Posts Tagged ‘Labour party’

UK Labour Party entertains more than expected

November 27, 2015

I expected the US Presidential elections to provide the next years political entertainment, and, to some little extent, Donald Trump is providing this. The UK general election also provided some entertainment and especially in how wrong the polls were. That was already more than expected. But I did not expect the UK to continue providing amusement for so long after their election.

Of course after David Miliband’s loss in the UK election, he had no choice but to resign. That St. Jeremy Corbyn was elected as party leader by such a large margin can be put down, I think, to

  1. the mismatch between Labour Party voters (c. 10 million) and Labour Party membership (c. 400,000),
  2. the packing of the Party membership with new membership from the loony-left, and
  3. a disillusion with the Blairite line as being heretical, from the unions.

And ever since he became “leader” it has been a continuing, old-fashioned farce. The Great names of the labour Party through history are whirling in their graves. St. Jeremy has never held down a productive job in his life and knows only how to agitate and protest and rebel. He hasn’t a clue when it comes to running an Opposition and how to “lead”. Fortunately – in the entertainment stakes – his ego is large enough, and his cronies are loony enough, that the farce is fast-paced and non-stop. It is becoming heretical among them to go against the gospel according to St. Jeremy. His ego leads him to believe that the Shadow Cabinet is of little consequence as a body and that he can dictate what they stand for. He and his cronies are living in the 1960s and are trying to infuse the debate(?) with the thoughts of Chairman Mao. John McDonnell is now given to quoting from Mao’s Little Red Book. Diane Abbott believes Mao did more good than harm. Ken Livingstone thinks the London bombers are somehow admirable in that they died for “their cause” and the 52 who were killed were just a little bit of collateral damage. The cult of St. Jeremy, and it has become a cult rather than a political party with any semblance of democracy, has become the sad inheritor of the Labour Party’s traditions.

There is a by-election due in Oldham next week but St. Jeremy is avoiding that. He may have realised that those of the loony-left who voted him into power are not representative of the voters who usually support Labour. This is a bit of a disappointment for entertainment value. It would have been amusing to hear St. Jeremy propounding his “peacenik” views to normal people. Instead he is spending the weekend trying to figure out, not how to persuade and carry his Shadow Cabinet with him as a “leader might, but how, instead, to bypass or coerce them. That process would also be entertaining in its own right, but unfortunately it is not so visible. His cronies (Graeme Morris and others) are busy trying to twist arms in darkened rooms among the Labour parliamentarians. But ultimately the Labour Party is a creature of the unions. The loony-left are living in the hope that they can manage to keep control of the Party till the next election. But I think it depends on how long the unions are prepared to put up with them.

It should be an interesting week before the Syria vote. That St. Jeremy’s ego and the arm twisting by his cronies can hijack the Labour party is a real possibility. But whether they succeed depends on the courage of the more centrist parliamentarians and their resolve to challenge the lunatics. If they do, the New Religion could be quite short-lived and the temple could come tumbling down. In either event, it should be quite entertaining. How long the entertainment can continue is uncertain, but it would be quite a remarkable achievement if it continues throughout 2016.

Corbyn and his shadow Chancellor are stuck in the 60s and haven’t grown up

November 26, 2015

Attending a British University in the late 1960s, we, as new entrants, were courted assiduously by the various University clubs and societies. SocSoc (Socialist Society) was by far the largest on campus and had some good speakers. But they turned out to be rather boring and they couldn’t match the Fine Arts Society for the attractiveness of the membership. SocSoc never quite managed to con a subscription out of me but many of my friends were members and I did attend some of their meetings. It was the year of the student riots in Paris and Berlin and even in London but they were somewhat watered down by the time they reached the Midlands. Copies of the Red Book were carried by the more ardent members of SocSoc, but more as a badge, than out of any ideological convictions. But this was 1968 and the time of flowered shirts, bell bottom trousers, long hair, beads, conch shells and shaggy beards. A dirty hair band was also de rigeur.

John Lennon’s Revolution had just come out:

…. But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow ….

But The Little Red Book was already past its best-by date. Mao was losing his lustre by then. Waving it around was no longer recommended as a way to “pull the birds” and tended to be counter-productive. And, after all, “pulling the birds” had a very much higher priority than anything else. At my University the barricades – in solidarity with Paris – were erected by the faithful one morning, but they had all come down by the the time for morning coffee. (I may have been one of those from the Engineering Faculty involved in tearing down the barricades, but memory fails. Probably I just watched). I recall that SocSoc had a meeting that afternoon which I attended just to gloat. But the meeting resembled a wake and gloating was no fun.

Now almost 50 years later, memories of that time and faces are blurred, and I can’t remember many of the names and views of those I knew then. But it is the mood and the smells and the feelings that do remain fixed in memory. The distinctive, slightly unsavoury, flavour of the SocSoc of the 60s is what now comes to mind again, after seeing the rather childish antics of the Labour Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, in Parliament today. He quoted from The Little Red Book and chucked it at the Chancellor. He may have meant it as a brilliant, devastating riposte and a sure-fire way of deflating George Osborne, but it was reminiscent of a spoilt child and backfired very badly.

Reuters: Mao’s Little Red Book makes surprise appearance in UK parliament chamber

McDonnell came across as an immature teenager. Put this together with St. Jeremy Corbyns “peacenik” gyrations and it seems like the behaviour of the current labour party leadership is a throwback to the student protests of the 60s. McDonnell did not attend University (Brunel) till 1974, so he probably feels he missed out on the fun and games of the 60s, and is trying to make up for that. St Jeremy dropped out after just one year at North London Polytechnic and never completed his degree. But he is very much a child of the trade union movement of the 60s. He seems to have been parachuted into a number of union and party posts, but does not seem to have ever done any real, productive work.

 Corbyn …. spent two years doing Voluntary Service Overseas in Jamaica before becoming a full-time official for the National Union of Public Employees and Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union, while briefly pursuing a degree in Trade Union Studies at North London Polytechnic, which he left after his first year without completing his undergraduate studies.

Corbyn later worked as an Official of the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers, was appointed a member of a district health authority and in 1974 was elected to Haringey Council, representing Harringay Ward as Councillor until 1983. Corbyn worked on Tony Benn’s unsuccessful 1981 campaign to become Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and was elected Secretary of the Islington Borough Labour Group.

The entire Labour party leadership seems to be caught in a 1960s time warp and haven’t grown up.

The all white, all Oxbridge, representatives of the British “working class”

May 19, 2015

I hear that the Union “Unite” and its leader Len McCluskey have effectively taken over the Labour Party leadership contest. So whoever is elected leader will have little choice but to lead the party into a decade of oblivion.

But interestingly the qualifications of the contenders for leadership to represent the British “working class” are very revealing as to how the “working-class” can be defined today:

All white, all Oxbridge and all bar one even have the same haircut!

And I don’t suppose that any one of them has ever worked in a factory that actually manufactures wealth.

This from Guido:

Guido Labour party contenders

All of the Labour Party leadership candidates are scions of privilege:

Andy Burnham:
English, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.

Yvette Cooper:
PPE, Balliol College, Oxford.

Mary Creagh:
Languages, Pembroke College, Oxford.

Liz Kendall:
History, Queens’ College, Cambridge.

Doctor the Honourable Tristram Julian William Hunt:
History, Trinity College, Cambridge.

The British “working class” that I first came across, 50 years ago, as a green apprentice on the shop-floor of a factory in the Midlands, seems to have changed considerably – but not in the manner I would have expected. Maybe the people who actually work and make things no longer qualify as the “working-class”.


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