2007 - 2021

The Corbynite Manoeuvre

CoDhswiWcAUqBWDIt’s fashionable to deride anything and everything about the Labour Party. I’ve been doing it for a decade, charting their decline and collapse. There was a time when ‘Red Tory’ was a lazy slur, then it became a simple descriptor. But it’s to our benefit to have a progressive England to our south, as we move towards independence and years of Brexit negotiations, and it’s difficult to imagine how that is possible without a re-awakening of Labour, and the Greens and other progressive forces. Yes Labour have been a reactionary force in Scotland on constitutional (and other) issues, and yes, Corbyn seems weak and confused about the National Question, but we to look beyond that.

For those of us used to being distorted and vilified in the media the following may come as a surprise: Labour Party membership is now surging beyond half a million to over 540,000 ( more than all the other political parties in Britain combined) with well over 3 million affiliated trade unionists and over 180,000 registered supporters in just 48 hours. And they’re winning. They just won the mayoral contest here in Salford, and in Liverpool and in Bristol for the first time ever, and re-took Bristol Council for the first time since 2003.

Today the smears continue across the media.

As Kevin McKenna has writen today: “Words like “unedifying” and “unpleasant” don’t even begin to describe the campaign that the British establishment have undertaken to destroy Jeremy Corbyn. Try “sinister” and “malevolent” and “venomous” instead. Yet, when you assess the nature of the forces which are lined up against him and then observe how his very name brings them to a point where they begin to boil and froth, then you know Mr Corbyn must be a good man. As well as the entire Conservative Party at Westminster and the editors and leader-writers of Britain’s right-wing press, Mr Corbyn is reviled by corporate Britain’s executive class and held in barely concealed contempt by the BBC in London. You can almost smell their fear and you begin to understand that they are out to stop him at all costs.”

Speaking in Salford Jeremy Corbyn said:

“We are here, Labour is here, to empower people …As our constitution says, to create a society “… in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few. We are a social movement … and we will win the next general election only as a social movement. Some people don’t get this yet … they think a movement is something instead of parliamentary politics. It’s not … It’s what will make a Labour government possible. We have lost the last two general elections … we cannot carry on as before.”

Corbyn is re-making Labour, completely re-structuring it from the top-down Mandelsonian party of command and control to a completely different model. Expect the partys right wing to continue to wail and their scribes and commentators in the media to froth and foam, and expect the entire political establishment to sneer in complete incomprehension, but try and bypass this and watch what’s actually happening.

The political-media elite can’t comprehend Trump, derided the Yes movement and and are convinced Labour are moribund because they don’t play by the rules of modern politics. With Corbyn polling 32% ahead of Owen Smith, the membership surge has effectively just handed Corbyn’s team a cheque for £5 million.

Remind me who’s the bumbling fool in this scenario?


Comments (33)

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  1. nick says:

    the stakes for a change are enormous, this is a fantastic opportunity for real change that is democratic and empowering and not just for these islands…and we are winning…millybandium got 29%, corbyn is on 31% despite the treacherous scabs and scum in the plp…

    have you seen owen’s campaign page on facebook – its a hoot, over-run by corbynista’s asking owen what democracy means to him and so on… with a paltry 8000 likes compared to corbyns 1/4million…

  2. Donald McGregor says:

    The Jeremy Corbyn thing gives me shivers of delight as it transports me back to my late 1970’s Daily Mirror reading days, in terns of aspirations.

    He seems like a man of (ruthless) principle, although sadly one of those principles seems to mean nil, nada, neinte, support or dialogue with us through our very own SNP. Maybe Alex Rowley holds the key to getting the rump of the oblivious over the line?

    1. nick says:

      he is a democrat, but one thing at a time in this time of struggle surely? scotland is set on independance with or without the blessing of rUK i think just because of the pro-democracy arguments alone and lets face it the UK was invented to create and despoil the empire which has gone and so has its raison d’etre…

      1. catriona says:

        I wish people would stop talking of rUK. There is no rUK when Scotland leaves the UK. The only united kingdoms are those of England and Scotland. England conquered Ireland at the bequest of the pope almost 1000 years ago and Wales about the same time. If Scotland leaves we have England and its conquered territories left. Maybe they should call it Greater England!

        However maybe Northern Ireland will leave too and maybe one day Wales will wake up and realise their potential as a Celtic nation.

        1. Anthony forry says:

          You won’t get a referendum from the tories under may the snp are firing blanks another blairite incharge of labour Scotland you sneer at the real struggle for democracy of a corbyn led labour in england ….wake up kids in poverty education fees rising the wealthy getting richer .

  3. Mike Edwards says:

    What I’m seeing in the pro-indy media and social networks is a complete lack of understanding about how important it is to have a progressive government in Westminster for any chance of meaningful independence in Scotland. And after independence it will continue to be vital that the rUK is on side.

    There was a reason Cuba ended up as it did. If your main trading partner and local military/security state is not on side, it is going to shape how your state developes and operates.

    Thinking we brute force independence past Westminster (which is what many seem to advocate) and end up in some kind of Scottish utopia is utterly deluded 🙂

    1. nick says:

      i also agree with you, but don’t you notice the tories in partic but labour too (branch office etc) ignore scotland when and if they can – a region not a nation – SO you have to smack ’em over the ‘ed every now and then with UDI and UN Rights to Self-Determination…

    2. tartanfever says:

      Main trading partner ?

      Why is the UK our main trading partner ? Basically because we have an inflated currency and our exports are too expensive to sell elsewhere.

      Why is our currency inflated ? So the City reaps the rewards of a strong currency which everyone else wants to trade in. All the UK’s eggs are in one basket, the City of London.

      Whats going to happen to the City of London ? On Brexit, it’s most likely that they will lose their European banking passport, which will see an exodus of foreign banks and other businesses leave London for new bases in the EU.

      What will happen to the City ? Mervyn King (ex-BoE chief) isn’t worried. Why ? Because he thinks that the City could make up any losses by becoming the most de-restricted financial centre in the world.

      What does that mean ? Anything goes – money laundering, untraceable accounts/tax evasion, no regulation on banking practice, and a 0% Corporation Tax (already being called for by City lobbyists)

      This is the plan to save the Financial sector in the UK. An industry that provides 30% of all UK tax revenues is about to ‘go rogue’.

      Is this a good reason to stay in the UK ?

      1. Mike Edwards says:

        Hi, yes i agree with your analysis – I’ve been saying the same for a number of years. I think you missed my point through. I’m pro-independence. But we will still be under the influence of The City and its security state – we better recognise that.

        1. tartanfever says:

          I know you’re pro independence Mike, i just don’t agree with your analysis. I think the people of Scotland deserve to know what they will be signing up to if we vote No again.

          We need an export market to the EU, not London, and any trade with London will be determined by the deal between the EU and them. There will be no dealing between the rUK and Scotland, that will all be determined by London and Brussels We need to concentrate on Europe, the trade deals we have in place whilst being in the EU and look to the rest of the world.

          At present, publicly I’m busy lambasting the City of London, and the utter calamity thats about to hit it and the knock on effect that will have to the regions.

          Look at the North East – many areas voted to leave the EU, they rely on City taxes to fund their regional shortfall (far, far worse economically than Scotland) and they are about to lose their main employer – Nissan – as the company profits take a hit due to new tariffs with Brexit and they end up moving to France to stay in EU territory. Meanwhile, the minister for Brexit, Tory David Davis, unbelievably refers to this as Britain’s ‘indigenous car industry’. They are also about to lost £100’s of millions in EU regeneration subsidies.

          The utter mindlessness of the decision and the crazy reaction from politicians is what we need to highlight in Scotland, not play softly, softly.

          1. c rober says:

            Tf , I never seen the north east results coming in like they did. IT really is a shot in the foot for its larger employment sector , Nissan Renault can easily move lock and stock to Poland , Romania , Portugal , the infrastructure is there as is cheap wages… they will be courted already,

            So its an endemic failure of that electorate , to realize the failures of successive Uk Govts to improve their failures on supply , be that housing , employment or services including health and swallow the lies of everything being the EU fault.

            Geordie Shore , intellectuals , nuff said.

  4. john young says:

    What we inmo as independanistas should be doing is to tell the doubters that we are not breaking up Britain and floating off into the N Atlantic,we are going to still be partners with England we will still trade with them we will still welcome them,all we are wanting is self governance and that it would be a great benefit to both countries to work in harmony with each other,this I believe would bear fruits for both.

  5. Valerie says:

    It makes sense to have a neighbour that is successful, and progressive, but I predict the Tories will be in power for the next 10 years, such is the disarray on the Left. Things are moving fast, and the Tories are up and running, whilst this morning, the latest Labour fight is about office space.

    I wish those south of the Border well in investing in Corbyn, but as far as I’m concerned Corbyn has nothing to offer Scotland. He has had a proper go at SNP on a number of occasions, and regardless of your opinion, they have been in office since 2007, so know what they are doing, and hold power.


    SNP in Westminster, have tried numerous times to get Corbyn to align on various things, and he refuses. He wouldn’t whip his MPs on Trident, a major failing in my opinion.

    I also question the £25 thing, and subsequent funds, there is still a question over their ability to vote, and I know of some who have foregone paying a bill, to get a vote. This will stagger on until September???

    Meantime, Slab have the perfect opportunity to make the break and work for this country, instead they join in with the circus.

    1. A2 says:

      “He has had a proper go at SNP on a number of occasions,”

      Quite clearly because his understanding of the situation has come from the Labour establishment here. Guilty I’m afraid of taking their view at face value as anyone in his position would whilst thinking that they actually had a clue.

      Of course he’s now less likely to invest much faith in Keiza Dugdale’s opinion after her fantastic support over the last month!

  6. Rab McKeith says:

    labour can’t even open a door, let alone govern a country.

    the tories will go for an October 2016 or May 2017 election, labour will be split or still fighting each other.

    I see why labour MPs want rid of Corbyn, the way they have gone about it has been utterly crass, useless and counter productive.

    Problem for labour now is who should replace Corbyn?

    Smith is a light weight opportunist with no background, he will fail. Here’s the rub, there is no one in labour capable of uniting, leading and moulding labour in to an effective opposition and government in waiting.

    We are looking at the tories being in power for at least ten years, this is ten years Scotland can not afford.

    The realisation of continued tory rule will be the trigger that sees labour unionists moving to Scotland’s side in the next referendum, this key movement is the sign sturgeon will use to time that referendum.

  7. David Allan says:

    The Scottish Labour party in contrast to a past history over many years of leftist thinking are now well adrift of the Labour membership in the south.

    With Neil Findlay and Alex Rowley fighting a lonely cause. Both need a help to step up and challenge the direction of the Scottish Party and encourage debate on it’s out of touch attitude to Scottish Independence.

  8. Mike Fenwick says:

    I know this may appear off at a complete tangent, but hovering in the background to everything else that is going on, and for sure there is more than enough – is the decision to be reached by the police and/or the Electoral Commission on whether to follow through on the Channel 4 evidence against 28 Tory MPs, and declare their elections void.

    A decision to proceed against more than 12 of those 28 and we all better get up to speed on chaos theory.

    1. I dont think its a tangent at all – a pliant and dopey media is the Tories friend but it blind sides them to upcoming problems. Their internal problems are not resolved and the economic chaos of their stupidity is mounting. Labours problems are all transparent and in gorey detail but the Tories are hidden in plain sight, to coin a phrase

  9. Alan Bissett says:

    Good work, Mike. Momentum are clear allies of progressives in Scotland, whether in the Yes movement or in the left of Scottish Labour. Like you say, a revitalised England is as much of a priority as an independent Scotland, so Yes should clearly be supporting Corbyn against the right-wing forces in his own party and beyond.

    If Corbyn can successfully remodel Labour to the extent that Momentum candidates are standing in Scotland I’d consider voting for them at UK General Elections, even though I’ve never voted Labour before (clue: the first time I was eligible to vote was 1997). It’s too important not to.

    Closer connections between Yes and Corbyn would certainly lay the groundwork for co-operative relations between Scotland and England after independence; or, if independence is averted once again, help facilitate a socialist UK. Both of these things are positive results, and achievable if the Labour left and Yes can drop their mutual suspicion, based on the phantom bogeymen of ‘nationalism’ or ‘Red Toryism’.

    Together, the grassroots forces which rose up in Scotland in 2014 and the similiar one currently nourishing Momentum can establish a progressive vision across these isles, with or without independence as the carrot.

  10. Frank says:

    I like Jeremy Corbyn, wish him well and despise those on the Labour right who have organised a coup against him, however, I don’t share the optimism of this article. Corbyn’s leadership has proved that it is next to impossible for Labour to be reclaimed by the radical left. In Scotland, Corbyn’s disastrous leadership has only strengthened the cause of independence because it highlights just how remote the chances are of Britain being reformed from the left. This is the beginning of the end for Labour and neither the Corbynites, the Blairites or the centre left has any chance of defeating the Tories in 2020.

    1. Colin Mackay says:

      How is it proven? He is still the leader and overwhleming favourite to win the next contest, they’ve thrown what they have at him and he is still standing pretty firm it would appear. The media is constantly downplaying anything remotely radical in England, I’m not sure we really know how big a chance there is of a grassroots led Labour being a success.

      1. Frank says:

        ‘How is it proven?’

        Is that a serious question? Surely the events of the last few weeks highlight how Labour is split from top to bottom with Corbyn unable to even form a coherent Shadow Cabinet (which of course is not his fault). And neither is it his fault that the PLP don’t support him either, yet the fact that he can’t command the support of his own MPS is a major problem? Let’s say Corbyn wins. Then what? I don’t see any coherent strategy for defeating the Labour right, who also have a social base in the party. Scotland has been lost to the SNP whilst in the North of England Labour are losing votes to UKIP. There is no Corbyn effect in Scotland – in fact the Corbyn debacle, coupled with the EU referendum, has the potential to win many progressives in SLAB over to the cause of independence.

        I’d love for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour left to reclaim Labour and for Corbyn to form a left wing Labour government. But I just don’t think the British state is reformable from the left, which is the primary reason I support Scottish independence.

        1. c rober says:

          If Corby is proven leader by the electorate , but not his party’s politicians , then it means removal of the whip from half the party at least , where he will find old gaurd politicians within the council establishment to replace them. The fact is Labour is gaining ground with the local vote , those whom arent obviously Nulabour are getting the returns.

          Under his watch the party needs a Scorched earth policy , of submit , commit , or get tae fit.

          But what has removed him from my esteem is the silence on Scottish Labour , on Indy , he knows that SLAB are still very Nulabour , and this is shown by the return of but one MP. Its not simply a hands off approach , trying to appear that the status qou has been removed.

          Even in the Holyrood elections those that remained are were only by the skin of their teeth by using the list vote , and is something that keeps those that run SLAB in power through being rewarded for failure – irking those that voted to remove them democratically , and only serving to move that core voter next time to another party.

          He , Holyrood and SLab need to redress that asap , its time for list change , removing ineffectual leaders , to the betterment of all parties. OR dare I say it , get rid of the list system alltogether , that is until Westminster decides to also use it.

  11. tartanfever says:

    What reason have we got to trust/admire/like Labour in Scotland ?

    Shafted/U-turned/ignored or otherwise over decades and then a quantum shift to the right that made them a party of the wealthy.

    Add to that the party responsible for a an illegal war and the murder of over 500,000 innocents in the middle east.

    Are you kidding me ?

    When the Labour Party call for Blair to be tried as a war criminal and offer serious cash compensation claims to the people of Iraq plus accept complete responsibility for their actions then i think they may be a party with some decent human qualities. Until then, their MP’s and their supporters are just a bunch of…

  12. Walter Hamilton says:

    The once great Labour party is still at it, tearing themselves apart, it has come down to silly playground bickering and name calling between individuals now. I would not be surprised if Theresa May called an election after the Commons return in the autumn and after the summer recess. The Labour branches should make it clear to all those Labour MPs that if they do not fall in behind the leader, they will be deselected from standing in any future election. Clear the lot out and start afresh; if the Blairits will not give up power in Westminster then they should be forced into doing so by the grass roots of the party. I may have no sympathy for Labour but the country needs a proper functioning parliament and that means a credible opposition, the SNP are doing their best but will always be outnumbered and sidelined at every opportunity by the unionist parties. If Labour can not get their act together then we have to change the voting system to reflect better the diversity in the country rather than a rigged first past the post system that keep these two dysfunction parties in power, better still independence from all this power struggling silliness.

    1. reallyoldhippy says:

      “The Labour branches should make it clear” They can’t – all Branch and Constituency meetings have been cancelled ’til after the leadership election is over. Can’t have the membership discussing the issues, never mind proposing anything.

      There is a major sea change happening with Labour. In England at least. The establishment are fighting it with fair means and foul using the money and media at their disposal and the fact that the higher echelons are stuffed with Blairite place men and women. I think most of those half million new members would look more favourably on Scottish independence than previous policy.

  13. punklin says:

    Yes it is surprising and encouraging that grassroots labour has been so revitalised and is helping Jeremy Corbyn to be so tenacious.

    But I cannot share your optimism beyond that. The powerful right wing and most of the mps have to be forced out with a fundamental split. This could give rise to a newly constituted party, free of complicity with the establishment. Yet it is hard to see that happening, however much we wish it would.

    Meanwhile in Scotland labour would have to become pro Indy and again though desirable, seems v unlikely.

    Hope I’m wrong on both counts…

  14. Fay Kennedy. says:

    It’s easy to spit the dummy and sulk about the past but the people of England and other countries need a centre left party or even parties to shift the right wing dominance. Am cheered up by the political debate that Corbyn’s position has encouraged. Here in West Australia am stopped more and more about what’s happening with the independence movement. The MSM are so off the mark when it comes to what the ordinary people are thinking. Thank you Bella and your ilk for your challenging and necessary journalism.

  15. Mach1 says:

    The bile reserved for Corbyn from his own colleagues is itself a reason to turn away from the Labour project. In truth, since Lamont and Miliband’s branch office days, it has been obvious that the Scottish Labour leadership simply do not know which way to turn. Lost in all the muddle is Labour’s proud history of championing home rule, whether in Scotland or Ireland. By sidelining the devo-max option on 18 Sept 2014, Labour sold out both their traditions and their hopes of remaining relevant in Scotland. Events since suggest there is no way back for Scottish Labour, at least until independence is won.
    As for Corbyn’s long term prospects? Just dust off a recording of Alan Bleasdale’s A Very British Coup. Watch it and realise that a Corbyn victory is never going to be allowed to happen.

  16. John Edgar says:

    Corbyn is not progressive as far as Scotland and Holyrood is concerned. He is a centrist, londoniser . His socialism means less power to Scotland. He supports no additional powers to Holyrood.
    Do not be taken in ! He is a sotto voce britnat westminsterite . That means more of the same westminsterite
    centrism. And Scotland being denied direct access to the world.
    Labour nationalisation meant londonisation in the past. British goog meant a denial of Scotland’s needs .
    Time to ditch ukoklabour.

  17. Hamish says:

    Within Scotland Corbyn is an irrelevance.

  18. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    Don’t take this the wrong way Mike, but you’re delusional. From the tory right to labour left, they have one thing in common with regard to Scotland. A post-imperial hangover. Scotland is theirs!

    All I’ve heard from Corbyn and his cohorts is Scotland can’t afford Independence.

    I agree that the establishment are scared of him. He’s an antagonist, no more no less, who will be re-elected because the Labour PLP are complete and utter non-events.

  19. Connor McEwen says:


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