As the Facebook frenzy of the last 3 weeks has shown, Corbyn’s worst enemies are his most fanatical disciples, who have no concept of critical analysis, and react like spoilt brats when their hero is subjected to routine media scrutiny – or any serious questioning. This Labour party has to be more self-critical, not less. The technology demands it. Whether Corbyn is light-footed enough to survive depends on how much he believes the hype of his disciples, and how little he rises to the media bait and throws tantrums when called nasty names.
If he can start a genuine debate rather than provoke knee-jerk anti-politics, then Labour may stand a chance of power, but only in co-operation (or even coalition) with other progressive parties. If Labour tries to take all the glory, boundary changes alone will defeat them.
But even then, the main legacy of Corbyn’s bedside manner may be a change in the tone of politics across the spectrum for at least a generation. All politicians will have to adopt his style to a certain extent.
Being the first suitless party leader is a start. Who will be the next to get informal? In an age when style is as powerful as substance, this is not as trivial a question as it sounds. And in any case, Corbyn’s main weapon so far has been his style, his policies are still unformed, as they always are at this stage of proceedings. But since he and his deputy disagree about major issues, and he will be forced to rethink his European policies inherited from Tony Benn, the final Labour platform will not be the one a lot of people voted for.
Bizarrely for a modern socialist, Corbyn (like UKIP) seems to still believe in the existence of the so-called ‘sovereign state’, not realising that it died as a coherent political entity over a generation ago with the advent of global communications, and was only ever a bi-product of the steam engine.
The first thing Corbyn will have to do is stop telling lies like “…the prime minister will soon again be asking us to bomb Syria. “.
Daesh is not ‘Syria’. It is a genocidal invasion of Syria and Iraq – ‘sovereign states’ according to Corbyn.
This Stop The War Coalition terminology is as transparent as it is perverted, and will force a U-turn, or lead Corby-Labour up a blind alley, where it will be seen as indifferent to the mass persecution which is creating refugees, and which can only be stopped with military action, and which would not have existed on this scale had decisive action been taken when needed.
If Corbyn insists on playing the Mahatma, he will also lose the respect of the British people, who do not like to sit back and watch the slaughter of millions.
He needs to ‘open his mind’ to preventing the genocides by Daesh and Assad which drive people from their homes.
Not talking about them, doing something about them. Not watching genocide, but stopping it. There is a time to fight, as the Chartists knew.
‘By moral force if we may. By physical force if we must’.
Daesh don’t listen to moral force.
Posted by biginabox on September 13, 2015
A great day for Labour, electing its most socialist leader since Kier Hardie. And drawing in masses of young people eager to fight the obscenities of Osborne’s fundamentalist Consumerism. The politics of Hope is alive, especially for those in London terrified for their homes. A London Labour Mayor would reassure millions, and pave the way for other cities to fight the property pirates.
But the most interesting contribution so far is from the SNP, and it’s not as fraternal as it needs to be, given that on paper, there isn’t a sheet of political Bronco between CorbyLab and the SNP. And that between them, they could cripple the government in the Commons.
“ However, the reality today is that at a time when the country needs strong opposition to the Tories, Jeremy Corbyn leads a deeply, and very bitterly, divided party. Indeed, if Labour cannot quickly demonstrate that they have a credible chance of winning the next UK general election, many more people in Scotland are likely to conclude that independence is the only alternative to continued Tory government.
“In the meantime, it is clearer than ever that the only credible and united opposition to the Tories, north and south of the border, is the SNP.”
If the SNP won’t join with Tom Watson & Jerry Corbyn its ‘progressive’ credibility is blown. As is any reputation for political pragmatism. And it has to be remembered that the main reason for SNP popularity was the unpopularity of NuLabour in Scotland. Without that collapse Labour would probably have won the last two general elections. In a political sense, Nicola Sturgeon is the bastard child of Tony Blair.
With a decidedly anti-Blairite Labour in Scotland, will Sturgeon see sense and work with Corbyn, or allow the SNP to be eroded by an exodus of the same Labour exiles which put it in power?
The next interesting thing will be the announcement of Shadow Chancellor, which is where he will really put his cards on the table. John McDonnell would be the uncompromising choice.
See also. 2015 Election Tips
Posted by biginabox on September 12, 2015
‘Refugees’ not ‘Migrants’
‘Migrants’ are people who turn up at Heathrow and Gatwick with papers, suitcases and letters from their cousin in Leamington Spa. These are refugees. They are not ‘migrating’ they are desperately seeking refuge from war and chaos. ‘Migrants’ poisons two groups with one abuse of language. Sanitising the deperate plight of one, and criminalising the legal aspirations of the other. The Xenophobe’s dream-word.
‘Migrant’ is tabloid terminology designed to muddy the waters. Which is useful since the tabloid lie of Benefit Britain is clearly a major factor in creating the refugee crisis at Calais in the first place. Their campaign to sell this lie was bought by desperate refugees across the world, directing them here on a fool’s errand – and giving the tabloids another tribe of witches to burn at the stake. Which in return boosts sales of their hate sheets.
A clear case of how the tabloid economy manipulates reality in its own interest.
Send Them Back
Seems to be the prevalent attitude of the British government and people. Send them back to where? To camps in the hellholes they fled? Where they can be concentrated for the convenience of the tyrants they were trying to escape? After all, they’re running away, so they must be criminals, right? Or undesirables or troublemakers of some kind. Why else would someone be chasing them out of the country? And by chasing them back, we’d merely be upholding the laws of places like Eritraea and Syria, right? Upholding the law is a moral position, obviously. So it is obviously more ‘moral’ to ship refugees off to death camps than give them sanctuary and tempt more people to break the law by seeking refuge from war. This is essentially David Cameron’s line. He is trying to save their souls.
‘Smug’ is the one word which most completely describes the British attitude to the life and death struggle of the refugees. Cowering behind the Nanny English channel, dumping the responsibilities for its wars on the poorest countries in Europe. It’s as if 3 decades of Thatcherism has completely purged the concept of Sharing from British culture. Germany is Europe’s moral leader now.
Just The Start
There is a widespread delusion that this is just another ‘humanitarian emergency’. And that after a bit of media time and UN tinkering it will go away, like the Vietnamese Boat People. A failure to grasp that this time the global country-machine is bust. The validity and integrity of many nations states has been completely destroyed by war, economic devastation, corporate manipulation, cheap airfares, and instant mass global communications. And a multiple mass exodus on this scale is the result, and there is no reason to assume it will stop of its own accord or in the foreseeable future.
The petty bureaucratic term ‘migration’ completely masks the scale, horror, and nature of what’s happening, which is completely un-precedented. The global transcontinental exile of entire populations. A mass exodus of refugees on a scale and range unseen in a thousand years. Not even the devastation of the Japanese invasion of Manchuria displaced as many people as widely. The movements of the past were limited by the brevity of the disasters driving them. The current military and economic disasters have no foreseeable end – and neither do the climactic ones on their way.
Posted by biginabox on September 3, 2015
Plans to try out in London the Parisian scheme which allows cyclists to turn left at red traffic lights has been backed by the Government. Sanity at last. How many of the cyclists killed in London this year were jumping red lights? (none) Most are killed while being passed by speeding traffic, especially at left turns. Time to explode the myth that queue-jumping is either dangerous or irresponsible. Even if it isn’t very British.
The fact that crossing a red is a decision means it is the safest time. Only those who accidentally jump red lights are in danger. Which is very few, according to the accident statistics.
If drivers did not behave like Formula 1 boy-racers on a starting grid, cyclists would be safe at green. Until then, the safest time to cross is when traffic is stationary, or non existent. When the lights are red and the junction box clear, in other words.
It has also been pointed out today that the law gives right of way at a junction to pedestrians, which is not widely known. And that lights are there to control vehicles because they are the main danger. The moral argument is obvious and overwhelming. That cyclists are no more protected than a pedestrian and should therefore have right of way over vehicles.
As noted previously.
Posted by biginabox on August 12, 2015
The Jeremy Corbyn campaign has reached a decisive point. Putin’s regime has endorsed him as their preferred candidate for Labour leader. How Corbyn deals with this kiss of death will have a critical influence on his campaign.
Cosying up to Putin would be fatal. He could talk his way out of his statements on Hamas and other organisations on humanitarian grounds, but Putin is different. It is vital that Corbyn now realises it is possible to reject both corporate machines; The Kremlin Tweedledum and the Pentagon Tweedledee he has been fighting for decades. In fact, it is obligatory for a genuine progressive to do so.
Kissing the arse of the Butcher of Groszny and Minister for Homophobia will lose Corbyn countless votes. If he is to nurture the hope he has come to represent, and form the broad progressive alliance needed to gain power, Corbyn has to radically change a decrepit British political culture in four years. This does not mean playing Moscow off against Washington and ending up as the messenger boy.
Posted by biginabox on August 12, 2015
The Kids Company Affair graphically illustrates the failure of Dickensian, charity-driven welfare.
Camila Batmanghelidjh never intended to run a charity, the point of Kids Company was that it provided a model for effective child welfare which the state should adopt. Much as the National Health Service was based on the model of the Tredegar Medical Aid Society.
Charity stinks of charity. If society creates destitute children, its taxpayers should be prepared to pick up the bill, as in civilised societies. Unfortunately, Britain is currently an irresponsible, sulky, childish, child-hating culture, with the motto ‘Stuff You Jack, I’m All Right’. This is merely the latest condemnation of the charity culture which now sees the obscene spectacle of organisations competing with each other, and spending vast amounts of money on advertising campaigns.
Kids Company ran on a shoestring. It was refused a reserve fund by successive governments. When the private funder who had promised to match the government’s £3M reneged in the wake of allegations os sexual abuse, it had no option but to close. The truth is that it has been shamelessly exploited by David Cameron to gain political credibility, but its logical conclusion, that Britain hates its young people, is too near the knuckle for this government especially, who are doing more than any to smother the lives of the young under a massive burden of debt.
It is surely now time for a National Youth Service, to guard the interests of the young from the property speculators and other Gradgrinds trying to domesticate them from birth.
There are a smattering of organisations now which understand the genuine needs of young minds and bodies, and which are fighting a losing battle against the rod-wielding gutter press, determined as ever that pain should always be available as a means of controlling youth. But they can never hope to succeed while they rely on random patronage, and for as long as their methods and ideas remain unmonitored and largely untested.
Posted by biginabox on August 6, 2015
The crisis at Calais and the mass exodus from unihabitable countries is something we should have thought about when we were invading and plundering them 200 years ago, creating the wealth we enjoy, and which they now want a slice of – having paid for it in the past. What’s wrong with that? At least they don’t use machine guns against spears.
Wars and economic disaster drove these people here. We are as responsible for granting them asylum as we are for creating the chaos they are fleeing. However much that may be.
The fact is that any force hostile to Britain has a better chance of destroying it by crippling its trade than by killing its people with bombs. And by driving millions of people away from their homes, they are reversing the Human-shield tactic and using innocent, desperate people as long-range guided missiles, targeting ports and motorways, as well as social-services and the patience of the intolerant. Refugees are a weapon in the terrorists’ arsenal as well as a direct result of our interventions, inactions, and economic exploitation. And refugees are what they are. Not ‘migrants’, as the media insists on defining them. This is yet another abuse of language and dose of poison to thought. (See ‘Radical’.). People seeking refuge from global chaos are not ‘migrants’, they are refugees. The clue is in the word. Referring to them as ‘migrants’ hugely devalues their predicament, sanitising it for public consumption and neutralising as much sympathy as possible. And also tends to demonise actual migrants, making the entire ‘immigration debate’ even more toxic than it already is, and further refines the Newspeak Dictionary.
The solution is to stop the wars and make those countries habitable again. Which does not mean imposing yet another tyrant to treat the people like cattle. That is one reason they leave. One reason they come to Britain is the tabloid myth that our benefits system is free to all, and hands out homes to whoever asks for one, or two. A myth created by the same tabloids that are now demanding they should be treated like animals, as they were treated in the countries they are fleeing. Or logically, the tabloid demand is that Britain’s social services should be devastated in order to make them less atttractive to aliens.
The main lesson is that if you unleash global anarchy with war and corporate exploitation, this is the result. These refugees are the children of Shock and Awe. Britain’s responsibility in that disaster cannot be denied, unlike Germany, who last year processed over 5 times more asylum applications than Britain. So why is Germany now assuming more responsibility for the consequences of our war than we are?
Britain’s refusal to do its’ share in handling this crisis is a disgrace. Again it is the sploit brat of Europe, cowardly and sulky, hiding behind the skirts of the English Channel. Dumping all the reponsibility onto Italy, Greece, and Turkey, presumably. Let them solve the problem. The further away our wars are, the less we have to clean up the mess. One definition of Imperialism.
Posted by biginabox on July 29, 2015
While British Islamophobes are still paranoid about ‘Sharia Law’, and halal butchery daring to cock a snook at local parish bi-laws in parts of Bradford, they don’t seem to worry about a genuine threat to Civilisation being hatched by the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
As well as pillaging vital social institutions like the NHS, it also intends to make business virtually immune from legal action through the ‘investor-state dispute settlement’ (ISDS). Which looks suspiciously like death of national sovereignty and democratic-credibility. The corporate takeover of the state would seem to be complete.
In this charming kangaroo court disobedient countries who have presumed to put the welfare of their people before the profit of the corporations will be made to answer before a self-selected judge and jury. No election manifesto post ISDS will be able to attempt to curtail the excesses of big business. Free politics will be shackled to the profit motive for the foreseeable future.
Posted by biginabox on July 16, 2015
The real question about this election is why was there so much hysterical Wishful Thinking based on opinion polls.
If the Straw-clutchers inside and outside the Labour party machine had spent more time overturning the lies that Labour brought the world economy to its knees, and that they ‘overspent’ on repairing a welfare system which was rotten from a decade of tory neglect, instead of trying to look like tories, they might have saved some face, in spite of Bumbling Miliband, the cartoonists’ friend. If they had confronted the bogeyman of ‘austerity’ with some backbone…
Did anyone, in their wildest dreams see Miliband waltzing into no. 10? Labour supporters will remember how they felt the day he was announced leader. They knew then that the game was up and the only hope was in fluke or disaster. The working electorate could not imagine Miliband as their boss. They could imagine forever having to tell him to zip his fly up and having to clear poptarts from his DVD drive. And now he’s dead. But so is Farage. And all over the country a lot of people are going to get very angry about housing. There will be more teargas on the streets – as in Brixton 2 weeks ago, and more direct action, unlike 2011. More like 1990.
The Labour brand might still be secure, but has it been betrayed once too often?
Posted by biginabox on May 8, 2015
Nicola Sturgeon, like her predecessor, is the best politician in Britain because she can be the most honest. Unlike the rest, she is not crippled by equivocation and the sense that everything she says is a hostage to fortune. And if Miliband can give a nod and a wink to the long-embarrassed progressive Labour sympathisers that she might be what Clegg was supposed to be to Cameron, then he might be able to win the election
If Labour can further splice ‘regional self-determination’ into a wider progressive agenda, some sort of merger with the SNP is not inconcievable, maintaining British unity and local independence within a federal system. Stranger things have happened.
If Labour and SNP were the pioneers of this new contract, the party which emerged from the two would be a genuine progressive political force, something a lot of people have long been waiting for. With Surgin’ Sturgeon as its progressive Anti-Thatcher.
At the moment there’s a lot of very wild wishful thinking based entirely on the polls. Never underestimate the inertia of the British electorate, or their duplicity to pollsters. As in Major Vs Kinnock 1992. Unless the Mili-Sturgeon effect works, the soft underbelly of British opinion will flab on with the devil it knows.
The bookies, where people put their money where their mouth is, are probably a better indicator of the result, with a clear tory win on the cards.
Posted by biginabox on April 23, 2015