British Politics



  • I read this the other week and thought it was interesting. Like many of the hard-left stripe Corbyn's egalitarianism doesn't apply to him apparently. In my experience some of the hard leftists are amongst the most judgemental and prejudiced I've come across, in their own way little different to the fascist-lite morons in the UK's hard right parties.
     
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/11762773/Ive-lived-under-Jeremy-Corbyns-rule-it-turned-me-into-a-Tory.html

    By Janet Daley

    2:32PM BST 25 Jul 2015

    So much has already been said about Jeremy Corbyn. What could possibly be left to add to the forensic process of dismemberment? Is there a shred of discrediting evidence that remains to be examined?

    Well yes, actually there is. Not much attention has been paid to the concrete consequences of his “principles” on the lives of real people who are compelled to live under them. You may think that there is a good reason for this. You may be under the impression that Mr Corbyn has never held actual power: that his policies are the usual fantasy politics of the extreme Left which has never been able (in Britain, anyway) to apply its ideology. But you would be wrong.

    I have lived in Corbyn World and I am here to tell you what it was like

    Reader, I have lived in Corbyn World and I am here to tell you what it was like. It was in the London borough of Haringey, where my husband and I lived in the Seventies, in which Mr Corbyn made his first notable appearance on the public stage. As well as being a major force on Haringey council and in the Hornsey Labour Party, he had a day job as a full-time official of the National Union of Public Employees (now part of Unison) which involved him in employment negotiations with local councils.

    This dual role was not seen, oddly enough, as a conflict of interest. But the employment conditions of the council’s workforce were only one element of his political programme. Mr Corbyn’s world view is often described as a “return to the politics of the Eighties” but, in fact, it was Haringey in the Seventies that was the pure, unspoilt article: an era of undaunted moral certainty before the debacle of the 1983 general election which reduced the hard Left to a despairing, rancid protest movement. 
    Back then, both the Labour council and the Hornsey Labour Party had been infiltrated by activists from the Trotskyist organisations which I knew well, having been involved with their activities in my own far-Left days in the Sixties. A great many of our friends (comrades?) from what was then known as International Socialism – later relaunched as the Socialist Workers Party – had joined the entryist army into Labour with the specific intention of running for local council seats. Many of them, like Mr Corbyn, earned their living as trade union officials. So the composition of what was officially a conventional Labour borough council was, in fact, a proactive militant engine for class war and anti-capitalist agitation. One form this took played a particularly memorable part in our family history. 
    We lived in what the Labour council referred to, with open contempt, as “the western half of the borough”, meaning the middle-class (sorry, “bourgeois”), largely owner-occupier, neighbourhoods of Muswell Hill, Crouch End and Highgate. How they hated us – in spite of the fact that we were the ones who funded all of their social engineering projects with our local taxes (then called “rates”), and supported the vast tracts of council estate to the east which were their electoral heartlands. 
    They were particularly annoyed by the tendency of many, but by no means all, of the people in our part of the borough to vote Conservative. To correct this unfortunate political imbalance, the council would buy up properties in the area whenever they became available and turn them into council housing, with the intention of injecting Labour voters into Tory communities. This is, of course, a form of gerrymandering but leave that to one side. As it turned out, the project was much more interesting and politically educative than a simple manipulation of constituencies. 
    One of the houses they bought was the rather rundown but spacious Victorian property to which our semi was attached. They then left it empty and unsecured. Within weeks of the purchase, it was occupied by squatters who were not the desperate homeless of Haringey but an international assemblage of people who included an Italian rock musician with a Jaguar, several young Irish people who appeared distinctly un-impoverished and a couple of Americans. This odd collective then proceeded to sell drugs quite openly on the doorstep and from the window of the Jaguar parked outside, and to hold all-night festivities which reverberated through the party wall where our two young children were sleeping – or not sleeping as the case may be. 
    Once, in the small hours of the morning, my husband walked over to the house of our local councillor – one Jeremy Corbyn – and rang the doorbell. Mr Corbyn leant out of an upstairs window and complained that he was trying to sleep, to which my husband replied that so were we – perhaps he would like to take some steps to remove the delinquents next door who were making that impossible. 
     
    None of this, I hasten to mention, could possibly have had any connection to the fact that Piers Corbyn, brother of Jeremy, was then a Squatters’ Association organiser and spokesman, as well as a member of the International Marxist Group, a rival to International Socialism, which was widely believed to have a Maoist orientation. (Sorry, this is getting confusing, isn’t it? It was another world.) 
    Anyway, all of our complaints to the Haringey housing authorities were ignored. We wrote letters to the local newspaper expressing our genuine shock at the property being taken over by people who were clearly not in material need, or from the local housing waiting list. 
    Well, eventually the police came to our rescue by making a drugs bust on the squatters, and they secured the crime scene properly. This embarrassment seemed to have some effect on the council, and work to renovate the property finally began. Sort of. What followed was a further illuminating chapter in how things worked in Corbyn World. 
    Back in the day, before a Tory government insisted that local councils put building work out to competitive tender, there existed what were known as “direct labour” forces. Haringey’s own army of tradesmen moved on to the site but as they had no interest in being cost-effective, their work ethic was – to put it mildly – patchy. They would arrive at around 10 in the morning, dump their materials on the premises and go off for breakfast – which usually lasted until lunch time. Then they would return to do a few hours’ work and knock off at around 4.30pm. In spite of this desultory time-keeping, no expense was being spared on the project. 
    We marvelled at the quality and array of fittings that were – slowly but steadily – being installed. Most of them were far beyond our financial reach. (It is worth noting that we were a desperately hard-up artist and writer respectively, scraping a living with part-time teaching and freelance work. We had only just managed to get a mortgage during my husband’s brief period of full-time employment as the designer of a Left-wing magazine.) 
     
    We learnt, in the end, the reason for this very high standard of interior finish. The two flats into which the house had been converted were not destined for poor tenants on the housing waiting list, but for high-level council staff whose bourgeois tastes were impeccable. Indeed, one of the first items of furniture to enter the ground-floor flat was a baby grand piano. 
    But that bit of information had to be relayed to us by our erstwhile neighbours because by that time we had fled northwards to raise our family in an outer London Conservative borough which did not detest half its residents. 
    This story has everything you need to know about life as it was under Corbyn Labour â€“ class hatred, the indulgence of unionised labour, and the Soviet-style handing out of favours to party loyalists on the council payrolls. Mr Corbyn often says that his political principles have not changed. Take that as a threat.



  • You can say what you like about Corbyn's sometimes loony ideas but he is in stark contrast to Blair in that he is a conviction politician rather than the Blair ideal of "I'm a man of principles and if you don't like those principles then I'll change them". The other difference of course is that Blair was electable.
     
    Says a lot about the UK electorate.

    It says a lot about most people. Most of the electorate (I think the USA is the exception) aren't conservative, socialist or anything else. If you talk to regular people, they like a broad range of ideas. One of my friends thinks Greens are hippies but told me he voted for Celia Wade-Brown (the green mayor of Wellington) in the last election. Most people do have some sort of values but they are rarely sharply defined. Most people just don't have strong political convictions and I think for the most part that is a good thing.
     
    I think Labour's mistake in Scotland is not having the Scottish Labour Party be a seperate party to Labour. If you are Scottish why would you not vote for the SNP? More SNP MP's will be able to gain more leverage to gain Scotland a better deal. Labour MP's aren't going to be able to put the same pressure on the government. Despite the SNP's great results, Indpendence is not ahead in the polls.



  • I read this the other week and thought it was interesting. Like many of the hard-left stripe Corbyn's egalitarianism doesn't apply to him apparently. In my experience some of the hard leftists are amongst the most judgemental and prejudiced I've come across, in their own way little different to the fascist-lite morons in the UK's hard right parties.
     
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/11762773/Ive-lived-under-Jeremy-Corbyns-rule-it-turned-me-into-a-Tory.html

    Hilarious, one of the reasons I have no time for  the left is their rank hypocrisy both in people like Corbyn and people I've worked with or for over the years who've talked a good game about their labour principles but never actually displayed any trace of them . My favourite anecdote about Helen Clark comes from one of Jane Cliftons columns where Clark berated her for saying that it was a bit rich for her to be talking up her cloth cap principles when she spent xmas heli skiing . Clark said she wasn't heli skiing she was in fact cross country skiing and the helicopter was only there to take their bags from one campsite to the next. Ffs.



  • Didn't the Tories win by close to 100 seats? There are only 50 odd seats in Scotland.
    I agree that guys like Corbyn and Benn can be admired for practicing what they preach. That's not a particularly common trait in politics. Pity that what they preach is largely bollocks.
    Whatever the case, Cameron is laughing into his latte right now.

    They beat Labour by 99 seats but had an overall majority of only 12. SNP had 56 seats, the majority of which they took from Labour.



  • That cannot be right.
    The Conervatives got enough seats to govern alone. Even if you gave all the SNP seats to Labour, wouldn't have changed the fact that the Conservatives won.

    True but my point stands. Labour did not get wiped out by the Conservatives. Most Conservative gains were at the expense of the Lib Dems who lost nearly 50 seats. Labour got trashed in Scotland. Yeah the Tories got enough to govern alone (just) but Scotland is where Labour are bleeding.



  • The high polling of the SNP before the election would have scared some potential Labour voters in England.



  • Good point Duluth.



  • Unfortunately those ideas seem to be always loony and his principle seem to be a mad insistence on turning the Uk into a large scale version of Greece. What I don't understand is if you are a loony leftard who is as out of touch with economic reality as his supporters are why destroy the Labour party? They already have a home in the Uk Greens, why not fuck off there instead of ignoring the fact that in the past 40 years or so the only time Labour has got into power is by accepting that the electorate prefers the middle ground.

    Thats the thing, why should they? Old school labour - traditional labour is exactly what Corbyn is pushing. So there is a very strong feeling in the party that the party the signed up to is not the onme they have & that Corbyn will take it back to where it was. 
     
    They don't want Labour to be the Greens, they want Labour to be what Labour was for 99% of its time. The fact that that labour in unelectable is beside the point. The group you are calling the looney left are in fact core Labour party - and the majority of Labour party members. He's simply preaching traditional Labour.
     
    Blairs genius was to be centrist & pretend to the core of his party that Labour values still mattered. They were so excited at getting rid of the Torys they never checked to see what they now stood for

    The high polling of the SNP before the election would have scared some potential Labour voters in England.

    Very much so. That was a great campaign, it basically said "if you vote Labour or Lib Dem in England we get ruled by that mental scots bitch."
     
    And it worked a treat. Doubly so by Milliband not being trusted not to hand power to her to get in. He was seen as such a spineless fucker that the electorate thought "he will never stand up to her"



  • Thats the thing, why should they? Old school labour - traditional labour is exactly what Corbyn is pushing. So there is a very strong feeling in the party that the party the signed up to is not the onme they have & that Corbyn will take it back to where it was.
    They don't want Labour to be the Greens, they want Labour to be what Labour was for 99% of its time. The fact that that labour in unelectable is beside the point. The group you are calling the looney left are in fact core Labour party - and the majority of Labour party members. He's simply preaching traditional Labour.
    Blairs genius was to be centrist & pretend to the core of his party that Labour values still mattered. They were so excited at getting rid of the Torys they never checked to see what they now stood for
    Very much so. That was a great campaign, it basically said "if you vote Labour or Lib Dem in England we get ruled by that mental scots bitch."
    And it worked a treat. Doubly so by Milliband not being trusted not to hand power to her to get in. He was seen as such a spineless fucker that the electorate thought "he will never stand up to her"

    I'd argue traditional labour was all about getting a fair deal for working people and the welfare state not originally a party for beardos, feminists , the lbgt community , and all the other groups that have joined and turned it into the factionalised joke it is now . The British Labour Party has the luxury of fpp which means they can afford to tell them to fuck off to the greens if they don't want to move to the middle . The greens are fairly irrelevant there so those that did go would be effectively wasting their vote and labour would look like a safer pair of hands .
    I hope he wins , it'd be interesting to see what happens. Has Russell Brand endorsed him yet?



  • True but my point stands. Labour did not get wiped out by the Conservatives. Most Conservative gains were at the expense of the Lib Dems who lost nearly 50 seats. Labour got trashed in Scotland. Yeah the Tories got enough to govern alone (just) but Scotland is where Labour are bleeding.

    But Labour didn't "lose" the election. They started from behind and dropped even further back,  because their previous successes in Scotland had made Scotland all but irrelevant to the Tories. Labour spent the last four elections building a firebreak for the Tories, so when the SNP's time came all there was left to burn north of the border was Labour seats.
     
    To put it another way, thanks to Labour the Tories learnt how to govern without Scottish seats, after which all they had to do was marginalise the Lib Dems and take their seats. It makes absolutely no difference to Cameron whether the Scottish seats are held by Labour or the SNP, for him it was a zero sum game. Although I'm sure he'd love some Scottish seats, the Labour vs SNP thing was effectively a sideshow
     
    There's a lesson there for the Nats I think: decimating your opponents is fine, but destroy them and you lose control over who your next opponent is.



  • I'd argue traditional labour was all about getting a fair deal for working people and the welfare state not originally a party for beardos, feminists , the lbgt community , and all the other groups that have joined and turned it into the factionalised joke it is now . The British Labour Party has the luxury of fpp which means they can afford to tell them to fuck off to the greens if they don't want to move to the middle . The greens are fairly irrelevant there so those that did go would be effectively wasting their vote and labour would look like a safer pair of hands .
    I hope he wins , it'd be interesting to see what happens. Has Russell Brand endorsed him yet?

    See the thing is (and this is a generalisation) if you give these people something, they just come back for more. If you give the unions a 5% pay rise, then they will expect that every year and just start striking if they don't get it. The traditional labour parties of the 1930's were highly successful political forces and they basically achieved all of their goals. It was Clement Atlee who set up the NHS. In New Zealand, what goals did Savage and Fraser have that weren't realised? How many of their policies were reversed when Holland got elected? The problem with Labour is that unionism just isn't a powerful movement and people don't believe in the class struggle. I don't think it is always their policies which are the problem but rather the way their policies are framed.



  • See the thing is (and this is a generalisation) if you give these people something, they just come back for more. If you give the unions a 5% pay rise, then they will expect that every year and just start striking if they don't get it. The traditional labour parties of the 1930's were highly successful political forces and they basically achieved all of their goals. It was Clement Atlee who set up the NHS. In New Zealand, what goals did Savage and Fraser have that weren't realised? How many of their policies were reversed when Holland got elected? The problem with Labour is that unionism just isn't a powerful movement and people don't believe in the class struggle. I don't think it is always their policies which are the problem but rather the way their policies are framed.

    I think Hollands focus was on showing the unions their place, Fraser was very tight with Fintan Walsh who probably had more sway than any other union boss has had in NZ . I get your point though, they got pretty much everything they wanted and they kept looking for reasons to be relevant opening the doors for beardos like Corbyn . I'd imagine Fraser wouldn't have a lot of time for people like Cunliffe or have much in common with the party today.



  • Biggest thing with poltics is you need to address the issues of the day, a lot of left wing groups were set up to protect workers, or the environment, or consumers, at a time when laws were not in place to do so. But once those areas are addressed you need to refocus. The lefties rerally seem to struggle to do that. They rail against the erosion of unions when in the UK unions mostly means the RMT (tube workers earning 50k a year & getting 40 days holiday). Thats not a fight anyone gives a shit about. 
     
    Its like they have a reason for coming into existance - protecting the lower & middle classes, and they are still fighting for that, even in areas its not needed. Trying to ensure the umemployed had a house was maybe an OK policy when the employed could afford a house, but when the employed middle class can't afford a house bitching that people disabled by their fat have to give up their spare room in their free house is not a vote winner...
     
    Sam,e with unions, defending unions when half the country in in a union is great, defending the unions when the only experience the country has of unions is when they shut down london & cost you a days work, again, not a winner



  • Biggest thing with poltics is you need to address the issues of the day, a lot of left wing groups were set up to protect workers, or the environment, or consumers, at a time when laws were not in place to do so. But once those areas are addressed you need to refocus. The lefties rerally seem to struggle to do that. They rail against the erosion of unions when in the UK unions mostly means the RMT (tube workers earning 50k a year & getting 40 days holiday). Thats not a fight anyone gives a shit about. 
     
    Its like they have a reason for coming into existance - protecting the lower & middle classes, and they are still fighting for that, even in areas its not needed. Trying to ensure the umemployed had a house was maybe an OK policy when the employed could afford a house, but when the employed middle class can't afford a house bitching that people disabled by their fat have to give up their spare room in their free house is not a vote winner...
     
    Sam,e with unions, defending unions when half the country in in a union is great, defending the unions when the only experience the country has of unions is when they shut down london & cost you a days work, again, not a winner

    this might be the smartest thing you have ever posted on here (and of, course, by that, i mean, it's smart because i agree with it...)
     
    Unions fucking shit me, and i am as anti-union as it is possible to get. But, they most definitely had their place, and some of the things they fought for were very worthwhile, and just taken for granted by workers now. However, all that shit is now enshrined in legislation, and there are all manner of government bodies (especially here in Australia) willing to stomp all over you if they get a hint you are not keeping up your end of the bargain. 
     
    These days? All they seem to be good for is attempting to bully companies into payrises they can't afford, driving companies offshore, and then whinging it was the company's fault. They'll claim victory if they get everyone a 4% payrise (double CPI), and then bag the company when it goes under 6 months later, drowned by the cost of its labour. And there are so many of them, and none of them can agree what the want. Remember the health debacle here in Aus a couple of years ago? I remember a spokesman for the Health minister coming out and saying half the problem was they were dealing with so many unions, and none of them could agree on what they wanted. 
     
    In short, fuck the unions, it's not 1983 any more.



  • I'm not a union person either but I reckon they still have their place. It's no longer the big issues though, of workers' rights, fair pay and decent working practices. As M4L says, these are already victories of long ago and looked after by legislation. The unions now need to re-consider their role, yes there can be collective bargaining but more and more they will find themselves fighting individual causes, not fighting on behalf of the whole workforce but of the one guy that is getting shafted by his overly promoted fuckwit of a boss that is being backed by the company. On his own that guy has little chance, with the union he's got options. The problem is that the people at the top in the unions (cue sweeping generalisation) can't face the fact that they are now basically an HR resource for the workers and probably not worth the six figure salary, union funded Jaguar and expenses.
     
    I see this as the dinosaur factor. Certain political factions gain traction due to a narrow but important viewpoint, but what do they do once they gain that narrow victory? Ride off into the sunset with all the cheers ringing in their ears? Of course not, they try and find some other reason to be relevant. Imagine if in the UK that UKIP got what they wanted and we were out of Europe, that's their job done now so fuck off Nige, go back to your job as a broker. Doubt he'll want to do that, let alone all the closet racists in the party who have their own slightly more unpleasant agenda.



  • Just saw an interview with Corbyn, I can't say I see him ever being pm. They also interviewed the other candidates over why they haven't challenged him over his bizarre ideas like re nationalising some businesses and they responded in glib soundbites completely ignoring the question or even really mentioning him at all. Its not overly surprising that some people are supporting him because he has at least some sort of vision for the UK and doesn't seemed to be prompted and preened for public consumption in the background by his own version of Alistair Campbell. For years I've been banging on about Labour here being only represented by career politicians who go from student unions at varsity to a union job or working for an mp to then being an mp without ever actually having any contact with the outside world and I guess the same thing has happened in the Uk which is how you ended up with a hateful beardo being more popular than three soulless career politicians.
     
    Being on the extreme left Corbyns a big fan of Hamas and is close  mates with a muslim hate preacher who thinks that Israel was behind 9/11 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3191679/Jeremy-Corbyn-caught-video-calling-Muslim-hate-preacher-honoured-citizen-inviting-tea-terrace-House-Commons.html  
     
    This reminds me of the election here last year, leftards banging away in their online echo chambers and thinking because they are getting likes and retweets that the rest of the world agrees with their ideas. ...until election night when the complete opposite of what they expected happened.You can pick Corbyn but he's so far out of step with the way the vast majority of people think he's got about the same chance of being pm that a one legged cat does of burying its turd in a frozen pond.



  • [b][url=http://www.spectator.co.uk/life/long-life/9606652/jeremy-corbyns-debt-to-silvio-berlusconi/]Jeremy Corbyn’s debt to Silvio Berlusconi[/url][/b]
    By Alexander Chancellor
    August 15th, 2015
    I’m going off Jeremy Corbyn. He seems more and more pleased with himself by the minute. But I understand why he is so popular with Labour supporters. It isn’t just his perceived authenticity in a field of machine politicians — the same attribute that has thrust Donald Trump to the fore in the race for the Republican nomination in the United States. It is something of which I have been reminded this week by the news that Silvio Berlusconi is planning to sell his preposterous Sardinian villa to a Saudi prince, and this is the shame felt by so many party members over their long servility to Tony Blair. For perhaps nothing better exemplifies Blair’s indifference to Labour sensibilities than his visit with Cherie to the Villa Certosa in 2004.
    Despite the monastic implications of its name, the Villa Certosa is — to quote a headline from the Times — ‘the ultimate in property porn’. It is a sprawling estate on Sardinia’s Emerald Coast, with 168 acres of garden, six swimming pools, an amphitheatre, an artificial volcano, and direct access by tunnel to the sea. But despite the kind of security that would appeal to the Saudi royal family, this didn’t prevent one enterprising paparazzo from taking photos of a large number of scantily clad girls at one of Berlusconi’s ‘bunga bunga’ entertainments. The pictures included a remarkable one of a former Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolánek, completely naked and in a state of sexual arousal.
    Berlusconi, Italy’s longest-serving prime minister since Mussolini, was choosy about who he invited to the Villa Certosa (unless, that is, they were teenage models). Among foreign leaders, he would invite only those he regarded as his personal ‘friends’, such as George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin. But not even these giants on the world stage were fêted quite as lavishly as his really close ‘friend’, Tony Blair. The war in Iraq was at its height. Thousands were dying there. But this didn’t inhibit the gaiety of the celebrations during the Blairs’ 24-hour visit.
    Four years later Cherie Blair still recalled it with rapture. ‘I have never had an evening like the one I had in Sardinia,’ she said in an interview with an Italian magazine. ‘Fireworks lit up the words “Viva Tony”, and we all sang “Summertime” together.’ Many in the Labour party had recoiled in horror at the sight of their leader cavorting shamelessly in public with a right-wing billionaire mired in financial and sexual scandal. Could it have been some diplomatic imperative that had driven him to accept this unwelcome invitation? Alas, no. In the same interview Cherie spoke with pride about the ‘friendship and trust’ that existed between Berlusconi and her husband.
    The two prime ministers had, of course, one or two things in common. They were united in subservience to President Bush and alone among the leaders of major European countries (apart from the little Spanish prime minister José María Aznar, who left office soon after it started) in their unswerving support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. This colossal misjudgment, deeply unpopular in the Labour party at the time, has haunted Tony Blair ever since and has now been cited by Jeremy Corbyn as a possible pretext for trying him as a war criminal. Yet I feel that Blair’s taste for the high life, his habit of spongeing off the rich, and his addiction to glamorous foreign holidays sticks just as much in the craw of traditional Labour voters.
    Until 2001, when foot-and-mouth disease struck Britain, the Blairs used to stay regularly each summer in Tuscany with Prince Girolamo Guicciardini Strozzi, an aristocrat of the grandest and most ancient lineage. That he didn’t go back subsequently seems to have been thanks less to his own political sensitivity than to that of the Italian nobleman, who said in a newspaper interview at the time that ‘it would seem strange, as foot-and-mouth disease lays waste to the British tourism industry, for the prime minister to be seen going off with his family to Tuscany again. I wouldn’t do it. That’s for sure.’
    Since leaving office, Blair has been free to enrich and indulge himself as much as he wants, thus drifting ever further away from the party he once led. He may have given Labour 13 years in power, but at such discomfort to the party that many of its members would do anything to feel good about themselves again, even if it means languishing in opposition for a while yet. I don’t know where the Blairs are vacationing this summer, but Jeremy Corbyn isn’t having a holiday at all.
    This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated 15 August 2015



  • Wasn't there an ex-special forces dude that was a possibility for Labour? Forget the name, but he seemed like an ok candidate.Dan Jarvis. I suspect he'll be the Labour leader by the time of the 2020 general election.
    The Conservatives will need a new leader by then too. Cameron has repeatedly said he'll step aside before 2020.





  • And check out this charming individual who has drunk the Corbyn Kool aid http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/09/02/guardian-writer-if-burned-falklands-hero-knew-anything-hed-still-have-his-face/

    Delightful.