that he will cave into them and the Left in the British LP, including Momentum, have proven so far to be incapable of mounting an organised move against the Right.

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WorldbyStorm - December 13, 2019

So Momentum are Blairites? And the broad mass of the membership of the BLP? One can argue that their approach was mistaken but to say that they were ‘Blairites’ is a clear mischaracterisation/misunderstanding of the dynamics in play. Because it was precisely Momentum and the broad mass of the BLP that wanted a second referendum.

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WorldbyStorm - December 13, 2019

By the way, the cities are full of the British working class too most of whom voted Remain. That’s the basic conundrum here and trying to present it as otherwise does a disservice to the reality of the challenges facing the left in England.

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WorldbyStorm - December 13, 2019

Oh and one last point, the ‘Blairites’, such as they are, bar the scatter who went to the LDs, tended to go pro-Brexit. Didn’t help them, as noted before why vote for mini-me Labour Brexiteers when you can get something like the real thing from the Tories.

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16. gregtimo - December 13, 2019

A sad and surreal night reminding me of a China Mieville horror story at one point (I was getting lost in personally). I would guess Paul Mason to be mostly right (the energy impresses, but I probably wouldnt like him close up). Have become as sick of the antisemitism furore as the Brexit one itself, but there was an all round communication/management failure there somewhere in the team, being a safe bet. My own personal class prejudice has me finger pointing at the upper class Milne as a likely suspect for being way out of touch, but the gossip on Skwawkbox ( another imperfect one man job though) alone was head spinning on several sources of SNAFU over the past year. Stronger language was used on Novara Media this morning . As ever I dont know the exact agendas of the sharp critics at the end of the night, (the McDonnell advisor) Medway and the Guardian commentator Tom Kibasi who wouldn’t name names of course. Exasperation at least is understandable though imo . An interesting source of gossip which (just like Corbyn) can not be perfect of course. https://novaramedia.com/
Or own Ronan B’s (and Tribune ed) review was probably the most solid one likely at short notice .https://tribunemag.co.uk/2019/12/it-was-never-going-to-be-easy
I would go further, They seriously underestimated the disintegration of the old ‘working class’ loyalties in the rustbelts. A problem all over Europe now . A thorny problem that Tribune’s parent Jacobin has been long gnawing on too

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WorldbyStorm - December 13, 2019

Interesting. We don’t even have to personalise it in respect of individuals but just note the class origin of a cohort close to the leadership which by any reckoning would be upper middle/upper class and might have some skewed notions of how matters play out closer to our level. Whatever, I agree with your point re an all round communication/management failure which was fed into by a curiously defensive unwillingness to engage with potential and actual rakes in the grass which the media was only too keen to lure people out to step on. I’ve said it before but I think a further problem was an assumption of virtue so self-evident that explanation, let alone action, wasn’t regarded as necessary, indeed was seen as a sort of insult. As an attitude that’s fine when there’s not much riding on it, but when we’re talking about the potential impelemntatino of a solid left programme then that demands that, whatever we think of the substance, the danger of it being picked up and used by an opponent is tackled head on and energetically.

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sonofstan - December 16, 2019

“but just note the class origin of a cohort close to the leadership which by any reckoning would be upper middle/upper class and might have some skewed notions of how matters play out closer to our level”

Maybe as much a London/ rest of England thing? Class works somewhat differently in London.

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WorldbyStorm - December 13, 2019

By the way, excellent Seymour piece. Appreciate your posting the link.

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17. ar scáth a chéile - December 13, 2019

Ómos do Dhaid:

“Last night hurt, today hurts a bit more, tomorrow it will hurt even more.

Jeremy has dedicated each day of his political life for the less fortunate amongst us. Unwaveringly, he has fought and campaigned for people who suffer and people in hardship.

Being honest, humble and good natured in the poisonous world of politics has meant that he has endured the most despicable attacks filled with hatred for the duration of his 36 years in public life.

In his 31 years as an MP preceding his leadership he supported each campaign for peace and justice wherever it was in the world and however difficult or unpopular at the time. As Labour leader he continued to do so. He also produced the most wonderful manifesto this country has ever seen. He took on an entire establishment.

This meant that the attacks from all sides intensified and became even more poisonous while he was leader. We’ve never known a politician to be smeared and vilified so much.

His unbelievably broad shoulders and incredibly thick skin endured all of this so that we could all live in the hope of a world free of racism or hunger. The man led with strength difficult to quantify.

Not only have his messages been inspirational but he has delivered them with honestly, humility, dignity and above all, love. The polar opposite of how his opponents delivered theirs. As we are so used to seeing, the politics of division and the message of hatred prevailed.

To say we are proud is a vast understatement. To assume that the ideologies he stands for are now outdated is so wrong. In the coming years we will see that they are more important than ever.

Thank you to every person who saw his vision and supported it and supported him. From the three proudest sons on the planet, please continue the fight.”

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ar scáth a chéile - December 13, 2019
Joe - December 13, 2019

Fair play. Solidarity, Jez.

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18. CL - December 13, 2019

“In those seats where more than 60% of voters backed Leave in the 2016 EU referendum, the increase in Conservative support on average was 6%.
However, in those seats where more than 60% voted Remain, the party’s vote actually fell by three points….

In contrast, Labour’s vote fell on average by more than 10 points in the most pro-Leave areas.
Its vote fell by more than six points in the most pro-Remain ones.

Support for the Conservatives rose by four points in the Midlands, the North East and Yorkshire – the regions of England that voted most heavily in favour of Leave.
In contrast, the party’s vote fell back by a point in London and the South East.
Conversely, Labour saw its vote fall by 12 to 13 points in the North East and Yorkshire, while it fell by only six or seven points in London and the South of England.
The result also saw Labour lose ground heavily in its traditional working-class heartlands.”
https://www.bbc.com/news/election-2019-50774061

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19. alanmyler - December 13, 2019

The brother just pointed out that the election coincided with the full moon. Interesting that this hasn’t been better explored by the media, eh.

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20. Joe - December 13, 2019

Someone somewhere on one of these threads pointed out that the Tories got around 150 seats in a couple of elections in the noughties. They came back. Labour can too. Fine Gael got wiped in the election under Noonan. Irish Labour in the last election here.
Commentators bury parties after defeats like that – “They’re finished, dead and buried”. But parties can come back. British Labour can come back. Hopefully, sticking with Jez-type social democracy and kicking the Blairites out.

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Dermot M O Connor - December 13, 2019

That was me. 165 (1997) 166 (2001) 198 (2005) – and it was only 5 years after the 198 seat ‘recovery’ that they were back (in coalition with libdems).
This tory majority I suspect is VERY brittle, and could lead the tories vulnerable to the mother of all pendulums in 2024. My fear was JC inheriting a Brexit mess he couldn’t fix, and being stuck with the shit sandwich. Now it’s the tories who have five years of solo munching.

If the Labour blairite/centrists grubby hands can be kept off the party leadership this could actually be an opportunity to finally get rid of them for good. Look at how many effectively deselected themselves during the 4 short years of JC; a five year spell of continued left leadership should encourage the rest of the careerists to hit the road -d epending on who wins the blame game.

I’d prefer to see an actual left party lose with 200 seats than a blairite technocrat centrist one win. WTF is the point of another Blairite leader? That’s part of the reason why the UK is in this bloody mess in the first place! Same in US with the Dems/Trump and Clintonites/Carter-ists. Imagine another 15 or 20 years of this tory / blair tweedle dum/dee game, and imagine the effect it’ll have in the 2030s or 2040s, Brexit and Trump will seem like Jackanory in comparison.

So the electorate made the wrong choice, they’ll find out soon enough. At least this time they HAD a choice.

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Daire O'Criodain - December 14, 2019

“I’d prefer to see an actual left party lose with 200 seats than a blairite technocrat centrist one win.” That says a lot. Worth reading a few times. For the “pure” Left, occupying the moral high ground is what counts above all. I sometimes wonder if electoral alienation is a relief to folks with this mindset because they are faced only with mental rather than real “choices”, as opposed to protesting against those who end up making those choices. Its a form of self-indulgent vanity to be honest.

And its not a binary world between (a) These are my principles and I will never deviate one iota from them; and (b) These are my principles, but if you don’t like them, I have others.

I can’t remember when during that long period of Fianna Fail hegemony from 1957 through 1973, maybe it was 1969, when a Fine Gael spokesperson claimed a moral victory after an election, his Fianna Fáil counterpart rejoined: “May you have many of them.”

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21. Brian Hanley - December 13, 2019

‘I’d prefer to see an actual left party lose with 200 seats than a blairite technocrat centrist one win. WTF is the point of another Blairite leader?’
Probably that there wouldn’t be the full scale assault on workers that there will be under the most right-wing Tory government in a generation, led by a man who has ridden a wave of reactionary sentiment that has broken Labour in its heartlands.
As for the rest, well best of luck with that.

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Dermot M O Connor - December 13, 2019

Or an illegal invasion of a middle eastern country that results in regional chaos and millions of dead / injured / mutlilated?

Like I said, I prefer no Labour PM than another Blair.

Hope was left in the bottom of Pandora’s box not as a consolation but because Hope (as in False hope) is the worst monster of all. That’s all that the Blairs and Clintons of this world have to offer. At least with some (Thatcher, Trump, Johnson) the mask is off.

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WorldbyStorm - December 14, 2019

Well Blair isn’t going to appear again. So is it even useful to keep dragging this into the discussion? And then again there’s the question as to what is Blairite? Is it policy, International, domestic, party organisation, what? Corbyn won the leadership broadly under the party organisational structures of Blair, so it can’t be that. Blairite policy kind of twisted and turned though one aspect was clear – redistribution, albeit rarely trumpeted. On the other hand, from my perspective policy also was horribly wrong in areas like education and so on where there was no particular defining principle albeit a lot of activity. But is that what is being criticised? Is it the lack of nationalisation? Or of social approaches? And when we talk about the working class and abandoning them what precisely is it that is being said and how does this differ from previous LP governments where the very same working class wound up voting in Tory governments? Or is it Iraq? A distinctly wrong approach, but was that part and parcel of “Blairism” or of Blair himself? MY belief fwiw is that it was the latter. Plenty of SD and soft left governments in Europe during the same period stayed well well away from his adventurism. But if it isn’t intrinsic to the soft left then is it intrinsic to Blairism?

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CL - December 14, 2019

“The problem was not the manifesto. Labour’s plans for nationalisation, public spending and wealth redistribution were popular, achievable, and would not have left Britain in a radically different place from many other European nations…..
Corbyn…. did not produce the crisis in the Labour party; it was the product of it, and this election result has now exacerbated it….
Corbyn’s departure creates a problem for centrists….
The trouble is, with him leaving they will now have to produce an agenda and a candidate of their own, and then offer those up to a party that has grown in size, even if it is momentarily diminished in confidence.”
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/13/labour-why-lost-jeremy-corbyn-brexit-media

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CL - December 14, 2019

“Jeremy Corbyn should have been able to see that the one thing Labour had to avoid, as Tony Blair had warned, was a Brexit election in which its ambivalent policy on leaving the EU was bound to sink it and close the door to remaining in the EU….
For many, Brexit and English national identity have united and submerged traditional loyalty to the Labour Party. This will be difficult to reverse.”-Patrick Cockburn
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/boris-johnson-general-election-result-corbyn-brexit-lucky-eu-a9246411.html

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22. Brian Hanley - December 14, 2019

Be careful what you wish for. There’s no reason why many of the people who abandoned it will ever go back to Labour, and if the explanations being offered by some of the Corbynites for failure are the best they can come up with, then they’ve learnt nothing. But still, great manifesto. That’ll be of a lot of consolation in years to come.

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Dermot M O Connor - December 14, 2019

And it’s well known that the working class abandonment of Labour began UNDER BLAIR, (between 1997 and 2001 there was a steep fall, which continued) which proves my point. You’ll find a lot of rot articles about “Blair didn’t abandon the WC, the WC abandoned him because their jobs changed”, but don’t be fooled. I had stats elsewhere, but this will suffice (from 2005)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/vote_2005/issues/4520847.stm

Labour is no longer ahead of the Conservatives among lower middle class voters (C1), which they cultivated in 1997. And its support among working class voters and council tenants has dropped sharply.

However, it has hung onto much of its support among owner-occupiers with a mortgage, who used to be the bedrock of Conservative support.

The working classes aren’t entirely stupid. They know when they’re being taken for granted – and if you really want to fuck them, give them another Blairite leader / PM and get back to me in 15 or 20 years.

“Best of luck with that”.

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Joe - December 14, 2019

Nah. I’d back a Corbynite Labour Party. But a Blairite Party? Never. Why bother with a Blairite Party when you’ve got the real thing in the Tories?

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Dermot M O Connor - December 14, 2019

The real defeat wouldn’t be losing the election it’ll be losing the party to those bastards again. Hope the last 4 years have been enough to uproot enough of them.

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WorldbyStorm - December 14, 2019

I would be very dubious about thinking another lost election would not be a catastrophic defeat for working people and something to be avoided at all costs. I also think we need to be careful in defining what we mean by Blairite. This seems to me to be fighting the last war, a war that has already been won by the broad left, rather than actually engaging with the key issues that led to a defeat this time out. the reality is that the election wasn’t lost by ‘Blairites’ – the LP went in with a. specific left programme, agreed fairly comprehensively by the membership and by its representiatives. Those who didn’t agree whether Lexiteer like Gisela Stuart or Kate Hoey had already jumped ship, or similarly the right fringe of Chuka etc had gone to the LDs or wherever. I really don’t think that focusing on Blairites is of any use whatsoever in looking at what happened here, or thinking that they constitute a significant part of the BLP as it currently stands.

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WorldbyStorm - December 14, 2019

By the way, I’d argue working class abandonment of Labour long predates Blair as evidenced by successive elections from 1951 onwards. In the modern period the obvious abandonment was 1979 through to 1997. The Tories won during that latter period precisely because a significant tranche of the working class detached to the right. But even that’s not the whole story because we see a not entirely dissimilar dynamic through the 1960s and 1970s. I don’t think it’s possible to see a sort of 1945 moment in perpetuity at any stage. Rather the working class or sections of it have been in play throughout.

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Dermot M O Connor - December 14, 2019

Interesting breakdown of party support (age/social class/ gender):

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2019/dec/12/general-election-2019-uk-live-labour-tories-corbyn-boris-johnson-results-exit-poll?page=with:block-5df3c0e68f08c39722639dea#block-5df3c0e68f08c39722639dea

Re: WC and Labour – yes, but Blair IIRC recovered it in 1997 (the landslide – wish I had the article where I read all this) and they very quickly moved away in 2001 when New Labour in power quickly disappointed them.
Take your point though – (Gaitskellism etc)

Hope to god you’re right about Blairism (or centrism or whatever we want to call it). Hard to see them not giving up yet though?

On a similar vein about this class dynamic being older, the blame of Clintonism in the US is analogous, but I was surprised to find this old Atlantic piece from the 70s, it was Carter who really got the problem going in the US.

From 1977!!!!

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1977/07/jimmy-carter-revealed-rockefeller-republican/404908/

QUOTE: Carter played skillfully on the eternal antigovern­ment constituency—traditionally a Republican gam­ bit. His more remarkable success, and his more impor­tant service to the status quo, was in dissolving latent constituencies within the Democratic fold—in blunt­ing the initiative and fogging the vision of a vestigially working-class party. This from a man who was billed not just as a Democrat but as something of a populist, yet saw neither villains nor victims in the society he asked to lead. According to Carter, there were no problems of economic or social justice in the land; no racism, no militarism. The job ahead was to make government as good as the people.

George McGovern, whistling in the dark, had been loyal to Carter throughout 1976, but by May 1977 be was seeing things from a different perspective. Distressed about Carter’s emphasis on a balanced budget and his reluctance to enact reforms in health care and welfare, McGovern remarked that it was hard to tell who won the election. Carter brushed away criticisms from McGovern and other liberals, saying, “They are very difficult to please.” And it was plain that he was not going to go out of his way to please them. Charles Kirbo, Carter’s lawyer friend from Atlanta, told reporters at breakfast recently that the President was pleased to be widening his base since the election. What did that mean? “He told me he was getting some support from Republicans,” Kirbo said. Not the first time or the last, I thought, and only fair, too.

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makedoanmend - December 14, 2019

Yeah WBS, the left likes to fight old battles while the right likes to prepare new battle grounds where they always have the advantage.

The right are the revolutionaries. They use democracy very effectively.

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ar scáth a chéile - December 14, 2019

The invasion of Iraq and the resulting catastrophe for the people of Iraq and beyond should damn Blairism and its spawn for the forseeable future in the eyes all right thinking socialists – in my respectful opinion.

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WorldbyStorm - December 14, 2019

I would hope that no-one is is arguing for Blair. what I’m trying to do here is tease out the use of Blairist in this context. For example, other European SD parties with near enough identical programmes as the British LP at the time refused to support the Iraq War, indeed so did most right of centre parties that was part of the problem for Bush, there was no broad international support for the conflict – so it’s difficult to say that support for that war was a functional element of the sort of programme that the BLP adopted during that period. Indeed with the BLP there were those who were staunch ‘Blairites’ on other issues who balked at the War, and rightly so (John Denham, Cook, etc). The problem is collapsing all these issues into a single term as if that is sufficiently explanatory. I’d argue that it isn’t. In a way it inadvertently winds up being used as a short hand for a very vague ‘stuff people don’t like’. But what stuff?

But much much more importantly it’s of near enough no use today given the changing nature of the BLP since, in truth the Brown period.

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WorldbyStorm - December 14, 2019

There’s also a key question beyond Blair himself and his machinations – why did Blair emerge in respect of the leadership of the BLP? What forces channelled him as a response (I include of course Brown, Cook, etc in all this. And before them Gould, and Kinnock and so on).And the key thing is the very specific nature of the British polity, Thatcherism, the delegitimisation of the left, etc, etc and trying to shape Labour as a vehicle that could successfully contest elections again in that polity after all those factors. I was reading recently about the attacks on Corbyn being unique and thinking, hmmm, pretty sure that’s not right given my experience of what Kinnock etc faced. But the point being that to take a measure of state power it took three elections and a very certain approach. Now I’m like you, enormously critical of much of that – for example, as noted above on education and other areas they simply didn’t address matters in the way that I believe was necessary in terms of moving towards a single education system etc, removing private education, etc, and so on. Similarly with the dancing around with fairly faux marketisation in health, etc, similarly in the lack of effort to take back into public ownership areas like railways and so on. Indeed part of the problem was that in reshaping Labour they went far too far to the right, some of them actually becoming indistinguishable from the softer parts of the Tories or the LDs. But it’s not all of a piece, for example, it was striking to me how the horrible Change crew in the UK had significant internal tensions in part because well, there were differences of approach on welfare and the state that meant that the umbrella issue of Brexit wasn’t enough to cover the gaps.

I’m with you 100% on the War, that was a criminal endeavour by Blair, built on hubris and ego and so on. He deserves all he gets on that (and I’ve no fondness for those who didn’t vote against him in his own cabinet etihe at the time). I’m sure he rationalised it by saying he could check the US but that was a nonsense. But in a way that was the anomalous aspect of a project that in many ways was the complete opposite, ie it was cautious to a fault, moving to stake out centre and even parts of the right of centre political territory to keep the voting alliance wide enough to take and retain state power and ultimately failing to protect and consolidate its left flank. But it didn’t come from nowhere, it was a response and a function of the primacy of the (at that stage) worst example of revanchist right wing government and ideology in the west. So, next time around it will be necessary to expand the LP support out so that it can encompass people who currently have and do and will vote Tory, etc, and that’s the key thing. How to do that without losing one’s poilitcla soul is the question. And how to do it so that it’s not twenty years between Labour administrations with all the misery for working people that that brings.

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23. CL - December 14, 2019

“A poll by Opinium, a research group, found the biggest reason given by former Labour voters for deserting the party were leadership (37 per cent), Brexit (21 per cent) and economic policies (6 per cent)….

Len McCluskey, head of the Unite trade union and a key figure in the party, blamed the defeat on the party’s “metropolitan wing” and the support for Remain by “leading members of the shadow cabinet” in a strongly worded article on Friday for HuffPost UK….

Mr Corbyn himself claimed on Friday that the Labour manifesto had “huge public support”, complaining that the election was “taken over ultimately by Brexit”….

But candidates around the country said they had encountered huge personal hostility towards their leader on doorsteps. The party’s position on Brexit — wanting a second referendum — helped it hold ground in Remain areas but angered many voters in Leave seats.”
https://www.ft.com/content/64c783d4-1dc2-11ea-9186-7348c2f183af

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Jim Monaghan - December 14, 2019

“Voters think a Conservative government led by Boris Johnson would do a better job than a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn when it came to protecting Britain’s national security (by 28 points), Britain’s standing in the world (by 18 points), getting the right outcome on Brexit (by 16 points), dealing effectively with crime (by 13 points) the economy and jobs, immigration (both by 10 points), and setting taxes at the right level (by just 2 points).

Labour under Corbyn is thought likely to do a better job on the NHS and public services (by 15 points), improving living standards for most people (by 12 points), protecting the environment (by 10 points), creating a happier society (by 8 points) and improving opportunities (by 2 points).

Labour Leave voters think the Conservatives would do better on Brexit, national security, Britain’s standing in the world and immigration – but, by wide margins, that Labour would do better in all other areas we asked about.” from https://lordashcroftpolls.com/2019/12/labour-support-solidifies-as-expectations-grow-of-a-tory-win-my-final-election-dashboard/
This seems to say “security”, anti-migrant stuff etc. drove a lot of Labour defections.

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24. nollaigoj - December 14, 2019

What makes Dominic Cummings tick?

Read all about it!

https://spartacus-educational.com/spartacus-blogURL129.htm

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25. Paddy Healy - December 14, 2019

“Political Tectonic Plates are Shifting in Northern Ireland”- Varadkar is Correct For a change! https://wp.me/sKzXa-brexit
It is not mainly due to Brexit! There are more fundamental underlying factors.
Overall Seats in General Election 2019: Nationalists 9 Unionists 8 Alliance 1 It never Happened Before!
4 Belfast Seats : Nationalists 3 Unionists 1 ( GE 2017: Unionists 3 nationalists 1)
Capital city of UK region officially called “Northern Ireland” is now definitively nationalist. Defeat of Unionist(DUP) candidate in North Belfast Constituency is historic.
(Belfast City Council Elected it’s first nationalist Lord Mayor in 1997)
New Official Unionist Party Leader, Steve Aiken, publicly Commented: “We must change our approach. The young people won’t stay. They like the scene in Manchester
For some time the majority of 3rd Level Students in the Six Counties have been nationalist.
11 of the 12 top performing schools at A-level are Catholic. The twelfth is Quaker!
The mainstay of the Unionist working class in Belfast-Shipbuilding, aircraft, engineering is gone!
For many years it has been illegal to discriminate in hiring employees on grounds of religious affiliation.

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EWI - December 14, 2019

Just waiting on the unionists to start rebranding as right-wing parties of the wealthy, for that elusive ‘cross-community’ vote.

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26. EWI - December 14, 2019

Purely-socialist parties do seem to be spectacularly unsuited to dealing with questions of nationality and imperialism, or even of framing a coherent policy (e.g. Irish Labour’s disarray in 1918, the Spanish PSOE and the Basques/Catalans, UK Labour today).

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WorldbyStorm - December 14, 2019

Bingo. My thoughts exactly – and I personally think a republican ‘nationalist’ strand to a left party is a strength not a weakness

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FergusD - December 14, 2019

How would that figure in the U.K.? British nationalism or maybe English nationalism? Hmm. Nationalism in those senses is basically imperialist and really racist. Anyway, what problems does nationalism solve?

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WorldbyStorm - December 14, 2019

It’s not even that it solves problems but that it seems to be an expression of identity regardless of location by near enough all humans to some degree or other, so it seems to me that it makes sense to acknowledge that and work with it usefully. For example, Scottish nationalism has at a political level a very inclusive aspect, Irish nationalism isn’t too bad in that respect either. I tend to the view that like most things it can tilt positive or negative. You raise an important point re English and British nationalism but one could see the former channelled into a less noxious form. Forms of localism can encompass aspects of nationalism too. But of course it is all rife with contradiction.

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Colm B - December 15, 2019

The nationalism of post-imperial nations are automatically reactionary as they emerged as part of an ideogical package that developed to justify imperialism to a domestic audience. Racism and imperial nostalgia are in the DNA of English, French, Russian etc. nationalism.
European small-nation nationalism emerged in opposition to this imperial ideology. This doesn’t make it automatically progressive but leaves it more open to left/progressive ideas. So Irish, Scottish, Basque etc. nationalisms have included reactionary elements but have generally developed in a progressive direction.

In line with that analysis, to anyone interested in how Marx’s views on nationalism and imperialism developed over time, I would recommend the magnificent “Marx at the Margins” by Kevin Anderson.

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WorldbyStorm - December 15, 2019

Thanks Colm, I’ll follow that up. Looks very interesting. Frankly I tend to the same view – size in relation to populations, history in relation to imperialism, all of these shape nationalism(s) to a very significant degree and lead to very different outcomes. And as you say, it doesn’t mean that they’re per se progressive, but… that openess is crucial and needs to be engaged with by all leftists.

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CL - December 15, 2019

And Marx’s views,as Kevin Anderson shows, were heavily influenced by his extensive study of the Irish question.

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27. CL - December 14, 2019

“In Thursday’s election the Tories got one seat for every 38,304 votes, while Labour needed 50,649 votes for each seat – the numbers for the Liberal Democrats and Greens were 331,226 and 857,513, respectively. Moreover, Corbyn’s “dramatic” result last night was only 3% lower than the 35.2% that won Tony Blair his third election in 2005”
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/13/sanders-warren-uk-elections

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Bartholomew - December 14, 2019

It’s not just first past the post. Looking at the results, there are much bigger discrepancies between the sizes of electorates than exist in Ireland. Do any of the posters here know what the rules/laws are about this in the UK? In Ireland, it’s in the constitution, probably a good idea. But looking at the figures below, 11,000 votes would elect an MP in the Western Isles, but 46,000 mightn’t in Bristol West. 21,000 would in Arafon.

These are 2017 figures.

In England, the largest is Bristol west 92,000 [on 2019 figures, more like 98,000]

Smallest: Newcastle central 55,500

The Welsh constituencies have a far smaller average electorate

Largest: Cardiff central 66,000

Smallest: Arfon 40,500

Northern Ireland is more in line with England

Smallest: Belfast West, 62,600

Largest: Upper Bann 80,000

Scotland is in the same range as Northern Ireland, with a few very low totals in the Highlands and Islands

Largest: Linlithgow and East Falkirk: 87,000

The smallest Scottish constituency, a complete outlier, is the Western Isles, 21,800
Then Orkney and Shetland: 34,500
Then Caithness: 47,500

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baalthor - December 15, 2019

The Cameron government had planned to reduce the overall number of constituencies and also have them of more equal size.

This was considered bad for Labour as their more urban constituencies are generally smaller in population.

The proposal got shelved but maybe Boris will bring it back – or maybe not, as he now owns some of these smaller constituencies in the former “red wall”.

Liked by 1 person

Bartholomew - December 15, 2019

Thanks very much. I had remembered Cameron’s proposals mainly as an attempt to reduce the number of MPs altogether, but I see that equalisation was also part of the remit. I went looking for the website of the boundary commisison for England, and found this:
‘By law, every constituency we propose must contain between 71,031 and 78,507 electors.’

Liked by 2 people

28. Jim Monaghan - December 15, 2019
gregtimo - December 18, 2019

In a word societal atomisation (which those lost in the big echo chambers of UK Labour didnt quite get, the far left perhaps worse) . So they need to start de-atomising by community organizing to rebuild the base in the lost northern+midland de-industrial while not making the mistake of next time neglecting the cities . A long term project easier said than done. Ties in with the media war . Atomised people more likely to believe either the Tory gutter press, the ‘quality press’ and/or social media (now the biggest danger and Tories invested a lot of money there as is the new norm) . We cant know the full extent of the problem due personalized messaging but this is now an area of serious academic research https://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/?s=Social+media+manipulation . Building a left media strategy is the no1 part of the job, but it will not be easy . Again having some media is not enough , it’s just an important part which our won broad left needs to get started on (and unfortunately our ‘broad left’ site went to sleep in October for example)

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tafkaGW - December 18, 2019

Dead right there Greg on the need for community organising and re-unionisation.

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tafkaGW - December 18, 2019

Thanks for those links Jim.

I’ve seen argued by the usual Lexiteers that you should ignore the numbers and concentrate on their political framing.

Down with empiricism I say! Evidence is often sooooo awkward.

The Tory vote motivation from Lord Ashcroft is enlightening.

Below the big ‘getting Brexit done’ lie, you have:

* “Having the right leadership” 25%
* “Anti-immigration” 24%

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29. roddy - December 15, 2019

My nationalism is soley based on not wanting to be connected toi an imperialist country like Britain.Any standing Ireland has in the world is due to it being one of the first to take on an imperialist neighbour.My “nationalism” does not want to discriminate against any other group of people be they indigenous,immigrants or anything else.

Liked by 1 person

Daniel Rayner O'Connor - December 15, 2019

Very good, Roddy. As one who is not a nationalist, but who supports progressive nationalist causes, I accept that that one of those is the struggle for the unification of an independent Ireland. Why, then, am I not a nationalist? It is because I am a communist and recognise that the programme of communism can be achieved only on a world scale. Each nationalist demand has to be measured on whether it is likely to advance that achievement; essentially, what is the more democratic option. The rule of thumb drafted by a certain V.I.Lenin and endorsed subsequently by a certain L.D.Trotsky is that the nationalism of an oppressed country is progressive, that of an oppressor is the other way. Of course,this means analysing each clash of nationalisms, and it is not easy, as in the most recent example, where so many intelligent leftists supported Brexit (essentially an inter-imperialist row, with Britain as the more developed adversary, and, so far from being oppressed, bring the leader in European neo-liberalism). It seems most likely that English nationalism will shrug off its brit imperial clothes and become ever more of an oppressor of Scotland, Ireland and perhaps Wales (a tricky one, here, which I can discuss another time). On the other hand any post Brexit trade agreement with America is likely to force the British union into a semi-colonial position, hence impressed. Even so,the Brits’ financial strength is likely to prove sufficient for their rulers to maintain their role of neighbourhood bully.

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tafkaGW - December 18, 2019

Largely agree.

Brexit, essentially an inter-imperialist row, with Britain as the more developed adversary, and, so far from being oppressed, being the leader in European neo-liberalism.

You said it comrade! And to suppose the British working class is going to benefit from the actual existing Brexit in the context of nostalgic neo-imperialism and the further dominance of US capital, is clearly a nonsense.

BTW, many other streams of socialism and anarchism, apart from that promoted by Ulyanov and Bronstein, take this attitude to nationalisms. Its all about the context.

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30. CL - December 18, 2019

Tony Blair makes his case:

“New Labour was an attempt to reunite the Liberal and Labour traditions of progressive politics. Both traditional left and right of the Labour tradition were expressly included, symbolised by me and John Prescott; but the far left was back to the fringe….
So, the party programme was reshaped around an appeal to aspiration as well as social justice, to business as well as unions; culturally it was strong on defence and law and order but also socially liberal….
It explicitly rejected the anti-Western worldview of the far left and was on the side of people who were patriotic about their country.
It was not – for all the caricature since we left office – a project of the metropolitan liberal elite….
We need policy for the future. Radical but modern. The agenda of the far left is not progressive; it’s a form of regression to an old statist, tax and spend programme of the Sixties and Seventies.
I understand why for some it has real attractions. It speaks to the intense feelings of marginalisation and desire for radical change.
It is a cry of rage against “the system”.
But it isn’t a programme for government….
The Labour Party is presently marooned on fantasy island. I understand would-be leaders will want to go there and speak the native language in the hope of persuading enough eventually to migrate to the mainland of reality….
But there is a risk that the only people speaking the language of reality to the party are those who don’t aspire to lead it.”
https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2019/12/tony-blair-s-speech-future-labour-and-progressive-politics-full-text

Thatcher- “Asked by a guest at the pre-dinner reception what her greatest achievement was, she replied robustly: “Tony Blair and New Labour – we forced our opponents to change.”
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/margaret-thatcher/9991815/Conor-Burns-MP-My-fondest-farewell-to-Margaret-Thatcher.html

“Try to imagine Jeremy Corbyn in Tony Blair’s post-political role: flying around the world, enriching himself by striking deals with tyrants and oil companies. Try to picture John McDonnell setting up, like Blair’s righthand man, Peter Mandelson, a consultancy that gives reputational advice to controversial corporations. Try to picture Rebecca Long-Bailey being caught in a sting, like three of Blair’s former ministers, who offered undercover journalists political influence in exchange for cash.”
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/20/labour-conservative-party.

For Blair and the Thatcherites there is no reality, no alternative, but neoliberal reality-a reality that they played a great part in creating.

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31. GearóidGaillimh - December 18, 2019

Laura Pidcock, deposed left-wing MP for North West Durham, on the election. https://medium.com/@laura.pidcock.mp

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