Sunday, 9 July 2017

Labour's Broad Church

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The BBC reports on a deselection row inside the Labour Party after its chairperson, Ian Lavery, claimed that  Labour had become "too broad a church".

Speaking to the Huffington Post, Mr Lavery said recently: 

"We are a broad church. Some might argue, and I would be one of them, that we might be too broad a church."

Now if you ask me, there is no room for doubt as to what these words mean but Mr Lavery has since rowed back on his call for a 'purge', perhaps in response to Labour MPs threatening to stand down from their seats and triggering a series of difficult by-elections.

  


http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-40533172

Labour bids to defuse Luciana Berger de-selection row


By Iain Watson - BBC News
Image copyright - PA Image caption - Luciana Berger was re-elected with an increased majority

The new Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery has told the Daily Mirror that he doesn't see the "de-selection" of MPs critical of Jeremy Corbyn "as the way forward".

Chills had gone up some Blairite spines when Mr Lavery himself had suggested at the weekend the Labour "might be too broad a church".

But he sought to calm nerves which had been further put on edge by comments from Mr Corbyn's close ally Chris Williamson, recently re-elected as the MP for Derby North having been narrowly defeated at the 2015 election.

On Thursday, Mr Williamson said: "There are individual MPs in this party who think it's their God-given right to rule.

"No MP should be guaranteed a job for life. Labour is a big church, but we currently have a large bulk of MPs who represent one relatively small tendency in the congregation... it's unreasonable to think we as MPs can avoid any contest."
'Answerable to us'

His words didn't sound like empty rhetoric to the MP for Liverpool Wavertree, Luciana Berger - seen as being on the moderate wing of the party.

She had resigned as a shadow minister when, a year ago, 80% of Jeremy Corbyn's MPs were expressing no confidence in his leadership.
Image copyright - EPA Image caption - Jeremy Corbyn has stressed his support for party democracy

A left-wing "slate" of candidates had succeeded in taking almost all of the key offices on her local party's executive.

And one of the winners - Roy Bentham - had shared his thoughts with the Liverpool Echo.

He suggested that Ms Berger, who was re-elected last month with an increased majority, publicly recant her criticism of the party leader and for the avoidance of doubt he declared: "She is answerable to us now."

The local party secretary Angela Kehoe-Jones distanced herself from the remarks and suggested the branch was "united" in fighting the Tories.

But there is little doubt that Ms Berger - who is on maternity leave - feels her job is under threat.

And she is not the only one.
'Rogues' gallery'

A Labour MP who held her seat against the odds at the election told me she was threatened with de-selection within 48 hours of the result.

And you only have to visit websites which purport to back the Labour leadership to view a "rogues' gallery" of MPs who are seen as disloyal. 

Image caption - Chuka Ummuna faced criticism over amendment to Queen's Speech

Featuring on most lists is Chuka Umunna, who upset those close to Mr Corbyn by pushing an amendment to the Queen's Speech to keep Britain in the EU single market - not official party policy.

This was seen as forcing the party leader in to sacking frontbenchers and was the first tangible sign of disunity following the euphoria of the election result.

And while he wouldn't want to see Mr Umunna unseated, even Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson regarded that amendment as bad politics.

But some left-wing activists don't need new offences to be taken in to account.
Mass purge?

Some see those MPs who distanced themselves from Jeremy Corbyn as saboteurs of Labour's success.

And they are building a narrative that had they been more loyal - and party officials more ambitious - they could have propelled the party from second to first place at the election.

But don't expect a mass purge of Labour MPs.

Indeed, some Corbyn critics are likely to be offered junior spokespeople roles in the autumn.

But not all of those who are seen as beyond the pale are likely to be unseated.

Mr Corbyn has time and again stressed how much he supports party democracy.

So unless a local party has been - as in Luciana Berger's case - taken over by members and supporters of Momentum (the group set up to keep the spirit of Mr Corbyn's leadership campaigns alive) it would be difficult to dislodge the sitting MP.
'Join the Liberals'

And it should be said, not all local Momentum groups favour de-selecting sitting MPs in any case.

They would point out that they have campaigned for the re-election of MPs who aren't ideological fellow travellers. 
Image copyright - LABOUR PARTY Image caption - Ian Lavery has spoken out against de-selection

Momentum nationally weren't chuffed with a Facebook post from the South Tyneside group suggesting MPs such as Chris Leslie and Jess Phillips should "join the Liberals".

Instead of pushing existing personalities out, largely beneath the political radar there are attempts to move Labour more solidly and permanently to the left and to ensure that, when the time comes, Jeremy Corbyn would be able to hand over the leadership to someone who largely shares his political outlook.

So at this year's Labour Party conference, there will be a move to shift the power in future leadership elections from MPs to party members.

This would mean just 5% of MPs - not the 15% of MPs and MEPs at present - would be needed to put a candidate on the ballot.

With a snap election, most anti-Corbyn MPs were returned to Parliament so while a left-wing candidate still might struggle to get 15% support, 5% is considered no barrier.

This move has already been reported extensively.
'Quiet revolution'

Mr Corbyn's internal opponents call it "the McDonnell amendment" - as shadow chancellor John McDonnell is a red rag to any of the party's more moderate bulls.

Groups of what were called Blairites and Brownites - they would call themselves modernisers or moderates - in organisations such as Progress and Labour First have been working hard to secure enough delegates to the annual conference to defeat the leadership changes.

With the deadline for deciding delegates drawing to a close, it's not clear yet who has the upper hand.

But something of a quiet revolution could be under way that would see the power of Jeremy Corbyn, and his supporters, entrenched.

Under Labour's rules, some topics need to be put on the table this year if they are decided next year.

So a slow burning fuse will be lit in the autumn that could blow up in to a more major row in 2018.

There are moves by those on the party's left to make it easier for local parties to oust sitting MPs in future.
Top official

This would involve party branches being encouraged to put forward alternative names for consideration, or for sitting MPs to be required to demonstrate they had 66% support locally to continue.

There will also be a move to increase the number members of Labour's ruling National Executive Committee (NEC), who are elected not by MPs or the unions, but by the rank-and-file members.

The assumption is that they are more in tune with Mr Corbyn's agenda.
Image caption - Iain McNicol (second right) sings The Red Flag at the 2015 Labour conference

The NEC approves party candidates for elections - and a panel of its members chooses by-election candidates.

There was an attempt to disbar the pro-nuclear and anti-Corbyn candidate John Woodcock at an NEC meeting just before the election.

That failed, but if the balance of power on the body were to change, so could the career prospects of the leadership's critics.

And indeed the career prospects of Labour's general secretary Iain McNicol would be called in to question by another proposed change.

There will be an attempt to give members the right to choose the party's top official in future.

Again, this can't be decided until next year but could put Mr McNicol on notice.
Poll lead

He is blamed for trying to deny new (and, it was assumed, more radical) members the right to vote in last year's leadership contest and for not putting enough resources in to Labour/Tory marginals at the general election.

He would contend that the party HQ's strategy of defending vulnerable seats - as well as swiftly moving resources to seats which looked promising as the campaign progressed - was a success.

So by its actions in the coming months, Labour - 8 points ahead in one opinion poll today - could choose to remain a broad church.

Or further expose the fact that many of its MPs and grassroots members aren't really singing from the same hymn sheet.


Jezza's Broad Church (30/12/17)

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The problem with Jeremy Corbyn's latest recruit to Labour's high command is not so much that Jayne Fisher once worked for Sinn Fein, but that the upper echelons of the party now are dominated by people whose unrepresentative political views are so far removed from those of ordinary Labour voters.

The Politics Home web site reports on the latest row to have broken out in Labour ranks, but  alongside Jayne Fisher key 'movers and shakers' in the Labour Party already include:
  • unreconstructed old 'Stalinists' like Seumas Milne (Jezza's official spokesperson) and Andrew Murray (Len McCluskey's chief of staff at Unite)
  • Karie Murphy a key figure in the Labour leader's office who is referred to in the media as a 'close friend' of Len McCluskey and who was once tipped to become the Labour candidate in Falkirk before the 'vote rigging' scandal and Ineos dispute blew up
In days gone by Labour liked to present itself as a broad church, where a wide variety of political views were welcome, whereas now it appears to be operating as a 'leftist' dominated Jeremy Corbyn fan club. 

Read the full story via this following link to Politics Home.


  

Jeremy Corbyn defends giving key role to former Sinn Fein staffer

By Kevin Schofield - Politics Home

Jeremy Corbyn's office has defended his decision to hand a key job to the former head of Sinn Fein's London office after the move sparked fury among some Labour MPs.

Jeremy Corbyn with Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams at the House of Commons in 1995
Credit: PA Images

Jayne Fisher will be in charge of "stakeholder engagement" for the Labour leader from next month.

Mr Corbyn confirmed the move at a meeting of the party's parliamentary committee in parliament yesterday afternoon.

Labour MPs' fury after Jeremy Corbyn hires senior Sinn Fein staffer to work in his office


Sinn Fein calls for referendum on a united Ireland after Brexit


Labour 'approached Sinn Fein' on hung parliament


One MP present told PoliticsHome: "It's fair to say that the general response was one of shock and anger. Obviously, we really need to annoy more people in the run-up to Christmas.

State of Labour (10/01/17)

Image result for state of corbyn's labour + images

I had a Twitter exchange with Jeremy Corbyn supporter, a chap who hides his real identity behind the silly moniker 'Cool Daddy' and describes himself as a London Corbynite.

Anyway, I had simply pointed out that the opposition to Jeremy Corbyn inside the Labour Party is much greater now than it was during the days when Jezza was a serial rebel and thorn in the side of every Labour leader since Neil Kinnock, i.e. going back to 1983.  

In his response this clown then described members of the party's National Executive Committee as 'fascists' which says a lot about Labour under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

Jezza bangs on about tolerance and respect yet many of his fanatical supporters are out of control using language that has no place in civilised political debate. 

And you can be sure that the Labour leadership either know Cool Daddy's identity or could find this out easily, if Corbyn & Co really wanted their loony supporters to 'cool the beans'.

  

  1.  In reply to 
    Your use of the word 'fascist' to describe fellow Labour Party members is appalling, no wonder polls are so bad
  2.  In reply to 
    Opposition to JC is much greater now than Corbyn-led opposition to Kinnock, Smith, Blair, Brown and Miliband
Cool Daddy

 
  1. The opposition to Corbyn is mainly from the PLP and the fascists in the NEC. Not to mention the RW MSM

'Kamikaze' McCluskey (10/07/16)

Image result for mccluskey + BBC images

The boss of the Unite union, Len McCluskey, issued the following statement after talks collapsed over Jeremy Corbyn's continued leadership of the Labour Party:

“I am dismayed at the statement issued by Tom Watson announcing his withdrawal from talks aimed at resolving the crisis in the Labour party.
“Extraordinarily, I received no notice of this statement before it was issued. I had made arrangements for a meeting of trade union leaders, Tom Watson and representatives of the PLP and the party leader for tomorrow, arrangements requested by Tom Watson and his colleagues, specifically for Mr Watson’s convenience. 
“In that context, when the possibility of a workable plan had never seemed closer, Tom Watson’s actions today can only look like an act of sabotage fraught with peril for the future of the Labour party. 
“I must clarify one point in Tom Watson’s statement; I made it absolutely clear from the outset of these discussions that Jeremy Corbyn’s resignation as the leader was not on the agenda. Watson knew that, and it is entirely wrong to suggest that any public statement by Jeremy represented any change in the situation. This is a deeply disingenuous manoeuvre.
“I will continue to work with trade union colleagues and others to chart a way forward, including meeting the legitimate concerns of Labour MPs.”
Now if McCluskey had already made plain that Corbyn's position as leader was 'non-negotiable', then the talks were doomed from the outset, the vast majority of Labour MPs (from all  wings of the party) having concluded that Jeremy is simply not up to the job.
So it's worth remembering that Len McCluskey's style of leadership almost led to the closure of the giant Ineos plant at Grangemouth after Unite foolishly called a damaging strike over a local union steward who was called to account for carrying out work for the Labour Party during his employer's time. 
   

Resign! (26/09/15)

Image result for jim murphy and len mccluskey

The Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy won a vote of confidence (17-14) at the Scottish party's executive committee the other day, but decided to stand down nonetheless because of the wrecking tactics of his most vocal critics, including Len McCluskey the boss of the Unite trade union.

Unite has wasted £14 million of its members money in donations to the Labour Party since Ed Miliband became leader in 2010 and last year the union called a disastrous strike at the giant Ineos plant in Grangemouth which almost cost thousands of Unite members their jobs 

So why doesn't Len McCluskey follow his own 'lead' and resign as the Unite general secretary because by any standards he's done a lousy job after accepting that the vast majority of Unite members in Scotland supported the SNP in the general election, having deserted the Labour Party in droves over recent years.

Jim Murphy gave Len McCluskey both barrels in announcing his decision to resign and has pledged to table a report of proposed reforms to the Scottish Labour executive next month.

Here's what he had to say:

“It is clear that a small minority who didn’t accept my election as leader of the Scottish Labour Party just five months ago won’t accept the vote of the executive today and that will continue to divide the party.

Today I received more support in the executive vote than I did from members of the executive when I stood for election five months ago.

When I table that report at next month’s meeting of the Scottish Labour Party executive, I will also table my resignation as leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

It will be for the party executive to decide whether it accepts the reforms proposed, but a party in such urgent need of reform blocks those changes at its peril.” 

The Labour Party’s problem is not the link with trade unions, or even the relationship with Unite members - far from it.

It is the destructive behaviour of one high profile trade unionist.

One of the things about stepping down is that you can say things in public that so many people in the Labour Party only say in private.

So whether it is in Scotland or in the contest to come in the UK, we cannot have our leaders selected or deselected by the grudges and grievances of one prominent man.

The leader of the Scottish Labour Party doesn’t serve at the grace of Len McCluskey, and the next leader of the UK Labour Party should not be picked by Len McCluskey.”