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June 20, 2017



Corbyn is not the sage of Islington. There is no evidence from his past that he has any brains, any critical ability. He just repeats whatever slogan is put in front of him. So we need to look at who is pulling the strings and that is clearly John McDonnell and Seamus Milne.

I would be more sanguine about the rise of Corbynism if it wasn't for the fact that the country he wants to emulate is not some nice North-European social democratic state but is Venezuela, if his financial approach didn't require raising of sums through tax that clearly are not going to be raised, and hence his economic policy was not going to cause a catastrophic financial crisis, and then there is the small matters of confiscation of private property and marching to overthrow governments. He hasn't attacked freedom of the press yet but that can't be far away.


Lets get back to basics - May started the campaign with a 22 point lead, and over the course of 8 weeks this was whittled down to just a few percentage points.
I suggest that this does not indicate the population has set aside their long held views on immigration and the desirability and efficacy of the market economy, or that there is some awakened desire for socialism in the UK. Rather, it implies Corbyn fought a decent campaign, and Theresa May fought a piss-poor one, in which she blew her credibility as the result of a series of blunders and misjudgements and only just limped over the line.


and as if by magic "Former Unite leadership candidate Gerard Coyne says he has been "sacked" from his post as West Midlands secretary.". this is how Corbyn will deal with his opponents.


nicholas - yes, but how do the Tories do better next time?

The problem is that the population is sick of 7 years of Austerity, and the Tories don't have a way of breaking that without making it look like the Austerity years were a waste of time or that Corbyn was right all along. Add to that the fire which makes it look like the Government has been asleep at the wheel at best, has played fast and loose with people's lives in order to give the rich tax cuts at worse, and again it is very difficult to get out of this without confirming Labour's criticisms. The problems of Brexit and minority rule make showing progress on these issues very difficult. It is going to be extremely hard to turn this round.


Dipper - I agree, it is going to be hard. The Tories have indeed allowed 'Austerity' to be portrayed as an unnecessary political choice by a variety of errors. They should have rejected the language of 'austerity' and insisted on the language of 'living within one's means' or 'balancing the budget'or 'fiscal responsibility' or 'fixing the roof while the sun shines'. May stupidly started talking about inequities such as CEO pay in a way that encouraged doubt about the basic efficacy of the capitalist system, and opened the door for Corbyn to associate such inequities with reducing the deficit or 'austerity'. These presentational errors can be reversed, but it will take time to undo the damage.

Dave Timoney

The natural selection model is useful, but one refinement we have to consider for politics is the range of options presented to the electorate. Come an election, there is often only a realistic choice of two and we don't tend to get a situation in which one "wins" for good, like Homo Sapiens edging out the Neanderthals.

I don't say this to advocate proportional representation or multi-round voting, but to note that the selection of options in a first-past-the-post system means that most politics - in the sense of actually testing and refining policies - happens within party structures.

This suggests that a structural reason for Corbyn's popularity is the reintroduction (or re-emphasis) of popular, participatory democracy within the party. Toby Young's £5 membership fee may have been more emblematic than he realised.


«claims that Labour’s manifesto was quite right-wing. [ ... ] Corbyn was so well-trusted on the left that his rightist policies on welfare and migration were tolerated as good triangulation rather than as a sell-out.»

Well, I refuse to entertain the notion that the words "Corbyn" and "triangulation" belong together.

Labour's manifesto has been derided by the usual mandelsonians as a far-left extremist suicide note... it has some compromise elements, but the centre/centre-left voters that trust J Corbyn know that they will try eventually to push the boundaries in the left direction once the party is in power, without any excesses.

Without taking the example from the mandelsonians who felt enabled post-1997 to ignore large parts of the manifesto and push for a far more liberal-tory programme than they had been elected for (and lost 3 million votes accordinly between 1997 and 2001).


«May started the campaign with a 22 point lead, and over the course of 8 weeks this was whittled down to just a few percentage points. [ ... ] Corbyn fought a decent campaign»

Yes, but even campaigns are usually fairly irrelevant to success.
The starting point that people forget is the Conservative landslide in the local elections in May, which was almost as big as the one that routed New Labour in 2004. The Labour campaign was good, the Conservative one terrible, yet that was the result.
The key was a very low turnout: like in 2004 most Labour voters were not enthused and did not turn out.

But while voters consider local elections jokes, they take more seriously national elections, and the turnout there was much better, also because I think dimly voters, even the 80% who don't really follow "politics", perceived that there was something important at stake, and Labour voters turned out.

Perhaps the upward and southward redistribution that the Conservatives have arranged motivated Labour voters to turnout, perhaps the poor handling of Brexit motivated some UKIP voters not to switch to the Conservartives.

Probably since national elections matter the BBC had to be less biased for the government, and exposed to some more actual Corbyn some voters realized that he is not a monster, and went out and voted.

The big story of the June election is that Labour and Conservatives both had a huge surge in votes, whatever the quality of their campaigns, third and fourth parties became even more irrelevant, and two-party politics is back. Look at the absolute number of votes:

1974: Labour 11.45m, Conservatives 10.46m, Liberals 5.34m
1979: Labour 11.53m, Conservatives 13.70m, Liberals 4.31m
1983: Labour 08.46m, Conservatives 13.01m, SDP-Liberals 7.78m
1987: Labour 10.03m, Conservatives 13.74m, SDP-Liberals 7.34m
1992: Labour 11.56m, Conservatives 14.09, Liberals 6.00m
1997: Labour 13.52m, Conservatives 09.60m, Liberals 5.24m
2001: Labour 10.72m, Conservatives 08.34m, Liberals 4.81m
2005: Labour 09.55m, Conservatives 08.78m, Liberals 5.99m
2010: Labour 08.61m, Conservatives 10.70m, Liberals 6.84m
2015: Labour 09.35m, Conservatives 11.30m, Other 6.00m
2017: Labour 12.63m, Conservatives 13.30m, Liberals 2.22m

The much maligned T May with he dismal campaign got the same number of votes as M Thatcher, and the monstered J Corbyn got more votes than Labour had in 40 years except for 1997 after the Lawson house price crash.


Blissex - I think your analysis is interesting, and although I admit I have not studied the detail as much as either yourself or our blogger, I offer the following speculation.
It appears to me that team Corbyn by either marvelous judgement or perhaps more likely serendipity positioned themselves perfectly regarding Brexit to mop up both UKIP votes that were at the outset of the campaign perhaps expected to go to Theresa May, as well as gaining Lib Dem votes. By both accepting the Brexit result but concentrating their campaign on social justice, they prevented Labour-UKIP voters from deserting to the Tories, and by appearing to be the 'soft Brexit' option they hoovered up the votes of Remainers who might otherwise have voted Lib Dem.
May's piss-poor campaign failed to land a blow on team Corbyn, and seemed to leave the bulk of people under the age of 30 who cannot remember Britain in the 1970's under the impression the UK could indeed adopt a Venezualan approach to economic policy with impunity.


Indeed, with regard to the under 30's in the recent election, I am reminded of a story from primary school. In a Dutch town, every year, the people shoveled earth on the dykes each winter, in case there was a high tide and storm, and the water came over and drowned them as it had in the past. As the years went by, the number of people in the town who could remember the water coming over the dykes and their fellow citizens drowning got fewer, as the old people died. Eventually the young people said 'We must stop listening to these old fools who tell us to shovel earth onto the dykes each winter - it is hard and painful work. Let us go out on the piss instead' .....



As soon as you mention the word, 'Venezuela', in relation to the moderate social democratic manifesto promoted by Labour in the last election, you make yourself sound extremely foolish indeed.

Unless, of course, you think that the Scandinavian economies with their higher-tax, high-welfare, free (or almost free) further education and lower inequality are also very much like that of Venezuela?

Please explain how an advanced economy isn't able to offer all these things to its citizens.

Dan Kervick

It seemed to me that the Labour manifesto dealt with vastly more issues than just Brexit and immigration, and that characterizing it as "right wing" is laughably perverse.

But I suppose if one's sole concern is the free movement of labor and capital, and one has somehow convinced oneself that restrictions on capital and labor movement across borders are a right wing doctrine, then one will come out in that area.

But daffy old leftist that I am, I had always assumed that the classical liberal capitalist commitments to free movement of capital and labor were the anti-left capitalist stance.


I contend that we should not judge which party or candidate to vote for based on their mainifesto alone. Rather, I suggest, we should consider also their rhetoric, their ethos, and their historic political positioning. With regard to Corbyn, McDonnell, Abbott and the rest of this motley crew, I suggest they have over the years advocated an anti-business, aggressive wealth distribution agenda that has much in common with that adopted by the regime in Venezuala that has brought that country to the brink of ruin. No-where does it say in the the recent Labour Party manifesto that private dwellings should be confiscated by the state, yet this is what Corbyn has just advocated in the wake of the Grenfell fire, when there is no need for such draconian action, and people can be put up in the nearest Premier Inn. This, and the statements by McDonnell about changing government by street protest reveal these characters to be the anti-capitalist extremists they have always been: their semi-moderate manifesto being now exposed as a sham.


Let me address some of the criticism.

The failure to address the benefit cuts: You don't need to cost cuts you are not going to make, the expected deficit reduction will just not occur.

The policy of a Basic Income did not make the Labour manifesto (See Green Manifesto), or the (partial) Job Guarantee as implemented under a previous Labour Government. I would suggest that the benefit cap would have been removed in the event of a Labour Government.

Tax credits are simple wage subsidies and therefore are not a desirable approach to low wages. Raising the minimum wage is a much better approach, as employers have to bear the costs and people have the dignity of earned wages.

Many left their finger prints on the Manifesto, which went through the party policy process, Simon Wren Lewis has his fiscal rule, as he notes on his blog, and Paul Mason may be behind the localisation/co-operatives, even 'Help to Buy' was extended, which is a very poor policy (I strongly oppose it).

There is no triangulation, omissions from the manifesto are omissions or misunderstandings about having to make the manifesto IFS proof or meeting the fiscal rule. There is a chance Corbynism would not survive contact with the Treasury. The PLP do not understand appaer to understand MMT for example.

I have a internally consistent World view (no triangulation) and supported Brexit. The policy programme is consistent and rational.

Of course I am still out in the cold with regard to the Labour party, and excommunicated. So I can't argue my views effectively (or at all) in the PLP.

I already have someone (not a slave) to whisper in my ear that I am only human and continually demonstrate I am not important. No Hubris.


The problem with Dipper and nicholas is that they have no clue beyond boiler plate bumper stickers what has taken place in Venezuelan. So naturally when they hear more boiler plate bumper stickers all they can do is connect the two and ramble like loons.


@ Oakchairbc - so Venezuela truly is the poster child of Corbynism then. Please educate me on the huge success it has been.


Here is the issue. You know neither about the two your snide comments and trolling isn't particularly receptive to civil discourse let alone me giving you several lessons.


I never thought that I might miss Ralph!
In some ways he is more sensible.

Hey Ralph!
Maybe you could take Dipper and Nicholas on safari somewhere in one of the African states that still love the UK, and pick up some much needed trade while you are there?

I think they could do with a holiday....


Cannot speak for nicholas but how am I being snide?

It is becoming pretty clear what Corbynism is, and it isn't a slightly leftish North-European social democracy. It is full-fat Marxism complete with suspension of property rights, overthrow of governments by violent action, destruction of individual wealth and replacement by wealth at the discretion of the state through massive inflationary printing of money.

What is also apparent is the dehumanising of sections of society. A portrayal of certain people as "these people are evil people who deliberately do bad things" followed shortly by "we have removed basic rights from these people as they are not deserving of them."

so come on Oakchairbc. I'm calling you out. State your defence of Corbynism using Venezuela as an example. Either put up or shut up.



I think the point that Oakchairbc is making is that you are a) wrong to associate what Corbyn wants with Venezuela, thus drawing a link which is not there - a classic smearing technique and one which the gutter press use liberally. The argument is one of ad hominem, which is what I hope newer politics is getting away from. Corbyn, to his credit, rarely steeps to that level and it seems to me comes across pretty reasonably.

b) Venezuela's problems were not caused by marxism- that analysis is too simplistic. A podcast called "the Inquiry" by the BBC World service recently discussed the causes of the problems in Venezeula and they heard from 4 different experts. First, the Chavez reforms, it argued, did partially cause the problems they are having. Second, it was argued that large scale corruption was a factor and third (from memory this is) was the fact that sucessive Venezuelan governments, instead of investing and diversifying the economy have relied on oil, whose prices have recently collapsed (many people blame Saudi Arabia for their production spree).

So, in summary, I think you need to step away from that argument in order to present yourself as being more reasonable.

In terms of labour's policies, in most western continental countries (I exclude France) they would just be seen as middle of the road social democrat.

@Nicholas - I think read some of the historic blogs that Mr Dillow has posted. It's clear that austerity was a political choice. The problem stems from the error I think you have, or are about to make, which is to confuse household finances with those of a state. Remember that after the second world war Brtain's debt was much much higher than it is now. During that time a political choice was made to not go down an austerity route and the NHS was founded. So, the government of those days decided to try to save people's lives instead of letting them burn/punishing them for being disabled or poor.


Corbyn does not have to prove anything in the way you insist,
Corbyn does not have to demonstrate he is not a Marxist or that he does not want to create a new Venezuela,
The vision has shifted, and you are stuck talking like a sub editor on a Murdoch rag,
"Suspension of property rights, overthrow of government by violent action",
I'm surprised you didn't mention that he served as a soldier in Hezbollah for 6 years, or bring up his time as an anarchist in the overthrow of the Russian Tsars,
England is a divided nation ,
The rich sit like parasites draining the life of the working people,
To want a different country is not treasonous of extremist,
To want to use the Parliament and the law to offer genuine democracy and a more decent system isn't naive or Marxist,

The tragedy is that you use a language of lies and can't even see it

Dave Timoney


"No-where does it say in the the recent Labour Party manifesto that private dwellings should be confiscated by the state, yet this is what Corbyn has just advocated in the wake of the Grenfell fire, when there is no need for such draconian action, and people can be put up in the nearest Premier Inn".

Shit happens. We don't expect any party manifesto to include an exhaustive list of all possible contingencies. We expect the government of the day to respond. If, as an advocate of direct democracy, you insist on securing a popular mandate for such action, you should be campaigning now for a fresh general election, or at least a re-run of the local council elections in Kensington & Chelsea.

Corbyn has not proposed confiscation (which is permanent) but requisition (which is temporary). It is usually better to prioritise the requisitioning of public property, such as school sports halls, over private dwellings for obvious logistical reasons. Corbyn's "escalation" on this occasion was clearly prompted by two factors: the scale of the disaster and thus the number of people suddenly made homeless (far in excess of the capacity of nearby hotels), and the attenuation of public services in the borough.

In a free market, a supplier is not under any obligation to sell to a particular consumer or to do so at a particular price, so Premier Inn could not be relied upon unless you think we should over-ride the rights of the company's shareholders to dispose of their property as they see fit by turfing out all other guests and insisting they house all the homeless.

The irony is that the effective disappearance of the local council, and its inability to provide humanitarian aid to its own residents, is more akin to Venezuela than anything Labour has proposed.


@ various

here's a picture of Jezza meeting a Scandinavian socialist leader.


@ Smiths

"The rich sit like parasites draining the life of the working people,". Well I'm all in favour of working people getting a better deal, but all Corbyn is offering is exchanging one group of privately-educated parasites for another.


The state "requisitioned" Tyneham in 1943. The family are still waiting to get their house back.



'The family' you speak of seem to have been an aristocratic family of land owners whose possession of Tyneham and the surrounds dates back 300 years, that would be early to mid 1600s

I wonder how much of the Bond family estate that was taken was originally 'commons' that the family managed to 'enclose' and never return to the people that farmed it for centuries or millenia?

If your point was that arbitrary seizure of private land is not fair, lawful or a decent way to build a productive and constructive society I'd agree
I think your example to illustrate your point was a poor choice


Dipper, so I understand correctly,
Which group of privately educated parasites do you think Corbyn is planning to install?


@ Smiths

John Lansman - founder of Momentum - Highgate School
Seamus Milne - son of Alistair Milne former DG of BBC - Winchester College.
Harriet Harman - vigorously calling for seizure of private housing - niece of Lord Longford and educated at St Paul's School.

I know what life these folks want for me. One in which they sit in judgement on me and others like me. One in which what I and my children can achieve is limited by my class and my origins, whereas their children will be treading a golden path to power, as happens in all socialist regimes the world over.


Possibly your most ridiculous post yet, Dipper. Which is remarkable in itself given some of your pre-election ranting.

You would surely have to admit that we have a deeply entrenched establishment which runs and owns pretty much everything and which has overseen and promoted the huge growth in inequality in recent decades in general and the years since the financial collapse, in particular.

Quite why you seem to think that anybody who is left-leaning wants to do nothing more than replace this establishment with themselves and their own cronies is beyond me. You've certainly offered not one iota of evidence to indicate this is the case.

Perhaps you should consider that, when most left-wing politicians say they want to reduce inequality by improving the lives of the poorest in our society and stopping the rentier elite from extracting all the wealth from the country, that is actually what they intend to do.

Your view of them seems to be that they are some kind of Machiavellian villains secretly planning the direct opposite of what they claim.

That's the job of the Tories, especially in their neo-liberal incarnation!


@ Mariner.

Well we saw with Rotherham just how much the Labour Party gives a toss about working people.

"Quite why you seem to think that anybody who is left-leaning wants to do nothing more than replace this establishment with themselves and their own cronies is beyond me"

Missing the point here.

Support for Theresa May is a coalition of, roughly speaking, two parts. There are the free-market Thatcherites who, to quote a friend, regarded the manifesto as "a pile of Heathite shit" , and there are centrist Blairites like myself who are currently camping here as the best place for a party that wants to advance the cause of the majority of the population within a social democratic framework.

A labour party that was genuinely committed to advancing the interests of working people and took that task seriously would get my vote. A Labour Party that is run by a left-wing clique that wants to seize property, that persecutes its enemies, that regards terrorism as legitimate political activity, and advances an economic policy that will, purposely, destroy much of the economy of the country, doesn't.

It is clear from here and elsewhere that many people on the left are sanguine about Corbyn's more extreme pronouncements. Well lots of other people aren't. Just yesterday someone who I know socially mentioned the rise of Hitler when talking about Corbyn, and he is not the only one by a long way. Pointing out Corbyn's love of Venezuela isn't some kind of right-wing smear, it is just playing back his own pronouncements and behaviour.


"Just yesterday someone who I know socially mentioned the rise of Hitler when talking about Corbyn"


What is it about Corbyn that reminds him so much of Adolf?
The passionate, stirring oratory that can rouse a crowd to a frenzy?
The murderous army of uniformed followers?
The contempt for democratic parliamentary procedures (by a guy who has been an elected MP for 34 years)?
The virulent eugenicism?
The constant war-mongering?
The allotment?
The jam?


@ PeteW

- commitment to illegally seize private property
- movement calls for overthrow of government through direct action
- movement gets political opponent fired from job

that's just this week

- closest ally has history of supporting violence to achieve political ends.

The allotment?
The jam?
Corbyn is the jolly face of the movement. Two years in, he goes to make more jam and write a book on drain covers, and McDonnell takes over.


Honestly Dipper,
those comments about Corbyn and Hitler really do destroy any prospect of anything you say being taken seriously which is a shame,
The left needs to be kept in check, scrutinised, limited in the same way that any force in politics does,
Approaching it with the mindset and language you have makes that job harder



Yes, I see now how the future will pan out. Your logic in inarguable.

1. Tories call election.
2. Public votes by slender majority for bog-standard social democratic party led by mild-mannered pensioner who couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery,
3. ???
4. Brutal communist dictatorship.

On the plus side, you could be the pseudonymous organiser of the new resistance and assure yourself a place in history. Like John Connor.


Yes it is not going to hard.


@ Smiths. Just telling you what's out there, that's all. Just pointing out things Corbyn has said, things his allies in Momentum have said and done.

And now Corbyn is addressing Glastonbury. Here's a picture of another political addressing a large crowd.



You are, again, right, Dipper.

Just watched JC address a huge crowd at Glasto.

OK so they weren't a uniformed, orchestrated army of racist, homophobic, sexist, violent, war-mongering authoritarians, but in, er, all other respects they were just like the Nazis.


@ PeteW

Those crowds cheering Hitler didn't think they were on the wrong side. They thought they were on the side of the good guys against the bad guys. I'm sure when all those folks at Glasto cheered Corbyn didn't think they were cheering seizure of private property, removing political opponents from their jobs, and having a reckoning against groups of people, but those are either Corbyn policies or the actions of his supporters.

Politicians inciting large crowds and movements, politicians becoming trendy causes, people liking them as symbols of something not for what they actually stand for, doesn't have a good history, and it isn't a good idea now.


You're funny Dipper. You're words get more weaselly with every comment. "Having a reckoning against groups of people"- what does that mean?

Not so much the banality of evil as the banality of banality.


@ Pete W


""When Labour wins there will be a reckoning for those who thought they could get away with asset stripping our industry, crashing our economy through their greed and ripping off workers and consumers," he will say.

"Don’t wake on up on 9 June to see celebrations from the tax cheats, the press barons, the greedy bankers, Philip Green, the Southern Rail directors and crooked financiers that take our wealth, who have got away with it because the party they own, the Conservative Party, has won.

"We have four weeks to ruin their party. We have four weeks to take our wealth back. We have four weeks to win and transform Britain for the many not the few.""

so he's calling for a reckoning on "press barons" amongst others. There goes freedom of the press.

As I used to tell my staff, there are two ways of saying everything. Always use the positive one. He could have called for rules, regulations, changes in policy and taxation to peacefully and legally change the relationship between rich and the masses, between capital and workers, but he just announced a "reckoning" with people who do not appear to have done anything illegal, and defines a list of labels who he can quite happily put on all sorts of people.

Jeremy's view of the law - something that when he is in power he will be able to use as he wishes against whoever he wishes, is positively Trump-like.

Brendan from aus

Why is Thatcher a political genius who shifted the Overton window, but Corbyn is a lucky beneficiary of the political climate?

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