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July 11, 2016


Spanish Bill

"has been"
Interesting choice of verb tense, which might suggest some of the fault lies with Jeremy himself. Not sure whether that is intentional or not.
I don't buy that simply calling Corbyn unelectable is performative given that the people stating that would have talked to voters and are voters themselves.
But otherwise a most interesting blog. Thank you.


Of course, the people in the PLP accuaing him of being unelectable are also the ones who've done everything they can to undermine him from day 1. I'm sure a lot of people have also been greatly amused at the irony of Corbyn being accused of unelectability by the likes of Neil Kinnock.

Traditionally, voters turned away from parties perceived as split. But, lest we forget, this apparent infighting is a result of the relentless criticisms, lies and half truths, backstabbing and treachery of most of the PLP, encouraged by ex senior New Labour/Blairites and the media, with its drip, drip drip of invented garbage like the supposed prevalence of anti-Semitism.

Yet, despite all this, a Corbyn led Labour Party has held up pretty well in elections. Why shouldn't it improve on this once most of the the right wing MPs have been removed or sling their hooks for pastures new (the sooner, the better).

a random eman

"To see this, imagine that all Labour MPs had declared that Corbyn were doing a great job. The party would then seem united and so be more popular."

To the contrary, the parliamentary Labour Party would appear as though they had taken leave of their senses even more than they have already. I would suggest the claim that Jeremy is 'principled' is performative language.


Calling the kinds of things created by performative language "reality" is nothing but double think: all it does is change social convention, which may be pretty flexible in wealthy times, but swiftly conforms to type when actual reality comes a-knocking



"If Labour was championing the policy, the battalions of big-business lobbyists would denounce the party as out of touch with the demands of modern competitive markets and thus unelectable.

But May is about to enter Downing Street and her campaign pledge was unequivocal: "If I’m prime minister ... we’re going to have not just consumers represented on company boards, but workers as well.""

Please don't tell me only Nixon could go to China.


"After diagnosing problems with inequality of wealth and opportunity, job insecurity and high costs of living, May said the UK needed to improve its productivity, lower its energy costs, build more housing, start a new industrial strategy and help all of the country’s regional cities. She also backed more Treasury project bonds for new infrastructure projects.

Moving on to the need to make businesses more responsible, May said she wanted employee representatives on company boards and to make shareholder votes about remuneration for bosses legally binding. “It is not anti-business to suggest that big business needs to change,” she said."

The Labour party are to the right of the Tories on worker democracy, boardroom pay and industrial policy.

That includes the current Labour parliamentary party including leaders and challengers.

They can not conceive of an alternative world.

David Grant

This is just a slightly more sophisticated version of the notion that all Corbyn's woes are the fault of Blairites and the media. If it wasn't for his critics, he'd storm on to win in 2020? Puhlease.

Igor Belanov

@ David Grant

It would be nice to have a genuine debate about Corbyn's leadership and the future strategy of the Labour Party, but in the current environment that is impossible.

You can't really engage in argument with people who have been determined to manoeuvre Corbyn out without resorting to democratic procedure, who claim that Corbyn is uncharismatic, ineffectual and not prime ministerial material but then put forward Angela Eagle as their candidate, and who are serial election losers yet pontificate about 'electability'.

'Electability' in this sense does not relate to actual popularity but refers to traits and attitudes that are acceptable to the political establishment. It is clearly anti-democratic for professional politicians to decide which political actions and discourse are permissible and to seek to reduce politics to their agenda.


Exactly @IgorBelanov

Dave Timoney

A priest pronouncing a couple man and wife is an example of performativity, but at two levels: speech and insititution. If performative speech is a way of conjuring reality, an institution is a way of defining an authority with the power of performative speech.

Traditionally, marriage was effected simply by the couple making a statement in front of witnesses. The encroachment of the church (and later the state) was driven not by a concern over sexual habits but by a desire to adjudicate issues of property inheritance (through marriage and legitimate birth), as well as a handy form of rent-seeking. (Once property rights became exclusively a civil matter, all the church was left with was sex).

The antipathy of the PLP towards Corbyn arises not just because they don't rate him but because they see him as a threat to their institution (he's never been a member of the club). This is because Corbyn is engaged in his own performativity in which speech (all those packed CLP meetings, and all those solidarity platforms down the years) realises participatory democracy.

So Corbyn isn't just a victim of performativity; he's also a practitioner.


It should be noted that the studies that claimed to show priming and stereotype threat are now being questioned. These studies, although widely reported on in the media, have failed to replicate in a consistent manner, and the existence of such effects is far from a settled question.

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