GMB officially endorses Owen Smith in Labour leadership contest

I wonder to what extent Corbyn’s position on Trident has had on this result, which at 60-40 counts as an emphatic endorsement of Owen Smith?

http://news.sky.com/story/blow-to-corbyn-as-gmb-union-backs-rival-10530840

GMB General Secretary Tim Roache: “The Labour Party is at a crossroads. I’m under no illusions that we’re living through dangerous political times – the like of which I haven’t seen during my three decades in our movement. It’s time for us to face up to reality.

“GMB balloted our members because this kind of decision shouldn’t be taken from up on high. We’re a democratic organisation here to serve our members’ interests. I was determined that our members would have their say. And they’ve had it.

“I’ll proudly campaign alongside Owen in the coming weeks and months to deliver on his pledges to end the public sector pay freeze, to support defence workers, to invest in health and industry, and to build an industrial strategy – these are bread and butter issues for the people I represent.

“But we can only tackle them if we’re in government. That’s the end game and I hope whatever the final result, the Labour Party will unite when all this is over. GMB members cannot afford for Labour to be talking to itself in a bubble for the next five years while the Tories run riot through our rights at work, our public services and our communities.”

66 comments on “GMB officially endorses Owen Smith in Labour leadership contest

  1. John Haylett on said:

    GMB Scotland didn’t ballot its members.

    GMB Scotland Statement: Labour Leadership Ballot

    GMB Scotland has been consistently clear that the Labour Party’s problems in Scotland cannot be attributed to one person alone and extends far beyond one electoral cycle.

    It is also clear that the party as a whole is not fully focused on fixing the problems affecting so many people across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

    Labour cannot hope to regain its electoral relevance unless it unites and starts acting as the party of labour, standing on a platform that is relevant to the lives of all working people.

    In Scotland, Labour’s decline over the last decade has been stark.

    Opinion polls now consistently show declining support among the Scottish electorate, both in Holyrood or Westminster and the party now sits in third place behind the Tories after the recent Scottish Parliament elections.

    Therefore, GMB Scotland sees no merit in a ballot of our entire Scottish membership on the question of the UK Labour leadership when the party’s resonance is so minimal.

    Instead, our party members in GMB Scotland will make up their own minds through their own private vote and we will make members aware about how they can participate and who is eligible.

    In the meantime our focus has to be on the defending the interests of our members against a backdrop of constitutional, economic and employment uncertainty.

    End

    Contact: Peter Welsh, GMB Scotland Communications, on 07976 447 077

  2. “this result, which at 60-40 counts as an emphatic endorsement of Owen Smith?”

    Given that over 90% of GMB members didn’t actually vote either way in this, and many apparently didn’t even know about it, not really.

  3. JN: Given that over 90% of GMB members didn’t actually vote either way in this, and many apparently didn’t even know about it, not really.

    The leadership of a major trade union coming out against Corbyn is symbolically significant regardless of its influence or impact with the wider membership, just as it would be if the leadership had endorsed Corbyn. On the back of Paul Kenny’s endorsement of Smith, it throws up the possibility that despite stepping down Kenny retains sway with the new leadership.

  4. The ballot had asked: “Who do you think is best placed to lead the Labour party to a general election victory and serve as prime minister?”

    This is the actual wording of the question and it reflects the main anti-Corbyn talking point of the plotters, that is to say that he is ‘unelectable’.

    It is well known that the actual wording of a question can have a significant effect on the outcome.
    I would imagine that various questions were tested out on focus groups in order to find the question that most favoured Smith.

    “Then there was Philip Gould and his focus groups…but I used to laugh at how extraordinary the confluence was between his own views and what the (focus) groups seemed to be saying.”

    Tony Blair, “A Journey” p298.

    Another point worth making:
    “However, only around 30,000 of the GMB’s 639,000 members are eligible to actually vote in the Labour leadership election – those who pay into the union’s political fund.”
    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/aug/10/gmb-union-backs-owen-smith-labour-leader

  5. John,

    It’s significant only if it indicates that GMB intends to oppose Corbyn/Labour after the leadership election is decided. Presumably they will on nuclear disarmament.

    However, it does not seem at all likely that Smith is going to win or even come close. Support for Corbyn among the membership seems to be roughly 6 or 7 times that for Smith, and it is not confined to new members. Even the current NEC’s disenfranchising of 130,000 people won’t swing it. And if Smith has the official backing of GMB, Corbyn has that of Unite, Unison, CWU, FBU, ASLEF, RMT, etc.

    Smith’s leadership challenge is a joke, and everyone knows it.

  6. John Boadle on said:

    Tony quotes a Guardian article which says only 30,000 GMB members pay the political levy. That can’t be right, surely? Now let’s see, do we know anyone who works for GMB and might be able to tell us?

  7. I saw a similar report about another union which backed Corbyn.
    I think it is a reference to affiliated supporters.

  8. Petter Matthews on said:

    #10 & 12

    The differences between Trump and Clinton are little more than shades of corruption and nastiness. One area where Trump could be marginally less dangerous is geopolitics.

    Clinton is the candidate of Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. Her role in actively supporting every US bloodbath in recent years is well documented. Trump in contrast is skeptical of NATO and his call for better relations with Russia is welcome in a period that is seeing the biggest military build-up on Russia’s borders since the Nazi’s Operation Barbarossa.

    There is a new cold war in relation to Russia and China and Clinton is the more likely of the two candidates, at least at this stage, to transform it into a hot war.

  9. #13 Yes you make some good points which reflect the point I was making in my brief response.

    However the potential for Trump to launch a wholesale war on ethnic minorities (or escalate an existing one depending on your point of view) and the possibility of Clinton needing to make some concessions to the constituency that supported Sanders, outweigh any slight advantages in the field of foreign relations from Trump’s coolness towards NATO and comments for example about withdrawing from Korea.

    More to the point I doubt that whoever is president makes that much difference in terms of foreign policy. Those who hold the real power in terms of the US military are unlikely to countenance any significant cutbacks or in terms of relations with countries like Russia.

  10. Vanya:
    #13 Yes you make some good points which reflect the point I was making in my brief response.

    However the potential for Trump to launch a wholesale war on ethnic minorities (or escalate an existing one depending on your point of view) and the possibility of Clinton needing to make some concessions to the constituency that supported Sanders, outweigh any slight advantages in the field of foreign relations from Trump’s coolness towards NATO and comments for example about withdrawing from Korea.

    More to the point I doubt that whoever is president makes that much difference in terms of foreign policy. Those who hold the real power in terms of the US military are unlikely to countenance any significant cutbacks or policy shifts in terms of relations with countries like Russia.

  11. Petter Matthews:
    #10 & 12

    The differences between Trump and Clinton are little more than shades of corruption and nastiness. One area where Trump could be marginally less dangerous is geopolitics.

    Clinton is the candidate of Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. Her role in actively supporting every US bloodbath in recent years is well documented. Trump in contrast is skeptical of NATO and his call for better relations with Russia is welcome in a period that is seeing the biggest military build-up on Russia’s borders since the Nazi’s Operation Barbarossa.

    There is a new cold war in relation to Russia and China and Clinton is the more likely of the two candidates, at least at this stage, to transform it into a hot war.

    Spot on.
    https://21centurymanifesto.wordpress.com/2016/07/14/what-should-bernie-sanders-supporters-do-now/

  12. Andy Newman:
    my own view on GMB nomination of Owen Smith

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/andy-newman/jeremy-corbyn-owen-smith_b_11561134.html

    Very good article Andy. As you know, I oppose Corbyn’s leadership based on the betrayal committed over Brexit, which in truth he supported. I also consider that the packed-out rallies and events that Corbyn has been appearing at across the country have served to cocoon his team and supporters from reality when it comes to his prospects of being elected prime minister at the next election.

    A mass meeting is not the same as a mass movement, Mick McGahey said, and with the Tories quickly uniting behind Theresa May and the Brexit-dividend that UKIP is certain to enjoy, I foresee defeat and demoralisation rather than victory and celebration going forward.

  13. John: I foresee defeat and demoralisation

    Foresee or promote?

    But then given your stated intention to turn your back on the English and Welsh working class and campaign for Scottish “independence” within imperialist, bosses’ Fortress Europe, I wonder what defeat in your eyes actually looks like.

    The fact that you clearly favour the candidate who is prepared to countenance war with Russia I wonder how far your craven support of the EU will take you in terms of further political degeneration.

    In the words of Trotsky, someone I rarely quote, from a scratch comes gangrene.

  14. Vanya: But then given your stated intention to turn your back on the English and Welsh working class

    The racist English and Welsh working class, that should be, along with their Caucasian Party of Britain camp followers.

    Vanya: I wonder how far your craven support of the EU will take you in terms of further political degeneration.

    ‘Craven support for the EU?’ Is this what we’re calling anti racism now?

  15. George Hallam on said:

    John: ‘Craven support for the EU?’ Is this what we’re calling anti racism now?

    And why not?

    If ‘racism’ can be redefined then why not ‘anti racism’?

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

  16. John, you’re a pathetic shadow of something that once existed.

    Your boy not only thinks war with Russia can be contemplated but wants to negotiate with those head chopping savages (your words) of ISIS.

    You are so far over the line that for you the line doesn’t exist. Or at least it’s a blur.

    You’re in the hole in the wall gang. Your leaders are the two Owens. Alias Smith and Jones.

  17. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Not been on here for a long time. Nevertheless just like to say a few words about the Corbyn Bounce and Scotland. I have been on the streets of Glasgow and East Lothian campaigning on Socialist Party Scotland material for Corbyn the last few weeks and the response from the Scottish working class I would say at best is muted.

    Nothing like what has happened in England and Wales has happened in Scotland in respect to meetings for Corbyn. In fact Jeremy is coming to Scotland at the end of the week for two days, a meeting in Glasgow and one in Dundee, but not Edinburgh as far as I know. But I doubt they will to the extent of size as down south. There are a number of factors as to why this is the case. Principal among them was the damage inflicted on Scottish Labour by the disastrous decision to form a bloc with the Tories in opposition to Scottish independence. Coming on top of Labour’s transformation into a right wing, Blairite, pro-capitalist party during the 1990s, Labour’s role in the referendum campaign led to the shattering of their already weakened base among the working class in Scotland. As a result the SNP, who stood to the left of Labour during the last 20 years, have emerged, I consider for a short-lived period, as the dominant force in Scotland. Actually since the European Referendum I consider the SNP have been politically tacking to the right.

    In addition, Scottish Labour has also been hampered by the lack of a left leader. Kezia Dugdale, Labour’s Scottish leader, opposed Corbyn’s election to the leadership last year. She even appointed one the coup plotters, Ian Murray, to her own shadow cabinet after he resigned as Corbyn’s shadow Scottish secretary. In addition the role of Labour councillors in carrying out cuts in those councils they still control, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Edinburgh and so on, have left Labour as a toxic brand for big sections of the working class in Scotland.

    So what would be the best possible way for Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters – Momentum – in Scotland to do to win over the Scottish Working class. A root and branch transformation is the answer! To undermine the electoral base of the SNP, itself the beneficiaries of a huge anti-austerity movement following the Independence Referendum will require clear left and a consistent socialist political alternative. As a member of the Socialist Party Scotland I support Jeremy Corbyn and the movement to win the Scottish Labour Party to a clear anti-austerity and left policy. An attempt to accommodate with the Labour right is impossible. The civil war that is taking place inside the Labour Party will have to result in the emergence of a victor. Either a newly constituted left party is created by the defeat of the pro-austerity, pro-capitalist right or the Labour Party will remain under their control and will never recover in Scotland.

    If Corbyn wins again then he needs in Scotland, as with the rest of Britain, open up to all anti-austerity and left activists, including the right of affiliation by not just trade unions but also socialist organisations and anti-austerity campaigns etc. This would be more like the federal model that the Labour Representation Committee, the forerunner of the Labour Party, was founded on. It brought together socialist organisations and trade unions, including the ILP, the Social Democratic Federation and later on the British Socialist Party that evolved into the Communist Party. Democratic structures, including the mandatory reselection of MPs and MSPs, should be introduced by Corbyn and the left. Above all, a fighting anti-austerity platform should be debated and adopted which has support for widespread democratic public ownership and a refusal to implement cuts at its core; and what the Left in the Scottish Labour needs to do is develop a Corbynesque type of person – say Neil Findlay – to take up the mantle of the anti-austerity, pro-socialist stance and challenge for the leadership immediately as part of a campaign to transform Scottish Labour into a fighting anti-austerity party.

    But the thorny question – that Thistle – that the left in Scottish Labour and Jeremey Corbyn needs to grasp is Scottish independence – the National Question. To be quite brusque, if that position was not to be changed, a sustained recovery in Labour’s support in Scotland would be ruled out. While a second indyref may still be a few years off, although it could take place sooner, a correct approach to the national question will play a decisive role in whether a mass working class party can be built in Scotland. Both Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour left in Scotland should reassess their position on Scottish independence as a matter of urgency. As a minimum they should adopt a policy that is clearly in favour the right of the Scottish people to self-determination and concretely for a second independence referendum, with the timing of that to be decided.

    In addition, a full discussion should take place, including in the trade unions, on how an internationalist, left and pro-working class policy in favour of independence could be developed. The position advocated by Socialist Party Scotland, of an independent socialist Scotland as part of a voluntary socialist confederation with England, Wales and Ireland is a concrete way of fighting for working class unity across Britain, while standing for the democratic rights of the Scottish people. Only in this way, linked to a fighting policy against all cuts and austerity, is it possible to cut across the pro-business nationalism of the SNP leadership.

  18. jock mctrousers on said:

    Vanya,

    I have suspected for sometime that the reason Owen Smith ‘was chosen’ was that voters might mistake him for Owen Jones, the young one that they probably thought was Andy Kershaw the radio 1 dj ( not realising tha HE’s older now), so he’d have a sort of ‘cool’ resonance… Owen Jones of course wouldn’t do himself because he’s said the occasional leftish thing now and then…

    As to John, I’m in two minds about whether he’s just going through a bout of misanthropy due to something personal, and is just winding us up… or alternately, well, I recall not so long ago I spoke out against the relentless barrage from Sam69 (or something like that) of accusations that John was a Russian agent because he appeared on RT now and then … but at the back of my mind was always the little nagging doubt – John suddenly appears out of nowhere with a ‘legend’ (as the spies say), a cover story as a writer, and suddenly he’s everywhere – here, RT, Counterpunch… (where else is there, man?), and moreover he appears on Counterpunch at a time of change, after the passing of Alexander Cockburn, when there seems to be a ‘change of standards’ allowing the involvement of 2 blatant state shills, Louis Proyect and Joshua Frank, and I wonder…

    Yes, I wonder!

  19. #26 Who knows Jock.

    Whatever the reason I really think it’s a shame. More than that in fact.

    I actually met him once,had a really pleasant evening and we had a longstanding friendly correspondence by phone and email before and after.

    The fact that he has chosen to fall out in such a full-on manner ostensibly over the issue of the EU, not only with people like me for being pro-leave but in essence with the whole pro-Corbyn movement, most of whom were pro-remain, some of them profoundly so, is completely bizarre.

    Andy talks quite rightly about supporting Corbyn in the real world elsewhere on this blog.

    I work politically with many people who do so and we’ve managed to avoid tearing lumps out of each other over the EU even though we took different positions during the referendum.

    Which is why I use the word ostensibly above.

    Does John seriously want to suggest that people who were helping organise a solidarity convoy to the Calais jungle earlier this summer or who play a leading role in Stop the War; or the Indian Workers’ Association (GB) (see the article I linked to from the Morning Star on another thread:

    https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-77d4-The-worst-of-both-worlds#.V7gMwWbTXMI)

    are engaged in providing a left cover for white supremacy?

    Or that Corbyn was engaged in a “betrayal” over the EU referendum, which implies that he is implicated in the same exercise?

    This stuff puts him firmly in the camp of the right wing in the Labour Party, the same people ironically who have been witch-hunting supporters of the Palestinian people’s rights (including Jewish socialists) in the name of combating anti-semitism.

    Is that really where John wants to be?

    Does he in fact have a clue where he wants to be politically?

  20. jock mctrousers: As to John, I’m in two minds about whether he’s just going through a bout of misanthropy due to something personal, and is just winding us up… or alternately, well, I recall not so long ago I spoke out against the relentless barrage from Sam69 (or something like that) of accusations that John was a Russian agent because he appeared on RT now and then … but at the back of my mind was always the little nagging doubt

    Yes, tinfoil hats are all the rage these days.

  21. Vanya: Whatever the reason I really think it’s a shame. More than that in fact.

    I actually met him once,had a really pleasant evening and we had a longstanding friendly correspondence by phone and email before and after.

    Listen Evan, if I get any more of your shite I’ll be posting your name up on here. The entire tone of this patronising message concerning me is belied by your cowardice in refusing to post under your own name.

    Vanya: This stuff puts him firmly in the camp of the right wing in the Labour Party, the same people ironically who have been witch-hunting supporters of the Palestinian people’s rights (including Jewish socialists) in the name of combating anti-semitism

    You and your party are right wing British nationalists. Brexit was a full on attack on migrant workers and minorities in this country, the evidence for which is self evident. As I said earlier, the Caucasian Party of Britain.

  22. John Grimshaw on said:

    Jimmy Haddow,

    Jimmy, the “Scottish” people have recently been allowed to exercise their right to self determination and they decided that now was not the time to bother. So ts difficult to critique the Westminster government for something they didn’t deny. The problem with referenda, apart from the fact that the questions are usually basic and not helpful, and that they are not legally binding (in Germany I think they are illegal) is that you can’t just keep running another one until you get the desired result. Of course I accept that the English and Welsh decision to leave the EU may be a game changer, but we shall see. My position is and remains that for Socialists We should not campaign for the creation of a new capitalist state which promotes nationalism in order to justify itself where that nation state is not oppressed. The Scottish are not oppressed by English imperialism as some deluded Scottish nationalists seem to think. The collapse of Scottish labourism was caused by the extremely unpopular policies of New Labour.

  23. John Grimshaw on said:

    “Listen Eavan if I get anymore of your shite on here I’ll be posting your real name on here….” I think you just did!

  24. John Grimshaw on said:

    You and your party are right wing British nationalists. Brexit was a full on attack on migrant workers and minorities in this country, the evidence for which is self evident. As I said earlier, the Caucasian Party of Britain.

    I know I’m going to regret this. John not all English and Welsh and, dare I say, Scottish workers who voted for Brexit did so for racist reasons, although I accept that many did. There were other reasons for voting out. Some of which made some sense. These include issues to do with sovereignty and democracy etc. As well as a more general feeling that voting out was a way of sticking up two fingers to the establishment. There was of course so much misinformation from both official sides of the campaign and very few facts. I voted remain as you know but in a disinterested sort of way because I ultimately decided the potential for a racist backlash wasn’t worth it. As it happens it did happen but hopefully it will subside. I don’t think you can blame the tankies for this racist backlash however as they quite clearly don’t support this sort of thing. Although comrade joe had some “interesting” policies back in the day. I hadn’t realised that the parliamentary road to British socialism originated in the Caucasus by the way. But then Joe did come from that area of the world I suppose.

  25. John Grimshaw on said:

    Oh and I should say Brexit made my Greek holidays more expensive. You bastards. Well actually so did the Germans as they made the Greeks put the vat up.

  26. #29 Yes he just did.

    Reminds me of the famous scene in Dad’s Army.

    “Your name vill also go on ze list. Vot is it?”

    “Don’t tell him Pike”.

  27. Petter Matthews on said:

    #29

    The CPB, RMT, SWP and others who supported Lexit, are “right wing British nationalists” in the same sense that NATO, the IMF, the Bank of England and others that supported Remain are ‘fighters for peace and social justice’.

  28. Petter Matthews: NATO, the IMF, the Bank of England and others that supported Remain are ‘fighters for peace and social justice’.

    But guess what: neither NATO, the IMF or the Bank of England have been weakened one iota by Brexit, and what’s more won’t be for a long time to come given that the Tories are guaranteed to win the next election, boosted by the right wing consciousness unleashed by Brexit. The notion that this was anything other than a reactionary political project is just bonkers, revealing the complete and absolute ideological collapse of the pro-Brexit left.

  29. John Grimshaw on said:

    John: But guess what: neither NATO, the IMF or the Bank of England have been weakened one iota by Brexit, and what’s more won’t be for a long time to come given that the Tories are guaranteed to win the next election, boosted by the right wing consciousness unleashed by Brexit. The notion that this was anything other than a reactionary political project is just bonkers, revealing the complete and absolute ideological collapse of the pro-Brexit left.

    1. Well I didn’t expect NATO to be weakened. NATO is separate to the EU. However Corbyn is being accused of being lukewarm towards it. But then he probably is. Just as he is sort of lukewarm to the EU. Although I notice that, as usual various USA politicians, are calling for more arms spending of the European countries.
    2. The Tories may win the next election. They may not. They are to some extent the default setting for the most populated areas of England outside of London. Theresa May has hardly made a good first start and the potential for them to faction fight is still there. If those of us on the left think that Corbyn is the best we can do at the moment (?), then we’d better make sure he beats Smith and then get on with the job of putting forwards this alternative vision.
    3. “Complete and absolute collapse of the pro-Brexit left!” Apart from the hyperbole that bangs you up with the AWL and some of of my mates who used to be in Workers Power. John welcome to the Trot world. 🙂

  30. John: complete and absolute ideological collapse of the pro-Brexit left.

    doesn’t even mean anything.

    Phraseology to mask a complete and absolute lack of anything positive to propose.

    But maybe that in itself is the project.

    Most of the forces on the left who were for leave have held those positions for decades, and certainly the Communist Party. So when did this “ideological collapse” take place?

    When CP members were helping organise Stop the War, CND or Anti-Apartheid?

    When Bob Crow (nobody could be in any doubt as to his long term position on the issue of Europe) was leading the RMT?

    When Arthur Scargill (not a CP member obviously but someone who has always opposed the EU and before it the EEC) was leading the 1984-85 miners’ strike or before that taking thousands of his members onto the picket line at Grunwicks?

    Or when you decided that remaining in the EU was a big deal, and people who have been campaigning and arguing a left anti-EU position for all these years didn’t listen to you and put up their hands in surrender?

  31. John Grimshaw: If those of us on the left think that Corbyn is the best we can do at the moment (?), then we’d better make sure he beats Smith and then get on with the job of putting forwards this alternative vision.

    But John has made it clear that he doesn’t want Corbyn to win. Corbyn for John betrayed the remain campaign and is therefore not fit to lead.

    So there’s no alternative vision. Only despair and demoralisation.

  32. John Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya: But John has made it clear that he doesn’t want Corbyn to win. Corbyn for John betrayed the remain campaign and is therefore not fit to lead.

    So there’s no alternative vision. Only despair and demoralisation.

    Well I personally think some of this is hyperbole. John seems to be saying that he is retreating into Scottish nationalism so given Corbyn is a sassenach he doesn’t need to be too bothered. He could I suppose find common cause with comrade Haddenow?

  33. John Grimshaw on said:

    Owen smith on the radio this morning. If I become leader of the LP I will engineer a second referendum on the EU if possible. In other words democracy is for idiots. Owen Smith clearly trying to find middle ground with the centrist Tories. Does it not occur to him that if he were to be successful he will ultimately playing into the hands of UKIP etc.

  34. John Grimshaw: Does it not occur to him that if he were to be successful he will ultimately playing into the hands of UKIP etc.

    This is craven submission to the far right. Fuck UKIP. Rather than share platforms with them the left should be confronting and destroying them. The pictures of a Muslim woman being forced to remove her Burkina on a beach in Nice by French police is a harbinger of Brexit Britain’s future.

    Failure to appreciate that might be a luxury the white left can afford. The Muslim community on the other hand cannot.

    Reversing Brexit and with it the far right and reactionary forces behind it, both right and left, is worth fighting for.

  35. John: Reversing Brexit and with it the far right and reactionary forces behind it, both right and left, is worth fighting for.

    This approach is fatal for the left.

    The scheme for a second referendum has, for the moment, been quietly downgraded by the more strategic elements among the ruling class. The City is finding a new accommodation with the EU and will reconfigure its operations to maintain its role as the bridge between North American and European capital.

    According to the polls a substantial majority of people in Britain – including a proportion of former Remain voters — oppose the idea of a second referendum and it is clear that nothing is more likely to isolate Labour from the sectors of its natural constituency it needs to reconnect with than making a big issue out of a second referendum.

    The Labour right, quiescent now but hitherto backing the Owen Smith operation, is now abandoning that disastrously weakened vessel and are looking to the next strategy to ensure Labour recovers its role as an acceptable alternative party of capitalist continuity.

    Failing that, as they surely will – in the next period – they will undoubtedly go for some imaginative form of parliamentary schemet o marginalise Corbyn and his allies in the expectation that, like with the failed SDP before, a long march through the institutions of the party might put them back in the driving seat. Albeit at the price of a missed decade or so in office.

    We should not mistake their seriousness. They are prepared to wreck the party’s electoral prospects rather than surrender the chance of winning control again.

    It is into this new situation that John’s idée fixe fits so badly with his general politics. It is one thing to reach a different conclusion about the tactics in relation to the referendum past. People on the left on both sides of that argument could reach different conclusions without abandoning common purpose on other issues and on long term objectives.

    It is clear that John does not approach the question from an anti communist stance. It is equally clear that he is turning it into one.

    Not much turns on this alone. But the wider project of how we rally the forces to firm up Labour’s new direction is harmed by such a strategy which feeds the right-wing Labour narrative.

  36. John Grimshaw on said:

    John: This is craven submission to the far right. Fuck UKIP. Rather than share platforms with them the left should be confronting and destroying them. The pictures of a Muslim woman being forced to remove her Burkina on a beach in Nice by French police is a harbinger of Brexit Britain’s future.

    Failure to appreciate that might be a luxury the white left can afford. The Muslim community on the other hand cannot.

    Reversing Brexit and with it the far right and reactionary forces behind it, both right and left, is worth fighting for.

    John this is a bit mixed up. Of course fuck UKIP you’ll find no argument from me there. If you wanna put on your docs and join me in giving them a good kicking then fair enough.

    However who on the left was sharing platforms with UKIP? Name names. I’d like to know.

    Of course I agree with you about the France “burquini” thing. It’s disgraceful. And extremely counter productive. But…France is still firmly in the EU and Eurozone whereas the UK Isn’t and may…may leave the EU (I won’t hold my breath) but nobody here, as far as I know is proposing to ban all over swimming suits. Surely you can see the contradiction there?

    Reversing Brexit with some undemocratic bureaucratic manoeuvre is only going to aid the right rather than the other way round.

  37. John Grimshaw on said:

    By the way I may support a second sort of referendum IF it honoured the result of the first which was simply to leave the EU. Clearly a No or Yes vote is not very helpful and presumably (if Brexit goes ahead) there must be detailed information and options put to the British people. No?

  38. Nick Wright: According to the polls a substantial majority of people in Britain – including a proportion of former Remain voters — oppose the idea of a second referendum and it is clear that nothing is more likely to isolate Labour from the sectors of its natural constituency it needs to reconnect with than making a big issue out of a second referendum.

    Except in Scotland and the North of Ireland of course, unless those parts of these islands have been deemed beyond redemption.

    Indeed this is the factor upon which the entire ideological narrative of the pro Brexit left collapses, the fact that it is an England-centric cause driven by the far right and Tory right in Labour heartlands that have been won to the anti immigrant and xenophobic politics of British nationalism in response to the economic depression and enusing austerity. Rather than challenge this politics on the basis of class you have opportunistically tailed it in the forlorn hope of feeding at its trough.

    As I said in my debate with Rob Griffiths, you are but a mouse riding the back of a tiger.

  39. #49 Scotland voted to remain part of the UK, with your support, and as far as I recall you don’t recognise British sovereignty over N Ireland.

    And Wales also voted to leave the EU, so what’s your point?

  40. Of course I agree with you about the France “burquini” thing. It’s disgraceful. And extremely counter productive. But…France is still firmly in the EU and Eurozone whereas the UK Isn’t and may…may leave the EU (I won’t hold my breath) but nobody here, as far as I know is proposing to ban all over swimming suits. Surely you can see the contradiction there?

    I doubt it!

  41. Vanya:
    #49 Scotland voted to remain part of theUK, with your support, and as far as I recall you don’trecognise British sovereignty over N Ireland.

    And Wales also voted to leave the EU, so what’syourpoint?

    Oh so that was the masterplan? Support Brexit for a united Ireland and independent Scotland.

  42. John: Except in Scotland and the North of Ireland of course, unless those parts of these islands have been deemed beyond redemption.

    John,
    It is up to the Scots to decide whether they want to remain part of Great Britain. It appears that they do, due no doubt in some part to the power of your argument.

    They appear settled in this view and, according to the latest YouGov happy enough to remain in this state outside of the EU.

    The view of those Irish still living within the British state, if I read the Good friday Agreement and the subsequent referendum correctly, is for the constitutional status of the territory in which they live to be decided by them alone.

    This modification of their colonial status is by agreement of the people of the whole of Ireland voting in two separate jurisdictions.

    To my mind this rather weakens the republican claim but it is up to them.

    I can’t see how, from an anti-imperialist standpoint, how people living in the north of Ireland should be able to participate in deciding the constitutional status of my country.

    But, in the absence of a united Ireland we shall just have to live with although, for the life of me I can’t understand how Sinn Fein can refuse to participate in the Westmister Parliament but are quite happy to admit the possibility that their votes would alter the constitutional status of another state.

    Opportunism is a slippery road.

  43. Vanya:
    John, you’rea pathetic shadow ofsomething that once existed.

    Your boy not only thinks war with Russia can be contemplated but wants to negotiate with those head chopping savages (yourwords) of ISIS.

    You are so far over the line that for you the line doesn’t exist. Or at least it’s a blur.

    You’re in the hole in the wall gang. Your leaders are the two Owens. Alias Smithand Jones.

    Yes, I have been absolutely staggered by the extent to which Brexit has disoriented sections of the left.

  44. Nick Wright: It appears that they do, due no doubt in some part to the power of your argument.

    Any power of argument I have will now be put at the service of Scottish independence from a reactionary rump Brexit state, currently sailing into the 19th century with so-called leftists rowing in tandem with the far right.

    As James Galbraith writes, “Lexit forces are therefore allied, distastefully, with nativists, xenophobes, and neo-fascists.”

    Enjoy the journey.

  45. John: so-called leftists rowing in tandem with the far right.

    John, You have yet to provide a satisfactory explanation for your division of the right into an unacceptable version which sees its distinctive class interests served best by Brexit and the more powerful, more toxic, more hegemonic one, most intimately connected with the NATO war machine, the IMF and World Bank, the military industrial complex and the US British EU foreign policy establishment which sees its interests best served by membership of the EU.
    For my part, i would travel with neither but fight for the independent interests of the working class of all of Europe and beyond which is best served by undermining the institutional framework which has been shaped, on our continent, to serve the interests of the big bourgeoisie.

  46. John Grimshaw on said:

    John: the fact that it is an England-centric cause driven by the far right

    You forgot about London, Manchester and Liverpool as well I think Leicester.

  47. John Grimshaw on said:

    Nick Wright,

    He hasn’t. But then I think Nick that some of the left have failed to explain why they simply didn’t argue for abstention. By the way did you catch Farage’s speech with Trump last night?

  48. #59 Some of the fringe ultra left did.

    I think those who supported either remain or leave made their reasons pretty clear.

  49. John Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya:
    #59 Some of the fringe ultra left did.

    I think those who supported either remain or leave made their reasons pretty clear.

    Did they?

  50. John Grimshaw on said:

    Oooer missus. “Fringe ultra left” I love it when no one on the left can agree with anyone else

  51. John Grimshaw on said:

    My point Vanya was that it seemed to me that abstention was equally as valid a position as remain or out. It’s how you tell em that counts. Obviously I presume you think that the CPB is not fringe ultra left, or the SWP or the SP? And the AWL and other pro-remain Trots. H’mmm.

  52. Petter Matthews on said:

    John: NATO, the IMF or the Bank of England have been weakened one iota by Brexit

    The imperialist nations and their multilateral institutions supported Remain because they considered it to be in their interests. Why would they do otherwise? And as to whether Brexit weakens them, not yet, but if as I hope Brexit marks the beginning of the unraveling of the EU, it almost certainly will.