Tag Archives: Labour

LabSpeak – A Guide To The Language of The Labour Right

bernard-mceldowney-twitter-corbyn-traitor-bastard1. ‘Sieze control’ – overwhelmingly win an election fair and square in the face of gerrymandering, rigging and cheating

2. ‘Hard left – traditional left-leaning social democrats who think the market might not always be correct

3. ‘Anti-Semitism’ – criticism of Israel

4. ‘Anti-Semitic abuse’ – being correctly identified at a press conference as someone who has briefed right-wing media against your party’s leader

5. ‘Bullying’ – expressing unhappiness/disagreement with a Member of Parliament

6. ‘Trot’ – a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. See also ‘Nazi Stormtrooper’ Rabble’ and ‘thugs’

7. ‘Misogyny’ – labelling a female Tory MP responsible for the deaths of disabled people a ‘stain on humanity.’ And/or whatever Yvette Cooper wants to invent at any given moment

8. ‘Unity’ – The desired state of their party for many right-wing Labour MPs. To be achieved by the annihilation of Corbyn supporters, a contempt for natural justice and the witch-hunting and expulsion of those on the left

9. ‘Intimidation’ – local party members discussing the replacement of their MP or prospective parliamentary candidate, via the rule-book in a democratic and properly-constituted manner, in favour of one who reflects the majority view

10. ‘Homophobic abuse’ – derogatory remarks about a female MP’s sexuality that were never said at a meeting she never attended

11. ‘Unelectable’ – used to describe someone who has presided over four mayoral wins, a string of by-election victories and two leadership elections in a year. The second of which returned an even greater majority than the first. Oh, and also attracting hundreds of thousands to your party making it the biggest social democratic party in Western Europe

12. ‘My office window’ – not a Labour MP’s office window

13. ‘Coming together to fight the Tories’ – writing in the Telegraph and demanding a Tory government, a Tory government, “crushes” a trade union

14. ‘Incompetent’ – remaining in post with increased support following an embarrassingly botched palace coup and a laughably bungled rigged election

15. ‘Moderates’ – MPs who hate the working class, trade unions and the Party membership

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With Friends Like These…

corbynThere’s plenty of justifiable criticism to be made of Corbyn, from those of us to his left, and most of it in terms of his actual politics, rather than the manufactured trash regarding his appearance, style and lack of ‘leadership qualities.’

Almost every back-stabber and turncoat (waves at Owen Jones) – as well as his outright enemies – has praised Corbyn as a man of principle and integrity; while bemoaning his lack of leadership abilities. What exactly, one can only wonder, do you consider leadership qualities to be, if not principle and integrity?

Again, I could spend a week criticising Jezza’s politics and not run out of things to say but when I hear “ah but he just couldn’t win a general election; he just isn’t a leader” well, that tells me absolutely nothing about him and everything about you.

It tells me that you’re an unthinking swallower of the media consensus; that a slick suit and superficial charm are what you think makes a leader; that you are happy to let your political enemies tell you what and how your leader should be.

You whine and you moan about spivs, con-men and liars; remote, privileged toffs who know nothing of us; who care nothing about how we live and how we die. You turn from your TV in disgust at the fiddling, the corruption and the sheer unmitigated self-interest and greed. You yearn for an honest man. You pray for a champion who will restore your party to its former proletarian glory. You want socialism! Or say you do. And then comes Corbyn…

A man whose cumulative parliamentary expenses for the last hundred years amount to fifty pence, a Refresher and a packet of fucking crisps. A man who lives in a normal house, on a normal street, and whose front garden gives an alibi to working class men all over the country: “It’ll be all right for another week, love. I mean, you seen Jezza’s?”

You’ve finally got your champion; you’ve got a leader who understands your life, lives your life and even looks like the kindly teacher we all had. And yet you moan because he dresses like a normal geezer. You bitch because he doesn’t wear a tie. You take the piss out of his allotment and you sneer at his bike.

Because the media do.
Because the established political class do.
And you swallow it.

You’re too stupid, you’re too blinded by establishment propaganda to recognise normal when it passes you on the street! This is your ordinary bloke – not in it for himself – that you always claimed you wanted. But you complain because he doesn’t dress, speak and act like those you claimed to despise. You fool.

And now they’re doing him in. They’re queuing up like a bunch of prison rapists in the showers – but with less integrity – to stick in the blade. When the posh boys, along with their establishment and traitors in the Parliamentary Labour Party, line up to shank the guy in the exercise yard, while the guards are locking the gates and the governor is urging them on, isn’t it just a basic expression of class solidarity, of decency, to join the prison riot?

His own MPs – the careerist chancers you were bitching about just last week – are now, suddenly, an infallible barometer of the electoral mood? Fuck you. You’ve bottled it. A shiver scuttled around Corbyn’s ‘friends’ looking for a spine to run down, eh?

And what did you expect anyway? A socialist of some sort finally leads the Labour Party and you thought, what? That The S*n would scatter rose petals down his garden path? That he and Dave would chuckle amiably together as they exchanged matey bantz across the dispatch box? That it’d be easy?

Let me tell you, in all seriousness, as someone who knows more than a little about conflict – when they come for you like this, when they hate you like this, you’re doing something right.

It isn’t people like Corbyn who lose Labour elections; it’s people like you.

Now, grow a pair and fight for Corbyn; because he’s spent his entire career fighting for you.

 

War, Again: Labour’s Syrian Shame

Portal_Syria_Benn__3515919b
So Corbyn bottled it. All the desperate spin and plaintive self-justification by his acolytes cannot obscure this simple truth.

Their arguments are spurious and mendacious. At best. Even if the alleged strategy – to avoid a split in the party – had been successful then the unity of the Labour Party has been prioritised over saving the lives of Syrian infants.

But, to pile tragedy upon contempt, the strategy has not and will not be successful. Corbyn has been hounded and monstered from day one. At least half the shadow Cabinet and a majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party have been in open revolt from the very moment he ascended to the leadership. Their contempt for him has been astonishing. Their disobedience, their disloyalty and the disdain in which they hold their leader has been there for all to see. There is no unity. None.

Instead, there is – cruel pun, perhaps – a civil war raging inside the PLP. It cannot be avoided. It’s happening now. To continue the martial metaphors, it is a universal truth of military warfare that if one must fight a war, then one should always seek to do so on terrain of ones own choosing. Corbyn should have taken the fight to his enemies. He should have whipped his MPs and sacked the pro-war dissenters. He has the overwhelming support of the membership and even official Conference policy on his side. Yes, the split would have widened but it’s here already and is set only to accelerate anyway with, possibly, Corbyn ousted from his post. And such an act would have been in the service of nothing less than humanity and he, at least, would have acted with courage and principle.

Let’s stick with war aphorisms and remind the Labour leader that weakness only invites aggression. His right-wing will not be deterred from their plotting; the media will not cease its assassinations. There is nothing Corbyn can do to appease these people. All his current trajectory will do is weaken his powerbase in the CLPs. As Tolkien wrote, “A man who flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to meet it.”

As it is, he has chosen the coward’s exit; the Pontius Pilate option of washing his hands and preserving his own sainted purity while allowing his MPs a free vote to massacre brown babies.

His supporters mutter darkly about deselecting the pro-war MPs in their constituencies; allowing the rank-and-fail to dole out the punishment they so richly deserve but that Corbyn lacks the guts to deliver himself. This, though, is a ridiculous double-standard. Corbyn apologists defend the free vote as ‘a matter of conscience.’ Yet now they wish to punish MPs for… voting with their consciences? (or at least that which passes for conscience among these people) So a free vote is fine for Corbyn but not those who disagree with him? In fact, the sixty-six MPs who voted for war can’t even be termed rebels. After all, what were they rebelling against? There was no party line. Such is the unavoidable outcome, the inevitable logic, of Corbyn’s tactical cowardice.

And what of those MPs? On the one hand there are those who genuinely believe that murdering Syrian civilians in an utterly futile and doomed attempt to bomb an ideology into submission is the right thing to do. It says so much of Labour, ‘a party fit for imperialism,’ that these worthies are the good guys. Relatively speaking. At least such people have the dubious honour of being up-front and honest in their idiocy and callousness.

Worse, though, than even these creatures are those Labour MPs cynically exploiting the impending massacre for personal career advantage; and to settle scores with the leader they despise. Terrified of the growing wrath of their local party members and the prospect of losing the perks and trappings of Westminster, they plot, they scheme and they betray in a concerted bid to bring down Corbyn to save their own careers. Imagine that; pursuing the killing of other human beings solely to shore-up your ambition.

In both cases, these specimens have lined up with the Tories and condemned Syrians to death. And so it is that another murderous folly is now unleashed. The UK’s fourth in fewer than twenty years. Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; close the wall up with Muslim dead.

Tonight, there are Labour MPs that never deserved less than they do now the prefix ‘honourable.’ But, as always, they’ve certainly done their best to ensure Labour remains Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition…

Imagine…

refphotozzzzzzPaul doesn’t “believe in refugees” (Aye, I know. Like Santa? Or fairies?) He insists they’re all “economic migrants.”

Firstly, let’s assume that’s true, and that’ll be easy as many of you, like Paul, clearly believe it is, despite any evidence to the contrary. OK, it’s true. So what?

Imagine a father wanting to shift his family to a place where his kids don’t need to sleep on a dirt floor, under the open sky, where a family of five share 3000 calories a day. What a bastard, eh?

Imagine he schleps across borders and sails dangerous seas on the nautical equivalent of a beer-mat, for the enormous privilege of mopping piss and shit from toilet floors in bus stations, for fifty hrs a week on minimum wage. What a bastard eh?

Imagine he and his people have had rammed down their collective throats how superior this mean-spirited, nasty-minded, racist, feudal, little shit-hole we call Britain is? Ruled by Old Etonian crooks and bent money-men with stock options for souls, who arrogantly pontificate about the UK being the best place in the world, after centuries of invading, murdering and destroying other peoples, lands, cultures and economies. Imagine people actually believing that and wanting a piece for themselves? What bastards eh?

Imagine wanting to live in a place where the natives are ignorant sycophants who fawn and scrape and debase themselves before an unelected, hereditary and wholly parasitical monarchy; who allow their government to sell the houses from beneath their feet; who watch their NHS carved up ready for the sell-off and can only shrug in indifference. Who passively accept the destruction of free education and the slow death of their schools. Until someone with a brown face dares to send their child to your child’s school. Until someone in a hijab, niqab or burka  wants to use your hospital. Imagine caring not one iota about the freedom of capital to cross continents at the stroke of a banker’s keyboard – leaving mass unemployment and poverty in its wake – but stirring in anger when labour dares to exercise the same freedom. Ooh, you care then, don’t you?

Imagine turning your life upside down just for that: for a miserable, pitiful existence, only to have racist, bigoted scum – smug and secure in their white Western privilege – sneering at you and looking down their noses because, instead of sitting on your arse, you actually got off it and tried to make a better life for your kids through sheer, grinding, hard-graft? Just like we’re always urged to. Wow, what a bastard eh?

But, no. The bastards are already here. They are the government, they are they people who vote for them, they are the people who can’t be arsed to vote for them, they are the people who are supposed to be the opposition, they are think the people who laugh at revolution. They are the people too docile, too indolent and too stupid to stop themselves being ripped-off, stitched-up and walked over. Until someone with a brown face and an empty belly moves in next door. Ooh, and suddenly there isn’t enough to go round.

Imagine such bastards eh?

Abstinence Makes the Hate Grow Stronger

labour-nhs-reform-513282

After watching the coverage, last night, of Labour MPs abandoning the working and non-working poor – not to mention pregnant rape victims – to the tender mercies of the Tories’ welfare ‘reforms’, I was reminded of a rather amusing tale I heard a while ago.

On the Friday after the general election I appeared on a TV debate alongside former Labour MP for Nottingham South, Alan Simpson. Joining us were one very smug Tory and an academic from Nottingham University.

Alan and I go back over twenty-years and for all my loathing for the party of which I was once a member – and represented as an elected councillor, if you can believe it – I’ve always had a very soft spot for Alan.

As well as being a sincere and hard-working MP, Alan was not afraid to get his hands dirty. He accompanied Notts anti-fascists on a variety of what we’ll call initiatives, back in the days when the far right were very visible and active along the Nottinghamshire-Derbyshire border. He was a man unafraid of proclaiming his left credentials and I have no doubt, that had he still been in Parliament, he’d have been first into the NO lobby last night.

Indeed, should Andy Burnham ever be unfortunate enough to meet me, I rather fancy that I’d paraphrase Senator Bentsen’s deservedly-legendary put-down: I fought with Alan Simpson. I knew Alan Simpson. Alan Simpson was a friend of mine. Burnham, you’re no Alan Simpson.

So anyway; here’s the thing. Prior to the aforementioned TV debate, Alan and I enjoyed a bit of a catch-up. During which he shared with me the following anecdote concerning a local former Labour MP. The story was as follows…

Said MP knocks on a door while canvassing and asks for the resident’s vote. The man proceeds to grill the Labour candidate:

“Did you vote for the Tories education proposals?”

“Dear God, of course not! I’m a Labour MP. I abstained”

“OK. What about their trade union bill?”

“Dear me, sir, absolutely not! Trade unions are vital to a functioning democracy!”

“So you voted against?”

“Well, actually I abstained. There were very sound tactical reasons for doing so. Parliament and the legislative process can be very tricky, you know”

“Fair enough. And on the education bill?”

“An appalling piece of work! Attacking those charged with educating the next generation! Along with colleagues, I abstained.”

“OK, thanks for answering and taking the time to speak to me”

“My pleasure, sir. So can Labour rely on your support?”

“Of course”

“Marvellous. Thank you very much!”

“You’re welcome. Yes, I’ll definitely be abstaining on polling day”

“What? That’s no good! We need your vote!”

“Oh, I thought abstaining was an effective tactic, listening to you? And if it’s good enough for you people…”

[slams door]

No need to labour – ho ho ho – the point. You know what to do when Burnham and his 184 abstaining mates come calling for your vote…

GE 2015: Sturgeon, #DollGate and the Death of Dignity

Humza YousafIf truth is the first casualty of war then dignity is undoubtedly the first casualty of election campaigns.

I draw the reader’s attention to Exhibit A. Humza Yousaf (that’s Humza, by the way, John Pienaar. OK? Not Hamza), MSP for Glasgow and the Scottish Government’s Minister for Europe and International Development, thoughtfully drew my attention to the matter via his Facebook page.

While Scottish Labour canvassers have been, for some weeks now, begging their own voters to vote Tory to keep out the SNP in seats Labour can’t win (which, by now, is nearly all of them), Labour MP Tom Harris has provided a variation on the theme.

The ‘Honourable’ Member for Glasgow South, so terrified is he at his impending demise at the hands of the SNP, has sent a remarkable begging letter to his Tory-voting constituents. For those disinclined to read it in full, it may be summarised thus: ‘Dear Conservatives, please, please, please, save my arse from the skelping the Scottish working class is intent on delivering via the SNP.’

While your narrator awards the initiative maximum points for ingenuity and creativity, alas the complete absence of principle and dignity ensures an overall final score of zero.

Staying with the SNP and things Scottish, for a moment, The Scottish S*n distinguished itself still further in its quest to plumb new depths and go boldly where no toilet-dwelling excrescence has gone before in its latest attack on the First Minister. Determined to ensure that no barrel will remain unscraped in its efforts to serve the cause of its Unionist overlords, it ran a piece about Nicola Sturgeon’s psychopathic inclinations as evidenced by a childhood rammy with her sister involving a doll (currently trending on Twitter as #DollGate). The filth was quickly stirred with a disgusting allusion to matters intimate, allegedly involving the First Minister. Headlined The Scotweiler, the article included misogyny and sleazy smears and invasion of personal privacy all tied to that rag’s trademark reactionary hysteria and contempt for context, nuance and reference, never mind the truth.

Truly, the frothing hate, fear and loathing induced in establishment hearts by the formidable Sturgeon is as indicative of her coming triumph as the relentlessly apocalyptic Ashcroft polls.

Which reminds me; I must leave a note for the butler to get in a good Islay single malt to celebrate the ruin of all that The Scottish S*n holds dear, come May 7th.  One doubts that this England-dwelling exile will be alone in making such plans.

In other news The Jellyfish attacked the Eton Rifle for his responsibility in the recent deaths of refugees in the Mediterranean. The basis of the Jellyfish’s assault was two-fold. First, the government’s bombing of Libya, thus creating enormous numbers of homeless, terrified and fleeing people and, secondly, the government’s cutting of sea rescue resources; intended to discourage said people from trying to reach the UK.

He was responded to in kind by the Eton Rifle’s associates who accused him of making political capital of a human tragedy. I’m sure there must be many of us who find a politician making a political attack on a political opponent, regarding a political decision taken by said political opponent, for the purposes of political gain, somewhat unremarkable.

Sadly, the Jellyfish’s offensive was somewhat blunted by that most perennial of political phenomena; hypocrisy. Given that he and his party supported the mass murder of Libyan people and have been enthusiastically pursuing their own policy agenda to appease racists, this was, to be kind, not particularly well thought through.

We finish with a quick mention of the Democratic Unionist Party’s Jim Wells. Wells, as many will know, has the sort of homophobic form that borders on madness. Previously the instigator of the ‘Save Ulster from Sodomy’ campaign, Wells’ latest foray into bigotry and irrationality has attracted outrage. This week, at a hustings in South Down, the Northern Irish Health Minister said, “The facts show that you certainly don’t bring a child up in a homosexual relationship. That child is far more likely to be abused or neglected.”

However, no such ‘facts’ exist and these non-existent facts show nothing of the kind. Alternatively, there is strong emerging anecdotal evidence which shows that the children of Democratic Unionist parents run a real risk of becoming intolerant, homophobic, bigoted, raving right-wing, religious nut-case assholes.

‘Save the Six Counties’ Kiddies from C*nts’ anyone?

GE 2015: Manifesto Round-up

eddie memeThe madness that is Manifesto Week continues.

The traditional pre-election day dog-and-pony show, which no one should take too seriously, has underlined, yet again, just how surreal British politics has become.

The Jellyfish and his gang pleaded with business and the bosses to heed their earnest entreaties that they’d be the party of “fiscal responsibility.” Cuts would indeed continue, austerity is now a long-term tenant and those sensible Labour chaps would take every measure to calm the fears and nerves of those in the City and in the UK’s boardrooms.

At the same time The Eton Rifle’s cold class warriors asserted their intention to be the party of “working people”, a term no less sickly and patronising than Labour’s “working families.” Thatcher’s right-to-buy scheme would be extended, thirty hours per week of free childcare for three and four year olds would be on offer and Thatcher’s hideous “share-owning democracy” would be alive and well under the Tories.

Of course, we well know that only one of these parties is telling the truth and, sadly, it’s Labour. A point rather starkly made when Scottish Labour’s Jim Murphy assured voters that under Labour there would be no need for further cuts. If an end to austerity was what voters desired, well, no need to vote SNP; Labour, both its Anglo and Caledonian expressions, would sort that out for you.

The Jellyfish must surely have been aghast. Lest his prostration before the high priests of capital be in vain, boot-boy Chuka Umunna was dispatched to correct this deviation from the line. Reassuring the London bean-counters, contrary to Murphy’s increasingly desperate and plot-unravelling ravings, Labour’s Business Secretary cut Jimbo off at the knees. Umunna, a man with all the humanity and class-partisanship of an Excel spreadsheet stated firmly that cuts would continue. Before coolly, and with just the hint of a smirk, pointing out that “the leader of the Scottish Labour Party will not be in charge of the UK budget.” Only one of them is telling the truth and it certainly isn’t Murphy, who spent the following day in hiding, refusing to give any media interviews. In the unlikely event of anyone searching for a time to be sorry for Jimbo, this is about as close as it gets.

Meanwhile, the launch of the Tory manifesto gave The Eton Rifle the chance to pretend that the last five years didn’t happen. Forget the punitive, literally death-inducing, sanctions of the sick and disabled, subsistence-level wages, an entire generation of young people shut out of the housing market, rocketing numbers of food banks, soaring child poverty and full-time workers claiming more benefits than the unemployed, The Eton Rifle had a jolly wheeze in store. A reheated Thatcherism would liberate the working class and enable us all to share in the largesse naturally generated by unfettered free-market neoliberalism.

The Grubby Chancer and his Fib Dems, unquestioningly an unscrupulous and thoroughly nasty clot on an already diseased body politic, demonstrated, once more, an almost inhuman absence of shame.  Begging the electorate to allow him to continue in his role as bridesmaid, to whichever of the two vying brides ends up waltzing down the aisle to Downing Street, The Grubby Chancer was breathtaking.

He would, we were told, provide the Tories with a heart and Labour with a head, should the Fibs continue as coalition partners. A pithy sound-bite, to be sure, but one that will – please, God – gain no traction after a term spent licking Tory boots in between their periodic kicking of the poor and huddled masses.

The Green Party manifesto was met with predictable derision and hostility. After all, how outrageous to include a minimum wage that might actually lift the peasantry from economic serfdom, force the rich to shoulder some social responsibility and rid the UK of Trident. Bat-shit crazy, right?

And so to The Racist. A manifesto almost as long in the making as Guns ‘n’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy album, it was inevitable Farage’s treatise would underwhelm. What was unexpected, however, was hearing the party’s Suzanne Evans defend attacks from the right, while discussing her mob’s policy on immigration, on BBC Radio 5 Live, yesterday afternoon.

In closing, it’s a timely moment to consider Marx. Groucho, that is; not Karl. The comic genius once said that “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” Let’s leave it there…

Thanks to Eddie Truman for the meme.