Jeremy Corbyn is Not the Issue

jeremy-corbynThis week starts with the end of a twenty year entryist takeover of the Labour Party. The Blairite missionaries efforts have crumbled like a PFI school building. It is a failed ideology that has been rejected by its host. It’s time now for its advocates to leave and find another body to inhabit. It’s the end not just of a political project but also brings into question leadership styles, personality politics, media management and spin doctors and the meaning and role of participation in political movements. It’s virtually impossible for a media obsessed by personality to realise this, but in all of this Corbyn is just a bit player.

The delicious irony of what Gary Younge calls ‘the Labour establishment’ being defeated (again) by The Unelectable is worth noting. The Man Who Can’t Win keeps winning. And in his wake lie a stream of establishment failures. The much feted John McTernan is a serial failure across several time zones. The unreconstructed Blairite Jim Murphy was a catastrophe. Ed Miliband – only semi-detached from the Blair years was a spectacular failure, as was Gordon Brown, Blair’s deputy, who still appears fleetingly in times of crisis.

Circling the (Band) wagons

The vaudeville act that is the Ruth Davidson Party has reached out saying: “Labour may be increasingly divorced from its traditional support, but under my leadership the Scottish Conservatives will be there to speak up for those decent, moderate voters.”

You’ve got to love the idea of ‘decent voters’. I’m not sure if these are related to ‘filthy liberals’ or ‘hard working families’ but I’m sure we’ll be told.

But of all the opportunists rushing to make political capital out of Labour’s supposed crisis, the funniest / sickest has got to be the Liberals, who sent out plaintive messages yesterday: “Labour seem to think that winning elections is a bourgeois distraction. But you have to be in power to redistribute wealth’ – only to be reminded ‘Foodbank usage went up 41,000 to 1.0 million while you were in government. Sit down.’

Holodeck Politics

If Corbyn’s victory was in the face of an overwhelmingly hostile media, with a rigged election – it was a useful practice for what he will face in the General Election. The reality is that he won by a huge majority and would have won by much much more if it wasn’t for purge and electoral shenanigans and smears.

If the ‘phenomena’ of Corbynism with its mass rallies runs the risk of shielding participants to the ‘real world’ beyond in a way that may be familiar to fellow Yesers, the reality is that Labour is now the largest left party in western Europe, with all of the campaigning foot-soldiers and filled-coffers that that brings. And, if poor David Torrance whining in the Herald today has ‘no idea about what Corbyn would actually do in the unlikely event of winning the next general election’ – this must be because he either isn’t paying attention, isn’t getting the press releases or is so obsessed with the SNP as to bother. It’s pretty explicit and has some real detail.

nashmurray-460x335It also has the potential to cause some real problems for the SNP, if Scottish Labour weren’t led in Scotland by the feckless and the hapless. It remains to be seen if Dugdale’s perfomance can allow her to survive until her inevitable removal next year when she will lose Glasgow.

Of course there are also other massive obstacles to success for Labour north and south of the border.

Their position on the constitution is incomprehensible and affects potential for collaboration against the Tories in Westminster. There position on Trident is simply incomprehensible.

They have been decimated in Scotland and appear not to have noticed.

In a new twist to the weirdness the Scottish Labour Party are now urgently seeking autonomy in order to oppose further autonomy for Scotland.

Whatever the outcome in Scotland, Paul Mason suggest the following facts need to be faced:

  • A hard-core of Labour coup plotters intend to destroy Labour as an effective opposition between now and 2020.
  • Corbyn to become prime minister means Labour will have to win as an insurrection or not at all (For the sake of clarity, this is a metaphor not an actual call for armed insurrection).
  • Labour has suddenly become a mass party. It can become, as Corbyn says, a social movement. But this would be something new in Labour politics and therefore difficult to achieve and hold together.
  • The route to power also involves Labour itself becoming a more formal alliance and, in turn, being prepared to make political alliances across party lines.

This is not about Jeremy Corbyn because the energy and membership that has infused at least English Labour with radicalism and energy has its source in waves of social movements of the past ten years, from Uncut to Occupy and beyond.

As Tony Blair sides with the Conservative Govt to try and shut down the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (Ihat), we are standing on a crossroads of UK politics, and sitting MPs need to decide whether they leave or work with their members. If they do as some have claimed to ‘carry on the war’, they will and should be deselected.

Either way, Jeremy Corbyn is not the issue.


Comments (24)

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  1. John Edgar says:

    Labour is now under Corbyn no longer a UK party; it is an English phenomenon within Labour as the Scottish and English political worlds diverge. First the Tories went down the stank after the Thatcher years and have only managed one MP since Major’s oblivion. The LibDems collapsed after the coalition with Cameron, who himself has gone, but with Labour the biggest and most dramatic collapse had taken place over a short time span. Labour, as Small has noticed, do not yet seem to have noticed the utter collapse in its standing north of the Tweed. The anglo- thirled msm are blind to the fact that Labour have collapsed in Scotland where they once were dominant. All it mentions is the wee Tory revival now at 21% , whereas the SNP are at 50%. The msm are still star- struck by Ruth Davidson riding to the Tories wee rise on a buffalo and other naive stunts!
    Corbynism is unreconstructed londonisation and centrism from dahn sath. He is no devolutionist max. A closet brexiteer, he is a little englander-socialist, who is not Holyrood friendly. Outwardly populist, yet he hides the centrist Westminster cudgel well. Do not be taken in!
    His acolytes’ language and comments on matters Scottish, even on “Scottish” Labour are dismissive and send the signal that the dominance rests with dahn sath.
    That places the increasingly hapless and confused Kezia Dugdale in a dilemma. Anti-Corbyn, yet westminsterite and better togetherish, she can never square the circle.
    The stank awaits.

    1. Crubag says:

      Yes, but the collapse is self-perpetuating. MPs are typically the senior players in the creation and execution of policy.

      For UK parties, if you lose your Scottish MPs you not only lose in the present, you also lose in the future as you no longer have an effective channel for raising Scottish issues or developing Scottish-based solutions.

      The Labour party of today would not be capable of imagining the need for, or promoting, a Scottish Parliament.

      1. John Edgar says:

        Logical conclusion is: Independence, cut out Westminster. Brexit will per se reduce Westminster’s influence EU wide and world wide as it puts the UK on the outside.
        England declines, Scots leave the UK and we work to enhance our own sovereign parliament without nods and winks from Westminster.

        1. c rober says:

          Home rule , seems to have drapped aff the Labour party history books , you know the no1 thing on Hardies manifesto – the faither of Labour.

          What slab needs to do now is embrace the last remnants of red labour clyde people , ironically something that perhaps Corby is introducing , or is it reintroducing , to the English masses. Canny blame them , Ukip sold them oot wi brexit , lib dems sold them oot for being co – opted into government , and well Tories which at least means a decade of austerity so sold them oot for the bankers.

          In times of austerity , of housing shortages in social rented (pah thats coonsil ya bas) , you would have then thought that the solution would have been to do nationalised council rebuilding program , inward investment to break the funk , worked for every other recession/depression , and feck the banks. Creating in the process competition to the banksteres and their toxic loans that caused the financial crash. But I digress , a generation of austerity in order to recapitalize the banks is preferred , as is an import bias to keep wages low….as mortgages get oot of the reach of the median , and outside of the great state of London.

          The tories as mentioned in the piece on their rise in Scotland is in effect a direct result of an unnoficial coalition , where preferential voting has created that increase – not policy , nor buffalo girls character.Wee nic is imo at least keeping the snp in check , for the time being , but I fear when she eventually vacates the seat – circa indy ref ii failure , then it will revert to type , and one thats in no way socialist – but back to the Tartan tories , where essentially they are already on housing development for profit of the few . Dugdale though is for the most part a spitting image puppet , filled with indecisive foam , rather than a weathervane for change – its one for keeping her job….and therein lies the parties biggest single problem in Scotland.

  2. bringiton says:

    The current generation of Labour MPs have been completely indoctrinated into Thatcher’s TINA and will find it difficult to accept social democratic policies.
    The question for Corbyn is however,have the English electorate had enough of Thatcherism or will they continue to be brow beaten by HM press?

  3. w.b.robertson says:

    the blair and brown cliques produced the best Tory governments ever. but the ordinary punters eventually sussed that it did little or nothing to change society or benefit the poor.
    the Corbyn movement is the result. the present bunch of disillusioned Labour MPs should stop rebelling – and get out a bit more.

  4. Monty says:

    Don’t forget New Labour values found a safe home in the Tories under Cameron and the SNP under Salmond. They are not so secure now but Blairism is still firmly rooted in both parties.

    1. John Edgar says:

      Blairism in the SNP?
      Throw- away remarks without substance are foundation level.

      1. Frank says:

        Actually the SNP under Swinney’s farcical leadership in the early 2000s shifted to the right and were influenced by the narratives of New Labour. Note the references at the period to winning ‘middle Scotland’, supporting banking de-regulation and singing praise for neoliberalism in Ireland (the Celtic tiger). In fact, I can’t remember one SNP critique of neoliberalism or the financial sector in that period. The ‘Blairite’ SNP in this period were one of the reasons why Scotland’s rainbow parliament featured so many Greens and Socialists.

        1. MBC says:

          Sadly true, Frank. Remember Salmond schmoozing with Fred Goodwin? However, the appeal to ‘middle Scotland’ did work, it enabled moderate voters to identify the SNP as a ‘safe pair of hands’ under Swinney, and to allow the SNP their first taste of power in 2007.

          It’s also true that to win power you cannot move too far from the centre.

  5. Paul says:

    I had some faith in Corbyn until he failed to show leadership by opposing war on Syria and caved in on civil rights.

    1. Alan says:

      They’ve also caved in on opposition to Trident and Brexit. Who knows what’s next. The Tories must be quaking in their boots.

  6. Scott says:

    The British media have moved so far to the Right that any discussion on to and radio is so inherently to the Right and normalised as such that ideas presented as Left wing are still in this lexicon, painted as extremist and loony ideas. Th economic critique of the 21st century must be anti austerity and show how austerity was created and why and how people have been robbed by an elite of thieves no robbers and that the elites are the real class warriors who have stolen from the people to give to themselves and that they have printed money for free to give to their friends in bug business and give the bill to us to pass. QE to the banks is added to the taxpayer debt bill. So when the right wing news guy suggests the Leftys will take from the rich unfairly to help the poor, they hide the reality that most of the suffering and poverty has been created by the greed manipulation me lies of rich. Anti austerity needs laws to jail bankers and other financial crooks who rob others. They should be jailed and made an example of. The financial economy of the stock exchange casino and share speculation has to be reduced from being the parasite economy it is that bleeds the host to death and reduces living standards, to an economy of real work, real jobs and real services NOT the Goldman Sachs parasites bleeding us all to death. Labour MPs need to wisen up and find a way where they can represent the people not just themselves as celebrities. Wake up you idiots!

    1. wul says:

      Too right Scott.

      The elites of this country have been helping themselves to the wealth of our nation for centuries and laughing at us as they do so.

      Once they have purloined the fruits of our labour and natural resources they don’t spend it like normal folks. They hide it away in land, estates, stocks, trusts, offshore companies & bank accounts for future generations of their spawn to suck from.
      They have even invented laws & methods to multiply their unearned income for all time.

      It would cause some short-term pain for a political party to point this out and speak the truth but if we ever get these parasites off our backs, we will all have a better healthier, happier future.

      I’d happily see the so-called “masters of the universe”, “great & good”, “business giants” etc cleared off the Kirk steps and then put up with a few years of hardship to build a worthwhile place to live.

  7. Frank says:

    I see Bella columnist Gerry Hassan is tweeting again for the umpteenth time that supporters of Corbyn are members of a cult. Hopefully Bella remembers this next time Hassan is given a platform on this site to plug his book?

    1. I hadn’t seen that Frank, though Gerry was published because we were interested in his analysis not ‘to give a platform for his book’.

  8. Richard MacKinnon says:


    This is yet another article on Bella that seems to meander without making any specific point (Peter Arnott’s article 1983 of 25 September is another example if the same incoherence).
    I will highlight one example, (there are many I could use), as far as I can see the accompanying photograph is not referenced in the piece. So what is the point of this image?
    I think I know what is happening here. The focus of attention within politics in the UK has moved away from Scotland. The Labour Party and Brexit are what people are now interested in. The Scottish Independence argument has been settled but there are a few soldiers still out there on the hills and in the glens that cannot accept this and are desperate to keep fighting.
    If you read this article in this context it explains the incongruity of the articles’ last statement “Either way, Jeremy Corbyn is not the issue”.
    My advice is, that if you don’t have anything to say best say nothing at all.

    1. If you can’t see the relevance of the image I don’t really know how to help you.

      If you want super-literal imagery can I suggest ITN news?

  9. john young says:

    Get reading the latest article in “Veterans To-day” a site that blows the lid on what/where the power really lies in this horrible world,SNP,Labour/Tory et al mean nothing other than they when elected are adherent to the “dark powers”.I ask you all to take a peek well worth a visit.

  10. MBC says:

    How is Corbyn actually to win power? If the Labour party is perceived as divided, how are voters to know what they are voting for? He would have to get rid of and de-select the current MPs who have opposed him. How is he going to do that? And if Labour split into two parties, and the Blairites form their own party, how is the Corbyn party going to win enough votes under the first past the post system to defeat the Tories if the opposition vote is split? Remember UKIP’s four million votes and only one seat? Under UK electoral arithmetic the same thing could happen to Labour.

  11. Richard MacKinnon says:

    That’s weird, I’m sure I commented on this article yesterday. I did. I remember reading it and another by Pat Kane, and both are not here this morning.
    I wonder what is going on? Is it a coincidence that both comments were critical of the article? Censorship on Bella? No, impossible. I refuse to even consider the prospect that Mike Small will now only publish comments he has vetted and passed as ‘applicable’.

    1. The mistakes you both pointed to have been corrected so the comments dont make much sense any more.

      Do you want me to replace the typos and the comments too?

  12. Richard MacKinnon says:

    I never pointed out typos as you call them. I pointed out incoherent logic, rambling discourse and lazy journalism as you well know. So yes I want you to replace my comment. If the article remains published so should the comments. It allow others to form their own opinion having considered the point of the article and the criticism of it. That way people learn stuff.

  13. Anton says:

    I’m grateful for the link to Paul Mason’s article about the Labour Party, but I was considerably irritated by the section where he waxes ecstatic about the fact that “with 600,000+ members…street rallies and overflowing mass meetings…their mere existence is a new and central phenomenon in British politics”.

    A new phenomenon? Has he never heard of the SNP, which has proportionately twice as many members by head of population as Labour? Has he never heard of the SNP’s “street rallies and overflowing mass meetings”?

    Elsewhere in the article he mentions people who live in “a metropolitan fantasy”. To which I say, take a look in the mirror, mate.

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