« Responding to Mayism | Main | The centralizing-decentralizing axis »

July 15, 2016



I'd add in the even if Kendall had some good ideas, she did a terrible job of putting them over to the electorate she was addressing.


By this logic then there is in theory such a thing as general leadership talent - the ability to matchmake leadership skills to organizational need. Even if the leader doesn't have those skills they can recruit and delegate.

You are suggesting or hoping that the party as a whole has that skill.


«his opponents (except perhaps for Liz Kendall) were offering little»

It is hard to discern differences when the reading is so close to zero :-), but I thought that A Burnham was a but more substantial than the others.

«but vacuous marketing-speak»

What if that is what the "conservatory-building classes" want to hear? What if that is what wins elections?

Or more probably, what if the best strategy is to let the Conservatives try hard to lose the election between now and 2020, and just be anodyne wallflowers until then? My impression is that in the UK elections are lost, not won.

«Corbyn’s critics should have learned from this that they need to develop some kind of inspiring vision of centre-left principles and policy.»

That would be hopeless and contrary to their analysis, which is that elections are won by pandering to the "aspirations" for bigger capital gains for the reactionary rentier "conservatory-building classes".

New Labourists want to develop centre-right or right-wing, not centre-left, principles and policies, even if perhaps not as right-wing as those of D Cameron/G Osborne or the "Britannia Rules The Waves!", oops, I meant "Britannia Unchained" people.

Hilary Richards

Another aspect of leadership is to know where your going and try to get ahead of the curve. Unfortunately focus groups and 'poll-watching' don't enable you to do this and you simply end up looking rather limp and weak. Corbyn gained a huge amount of support simply by his anti-austerity message. He has also gained moral authority over his opponents with his opposition to the Iraq war. For his supporters these are important issues that his opponents are busy trying to avoid.


«inspiring vision of centre-left principles and policy. With precious few exceptions,»

The exception linked to lists the following «centre-left principles and policies»:

«enthusiasm for the EU [ .... ] to row us back from the calamitous cul-de-sac that Corbyn helped back us into;»

For tory New Labourists it is Corbyn alone, not the the fellow tories in the other party, who responsible for Brexit.

«internationalism that extends beyond Brussels to robust support for our NATO responsibilities and solidarity not with Putin but with Clinton and our American allies;»

Another Iraq invasion? :-)

«fiscal coherence that moves us beyond the infantile nonsense of being “anti-austerity” and – as per John McDonnell – in favour of balancing current spending;»

That's to the right of G Osborne.

«welfare policy that doesn’t indulgence a failing status quo but which is wholly remodelled to always reward contribution;»

"Three generations of benefit scroungers" :-).

«and an unabashed commitment to backing those who deserve backing but are not always backed on the left – entrepreneurs (we must be pro-business), Londoners (we must have no truck with chippy provincialism), immigrants (we must stand with them).»

That sounds just like B Johnson.

Now now. Rather than a neutered, much scaled down FO ministership, couldn't B Johnson have much more fun of he walked across the aisle like his hero W Churchill did and join the Liberals, I mean New Labour? He would be easily elected leader if he toned down his occasional centre-left pandering :-).


«not always backed on the left – entrepreneurs (we must be pro-business), Londoners (we must have no truck with chippy provincialism), immigrants (we must stand with them).»

Note that backing "immigrants" as written brings no direct votes as they cannot vote.

What the authors meant quite probably is not backing "immigrants", but backing "immigration", that is those voters (shop owners, property owners, big business, pensioners...) who benefit from immigration to the UK.


BTW reading a neoliberal/neocon manifesto presented as «inspiring vision of centre-left principles and policy» I had a flash of intuition as to what at the core neoliberal/neocon principles and policies are, a rewriting of Hua's "two whatevers":

* We will resolutely uphold whatever policy decisions result in cheaper help and bigger profits and rents
* and unswervingly follow whatever instructions the president of the USA gives.

Plus the "three represents" too: "entrepreneurs", "Londoners", (employers of) "immigrants".



«Corbyn gained a huge amount of support simply by his anti-austerity message.»

Anti-neoliberal: New Labour can't tolerate that.

«He has also gained moral authority over his opponents with his opposition to the Iraq war.»

Anti-neocon: New Labour can't tolerate that.

PS. Actually J Corbyn is not quite "anti-austerity", it is really J McDonnels's position which is more nuanced and sensible, while not being as anti-wages as that of the right-wing.


Isn't the point that Corbyn shared a platform with Hamas and has sympathy with the plight of the Palestinians? No one cares about his meetings with Adams and McGuinness, but Hamas? No way.

Therefore his card is well and truly marked, and no matter Labour's performance in elections (not bad so far) or in the referendum* (ditto), attacks on him will continue regardless, even if he put Labour high in the polls. Especially then, in fact, because that would raise the terrible spectre of a UK Prime Minister who was neutral or agnostic about Israel, and we can't have that.

* 36% of 2015 SNP voters went for Leave as compared with 37% of Labour voters - but no one's calling for Nicola Sturgeon to step down, instead she's the Voice Of Scotland.


I think Bonnemont is correct, Liz Kendall is clearly a safe pair of hands for the establishment, a servile lackey to the 'interests of Britain'. But Corbyn is dangerous, not because of his modest domestic policies, but because of his modest anti imperialism.

This will always but always make him an enemy of the state.

The Liz Kendall supporters really may as well vote Tory. We should absolutely regard Liz Kendall supporters as being politically on the right.

So this blog should be considered politically as being a right wing blog.

The left-right distinction is absolutely appropriate and necessary in this context.

Support Corbyn against the anti democratic right wing plotters.


«Corbyn is dangerous, not because of his modest domestic policies, but because of his modest anti imperialism.»

That was "gesture socialism" that he was indulging in when he did not matter. Since becoming leader he has become a lot more prudent in his gestures. Today's Corbyn is largely a mild centrist social democrat, a mild europeanist (more than atlanticist), somewhat to the right (arguably) of Neil Kinnock when he was leader.

But that means that he is not a neoliberal in domestic policy and a neocon in foreign policy.

«So this blog should be considered politically as being a right wing blog.»

That could be a marxist position too, because if that's the best that is feasible in the current political situation, then one has to be realistic and deal with the politics as they are.

The Blair administration while pursuing mostly neoliberal neocon goals also delivered in a less overt way, to avoid alarming funders and voters, some social democratic measures like the tax credits. They were mostly because of G Brown. By doing a coalition with A Blair he could get into power and do something of what he still believed in.

For another example D McBride in his book reports how G Brown and A Darling successfully resisted regressive increases in the VAT.

The problem with blairism is that while it is acceptable to get the votes of the rentier middle class by pandering to them, their politics was to just pander to them and use the votes of the working class to support the resulting neoliberal policies, instead of using the votes of the middle class to support *also* social democratic ones.

The neoliberal blairites like L Kendall are the more worrying because there is no obvious social-democratic figure like G Brown on their side to balance them a bit.

Try to imagine the Blair years without G Brown and with P Mandelson as Chancellor... :)


" I don't know how to define it but i know it when i see it"- so Blair had it, Cameron has it, Sturgeon has it . They can talk and walk and think at the same time; well educated, two of them lawyers, very articulate, pragmatic , inspiring voters with a vision , certainly cogent and personable. Corbyn does not have it, weak education, not able to inspire the voters , think clearly ahead or have any impact on the population as a whole. We know it when we see it.

Igor Belanov

@ leslie48

I'm not sure about Sturgeon, but you could certainly add 'sociopathic' to the traits of Blair and Cameron.

derrida derider

Some of the commenters here epitomise what is wrong with UK Labour. People, the hard fact is that this is a capitalist democracy. That means:
- it really is in most people's interest that business makes an honest quid. Sure, focus on the "honest" part of that phrase - stop 'em unduly screwing their workers and customers and make sure they pay tax. But as you are never going to get socialisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange then if you want production, distribution and exchange to happen then you have to permit - nay, encourage - some rather unattractive people to make a profit from it.
- and its a democracy. The fact is that capitalism has become prosperous enough that most voters are in the "conservatory building classes". Unlike Marx's time it is minorities rather than majorities that are oppressed, and that matters. Sure, if carefully done you can persuade people that they should help those who are never going to get a conservatory, but sanctimoniously and inaccurately denouncing conservatory building as fascist is not gonna get you elected. People rightly hate killjoys and Puritans.

The Blairites are right on this one thing - if you want to avoid the Osbornes and Mays then the Labour party has to be able to show what's in it for those bourgeois you are so dismissive of. Because those bourgeois vote.

The comments to this entry are closed.

blogs I like

Blog powered by Typepad