Corbyn’s mandate being openly and flagrantly opposed inside his own shadow cabinet

More people have joined Labour since Jeremy Corbyn was elected the leader of the party than are in the Lib Dems. This amounts to 62,000 new members, adding to the thousands who joined or registered as supporters during the election campaign, which it is worth recalling ended in an emphatic victory for Corbyn, who received almost 60 percent of the first preference votes cast.

You would automatically and logically think, given the size of his mandate, and given that his election has attracted so many new members to the party, that his authority would be unquestioned within the PLP and especially within his own shadow cabinet. At the very least you would imagine it would be respected.

However the opposite has been the case. In fact, since becoming leader, Jeremy Corbyn has found himself being opposed, undermined, and boxed in at every turn in what can only be considered an egregious and disgraceful violation of his mandate and a studied insult to the thousands who campaigned and voted for him.

On the very morning after winning the election, the Labour Party’s new deputy leader, Tom Watson, appeared on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show and articulated his intention of opposing the new leader’s position on NATO and on Trident. For those who may have been asleep these past few months, Jeremy Corbyn made it clear during his leadership campaign that he favours Britain’s withdrawal from NATO and the scrapping of Trident.

Since then we’ve had both Lord Falconer and Hilary Benn publicly voicing their opposiiton to their new leader’s policies, while Sadiq Khan, Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London in 2016, has left nobody in any doubt that he intends to use the office of mayor to mount a Blairite fightback, recently using the Daily Mail as a platform to attack Corbyn in the most withering terms.

It is hard to resist the conclusion that this is part of a coordinated and systematic campaign to neuter the new leader and erode his authority, to the point where he will find it impossible to push through any of the policies and implement the vision upon which he was elected. Though it is still very early days in his leadership, if such flagrant and open opposition within the PLP is allowed to continue the prospects for the radical change he outlined will undoubtedly diminish.

A lack of organisation and coherence is the death of any leadership, which is why Corbyn needs as a matter of urgency to come down on those who are intent on undermining his mandate. In this regard he needs to mobilise his base outwith the PLP, the 16,000 who campaigned for him across the country, the over 200,000 who voted for him, and the 62,000 inspired by his message and vision to join Labour since the election. The PLP needs to understand that the membership of the party will not accept such naked disregard for them or their leader.

Unity at any price is a chimera. It is tantamount to the unity of the graveyard. It is unity of purpose that is required, which may well mean a period of protracted internal struggle and strife before it is achieved. But if Labour is to become the party of transformational change promised by Jeremy Corbyn’s election this unity of purpose will have to be achieved.

The right within the Labour Party is clearly determined to ensure that the new leadership passes into history at the earliest opportunity. It is therefore up to the membership to rally round and ensure it does not. If there is to be an internal struggle for the direction and soul of Labour better now than later – and better a good fight than a bad peace.

Jeremy Corbyn has been personally immense over these past few months. The pressure, scrutiny, and expectation he’s had to deal with will undoubtedly have taken its toll. He needs help, he needs allies – most of all he needs to be continually reminded that he does not stand alone, that he has mass support outwith the House of Commons and Labour Party HQ, and that it is their vision not his that is marginal and incompatible with the real world.

The record of the last decade of growing inequality and social injustice at home has been married to the nauseating hypocrisy of a foreign policy that has succeeded in sowing crisis and chaos across the world. This is their record as part of a political establishment whose shake-up is long overdue.

Those members of Labour’s new shadow cabinet who oppose the newly-elected leader should either resign or be sacked. As for Sadiq Khan, he is not the Labour candidate for Mayor of London in 2016 – at least not one worthy of support. The real Labour candidate for Mayor of London in 2016 is George Galloway.

123 comments on “Corbyn’s mandate being openly and flagrantly opposed inside his own shadow cabinet

  1. In this current political system Corbyn is going to have to deal with, by doing deals, the Labour Right, some of whom probably prefer Osborne to Corbyn. Labour is such a broad church, with old-style unreconstructed revolutionaries on one far end and neoliberal pro-war Blairites on the other wing, I cannot see how they can hang together ( no pun…) long enough to gain wider political capital and continue to oppose the Tories, which Corbyn had started to do. Furthermore, the current EU crisis, will not only split the right but the Left too; how do you make a case for it? Finally the EU/asylum/economic/climate migrant flux is here to stay. It’s clear both The Left and the Right have been pretty impotent in dealing with Syria and ISIS. Yes America fucked it with Assad but the dithering and some proxy state backing from Saudi allowed ISIS to strategically grow.

    Despite Corbyn’s excellent start on tackling – at last – the anti-austerity logic, he is against the wall with what will be a swing to the right over this new immigration ‘scare’. The hypocritical Guardian, neoliberal but squeamish about dead toddlers (not so if they’re bombing Syria) is guiltily trying to sell to a demoralised electorate the value of allowing those seeking asylum.

    How are the Left going to make a case for the EU, fight the austerity logic, win the argument on what will probably be another 2 million people in the country by 2020 when people are being smashed day-to-day. What do the Left have in their arsenal to do this? the unions? They’ll abandon Corbyn if they think he’s not going to win. Twinning anti-austerity with compassionate help for asylum seekers is possible but at least as many are economic migrants from other countries. How do you avoid sounding like a gleeful neoliberal CEO with a cheap, continual glut of labour?

    The clock is ticking. We need a mass demo as big as Iraq to mobilise the interested parties. I think the right are weak but the mood is getting uglier and that means all interested parties have to get behind some platform about compassionate politics being the only way through this.

  2. Phil: ‘Going so well until the last paragraph…!’

    Spot-on, just what I thought. How and why anyone would wish to promote Galloway, long past his sell-by date for any socialist, is beyond me.

  3. UncleAlbert on said:

    “The real Labour candidate for Mayor of London in 2016 is George Galloway.”

    Quite right.

    Corbyn’s position will be strengthened by the success of any candidate perceived to be to his left.

  4. Down-ticket, things are not quite so rosy for the Labour Left – Luke Akehurst (from Labourlist) –

    “For the Conference Arrangements Committee, a nationwide ballot for two seats representing CLPs, the franchise was restricted to full members rather than registered and affiliated supporters. This committee plays a crucial role in ruling on which contemporary and emergency policy motions and rule changes are valid and can be debated at Annual Conference.

    The result was a landslide for the moderates. Gloria De Piero, who had backed Liz Kendall for Leader, got 109,888 votes, and Michael Cashman, previously an MEP and NEC member elected on the moderate slate got 100,484. They defeated former Scottish Campaign Group MP Katy Clark (80,193), and Jon Lansman, a veteran organiser for the Bennite left who had helped mastermind Corbyn’s victory but could only deliver 37,270 votes for himself. ”

    http://labourlist.org/2015/09/down-ticket-things-are-not-quite-so-rosy-for-the-labour-left/

    Why do you think the “moderate” led Conference Arrangements Committee have agreed to have a debate on Trident renewal this year?

    1. To show the PLP that the overwhelming majority of the Party backs Corbyn’s policy.

    2. To put the Trade Unions on the spot and aim to tie the Party down to support Trident renewal.

    The GMB will probably back Trident but what will Unite do? Unite opposes Trident but, having many members working on Trident at the moment, wants alternative jobs to be offered in its place. The debate at Conference will, more than likely, centre on the jobs at risk if Trident is abandoned.

    If the Party does come down on the side of Trident, what then? After all, Watson, Benn and Co. can then say that the majority of the PLP, the Shadow Cabinet and (if the vote is passed) the Conference now backs Trident, so the Leader should do so too. After all, the argument will go, has the Left not always called on the Leadership to follow Conference decisions?

    And so, bit by bit, Jeremy Corbyn will be boxed in.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/unions-warn-ed-miliband-scrapping-trident-will-cost-13000-jobs-8560627.html

  5. Lord Falconer said in an interview earlier in the week that the difference between Labour now and Labour pre the election of Corbyn is only one of form, not content, i.e. transparency and honesty supplanting spin and deception. The policies, with the exception of rail nationalisation, remain the same. That’s why the party conference is so important, with the issue of Trident pivotal. Having said this, Falconer’s behaviour seems principled and loyal compared to this odious little shit Sadiq Khan.

    However, I’m not sure the conspiratorial implication of this claim of John’s:

    ‘It is hard to resist the conclusion that this is part of a coordinated and systematic campaign to neuter the new leader and erode his authority, to the point where he will find it impossible to push through any of the policies and implement the vision upon which he was elected’.

    I remember Denis Skinner saying the obvious a few years ago: a lot of left wing people have left the Labour Party. That was true at constituency level and – aided by blatant and systematic New Labour manipulation of placemen candidates – was true at parliamentary level. Put that together and there was/is an obvious consequence: most MPs don’t agree with Jeremy Corbyn on Trident, NATO etc etc. They just don’t. The Guardian claimed earlier in the week that only 20 members of the PLP share his policy agenda: less than 1 in 10. The 2015 MPs might be distinct from New Labour on austerity, but that doesn’t mean they are distinctly left wing. Obviously there’s been an influx of new left members (Including me, first constituency meeting tomorrow night) enthused by Corbyn but, even assuming that they’re uniformly ‘left’, their influence will take a time to filter through in respect to candidates etc.

    As for George Galloway, well, we’ve all been cheered over the years by his often lone voice oratory, but I’d think he’s finished. From what I heard, he made a prick of himself at the general election. He can only come across as a washed up political carpet bagger. I’d imagine he’ll cause a bit of a stir at the hustings. And then receive a derisory vote.

  6. Marxist Lennonist on said:

    Sadiq Khan has said he’d support the City of London against McDonnell, promote trade with Israel, and attacked the Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Chancellor as terrorist sympathisers – in the Daily Mail! Surely this is more specifically problematic in a supposed Labour candidate than George Galloway being “washed up” ie too old – I wonder what Jeremy would make of that ageist argument btw…

  7. jock mctrousers on said:

    Sam64: this odious little shit Sadiq Khan.

    Yes, that’s it. And it shows what Corbyn’s up against. Who elected Khan? Who prefers Khan to Diane Abbot? Labour Tories! And there’s a lot of them.

    Can Corbyn DO this? What the membership want him to do? He’s just one old guy against a big machine, with next to no support. Even if he turns out to be a genius, his health is unlikely to take the strain for long. If he sacks his cabinet who will he replace them with?

    He CAN’T do this. So let me propose a nuclear option – now while the iron is hot, while he’s riding the crest of a wave, before he fizzles out in ridicule or collapses – let him leave the Labour Party and join the Greens, who are roughly in tune with his ideas, and ask his supporters and the Trade unionst to come with him. Of course that raises the question of why he hasn’t joined the Greens previously, but… take it from there…

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  9. Jock

    I agree that he ought to get out the Labour Party but he needs to help establish a genuine socialist party. The Green Party is not socialist or class based, it’s a blind alley. If Corbyn and other Left MPs made the break now, they could establish an organisation with tens of thousands of members explicitly committed to socialism. Instead, he will be fighting a losing rearguard action, backtracking on key policies and demoralising all those people who have been galvanised by his leadership campaign. If he waits too long all that will be lost and he will be a prisoner of the Right.

  10. Marxist Lennonist,

    ‘“washed up” ie too old – I wonder what Jeremy would make of that ageist argument btw…’

    Well, if you’d consulted your Urban dictionary comrade. Washed up:

    ‘Something that has once had it’s peak of greatness far too long ago, and is now still being over used, over played, and is still spoon fed through the media, even though it’s gotten extremely old, bland, worn out, and is just sad to still see around’.

    You’ll see that that ‘old’ as in number of years isn’t really the issue. Let me give you an example. I’d say The Libertines sound ‘washed up’ even though, on and off, they’ve been going for c.15 years. I wouldn’t apply this label to The Who who have been going for over 50 years. So that was what I was getting at. Further, since you mention Corbyn, I’d suggest his steadfast, principled life on the left contrasts positively with Galloway. Can anyone deny that his campaigns – that always involve personal acrimony with opponents and supporters alike – in one cause/election after another, indicate, first and foremost, an ego (one that seemingly excludes a self-edit or indeed any form of critical self reflection) in search of perpetual nourishment?

    BTW, the idea that Corbyn might start a new left wing party or join the Greens having just been elected leader of the party he’s always been a member of, towards the end of his political career – that’s not being ‘ageist’, years do count, I’ve got a bad back – is, quite simply, ludicrous.

  11. ‘BTW, the idea that Corbyn might start a new left wing party or join the Greens having just been elected leader of the party he’s always been a member of, towards the end of his political career – that’s not being ‘ageist’, years do count, I’ve got a bad back – is, quite simply, ludicrous.’

    It’s not ludicrous at all. It’s a viable political option, however unlikely. Sadly, the tremendous pressure he has been under from the right in the LP and the media has already led him to backtrack on long held principles e.g. about NATO and his repubLicanism. What’s next – Trident? And as for McDonnell’s shambolic performance on QT…

  12. Doug:

    Well ludicrous in the sense that there’s absolutely no way it’s going to happen. The only way that a Syriza like, left anti-austerity party might develop is if the right fully take over inside the Labour Party. That’s not impossible. I see Mandleson is saying today that it’s not yet the right time to oust Corbyn. First they’ll need to be clear public rejection of his ‘unelectable’ (yawn) leadership, i.e. a few poor bi elections. Clearly, he’s eyeing somehow installing Liz Kendle and co. If that happens, then it’s not impossible that, with the backing of some unions, there might be a break from Labour. But with Corbyn as leader, not a chance.

  13. #12 In one sense I agree with you, certainly in the short to medium term.

    Where I have a problem is with the implication that we want something like Syriza here.

    In fact, even if that was desirable we couldn’t have something remotely like Syriza because the respective histories of the Greek and British working class movements are so radically different. This includes the respective significance and inter-relation of Communist and Social Democrat parties and the role of Euro-Communism, as well as the relationship between trade unions and working class/ left parties.

  14. Sam64: urther, since you mention Corbyn, I’d suggest his steadfast, principled life on the left contrasts positively with Galloway.

    Living a ‘principled life on the left’ undoubtedly has its merits. But there’s something to be said for an unprincipled life on the left too, you know. Show me a man with no vices and I’ll show you a corpse. I bet even Jeremy swears sometimes. I bet he’s even ridden his bicycle the wrong way down a one way street as well. You’d be surprised. For all you know he may even snort cocaine off the cover of the Communist Manifesto and dance naked in front of his bedroom mirror on the odd occasion.

    Sam64: Can anyone deny that his campaigns – that always involve personal acrimony with opponents and supporters alike – in one cause/election after another, indicate, first and foremost, an ego (one that seemingly excludes a self-edit or indeed any form of critical self reflection) in search of perpetual nourishment?

    ‘Whenever I climb I am followed by a dog called ‘Ego”. Nietzsche

  15. jock mctrousers: He’s just one old guy against a big machine, with next to no support […] He CAN’T do this.

    I would not exactly describe 59.5% of the Party as ‘next to no support’. And I do remember how not so very long ago, comments in this forum were remarking on how Jeremy’s bid for the Labour leadership had no chance of succeeding.

  16. jock mctrousers on said:

    Noah: I would not exactly describe 59.5% of the Party as ‘next to no support’

    Well, yes, but I meant in the PLP. Those who elected him aren’t in a position to do more than wish him well at the moment. Sure, all the Corbynites must work at constituency level to replace unsound MPs with real Labour as bi-elections offer the chance. But for how many years has one old guy to hold the fort alone, while his outside supporters try to send some support to him? With Tom Watson, Hilary Benn, the new mayoral candidate whose name I’ve forgotten (odious little shit) and the rest scheming to stab him in the back as he stands alone against the massed ranks of Wall Sreet, NATO, the City of London…

    I described the scenario of him leaving the party as the nuclear option because I too consider it extremely unlikely, but it’s at least POSSIBLE; I really want to see some reason to believe – not something based on magical thinking – that Jeremy CAN hold the fort , and the seventh cavalry will come…

  17. John,

    ‘Living a ‘principled life on the left’ undoubtedly has its merits. But there’s something to be said for an unprincipled life on the left too, you know. Show me a man with no vices and I’ll show you a corpse. I bet even Jeremy swears sometimes’.

    Bloody hell, swap ‘left’ for ‘right’ and ‘Jeremy’ for ‘David’ and that might have come from the Mail Online comments earlier in the week over pigate! Seriously, the article that irritated me the most in the run up to Corbyn’s election (and there were several) was a Guardian Comment by Suzannah Moore (a fundamentally lazy journalist) that said that aside from being the wrong man to lead Labour, his candidacy represented the single worst ‘vice’ of the left: puritanical, moralistic, wear the hair shirt and look glum socialism: that’s how to build an introverted, minority mass movement whilst alienating most others. I’ve never gone along with the Danny Baker line that to blow 5 grand on a bottle of wine is an affirmation of working class identity and, further to that, there probably are questions to be asked about the ethics of GG’s considerable earnings and his lifestyle. But don’t try and get me on that score as I’m not that sort of socialist. I never have been. Further to that, I gather that the Tory press have been sniffing out stories about Corbyn having had a few affairs in his time and that he hasn’t always been the most scrupulous gentlemen. In so far as I care – I don’t – I’m glad about that, not because it makes him a ‘lad’ in my eyes, but because it makes him like all of us: human, i.e. fallible – ‘Let he who is without sin…’

    Nietzsche? Well I’ve always liked Jeeves advice to Bertie Wooster on the philosopher, “You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound.” At least that’s the line if memory serves. If George Hallan knows his Bertie Wooster like he knows his Bible, I’m sure he’ll correct me if I’m wrong.

  18. Vanya,

    Well of course I wouldn’t want to imply that Britain and Greece are identical. Apart from differing histories of the left etc., the break down of the political class in Greece that allowed Syrizia to come from nowhere to take and retain power (despite huge disappointment in July) was a product of an economic and social crisis far more severe that in Britain. However, think about the scenario I indicate at 12 above.

    I won’t discuss my constituency Labour Party AGM I went to last night. Suffice it to say, that I didn’t leave the meeting any more confident that an attempt to dump Corbyn won’t happen at some point before the next election .

  19. Sam64: there probably are questions to be asked about the ethics of GG’s considerable earnings and his lifestyle.

    Wow, the moralism just keeps on coming. If I could earn a lot of money I would jump at the chance, as I’m sure would the vast majority of working class people. On this Moore is absolutely right. A socialism that argues for levelling people down is about as attractive as soggy fish n chips. As far as I know – and perhaps you know more than me – GG’s earning are not derived from exploiting workers in sweatshops, factories, or from renting out flats. His earnings are all derived from his political activities. You may disagree with those activities, but that’s a different matter.

    What is it about his lifestyle that you feel is a problem? This is a serious question which I’m sure the Daily Mail and the Sun would love to know the answer to. As for his behaviour towards people, and the some of the things he has said or done, this is something else and definitely open to question.

    That said, I’m sure it won’t be long before many of those who are now so effusive in their support and praise for Jeremy will be throwing him under a bus too.

    It’s how it is and how it will always be.

  20. John,

    Wow. I was actually agreeing with you for the most part there John. My point was that Moore’s was a cheap, slovenly piece that seemed to take Corbyn’s modest lifestyle, exemplified by his low expenses claims (do you think there is anything to admire in MPs who claim high expenses?) as a synonym for ‘soggy fish and chips’, ‘levelling down’ socialism as you put it. It wasn’t. It isn’t. And this isn’t my idea of socialism either. But it seems you’re in the mood for ‘the narcissism of minor difference’ – that was Freud, not Nietzsche, BTW – John. And when you’re in one of them, there’s no stopping you – so I won’t say a great deal more. Except, except.. I’ve just checked the Telegraph online on my iPad from the comfort of my sofa whilst watching PL football on BT satellite (I also subscribe to Sky: how hedonistic, un PC and proletarian is that?!) and apparently he does earn money from renting out flats. Or rather renting his holiday home in Portugal. Never fancied owning a second home there myself. If I’d won the Euro millions last night I’d buy a nice little place somewhere on the Dalmatian coast. You?

  21. Sam64: If I’d won the Euro millions last night I’d buy a nice little place somewhere on the Dalmatian coast. You?

    Now that you’ve sought to distract completely from the point of the article, are you suggesting that Sadiq Khan is more worthy of support for London mayor than Galloway?

    Khan has pledged to foment closer trade links with Tel Aviv, oppose McDonnell’s proposal for an uplift in corporation tax, and has given credence to alleged Corbyn links to antisemitism.

    Galloway is a well known champion of Palestinian rights, BDS, and has articulated his support for Corbyn, McDonnell and their policies.

    ??

  22. The coalitions which Galloway put together in order to win in Tower Hamlets and then Bradford simply cannot be replicated on a London-wide scale. Like it or not, the choice in London will be between Khan and whoever replaces Johnson.

  23. Sam64,

    That’s just a lie and should be withdrawn. Galloway has never earned a penny in rent from any property and has never rented out any property here or in Portugal or anywhere else. His earnings (all declared) are from writing broadcasting and speaking and nothing else. Liar.

  24. John,

    Well that was a half rhetorical question (although go on, where, Tuscany?) designed to rebut your insinuation that I’m a hair shirt moralist. The subject of your post was disloyalty to Corbyn’s leadership with a little ‘post script’ on Galloway. The discussion had developed into about lifestyle and politics through the latter.

    Look, I don’t want to give the impression that I’m an obsessive, compulsive George Galloway hater. I’m not. There are enough of them out there. I started my brief initial comment on his London mayoral candidacy by saying that we’ve all been cheered by his lone voice oratory over the years. I, as others, was appalled by the treatment meted out him by Zionists on BBC QT a few months back. However, I’d point to this: 1) He does now appear a discredited figure as he drags his candidacy around from one election campaign to another. 2) He has a personal petulance – quite vicious at times – that has systematically alienated friends and foe alike. Further to this, let’s just say his lifestyle doesn’t help to make him appear anymore genuine or credible. 3) I doubt that he’ll be able to muster the kind of coalition of supporters he’s gathered around him elsewhere to mount an effective campaign in London (see 22). 4) I expect his vote to be derisory.

    As for who I’d vote for if I lived in London, I don’t know. I’ve indicated my views of Labour’s candidate, Khan, above. I will say that I voted with a heavy heart for my local Labour candidate in May – ‘Israel’s MP on the Mersey’ as GG once described her. I also sat in respectful silence when she spoke at the CLP meeting I attended on Friday. You’d have had to do the same kind of thing if you’d got to join the Labour Party.

  25. Molotov,

    I’ll only say this to you once: I’m not a liar.

    Galloway’s declared sources of earnings are available from several places on the web. They include a second home in Portugal. The amount isn’t given, but it seems logical to deduce that he accrues income from rent on this property. But frankly I don’t care that much. It’s not as if I accused him of having hundreds of by buy to lets or care homes in the South of England – or property in Dubai for that matter. If I had that place in Croatia then I make a few quid by renting it when I wasn’t there – although my need would be greater than his given his substantial media fees.

    My criticisms of Galloway are set out above. I won’t respond to you again.

  26. It’s clear why most people contributing to this blog would take the view that in the abstract GG would be a better mayor than Khan.

    The first question is however, as implied in Francis King’s comment, is whether Khan would be a worse mayor than whoever the tories choose. I doubt it to be honest.

    Unless we believe that GG could beat both of them.

    The second question is, irrespective of whether we believe that GG could win, or whether we think Khan is so bad that it doesn’t matter if the tory wins, anybody in the Labour Party who supports GG is likely to be expelled.

    Given that thousands are now joining in order to help take Labour in a better direction in the wake of Corbyn’s successful leadership campaign, is it reasonable to expect them to risk that for the sake of the mayoral election in London? Is Khan a big enough problem for that?

    In fact, does GG think he is?

    After all, if a general election was held tomorrow many Labour parliamentary candidates would be as bad if not worse than Khan from a socialist perspective, but that wouldn’t stop most of us from wanting a Labour government. It didn’t when Miliband was leader and it certainly won’t now Corbyn is.

    To an extent I don’t expect or even particularly want definitive answers to those questions but I do think they need to be considered.

  27. Vanya: Given that thousands are now joining in order to help take Labour in a better direction in the wake of Corbyn’s successful leadership campaign, is it reasonable to expect them to risk that for the sake of the mayoral election in London? Is Khan a big enough problem for that?

    Good and salient point.

  28. Sam64,

    You are lying. If Galloway had ever rented out his home in Portugal to anyone for even one penny he would’ve been required to register it, on pain of prosecution. He didn’t so register it because he never has. It was not a “reasonable inference” you made, it was a lie. Be man enough to accept it and withdraw it. I say again; Galloway has never rented out property to anyone anywhere at any time. Your casual smear has no basis. It is, a lie.

  29. Vanya,

    Galloway’s Mayoral campaign has been running since May with successful events in Tooting, Tottenham, the City and elsewhere. He has a team of experienced and skilled cadre working on the project. It is true that his run was predicated on the Labour candidate being Baroness Dame Tessa Jowell PC not Sadiq Khan. I know that once Khan and Corbyn were victorious he was in discussions to withdraw.
    Then Khan, a small insignificant character in any case, not remotely of the weight of Livingstone or even Boris, gave two interviews (at least) to the Jewish Chronicle and the Mail on Sunday in which, inter alia, he said that Corbyn was associated with anti-semitism, that Corbyn and McDonnell risked encouraging terrorism in London, that their economic policy was “ridiculous” etc. Since then Khan has boasted (sic) that he “is no Ken Livingstone” that he would be “the most pro-business Mayor ever” that he would “stand up to Corbyn” etc
    His interviews have changed the game. By equating the Palestinian resistance with “terrorism”, by conflating anti-Zionism with anti-semitism Khan has alienated all supporters of Palestine in London ( and there are not a few of those). By swooning over his moments kneeling in front of the Queen (holding the Koran in his LEFT hand) by declaring himself a centre of resistance to everything Corbyn and McDonnell stand for Khan has lost the sympathy of the Corbynistas in London (again, there are not a few of those) and significant sections of the Muslim population (there are one million of those).
    So, Galloway’s campaign continues. Anyone who has been out on the streets with him already knows how big a figure he is in the capital, and how people compare him with Sadiq Khan.
    Once the hustings and televised debates begin this comparison with Khan will be increasing invidious for Khan.
    It is a transferable vote system, Galloway’s voters are free to second preference Khan if they wish.
    I would put money now on Galloway securing a big vote for Mayor and a real chance of securing places on the London Assembly.
    He has beaten Labour from the left twice before. Don’t write off the chances of doing so again.

  30. #29 Some of what you say may be correct. As I ‘m neither a London resident nor a Labour Party member the issue doesn’t affect me directly.

    If I did live in London it’s more than possible I would vote for GG as a first preferance, and I would not be under the same constraints as Labour Party members in terms of campaigning accordingly.

    But all those thousands of Corbynistas would be constained. When GG won in Bethnal Green thousands of activists were following or had preceded him out of Labour. When he won in Bradford there were very specific local factors that did not even help him retain his seat.

    We live in different times.

    Are Khan’s views on Israel as big a deal as British involement under a Labour government in instigating a criminal and murderous war and invasion?

    I think GG is aware of my identity and if so knows that when I quit his party last year it was without any acrimony and that I have the highest regard for him and it is in that spirit thatI put the questions above. And they are questions to which I don’t claim to have definitive answers.

  31. Khan’s views on Israel and Palestine are important to large numbers of voters in London – way beyond the one million Muslim voters. But it is not only that. Irish voters are offended by his description of Corbyn and McDonnell’s early positions on the Irish conflict as “encouraging terrorism”. Khan’s view that the alternative economic strategy of the new Labour leadership is “ridiculous”, that he would oppose a hike in profit tax, on income tax rises for the best off, that he will “stand up to Corbyn” etc are all profoundly alienating to Corbyn supporters. Khan is a part of a rearguard action which seeks to either overthrow Corbyn or diminish and degrade him to the point of uselessness. A Galloway victory would strengthen Corbyn and show that his victory in the Labour leadership was a part of a big change in British politics and not just a flash in the pan.
    We have just finished a Galloway campaign team meeting – in a private house – at which almost sixty young left wing people crammed in, standing room only, to plan the next stage of the campaign. All believe the zeitgeist is with us…

  32. The most progressive Labour Party leader in decades and he’s already being opposed by the unions. People need to be clear-eyed about Corbyn’s leadership. His mandate is being eroded piece by piece and his authority is clearly non existent at present. This free vote stuff is manna from heaven for the Tories.

    The happy clappy narrative about a new politics can only take you so far. Corbyn needs to mobilise his base and fight for his mandate.

  33. Marxist Lennonist on said:

    The way I see it, the London Mayor election without Galloway is actually lose-lose for Corbyn. Either Khan, an insignificant candidate in comparison not only to his two would be predecessors but also to his likely Tory opponent Zac Goldsmith, loses the election for Labour which coupled with near certain defeat by the SNP in Scotland the same day isbeing touted by the right as their opportunity to remove Corbyn; or he wins and uses his position as Labour’s most powerful public official as a base for attacking his leader, as he has already promised to do. Only if he loses, not to the Tories, but to a candidate more in line with renewed real Labour than himself, can both dangers be avoided and Corbyn’s (and the Corbyn movement’s) position be consolidated.

    And given the massive odds against a Corbyn victory just a coupe of months ago, I’m considering putting good money on Galloway before the odds shorten on him too. As Molotov says this is a zeitgeist – think Bradford Spring, Green surge, even SNP/indyref and UKIP as well as the Corbyn campaign itself – and the worst thing that could happen to the Corbyn victory is for it to be let to become a flash in the pan, the hopeful leadership it spawned reduced to a prisoner of the right.

  34. Marxist Lennonist on said:

    Vanya,

    “The second question is, irrespective of whether we believe that GG could win, or whether we think Khan is so bad that it doesn’t matter if the tory wins, anybody in the Labour Party who supports GG is likely to be expelled.

    Given that thousands are now joining in order to help take Labour in a better direction in the wake of Corbyn’s successful leadership campaign, is it reasonable to expect them to risk that for the sake of the mayoral election in London? Is Khan a big enough problem for that?”

    Khan is not just a rubbish Parliamentary candidate. This is not comparable to refraining from wholehearted commitment to a Corbyn government in 2020 on the grounds that someone like Naz Shah or Steve Reed hasn’t been deselected. London is overheating fast, its centre fast becoming uninhabitable for the poor, its housing bubble creating present day dislocations while storing up future calamity for the whole country. The City of London is effectively an offshore tax haven with its own utterly ineffectual police force that hasn’t caught one white collar criminal, while its financial services sector has become the prime location in the world for the world’s dirtiest money. The Mayor has executive power to deal with all of this, either to maintain and exacerbate current trends like Boris that master debater in favour of bankers has, or to reign it in to the extent of his or her powers while campaigning for even more change.

    To have a Labour Mayor instead pledged to campaign against such change from Corbyn and McDonnell, taking a more pro-finance line than Boris (“most pro-business Mayor ever”), while giving succour to the most vile establishment witchhunting crap (calling Jeremy and John not only terrorist sympathisers but a threat to London’s security, revelling in his embarrassing the Queen with his overzealous sycophancy in response to attacks on Corbyn’s republicanism) all having got himself selected on the coat-tails of the Corbyn movement would be a very real problem. Or more likely he’ll just lose, both because the Tory candidate will likely be strong and because his business as usual approach will likely set the heather on fire as much as the Andy Burnham leadership campaign that he supported. George on the other hand standing on the same platform as Corbyn may have a similar effect in driving up turnout – which last time was only around 40%. And because its AV this could help Labour on the 2nd votes too, if GG doesn’t win himself.

    Which brings me to the second part of my answer to your very apposite question – I certainly don’t advocate Labour members getting themselves expelled over this, whether new or old, in or out of London. But they might want to take the example of Ken Livingstone, who while Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London walked down Brick Lane with Lutfur Rahman the independent candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, and explained he was in favour of people casting their two votes, one for Lutfur and one for Labour’s Hellal Abbas, a Khan type stooge. That kind of position on GG shouldn’t be incompatible with membership of the Labour Party, it was compatible with being Labour’s last candidate for Mayor of London…

  35. jock mctrousers on said:

    Marxist Lennonist,

    Well said. Is Gallloway still running with Max Keiser as his financial adviser? That was touted a couple of months ago, but both of them seem to have gone quiet on it. That could be entertaining, but Max is a bit of a wild card – I like him, but he’s not entirely one of us…

    I saw Sadiq Khan on tv yesterday – he seemed to be back-pedalling furiously, trying to get behind the Corbyn team… We’ll see

    But Corbyn on the Andrew Marr show yesterday showed exactly what he’s up against – Marr shuffled of his likeable chummy oddball coat and went into establishment attack dog mode, over and over ” But you DON’T think NATO is the cause of the problems in Ukraine, the Baltic states (I know…), Syria…” and Jeremy unfortunately gave an inch too many in affirming his opposition to ‘Putin’s foreign policy’ (roughly)… Difficult, but if he has to swear opposition to Russia to keep his place, it’s a price not worth paying – that’s not what we elected him for (yes, I joined the Labour party – and I DID vote for them at the previous 2 elections, just because my now-gone Battersea MP took a brave stance on Palestine, though I’ve otherwise voted Green, since Blair’s election…)

  36. John Grimshaw on said:

    I have just looked through the list of candidates for London mayor. Irrespective of views then it seems there is only a choice of three for radicals. Sadiq Khan, George Galloway or the Green candidate (sorry forgotten her name). The latest Survation poll is showing Labour on 44%, Galloway on 2% and the Greens on 6%. The Tories are on about 35%. I think on balance I would prefer the Green or Galloway over Khan, but at the moment its looking like they have little chance.

  37. Galloway can’t and won’t win. He just lost a 10,000 majority after two years in Bradford (and after running a nasty and vile personalised campaign which no socialist should run.)

    I’m not all that bothered about Galloway as an individual (although his last campaign was straight from the gutter) but I simply don’t see 50.1%+ of those that vote next May voting for him (not least because of his lack of funding and the media squeeze n third party candidates.) He stood in London in 2004 (may have been 2008) for the GLA and got a pretty poor vote. Outside of Tower Hamlets I’m not sure there’s enough of a base, and even then there’s little evidence that he’s as popular there as he used to be. This will only be exacerbated by Labour left members sticking with the party to back Corbyn against the oncoming media onslaught – we ain’t seen nothing yet.

    As for what benefits Corbyn’s position. The SNP will almost certainly win big in Scotland, if Labour loses London too then it will put him in a very fragile place. Even if Khan was to lose to Galloway then the opposition narrative becomes ‘Labour is in such a poor state that it can’t even beat George Galloway.’

  38. Andrew,

    You know nothing about the Bradford election other than what you’ve read from the same slanderers of Corbyn. LBC (on which Galloway broadcasts) ran a poll over four weeks in which Galloway was, narrowly, second to Zac with Tessa third on half his vote. Khan was on half of that. Election turn-out last time was 38%.

  39. John Grimshaw on said:

    Molotov: You know nothing about the Bradford election other than what you’ve read from the same slanderers of Corbyn.

    Well tell us then.

  40. Molotov:
    Andrew,

    You know nothing about the Bradford election other than what you’ve read from the same slanderers of Corbyn. LBC (on which Galloway broadcasts) ran a poll over four weeks in which Galloway was, narrowly, second to Zac with Tessa third on half his vote. Khan was on half of that. Election turn-out last time was 38%.

    I know that at a hustings he tried to shame the Labour candidate for ‘lying’ about the age she was when forced into an abusive marriage. The video is online, that kind of behaviour might be compatible with your socialism, but it isn’t with mine. If there’s another side to this then please do tell us.

    As far as I’m aware the LBC poll you refer to was online and done by a self-selecting audience that simply went onto the homepage and voted, so should probably be discounted. Survation put him on 2%, so his support has either fallen by 90% in two months or it was never that high to begin with.

  41. You take comfort from a Survation poll I will from the LBC poll. Which was not as scientific as all those pre-general election polls to be sure but still involved well over 30,000 people. Most Londoners don’t consider the election to have started yet but when it does and the candidates are in the radio and tv debates, local hustings etc together we will see who shines. I think it will not be lacklustre Khan. As to your Bradford tale, all I have time to do right now is remind you of two words; Oona King. Those readers who were around then are sadly familiar with the Labour operation and how painful it is for them to deal with defeat by Galloway – in Bethnal Green 2005 and Bradford 2012. I will write more when I get the chance or one of our comrades will.
    Andrew,

    You know nothing about the Bradford election other than what you’ve read from the same slanderers of Corbyn. LBC (on which Galloway broadcasts) ran a poll over four weeks in which Galloway was, narrowly, second to Zac with Tessa third on half his vote. Khan was on half of that. Election turn-out last time was 38%.
    Andrew,

  42. Molotov:
    You take comfort from a Survation poll I will from the LBC poll. Which was not as scientific as all thosepre-general election polls to be sure but still involved well over 30,000 people. Most Londoners don’t consider the election to have started yet but when it does and the candidates are in the radio and tv debates, local hustings etc together we will see who shines. I think it will not be lacklustre Khan. As to your Bradford tale, all I have time to do right now is remind you of two words; Oona King. Those readers who were around then are sadly familiar with the Labour operation and how painful it is for them to deal with defeat by Galloway – in Bethnal Green 2005 and Bradford 2012. I will write more when I get the chance or one of our comrades will.
    Andrew,

    You know nothing about the Bradford election other than what you’ve read from the same slanderers of Corbyn. LBC (on which Galloway broadcasts) ran a poll over four weeks in which Galloway was, narrowly, second to Zac with Tessa third on half his vote. Khan was on half of that. Election turn-out last time was 38%.
    Andrew,

    The polls show will be proved or disproved further down the line. However, I really don’t see what Oona King has to do with Galloway trying to humiliate a woman for being forced into an abusive marriage. His charge was that she was 16 rather than 15 and a half, which even if true is at best a tasteless effort in missing the wood for the trees.

    “George Galloway has admitted ordering an intermediary in Pakistan to dig out the marriage certificate of his Labour rival in order to try to prove she had been 16, not 15, when she claims to have been forced into marriage.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/09/george-galloway-naz-shah-forced-marriage-nikah-bradford-hustings

    Classy…

  43. Marxist Lennonist on said:

    Neil,

    Well from the perspective of the Labour right, or of any pro-Khan Labour tribalist, she actually doesn’t have anything more important to do than this as discrediting Galloway may prove absolutely vital to the Mayoral campaign. Maybe the reason she isn’t suing is because she knows she’d lose?

  44. Karl Stewart:
    Andrew,

    The article you link to reports Naz Shah as intending to sue Galloway after the election. Has she sued him?

    Not that I’m aware of, but I also remember him saying he would sue her after she overturned his 10,000 majority and I don’t think that’s happened either.

    Even if she had misremembered it (or even lied about it) and she had in fact been forced into an abusive marriage at 16 rather than 15 and a half then it still strikes me as a contemptuous campaign tactic.

  45. Bradford voter on said:

    George Galloway never said that Naz Shah was not forced into marriage. Nor did he ever say she wasn’t abused. However many members of her family, both male and female, and others who know the circumstances of the family when her mother murdered her father do say that Naz Shah invented a narrative designed to bring sympathy to her and her mother but which was both untrue and rejected by the court of appeal which examined these claims closely. Nonetheless she has continued to repeat her distorted story endlessly. Nor did George Galloway order anyone to dig out her marriage certificate in Kashmir. This was done by others acting quite independently who were shocked that Shah, who had come third in the Labour selection process with a tiny vote from local members, had been imposed as the candidate on the constituency. Galloway produced the marriage document not to claim that she was not forced into marriage but that she had deliberately lied about how old she was. Anyone who followed the election campaign in Bradford West will know that this was one very small incident that was not repeated at any other hustings or in the press. It has been blown up not by Galloway’s campaign but by his opponents and distorted in order to smear him and they have been doing it ever since the election. Even so, the election was won by Labour, not by Shah and not by the smears against Galloway, in a swing that had parallels in other inner city areas which were traditionally Labour. This demonstrates how difficult it is for candidates outside the two major parties to win in general elections where the choice that is posed is about which government you are choosing. The mayoral election in London is quite different in that it is much more about personalities.

  46. I don’t really think it’s worth us discussing much further, but Galloway was clearly trying to make audiences question her entire story. I believe ‘she’only a passing acquaintance with the truth’ were his exact words. I interpret this as part of an attempt to imply she was at least exaggerating the abuse.

    Galloway admitting to ordering someone to go and get a copy of the certificate and video evidence shows him pulling it out in a hustings in an attempt to do a ‘gotcha’ moment. Make no mistake, she was abused physically and sexually in a forced marriage and Galloway thought it appropriate to try to humiliate her and play into that whole murky narrative about women making these things up. You might be ok with its but I’m not, and from the looks of it most of your fellow Bradford voters aren’t either. As for it being a small moment, it was repeated in almost every newspaper and on every news show.

  47. Bradford voter on said:

    Andrew, you claim you know things you clearly don’t and can’t know. That is a definition of prejudice and dogmatism. You are right it is probably not worth continuing this discussion given that.

  48. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andrew: I don’t really think it’s worth us discussing much further

    After you having introduced the subject, and then after doubt having been cast on your interpretation of the situation, you now don’t want to discuss it further.

  49. Karl Stewart: After you having introduced the subject, and then after doubt having been cast on your interpretation of the situation, you now don’t want to discuss it further.

    Well happy to if there’s another interpretation you want to offer…

    Why do you think he sent someone to obtain a copy of the certificate and then whipped it out at a hustings before saying she only had a passing acquaintance to the truth? I think it was to humiliate her and imply she’d exaggerated and made up the abuse in order to get sympathy. Why do you think he did it? And do you think it’s a decent way to campaign?

  50. Karl Stewart on said:

    Neil:
    Karl Stewart,
    If Naz Shah has decided not to sue does that mean anything?
    Or does it just mean that she’s got more important things to do?

    All I’m going on is the claim made in April by Helen Pidd, the author of the Guardian article that Andrew linked to above, that makes the claim that Ms Shah was at that time, apparently “Vowing to sue Galloway for defamation after the general election…”

    I’ve got no further knowledge than that.

  51. Andrew: I think it was to humiliate her and imply she’d exaggerated and made up the abuse in order to get sympathy. Why do you think he did it? And do you think it’s a decent way to campaign?

    I suggest that your animus towards Galloway predates the last election. Fair enough, but for those who may have an issue with the Naz Shah scenario – who weren’t there and only know what they saw and read in the mainstream media – there is much more to him than that. The totality of his record as an anti establishment voice of note cannot be so easily ignored.

  52. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andrew,
    My initial feelings about the matter were broadly similar to yours Andrew, but having heard other interpretations of the issue, I’m a little doubtful now.

    As to my general views on Galloway, I’d say overall supportive – he’s spot on on most issues, but not so much on a few others.

  53. Marxist Lennonist on said:

    The real pity with the mainstream fixation on what George said about Naz Shah’s marriage is it distracts from more politically pertinent dishonesty on her part. Just before he produced the marriage certificate (which he did not “order” anyone to procure but was sent to his campaign, as Bradford voter has already rightly said), George revealed that Naz had tried to become the Respect candidate for Bradford East straight after she came third in the Labour selection. Then when she got imposed as the Labour candidate in good Blairite centralised fashion (with uber-Blairite Khalid Mahmood the “brains” behind her candidacy) she immediately launched a viciously personal campaign around the flat lie that George was an “absentee MP”. I’ve been to a lot of political meetings and hustings in my time and its a famously rough game, but I’ve never seen such a combination of ignorance and nastiness as Naz Shah displayed in her debates with George. Yet its a proven fact, one she admitted to (while pretending she was “joking”) that she had wanted to be a Respect candidate weeks before. I humbly suggest she does not care for Labour any more than she eventually cared for Respect and is in fact one of the most glaring examples of pure careerism and opportunism in Parliament, and that Labour members should bear this in mind when tempted to see her absurd campaign as some kind of litmus test for those of us who have more reason to support Labour under its present leader than the last few

  54. Andy Newman on said:

    John: The most progressive Labour Party leader in decades and he’s already being opposed by the unions. People need to be clear-eyed about Corbyn’s leadership. His mandate is being eroded piece by piece and his authority is clearly non existent at present.

    I don’t see this John

    i) No Labour leader has ever had a free run with the unions, which have their own institutional interests, and represent the interests of their members. One of the complications of politics, for example, is balancing the sectional interests of some groups of workers – for example, those involved in maintaining the submarines for the nuclear fleet – with the overall interest of society. Unions exist to prosecute the sectional interests of their members.

    ii) While Corbyn has a mandate as leader, that doesn’t mean that Jeremy’s own views are automatically party policy, and many long term Labour supporters sincerely disagree with Corbyn over, for example, NATO, Trident, welfare caps, etc, etc. They aren’t just going to shut up shop now that Corbyn has won.

    iii) Some of the policies are politically complex, and need not only compromise to allow a coalition to be built around them, but also have simply not been sufficiently debated. For example, actually withdrawing from NATO would be politically supported by only a tiny few, but detaching the UK from the military structure and recalibrating the political engagement only to the original (professed) aim of collective defensive security, would strip UK’s NATO membership of its edge.

    There is a long way to go, engaging with those in the centre and right of the party to build a coalition supporting the key aspects of Corbynomcs

  55. Andy Newman: While Corbyn has a mandate as leader, that doesn’t mean that Jeremy’s own views are automatically party policy, and many long term Labour supporters sincerely disagree with Corbyn over, for example, NATO, Trident, welfare caps, etc, etc. They aren’t just going to shut up shop now that Corbyn has won.

    I fully accept the huge challenges involved in changing the course and orientation of a party that has been mired in triangulation for so long. And I do understand that those challenges have not been helped by the speed of events – i.e. Jeremy’s election followed almost immediately by his first conference as leader.

    In handling the aforementioned he and his team have been immense. The conundrum they face is that the vast bulk of internal opposition to his leadership is concentrated within the PLP while his support, as large as it is, is concentrated outside the PLP. Navigating this conundrum will be key to his success or not in the coming months.

    But when you have his Trident policy being blocked by the unions so early this is problematic on a number of levels. Firstly, it is a gift to the SNP in Scotland, who will be able to capitalise on it to stem Corbyn’s support there. And secondly Trident renewal fits into the anti austerity paradigm given the billions involved in replacing and upgrading it, money better spent elsewhere. Jeremy pledged that the jobs lost as a result of scrapping Trident would be replaced and this, I think, is an early test of his authority and mandate which has been failed.

    It does not of course mean doom and disaster, but as a marker it cannot be overlooked.

    On a more positive note, John McDonnell’s conference speech earlier today was superb. He was cogent, coherent, and compelling.

    You’re right, the economy, anti austerity, is the hinge upon which Corbyn’s leadership rests. In this regard, they have undoubtedly won the argument to the point where there is no going back.

  56. Andy Newman on said:

    John: I think, is an early test of his authority and mandate which has been failed.

    Well that is what makes the Labour Party special! First of all, while Corbyn may have a mandate as leader of the party, that mandate does not extend to any authority within the unions, who have an obligation to prosecute the interests of their members, whether or not those interests are entirely sectional. That is the rules of engagement.

    John: Jeremy pledged that the jobs lost as a result of scrapping Trident would be replaced

    Doing what? There are thousands of jobs at Faslane and Devonport maintaining those submarines. I support Corbyn on this, but the policy needs some reAL detail to reassure anyone that there is credible alternative employment.

    John: I think, is an early test of his authority and mandate which has been failed.

    BUt Corbyn himself has not made this an issue of his authority.

  57. Andy Newman: BUt Corbyn himself has not made this an issue of his authority.

    No, and I would not expect him to, certainly not at this stage. He has to try and put a positive spin on it. I don’t blame him for that.

    It was a defeat, Andy, no matter how you cut it. It is a gift to the SNP in Scotland and feeds a right wing narrative that Corbyn is nothing more than a patsy for McCluskey and other union leaders.

    The unions played a bad hand here, I believe. Sectionalism cannot be allowed to impede a movement upon which the lives of million of people across Britain depends. Let us just hope that this is not a harbinger of things to come.

    Again, I must end on McDonnell’s speech. Who could ever imagine we would have a shadow chancellor ending a conference speech with, “Another world is possible…solidarity?”

    Fantastic.

  58. John,

    But this is the Labour Party, where the interests of the unions are integral to policy making. And it is the unions who instill the values of solidarity and mutuality into the party

  59. Andy Newman,

    True enough, but we have to bring the country with us. Scotland is key in Labour regaining ground. And Trident is key to Labour’s success or failure in doing that.

    But let us not dance on the head of that pin for now. Perhaps my discordant note was premature. I hope it is.

    Are you in Brighton btw? If so, what is the general mood? It appears electric from what I can tell from the media coverage.

  60. Marxist Lennonist on said:

    John,

    Indeed. Following from the media myself, I must say I loved the image of McDonnell as the arbiter of Lord Mandelson’s fate, even if it was partly Crick being Crick! The Morning Star seller talking of going from a serial rebel to a leadership loyalist overnight, Charles Clarke being philosophical about the “Alice in Wonderland” changes, and best of all Tristram Hunt, face like thunder, talking to a tiny fringe meeting about how Syriza couldn’t win Nuneaton. The world turned upside down :=)

  61. Andy Newman on said:

    John: But let us not dance on the head of that pin for now. Perhaps my discordant note was premature. I hope it is.

    The thing is this, the debate on Trident may have been premature this year, because the impact of the new members needs to make itself felt over the longer term coming through the CLPs.

    Whatever the private views about nuclear weapons from a number of union leaders, they have to advocate the interests of their members who work in those industries, Over the longer term GMB and UNITE leaders may find that the mood of other delegates against Trident is sufficiently strong to make unilateral disarmament Labour policy, which may even be more in accord with their own private personal beliefs

  62. Marxist Lennonist on said:

    Andy Newman,

    “The thing is this, the debate on Trident may have been premature this year, because the impact of the new members needs to make itself felt over the longer term coming through the CLPs.”

    I was thinking that too, I saw somewhere the question asked as to why the right-dominated CAC put the Trident debate on the order paper for this year – was it to bind the party and its leader to a pro-Trident position? On those grounds this delay could be a blessing in disguise, though looked at from Scotland it is very well disguised.

    ps Best wishes for your son Andy

  63. Ali Thornton on said:

    Galloway and Bradford,

    I’ve only just caught up with this debate but I want to add a few facts, from personal knowledge. Even if one accepts Naz Shah’s account – which I don’t – that she got married at 15 through family pressure, she then underwent a second, fake ceremony in Pakistan at 16 specifically so that she and her husband could come to Britain illegally. We may not support the immigration rules but she definitively broke them, which is a criminal offence, although no action has been taken against her. As to whether she was abused or not in the ‘marriage’ she later testified to an immigration tribunal trying to kick him out of this country that he was a superb and loving husband.

    OK she may have been pressured, or lying (she lied giving evidence in her mother’s murder trial), but it’s just as likely, surely more likely, that she was telling the truth to prevent him being deported. Which he was.

    The problem with her claim that she married at 15 is that the only surviving witness to this supposed event, a close family member whose name is on the ‘certificate’, has given a sworn affidavit that he wasn’t there and his signature is forged.

    To add to her passing acquaintance with the truth Shah claimed in a TV programme, speaking in Urdu, that Galloway had himself gone to Pakistan to obtain a copy of the nikkah, or wedding certificate, which gives her age as 16. A blatant and knowing falsehood, aimed at smearing Galloway in the Pakistani community.

    None of this may matter to those who minds are closed to George Galloway but it should matter to Labour and I predict that it will have further ramifications.

  64. Marxist Lennonist on said:

    Ali Thornton,

    “it should matter to Labour and I predict that it will have further ramifications.”

    Indeed. Once the London elections, in which his best way of supporting Corbyn now seems to be to stay in, are over I hope and predict that George Galloway will have a longer future in Jeremy Corbyn’s party than Naz Shah

  65. The whole Trident thing seems to be getting completely surreal. Paul Kenny interviewed by Martha Kearney today:

    MK: How can [Corbyn] be prime minister if he has a party which is forcing him to use nuclear weapons which he would never use?
    PK: Then he’s got a choice to make in terms of whether he followed the defence policy of the country, or felt that he should resign. His integrity would drive his decision one way or another.

    Use nuclear weapons? Vapourise most of Eurasia, but at least keep your integrity?

    Or John Pienaar interviewing Corbyn:

    JP: If you are leader of the party, and Labour is elected, and you are prime minister, you would not press the button. We have therefore, on your election disarmed.
    JC: Would anybody press the nuclear button?

    The man cannot envisage circumstances in which he would turn the northern hemisphere into a pile of irradiated cinders. He is clearly dangerously irresponsible with our security…

  66. red mole on said:

    Corbyn’s conference speech set out parameters for all wings of the Party. Labour is a broad church. It’s normal to have arguments and disagreements. It’s part of debate and a democratic process. There’s nothing anti-democratic in Maria Eagle expressing her view that Labour is committed to a multilateral policy and that Corbyn’s interviews sit uncomfortably with this. Though you may well ask what else is Corbyn supposed to say ? Given his past, he can’t possibly say that he would press the button, because that would have no credibility whatsoever as a deterrent. In my view, Maria Eagle’s comments can only give credence to the Tory line that Labour are a threat to national security. But that’s just my view and Maria Eagle is entitled to hers.

    The Labour left need to pick its targets with care. Criticising Maria Eagle is one thing. But to call for her resignation or anything like that would be over the top, and damaging to the very unity that Corbyn has worked so hard to build. Such calls may also make it harder for the left to win arguments within the Party for disciplinary action against leading figures who have demonstrably brought the Party into disrepute and/or slandered the leader.

  67. Just listened to Paul Kenny maintain that nuclear weapons are vital to Britain’s defence. This is one issue where Jeremy needs to bring his base to bear on the PLP and the union leadership. As he said in his conference speech, he has a mandate for his position on Trident.

    Unless this issue is sorted out and quickly, Labour can forget ever regaining the huge ground it has lost in Scotland.

    Who are these cavemen leading our trade unions? Trident is not a deterrent to war, it is a deterrent to peace. It has nothing to do with security and everything to do with power.

  68. We need to bear in mind that a few months ago, before Jeremy Corbyn’ s candidature, let alone victory, was even dreamed of, there is absolutely zero chance that a serious debate would be had in the Labour Party about Trident renewal.

    Part of me would love to have seen that debate take place at LP conference. But another part of me is relieved that it did not take place , avoiding the defeat of the anti-trident position.

    Perhaps in stead of focusing on all the MPS or tu leaders who apparently should know better we should concentrate on winning the argument inside Unite, the GMB etc and the Labour Party itself, and use the breathing space that now exists.

    And a major part of that is about convincing the relevant industrial workers that arms conversion is practical.

  69. Andy Newman on said:

    John,

    The leader of the Labour Party has no authority over union leaders. Nor can he or any other Labour leader dictate to the unions what their policy should be.

    I suggest that GMB members should ask the two remaining GS candidates, one if whom will shorly replace Kenny – Tim Roache and Paul McCarthy – what their views are and if Trident is the key issue for you, then vote accordingly

  70. Jock mctrousers on said:

    Whenever ‘ pushing the button’ comes up, Trident opponents should take the opportunity to point out that what is meant is to ask the USA for permission, input codes and satnav aid; or, even more likely, to accept a USA request to fire a missile, in some situation where USA wanted deniability and was prepared to sacrifice Central Scotland – Glasgow and Èdinburgh, maybe Newcastle & Liverpool.…

    Talk of ‘ pushing the button’ is a surrender to the propaganda narrative of an ‘ independent’ deterrent. We do NOT have an independent deterrent. The recent BASIC report is quite clear on that, and is establishment enough to be not ignorable by the MSM . There’s also Dan Plesch’s ‘ the Future of Britain’s WMDs ‘ and I’m sure many other reports.

  71. Andy Newman: The leader of the Labour Party has no authority over union leaders. Nor can he or any other Labour leader dictate to the unions what their policy should be.

    And union leaders have no authority over a party of thousands of members – or at least they shouldn’t have – and the mandate of a leader elected on a clear platform of scrapping weapoins of mass destruction. There is no, zero, moral or economic case for Trident in 2015.

    Paul Kenny and Len McCluskey are on the wrong side of progressive opinion in this regard. Worse, they are feeding a right wing narrative that a Corbyn leadership will be putty in the hands of the unions.

  72. John Grimshaw on said:

    John: And union leaders have no authority over a party of thousands of members

    Well union leaders, even now, have some authority in the Labour Party because they founded the Labour Party.

    John: Paul Kenny and Len McCluskey are on the wrong side of progressive opinion in this regard. Worse, they are feeding a right wing narrative that a Corbyn leadership will be putty in the hands of the unions.

    Yes. Trades Union leaders have hardly been the most progressive over the years with one or two exceptions. Scargill? Cook?

  73. Andy Newman on said:

    John: And union leaders have no authority over a party of thousands of members – or at least they shouldn’t have

    Well that is where we part company John. On the nature of the Labour Party, where on balance and over the long haul the trade union link has been enormously effective, and is the defining characteristic of the party.

    The relationship has not always been easy, but if we accept the argument that Corbyn’s mandate means that GMB and UNITE have to stop pursuing their own unions’ policies regarding Trident, then we would also have had to accept that Blair’s mandate meant that GMB, UNITE, and other unions should have stopped pursuing their own unions policies regarding PFI, defence of social housing, opposition to privatisation, etc.

    I am sure that at both UNITE’s conference and GMB Congress in 2016 there will be motions put from branches supporting unilateral disarmament, and seeking to reinforce Corbyn’s position, which – if passed by the delegates – would give a clear mandate from the sovereign decision making bodies of those unions to support Corbyn on that issue.

    It has to be said though that any such motions would need to recognise the scale of skilled employment currently involved in maintaining the fleet of submarines, and be conditional on opposition to Trident including a costed and credible plan for alternative employment for those workers, and for those jobs to actually be in Faslane and Plymouth.

    I vehemently oppose Trident replacement on a personal level, but a red line for me is defence and maintanance of the jobs at Devonport dockyard,

    This would mean there could not be unconditional opposition to Trident from the unions, as the alternative employment could only be guaranteed by a Labour government.

  74. John Grimshaw: Well union leaders, even now, have some authority in the Labour Party because they founded the Labour Party.

    The world today is markedly different from the world that existed when the party was founded. The nature and complexion of the working class has changed. Deindustrialisation has ensured that most Labour Party members are either non-unionised or do not necessarily give primacy to their union status as the primary foundation of their political, cultural, or social identity. The unions and union link remains important, for both historical and political reasons, but it cannot enjoy primacy over the entire membership. The party must be broader than that if it is to win in 2020.

  75. Andy Newman on said:

    John: The unions and union link remains important, for both historical and political reasons, but it cannot enjoy primacy over the entire membership. The party must be broader than that if it is to win in 2020.

    But isn’t this what the Blairites would have said in response to union opposition to, for example, PFI?

    Corbyn was elected leader, but that does not give any specific mandate for the party to adopt any particular policy position that Corbyn campaigned on. The policies still have to be argued through and won, committee by committee, conference by conference.

    The unions have their own decision making structures, which also have to be respected; and no union can support a policy that will lead to their own members losing their jobs.

    To be frank, the argument over Trident still has to be won in the party and with the public. And it will be a tough fight because it is a red line for the Atlanticist mainstream.

    What this week has shown is that there needs to be a step back and look at how the opposition of UNITE and GMB can be accomodated. That means an argument about how Britain’s defence would actually be stronger without the expensive white elephant of Trident, and a credible, costed plan for alternative jobs.

  76. Andy Newman: the argument over Trident still has to be won in the party and with the public.

    It has been won in Scotland, and Scotland is where Corbyn needs to make inroads else not only will Labour lose in 2020 the Union will be no more.

  77. Andy Newman: I vehemently oppose Trident replacement on a personal level, but a red line for me is defence and maintanance of the jobs at Devonport dockyard,

    This would mean there could not be unconditional opposition to Trident from the unions, as the alternative employment could only be guaranteed by a Labour government.

    Defence of (particular) jobs is not the same as defence of continuous employment.
    To privilege the protection of these particular jobs (servicing the imperialist military machine) over the main direction of an alternative economic and political strategy is a recipe for confusion and mixed messages.
    If the traditional right wing Labour Atlanticist tendency (which may or may not find a perfect expression in Tom Watson) are hiding their militarist aims behind a defence of war industry jobs and skills then this needs to be brought out in argument.
    One way is to give an unconditional guarantee that the remaining skills pool will be protected and enhanced. This means detailed proposals about the precise kinds of investment in manufacturing, research and training in particular towns and factories.

  78. Andy Newman on said:

    Nick Wright: To privilege the protection of these particular jobs (servicing the imperialist military machine) over the main direction of an alternative economic and political strategy is a recipe for confusion and mixed messages.

    Yes you are right to correct me on the nuance there. The question is not the particular work or particular jobs in Devonport, but that there is a maintanance of similarly skilled and well paid jobs in the area.

    For example, while there is nostalgia for the old rail works in Swindon, the economic impact of closure was small, as Honda came here instead.

  79. Andy Newman on said:

    Nick Wright: an unconditional guarantee that the remaining skills pool will be protected and enhanced. This means detailed proposals about the precise kinds of investment in manufacturing, research and training in particular towns and factories.

    I can imagine those exact words becomming part of a motion to GMB Congress next year 🙂

  80. #82 One way is to give an unconditional guarantee that the remaining skills pool will be protected and enhanced. This means detailed proposals about the precise kinds of investment in manufacturing, research and training in particular towns and factories.

    Absolutely.

    I took part in a discussion recently on a Unite related facebook page about the issue, and someone referred to the “traditionally right wing” sectors of defence and shipbuilding.

    The inference being that they were an enemy who should be defeated or ignored, rather than members of the Union who need to be won over.

    There are few enough unionised industrial workers as it is.

    But let me add for the avoidance of doubt, I am a firm believer in unilateral nuclear disarmament, an do not ultimately believe that the left in the Labour Party should allow anyone to veto the policy when a vote is finally taken.

  81. Andy Newman on said:

    Vanya: But let me add for the avoidance of doubt, I am a firm believer in unilateral nuclear disarmament, an do not ultimately believe that the left in the Labour Party should allow anyone to veto the policy when a vote is finally taken.

    I agree with that wholeheartedly, but those parts of the movement defending the jobs aren’t expecting a veto. If the party decides on unilateral disarmament, – as I hope it will – then the decision will be respected. But until then, those with a sectional interest of defending members jobs will continue to argue their position.

  82. Andy Newman: I agree with that wholeheartedly, but those parts of the movement defending the jobs aren’t expecting a veto. If the party decides on unilateral disarmament, – as I hope it will – then the decision will be respected. But until then, those with a sectional interest of defending members jobs will continue to argue their position.

    I have absolutely no confidence that the the pro NATO, pro Trident war tendency in the Labour Party, especially but not exclusively in the parliamentary party, will respect any policy decisions that subvert the alliance of British imperialism with US imperialism.
    The projection of Western economic power (the export of capital) necessarily entails the parallel projection of military power.
    What the manufacturing union right need to understand is that redirecting investment to recapitalise British industry and technology means imposing controls on capital.
    Wait for the squeals, especially from that tendency that sees membership the EU as the precondition for continuity with New Labour’s economic policies.

  83. John Rees on Facebook suggesting we need an anti Trident demo. I agree with him. Sad to say, but a good place to start such a demo would be outside the headquarters of Unite or the GMB.

  84. Andy Newman on said:

    Nick Wright: I have absolutely no confidence that the the pro NATO, pro Trident war tendency in the Labour Party, especially but not exclusively in the parliamentary party, will respect any policy decisions that subvert the alliance of British imperialism with US imperialism.

    I was talking mainly about those unions which currently oppose unilateralism, rather than the PLP.

    You are right that within some unions there may well be a battle, but my judgement would be that if the issue of jobs protection is decoupled from the issue of nuclear capability, then the argument in GMB and UNITE could be won.

    I would suggest that posing the question as an attempt to “subvert the alliance of British imperialism with US imperialism” might not be the way to approach it!

  85. Andy Newman on said:

    John: Sad to say, but a good place to start such a demo would be outside the headquarters of Unite or the GMB.

    It really wouldn’t.

  86. Andy Newman on said:

    Nick Wright: I have absolutely no confidence that the the pro NATO, pro Trident war tendency in the Labour Party, especially but not exclusively in the parliamentary party, will respect any policy decisions that subvert the alliance of British imperialism with US imperialism.

    On which point, I am touched by the faith that some on the left have that Jeremy Corbyn as a potential future PM would actually be asked whether to launch UK nuclear missiles. If there was any question of him saying no, the defence chiefs would ask the Queen.

  87. John Grimshaw on said:

    Andy Newman: On which point, I am touched by the faith that some on the left have that Jeremy Corbyn as a potential future PM would actually be asked whether to launch UK nuclear missiles. If there was any question of him saying no, the defence chiefs would ask the Queen.

    I’m not convinced that Jeremy will make it to 2020. But you are undoubtedly right.

  88. Andy Newman: I am touched by the faith that some on the left have that Jeremy Corbyn as a potential future PM would actually be asked whether to launch UK nuclear missiles. If there was any question of him saying no, the defence chiefs would ask the Queen.

    This then would provoke a constitutional and political crisis, revealing the limitations of what we like to consider is a democracy in this country, but which in truth merely conceals the feudal nature of our ruling class and the onerous rather than benign powers retained by the monarchy.

  89. John: This then would provoke a constitutional and political crisis, revealing the limitations of what we like to consider is a democracy in this country,

    at the point where we were launching nuclear weapons, ensuring retaliation and the destruction of human life in the UK, and reduction of the island to a blasted wasteland where only the cockraoches scuttle through the debris, I don’t think we would have much stomach for a constitional crisis.

  90. John,

    Difficult to see how a constitutional crisis might be resolved in the aftermath of the Queen’s finger replacing Jeremy Corbyn’s on the nuclear button.

  91. I remember some years ago talking to a supporter of the Militant (though which left group is a bit irrelevent), who was telling me that in his view socialism was inevitable, due to the escalation of class tensions, decline in the rate of profit, yada, yada, yada.

    I replied, well even if that analysis was true enough to be probable – which I ddn’t think it was – it still wouldn’t be “inevitable”, as there might be a nuclear war.

    That – he opined – would be a temporary setback

  92. Nick Wright: Difficult to see how a constitutional crisis might be resolved in the aftermath of the Queen’s finger replacing Jeremy Corbyn’s on the nuclear button.

    Haven’t you seen The Planet of the Apes?

  93. Andy Newman: at the point where we were launching nuclear weapons, ensuring retaliation and the destruction of human life in the UK, and reduction of the island to a blasted wasteland where only the cockraoches scuttle through the debris, I don’t think we would have much stomach for a constitional crisis.

    I think, though, that if we take a realistic view, the prospect of there ever being a nuclear war are slim to non existent – even if a Republican was elected as the next US President.

    The argument against nuclear weapons using this scenario is not a serious one. The argument is over the waste in terms of public money that Trident represents, plus the moral and ethical dimension.

    Jeremy’s argument would be that under his leadership Britain would never be close to a position where pushing the button could be a consideration.

  94. John: Jeremy’s argument would be that under his leadership Britain would never be close to a position where pushing the button was a consideration.

    Then that is what – IMO – he should have exactly said.

  95. Andy Newman: I would suggest that posing the question as an attempt to “subvert the alliance of British imperialism with US imperialism” might not be the way to approach it!

    Indeed. Even though these missiles are essentially franchised by the US – which retains operational control of them and are no more independent than a motorway MacDonalds – any attempt to decouple Britain from the Atlantic alliance will meet fierce opposition including all the extra-parliamentary options available to a monarchist state.

  96. John Grimshaw on said:

    John: think, though, that if we take a realistic view, the prospect of there ever being a nuclear war are slim to non existent – even if a Republican was elected as the next US President.

    I think it’s highly unlikely, but if it does happen we’re all going to hell in a hand cart.

  97. Karl Stewart on said:

    Discussion about the allegiances of the armed forces are interesting, a there is a view that the allegiance is to the ‘Crown’ rather than to ‘the government’.

    But there is a much older tradition of the army being the army of Parliament, dating back to the English Revolution of the 17th century. I think the oldest of today’s army regiments (The Coldstream Guards) can trace its creation back to Cromwell’s ‘New Model Army’.

    Yes of course this is of little use in a potential nuclear crisis, but it’s something that should be stressed if there are any ‘anonymous’ (i.e. invented) murmurings in the MSM about disquiet among the military.

  98. Andy Newman on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    Actually the oldest regiment in the army predates the New Model Army, and has had uninterupted loyalty to the Crown, the Royal Scots ( ??)

  99. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Yes there are also regiments with a fully ‘royalist’ pedigree. (Maybe the Coldstream Regiment is the second-oldest).

    My broader point is that the notion that the British armed forces owe allegiance solely to ‘the Crown’ is one that needs to be challenged, and with the evidence of history.

    If there are any future mumurings from the right speculating about the attitude of the military towards a future Labour government, then this issue could become more important.

  100. John Grimshaw on said:

    Sir George Monck’s regiment which became the Coldstream Guards or the Royal Scots. Both owe allegiance formerly to the monarch, but since there’s no difference between the two….?

  101. jock mctrousers on said:

    I think this is sort of on topic, but in case anyone hasn’t heard of this – I don’t know if this is widely reported in the UK press… WITH PHOTOS

    Outrage Stirred as Police Deploy Snipers to ‘Observe’ Anti-Austerity March in UK
    As more than 60,000 people marched against Tory’s attack on the economy, sharp-shooters took up positions on rooftops
    http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/10/05/outrage-stirred-police-deploy-snipers-observe-anti-austerity-march-uk

  102. Karl Stewart on said:

    Nick Wright,
    Good point. It’s not something that should be undertaken lightly.

    However, pointing out that the armed forces has a Parliamentary as well as a ‘royalist’ tradition and making the argument that obeying the elected government is neither illegal nor “treason” is not necessarily the same as urging soldiers to disobey orders.

    An appeal to this history – the ‘Cromwellian’ tradition if you like – at least contests notions of ‘legality’.

  103. Karl Stewart on said:

    Nick Wright: a new Buford moment

    Can you help me with that reference Nick?

    I googled ‘Buford’ and got some details about a small town in the USA state of Georgia, which I doubt is what you’re referring to.

  104. #111 I took part in a defence of the NHS protest outside the conference yesterday and saw two lots of police with rifles, on top of the Central Library and on a building close to where the Free Trade Hall used to be.

    Quite a strange feeling to be honest.

    The Police have stated that there is no intention to shoot anyone and have “explained” that the sights on the rifles are stronger than binoculars.

    However they were using binoculars as well, and the sights were attached to the rifles.

  105. John Grimshaw on said:

    What soldiers think they’ve joined up to do and what the people in power think they’ve joined up to do are not necessarily the same thing.

  106. Andy Newman:
    I remember some years ago talking to a supporter of the Militant (though which left group is a bit irrelevent), who was telling me that in his view socialism was inevitable, due to the escalation of class tensions, decline in the rate of profit, yada, yada, yada.

    I replied, well even if that analysis was true enough to be probable – which I ddn’t think it was – it still wouldn’t be “inevitable”, as there might be a nuclear war.

    That – he opined – would be a temporary setback

    A good story, and quite believeable. However as it appears almost verbatim in one of Mark Steel’s books either he is lifting from you or you from him Andy.

  107. vox: A good story, and quite believeable. However as it appears almost verbatim in one of Mark Steel’s books either he is lifting from you or you from him Andy.

    Well I remember very clearly the conversation happening after a meeting at “Marxism” around 1988, and it was definately me in the conversation.

    It is possible that it was a “line” that Millies had developed, and the same conversation happened more than once

  108. George Hallam on said:

    Vanya: The Police have stated that there is no intention to shoot anyone and have “explained” that the sights on the rifles are stronger than binoculars.

    Don’t believe everything you’re told.

    Typically telescopic sights have relatively low magnification lenses as larger magnification reduces the field of view which makes it difficult to acquire the target. For example the Army’s SA80 rifle has a fixed 4× magnification as standard issue.

    Accuracy International AWP sniper rifles, which I believe are used by the police, have Schmidt & Bender variable magnification sights. However the range is relatively limited: 3x to 12x.

    If the police wanted high magnification they could pick up a some Sunagor 18 x 21mm Mini Pocket Binoculars from Argos for £34.99 (was £40.99)
    http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/5566659.htm

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