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Thu Mar 2, 2017, 11:41 PM

Labour leapt into Brexit's fires - and now the party is burning


Party loyalists claim Wednesday’s government defeat in the Lords on the issue of EU citizens’ rights was a Labour victory. Not only is this untrue – Labour peers accounted for less than half of the 358 votes against the government – but it is also eclipsed by the importance of a much greater collapse by Labour at the start of this week, when the party voted against an amendment that would have encouraged a soft Brexit – not the hard version beloved by Theresa May.

Most fair-minded people accept that the referendum vote posed a hellish dilemma for Labour. The party, though not its leader, is pro-European. Labour was opposed to the referendum. It campaigned for remain. Its voters, never forget, voted by two to one to remain. But leave won the referendum. Inevitably, that put pressure on Labour to accept the result, not fight it. That was especially true in Labour constituencies where the majority of voters (though not necessarily the majority of Labour voters) opted for leave.

Gina Miller’s victory in the courts in January placed a weight on Labour MPs that they have struggled to bear. Labour voters and MPs are mostly remainers. Labour conference policy, endorsed at Liverpool after the Brexit vote, is to keep open the option of remaining in the EU if the final Brexit terms are unsatisfactory. Nevertheless, instead of standing up as much as possible for Britain’s post-Brexit place in Europe, Labour has increasingly kowtowed to the leavers’ mandate and to the noisy triumphalism of the anti-European press.

Fear of the effect in the Stoke and Copeland byelections played into this defeatism when the article 50 bill came before parliament. Since the referendum, Labour MPs have been transfixed by the belief that their vote in the north and the Midlands was now Ukip’s for the taking because of the issue of immigration. This is not true. As John Curtice put it here last week: “Labour seems to have forgotten (or not realised) that most of those who voted Labour in 2015 – including those living in Labour seats in the north and the Midlands – backed remain. The party is thus at greater risk of losing votes to the pro-remain Liberal Democrats than to pro-Brexit Ukip.”


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Reply Labour leapt into Brexit's fires - and now the party is burning (Original post)
Denzil_DC Mar 2017 OP
T_i_B Mar 2017 #1
Ken Burch Mar 2017 #2
Denzil_DC Mar 2017 #3
Ken Burch Mar 2017 #4
Denzil_DC Mar 2017 #5
Ken Burch Mar 2017 #6
T_i_B Mar 2017 #7
Ken Burch Mar 2017 #12
T_i_B Mar 2017 #13
Ken Burch Mar 2017 #17
T_i_B Mar 2017 #18
Ken Burch Mar 2017 #20
Denzil_DC Mar 2017 #9
Ken Burch Mar 2017 #14
Denzil_DC Mar 2017 #30
Ken Burch Mar 2017 #32
Denzil_DC Mar 2017 #33
T_i_B Mar 2017 #8
Denzil_DC Mar 2017 #10
T_i_B Mar 2017 #11
Ken Burch Mar 2017 #15
T_i_B Mar 2017 #16
Ken Burch Mar 2017 #19
T_i_B Mar 2017 #21
Ken Burch Mar 2017 #22
T_i_B Mar 2017 #23
Denzil_DC Mar 2017 #27
Ken Burch Mar 2017 #28
Denzil_DC Mar 2017 #29
Ken Burch Mar 2017 #31
Denzil_DC Mar 2017 #34
Ken Burch Mar 2017 #35
Denzil_DC Mar 2017 #36
Denzil_DC Mar 2017 #24
Denzil_DC Mar 2017 #25
Warpy Mar 2017 #26

Response to Denzil_DC (Original post)

Fri Mar 3, 2017, 02:27 AM

1. All I will say here...

Is that in addition to abandoning those of us who voted Remain and want Britain to stay open, united and tolerant Labour is also still very unappealing to those people who voted to leave the EU. Especially the elderly. Which is a particular problem as it's the elderly who vote in large numbers.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #1)

Mon Mar 20, 2017, 09:33 PM

2. The anti-Corbyn types probably could have persuaded Corbyn to go...


if only they had made THESE guarantees in exchange for his leaving:

1) That there WOULD be a Left candidate on the subsequent leadership ballot.

2) That all the suspensions and expulsions imposed on Labour supporters and members by the party's extreme right-wing Iain MacNicol, would be reversed and all those barred from voting in the leadership contest in 2016 would be allowed to vote in the subsequent leadership contest.

Instead, they offered him nothing at all besides a meaningless and intentionally humiliating new job as "party president"-a position in which he would have no say in policy, would be able to do nothing to defend his supporters from attack and probable expulsion, and would be expected to offer unquestioning public support to whatever the next leader did, no matter how offensive and right-wing that leader's actions are certain to be.

Without those guarantees, we all know that the PLP wouldn't allow anyone to the left of Yvette Cooper on the leadership ballot-in fact, that the anti-Corbynites might not allow anyone but a single right-wing candidate-and then act as though they had the right to EXPECT everyone to unite behind whoever THAT leader was in exactly the way they all refused to ever give Jeremy a chance.

Can you at least agree with me that it was never reasonable for the PLP to expect Jeremy Corbyn to agree to anything remotely like that?

Remember, the PLP are the folks whose response to the 2015 defeat, a defeat in which the the poor were blameless, was to push for the party to stop fighting benefit cuts-it hadn't even fought MOST of the cuts under Ed-and to start voting for more and more cuts AND for the cruel and completely unjustified benefits sanctions policies Cameron and Osborne had imposed. The PLP STILL doesn't understand that it was their insistence on doing that, on reducing Labour to being nothing but the party of slightly smaller cuts, that caused the Corbyn phenomenon to happen. And they STILL don't understand that, if they drag Labour back to that set of ideas, the party will no longer have any reason to exist.

A Labour Party permanently committed to austerity, military intervention in the Arab/Muslim world, and the preservation of Thatcher's union laws couldn't be different than the Tories on any major issues at all. It couldn't ever do anything compassionate or solidaristic or humane. No one anywhere in the UK would ever vote for such a party. What would be the point?

Why would anyone ever vote for a party like that?

I understand that you are a Remain supporter...if I lived in the UK, I'd have voted Remain. But it's time to stop acting as if Corbyn could single-handedly have won a Remain victory. He made many speeches for the Remain cause. But there was never the possibility that the actions of one man could have overcome the horrible campaign the Remain side conducted.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #2)

Mon Mar 20, 2017, 10:22 PM

3. It's not all about Corbyn at this point. It's barely even about Labour any more.

T_i_B didn't even mention Corbyn (displaying admirable restraint!). I think I'm about to make up for that.

There's a vacuum on the broad left and among the Remain vote that isn't being filled. Where it is being filled, at a UK level it's largely the Lib Dems that are making the running, mainly by default.

Corbyn's shown no leadership on Brexit - the biggest fight we face - in the last year or so whatsoever. He had some excuse when there was the distraction of his leadership being challenged by those stupid, craven opportunists at precisely the worst time for us all. There's no excuse now.

I never bought into the line that he was a closet Leaver during the referendum campaign and deliberately hung back or even sabotaged the Remain campaign - all the evidence since has been that any public stand and appearance by any establishment leadership figure had a net negative effect on support for whatever campaign they were speaking for.

But any bets of mine started to be canceled on the morning after the vote when Corbyn immediately buckled rather than biding his time and letting the Tories get on with their embarrassing internecine warfare.

And then the attempted coup provided a handy distraction.

But now, I find his stances and those of the party leadership as a whole incomprehensible. Are they hoping to have it both ways - pay lipservice to Brexit while secretly hoping the whole escapade will collapse under the weight of its own impracticality, so the problem goes away and they can eventually reap the electoral rewards from the Tories' humiliation? They're more likely to go down with the same ship. Or worse, have they wholeheartedly bought in to the "the people have spoken, so over the cliff we all have to go" bullcrap?

I'm not clear how much blame for Corbyn's current lack of initiative can be laid solely at his feet, and how much it's to do with his trying to accommodate the timidity that's been apparent in the Labour upper echelons for a long time now, in some mistaken drive for parliamentary party unity after the leadership challenge he faced.

But there are only so many open goals he can miss at PMQs, only so many flatfooted responses like "The real fight starts now" immediately after three-line-whipping support for the Brexit vote, FFS, before he falls into self-parody. He fought for the role, he had overwhelming support. That's all done now, so when's he going to start leading? He had harsher words (and more laughably inaccurate criticisms, but that's by the by) for the SNP when he addressed the Scottish Labour Party Conference a couple of weeks ago than he's had for the Tories since to took over the leadership!

If Labour showed half the commitment and fire combating the Tories and Brexit that they did when they were knocking chunks out of each other last year, they might not be shedding members all over again right now.

I'll most likely never vote Labour again in my life. But I'd like to see it at least functional, because we desperately need an effective opposition, and there's only so much the SNP can do in Westminster to fulfil that role. And if Labour can't pull itself together in some operational form soon, it's better off disbanding or fragmenting, in the hope that something more functional might rise from the ashes.

Bargaining with and harping on about the Watsonite/McNicholite wing of Labour isn't going to get anywhere. I'm beyond tired, I think people in general are beyond tired, of the histrionics of Labour infighting. It was a not insignificant part of what all but killed them off in Scotland.

People, unless they're so cynical they're not likely to vote anyway, like to think politicians are looking out for them, not spending all their days jockeying for position and wasting valuable time on struggles that do nothing to improve anyone's life. But above all, they have to stand for something. I don't see the Jeremy Corbyn who used to stand for something anywhere at the moment. Where the hell did he go?

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #3)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 12:58 AM

4. There are valid points in what you've said.


I suppose I responded as I did because, even though the second leadership vote SHOULD have put the leadership question at rest, those doing the undermining wouldn't stop.

Nothing would be worse if they HAD stopped, nothing will be better if they succeed in forcing the current leader out.

And I'm not sure where this all goes next.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #4)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 01:05 AM

5. There's not much point having a leader if he/she doesn't lead. n/t

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #5)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 01:35 AM

6. No one the PLP would accept would lead-all they care about is putting a "moderate" in.


And it's the PLP...230 people out of a party with more than 500,000 paid members-who will determine who is allowed to stand to replace Corbyn as leader if he does stand down.

There's no good reason why the MPs, the most reactionary and anti-democratic section of the party, should have the power to determine who the party as a whole gets to choose as leader.

(What I'm posting below is for the benefit of those just tuning in from the States-you already know all of it)

Most of the PLP, at least those in its right wing majority, no longer care about the condition of the working- or kept-from-working poor poor, do not want to oppose austerity, do not want to reverse anything Thatcher, Major or Cameron did, do not want Labour to disagree with the Tories on anything important. They want to reduce Labour's policies to nothing but saving tiny bits of the NHS-although not too many bits or Mr. Murdoch will complain.

They see a future Labour government not as a chance to transform society on an egalitarian or democratic basis, not to help anyone harmed by Thatcherism, but mainly as an occasion for themselves to do photo opportunities with U.S. presidents and British troops still deployed on Arab/Muslim soil or later in Ukraine, until the time comes to acquire life peerages and move into corporate directorships.

The sad truth is, if anyone the PLP approved actually managed to win an election-it's obvious that none of them can-you wouldn't be able to tell that they weren't leading a Tory government.

The PLP won't let anyone who could win get on the leadership ballot, because they won't allow any anti-austerity, pro-worker candidates to stand, and those are the only types who could ever be popular. It is completely impossible for Labour to ever rally future electoral support on the program the PLP wants-more cuts, more war, more greed.

They know this, yet they would rather destroy the party than admit it.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #6)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 02:45 AM

7. And too many of the Corbynites care only about kicking the moderates out

To tell you the truth, the level of dysfunction in Britain's main opposition party is frightening. And it only serves to give a dreadful government a free pass.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #7)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 04:00 PM

12. The "moderates" could stop all of that if they just stopped scheming against the current leader.


At this point, even if they get there way, there's next to no chance of Labour doing better than it would under Jeremy with somebody they LIKED in the leadership.

There was never any reason for those people to do what they've done continually since 2015, and nothing would be better if they'd had their way and Liz Kendall or Yvette Cooper was leader.

They've refused to learn.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #12)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 04:15 PM

13. Wrong.

Labour's moderates are currently keeping a low profile, on the basis that Labour members will only move away from Corbyn once they see how useless he really is. They are basically pursuing a strategy of letting Corbyn sink on his own.

The trouble with this is that he's dragging Labour down with him. And even though I don't consider Corbyn's left wing ideology to be the problem, he could well end up permanently discrediting the left.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #13)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 04:30 PM

17. Would you agree with what I suggested above...


...in which I said the PLP could probably have induced him to stand down if they agreed to guarantee the presence of a left-wing candidate on the leadership ballot and to revoke the suspensions and expulsions?

My theory is that the stumbling bloc is the PLP's belief that IT is the party and no one else is, and that the PLP alone should determine who is allowed to stand for and elect the leadership.

This is an important point, because if all aspects of Corbyn's values and most of his supporters are erased from the party, there's nothing that can come of that other than Labour going back to standing for nothing again-a state of affairs that would make a Labour victory, if it ever did happen, meaningless.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #17)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 04:34 PM

18. No

Your theories are garbage.

I prefer to base my opinions on what I see around me in the real world.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #18)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 04:45 PM

20. Care to say why my theories are garbage?


The guy feels loyalty to the people who stand with him-why SHOULD he just go away and leave them unprotected?

Why should he let everything his supporters stand for simply be erased from Labour?

What would there still be to the party after that?

Without the Corbyn movement, the party would be forevermore under the total iron-fisted control of the PLP-the crowd who think "Parliamentary Socialism" means matching the Tories cut-for-cut.

No one who remained in the party after that who still cared about the working and kept-from-working poor would ever have any say in what Labour stood for again. Tribune would never be able to get the party to be radical on anything, and they're basically it for any other sector of the Left within Labour.

Would there be any reason for anyone to vote for a party like that?

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #6)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 08:34 AM

9. Dude - read what I've written above.

At this stage, with what this country's currently facing, all this talk about Corbynites, the PLP etc. etc. is a massive turnoff to anybody who's not so embroiled in Labour's infighting that they can't see the wider picture. We have bigger fish to fry (and we're trying to keep out of the frying pan).

If things work out as May apparently hopes, you'll see austerity on stilts, we'll have a trade deal with Trump (assuming he lasts) that'll decimate workers' rights and probably see our NHS privatized, I could go on and on. It's beyond a left/right issue at the moment. It's about survival. Under Corbyn, Labour's headed down the same road no matter who leads it, because they're discarding options left, right and centre in their support for the Tories' hard Brexit agenda and cravenness about chasing Leave votes. The "real fight" started a year ago - Labour threw in the towel.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #9)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 04:17 PM

14. I don't want to talk about Corbyn or anti-Corbyn either....but the anti-people "Labour" MPs


have made it impossible to get past that.

They've also made it impossible for Jeremy to fight May's agenda with any credibility. You can't fight with any passion when your own MPs are publicly stabbing you in the back on a daily basis.

If they had agreed to the things I listed above, I think Corbyn would have stood down. My last question on that point to you is this: would you agree that they SHOULD have offered those things, rather than simply trying to erase everything and everyone even remotely associated with the guy from the party, as the MPs are STILL trying to do?

Having said that, I'll drop that part of the discussion now and simply read whatever you have to say in response.

As to the EU-Look I'm anti-Brexit too, but political reality is that became impossible to stop Brexit once the referendum passed. That ended the discussion. There was no way to keep fighting it without looking anti-democratic and elitist. There was no chance of ever getting a second referendum and no chance of reversing Brexit without a second referendum. And there was no way for Labour to make a comeback in 2020 under ANY possible leader if it did keep up an all-out fight against Brexit after the referendum, because virtually every Labour marginal that year and every Tory marginal Labour needs to gain voted Leave. There aren't any votes or seats up for grabs then that were both Remain in '16 and non-Labour in '15, as far as I know. Can YOU think of any?

The best approach was to fight to save multicultural Britain in a post-Brexit world. That was the only workable approach

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #14)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 09:26 PM

30. "The best approach was to fight to save multicultural Britain in a post-Brexit world."

On that metric alone, Corbyn's been a total failure, given the pro-Brexit three-line-whipping and the refusal to even back some reassurance to EU citizens settled in the UK.

I don't give a stuff if you say you're "anti-Brexit" or what you imagine "political reality" to be at a thousand miles' distance. The very fact you use terms like "anti-democratic" and "elitist" shows your true grasp on this issue. It's bollocks.

You're not living with it day in day out and seeing what it's doing to your country and those who live in it.

I'm not in a mood for sitting down and shutting up about it. The "discussion" has only just begun. Remember your beloved Jeremy? - "The real fight starts now." A year late and a party short, but there he is.

And I'm blowed if I'm going to go along with it because not doing so will hurt Labour's chances of electoral success in some far-off pie-in-the-sky future. I live in the here and now. Dammit.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #30)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 10:09 PM

32. In the here and now, there was never any chance that ANY Tory MPs would defy May on Article 50.


Once the referendum was over, what chance ever existed for Brexit to be stopped?

You'd have to have had a large number of Tory MPs defy May on the issue. Was that ever even a remote possibility of saving the EU tie?

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #32)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 10:26 PM

33. Nonsense. There are Tory MPs who are opposed,

Last edited Tue Mar 21, 2017, 11:00 PM - Edit history (2)

certainly to a hard Brexit. I'd imagine they looked across the floor of the House of Commons and saw the disarray there and, with a few brave exceptions, decided it wasn't worth sticking their necks out if the Opposition couldn't be bothered.

As it is, under Corbyn, in both the Commons and the Lords, Labour have given May carte blanche to do whatever she wants. And as things stand at the moment, that includes, after Brexit, unraveling all sorts of issues to do with workers' rights, environmental regulations, human rights etc. at the government's leisure without even a veneer of parliamentary scrutiny.

The chances for it to be stopped before the enabling vote existed. They needed some gumption, imagination, and some effort to mobilize the 48% of us and more who didn't vote for it, and the much larger proportion of the population who aren't in favour of withdrawing from the single market (we were promised by numerous prominent Leavers that wasn't even worth worrying about as it wasn't going to happen) and other aspects that it's now going to be much harder to oppose. Christ, if you haven't found the large number of arguments that have been posted on this very group as to why this is an epic clusterfuck persuasive, I don't know what to tell you. The case has been easy to make from day one. And Corbyn was supposedly a figure who could sidestep media negativity and appeal to people directly. But there's that echoing vacuum I've talked about ...

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #3)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 02:53 AM

8. Thanks Denzil

I should also add that even though I am a staunch unionist, I cannot see any reason for supporting Labour over the SNP!

When Corbyn was first elected he was easily the best candidate on the Scottish issue. To listen to Liz Kendall flail around trying (and utterly failing) to explain Labour's Scottish wipeout was excruciating. But Corbyn has been a colossal disappointment on Scottish issues and now it's even more difficult to see what, if anything they are meant to be offering Scottish voters.

And Corbyn's uselessness over the EU issue is a big part of the problem IMHO. Labour needs to be challenging it's opponents, not letting them off the hook.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #8)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 08:55 AM

10. If Corbyn hasn't disappointed me on the Scottish issue,

it's because I knew from the get-go that it's a massive blind spot of his and I had no expectations of him saying or doing anything sensible! He's just not interested. It might be surprising given his contradictory stances toward Ireland over the years, but for some reason he's never joined the dots.

When he comes up here, he always parrots tired old myths about the SNP administration that have long been debunked - his biggest mistake seems to be that he relies on the analyses and stances of Kezia Dugdale and her cronies, and doesn't bother to do his own research.

Even then, he managed to put his foot in it a couple of weeks ago during his visit by saying he was fine with a second indyref if that's what was decided. This undermined Dugdale, who's of the "over my dead body" school of thought!

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #10)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 02:20 PM

11. I actually feel sorry for Kezia Dugdale

Last edited Tue Mar 21, 2017, 02:52 PM - Edit history (1)

She inherited a train wreck from Jim Murphy, she's going to get slaughtered by the CyberNats no matter what she does and then she's got the clowns in the national party to contend with.

Kezia Dugdale would need to be a very rare sort of political genius to make any success of her position. And she's already got lack of experience issues to deal with. It's a difficult enough job without Corbyn & co's EU failures making it virtually impossible for Labour to offer any sort of coherent platform for Scotland.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #11)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 04:22 PM

15. Why is she even still leading Holyrood Labour after a third-place finish?


From what I've seen, she's as Blairite as Murphy, she's opposing the SNP from the right(which is the one place Labour is never going to take votes from the Nats), and she's digging in her heels and opposing any effort at party reform or renewal.

What's the POINT in keeping her in the job?

All she can do as leader is guarantee Scottish Labour NEVER recovers, based on what she's done so far.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #15)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 04:28 PM

16. Who else is there in Scottish Labour?

The only other person of any prominence in Scottish Labour at present that I can think of is John McTernan who is

a) A spin doctor rather than an elected politician
b) Quite incredibly obnoxious

This is one of the effects of electoral meltdown. You have far fewer candidates to choose from and those left may not be the most suitable for the job.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #16)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 04:37 PM

19. Is it a requirement that the Scottish Labour leader be a sitting MSP?


If it is, I'd suggest that that be changed so that someone from outside the remnants of the Holyrood caucus be chosen.

The electoral meltdown would be a perfect justification for that, since the people who survived that meltdown are, as you point out, probably the last people you'd want taking over as leader.

You'd need someone who speaks with the fire of a Mhairi Black, someone with a real connection to the fight against want and greed, someone who wouldn't look totally at home sipping cocktails on a billionaires yacht.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #19)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 04:49 PM

21. Party leaders should always be elected officials

MP's for Westminster, but the case of Scotland MSP is also very much acceptable. Scottish Labour at the very least needs it's leader at Holyrood holding the First Minister to account.

That's how parliamentary democracy works. You get your leaders from the legislature, and political parties seek to get their leaders elected to the legislature in order to run things.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #21)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 05:08 PM

22. That creates a dilemma:


If Kezia Dugdale isn't really up to the job, and there's no one else AT Holyrood who is, isn't that pretty much a guarantee that Scottish Labour will never recover from its current situation?

In Canada, party leaders don't have to be MPs or members of whichever provincial legislature in which they lead a party. What this will often mean is that a sitting MP or legislator will agree to give up her or his (or, in the not-so-distant future, their)seat so that a newly-elected leader can stand for the seat in a byelection. Another MP or legislator will act as temporary leader of the party in the Commons or the legislature until the leader manages to win a seat.

I'm just saying changing party rules to allow this in Scotland might provide a way out of the current situation, and a chance that Scottish Labour might get a new leader who would actually provide an effective alternative to the Nats.

From what I'm hearing, there's no guarantee Scottish Labour under its current leader will even hold its current number of seats in the next Holyrood election.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #22)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 05:26 PM

23. Labour's rivals would love that proposal

They would be bringing up the "unelected" nature of the leadership at every single opportunity.

And to be perfectly honest, they would have a point. Better for parties like Labour and the Lib Dems to concentrate on widening their gene pool by winning more seats. That's how you end up with elected politicians like Mhari Black.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #22)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 07:50 PM

27. Why on earth is it so important to you that Scottish Labour survives?

Most of the Labour activists worth their salt in Scotland have already seen the writing on the wall and joined the SNP.

You'd be hard put to distinguish between the SNP under Sturgeon and any imaginable party that might emerge under Corbyn or one of his allies that had any hope of gaining electoral support or achieving anything in governance.

The main difference is that the SNP under Sturgeon is pragmatic and, you know, actually running a country.

Its policies on openness to immigrants, to mention just one issue, and especially its sympathies for those valued EU citizens who're facing expulsion if things go the way May seems to envision them, put Corbyn and his ilk, at least as they're currently conducting themselves, to shame.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #27)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 08:14 PM

28. Only because Labour needs to make a comeback in Scotland...


if it is ever to have any hope of governing the UK again-and it needs to be able to gain ground in Holyrood elections to have any chance of regaining Westminster seats.

I'm sympathetic to the case for Scottish independence, but I can't dismiss the fact that if Scotland did go independent, the rest of the UK would never elect another non-Tory government-it would have nothing but Cameron after May after Cameron after May for the rest of eternity. Change would be impossible in that situation.

Also, Scotland needs a REAL opposition, and the only kind of party that can do that is a party to the SNP's left.

A party that would be as anti-austerity in government as it is on the stump.

The LibDems can't be that party-they are still hated north of the Tweed for their coalition with Cameron.

The Scottish Greens can't manage it, either-they have discredited themselves as a left alternative by continually voting for the SNP's cuts, as the Irish Greens did when they propped up a right wing government in the Dail not so many years back.

The Tories are still the Tories up there, and always will be.

If I really had my druthers, I'd like to see an opposition that would be like a less-sectarian version of the SSP, radical but NOT specifically tied to support for independence. The SSP had real potential before Sheridan destroyed it with both his lies regarding his sordid personal life AND his insistence that the party defend him on his actions simply because he was the leader.

Scottish Labour needs to either radicalize or disband-it serves no purpose as a party that opposes Sturgeon from the right, and a party that refuses to support the one thing that could possibly make it electable again..."Devo Max".

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #28)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 09:06 PM

29. I've had to knock this myth down before. Sorry, your first argument is just nonsense.

Sadly, the election night hack wiped out part of my journal so I can't refer back to that. So, instead, I'll direct you to this authoritative post from Scottish blog Wings Over Scotland (sources at the link, too long to paste here):

Why Labour doesn’t need Scotland


– on ONE occasion (1964) Scottish MPs have turned what would have been a Conservative government into a Labour one. The Tory majority without Scottish votes would have been just one MP (280 vs 279), and as such useless in practice. The Labour government, with an almost equally feeble majority of 4, lasted just 18 months and a Tory one would probably have collapsed even faster.

– on ONE occasion (the second of the two 1974 elections) Scottish MPs gave Labour a wafer-thin majority (319 vs 316) they wouldn’t have had from the rest of the UK alone, although they’d still have been the largest party and able to command a majority in a pact with the Liberals, as they eventually did in reality.

– and on ONE occasion (2010) the presence of Scottish MPs has deprived the Conservatives of an outright majority, although the Conservatives ended up in control of the government anyway in coalition with the Lib Dems when Labour refused to co-operate with other parties in a “rainbow alliance”.

– which means that for 65 of the last 67 years, Scottish MPs as an entity have had no practical influence over the composition of the UK government.


Now, having dispensed with that argument: Why does it matter to you so much? I mean, it's touching to see you so concerned about our welfare in Scotland that you feel "Scotland needs a REAL opposition". But you don't live here, so what's it to you? I don't obsess about how you're doing in Canada and what would work best in your political system, because you seem to be doing OK generally and it's not much of my business because you're generally well-behaved on the world scene.

I'd agree - hell, I'm pretty sure Sturgeon and the rest of the SNP would agree - that a "REAL opposition" would be nice.

That would be one that doesn't just waste everybody's time (and invariably fall flat on its collective face) at First Minister's Questions every week trying to score petty points against Sturgeon on spurious evidence while offering no solutions to any problems that actually affect the people of Scotland in Holyrood's committees etc. It would be one that comes up with some constructive input on the issues we face now and then, rather than just timeserving and waiting for the SNP to fail (imagine Waiting for Godot set in an ornate hypermarket decked with flashy desks, only the performance goes on for ever).

It would also be one that isn't hampered by ties to a UK national party, because that's always going to lead to irreconcilable friction and contradictions in terms of policy, since we're fed up of the compromises accommodating what the rest of the UK will wear politically, and that's a sentiment that's been growing for years.

"Devo Max" is a dead duck. It was looking very poorly the morning after the first indyref, when Cameron sprang EVEL as a wake-up call, then was finally smothered in committee when Labour voted against any measure that would have given Scotland meaningful control over the levers it needs to function coherently as a polity. Last I heard, Gordon Brown had escaped again, and was again offering his same old tired solution along "Devo Max" lines that next to nobody takes seriously any more because most of our heads don't button up the back. We were bitten. We won't forget.

As for your utter ignorant trite bilge about "the SNP's cuts" and the Greens, you've just convinced me that I need to take a good look at my life before I waste any more time arguing with you.

You evidently know sod all about Scotland, including what powers are devolved and what aren't (a.k.a. reserved powers - hint, that's where the fucking cuts have come from, and we've - that is, through our elected government's initiatives - paid dearly to mitigate a number of them, often against Labour opposition; yeah, they can mobilize their idle arses then, right enough), how much else the Scottish government's had to do to counter Westminster's austerity policies, how socially progressive a number of its operational policies are, or just about anything else about the whole political dynamic and life for those of us who actually live in Scotland on which you've ventured an opinion.

You're as ridiculously out of touch with what's going on in Scotland as Corbyn is. Unlike him, you're not being paid to supposedly know about this stuff, granted, but I probably shouldn't be surprised as it seems like you sip from the same cup of misinformation.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #29)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 10:03 PM

31. I respect your opinions.


And you are right, I don't live there(I'm in the states, not Canada-I just cited Canadian examples because they have a parliamentary system). I post about UK issues mainly out of solidarity and internationalism.

Obviously independence is your choice if you want it and I agree that Scotland as a country has been treated badly by Westminster.

I'm open to learning(the info about the Greens came from a Scottish website, for the record) and if I lived there I'd probably have voted SNP against most of the major parties there in the Holyrood voting. If there are a long series of Tory majorities at Westminster, votes for the SNP there will run up against the law of diminishing returns.

I don't think the analysis in the link you posted takes into account how massively England, especially the South of England, has moved to the right in the last decade. England, from everything I've seen, is a country where no one who starts voting Tory or UKIP ever goes back to supporting any party with humane values after that.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #31)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 10:53 PM

34. I could make some guesses where you might have read stuff like that.

Labour Hame would be one, but there are others. There's a passably vibrant online community who do nothing but peddle these partisan myths.

Check and see whether their complaints include the fact that the SNP-led Scottish Government refused to nationalize the Scottish railways.

It's a good test, because there's no way it could have - it's one of those powers reserved to Westminster, so it would have been plain illegal.

That didn't stop one Jeremy Corbyn loudly banging on about this horrible betrayal of the Scottish people, among many others, on one of his visits up north last year ...

To debunk that rubbish, I'll let Wings Over Scotland do the writing again, because I have RSI:

“The SNP are privatising CalMac.”

Not true. The SNP are following a tendering process which is required by EU law, and which was also undertaken in an identical fashion by the last Labour-led administration at Holyrood. No decision has as yet been made.

(Calmac - a large, long-established but frequently struggling ferry company - wasn't privatized. It has since won the franchise in the last tendering round. We who live on the coast cheered.)

“{The SNP} were behind privatisation of ScotRail.”

Hang on, what? Britain’s railways (including Scotland’s) were privatised by the Tories under the Railways Act 1993. The Scottish Parliament didn’t even exist at the time.

Privatisation/nationalisation of railways is reserved to Westminster under the same act – it’s totally outwith the Scottish Government’s control. It’s currently forbidden by law for the public sector to own/operate Britain’s railways except in emergencies

More debunking of SNP Bad myths (with supporting links) at this unashamedly partisan blog, but one that's wedded to exposing media lies: http://wingsoverscotland.com/advice-for-jeremy-corbyn/

Other of Corbyn's lies in that few second-long clip exploded there: “{they’re} also cutting college places”, “{they’re} also privatising services” - and most germane to what you cited earlier, “{they’re} also cutting local government funding”. To which the riposte is:

In fact, despite having to deal with heavy reductions to its budget from Westminster (10% in real terms since 2009-10), the SNP has protected local-government funding, and indeed just days ago it was shown to have OVER-funded local authorities by £165m in compensation for its policy of freezing the Council Tax.

(Since Corbyn's interview and the above was written, the Council Tax freeze has ended - and this in the run-up to local government elections where there could be a political price for the SNP to pay - precisely to protect local authority funding because it was untenable to subsidize the shortfall any more.)

That's why he can't disappoint me in anything he says about Scotland. Because it's been obvious for ages that he hasn't a fucking clue, apparently has no desire to check his facts before spouting off, and will say anything his daft Scottish minders feed him - and they've made such a success of things themselves.

Anyway, it's less about independence at this point than it is about survival.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #34)

Wed Mar 22, 2017, 12:08 AM

35. I appreciate the additional information.


It wasn't a Labour site...it was a Socialist Party of Scotland site(not the Scottish Socialist Party, who seem to exist solely as a web presence now).

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #35)

Wed Mar 22, 2017, 02:08 AM

36. That's a shame. One would hope for better.

There's attacking the SNP from the left, and then there's making any old crap up because it sounds vaguely plausible!

Meet what passes for an opposition in Scotland at the moment.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #16)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 05:47 PM

24. Her deputy, Alex Rowley, would be in improvement in all sorts of ways.

But maybe not significantly so, and he seems to be playing a long game of biding his time.

Yes, you're absolutely right, strength in depth isn't a feature of Scottish Labour nowadays. Pray they don't end up with our (God help us) MSP, Jaqui Bailey! She's been an eminence grise behind a number of failed leaders over the years (Wendy Alexander, remember her? - I thought not), in the pocket of the Faslane/Coulport trade unions, and an utter stranger to the truth.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #15)

Tue Mar 21, 2017, 05:49 PM

25. OK, we have a point of agreement, finally.

She's the archetypal post turtle.

She was a protegee of George Foulkes, and if you know anything about British (and especially Scottish) politics, I need say no more.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Original post)

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