113 comments on “It’s Corbyn!

  1. Karl Stewart on said:

    Brilliant brilliant brilliant!!!!

    Been feeling absolutely delighted all afternoon. Right up until the result I had nagging doubts that the old guard would pinch it by hook or by crook.

    They tried absolutely everything they could, but he still won, and what a victory! The biggest landslide ever, in every section of the contest.

    Wish my mum could have been around to see it happen, she really liked him a lot and when she died in June, Corbyn didn’t look like he would even get on the ballot.

    I reckon she’s looking down with a big happy smile!

  2. JOCK MCTROUSERS on said:

    Who said nice guys always come last? Maybe now we’ll get the Morning Star back in the tv newspaper roundups?

  3. Pingback: Big pro-refugee demonstration in London, England | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. UncleAlbert on said:

    John,

    You should re-apply – you could make a valuable contribution.

    And if the Blairites bar you, appeal directly to Jezza.

  5. This morning’s Andrew Marr show the newly elected Deputy Leader Tom Watson talking about persuading Jeremy Corbyn to change his position on NATO.

    Here we go.

  6. Karl Stewart on said:

    John,
    To be fair, leaving NATO is not (yet) Labour Party policy, so Watson’s entitled to advocate a position that is currently the policy of his party.

    Corbyn’s policy platform doesn’t automatically become party policy on his election as leader, there’s a collective process.

    I’d very much want to see Labour taking a ‘leave NATO’ and ‘leave the EU’ position, but winning those positions will be a hard struggle.

    For what it’s worth, I think that we should also maintain an independent, non-NATO nuclear deterrent and expand nuclear power.

    Nuclear weapons are an effective deterrent. I can’t think of an example of a nuclear-armed country being invaded and occupied, but it does sometimes happen to non-nucelar states.

    And nucelar power provides a cost-effective, safe and reliable source of electricity.

  7. Michael Rosen: Serious question: who’s joining the Labour Party?

    15,000+ people since he won, apparently, in addition to all those who joined during the election. Personally, I’m seriously considering it (can’t do it right now due to circumstances, but maybe in a few weeks). I don’t know if Labour would reject my application due to previous membership of other parties on the left?

    As always, “the point is to change it”, and the Labour Party with it’s new leaders and members is currently the best hope of that. Finally, for the first time in at least a generation, we have a Labour Party that is worth supporting.

  8. Karl – I think you’ve just solved the problem of world peace. If states with nuclear weapons never get invaded, then obviously every state should have a nuclear arsenal large enough to incinerate at least all its near neighbours at the flick of a few switches. Result – no wars between states ever again! What could possibly go wrong?

  9. Karl Stewart,

    Nuclear weapons are an absolute insanity, whoever has control of them. At best, they are an incredibly vast waste of money, resources, labour, expertise, etc, which could surely be better used in some other way. At worst, they are the totally indiscriminate mass murder of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people. There is no possible justification for that under any circumstances, not even in retaliation. The countries that already possess nukes (USA, UK, Russia, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel) have no more right to them than those that are supposedly developing them (Iran, North Korea).

    As for the “deterrent” effect, or “nuclear peace”: bullshit. You’re aware that this is very similar to the thinking regarding the alliance system and arms racing that led up to World War 1? IE: that no one would want to start a war so extreme or unpredictable in it’s outcome. How did that work out?

    Warmongers will start wars as long as they believe they will probably win them, and that they won’t personally be the victims, and possibly even if they don’t believe that. You think Hitler and the leadership of the Nazi Party/Third Reich would have been deterred by nukes? No, they’d just have had “Nuke Moscow and Leningrad” as Step 1) of Operation Barbarossa. Did Nukes stop either the Americans or the Russians or the Chinese governments from pursuing their various foreign policies? Does it stop them now? The countries most likely to invade others are precisely the ones that already have WMD.

    The only sane policy regarding nuclear weapons is that no one should have them (The same goes for chemical and biological weapons).

  10. jock mctrousers on said:

    E

    Karl Stewart: For what it’s worth, I think that we should also maintain an independent, non-NATO nuclear deterrent and expand nuclear power.

    Whether or not you think nukes are an effective deterrent, I’m surprised that anyone here thinks Trident is independent. I can’t find any links right now but as I recall Trident is dependent on USA for servicing, and for it to be used would require USA input codes and sat nav. It could therefore only conceivably ever be used for USA purpose. Our budget for Trident then could be seen as an Imperial tribute or tax, or simply protection money.

    If anyone knows of a definitive report on Trident’s independence, please post here. There was a very good report 10 to 12 years ago, by a fairly well-known journalist, whose name I can’t recall, small booklet and I think free online now. I’ll try to find it.

  11. jock mctrousers on said:

    From a recent report in ‘The Independent’:

    Paul Ingram, the director of the thinktank BASIC (The British American Security Information Council), says that when often-forgotten decommissioning work is included the capital cost of the new system will total £50.6 billion between 2012 and 2062.

    BASIC was responsible for setting up the independent all-party Trident Commission, which last summer issued a report setting out the verdict of MPs on whether Britain still needs a nuclear deterrent of its own.

    Its headline discovery was that Trident isn’t really that independent at all – if the US were to ever remove its support and know-how, the UK’s nuclear capability would collapse in a matter of months.

  12. John Palmer on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    Karl Stuart – In what meaningful sense is the Trident system “independent” ? As noted above it cannot be used without US technical support. So it cannot be used in circumstances which Washington’s interests would not be served (remember what happened at Suez in ’56)? It is a total con and very, very, very expensive con. When the post-wear government decided to develop nuclear weapons of its own, the foreign secretary, Ernie Bevin said he did not really case what it could or could not do, as long as it has “a bloody big Union Jack plastered all over it.” It is a political virility symbol designed to secure the UK’s continued membership of the UN Security Council. THAT is what dirverts resources from health, education and productive investment.

  13. Karl Stewart on said:

    I have zero knowledge of the technicalities of specific weapons systems, how they work, or operate.

    But the straightforward fact is that every state needs to posses an effective means of defending itself militarily from potential attack.

  14. Karl Stewart on said:

    Francis King,
    I hope every member of the Chilean armed forces who participated in that murderous episode will die painfully and then rot in hell for eternity.

  15. JOCK MCTROUSERS on said:

    Karl Stewart: I have zero knowledge of the technicalities of specific weapons systems, how they work, or operate.

    But the straightforward fact is that every state needs to posses an effective means of defending itself militarily from potential attack.

    Karl, what part of ‘ not independent = not a defence’ don’t you understand?

  16. JOCK MCTROUSERS on said:

    I found the report I mentioned earlier but couldn’t remember who by? It’s from Dan Plesch 2006 – bit old but very thorough. Available as a free pdf, which everyone should keep for reference.
    The Future of Britain’s WMD
    http://fpc.org.uk/fsblob/722.pdf

    intro:
    This report discusses replacing Britain’s Trident nuclear missile
    system. It examines British dependence on the United States and
    concludes that most of the discussion on the replacement is based
    on the false premise that the UK has an independent nuclear
    weapon. To support this conclusion the report reviews the history of
    Britain’s involvement with nuclear weapons from 1940 to the present day to show a sixty-year-old pattern of British dependence on the US for WMD.

    The report recommends that Trident should not be replaced and
    should be phased out now, as neither Trident nor any US-supported
    successor would meet the ‘1940 requirement’ for a system that the
    nation can rely on if it stands alone as in 1940. Back in the Second
    World War the British government concluded it could not be a
    nuclear power without US support. Half a century later the
    dependence remains decisive. President George Bush Snr ordered
    his officials to ‘produce additional nuclear weapons parts as
    necessary for transfer to the United Kingdom’ (page 14). For fifty
    years successive governments have concluded that Britain cannot
    afford an independent nuclear deterrent. An independent system is
    not an option.

    The nuclear relationship will continue ‘to tie the UK to US policy’ as
    Admiral Raymond Lygo, former Chairman of British Aerospace and
    director of strategic systems modernisation for the Royal Navy put it.
    Not replacing Trident is essential for Britain to reclaim the freedom to
    act according to its own interests during the twenty-first century, for
    a Trident replacement will be expected to last until 2070.

  17. Left Lewisham Lawyer on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    “Nuclear weapons are an effective deterrent. I can’t think of an example of a nuclear-armed country being invaded and occupied”

    Nuclear weapons didn’t deter Argentina in 1982.

  18. Karl Stewart on said:

    JOCK MCTROUSERS,
    With respect, you and others are actually arguing against a position that I haven’t put forward.

    The position I put forward is that I think we should leave NATO and maintain an independent and effective military defence capability, which is credible and which is able to deter potential invaders.

    My view is that, in that scenario, a nuclear capability is more effective than a non-nuclear capability.

    The reason why I think that is based on the fact that, I don’t think any country with a declared nuclear capability has been territorially invaded and occupied.

    (The only possibly arguable exception to this that I can think of would be the 1982 Falklands conflict, but it’s quite a considerable stretch to describe that as being in any way an invasion of the UK.)

    As to whether such a capability would be possible (i.e. technically feasible) for the UK on a fully independent, i.e. non-NATO basis, I don’t have the detailed technical knowledge to be able to say for certain.

    In response, you and others have argued that the UK’s current defence system, including the UK’s current nuclear defence system, is not fully independent of the USA.

    That may well be the case, but that isn’t what I’m putting forward. So it isn’t really an argument against what I’ve said.

    I’d ask you and others do you think we should remain in NATO or leave?
    If you do think we should leave, then do you think we need an effective system of military defence?
    If you think we should remain in NATO, then do you think we would be able to unilaterally decide on this question as a NATO member?

  19. We should work for the dissolution of NATO and its replacement by a more inclusive, less aggressive regional security structure. Nuclear weapons cannot possibly be used for “defence” – they are not battlefield weapons, but devices for incinerating hundreds of thousands of civilians at once. To use them against the civilians of a non-nuclear state is the worst kind of war crime, to use them against another nuclear state is suicide.

  20. No, but I think the best outcome would be NATO’s dissolution. I have no fixed view on what might be the most effective way to achieve that goal. I want to see security and cooperation in Europe, with structures which include Russia, rather than Europe dominated by a military alliance which is essentially a tool of US foreign policy, whether or not Britain is part of it. Given the choice, I’d choose to leave NATO. But that alone would not solve the bigger problem of an ongoing danger of nuclear exchanges on a continent with three nuclear-armed powers of its own, as well as the US.

  21. JOCK MCTROUSERS on said:

    Any hint of a unilateral (in the sense of ‘no matter what anyone else thinks ) withdrawal from NATO will result in Jeremy’s bicycle having a close encounter with an HGV, or something like the 78-day bombing of Serbia – they could always drum up a colour revolution or a jihadi insurgency as an excuse for a humanitarian intervention to stop Jeremy killing his own people…

    Why just today I heard a Tory MP on the Beeb say that the entire Labour party membership are collectively guilty for the appointment of the dangerous extremist John McDonnell (hit me with a flower!)… sounds like he’s dreaming of something like happened in Sukarno’s Indonesia.

    But yes, the dissolution of NATO and/or a negotiated British withdrawal should come and stay high profile on the agenda. And of course the end of Trident, more imminently. So too with leaving the EU. At least Jeremy seems to be giving a free vote on that.

    Can Jeremy depend on much support for any of that from his team? You know the answer to that as well as me – not much, probably….

  22. Karl Stewart: Pacifism is wrong – remember Chile.

    Pacifism, while sometimes mistaken, is infinitely preferable to war-mongering, and to mass-murder, which is what nukes are for.

    What does Chile have to do with whether or not Britain should have nuclear weapons? It’s a complete non-sequitur.

    As Francis King already said, British possession of nukes has got absolutely nothing to do with defence (Who do you think is likely to invade Britain anyway? France? Germany? Spain? Ireland, perhaps? Or maybe a country several thousand miles away?). The UK’s nukes are primarily a prop to the government and ruling class’s imperialist and war-mongering foreign policy and pretensions of being a ‘Great Power’.

  23. Karl Stewart: I’d ask you and others do you think we should remain in NATO or leave?

    Leave.

    Karl Stewart: If you do think we should leave, then do you think we need an effective system of military defence?

    Given that Britain hasn’t been under any significant military threat in 70 years? No, not really, unless there is a radical change of circumstances in Europe. Being one of the safest countries in the world in that respect, Britain needs only the most minimal of military strength for defensive purposes. The reality is that Britain’s military exists mainly to attack, and Trident is not a defence, but a threat to other countries.

  24. JN: The UK’s nukes are primarily a prop to the government and ruling class’s imperialist and war-mongering foreign policy and pretensions of being a ‘Great Power’.

    It is the UK’s qui pro quo for its status as a permanent member of the Security Council. It is also, as others have pointed out, part of a US nuclear weapons network. It is evidence of Britain’s status as a US satellite, thus making them a badge of shame.

  25. Karl Stewart on said:

    JN:
    What does Chile have to do with whether or not Britain should have nuclear weapons? It’s a complete non-sequitur.

    No it’s not directly relevant to future decisions about specific weapons systems, but it is relevant to the general subject of this thread in a more general sense.

    It’s very early days and at this time, we’re about as far away as we could be from a Chile situation, but it remains a vitally important historical hard lesson for the left and one we need to be mindful of.

    Chile reminds us all the utter ruthlessness of the capitalist class and for us not to expect them to even follow their own rules, should we be successful.

  26. Karl Stewart: at this time, we’re about as far away as we could be from a Chile situation,

    Given that we could have been now (and were not that long ago) in a situation where one of the main parties in the country was not led by someone considered a threat by important sections of the ruling class, while we are nowhere near what you call a “Chile situation” at the moment I suggest we are a little bit closer to it than we were before JC was elected.

  27. Vanya: I suggest we are a little bit closer to it than we were before JC was elected.

    The Wilson Plot. We ignore it at our peril. I am almost finished a book on the Middle East and the struggle for a multipolar world, and I included the plot against Harold Wilson in the 1970s, based on an old SU article I wrote about the Special Relationship. Nobody should underestimate the British Establishment’s willingness to do whatever it takes to protect the status quo if seriously threatened.

    http://socialistunity.com/the-special-relationship/

  28. Karl Stewart: The USA

    Seriously? You think that’s “likely”? And if it was, how would the US be “deterred” by nuclear weapons that are essentially under the control of the US?

  29. Vanya: while we are nowhere near what you call a “Chile situation” at the moment I suggest we are a little bit closer to it than we were before JC was elected.

    While I have no doubt at all about the ruthlessness of the state and the ruling class (there are countless examples of that, many of them much more recent), an open military coup in Britain itself would be unlikely to be resorted to until more usual methods have been tried and have failed. Starting with vilification, disinformation, and propaganda in the media.

  30. JN: While I have no doubt at all about the ruthlessness of the state and the ruling class (there are countless examples of that, many of them much more recent), an open military coup in Britain itself would be unlikely to be resorted to until more usual methods have been tried and have failed. Starting with vilification, disinformation, and propaganda in the media.

    I agree.

  31. JC made another dignified (and moving) response today, this time in relation to the Battle of Britain commemoration where he referred when questioned by a reporter to his mum who was an ARP warden.

    Again he’s been attacked over something pathetic. In fact it’s his detractors who have been dubbed as not one but two sandwiches short of a picnic.

    Btw, this is something I penned today on the subject of the Battle of Britain:

    Some thoughts on this historic anniversary.

    Firstly, while it is well known that a significant part of the reason that the RAF won the Battle of Britain was that Hitler decided to switch his attacks from the airfields towards London less publicised is that one particular individual who advised such a course, at a party in Lisbon in a friendly chat with the German ambassador and while AWOL from the British army, was the great uncle of young Prince Harry, none other than the Duke of Windsor, who somehow managed to be buried in Westminster Abbey in spite of being bang to rights a traitor and a Nazi.
    Secondly, when the Luftwaffe changed its focus to London, there had to be a huge political campaign to force the authorities to open the underground stations as shelter to the civilian population who were massively targeted in the bombing. At the forefront of that campaign, particularly in the East End, were members of the Communist Party, many of them veterans of the Spanish Civil War, where they had risked their lives in the fight against the fascist beast , while Chamberlain was appeasing it.

    Thirdly, we should never forget that Germany would probably have won the Battle of Britain were it not for the significant contribution of the Polish pilots. But we should also remember that Chamberlain made a promise to defend Poland from German aggression in 1939 that was impossible to keep without an alliance with the USSR, whose leadership made offer after offer to be involved in such an alliance only to be rebuffed not only by Chamberlain but by the Polish government themselves.

    The Poles defended Britain. Britain did nothing to defend Poland.

    The world was dismayed by the realisation that the USSR and Germany had made a non-aggression treaty in August 1939, but nobody more dismayed than those Communists who had risked their lives and watched so many of their comrades give theirs on the Ebro and at Jarama.

    But if the USSR had been brought into an alliance against Nazi Germany in 1938 or 1939 there probably wouldn’t have even needed to be a Battle of Britain.

  32. Karl Stewart on said:

    JN,
    THe USA is the most likely country to invade. Their track record tells us that they invade more countries than anyone else.

    They’ve never invaded a country that had nuclear weapons. They didn’t invade the Soviet Union or China because those countries had nuclear weapons,

    They did invade Vietnam, Cambodia, Panama, Grenada, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, because those countries didn’t have nuclear weapons.

  33. Karl Stewart: THe USA is the most likely country to invade. Their track record tells us that they invade more countries than anyone else.

    I’m well aware of that. However, for the US to invade Britain, to have any reason for doing so, would require a series ofhuge and at this point entirely hypothetical changes in British and/or American politics. Even then, there are other methods than immediately resorting to open war. It is not going to happen except in situations that are entirely speculative.

    No, the US didn’t invade the USSR or China (and neither did they invade the US). Possession of nukes was no doubt a factor in that, though the experience of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan may well have been instructive also. They did however fight proxy wars including in Korea and Vietnam. And there were incidents (most famously the ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’, though there have been others) which could potentially have escalated to the point of nuclear war.

    Not to mention, India and Pakistan. Israel. France.

    And what part of Trident is essentially controlled by the US, and therefore could hardly be considered a deterrent to the US, are you not getting?

    Can I ask, would you support the actual use of nuclear weapons? Or are they just for show?

  34. Karl Stewart on said:

    JN,
    Yes I’m completely ‘getting’ your opinion. You’re a pacifist and your response to a potential threat is to put your hands over your eyes and hope for the best. Your response to warnings about potential threats is to put your hands over your ears and shout loudly.

    I’m completely ‘getting’ all of that.

  35. Karl Stewart,

    Actually, no, I’m not a pacifist. But I didn’t ask if you understood my opinion. I asked: Do you understand the fact that Trident is controlled by the US? How then can it possibly be a deterrent to the US?

    I also asked: do you seriously believe that the US is likely to invade Britain? Under what circumstances?

    And finally, would you support the actual use of nuclear weapons?

  36. Karl Stewart on said:

    JN,
    And once again, yes I fully understand your opinion that you believe it’s impossible for the UK to have an independent military defence capability. Yes I completely understand that that is your opinion.

    No of course I don’t ever want nuclear weapons to ever be used.

    And once again, out of all the countries in the world, I think the USA presents the biggest danger to peace. In my opinion, based on its history and its current orientation as well, it presents a bigger danger of invasion than any other country does.

    JN, of course I don’t think an invasion by the USA is imminent or even likely at this time, but that is where, in my opinion, the biggest potential threat would come from, by comparison to other relative potential threats.

  37. In the highly improbable scenario of a socialist Britain with nuclear weapons being threatened with invasion from US forces (they’re already here, but we can leave that for the moment), what use would those weapons be? The US has lots more of them (and many of them are already here, too). Threatening to use them would simply lead to a far more devastating counter-threat, actually trying to use one would result in national incineration. Which is worse: invasion and occupation, or incineration? Occupations can be successfully resisted and ended. Incineration is irreversible.

  38. John Grimshaw on said:

    In one of Ken McCleod’s fine books he has the USA invading the UK which then Balkanises. The resistance flees to Scotland. If he’s around he could remind me of the title?

  39. John Grimshaw on said:

    John Grimshaw,

    The Star Fraction featuring a Trotskyist mercenary, the micro-state of North London Town (NORLONTO), near incessant low level warfare across the world dominated by an alliance of the USA/UN and artificial intelligence. Presumably Jezzer would live in Norlonto?

  40. Karl Stewart on said:

    John Grimshaw,
    JN is arguing that the UK does not need an independent and effective military defence capability at all.

    His position seems to be that this is an impossibility, and that there is no potential external threat to the UK that is even conceivable.

    And yes, he also claims not to be pacifist.

  41. Charming as it is to see my novel praised and name-checked, I can’t help feeling that there’s some displacement activity going on in this thread.

    The British left is facing the fight of its life. Surely somebody wants to talk about that!

  42. JOCK MCTROUSERS on said:

    Ken MacLeod,

    Yes, rather!

    So – CAN Jeremy sing? If so what do people think? Should he have sung the national anthem or not? This seems to be the only important question in the world at the moment judging by the output of the BBC news24 channel.

    By the way, I’ve noticed that some here seem to set some store by Paul Mason – the Channel 4 ‘economics’ gobshite – did anyone catch his hatchet job on Jeremy yesterday? Well, I suppose there’ll be much more of that.

  43. John Grimshaw on said:

    Ken MacLeod:
    Charming as it is to see my novel praised and name-checked, I can’t help feeling that there’s some displacement activity going on in this thread.

    The British left is facing the fight of its life. Surely somebody wants to talk about that!

    Ho, ho good point Ken. I only mentioned the book in the context of the comrades above having a slightly tangential debate about whether the US would attack the UK or not, and that about whether Trident should be kept or used etc. Maybe I was trying to lighten up. 🙂

    For what it’s worth I’m deeply concerned about Corbyn et al’s chances of survival. I missed out on putting a tenner down at 200-1 on his chance of getting elected I’m guessing I won’t be getting the same odds on him being in post in say 18 months time. The question is what needs to done in the face of concerted attacks by the establishment of which many PLP MPs now seem to be a part? I know lots of people on the left both independent and of other small Trot groups who have now successfully (re)joined the LP. No doubt there may be a certain amount of entrism but I have heard no concrete rumours. Presumably these activists can be used to bolster support for Corbyn etc. More important is the many supporters/affiliates who need to be convinced to join the LP. However simply just attending ward meetings will not be enough I thnk. These people will quickly have to turn themselves into a “fighting” force that engages with the ordinary people on Corbyn’s policies behalf. They should also target these establishment MPs in their constituencies. Whether this can happen I don’t know.

    My only concern is that putting too much energy into “the long struggle in the wards”, as one of my friends said, will detract from other matters such as the Trade Union Biil. What do others think?

  44. John Grimshaw on said:

    The problem also is the inevitable contradictions. Jeremy stands in front of the TUC one day and decries Benefit Cuts and then a member of his shadow cabinet appears on the increasingly annoying today programme the next day saying that Labour was in favour of the current benefit cap but not the new one.

  45. Well the national anthem was always going to be a no win wasn’t it?

    If Corbyn had song it at the Remembrance service last night he would have been accused of being a hypocrite by both left and right as he is a well known republican – though I gather he’s made cleat that the future of the monarchy is a fight he’s not going to have. Whilst not singing it allowed the media to work themselves up into a mock paroxysm of self righteous indignation over the insult it supposedly sent to British servicemen and women, and their families. (The thought did come to me this morning when I made the mistake of turning on Sky News for a sec that the Nazi saluting Windsors planned to scarper to Canada at the beginning of the War, and were only persuaded not to at the last moment for fear of the negative publicity.) I see now – and I am not really blaming Corbyn for this, he was in am impossible situation not least because members of the shadow cabinet jumped to criticise him – he’s said that he’ll sing God Save the Queen at future such events, making for the worst possible outcome. The next time this happens, I am sure Sky News will be decoding his performance for any apparent sign that he’s not 100% sincere.

    You know in a funny kind of way, it’s episodes like this – I say episodes, the vilification of Jeremy Corbyn has only just begun – make me ashamed to be British.

  46. John Grimshaw,

    I’ve just joined the Labour Party. I would love to see the replacement of my local MP, Louise Ellman, an MP who’ll only be remembered for her unswerving support for every Israeli war crime, by a local socialist, but I don’t think a campaign to unseat her – as it happens, I’d imagine she’ll probably retire come the next election, but the point stands – even if there was sufficient will (I don’t know if there is or there isn’t frankly) is ‘the way forward’. I just don’t an internal, fratricidal, Labour Party struggle would be productive. I’ve been there before. It’s horrible and it doesn’t work.

  47. John Grimshaw,

    Well yes, I get that. In respect to the Blairites, it’s been there since the election of Ed Miliband, and no matter how small and unrepresentative, unreconstructed New Labour isn’t going to disappear given their media profile. I see the Guardian led this morning on internal Labour differences over the EU – not that the Tories aren’t divided on Europe. But I hope that Jeremy Corbyn’s new way of doing things prevails somehow – I’m not entirely sure how – and the Labour Party doesn’t get dragged back to situation where activists put their energies into fighting each other first and foremost. At least, I don’t see that as productive for the left and I didn’t join in order to do that.

    Did you see him at PMQs? There’s been plenty of media class sneering about an old man reading emails, but I thought he did pretty well. And to me it represented a different sort of politics.

  48. Karl Stewart,

    You’re being highly obtuse and disingenuous. What I’ve written here is, it turns out, very similar to what Jeremy Corbyn has written in the article I linked to above. The arguments against nuclear weapons in general, and Trident in particular, are fairly self-evident. The case for Trident, especially as made by you, is an incoherent self-contradictory shambles.

    You do not have to be a pacifist (IE: someone who believes all wars, or even all violence, to be unjustifiable under any circumstances) to understand that war is inherently a bad thing and generally to be avoided if possible (that does not mean that, for example, the Spanish Republicans were wrong to fight back against Franco, or that the NLF/Viet Minh were wrong to fight back against the imperialists who occupied Vietnam). You also don’t need to be a pacifist to be against the mass murder of hundreds of thousands/millions of civilians through incineration, radiation poisoning, cancers, and birth defects.

    Corbyn’s long-standing opposition to nuclear weapons and to endless catastrophic imperialist wars is not (as the Tories and much of the press assert) an “extreme” position. It’s the reasonable and moderate position. It’s also the view of much of the public which has been largely denied representation at Westminster until now.

  49. John Grimshaw on said:

    Sam64,

    I think the in-fighting will be different this time, at least at first, rather it will be between left and right. That’s why its so important to mobilise the new forces that are going back to Labour after a period of disillusionment. It’s also important to counter the corrosive effect of “realistism” and patronisation that will eminate from the PLP.

    I didn’t read the Guardian today but I do hope that Corbyn eventually comes clear about his position on Europe soon. Or rather about what he wants the organisation to campaign for, if anything. I suppose he could just try to sit tight and see what happens in the referendum? I did see him on PMQs and I think he did okay. He made his point about a new way of behaving, including the public and there was not much the Tory attack dogs could do about it for fear of looking nasty and arrogant (which of course they are).

  50. Sam64: the vilification of Jeremy Corbyn has only just begun

    Yeah, and that’s the immediate issue here. The relentless hostility of most of the media (from the Sun, Mail, and Express to the supposedly more ‘quality’ and ‘liberal’, ‘left-leaning’ Guardian and Independent and the ‘neutral’ BBC). That and the opposition from the right-wing of his own party.

    Having failed to prevent Corbyn winning the leadership election, they’re now attacking him (and other members of the new Labour Cabinet, and his supporters, but above all the man himself) for literally everything he does or says.

    Like not singing the national anthem- who honestly cares?

    He appoints a shadow cabinet with a 50/50 gender balance (something matched only by the SNP, and maybe the Green Party), and gets accused of “sidelining” women from “top jobs”.

    He joins the Privy Council, which he is pretty much obliged to do, and which the same people would undoubtedly call him a “traitor” for not doing, and is accused of hypocrisy.

    Comments he made years ago are dredged up and blatantly misrepresented.

    “Overheard” and unverifiable quotes originating from a journalist employed by Rupert Murdoch are treated as legitimate news.

    Positions which are even moderately left-wing are invariably labeled as “extreme”.

    It’s crazy, and it really illustrates what kind of a “free press” we actually have.

  51. John Grimshaw,

    In an interview tonight on Channel 4 Corbyn said that his “instinct” was to stay in Europe and fight for measures that would improve the lives of working people, but we would all just have to wait and see what Cameron does. He made it clear that any change in any Labour party policy would have to be discussed properly first.

    I suppose the difficulty for Team Corbyn is that the party conference is only a week or so away and that doesn’t give enough time for them to really prepare their new positions properly or help the new members find their bearings.

    The behaviour of some the right-wing Labour MP’s has been truly scandalous this week and even some members of the new Shadow Cabinet have made things very difficult for Corbyn (particularly over this wretched singing incident). Gary Gibbon, the Channel 4 political editor said that one Labour MP (unnamed, of course) had said to him that a “bust-up” was coming and the left should be “put in a box” for the foreseeable future.

    I have never been in the Labour Party, but I feel like I ought to be doing something more to help although I am not sure how useful my contribution might be. I live in Kate Hoey’s Vauxhall constituency. I would be interested to hear exactly what comrades are doing now to resist the right inside the party and how internal communications might be developed so that the left can discuss how to proceed in the coming period.

  52. The left, or at least any part of it that is even remotely serious, needs to be absolutely supportive of Corbyn and the new leadership of the Labour Party just now. This is probably the best opportunity to reverse the rightward drift and hopeless stagnation of British politics that has presented itself for at least a generation.

    It’s still fragile, there are a lot of dangers and no guarantees, and we shouldn’t put all our eggs in one basket, but it absolutely has to be supported. There is no excuse for abstention or ‘third period’-style purist bullshit.

  53. stockwellpete,

    ‘I feel like I ought to be doing something more to help although I am not sure how useful my contribution might be’.

    That was pretty well how I felt so I joined, albeit just after the deadline for the leadership ballot closed. But I must confess, I don’t even know how the Labour Party works anymore at a local level. So I don’t really know what to do. When I was a member through the LPYS for about 18 months, 1981-2, the basic structure was the ward meeting and above that the constituency General Management Committee that elected delegates to the Party conference etc. Conference formally set policy. I did receive the other day a letter through the post from the CLP Sec inviting me the Liverpool Riverside AGM a week on Friday. Amongst other things, it will elect constituency officers and delegates to a regional conference. I’ll probably go along, but beyond that I am not sure what there is to do, not that holding Liverpool Riverside at the next general election is exactly a tough ask.

    BTW, the BBC reporting this morning that Corbyn ‘cannot foresee a situation in which the Labour Party will campaign for Britain to leave the EU’. Not just an important issue in terms of the Labour Party but the actual referendum. I gather that there’s currently a 3-4% margin to stay in, a Labour call for a No vote might well swing it BREXIT way.

  54. John Grimshaw on said:

    stockwellpete: In an interview tonight on Channel 4 Corbyn said that his “instinct” was to stay in Europe and fight for measures that would improve the lives of working people, but we would all just have to wait and see what Cameron does. He made it clear that any change in any Labour party policy would have to be discussed properly first.

    Well I think we can assume that Cameron et al want to stay in the EU but they are well aware that a significant number of Tory back benchers don’t and that there is a significant number of English voters (of any class) who don’t. This pattern is not replicated in Scotland, Wales and amongst Republicans in N.I. Therefore in order to get what he wants he will have to negotiate some kind of deal which gives the UK more autonomy (it already has loads anyway so this is a joke, but I guess its perceptions that count). In amongst this to appease the back benchers and business, and also get UKIP off the Tory back, will be the ending of or the severe weakening of any benefits that workers have gained via the EU. I know there aren’t many but there are some.

    Clearly the Left can’t support the Cameron position. And I think if Corbyn is waiting to see if anything comes out of this that he can support he’ll be waiting for a long time. There are other problems with his, admittedly logical position. First Euro-scepticism is not just the province of Tory supporters, there are substantial numbers of working class people who are also sceptics including traditional Labour voters. Secondly at least one union leader has already said that if Cameron gets his way then his union will campaign for exit, although this may just be a bargaining position, and thirdly a significant number of PLP members will campaign to stay in the EU whatever deal Cameron gets.

    So to my mind there is a conundrum. If Labour decides to campaign to stay in the EU post any Cameron deal come what may this may very well alienate unions and working class voters. If labour were, and this is extremely unlikely, to campaign for exit, it may very rupture the party, as well as alienating those voters who are broadly pro-EU. If it was just a question of taking a broadly abstentionist position, sitting tight, whilst attacking Cameron’s manoeuvres at every possible opportunity that would be one thing, but he will be under fearful pressure and expectation to say which way Labour is going to campaign.

  55. John Grimshaw on said:

    JN: It’s still fragile, there are a lot of dangers and no guarantees, and we shouldn’t put all our eggs in one basket, but it absolutely has to be supported. There is no excuse for abstention or ‘third period’-style purist bullshit.

    Agreed

  56. red mole on said:

    Sam64 : there were dozens of Corbyn supporters from Liverpool Riverside at the caucus meeting in Jack Jones House last night, along with Corbyn supporters from other Merseyside constituencies. The basis of an active left network in Merseyside which will defend Corbyn and provide practical support to new LP members is already in place. There are similar initiatives in other cities. Where nothing like this exists, comrades should set one up themselves in their own area.

  57. Karl Stewart on said:

    John Grimshaw,
    The LP leadership’s position is a firm and solid one of not being prepared to give a blank cheque or blind support to Cameron.

    To say that we will await the outcome of Cameron’s renegotiation of UK membership of the EU before we commit to a position is a sensible stance for people who take the ‘stay in the EU and fight to move it to the left’ position to take at this time.

    It’s intended to put pressure on the PM not to give up ‘social chapter’ clauses in his talks.

    By contrast, the Labour right-wing are being pathetic here. By saying they will support Cameron regardless of what final terms of membership he agrees with Brussels, they allow Cameron a free hand in his negotiations.

    They claim they want to remain in the EU because they want to protect ‘social chapter’ clauses, but their position is nothing but a craven capitulation to the Tories. It doesn’t even show any tactical sense from their own claimed perspective.

    Cameron will feel emboldened by these fifth-columnist traitors, and he’ll feel enabled to negotiate further opt-outs to ‘social chapter’ clauses safe in the knowledge that large numbers of Labour MPs have already committed publicly to back him regardless.

    The irony of this is that the actions and statements of those scab MPs will only serve to discredit themselves and, ultimately, will boost the ‘No’ vote.

  58. nattyfoc on said:

    I noticed Harriet Harman is dishing it out as usual on this pathetic gender issue not enough women nonsense!

    Women who argue for women only or percentage inclusion demean their-selves you should get selected on ability not gender i would have no problem with 100% woman shadow cabinet if they were selected on ability!

    Why have a shadow cabinet member just because its woman, we want the best on ability nothing else ie religion sexual orientation colour no TO discrimination!

  59. Karl Stewart on said:

    nattyfoc,
    He’s appointed more women than men to the Shadow Cabinet overall and, although he’s appointed John McDonnell to the top position, he’s appointed women to the next four most important posts – Angela Eagle Business, Heidi Alexander Health, Lucy Powell Education, and Lillian Greenwood Transport.

    Foreign Secretary is not very important by comparison – the UK is not a big player on the world stage and when a big foreign policy issue arises, the Prime Minister takes the lead in any case.

    And the Home Office lost 50 per cent of its brief when the Justice Department was created from it a few years ago.

    It’s actually men who are disproportionately represented in the Corbyn Shadow team, outnumbered in the top positions and outnumbered in Shadow Cabinet as a whole.

  60. John Grimshaw on said:

    Corbyn and labour will campaign for the UK to stay in the EU whatever is now the position. Although it was agreed that whatever anti worker agreement the Tories put in place will be over turned in the event of a labour government.

  61. #72 Interesting points John.

    The bottom line however is that the only logical and principled position for socialists, communists and other progressives is to be opposed to the EU and flowing from that the only logical and principled position in respect of the referendum is to call for a brexit vote.

    The more individuals and organisations within the labour and trade union movement, including the Labour Party, that can be won to that position the better, but ultimately we have to campaign and vote for what’s right.

    That’s one of the reasons that while I welcome the huge growth in the membership of the Labour Party post JC’s victory I intend to remain a member of the CPB.

    Whatever the Labour Party ends up doing about the referendum, we will be campaigning for British withdrawal.

  62. Karl Stewart on said:

    Vanya: Whatever the Labour Party ends up doing about the referendum, we will be campaigning for British withdrawal.

    I’ll definitely be campaigning for a withdrawal too, regardless of what the Labour Party decides.

  63. Is it just me or did anyone else think that John McDonnell was poor on QT tonight? Obviously, he had to apologise for wishing Thatcher should be shot, and his remarks about the IRA, but when he started a rambling defence about God Save The Queen, the word ‘weasel’ kept going through my mind. This guy is out of his depth as Shadow Chancellor.

  64. red mole,

    OK ta. I’ll be the one with the grey trackies (ye, I know, not unusually in Liverpool) as I’ll probably go up to the meeting on Pitt Street on my bike.

    I think Corbyn’s line has definitely changed throughout the week in relation to EU withdrawal. In interviews on Wednesday, he didn’t categorically rule out Labour campaigning for a No vote in the referendum next year, but he didn’t say – as he previously had – that this was a possibility either. Nor did he use the phrase ‘Not going to give the Tories’ a blank cheque. Rather, the line in the BBC interview he gave was one of looking for common cause for European like minds to try to shift the EU away from a neoliberal project. Syrizia didn’t have a great deal of luck with that. The reason for this shift of emphasis is that Corbyn is faced with the fact that he now leads a group of MPs, the PLP, who are generally strongly pro-Europe and believe, rightly or wrongly – wrongly in my view – that Britain should stay in the EU come what may, i.e. even if Cameron succeeds in getting rid of any social aspects to membership.

    The other thing he’s faced with in relation to the EU and other issues is that it’s difficult to insist on party unity on a given line given that he’s been a rebel for over 30 years. That’s not to say that the behaviour of some right wing MPs has been treacherous, as it has.

  65. John Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya: The bottom line however is that the only logical and principled position for socialists, communists and other progressives is to be opposed to the EU

    Why?

    I am unclear as to why the GMB thinks that if Cameron gets what he wants, then leaving the EU will allow the restoration of some workers “rights” in and of itself? Corbyn has already said that if/when Labour gets elected it will seek the restoration of these “rights”.

    How does the CPB (and others on the left) propose to differentiate it’s inevitably small intervention from that of the reactionaries? I concede that if serious parts of the Labour Party could be won to your position it could be a game changer, but given Corbyn’s decision how likely is that to happen?

    Have you given thought to the Scottish Question? Salmond and Sturgeon are already pushing for a new referendum. If the UK votes to leave the EU on the back of largely English votes then I think the Union will be teetering on the edge.

  66. John Grimshaw on said:

    Karl Stewart: I wouldn’t be too sure about that John, the Morning Star is reporting that the GMB has submitted a motion to the Labour Party conference committing the party to the “reserve the option to vote No” position.

    Do we know what other unions are saying?

  67. #85 A number of questions there.

    I won’t deal with all of them in one go

    On the question of differention, we won’t be capaigning on the basis of racism. In fact we will point out that fortress Europe is itself intrinsically racist.

    And we will be exposing the myth that even bèfore any successes Cameron may have in negotiating away those extremely limited concessions, that fundamentaĺly the EU is anything but an anti-working class, anti-socialist institution to its core.

    And ultimately there will be no room for differentiation on the ballot paper. If you vote to remain in you will be siding with Cameron, Blair, the CBI and US imperalism.

    Abd if you abstain you may as well vote to stay in.

  68. John Grimshaw: How does the CPB (and others on the left) propose to differentiate it’s inevitably small intervention from that of the reactionaries? I concede that if serious parts of the Labour Party could be won to your position it could be a game changer, but given Corbyn’s decision how likely is that to happen?

    One way is to present the argument that public ownership of our railways and public utilities cannot be implemented without running up against the legal code of the EU.
    https://21centurymanifesto.wordpress.com/2015/09/18/eu-membership-means-no-renationalisation/

  69. #85 And I wouldn’t be too sure that the exit left position will be as small an intervention as you seem to suggest.

    Let’s not underestimate the effect of what happened in Greece.

  70. Karl Stewart on said:

    Vanya,
    But also let’s not underestimate that scary bully Hilary Benn and his Chinese burns – those new Labour ‘yessers’ are an intimidating bunch!

  71. Actually, McDonnell was cringeworthy on QT about the national anthem issue. It would have been quite acceptable to reiterate that JC showed respect by his demeanour but wouldn’t sing it because he’s a republican. His justification – that Corbyn was too emotional to sing it – was a crap one and people must surely have doubts about the so-called new politics and the honest political convictions of McDonnell and Corbyn if they cave in so easily like this. Who but right wing tosspots would care if he sang it or not as long as it was consistent with his known socialist principles. I wonder what the next bit of backsliding will be.

  72. Doug: His justification – that Corbyn was too emotional to sing it – was a crap one

    Unless of course it happens to be true.

  73. Karl Stewart on said:

    There’s been some sickening hypocrisy from the Blairite scumbags over the tune. It’s never been a requirement to actually sing the song anyway. This clip from a 1970s comedy programme set during WWII shows what people really think about it…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uOYs4V6SGc&app=desktop

    …the most ‘loyalist’ person there does the same as Corbyn did.

  74. stephen marks on said:

    Karl Stewart,
    this is superb and deserves to go viral:

    God Save the Queen as sung by Jeremy Corbyn
    Words by Deborah Maccoby

    I am an atheist;
    Gods, who do not exist,
    I don’t invoke.

    And I do not agree
    With the absurdity
    Of Britain’s monarchy –
    This song’s a joke.

    But it’s the national
    Anthem, though worst of all
    There’s ever been.

    So I will let it pass;
    Paris was worth a mass,
    And I must sing, alas,
    God Save the Queen.

    And, though He is not there,
    To God I add a prayer,
    As plots begin:

    Ensure that nothing sticks,
    Confound their politics,
    Frustrate their knavish tricks –
    God save Corbyn.

  75. sussexlabourleft on said:

    Army threats against Corbyn are an affront to democracy
    Sunday 20th (September 2015)
    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    We cannot tolerate generals saying they would take “direct action” against an elected British leader

    THREATS from a senior general that the army would take “direct action” against a Jeremy Corbyn government show a jaw-dropping contempt for British democracy.

    Top brass “wouldn’t stand for” a prime minister committed to international peace, we learn in the Sunday Times, and would be prepared to use “fair means or foul” to stop a PM who “jeopardise[s] the security of this country.”

    The outspoken military chief remains anonymous, of course.

    But where is the chorus of condemnation we should be hearing from all parties concerned with Britain’s future as a democratic society, with the people’s right to determine our military and foreign policies accepted by all?

    After all, why should the military get to define what constitutes a “threat to our national security”?

    Few PMs have done more to put British lives in danger than Tony Blair.

    As Reg Keys, whose son Tom was killed in Iraq, wrote recently in the national press, Corbyn’s patriotism — which would have precluded lawless acts of aggression against foreign countries — is far more genuine than that of the armchair generals who wish to bomb their way out of every problem.

    It doesn’t work. For the invasion of Iraq created a failed state, provoked a massive increase in the power and influence of the al-Qaida terrorist group and sowed the seeds for the emergence of Isis.

    Radical religious terrorism was further boosted by the Western destruction of Colonel Gadaffi’s authoritarian but secular regime in Libya and by a flow of money and arms to the Isis-dominated revolt in Syria.

    The carnage Britain and its allies have unleashed in the Middle East has seriously endangered our security, but the military did not overthrow Tony Blair ahead of Iraq, or David Cameron on the eve of the Libyan bombing spree.

    It is clear, however, that what this general fears is not that Corbyn would put British lives at risk — but that his principled opposition to war would prevent our callous and corrupt Establishment from sending soldiers forth to die whenever it suits the interests of the ruling elite.

    Apparently, the army wouldn’t accept a refusal to renew our nuclear weapons arsenal — although polls show most Britons are opposed to splurging £100 billion on a new set of weapons of mass destruction.

    Indeed, scepticism about the utility of our nuclear weapons extends to the highest ranks of the military.

    “Nuclear weapons have shown themselves to be completely useless as a deterrent to the threats and scale of violence we currently face or are likely to face, particularly international terrorism,” Field Marshal Lord Bramall and two top generals wrote to the Times in 2009.

    Even Blair in his autobiography admitted Britain’s nuclear “deterrent” did nothing for our security. But when Corbyn says this, he is suddenly an existential threat.

    There is nothing surprising in this. Jeremy Corbyn is a threat — not to people in Britain. We would be a good deal safer under a government that pursued peace.

    But he is a threat to a rotten and discredited political system that exists to defend the privileges of a tiny minority. And as we are seeing, this system is not going to stop at media sneers and character assassination.

    No, the army might need to take “direct action.” Are we really hearing this?

    If Cameron cared a jot for the rights of Parliament or the rule of law, he’d be on the airwaves by now denouncing the real threat to our “national security” — an army that thinks it can forcibly reject the wishes of the electorate.

    He isn’t. Because our Prime Minister cares for no rights but those of big business and no rule save that of unfettered, unregulated capitalism.

    If you want to change that, the necessity of building a movement capable of getting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street and keeping him there is more urgent than ever.

    Sussexlabourleft

  76. Doug: the national anthem issue.

    It’s the most ludicrous non-issue imaginable. Corbyn did absolutely nothing wrong, in any way, by not singing ‘God Save the Queen’. It’s not something that should need to be defended, and you don’t need to be a socialist, an atheist, a republican, or even remotely left-wing to see that. It’s a matter of the most basic political and religious freedom of speech (or in this case, non-speech). I mean, is this an absolutist monarchy like pre-revolutionary France? Should he be broken on the wheel?

    It’s something we’ve all done (unless you’re a total bigot who refuses to associate with people of different religious beliefs than your own). If you’re at a Catholic funeral, say, and you’re not a practicing Catholic you don’t take Communion. If you’re in a mosque, you don’t pretend to be a Muslim. If you’re in a synagogue, you don’t pretend to be a Jew.

    As I said, it’s ludicrous. It’s just an excuse to attack Corbyn over nothing.

  77. London Labour Mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan has launched a curiously nasty attack on Corbyn and McDonell in the Daily Mail. I knew there was something about that guy that rubbed me the wrong way. I get the feeling a split is being engineered.

  78. Further to the previous comments from Omar and ‘sussesxlabourleft’,

    From Sadiq Khan’s Daily Mail interview:

    “He sniggers at Corbyn and McDonnell’s outlandish views such as a 60p top tax rate and nationalising the banks…. Khan pledges ‘passionate’ support for Nato, the EU and Britain’s nuclear deterrent”
    ( http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3241649/Labour-s-Mayor-savages-Corbyn-Party-star-Khan-damns-leader-anti-Semitism.html )

    “The unnamed general said members of the armed forces would begin directly and publicly challenging the labour leader if he tried to scrap Trident, pull out of Nato or announce “any plans to emasculate and shrink the size of the armed forces… The Army just wouldn’t stand for it. The general staff would not allow a prime minister to jeopardise the security of this country and I think people would use whatever means possible, fair or foul to prevent that. You can’t put a maverick in charge of a country’s security.”
    ( http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/british-army-could-stage-mutiny-under-corbyn-says-senior-serving-general-10509742.html )

  79. Well, I guess this confirms what the central issues are. Chief amongst them, Trident and NATO, and the unchallenged wealth and dominance of the rich.

    Honestly, I’d have thought they’d have held back on the military coup threats until (if and when) the left were actually elected to government.

    As for a split in the Labour Party, fine. Firstly, there’s not much Corbyn/the left can do to prevent that. Secondly, it might well be better to have the Blairites/right-wing attacking from outside rather than stabbing in the back. Let them go their way and see who the members, unions, and voters choose to support. The worst thing would be if Corbyn, McDonnell, etc try to appease the right: that would be a disaster.

  80. ….And now the Ministry of Defence is condemning “the unamed general”. Call me paranoid, but I kind of suspect that the anonymous statement and the condemnation of it were planned in advance by the same people and are intended as a kind of shot across the bows.

  81. John Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya: Let’s not underestimate the effect of what happened in Greece.

    What the Left party talked loudly and verbosely and then gave in to the power of capital?

  82. John Grimshaw on said:

    JN: Let them go their way and see who the members, unions, and voters choose to support.

    Tim Fallon is said to be very keen to acquire some new MPs.

  83. #102 I think it was clear that I was referring to the question of the EU.

    If Syriza spoke verbosely and loudly about that , it was always to emphasise their commitment to remain within.

  84. Btw, disgusting, pathetic but hardly surprising that Salmond added his voice to the chorus of condemnation on the ‘national’ anthem affair.

  85. John Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya:
    #102 I think it was clear that I was referring to the question of the EU.

    If Syriza spoke verbosely and loudly about that , it was always to emphasise their commitment to remain within.

    Back on track now I hope. Yes Vanya I knew you were referring to Europe, but I couldn’t resist. Besides I was right.

  86. John Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya:
    Btw, disgusting,pathetic but hardly surprising that Salmond added his voice to the chorus of condemnation on the ‘national’ anthem affair.

    Salmond is a very eloquent chancer. Mind you he doesn’t get it all right. On QT on Thursday he denounced Corbyn for not singing after quoting the verse from the National Anthem which calls on rebellious Scots to be crushed. He said well even if it says this I would still sing. School boy antics huh. Anyway he said the offending verse was number 4.

  87. John Grimshaw: Tim Fallon is said to be very keen to acquire some new MPs.

    No doubt he (Farron, incidentally, no offence) would. But would the electorate vote for them (the existing LibDems combined with a rightward split from Labour)? I suspect such a party would have little more appeal than the popularly discredited LibDems do now. But even if it did provide a boost to the LibDems at least there would be a clear choice presented to the electorate rather than Centre-Right Parties A, B, & C.

    Corbyn and the Labour left have nothing going for them in this fight except popular support. That is what they have to maintain and build on.

  88. Vanya,

    I would have expected Salmond to have more sense than to attack Corbyn/Labour under the current circumstances. Lining up beside the Tories is not likely to help the SNP, and I’d have expected Salmond (who, whatever else you might say about him, certainly isn’t stupid) to realise that and act accordingly.

    That said, the election of Corbyn to Labour’s leadership does put the SNP in an interesting and perhaps difficult position. It was very easy for them to be a left-wing alternative to a right-wing Labour Party without having to do much to prove it. A left-wing Labour Party (if it can last) presents them with more of a challenge to prove their sincerity.

    Before the general election, the SNP was able to put Milliband-led Labour in the position of having to prove where it’s priorities lay by offering co-operation against the Tories. With Corbyn and co leading the Labour Party that is now reversed and the Sturgeon-led SNP are at least potentially in a position of having to choose between their stated opposition to Trident, ‘austerity’, etc and their commitment to Scottish independence.

    Meanwhile, former leader of the Scottish Socialist Party, Tommy Sheridan, is organising rallies that seem more straight-forwardly nationialistic and less left-wing than the what the mainstream SNP are presenting.

    At the rank and file level, which we are all presumably on, we should be clear in supporting Corbyn as leader of Labour, Sturgeon as leader of the SNP, co-operation between Labour and the SNP in both parties’ stated opposition to ‘austerity’, Trident, etc, and opposition to the Tories.