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Shinbone Star: Bloody Hell

Written By: - Date published: 9:31 am, July 18th, 2016 - 35 comments
Categories: activism, International, Politics, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, uk politics - Tags: ,

Caaaaan’t liiiiiive, if living is without youuuuu….

Corbyn is on the ballot. Constituency Labour Parties and subsidiary branches are suspended until September. The hundred thousand or so members who joined post-Brexit cannot vote. Neither can anyone who joined after mid-January, including every single member of the recently re-affiliated Fire Brigades Union. Well, they can all vote, but only if they pay £25 to register as a supporter – up from £3 less than twelve months ago. The NEC made all of these decisions in the aftermath of the decision to put Corbyn on the ballot. The NEC itself is up for re-election this month, with Corbyn candidates likely to form the new majority.

There are currently TWO unity candidates, one, Angela Eagle, announced her candidacy to a room which emptied of journalists as she spoke and the other, Owen Smith, is hoping Sunday is slow news day, but just can’t catch a break in these rapidly breaking, broken times.


He also looks, well, like every other machine politician.

Meanwhile Progress, the internal Labour think tank for the centre right whose members made up the upper echelons of Labour for over a decade, is issuing (terrible) guidance on how to run a street stall to recruit the public to the £25 membership vote – having spent the previous three weeks encouraging the public to join the party to vote Corbyn out of office. The pro-Corbyn membership is also at work, but given its more grassroots approach needs absolutely no help in running a street stall.

The Parliamentary Labour Party’s most effective attack line against Corbyn has been not to attack the man, but the actions of the more extreme among the 250,000 or more people who support him. MP’s have been subject to awful abuse on Twitter and via email, and a brick was thrown through Angela Eagle’s constituency office window one night. Corbyn himself has condemned the abuse and violence and called for calm, but to his critics that is not good enough. Ben Bradshaw MP tweeted that Corbyn’s ‘…ritual condemnation is not enough. Jeremy must ACT against such violence now’. Whether Corbyn can be responsible for 250,000 people is an interesting question, and it would seem the only ACTION that Bradshaw wants is Corbyn’s resignation.

“…I can’t liiiiive, I can’t give any mooooore”

The media are pretty much united against the incumbent Labour leader. One journalist has called Corbyn supporters Leninists who want to send women to the gulag, even though that’s Stalin they’re thinking of. With the Parliamentary Labour Party seemingly dedicated to a daily schedule of comment pieces and media appearances to say how awful it is, and all membership activities suspended, nobody’s quite sure whether the Labour Party is an Opposition any more. It certainly doesn’t seem to notice that the Conservatives have wrapped up their leadership campaign, renovated the Cabinet and are getting on with things.

The leadership election doesn’t conclude until Labour Conference, which means there’s at least another two months of this. But what are the potential September 25th scenarios?

Corbyn wins

“Parliamentary Labour Party, what’s good?”

A second mandate in twelve months would not be the end of it, but it would make it immensely harder for the Parliamentary Labour Party to continue to oppose him as leader. Not that it would stop them, with some sources already indicating they’re willing to keep challenging him until he leaves.

The return of CLP meetings would see a furious membership, on both sides, release two and a bit months of pent up rage. They may put forward motions of no confidence in the MPs who opposed the Labour leader (this is partly why they were suspended in the first place) and some motions against Corbyn. These are non-binding, just like the Parliamentary Labour Party’s vote last month was. If Conference passes rules regarding deselection of MPs, then that could soon begin

Could that see the split that the PLP have warned about happen? The majority of Labour MPs could form their own party, creating a vicious legal battle over the ownership of the Labour name itself. There’s an echo of the SDP split in the early eighties which worries the MPs, knowing that the divided vote would be blamed upon those who walk away.

Corbyn Loses

“I surrender!”

The PLP get the candidate they wanted, for the first time since Gordon Brown was elected unopposed in 2007. Should Angela Eagle win, she’ll be given time but probably be replaced within a year like Corbyn – the must more ‘electable’ Owen Smith is the favoured candidate, demonstrated by the in-fighting between the two unity candidate camps. Then there’s the problem of the membership.

The CLP meetings return and the membership will be furious in a different way. Labour members aren’t happy that they’ve all effectively been suspended from meeting, and with Corbyn’s support among the grassroots there’d still be a wave of no confidence motions and de-selection calls. The party would have to decide whether to expel the pro-Corbyn members and blacklist Momentum, potentially losing over 200,000 members in the process (that’s approximately how many have joined since last year)

Split? Maybe. Corbyn may have a minority of MPs but the power among the grassroots means that a favourable NEC election and future CLP elections could see his supporters in the key organisational roles within the party’s structure. The PLP would be relatively isolated as a result.

Tony Blair destruction
It’ll be just like the good old days!

Either way the membership are going to express their utter dismay at the actions of the Parliamentary Labour Party of recent weeks. Even if Corbyn loses, his supporters may still be elected to a majority on the NEC and there are still sufficient numbers of them in branches and CLP’s to be elected to executive positions within them. The best case scenario requires dead-set parties entirely reversing their positions, be it the Parliamentary Labour Party recognising the mandate of the membership or the membership settling down should the PLP approved candidate win out. Either way, this doesn’t end on September 24th.

35 comments on “Shinbone Star: Bloody Hell ”

  1. Bill 1

    The NEC itself is up for re-election this month, with Corbyn candidates likely to form the new majority

    Who votes for NEC members? When do they assume their positions? And if ‘Corbyn candidates’ form the majority, then what’s to prevent the NEC from re-visiting and over-turning the freeze date?

    I can see that the £25 voting fee is kind of ‘locked in’, given that registration and payment will all have taken place before any NEC election, but the freeze date and the restrictions of voting through affiliates can be reversed, no?

    • John Palethorpe 1.1

      Hi Bill,

      The membership vote for the NEC and I believe that INCLUDES all the post January intake as well. There’s a Corbyn slate that’s being promoted by his supporters.

      The NEC may reverse it, but that could see further claims regarding the 25 quidders – there’s already a consumer advice bureau complaint about denying membership. Corbyn’s smart, he’s leaving the actual legal action and rule twisting to his opponents – furthers their image as a devious bunch.

  2. Enviro Gal 2

    Corbyn might be a nice man but

    • Anne 2.1


    • Paul 2.2

      Enviro Gal repeats the Blairite talking points.
      Do you have a view or are you just an echo chamber for the establishment?

    • Bill 2.3

      Depending on your idea of what constitutes ‘a leader’, that could be complement and a positive asset for Corbyn. It kind of depends of whether leadership is seen in terms of personality and ‘strong man’ nonsense, or whether giving cogent political expression to peoples ideas and wants is leadership.

      He’s got nothing but aces on the second front.

      • McFlock 2.3.1

        And the other front is leading his caucus, which he actually seems to be doing creditably well – his opponents are divided and lack overwhelming support, he’s confident enough to not be cowed by their pr and quit too soon, and he’s familiar enough with procedure to prevent little shenanigans (like dropping him from the ballot) coming to pass.

        • Bill

          ..he’s confident enough to not be cowed by their pr and quit too soon

          I’m not sure it’s so much confidence as it is about principle. Confidence can be shattered, but if you’re actions are grounded in principle, then there’s little or no personal target – no confidence to undermine.

          I don’t think he’ll be quitting at all btw. If and when members vote for someone else, he’ll be gone. But aside from that, he is where he is and will stay right there, no?

          • McFlock

            I agree that he won’t quit.
            I guess my point is that a lesser leader might have considered his position untenable and felt that resigning quickly would be best for the party and himself.

            Whereas Corbyn maintained focus on the fact that the leadership is chosen by the membership, not the caucus, and called the dissenting caucus members on their bluff.

  3. Anthony Rimell 3

    Yes, Enviro Gal: because leaders: build grass-roots movements; expound a real vision; show how that vision is achievable; energise the base to work to achieve it.

    Sure Enviro Gal, Jeremy has done all these things, but as you say it’s because he’s a nice man. Never a leader, eh? (Is that a Tui’s ad I see coming up behind you?)

  4. North 4

    Why ? Because Corbyn’s vision is informed by ordinary people and sees beyond the Blairite ‘leader template’. And because it sits well with Democracy.

  5. Sirenia 5

    There was a by-election somewhere in England last week and the Corban-supporting Labour candidate got over 50% of the vote and increased the party vote several percentage points. while the UKIP vote went down. So hardly unelectable.

  6. Enviro Gal 6

    Why ?
    When more than two thirds of the elected Labour members
    think that Corbyn is not leader, then his time is limited.
    When more than a third of Labour voters prefer Theresa May
    There is a problem.
    I wish I had more time to expand reasons.

    • Johan 6.1

      Do not keep “throwing in the bomb” and leave. How about some real analysis?

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      Don’t worry about those Blairite Labour MPs, they will all be deselected by their own electorate membership soon.

    • Colonial Viper 6.3

      ” When more than a third of Labour voters prefer Theresa Ma”

      Source please, or you’re spreading bullshit.

        • adam

          So the blairites would rather a hard right PM that a socialist one elected by the membership.

          Is telling.

          Labour in the UK is toast when the neo-liberals are willing to go this far.

          • te reo putake

            The Blairies don’t make up a third of the LP membership. They don’t make up a third of the caucus either. That’s part of the problem; calling all members and MP’s who think Corbyn should go Blairites is to not understand the issue.

            • adam

              I did not call members who called for Corbyn to go blairtes, as if you read my comment again you will see.

              No hidden message no over analysis, because I’m not on the ground. All I’m seeing is a conservative press machine hard out day after day attacking Corbyn. This opens the door for the hard right memes, like labour supporters support the Tory scum bag PM.

              Which begs the question. Who but a Tory git would even ask that question? It serves one purpose, to put forward an divisive agenda, well nothing new there either. What is depressing is the amount of people falling for it…

            • You_Fool

              Not to burst any bubbles around here but…

              “Of people who identified as Labour voters, 31 per cent said they thought Ms May would be better. 23 per cent of Labour voters said they didn’t know who would be better and 46 per cent said they thought Mr Corbyn would be the best person for the job.”

              So just under a third of people identifying as Labour voters said that, but anyone could identify as a labour voter if they wanted without being a labour party member.

            • swordfish

              TRP “The Blairites don’t make up a third of the LP membership. They don’t make up a third of the caucus either.”

              Well, no, but add the Brownites and the Old Right to the Blairites and you have more than a quarter of Labour members and over 60% of the PLP. They collectively represent the Centre-Right of the Party and the broad Westminster-Establishment consensus.

              It’s true, though, that the Soft Left-Compass faction of the PLP has split, with a section throwing their lot in with the Brownite Centre and Blairite New Right.

              And (like Owen Jones – a Corbyn-supporter but by no means an uncritical one), I do acknowledge that some of Corbyn’s ratings over the last 10 months have been pretty dire – some of it his (and his advisors’) fault, a good deal of it, though, down to a vehemently hostile media and a PLP caucus more than happy to sabotage at every opportunity.

    • framu 6.4

      just once i would like to see the “anti corbyns” take the argument to the next step –

      “Does that then follow that stabbing the leader in the back, in public, is the right or wrong way to go about it?”

      opinions are fine – its the actions that are causing the damage

    • Paul 6.5

      Recommend you watch this film about your hero Tony.

    • Rodel 6.6

      EG Never mind wishing you had more time. I wish you had more reasons. (or for that matter any reasons)

    • swordfish 6.7

      Enviro Gal “When more than a third of Labour voters prefer Theresa May. There is a problem.”

      Well, just under a third actually (as You_Fool points out above).

      I agree it’s a problem (about 1/3 of Labour voters also say Corbyn is doing “a bad job”) and those of us who are strongly sympathetic to the Corbyn/McDonnell revolution shouldn’t just dismiss it.

      But things tend to be a little more complex than the anti-Corbynistas would have us believe.

      For one thing, at the time of his election as leader last year, Corbyn was considered more electable by both Labour voters and voters in general than the Blairite candidate Liz Kendall (who suffered particularly poor ratings) and the Brownite Yvette Cooper. Something the Centre-Right of the PLP likes to keep quiet about.

      For another, this latest Com Res Poll suggests Labour voters have very little faith in the prospects and abilities of his two rivals:
      Who has more chance of winning a General Election for Labour ?
      Labour Voters

      Jeremy Corbyn 44%
      Owen Smith 26%

      Jeremy Corbyn 50%
      Angela Eagle 23%

    • reason 6.8

      Expand on a whole lot of media lies and smears ???

      “Three-quarters of newspaper stories about Jeremy Corbyn in the first months of his leadership either distorted or failed to represent his actual views on subjects, a study has found.” …..

      The media researchers found that in 52 per cent of articles about the Labour leader, his own views were not included – while in a further 22 per cent they were “present but taken out of context” or otherwise distorted.

      In just 15 per cent of 812 articles analysed, Mr Corbyn’s views were present but challenged, and in only 11 per cent were they present without alteration” http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-corbyn-media-bias-attacks-75-per-cent-three-quarters-fail-to-accurately-report-a7140681.html

      How did Theresa May vote on the Iraq war? , Libya ?, Syria ? .

      Does she believe Blair should be arrested ?.

      I could be wrong but she is probably a disloyal opportunist with no ethics ….

      Someone like Corbyn who leads by example and does the right thing is probably making her sick ……………… how will she teach those irresponsible voters who like his honesty so much???

    • weston 6.9

      gosh enviro gal shall i put the jug on ??

    • Eevee 6.10

      Re. JC as a Opposition Leader – his results seem effective. The reigning Tory Government has had to rein in their more outrageous austerity, education, welfare plans. The Tory government is ‘addressing’ the precariat class. (No solutions, just ‘talking at them’.)

      The Neo-Libs have won when their opposition internalises their policies. The resurgent grassroots Labour are repudiating Neoliberalism policies.

  7. mosa 7

    I thought that grassroots members are the reason there is a Labour party, the whole membership cant be wrong.
    They want Corbyn pure and simple.

  8. North 8

    So it comes down then to what two thirds of the elected Labour members ‘think’ does it ? Well no it doesn’t of course. Corbyn has proven that.

    A very poor circular argument which leads right back to this -“Corbyn is not a leader because he’s not a Blairite”. A nonsense argument unless you’re a Blairite feeling affronted.

  9. Xanthe 9

    Enviro gal would have to be just about the best possible handle for a shill ….. congrats! Did you think of it_ yourself?

  10. dukeofurl 10

    Remember the last un-electable extremist who became a UK party leader ?

    An unelectable extremist who hijacked their party has already served as prime minister – her name was Margaret Thatcher
    The Iron Lady’s similarities with Jeremy Corbyn are striking – right up to her election, many Tories saw her as a walking electoral disaster

    “Thatcher was the figurehead for a small neo-liberal gang, seen as having little potential traction with the wider electorate, even by her own party. “

    • seeker 10.1

      @dukeofurl 4.59pm
      “figurehead for a small neo-liberal gang”

      No wonder she seemed so wary when she first got in, as she was always asking “are they one of us?”
      I could not understand who she was talking about as ‘we’ all lived in the same country.
      Never wanted her in but little did I know just how really bad, ruthless and divisive she would be for Britain as one of ‘them’. Ugh!

  11. swordfish 11

    “The Parliamentary Labour Party’s most effective attack line against Corbyn has been not to attack the man, but the actions of the more extreme among the 250,000 or more people who support him. MP’s have been subject to awful abuse on Twitter and via email, and a brick was thrown through Angela Eagle’s constituency office window one night. Corbyn himself has condemned the abuse and violence and called for calm, but to his critics that is not good enough.

    The media are pretty much united against the incumbent Labour leader. One journalist has called Corbyn supporters Leninists who want to send women to the gulag,”

    Seems to be a two-pronged campaign to encourage women Party members to desert Corbyn. First, multiple opinion-pieces in the MSM emphasising “how embarrassing it is” that the Tories have now had 2 women leaders and Labour none (with the implicit message: Vote Eagle) … and, second, to whip up hysteria around the notion that Corbynistas are a bunch of violent dude-bro misogynists (when, in fact, Momentum volunteers are disproportionately women).

    Clearly, the PLP plotters see women as the key to toppling Corbyn.
    Despite the cooling of membership attitudes towards the current leader in the wake of the EU Referendum, Women members of the Party remain consistently more supportive of Corbyn than male members.

    YouGov Poll of Labour Party Members (May and June 2016)

    ……………………………………Men ……….Women …….Diff
    Corbyn doing well or badly as Leader of the Labour Party ?
    May 2016
    WELL ………………………….68%…………..77%……………+9
    BADLY ………………………..31%…………..22%……………- 9

    June 2016
    WELL …………………………..48%…………..55%……………+7
    BADLY …………………………51%…………..43%…………..- 8

    ……………………………………Men ……….Women …….Diff
    Should Corbyn continue to lead the Labour Party ?
    May 2016
    SHOULD ……………………….80%…………..81%……………+ 1
    SHOULD NOT ………………..17%…………..11%……………- 6

    June 2016
    SHOULD ……………………….47%…………..56%……………+ 9
    SHOULD NOT ………………..48%…………..40%……………- 8

    ……………………………………Men ……….Women …….Diff
    Do you think the shadow cabinet
    members who resigned this week to try
    and force Jeremy Corbyn to step down
    as leader were right or wrong to do so ?

    June 2016
    WRONG ………………………..55%…………..66%……………+ 11
    RIGHT …………………………..42%…………..29%……………- 13

    ……………………………………Men ……….Women …….Diff
    If there were another Labour leadership
    election, how likely, if at all, is it that
    you would vote for Jeremy Corbyn ?

    May 2016
    LIKELY ………………………..61%…………..67%……………+ 6
    UNLIKELY …………………..36%…………..30%……………- 6

    June 2016
    LIKELY ………………………..48%…………..55%……………+ 7
    UNLIKELY ……………………51%…………..43%……………- 8

    ……………………………………Men ……….Women …….Diff
    Imagine there was a leadership election
    and these were the candidates, who
    would you vote for ?

    June 2016
    CORBYN ………………………..47%…………….54%……………+ 7
    EAGLE ……………………………43%…………….36%……………- 7

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