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Fri Sep 16, 2016, 06:00 PM


New email leaks reveal Jack Straw was very grateful for Brexit, and for the most disgusting reason


New email leaks reveal that Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary in Tony Blair’s government, was very grateful for Brexit. Not because it gave the British public a say in the direction of their country, but because it created a distraction from the publication of evidence that put his Labour government to shame.

Brexit’s “silver lining”, according to Blair’s co-architect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, was that it buried the Chilcot Report alongside the millions who died as a result of the war.
Straw tells Powell: ‘We’ve got to spin this right’

According to the leaks, on 4 July (two days before the publication of the Chilcot Report), Straw emailed former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, his accomplice in the invasion of Iraq. He wanted to discuss the appropriate response to the upcoming release of the inquiry.

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Reply New email leaks reveal Jack Straw was very grateful for Brexit, and for the most disgusting reason (Original post)
Ken Burch Sep 2016 OP
Ken Burch Sep 2016 #1
T_i_B Sep 2016 #2
Ken Burch Sep 2016 #3
T_i_B Sep 2016 #4
T_i_B Sep 2016 #5
Ken Burch Sep 2016 #7
T_i_B Sep 2016 #9
Ken Burch Sep 2016 #6
T_i_B Sep 2016 #8
Ken Burch Sep 2016 #10
T_i_B Sep 2016 #11
Ken Burch Sep 2016 #12
T_i_B Sep 2016 #13
Ken Burch Sep 2016 #14
Denzil_DC Sep 2016 #15
T_i_B Sep 2016 #16
Denzil_DC Sep 2016 #17
T_i_B Sep 2016 #18
Denzil_DC Sep 2016 #19
T_i_B Sep 2016 #20
T_i_B Sep 2016 #21
Denzil_DC Sep 2016 #22
T_i_B Sep 2016 #23
Denzil_DC Sep 2016 #24
Ken Burch Sep 2016 #25
Denzil_DC Sep 2016 #26
RogueTrooper Sep 2016 #27
Denzil_DC Sep 2016 #28
RogueTrooper Sep 2016 #29
Denzil_DC Sep 2016 #30

Response to Ken Burch (Original post)

Fri Sep 16, 2016, 06:01 PM

1. The actual email is published below:


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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #1)

Sat Sep 17, 2016, 04:49 AM

2. So the Canary is distorting things?

As he said it was the only silver lining from the referendum vote. And clearly not meant as being a relatively minor matter, not the number 1 priority from the current mess.

Mind you, The Canary is about as reliable a news source as the Daily Star.

Also worth noting that Jack Straw's son Will ran Stronger In, the official campaign to keep Britain in the EU. If the referendum had been won then it would have been a major source of celebration in the Straw family. As it was, it showed that the campaign was being run by out of favour 2nd generation Blairites.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #2)

Sat Sep 17, 2016, 04:25 PM

3. Then it was Straw's son who was to blame for the Leave victory.


It wasn't Corbyn's fault that Stronger In ran a terrible, elitist campaign that never addressed the legitimate economic concerns working-class voters in the North and Northeast had about the austerity kept in place in their region by the Tory/New Labour "consensus" AND by the EU. If they had run a campaign on the theme "Remain and Rebel"that is, that they would stay in but fight like hell to get the EU to stop imposing low-employment, low-benefit, high inequality economics in cahoots with the British right), Remain MIGHT have won. Instead, the Remain campaign was nothing but "If you vote Leave, you're a bigot". There is nothing Corbyn could have done to overcome the fatally flawed Remain strategy of saying "everything is just fine as it is", and everyone knows it.

Basically, Corbyn is being vilified for not lying.

And it is obscene that, after all these years, Jack Straw, a man who helped remove everything Labour from the Labour Party and ended up abandoning everything he had ever believed in in his youth, would still be trying to defend the Iraq War(as I understand it, that was the OTHER half of the reason for the anti-Corbyn putsch: to make sure that, by the time Chilcot was released, the party would once again be led by an apologist for the war and that that apologist would lead a unified Labour front bench attack on Chilcot).

And all the Canary is guilty of is being supportive of a good man who is under totally undeserved attack by his own party's current MPs (most of whom only have their seats because Kinnock or Blair imposed them as candidates against the will of their own constituency parties and most of whom I sincerely believe would have joined Ramsay MacDonald in crossing the floor to serve in the Tory-controlled National Government if they'd had seats in the house in 1931), a group that cares more about keeping their own sect in control of the party then they do in getting Theresa May out of 10 Downing Street.

The PLP haven't listened to the vast majority of their own party's paid members. They've shown no respect for the opinions or ideals of that majority(and I strongly suspect would like to expel at least 250,000 of them) and never gave Jeremy a chance as leader, having briefed against him in a coordinated effort planned by Portland Communications from the moment he took over. They never offered any real compromise with Corbyn and those who back him-they never committed to making sure that internal party democracy be restored, that constituency parties be given control over who is nominated as prospective parliamentary candidates, or that the party conference be given real policy-making powers again. All they offered was to give Corbyn himself as meaningless, irrelevant position as "party president"in which, he'd have had no say in policy and would simply have been expected to try to push his supporters into unquestioningly accepting the return of Third Way policies).

The story told the truth(and it is sickening that Straw is still on a "old chum" basis with Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice, people who were among the architects of the Middle East military interventions that still, to this day, haven't stopped). Straw was glad that the Leave victory might take people's minds off of his crimes. Why would you bother defending anyone like that?

If Labour loses badly in 2020, it is solely the fault of the PLP and the Blairites. Just as in 1981, the party is in crisis because a discredited right-wing minority refuses to accept the democratic decision of the party as to who should lead it.

If(as is likely)Jeremy wins the leadership again, those people will have an obligation to accept his victory and work with him to unify the party. I doubt that they will behave like that, that they will act as small-d democrats-they believe that they are Labour and no one else is, and they believe they are entitled to treat the party as their own personal fiefdom, on policies chosen by them and whoever they prefer as leader, and with the majority of the party having no say at all.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #3)

Sun Sep 18, 2016, 05:55 AM

4. Wrong again

The Stronger In campaign did talk an awful lot about economic concerns. The trouble was that the campaign was done on superficial 90's soundbite terms rather than giving people the facts about how the EU single market works. That was a major failing.

And then there is the whole immigration issue, which trumped any economic concerns for a lot of voters. Especially so in poor white communities.

Cameron and Osborne need a lot of the blame for this fiasco, but Corbyn's weak, inept leadership was also a factor that swung it.

Oh, and The Canary is the left wing equivalent of Breitbart. Their stories are almost always badly researched, which leads to them being misleading (as in this case) or just wildly untrue (see the Portland Communications lies you spout). Their craven forelock tugging towards Corbyn has been a major factor in the creation of the Corbyn cult. What's worse is that the mainstream media is increasingly heading in the clickbait direction of sites like Breitbart and The Canary. Which means that when I want to read up on the issue that interests me the most right now I am turning to the LA Times over any UK rag.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #4)

Sun Sep 18, 2016, 08:15 AM

5. I forgot another major gripe with "Stronger In"!

Which is the website. It was not good at all. Visually appealing maybe, but it didn't give nearly enough information about the EU, and as a tool for recruiting activists it was utterly useless. People effectively couldn't volunteer to take part in the campaign via the website and I myself had to resort to badgering regional campaign directors on social media to get involved.

I raised concerns on this matter numerous times to people higher up the food chain both in person and via e-mail.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #5)

Sun Sep 18, 2016, 03:26 PM

7. It's often the people at the top of any electoral effort who are the least responsive to feedback.


And I would have voted Remain, don't get me wrong on that. There was a case for it.

But really, winning the day for Remain would have meant getting the UK political elite to pledge that they would make a unified effort to fight against the neoliberal, low-employment economic model the EU(and especially Merkel)seems determined to impose on Europe(look at senselessly brutal way they treated Greece, forcing that country to economically punish the majority of the Greek population for crimes the old center-right Greek establishment and the banks were solely to blame for).

Can you really imagine Cameron or even any of the figures the anti-Corbynites would have preferred to lead Labour ever making such a commitment?

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #7)

Sun Sep 18, 2016, 03:54 PM

9. Actually, much of my feedback was taken on board

I went out of my way to be constructive, and I think that was appreciated, although I do worry that I was talking at people instead of to them (if you get what I'm saying).

The person I reported to did actually use a few of my arguments in debates.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #4)

Sun Sep 18, 2016, 02:40 PM

6. There's no such thing as "the Corbyn cult".


Last edited Sun Sep 18, 2016, 03:33 PM - Edit history (1)

The people who defend Corbyn do so because that is the only way they can keep Labour from abandoning every remaining socialist principle and permanently lowering itself to sectarian Blairism.

The anti-Corbynites never, at any point, attempted to work with Corbyn, never stood with him as leader even in the first months of his leadership, and constantly tried to organize to remove him and everyone who supports him. And they have never showed any respect to those who elected Corbyn leader and still support him. Many still peddle the totally-discredited smear that Corbyn's victory was of all things, a Trotskyist plot(we're talking about British Trotskyism...the groups that inspired the "People's Front of Judea-Judean People's Front-People's Popular Front of Judea" subplot in THE LIFE OF BRIAN here).

My belief is that it is the dismissive, arrogant treatment that Corbyn's supporters have received that caused the sometimes intemperate responses from their ranks-how would YOU respond if those who disagree with you keep calling you a group of violent, bigoted lunatics? I'm thinking you wouldn't take it well.

I read the New Statesman and Guardian, too(I read Labour List for awhile, even too, even though it has devoted itself for years to nothing but pushing Labour to be less Labour). But all either of those sites do is to push for Corbyn's removal and the restoration of the Third Way. Neither ever called for dialog with Corbyn or his supporters and neither treated those who defend Corbyn and the things they stand for with any intellectual or human respect.

If anybody wanted the Third Way back, the LibDems would have made a comeback in the polls or there would be data showing that Labour's popularity would dramatically increase if someone like Yvette Cooper or Liz Kendall was leading it. How do you account for the fact that such polling results haven't emerged(if they had, the Owen Smith campaign would be trumpeting them to the skies and Smith would stop pretending he was a left-winger)?

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #6)

Sun Sep 18, 2016, 03:49 PM

8. Actually, the Lib Dems are winning by elections round here....

In Sheffield Mosborough then in Tupton in the district where I live they have won by elections in what should be safe Labour seats with 30%+ swings. In the case of Tupton they didn't field any candidates in the district last time thanks to the catastrophic effect of the coalition.

The reason for this is not so much the popularity of the Lib Dems themselves but that people are fed up with all the nonsense in Labour. In the case of Sheffield Mosborough the local Momentum branch was especially culpable as they were pulling Labour activists off the streets on the day of the by election to phone bank other Labour activists for Corbyn.

The Lib Dems have gained a few new members, but not nearly as many as Labour. The difference is that the Lib Dems have shown that they can get far more out of their new members. The chap who is looking like the Lib Dem PPC for my local constituency is a prime example. Only joined them after the EU referendum but he's helped set up Lib Dem Newbies and masterminded the Tupton victory. He's about 60 years younger than the chap we expect to be the Labour candidate and he's already making waves in ways that Momentum folk haven't been able to.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #8)

Sun Sep 18, 2016, 07:48 PM

10. Momentum have had to fight a defensive campaign simply to keep Corbyn in the job


Last edited Sun Sep 18, 2016, 09:40 PM - Edit history (1)

And they have been joined by the overwhelming majority of the party in having to fight it.

That is naturally going to take up all of their time and energy at the present.

They have no alternative but to do so.

If Corbyn were deposed, all radicalism and all idealism would be banished from the party(and if they are expelled, there won't be any left factions in Labour that aren't powerless and irrelevant. There would just be Tribune, and Tribune will never have any real say in what Labour stands for). Therefore, Momentum had only two options: fight to stop Corbyn's ouster, or give up on working for socialism for the rest of their lives.

If the PLP had simply done the democratic thing and said "Ok, we didn't want this guy, but most of the party does, so we'll rally 'round him and unite the party for victory", Momentum(a group that has never deserved the treatment the anti-Corbynites mete out to it, since it is made up mainly of good, decent people of all ages who are working to change life for the better and it is truly weird to act as if there is something unhealthy and illegitimate in doing that)would have been able to spend the last year organising a strong grassroots movement for victory. Instead, they have had to battle just to keep Labour from showing them the door. The LibDems in your area haven't faced any hurdles remotely comparable to that(and it wouldn't surprise me if some Labour right types aren't secretly helping them in the name of making Corbyn look bad.

The most absurd thing is, if Owen were chosen as leader, he would not only instantly move to expel Momentum and scrap Corbyn's revival of internal party democracy(something that has to happen if Labour is ever to make a comeback, for without internal democracy Labour will never again offer the voters a compelling program for change)he would then, after not only doing that AND making sure the party manifesto is sectarian Blairite, DEMAND that everyone on the left vote Labour "to get the Tories out". What he doesn't realize is that he will have no right to demand that, and the Tories will be guaranteed a landslide because of how hollow his plea will ring.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #10)

Sun Sep 18, 2016, 10:57 PM

11. No excuse for not looking beyond the leadership contest

It is notable that Owen Smith supporters are the ones knocking on doors and talking to voters at election time. The old hands who have been doing all the donkeywork.

The influx of paid up Labour members has not resulted in an upsurge in Labour activism. We are not seeing more Labour leaflets or more Labour campaigns. Corbynites like to blather on about rallies. Rallies have their place but they do tend to be preaching to the converted.

I'm afraid that the upsurge of Labour membership caused by Corbyn is being wasted as too many Corbynites are interested only in party infighting, not in working with those outside the Corbynite bubble.

Compare with the Lib Dems, who have only had a modest rise in membership at a time when the party is still discredited in the eyes of many thanks to their part in the coalition. They have many faults, but they don't waste their time on internal infighting when they could be out selling themselves to voters.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #11)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 12:36 AM

12. Corbynites aren't doing party infighting.


They're just trying to defend themselves and what they stand for.

The moment Owen became leader, Labour would stop opposing the Tories on anything but a handful of side issues. The PLP would vote for at least half the proposed Tory cuts(when voting for any more cuts in benefits at all means abandoning the poor-no one who wants benefit cuts or more hurdles for people on benefits to have to jump through has humane or non-right wing views on anything), and all hopes of internal democracy being revived will be gone. There won't be any good reason to try to elect a Labour government with Owen running the show...he'll treat the left exactly like Kinnock did-an approach that left Labour no longer standing for anything.

If the PLP had just accepted Corbyn and worked with him to incorporate the stirring values of a new generation and a new century, the party would be leading the Tories by now. Instead, no matter who is chosen, a Labour victory in 2020 is impossible. Just as in 1931, just as in 1983, the right wing of Labour will be solely to blame.

Why did they refuse to listen? Why did they refuse to learn? Why do they put their belief that they are the only ones who should decide what Labour stands for and who leads it before the desperate need to renew and revive the party? And why do they so despise the only politician the young feel they can believe? Why are they so utterly wedded to the idea that Labour can only win if its leading figures are dismissive, left-hating cynics in Italian suits? Why can't they at least consider being open to change?

It's arrogance. Corrosive arrogance.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #12)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 01:11 AM

13. Telling more porkies about the problem won't fix anything

The claim that Corbynites aren't doing party infighting is 100% untrue. It's the only thing they do take part in.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #13)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 03:32 AM

14. They have to devote themselves to keeping Jeremy as leader.


The moment he is out, they will be unable to do anything inside the party at all.

It's not infighting, for example, to point out that Angela Eagle lied when she said they threw a brick through her office window, that the claims that Momentum is antisemitic are lies(it's not antisemitic simply to question Zionism), or to have fought the NEC in its attempt tp bar Corbyn from standing for re-election as leader-something the NEC had no right to do, btw, just as it is illegitimate that the NEC has barred 150,000 people who had been Labour supporters or in some cases full paid party members(the NEC expelled Clement Attlee's grand-nephew just for posting online in support of Corbyn).

It's a fight between people who want Labour to stand for change and those who want it to stand for nothing-and who want to replace Corbyn with someone who thinks you can be a lobbyist for Pfizer and still be a socialist.

Not only that, but virtually no one has shown up Smith's rallies...how can you lead a party to an electoral victory when no one shows up to cheer for you when you speak?

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #2)

Mon Sep 19, 2016, 08:53 PM

15. Wriggle as you might on Straw's behalf and attempt to smear the messenger,

Straw did, in his own words, regard the "distraction" of the Brexit vote as being helpful because it would "reduce medium term attention on Chilcot". Given the damning nature of the findings, and the mess and loss of life in the aftermath of decisions by the regime Straw was a prominent part of, his immediate concern about "the day of publication being uncomfortable" is typically self-serving - not that there are lessons to be learned there, nor that he shares responsibility for perverting our polity and the widely predicted outcome. Straw is the ultimate cynical politician.

As for your other comments raking over yet again who should have done more during the Brexit campaign, this summarizes how effective interventions by any political figures were:

I've speculated before now on how much anti-establishment/anti-status quo nihilism played a part in the vote. It looks like it's a good job certain figures in Remain didn't do more, as they were motivating more Leave voters than Remain ones and the majority might have ended up being larger.

Imagining anyone could turn around the effects of the overwhelming decades-long anti-EU media propaganda/mythology campaign in just a few weeks is unrealistic, especially as it was in full cry and crescendo during the short campaign.

It's also grimly amusing that you accuse Momentum and its allies of being preoccupied with infighting rather than campaigning! Maybe they'll be in a better position to focus on campaigning when they're not wondering whether they'll be expelled from the Labour Party on an NEC whim at any moment. I've lost count of the number of old stagers with many years of solid Labour membership, and in many cases no connection with Momentum, who've been purged in the run-up to the vote, never mind whole CLPs being suspended, and that's all continuing. Here's an ironic example of the shambles that is the current NEC:

Andrew Godsell

Received an email today from @UKLabour asking if I can help in Witney By-Election - sorry but you have suspended me #LabourPurge2 #DodgyDave

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #15)

Tue Sep 20, 2016, 12:17 AM

16. Looking at what's been happening local to me...

...it's difficult to avoid that conclusion about Momentum.

Which brings up another question. How has the surge in SNP membership following the Independence referendum impacted on SNP grassroots campaigning? I don't know enough about politics in your neck of the woods but I do know that they were able to follow up on that surge in membership with overwhelming electoral success.

In contrast the surge in Labour membership following Corbyn's election as leader has not resulted in any increase in Labour campaigning locally, which has contributed to some very poor local election defeats. It's all very worrying as we need a Labour party in a fit state to take on the Tories.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #16)

Tue Sep 20, 2016, 01:09 AM

17. Well, for a start,

Last edited Tue Sep 20, 2016, 07:37 AM - Edit history (1)

the SNP actively welcomed the massive surge in membership that followed the Independence Referendum, rather than trying to repel boarders as if they were some alien influx that warranted being insulted and denigrated as suspicious entryists. Many of those who joined were openly ex-Labour voters, if not party members. Some of them quickly went on to become MPs (like Tommy Sheppard) and MSPs.

There are the usual moans in some local SNP branches that too few of the new membership are willing to get actively involved or go on the doorsteps. I think that's a perennial problem in any campaigning organization, and was certainly a major cause for moaning when I was actively involved in my CLP and local CND group even way back in the 80s.

You can rail against or complain to each other as old hands about new members who behave like that, or bide your time and try to encourage them, help them gain the confidence to campaign, and even adapt and modernize the way a branch is run to better accommodate the new blood.

Guess which is likely to be the more effective tactic.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #17)

Tue Sep 20, 2016, 02:35 AM

18. This is undeniably an issue

For instance, there is a Labour affiliated social club near me, which you would think would be an ideal place to go to get involved with Labour, but the chances are they won't let you through the front door once you've buzzed the intercom!

Grassroots politics matter hugely. Far more than Westminster Blairites care to admit. Corbyn took over a bad situation but he hasn't been able to make the massive surge in Labour membership count and the new members are far too preoccupied with internal infighting in his name than anything constructive. Not enough is being done to get Labour working together as a team.

In contrast, I know that if I were to join the Liberal Democrats they would be very keen on sending me off to Nottingham to get trained up in canvassing and that efforts to welcome new members come from the party itself, not any group like Momentum.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #18)

Tue Sep 20, 2016, 07:27 AM

19. You keep saying,

"the new members are far too preoccupied with internal infighting in his name".

They're under siege at the moment! It's not just Momentum members who're being deprived a vote or even purged on the most spurious of grounds, it's long-time members, some of whom have nothing to do with Momentum. Was the situation much better before Momentum came on the scene?

The current NEC is more intent on keeping New Labour's precious bodily fluids unsullied than taking on the Tories, or making Labour fit to join battle.

There have been a number of cases of people being emailed ballots, only to be suspended from the party immediately once they voted for Corbyn in the leadership contest. Is that not infighting?

We have the daily spectacle of dubious luminaries - like Neil Kinnock, who was given NINE YEARS as leader and LOST TWO GENERAL ELECTIONS in that time - authoritatively declaring Labour under Corbyn unelectable after just less than a year, as if it was any more electable in the the last TWO GENERAL ELECTIONS it lost. Labour lost 186 seats and millions of votes between 1997 and 2015. Meanwhile, of course, the media's all over statements like this:

Is that not infighting?

As for the local level, here's a classic example of the wave of desperate nihilism, verging on wanton sabotage of electoral gains under Corbyn, within the current NEC:

Labour loses its majority on Bristol City Council after 'purge' of Corbyn supporters

Labour has effectively lost its majority on a major city council after three councillors were suspended as part of the ongoing party “purge”.

In 2016 the party won a slim majority of 37 seats out of 70 in Bristol, but the suspension of two councillors this week and one at the start of this month leaves Labour with only 34, just short of a majority.

All three suspended councillors have been vocal supporters of party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour’s national office confirmed that councillors suspended as part of the leadership election process have their council group whip suspended, meaning the party is now technically short of a majority in the city.


Is that not infighting?

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #19)

Tue Sep 20, 2016, 12:57 PM

20. Didn't realise Bristol was local to you!

Thought you were in Scotland!

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #20)

Tue Sep 20, 2016, 01:01 PM

21. In all seriousness though...

Last edited Tue Sep 20, 2016, 01:56 PM - Edit history (1)

Haven't Momentum just swept the board in recent NEC elections in response to this sort of thing? Although I have my doubts about the ability of these factions to agree on a course of action. And it's worth noting that it's not just Corbynites who have been purged, I have a staunchly Blairite friend who was blocked from rejoining the party over a blogpost she wrote criticising Seamus Milne.

Oh, and pointing out that Corbyn is unelectable does not really count as "infighting". That's just a statement of fact. In my experience there are a few people who think he's the best thing since sliced bread, but far more people who either consider him far too left wing or worse still, an incompetent clown.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #21)

Tue Sep 20, 2016, 04:16 PM

22. The new (more Corbyn-friendly) entry to the NEC don't take office till conference.

The current NEC (note that above I've deliberately referred to "the current NEC" are carrying out some sort of deranged scorched-earth campaign that, if done at the hands of a bunch of entryists, would be seen as exactly what it is - classically Stalinist.

And if in the face of all the evidence above, you try to reduce it all to "pointing out that Corbyn is unelectable", then I'm not at all surprised that you're gobsmacked at what's going on in your party at local level, nor the fact that it seems to be in a terminal death spiral.

Hell mend you all if you don't see the writing on the wall. You've had the clear warning of the spectacular demise of Labour in Scotland. There can be no excuses now.

And I can guarantee you that any purges of people like your staunchly Blairite friend are utterly dwarfed by the numbers of Corbyn supporters who're being disenfranchised and suspended or kicked out.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #22)

Tue Sep 20, 2016, 04:29 PM

23. Trouble is, I can see the writing on the wall

I can see the terminal death spiral, and it's clear that Corbyn isn't the answer to the problem. If he were then I'm sure you would already be supporting Labour over the SNP.

Labour has replaced the extremes of Blairite careerism with many of the worst tendencies of ideological purity politics. Labour needs a sensible "middle path" combining the best of both tendencies but that can't happen in the current poisonous climate.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #23)

Tue Sep 20, 2016, 04:44 PM

24. Nope.

Corbyn's all very well. I can relate to him as our political backgrounds are quite similar, though he had about ten years' start on me.

But as we've discussed here before, Corbyn's the least of Labour's worries as far as I'm concerned. You'd need to take a look at the absolute shower that is the rump of Labour in Scotland to understand why Hell will have a fine hoar-frost coating before I consider throwing Labour anything other than a desperate tactical anti-Tory vote up here in Scotland.

And even then, if I felt there was any chance of my tactical vote handing power to the likes of Watson, Johnson, Benn or any of the other shady careerist arseholes who have a death grip on the party at the moment, I'd probably spoil my ballot and finally retire to the backwoods to eke out a living on squirrels and fungi. I consider them with the same contempt I used to reserve for the worst of the Tories.

Seriously, is this meant to be an attractive party to anyone as it's currently conducting itself? Seeing what these incompetent faux-Machiavellian idiots have done with the modicum of power they've grabbed chills me to the bone, and I wouldn't want to live in a country run by them.

Whine about Corbyn's "unelectability" all you want, we have real election results to prove just how electable Labour's been for over a decade. Much as it's been derided and sidelined by events, Corbyn's current depleted shadow cabinet has made a much better fist of opposition than the previous one did, and I wouldn't feel quite so much like vomiting if a vote of mine helped them on their way, disagree with them as I might on certain policy issues.

Time for something new, before it's too late.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #24)

Tue Sep 20, 2016, 07:49 PM

25. About the only chance Scottish Labour has of recovering anytime in the next two decades


(from what I can see and from what you've taught me) would be for every sitting MSP to be deselected and all current officials expelled(and then deported to Davos).

It astounds me that their response to Labour's decline and the SNP's rise is to dismiss the whole problem as "nationalism"as if the problem isn't Scottish Labour's conservatism, cynicism, and corruption but simply an irrational spike in hatred of the English) and that their strategy seems to be to change nothing but simply bide their time and wait for the Scots electorate to "get over all that foolishness". It's as if they see most of the population of Scotland as nothing but spoiled children having a tantrum. Is it is maddening to watch if you're there as it sounds like it would be?

They truly justify your country's continued production of whisky.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #25)

Tue Sep 20, 2016, 11:30 PM

26. There are many reasons why Scottish Labour's in such a state.

I won't repeat them yet again!

Corbyn's not responsible for that, but he won't help much either, as he has a surprisingly tin ear for Scottish politics. He takes his briefings from the incompetent Scottish Labour bigwigs and can't be seen to contradict them, so we get absurdities like his not long ago blaming the SNP for "privatizing" the rail network when the last round of tenders were bid. When later asked to clarify what on earth he meant, he claimed they should have gone for renationalization. The fact is, that's a power reserved to Westminster - it would have been plain illegal to have any public body bidding for the contracts. I don't expect him to talk sense about Scottish politics, so I'm not disappointed! (Smith fared even worse on his brief visit up here, FWIW - the boy makes it up on the hoof, and came a cropper for contradicting Labour policy in Scotland at least a couple of times.)

Scottish Labour's caught in a cleft stick.

If it develops the autonomy it needs to adopt distinct policies that appeal to the Scottish electorate, then it'll inevitably be in conflict with rUK Labour, and the question will have to be answered: Why even be part of the larger body? And the even bigger question: Who the hell can trust them to deliver?

But Scottish Labour's a million miles away from developing coherent policies, so it has to rely on SNP Bad. And in saying so, it's implying that all those Labour voters and members who joined the SNP are either eejits or bad as well. So good luck wooing them back ...

I've spent more than the last couple of decades being infuriated by Labour and many of its major figures. Maddening barely covers it!

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #16)

Wed Sep 21, 2016, 07:11 AM

27. The SNP's new membership

As it happens, TiB, this is something that is currently playing out in the Depute Leadership competition. The newly enfranchised left wing of the SNP have their candidate in former Scottish Labour apparatchik Tommy Sheppard . For years the SNP has talked a far more left wing game than it walked; however with the post referendum membership bonanza they now have a membership more eager to walk that walk.

This is a list of all of the other candidates. My apologies for using Yoon media

I would guess that either Westminster terrier Angus Robertson or speecifying MEP Alyn Smith would be the prefered candidates of the SNP establishment.

I think any conflict between the SNP's left and right wings is being smothered by the fact that they are in government in Scotland. Success does more to quieten grumbles than most. A double achievement considering the fact that the SNP has a genuine right wing. As apposed to the Labour Party for whom right-wing is a catty, but successful, branding of centrists by the hard left. I don't think these fracture lines will be seen in the SNP (regardless of who wins the election) until the party's fortunes start to suffer.

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Response to RogueTrooper (Reply #27)

Wed Sep 21, 2016, 08:16 AM

28. Chris McEleny, the only candidate from a local government background,

is running on a clear socialist ticket.

The deputy leadership election's an example of the strength in depth in the SNP.

Angus Robertson has a strong track record as leader of the SNP in the UK Parliament. The main downside to his candidacy concerns loading even more workload onto an already fully engaged politician. I guess he might decide to stand down as parliamentary leader if he won.

Tommy Sheppard does, as you mention, have a hinterland in the left wing. His platform is about enabling and giving more representation to the grassroots, given his perspective as a relatively new SNP member (he joined after the first indyref, then shorty thereafter was elected to Parliament).

Alyn Smyth is an exceptionally sharp cookie, a very media-friendly internationalist. He's been an extremely effective member of the European Parliament, and the interaction between Brexit, any future independence referendum, and promoting Scotland's cause within Europe would be his focus.

The main notable oddity about the list is the absence of any female candidates, but then the winner'll be deputizing for Sturgeon.

The hustings have been notable for their lack of acrimony. Apart from McEleny, who acknowledges himself that he's an outsider in the horserace sense, the party would be well served by any of these on past form (McEleny might be fine, but he's yet to have the opportunity to prove himself on a wider stage).

Whoever wins, I don't expect the unsuccessful candidates to just disappear, or snipe about the winner from the sidelines.

I'd also like to see a list of who you consider to be the SNP's "right wing". I can think of a bare handful of characters whose politics aren't in accord with mine on a few issues, but they don't amount to the level of organization, numbers or influence to warrant being classed as a "wing" in any meaningful sense of the word.

As for your assertion that "the SNP has talked a far more left wing game than it walked", this is just trite sloganizing of the sort that Labour in Scotland bandies about ineffectually, and ignores the deliberately framed nature of the Scottish Parliament, which drives parties to coalition or more informal seeking of concensus. Labour, in its time in power in Scotland, couldn't be described as left-wing by any stretch of the imagination, and left a number of financial disasters and political timebombs in its wake that can't be pinned on its traditional coalition partners up here, the Lib Dems.

Given the tortuous strictures on expenditure and policy in a number of key areas, the SNP's been pretty effective on any number of issues that would normally be of concern to the left. There's certainly room for more advances from my perspective, but the last thing we needed up here was a newly unleashed Sturgeon, picking up the reins after Salmond moved the party left over the course of a decade or so, espousing half-baked programmes and policies to promote a cosmetic ideological face to the public that then fell flat on their face.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #28)

Wed Sep 21, 2016, 08:34 AM

29. The SNP does vigorously police its new left wing brand

but once upon a time it was a centre-right party. I would say that John Swinneycomes from that tradition (a fact that is frequently joked about) as do the Ewing clan. The SNP is a nationalist party: a party of identity not class. The only reason it became left wing was because it was the cost of doing electoral business in Scotland.

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Response to RogueTrooper (Reply #29)

Wed Sep 21, 2016, 09:35 AM

30. I wouldn't have voted for the SNP nationally

in the 1990s and earlier 2000s. "Once upon a time" is fast receding in the rear-view mirror. In the 1950s and 1960s, Scotland was something of a Tory stronghold. Parties and time and countries move on.

Ewing is one of the bunch I mentioned (the family name does embody a centre-right tradition in SNP politics, inasmuch as that's a meaningful term in the context of UK politics as a whole), though he's never going to be a threat or rallying figure. Swinney I don't agree about. I rate him, he's very good at what he does, and he's a team player. Other than that, I can think of a couple of MSPs I'm not keen on, and maybe one or two MPs who've yet to win my confidence but are so far toeing the party line.

Your assertion about the SNP being "a party of identity not class" is nonsense. Civic nationalism has trumped blood and soil. We're a small country in terms of population (if not land mass and sea borders), and despite misconceptions from afar, not monolithic politically (rural/urban, Highlands/Central Belt are more telling divisions than class), but the scale of the country makes it all too plain that we're all in it together.

British nationalism/unionism is much more in keeping with your description, but for some inexplicable reason it's the "invisible nationalism", both in Scotland and the UK as a whole.

The SNP became more left-wing because people were crying out for representation from that political pole, which Labour had chosen to abandon, and left-wing values fit with Salmond's consistent personal philosophy since he appeared on the scene (Sturgeon is if anything potentially more left-wing than he is, but both have limits on their power and influence under the current constitutional settlement) and a vision for a more communitarian Scotland, in the face of the onslaught from right-of-centre UK governments during that period, that's proven more attractive to many than the alternatives - witness the comfort with which a large number of Labour voters have switched allegiance. The rump of Labour in Scotland is broadly "Blairite", for all its trumping about socialism, which is more a stick to beat others with than a coherent political philosophy.

Dismissing the SNP's rise as a mere question of "identity" as you've done may satisfy the longing among some of the media and politariat for the SNP to fall on their faces - At last! It's predicted every fucking month by somebody or other - and start splitting and following the same dreary party political trajectory that makes for vast numbers of lucrative column inches and hours of circular airtime that get us nowhere near improving people's lot and just maintain the status quo, but it fails to understand the changes in the country in recent years, let alone the SNP since at least the early 2000s.

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