Merseyside Labour – They didn’t learn Kinnock’s lesson so Starmer’s sent more learning pills

I’ve seen a number of social media postings from journalists, political commentators and politicians in the last couple of days regarding there being no Merseyside MP’s in Starmer’s new Shadow Cabinet.

Here’s my take on it. Merseyside Labour Party decided to indulge itself in another round of Militantism, only this time it was called Momentum/Corbynism. And just like the previous time (1980’s) they got slapped down; last time by Kinnock now by Starmer. It really is as simple as that.

Yes of course there will have been MP’s and indeed councillors who pretended to be Corbynistas to either avoid deselection or to garner favour from the former leader’s sect. But whilst that gave them cover during Corbyn’s time as top dog it created the very opposite at the end of his reign. So what do you do as a Social Democrat, centrist or moderate within Labour who decided to take Corbyn’s shilling? A sudden about face (not very credible) or more likely keep your head down for a while whilst slowly emerging with differing beliefs.

But of course that also works in reverse. If you were an ardent Corbynista, where do you go now? Walk away from a party which now seems to be all but embarrassed by by what it believed in until the electorate said not on your Nellie in December 2019. Alternatively, do you change your spots and start to cheer-lead for the new more moderate and very much establishment man at the helm?

So is it really any surprise that Starmer has calmly put Merseyside Labour on notice? No of course not. But will they learn. No of course not!

Political Cultism – Is it akin to religious cultism?

Jeremy Corbyn is often referred to as having a cult following and the same is said of Nigel Farage of course. Brexit itself seems to be cultish too but our view of cults is often more likely to be connected with religious extremism rather than politics. So the question is do political cults have a commonality with religious cults?

According to Wikipedia in sociological terminology, sects are products of religious schism and therefore maintain a continuity with traditional beliefs and practices, while cults arise spontaneously around novel beliefs and practices.

Well Brexit certainly fits the ‘novel beliefs and practices’ definition as it is based very much on belief rather than facts/reality and it’s proponents (Brexiteers) can be fanatical in their following of it despite strong evidence challenging their often seemingly emotional based stance.

But what of Corbynism? Is it akin to say Thatcherism or Reganism in that its followers see themselves as the true believers whilst they look upon the scepticism of others who do not subscribe to their beliefs as being, in religious terms, heathens? Certainly, in my experience Labour Party members and supporters who see themselves as Corbynistas will often refer to anyone else, even fellow Labour members who are not in the Corbyn sect, as ‘Tories’, the political alternative terminology to the religious heathen I guess. Subscribers to the political sect known as Blairism are particularly hated by Corbynistas yet both Blairism and Corbynism have both been the majority view within the Labour Party in the past 20 years. I’ve heard it said that some Corbynistas hate Blarites more than their traditional ‘enemy’ Thatcherites!

Interestingly though, Johnson, whilst probably being more of a Brexiteer than any members of the Brexit Party, does not seem to have a cultish following. Indeed, he seems to be widely unpopular other than with extreme right wingers. Is that because he switched from being an EU supporter and because he is seen to be a politician who follows the crowd. In other words not a true believer in Brexit?

What makes some of us look upon Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters as being akin to cultists is that they will back their leader no matter what. No criticism of him is acceptable in any form from any quarter and they ‘know’ that anyone who does question Jez is a ‘Tory’.

As a Liberal who likes to hold a healthy scepticism of all political leaders, often particularly Liberal ones, this defence of ‘The leader’ come what may is hard for me to get my head around. I think I smelled something worryingly like cultism with the people who surrounded Nick Clegg during the Coalition Government days. They, like Jez Corbyn’s backers, were not for hearing the noise outside of their seemingly closed group and the consequences were dire for liberalism as it is now starting to prove for Labour too.

To conclude I think it is perfectly possible for political cultism to exist as an extreme form of the political sects which clearly exist within some political parties. The other interesting point to consider here is that those who look to be backing what seems to others as being a cult will probably deny that they’re cultists. Is that because they don’t see themselves as cultists? Is it only those outside of a cult who can see cultism for what it is?

And finally when does a sect, political religious or otherwise, become a cult?

Jeremy what would you do with him?

When Jeremy Corbyn got himself elected as Labour Leader my first thought was, at last Labour will become the socialist party that it should always have been. I also felt a little sorry for him as the right wing press and the right wing of his own party tried to undermine his leadership. Of course I’m no socialist and no supporter of the Labour Party but Labour moving to the left is where they belong to my mind.

Now don’t get me wrong Jez is a second division politician who got himself elected almost by default but he clearly has what one could call a cult-type following, which I have blogged about previously. That he is a second division politician has been born out though by his approach to the two big issues of our time.

Firstly, no leader of a progressive party could in any way back the right wing policy that is Brexit, yet he has done so whilst seemingly believing that there will be no job losses due to it! A detachment from realty is obvious as Brexit will lead to job losses and the poor will be made poorer. What kind of socialist or progressive stance is that?

Secondly, he’s got Labour up to it neck in antisemitism! How on earth has he managed to engineer a situation where such allegations can be made and why has he failed to address those most serious allegations of racism that are now being aimed at Labour, often from its own members. His cult devotees say it’s all a right wing conspiracy against Jez but really, saying that may comfort them but they must know it is a hole of the Labour leadership’s own digging.

Someone needs to take the shovel off Jez or he’ll soon dig another hole for Labour to fall into whilst the Tories continue to bumble on towards a most appalling Brexit for us all because they benefit from having no serious Official Opposition.

Corbyn – What drives his cult-like following or what makes a Corbynista?

Well yes of course I’m no supporter of Corbyn as I’m a Radical Liberal but none the less the almost cult-like following Corbyn has is something I’d really like to at least understand.

That some people think he is the saviour of the left is undoubtedly the case and that he is idolised by some is also a given, but let me throw a few things out there for debate.

Firstly, in the last local elections as I was out and about campaigning and indeed cycling through West Lancashire and Sefton one thing really struck me; it was the Labour poster boards on properties of the well to do houses in fashionably expensive places like Aughton and Ainsdale. And I’m talking about communities where you all but had to have a Conservative Party membership card to buy a house in recent times. Yes I know there are many ordinary semi’s in these leafy communities but it was the Lab’ posters on the larger more expensive properties that struck me.

Labour has always had members/supporters whom the left have called ‘Champagne Socialists’ but they were almost always Social Democrats and most of them would not have put Labour posters up on their properties for fear of upsetting neighbourly relations in predominately Conservative voting areas. Now with a Labour leadership and membership well to the left (whilst the mast majority of Labour MP’s are still Social Democrats) some of the wealthy Corbynistas are bedecking their high-end houses to flaunt their support for him.

Now here’s a link to how Labour and indeed Corbyn did is those recent local elections

www.markpack.org.uk/154799/labour-opposition-leaders-local-elections-record/

The obvious interpretation, to me anyway, is that despite a section of the left being utterly devoted to him Jez is actually not making the big impression on voters that you may expect, especially with us having a completely incompetent and fractured Tory Government at present. Of course this lack of a Corbyn bounce must surely be linked in some way to his bizarre support for the Conservative’s Brexit.

Unless you are a unthinking disciple of Brexit we all know it will lead to a more poorly funded NHS, a weaker economy, job losses and the poor being made poorer. Not end results that you would expect socialist leaders to sign up to, yet by backing Brexit that is indeed what the present Labour Leadership is doing despite it also saying not a job will be lost via Brexit. What an utterly bizarre position for any party adopt, but for a supposedly progressive party! Words fail many commentators…………..

And here’s another link, which is more about the man himself and a book written about his surprising rise to become Labour’s leader.

www.markpack.org.uk/137508/comrade-corbyn-rosa-prince/

The other thing (you could say contradiction) about Corbyn is the support he allegedly has amongst young people; the very people who probably have the most to lose (other than the poor) because of his support for Brexit. I’m guessing here that they like his reinvention of 1970’s left wing policies such as a much larger welfare state with many state provided ‘free’ things paid for by taxpayers. But don’t those same young people want to travel outside the UK into EU countries to live and work there as they please? Don’t they want a stable economy that is able to support an enlarged welfare state? You can’t back Brexit and have a flourishing economy that puts money in the Treasury’s coffers to make a ‘most things for free society’ actually work in any rational way.

Maybe re-nationalisation of the railways is a big hit with the young and indeed the wealthy? I personally have some sympathy with this policy although to hear some of the proponents of it looking back at British Rail through very rose tinted spectacles is a little bizarre as BR had as many bad things about it as it had good. That the organisation of our railways needs a big overhaul to get things right is a given but just recreating BR is probably far too simplistic an answer.

So Corbynistas what drives you? Does it feel like a cult more than a political party? If you are old enough did you feel the same way about Michael Foot? What indeed is the Jez ‘X’ factor or is it something that can only be seen from the inside of New(er) Labour?