Jeremy Corbyn no mention – Brexit no mention – And that’s in Labour leaflets!

Being of the left but an opponent of Labour I thought I’d have a look at the leaflets they’ve put out in the Sefton Central Constituency. The striking thing is that in the ones I’ve seen there’s virtually no mention of Jeremy Corbyn or indeed Brexit.

When political parties all but ignore their own leaders in leaflets you can bet that they’re thinking that mentioning them will be a negative influence on voters. And I should know my party had Nick Clegg as its leader some years ago! So we can read into this that Jeremy Corbyn is not felt to be of assistance and he may well be perceived by Labour locally as being a drag on people being willing to vote them in the Sefton Central constituency.

And what about Brexit, the subject that Labour really don’t like taking about because they’re split all over the place regarding it. They’ve had more policy shifts, nudges and winks over it than I’ve had hot dinners so talking about it is also clearly seen to be drag on their vote. Say they’re Remain and their Brexiteer supporters get upset and head off to Mr Farage, say they’re Leave and their Remainers get upset and head off to the Lib Dems. Quite a dilemma, best to keep Mum and try to pretend that Leavers think they’re a Leave party and Remainers think they’re a Remain party! If they get into government they’ll decided which way to face then, if they don’t then they’ll keep running with the hare and hounds, or in Jeremy’s case staying ‘neutral’.

The interesting point here is that the Labour candiadte in Sefton Central was a member of Corbyn’s Sadow Cabinet in the last Parliament so you’d think they’d fully behind Jez and be promoting his Brexit nuetrality.

ITV dives straight into a huge General Election Brexit and even misogynistic hole

Well would you believe it? Sadly we probably would. ITV has announced that it will screen the first leaders TV debate on 19th November but that it will only include 2 men in grey suits!

Well done ITV, 3 of the main party leaders (Lib Dems, SNP PC) are women yet both the leaders picked for your 1st debate are male Brexiteers! No Remain Leader and no woman in your debate means it has no balance what so ever. Hang your heads in shame ITV.

But we can do something about this appalling decision by ITV which inadvertently or otherwise reinforces the two old party system. Here’s one petition already doing the rounds you can sign:-

www.change.org/p/bbc-demand-jo-swinson-is-included-in-tv-debates-in-the-run-up-to-the-general-election?recruiter=false&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_initial&utm_term=psf_combo_share_initial&recruited_by_id=caa9fc20-fcc7-11e9-9425-cd57e2141ad6&share_bandit_exp=initial-18730819-en-GB&share_bandit_var=v2

I appreciate that the above petition is all about Jo Swinson being kept out of the 1st debate but she is the only Remain leader of a national political party. For goodness sake this election is supposed to be about resolving Brexit so why on earth have 2 grey suited male Brexiteers debating why their version of Brexit is better than the other one when the real choice is between Leave and Remain and 50 percent of the electorate is female.

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?

Lib Dem Parliamentary candidates announced for Bootle and Sefton Central

Rebecca Hanson (Bootle), Lib Dem Leader Jo Swinson & Keith Crawdron (Sefton Central) are ready to take on Jeremy Corbyn’s MP’s in Bootle (Peter Dowd) and Sefton Central (Bill Esterson) constituencies when the starting gun is fired for the soon to happen General Election.

Swinson – Time to stay strong as Brexit heats up

Now let me say this first, Swinson was not my preferred candidate to become Lib Dem Leader, but as my preferred candidate did not stand I voted for her over Ed Davy. Secondly, it’s a little early to say how she will do in the post which she won with a pretty huge majority. Best to say I’m a disloyal (I always see myself as being disloyal to my party by the way*) sceptic of her leadership but one who will applaud her if she becomes a good leader.

So what to make of the Swinson/Lucas/Corbyn tussle over how a government of national unity can be put together to defeat Johnson and No Deal Brexit. I think a fair assessment of the present position is to say that Corbyn will get involved if he can be the head of such a government and that the Green Leader agrees with Corbyn. Swinson however holds the view that Corbyn’s a too divisive a figure to be the at the head of such a movement and that she thinks a more widely accepted figure should do the job. She wants either Harriet Harman and/or Ken Clarke to do the leadership role.

A government of national unity to stop a No Deal Brexit will need dissident Tory MP’s to back it and whilst this is a statement of the blindingly obvious, based on the House of Commons arithmetic, it is also the key to why the potential leader of such a government should surely to be a widely accepted and trusted figure i.e. not a present opposition party leader.

I understand that Jeremy C wants to be PM just as Lucas and Swinson do too; why else would they be political leaders? However, the present Brexit crisis faced by the UK is not one where individual political ambitions are the most important thing. Indeed, the imminent danger of a No Deal Brexit is what needs to be stopped and clearly a non/less-contentious leader of a short-term government of national unity is required to do that.

Once you put a political leader up to do that job politicians will take sides especially if that person is seen to hold views way to the left of right of the center of UK politics. So telling Jeremy that he’s not the person for the job is a matter of political pragmatism for me because he’s not a man who politicians from differing political backgrounds can coalesce around. And if they can’t coalesce around him by implication his government is highly unlikely to commend a majority in our fractured House of Commons.

Sadly Lucas has misjudged this issue just as she did a few days ago when bizarrely she suggested an all women Cabinet to run the UK. Now don’t get me wrong, I do accept that women make better leaders than men because they are generally less likely to be politically tribal etc. But to suggest, as Caroline sadly did, that no men can be trusted to take on senior government positions is just not sensible or practical politics. Politics is the art of the possible, what Caroline was suggesting was clearly highly improbable.

The other problem with Jeremy is his political baggage associated with Brexit. Across the political spectrum people say he’s not had a good Brexit and has not handled the matter at all well. Significantly, this is often said by Labour Party members and supporters so it’s not just a opposition view of Jez. It also has to be remembered that Jez is at heart a Brexiteer and he wants what he calls a ‘Labour Brexit’, whatever that may mean. And there’s the rub because he’s not going to get the chance to negotiate a Labour Brexit until he wins a General Election and Labour winning such an election seems at best slight if present opinion polls are anything to go by.

Will Labour now sit back and say it’s our way or no way over a government of national unity or will they back off on their wish to crown Jeremy as PM for this interim emergency government?

For what my view is worth I think Swinson’s stance is right and that figures such as Clarke and/or Harman are best placed to try to put a Commons majority together to defeat a No Deal Brexit. I say this simply because her position is more logical, more likely to work and it’s the art of the possible rather than the improbable. And to balance my view of Swinson I remain highly sceptical of her seemingly strident anti-SNP views. I get that she’s a not a nationalist and is in favour of the Union but we need the SNP onside over Brexit, so poking them in the political eye regularly is not helpful.

But above all this the real elephant trap is that a Government of national unity which gets rid of No Deal Brexit could also be used as a platform to promote a Brexit Deal! If Swinson was involved in that it would finish her and the Lib Dems. Think about it, there are quite a few Labour and Tory MP’s out there who want to get rid of No Deal but who would be happy to get out of the EU with some form of a deal. They would probably be happy with Corbyn at the head of a Government as he’s on their side. Any Government temporary or otherwise which tries to negotiate a deal to leave the EU will end up in the same appalling mess that Teresa may found herself in. Swinson needs to be very cautious and ignore the Corbynite ritualistic tribal abuse presently being aimed at her. If she weakens she could easily end up enabling a Brexit deal of whatever kind and frankly no one will have any sympathy for her then.

Political tribalism has blighted UK politics for far too long. Of course other political parties have good ideas which should gain wide support but our tribal system teaches our politicians to slag off ideas from opposition politicians just because they are not ‘one of ours’. It’s time to do the right thing to save the UK from the mad idea that a No Deal Brexit will be fine. It won’t be – our public services will suffer, tax revenues will fall, exports will dry up, unemployment will rise, living standards will fall, workers rights will be chucked away, environmental and food regulations will be ripped up. Only the rich and powerful will benefit from a No Deal Brexit. And let’s not forget that any form of Brexit, with a deal or not, will cause all of these disaster scenarios to come into play to some extent – the best deal the UK has is the one it has now with the EU. No ifs, no buts, no maybes.

* If you don’t get my disloyalty, it’s associated with my view that we should trust no one with power. Our job is to hold those who hold power to account, not to idolise them.

Universal Basic Income (UBI)

The Liverpool Echo has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/uk-brink-swapping-universal-credit-16250463

Outside of Social Liberals this has been an economic/welfare policy which the two larger political parties have shown little if any real interest in to my knowledge to date.

It’s matter that I have blogged about before – see links below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/05/26/a-low-wage-culture-well-yes-if-you-live-outside-the-economically-overheated-south-east/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/06/20/moderation-bugger-that-for-a-lark-im-too-angry-about-whats-happening-to-the-uk/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/04/02/its-about-time-that-the-liberal-democrats-really-did-propose-radical-solutions-to-poverty/

My most recent recollection about UBI is that one of the Canadian Provinces (could be Alberta) is considering trying to bring in a form of Universal Basic Income via it’s Liberal Government.

If this social welfare approach really is moving into mainstream political debate in the UK then we should welcome the move. Having said that the irony of this obviously progressive policy being looked at at a time when the UK is suffering from the worst kind of regressive government (with a regressive Brexit supporting Official Opposition too) is not lost on me. So to hear that the Brexit supporting Labour leadership are backing a type universal income is more than a bit bizarre.

The poorest in our society can be helped by UBI but if you back Brexit which will make the poor poorer, as Labour does, then they are actually backing complete opposites!

Another example of Labour trying to face both ways at once?