Guest Posting by Jen Robertson – Stella Creasy checked out

First an article in the New Statesman – see link below:-

www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/08/stella-creasy-rages-against-political-machine-can-she-break-it

The more I read about this woman the more I seem to like her. Labour’s mistake in their Leadership election wasn’t electing Corbyn, I think it was not electing her. She’d have been a good foil to him (whatever you think of him it is a little dispiriting to see yet another political party being run by middle aged men) and a sign the party was actually going to take women seriously.

A Creasy quote:-

“We can’t afford to waste anyone in the Labour party,” she says. “Most of my adult life in the Labour party it has been Brownite, Blairite, Trot. . . It’s a machine on all sides, that says ‘unless you can conform to our gang, we’re not interested in working with you’. That has got to stop.” – have you ever seen anyone in Labour see their major problem so clearly and cite it so honestly?

Her comments about working on specific issues you believe in with anyone who will work with you is so counter to how I normally see Labour as operating and so much more how these things should work. I don’t agree with her on everything (but then we are sat in different political camps so no big surprise there) but she would have been a wonderful break from the Old Boys Club Labour struggles to escape from.

I also feel Corbyn would have had an easier job selling that cabinet with someone at his side who has such clear and uncompromising passion when it comes to fighting for women’s rights. What really angered me about that cabinet though wasn’t the potential sexism of his choices but that the press didn’t really care if the cabinet was sexist or not, it was just a convenient stick to beat Corbyn with which devalues the very serious, very real, issues that women face in politics.

Tony’s Editors Note:-

The quote above “Most of my adult life in the Labour party it has been Brownite, Blairite, Trot. . . It’s a machine on all sides, that says ‘unless you can conform to our gang, we’re not interested in working with you.” could have been written by me as an observer of the Labour Party in action on Merseyside. Factions that seem to hate each other more than the Tories, tribal beyond belief and ruling clans who guard their fortress walls against all internal Labour members unless they have pledged allegiance to the clan in blood I assume.

Corbyn – A Liberal writes

It’s time to welcome the Labour Party back to what it should be, a socialist party. For far too many years it has looked and felt like a Tory Party MK11 otherwise known as the Red Tories.

I am not a socialist and am certainly not in any way a supporter of the Labour Party yet I am strangely pleased that it has seemingly gone back to its roots. In recent years I have seen Labour at a local level opposing every measure of austerity yet at a national level doing the exact opposite as the likes of Rachel Reeves attacked the welfare system in ways I found appalling. So here is an opportunity to make Labour honest as opposed to off to the left locally and off to the right nationally.

The election was an odd affair where Labour seemed hell bent on doing itself as much damage as possible. 3 candidates from Labour’s right wing – all far to far to the right for me – and one of the socialist tradition.

Burnham was the worst of the lot for me as he seemed to put himself forward as a person who stood for whatever voters wanted of him. Would it be unkind to say he looked every inch a popularist? Oddly, I represented Aintree, where Burnham hails from, on Sefton Council for a dozen years.

For all Corbyn’s faults and I suspect there are many he came over as the best available candidate despite Labour’s big guns doing all they could to hole him below the waterline. But the more they attacked him from the right the stronger his support grew from the left.

Of course he is an unlikely Prime Minister but so was Miliband. Will Labour win in 2020? Very, very unlikely but that was always going to be the case no matter who became their Leader. Trouble is Labour’s right wing are seeking to blame Corbyn already for his not winning in 2020 in the hope they can destabelise his leadership sooner rather later.

The big challenge for Labour now though is electoral reform which they have in the many always resisted as it was not in their narrow political interests. Yes, Labour has to embrace PR but that’s a big ask for the old Labour war horses; yet even that old prize fighter John Prescot seems up for it.

We now have a obviously Liberal Lib Dem Party under Tim (a bit of a leftie) Farron as opposed to a party of the middle ground as it had become since Charles Kennedy stepped down as leader. And it seems we have what could turn out to be socialist party in Labour under Corbyn. Yet the Tories remain an odd conundrum. Cameron is firmly a prisoner of the right and UKIP and looks a poor leader these days constantly being blown by the wind. Will the Tories go further right under Osborne or popularist under Boris when Cameron hangs up his hat or is advised to sling his hook?

I have the feeling that Farron and Corbyn may well shape a new way forward for the left but of course we on the left will never agree – we never have – and that’s why the Tories do so well.

Corbyn – Women only carriages on trains?

www.historytoday.com/simon-abernethy/sending-females-rail-history-women-only-carriages

There has been a certain amount of hysterical reaction to Jeremy Corbyn’s suggestion that women only carriages could be brought back but above is a more sober reflection on the issue and why it is probably not a good idea.

With thanks to Jen Robertson for the lead to this story.

How Labour will top losing the election – By losing its own leadership contest?

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/27/how-will-labour-top-losing-the-election-by-losing-its-own-leadership-contest

Frankie Boyle in the Guardian – see link above – has an amusing take on Labour’s internal election debacle. Funny but telling.

Thanks to Jen Robertson for the lead to this story.

Tim Farron – Don’t bleed the poor

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This is powerful but very clear message. You will notice which Labour Party leadership contender is missing from their line up i.e Jeremy Corbyn as he voted, like our local MP’s John Pugh (Lib Dem) and Peter Dowd (Lab), against the Conservative’s Welfare Bill.

Corbin for Labour Leader!

No this is not an attempt to persuade Labour members to elect a new Leader who will make Labour unelectable but more to make them think about why someone like Jeremy Corbin is right in what he identifies as problems but wrong in the way he and fellow socialists think the state, councils and big public institutions are the best way to address those problems.

Corbin is what I would identify as a real socialist and there are few of them in the Labour Party these days. I have worked with true socialists for years in the trade union movement and have a great deal of respect for them even though I think that they come to the wrong conclusions over matters where we share common identification of problems that need addressing.

If I was a member of the Labour Party about to take part in their Leadership vote I would have to urge fellow Labour Party members to vote for Corbin but I am not because I have never felt that the solutions that socialists and Labour folk come up with will actually work. But at least he identifies what the real (mainly social problems) are, which is far more than you can say about the other candidates to be Labour Leader.

Where Liberals and socialists divide is that Liberals see the solutions to social problems in particular as being ones that need people to be empowered and set free from the tyranny of the state, councils and big public institutions. We come to that conclusion not because we don’t see a role for the state, councils and public institutions, because we do, but we also see them as being too cumbersome, too bureaucratic and too remote to effectively solve many issues.

In our Leadership election I think it would be fair to say that both Tim Farron and Norman Lamb could be seen as being of the left, indeed I have heard Farron, whom I have just voted for, refer to himself as ‘a bit of a leftie’.

We Liberals often encounter Labour on Councils and working with them can be hard work because of their ‘our way or no way’ approach. Indeed, I would say that Labour often stands in the way of positive progress because they are too slow to react, too reluctant to empower people and all too willing to do things to people rather then giving them the tools to do things for themselves. I would go further though as it strikes me that some in the Labour Party feel they can’t afford to empower people because if they did those people may not need to depend on the Labour Party any more. Dependent voters are useful voters for Labour.

So yes, of the candidates standing for the Labour Leadership Jeremy Corbin is about the best one not least because the others are far too right wing for my liking.