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September 12, 2015

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Metatone

Kendall never actually backed up her speeches on empowerment/popular control with policy proposals. I guess that comes under the rubric of Corbyn winning by default through incompetence of opponents... but I think it also speaks to how someone located in the bubble never seemed to realise that she needed to earn some trust from the electorate she was facing.

BCFG

Kendall's empowerment policies could easily be seen as dis-empowerment policies, depends on how you view these things.

The fact that supporters support both austerity and nationalisation is perfectly consistent. But we have not had austerity, the rich still have their swimming pools. What we have had is a vicious war on the poorest.

Corbyn has spoken about the inequality across the world, I think we need massive austerity aimed at the wealthy. After all austerity aimed at the poor is an oxymoron.

Well Done Corbyn!


Ben

Looking forward to him putting the faux neo-liberal lies to the sword. Let's have some social mobility back in the UK. It's a totally dreadful country right now and ripe for change.

e

It surprises me that you don’t support the man, given you’ve repeatedly bemoaned rank and file expectations of a hero coming along; a facilitator is how he describes the role that now falls to him. Bit scary without a king hay; and are there others enough in the PLP, from all sections of the party, who can publicly match his honest, but not hostile, approach to the body politic? Who can hold their own without new labour clothes?

Bob

"Excellent" Monty Burns voice ;)

Phil

"it was those registered supporters who delivered Corbyn's victory. "

Let's knock this on the head before it gets repeated too many times. Without the registered supporters, Corbyn would still have won in the first round - he got over 51% of the other two categories. With OMOV for party members only he would have got 49.6%, and won on the third or possibly second round.

The registered supporters certainly helped, and you could argue that they (by which I mean we) delivered the *scale* of Corbyn's victory. But the victory itself? No.

magistra

I’m depressed not so much about Corbyn as about the attitude of too many of his supporters, which seems to me to follow what Daniel Kahneman would call the affect heuristic. They’re confusing the two questions of whether political policies are (in their view) morally right and (in their view) popular with the electorate. It’s perfectly possible to have policies that are popular and morally wrong: the benefit cap is an obvious example. But in practice people intuitively tend to align ‘moral’ and ‘popular’ policies together. Right-wing Labour politicians see the benefit cap as popular and conclude it must be moral; left-wing politicians see getting rid of Trident as moral and therefore presume that large numbers of people must support this.

Too many of Corbyn’s supporters seem to be simply assuming that there is a large pool of previous non-voters eagerly waiting for a left-wing party to vote for. As a result, they’re not asking the hard question about why some Conservative policies are popular and how you can reframe your arguments to reduce their popularity. Most of what I’ve seen concerning opposition to the benefit cap, for example, is either immensely complicated and technical discussions or stories about possibly atypical hard cases. It surely should be possible to create a few punchy graphics showing how 20,000 pounds in benefits breaks down into categories (i.e. how much goes to landlords) and how much more someone earning 20,000 would get in benefits on top.

chris

@ Phil - thanks for correcting me. But could the enthusiasm of the registered supporters have given him the momentum/attention that swung others behind him?
@ Metatone. BCFG. Yes, I'd have liked to see much more detail/oomph in Kendall's ideas.
@ e - Yes: I would support Corbyn if he does become more of a facilitator and decentralizer. I'm not yet sure this'll happen though.

Blissex

«It surely should be possible to create a few punchy graphics showing how 20,000 pounds in benefits breaks down into categories (i.e. how much goes to landlords)»

But but but... the "conservatory building classes" really love being landlords and landlords in general.

I'll quote the young socialist Tony Blair of 1987:

«But there is nothing more ridiculous than the notion that socialism is inexorably dying, or has been compulsorily retired on grounds of redundancy. Socialism, as its name suggests, is based on a belief in the notion of action
through the community, in the idea that individuals do not stand alone, and that it is not merely morally right that we should think of ourselves in this way but that it is the most rational way to organise our lives. The world we
face today makes a socialist approach all the more relevant: from new technology to the arms race, co-operation surely makes more sense than competition.»
«Post-war Britain has seen two big changes. First, and partly as a result of reforming Labour governments, there are many more healthy, wealthy and well-educated people than before. In addition, employment has switched from
traditional manufacturing industries to a more white-collar, service-based economy. The inevitable result has been that class identity has fragmented. Only about a third of the population now regard themselves as ‘working-class’.
Of course it is possible still to analyse Britain in terms of a strict Marxist definition of class: but it is not very helpful to our understanding of how the country thinks and votes. In fact, of that third, many are likely not to
be ‘working’ at all: these are the unemployed, pensioners, single parents – in other words, the poor.
A party that restricts its appeal to the traditional working class will not win an election. That doesn’t entail a rejection of socialism’s traditional values: but it does mean that its appeal, and hence its policies, must address
a much wider range of interests.»
«The trick for Labour is not to follow them and abandon the notion of government and collective provision: but to re-fashion it so that real power is exercised by people and not by institutions or bureaucracies. The
fundamental error of Dr Owen (and, oddly, of David Steel since the election, though not before it) has been to surrender to Mrs Thatcher’s philosophy and say that power can only be devolved through the market. The 1990s will not see the continuing triumph of the market, but its failure. If in 1974 a soothsayer had predicted that by 1984 Birmingham North-field, with its 10,000 Labour majority, or Sherwood, with perhaps more pits than any other constituency, would be Tory, he would have been considered deranged.»
«The difficulty was that though the theory of greater democracy and increased accountability of MPs was fine, the practical context in which the theory was operating was fraught with danger. What was missing from the theory was any appreciation of the vital necessity of ensuring that, as well as MPs or leaders being accountable to the Party, the Party was accountable to the electorate. The one without the other was a recipe for disaster. Because the Party was small and did not encourage participation, it became prey to sectarian groups from the Ultra-Left. Moreover, the new situation allowed the Party to engage in the worst delusion of resolutionary socialism – the notion that resolutions passed at Conference have meaning or effect without real support in the wider community.»

I'll add as a bonus another of my preferred quotes from Lance Price's diary, 1999-10-19:

«Philip Gould analysed our problem very clearly. We don’t know what we are.
Gordon wants us to be a radical progressive, movement, but wants us to keep our heads down on Europe. Peter [Mandelson] thinks that we are a
quasi-Conservative Party but that we should stick our necks out on Europe.
Philip didn’t say this, but I think TB either can’t make up his mind or wants to be both at the same time.»

Dave Timoney

Chris, I think you're clutching at straws if you think that party members had their heads turned by registered supporters or the social media froth. Corbyn got just under 50% of members' and almost 58% of affiliates' first preferences. Even in a parallel universe where the registered supporter does not exist, do you really think Corbyn would get a nugatory amount of votes? I think the role of the "three-pounders" has been vastly over-stated, partly by a media keen to cast this as an evanescent spasm, a la Occupy, and partly by machine politicians spooked by democracy.

As others have noted, Kendall raised the right agenda, but her terminology ("having a stake", "greater say", "thriving under globalisation" etc) does not suggest she is offering anything other than the usual neoliberal bromides. There is much talk in her speeches of people being involved and consulted, but little of people being the originators of policy. For example, "Labour will put power into people’s hands" is just patronising. What she does not yet appear to have clocked is that her defeat is empowerment in action, rather that mass hysteria.

rogerh

Depends a bit on what Mr Corbyn actually says and does over the next few months. If he really is the threat to 'the bubble' he is made out to be then between the MSM, the bubble and his own party he does not stand much chance - he will be replaced or rendered ineffective. But just supposing he manages to steer around the roadblocks and build a following he could seriously frighten vested interests. This could bring out the Establishment in force to blacken his image or worse. If he survives that then the Tory backers might give Cameron the 'gipsies warning' and force a change of direction.

All in all a great many ifs. But more interesting than the other choices.

BCFG

I think most Corbyn supporters are well aware that there needs to be a battle to win hearts and minds. We are not as dim as we are made out, or as politically naive.

In fact the people who seem to have their heads stuck in the sand are the Blairites!

But we also know that the battle to win hearts and minds can be won, it was once an extreme position to talk of gay rights, it was just a few weeks ago popular to attack refugees. But things change.

It doesn't take a doctor of political science to work out that some Tory policies are popular because the entire media establishment and the tabloid press daily give us untrue scare stories about immigrants or benefit claimants. The way to counter this isn't to capitulate but to fight this propaganda. Social media is becoming more effective at doing this.

The wider and more pertinent question is capitalism as an economic system. Corbyn is not going to dismantle capitalism because we can see that it has been successful on a number of levels and to simply dismantle it is not an option anyway. Policy has to be more nuanced than that.

So Corbyn and his supporters understand the wider picture and understand the questions are not trivial.

But the apologists of this sytem do not want to ask questions, they simply want us to believe everything they do is sensible and everything their opponents do represents a threat to the survival of humanity. They really are that crazy.

Keith

Corbyn is the enema to remove the Blarite Faeces from the bowels of the Labour movement. He won not merely as he actually has policies recognizably socialist in character, even if Chris is demonstrating a odd late middle age conservatism in negating them, but also he won for a simple reason:

The Labour Party was set up by people outside of Parliament to represent their interests rather than merely the interests of those with seats in the place already. Under Blair and his acolytes they seem to have forgotten that fact. Time the P.L.P woke up and assumed their responsibility to champion the mass of the people. Particularly those treated disgracefully by the likes of Duncan smith, i.e. the sick and disabled and unemployed.

As for the benefit cap being "popular" like the bedroom tax it is irrational and inhumane. The cap means the abolition of the welfare state as it logically makes life financially impossible as it is reduced over time as it removes all disposable income from those affected and makes accommodation unaffordable for more and more families. If it is popular it is only so as most people do not understand how it works. Rachal reeve has pissed off from the Shadow Cabinet, and so she should as she has failed lamentably to expose the horrendous quasi fascist policy of Smith, Patell and the rest. The departure of these failures is not a lose for the Labour Party or the majority of real people. But a gain. The more of them leave and disappear from Parliament the better, as they all took the rich mans coin long ago. Most are even now writing for the Mail hatchet jobs for money for Cameron's' school chum Harmondworth.

Chris often seems these days to be in the "bubble" himself politely disparaging the Labour Party for being too stupid to grasp the attractions of his favourite policy ideas.

Policy is important but so are values such as

"It suits today the weak and base,
Whose minds are fixed on pelf and place
To cringe before the rich man's frown,
And haul the sacred emblem down.

So raise the scarlet standard high.
Beneath its folds we'll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here.

It well recalls the triumphs past,
It gives the hope of peace at last;
The banner bright, the symbol plain,
Of human right and human gain.

Eric

Not strictly true that Corbyn owes his win to the 'registered supporters.' I refer you to a Reddit post (https://www.reddit.com/r/ukpolitics/comments/3knka8/jeremy_corbyn_wouldve_won_without_the_registered/) whose author did the arithmetic. In brief, if you strip out all the 'registered supporters,' the results are Andy Burnham: 26.1%, Yvette Cooper: 22.3 %, Liz Kendall: 5.7%, Jeremy Corbyn: 45.69%. Not enough for an outright win, but chances are that he would have won in the second round.

Jonathan

Was "vote for me coz I'm a woman" really all that Yvette had to say? A little unfair perhaps?

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