Wednesday, 29 June 2016

There is a way to save the Labour Party as a force in UK politics

The urgent priority for everyone concerned with progressive politics and social justice in the UK is to work to prevent the Labour Party splitting into two. People need to be hard-headed and pragmatic. (There will be plenty of time in the years to come for the arguments currently raging as to who is to blame for the current crisis.)

The Labour Party has long been an alliance of disparate views. The first-past-the-post system makes such an alliance essential. As happened in the 1980s when the SDP split from Labour, a divided left guarantees Tory rule. 

At the moment a split seems almost inevitable. On one side are 75% of Labour MPs and the entire Establishment. On the other there is, I believe, a large majority of Labour members and, it appears, Labour voters. A YouGov/Times poll today shows that 54% of Labour voters do not want Jeremy Corbyn to resign.

The reality is that neither side can win outright. Corbyn cannot function as a leader of the party if his MPs have no confidence in him, whatever the members may want. However, it is equally true that the MPs cannot demand a different leader, because the members insist on Corbyn.

I can only see one solution to this impasse.  I propose that Corbyn stands down and the MPs guarantee that John McDonnell will receive enough nominations to go into the leadership contest and that they will accept his leadership if he wins. 

If McDonnell is prepared to put himself forward, I doubt if Corbyn would stand in the way of such an arrangement as it has never been about him personally but about the policies. I would expect most members would accept this compromise.

The fact that their candidate for the leadership, Angela Eagle, is almost certain to lose to Corbyn should concentrate MPs’ minds and make them realise that it is in their interest to agree to this proposal in order to keep the party together.  

Furthermore, having McDonnell rather than Corbyn as leader substantially answers the MPs publicly stated objections to Corbyn. They have not raised any differences on policy with Corbyn (although clearly some exist); they have attacked Corbyn’s competence and related issues. McDonnell was generally considered to have had an effective campaign for Remain; he is a more authoritative figure than Corbyn and an effective communicator. 

This proposal would not be a “victory” for either side but any such “victory” would be hollow as it would necessarily lead to the disaster of the party splitting. 

Every possible effort need to be made now to save the Labour Party as a force in UK politics and this proposal may be the only way to do that.


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  2. I think this is a fine suggestion. I wonder if anyone who matters will read it. The trouble is, the PLP attacking Corbyn for not being leaderly enough is bogus and I suspect that the apparently more leaderly McDonnell won't satisfy their yearning for suicide.

    After all, these 172 MPs who pour such contempt on their own party members could and should be making up for #CorbynStays weaknesses not exploiting them.

  3. I matter I read it and no thanks

  4. Nice idea but won't work. You have to choose the people who've just indicated how disillusioned they are OR the 75% of MPs who no longer accurately represent their base. MPs winning over Base would be a very Pyrrhic victory, closely followed by a slide into supporter-less irrelevance

  5. Nice idea but won't work. You have to choose the people who've just indicated how disillusioned they are OR the 75% of MPs who no longer accurately represent their base. MPs winning over Base would be a very Pyrrhic victory, closely followed by a slide into supporter-less irrelevance

  6. Nice idea but won't work. You have to choose the people who've just indicated how disillusioned they are OR the 75% of MPs who no longer accurately represent their base. MPs winning over Base would be a very Pyrrhic victory, closely followed by a slide into supporter-less irrelevance

  7. McDonnell repeatedly stood for Leader and got nowhere, with good reason. Corbyn is his gentler-faced puppet

  8. Given my view that this is more about policy (and thus elect-ability) it does not represent a solution. The very fact that MPs would be 'bound' by the result indicates that a McDonnell win would not heal. Outside the Labour Party, the consensus is that Corbyn is an electoral liability. Inside the Labour Party, the majority of those elected think he is and the majority of activists think he is not. Put him aside and look at the views he represents......are they the route to power or perpetual protest? The majority (inside and out) think protest.

  9. Tom London,
    I feel that the driving force behind the PLP's revolt is a yearning for a Blair type leader, given Blair's track record in accommodating truth and reality to his requirements, and here I am talking the Iraq War of 2003, if McDonnell was in Corbyn's shoes he would be getting the exact same treatment right now.

    The Labour Party has always been prone to splits because it is a two headed, or rather two hearted, affair: a socialist party in its appeal, membership and place in the British political scene and a social democratic party via its parliamentary party and its governments over the years.

    Tensions rise but don't always cause splits: Gaistkill fighting CND in the 60s; Blair and the Iraq war of 2003.

    However throw in an economic crisis, when the class nature of our capitalist society becomes very visible and this fault line gets overly stressed and can lead to things coming apart. Basically the socialist part goes left and becomes more radical and the social democratic part goes right, hanging on for dear life to their, often private, comfort and place in the sun: MacDonald and the National government in the 30s during the Great Depression; the SDP following a decade of industrial unrest more or less tamed by the Wilson/Callaghan governments followed by the Thatcherite onslaught on Labour's heartlands in the early 80s.

    Both times the split came from the right.

    Today when the post 2008 answer to capitalism's latest global mess up, which in the UK has been a signal for rolling back anything left in the notion of a welfare state, we are faced again with some very stark choices. So the conditions are ripe for a full blown Labour Party crisis. And again it is the social democratic right side of the party provoking a possible split.

    No idea how this will pan out but I fear that it will play out, as it has done so far this week, as the Tories getting a free ride, when very obviously they are responsible for the dramatic screw up which has been this Brexit referendum.

  10. That would be even worse than the current situation. Labour MP's might find Corbyn amateurish and McDonnell efficient, but they don't, personally, dislike Corbyn; they almost universally loathe McDonnell.

  11. Tom really, been following you for several years. And 99.9% of the time you are spot on. But just because Corbyn has faced a little bit of pressure, doesn't mean we should give in to bullying. Have a rest, put on some Mantovani and come back to my office when you have recovered. :)

    1. BTW ..I think Jeremy & John are both worthy of our respect. As is the Green's Caroline Lucas, Natlie Bennett ect, and the Welsh and Scottish indy leaders who are completely in agreement with our stance. We can work with them, and if the 172 Labour plotters want to rejoin on agreed terms to defeat the far right. So be it.

  12. ....con't ...what I discovered over the past few years though, has been, once you rattle the neo-liberals, they tend to take shelter with the far right. Yes truly, they do not like being told what to do at all, especially by people they obviously consider inferior. Only hope I'm wrong on this one. We will see.

  13. I suppose it's a bit of good news that Johnson has dropped out. No doubt the EU leadership and the Clinton admin, recognise this mans selfish and possibly dangerous ambitions. The emails Clinton received about Johnson from her advisers have stuc obviously. Good job too. But Fox is no democrat either. Gove is probably too weak, and might get bossed around by the likes of IDS & gang, which is a problem. My thoughts anyway.

  14. "Very odd week" a satirical Queen Elizabeth Twitter account says. And how it has been. The shenanigans and deceit reported are truly breathtaking. The week started with the BBC audience of Laura Kuensberg, being told how a "1000" (one thousand) group of Corbyn supporters,attended a rally outside Parliament, but the number Kuensbuerg gives seems to be totally off the mark going by photos. Yes I know numbers are often exagerrated by all political parties,for political reasons, but really a "1000" ??, the pictures of the protest,and the official police figures of 10,000 (ten thousand) is really such a wide gap, that to use this number, surely Kuensberg must have lost all credibility now. I was there actually, but don't know how to estimate crowd numbers acurately, but at the high point of the event it did become overflowing as the crowd congregatted to hear speakers. But although I can't personally guarantee the correct numbers, I would hazard guess and agree with Paul Mason's "5000" figure to be closer to the reality. Then again, the police do have special measures and guidelines they use, for safety reasons ect,to quantify crowds. Then we have seen the links uncovered by the Canary of the PR company closely linked to prominent Blairites, who claim they turned up to the Corbyn rally "just to check out what was going on" after being exposed on social media,for apparently collecting photo's,with the sole purpose,to smear the attendees of that event, that's if they hadn't hired one or two stooges to dis-inform the general public in the first place. The week has seen the Labour Plotters Coup attempt apperently stalled, because of their apparrent misjudgement of Corbyn's "weakness", and because the reasons given at the time of resigning, do not match with the documents of planning they had now obviously been undertaing months earlier.The Tory Party Brexiteers and UKIP, seem to have been caught YET AGAIN telling lies, breaking promises and giving wrong figures, although that is not new with right wing politicians. The figure of £350k saved from EU membership to be used for the NHS has literally nose dived overnight to £100k.(And we know which part of the NHS usually gets the biggest "support" if anything is all is recovered). Now just reading the Canary article about the councillors names added to "500" "anti Corbyn councillors", whose signatures,are reported by the MSM,wanting Corbyn to resign. BUT not reported is the growing number of councillors who are now comeing forward saying "No I did not sign this, take my name off this list". And the digital PR companies come again in the spotlight. The "#ToryElectionFraud" showed us at least some of the ways and methods of the establishment elite in London, as they try to paint a picture of popularity, by literally hiring rent-a voter and "astroturf" grass root movements. Busing the gullible amonst them around the country, whilst apperently not declaring the expense of this under election rules. There are advertising and PR consultants paid millions to "swing" elections. And this is now looking like at least one election has been bought.

  15. Wrong Tom.

    Parliament comes with privilege, pay, publicity and perks and as a result Labour MPs are "captured" by the establishment and gradually and unconsciously lose the perspective that enables them to challenge the status quo assertively and effectively. At the moment they see Jeremy Corbyn as a threat to the socioeconomic system that treats them so well, and so are attempting to subvert the democracy of the very movement that provided them with opportunity to live good lives and represent those who do not have good lives. For Jeremy to step down would simply be another way of subverting democracy! WE WANT HIM to lead the Labour Party, and until he loses the vote of that demos democracy itself demands he BE the leader. He stands for democracy and only democracy shall remove him.

    Quite apart from that, of course, is the reality that even were he to sacrifice his - and our - principle of democracy in some deal with the Devil and the Blairite chimera of "pragmatism", the real aim of the rebels is to neuter any attempt to form a truly egalitarian (dare I say "democratic socialist") Labour party. Give them six months and they'd be plotting against John McDonnell or anyone else who genuinely represents the will of the party and the future of ordinary people.

    At the moment the only vote in this fight for democracy - surely what we STAND FOR - is a vote for Jeremy Corbyn.

  16. I have already replied to an email from my M.P (Helen Goodman) to let her know in no uncertain terms that I simply won't vote labour again if Corbyn is forced to step down, in the email she tries to reassure me that this is not a "Blairite Coup" but a genuine concern amongst other M.P,s that Corbyn can't win the next general election, that for me has more to do with what they are hoping for rather than what they might actually think or believe to be true, either way wherever Jeremy Corbyn goes I go simple as, everything is about opinion at this point, 172 M.P,s don't think Corbyn can win and about 40 do, but the reality for me is, their opinion doesn't really it is up to us the voting public to decide this matter not them, most people (myself included) joined the Labour party because of Jeremy Corbyn as I agreed with everything he said and I also believed and trusted him,I certainly couldn't say that about any of the others, Could you? most of the new members of the Public who joined the Labour party in our droves done so because of Jeremy Corbyn, so for me the reality is simple, we don't give in or compromise because if we do the status quo of how corrupt politics has always been will just continue, I would also suggest that the main reason their ballot was "Secret" was for one reason only, if we the electorate don't know which way our M.P has voted, it gives all of them the right to LIE to their chosen constituency who in turn cannot say otherwise or prove them wrong, that is unless there is a large enough support (we would need to get a 100,000 signatures via the on-line petition site

    To try and get parliament to discuss the right for us see which way our M.P voted during this secret ballot)(am well aware this wont happen so we will then have take this to the I.C.O for a freedom of information request on the grounds of both Public Interest and the clear impact that not having this information available to the electorate can and will have on them when it comes to who they vote for in upcoming elections. The electorate have a right to know which way their M.P has voted in this "Secret Ballot" as it could well be that they have voted against Jeremy Corbyn in this secret ballot against the very wishes of the Majority of their own constituents meaning that by doing so,they have rendered the validity of their own voters rights in one fell swoop, I voted for my M.P and Jeremy Corbyn in free and open democratic elections, Allowing my M.P to then overrule me and others in her constituency defeats the object of the exercise and is simply just not on.

    If we back down now and allow 172 M.P,s to completely disregard the wishes of the public and their own constituency then democracy as it is meant to be is Dead.

    So we need to grasp this opportunity with both hands and win this crucial battle because if we dont we run the very serious risk of throwing away the only half decent chance we might have ever of getting the country we want back and for it to be run by the person we voted for, and who unlike the vast majority of the rest of them, We know that Jeremy Corbyn is Honest and Truthful man that we can actually Trust, and has the morals and Integrity needed that the rest of them can only dream about, If Jeremy Corbyn is bullied into standing down then this in effect means that we the public will remain enslaved and in the grip of corrupt politicians for a very long time to come, in fact we may never get either a better chance or even another chance: Stand Firm, because if this fails it will be a case of "Long Live The Revolution" because we simply won't get our country back any other way if we let this opportunity pass us by.

  17. Re Tom's Twitter..."Truth is under Corbyn,Labour WAS electable. Now due to actions of rebel MPs it is doubtful that Labour is still electable. Just terrible." That's strange Tom as by all accounts I've seen the "Momentum" is going maasively in favour FOR Corbyn SINCE the Chicken Coup was uncovered.