Pity the purgers, their days are numbered

To people like me who joined the Labour Party (LP) in 2015 because of the election of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership, the subsequent behaviour of the LP bureaucracy and the PLP has been shocking and baffling. Instead of being welcomed into the LP as comrades-in-arms to build a popular LP that can defeat the Tories, we have been treated like skinhead gate-crashers at a middle-class wedding. It appears that the LP we joined would rather tear itself to pieces than accept us as legitimate members. What the hell is going on!!!?

In order for the anti-Corbyn elements in the Labour Party to behave as they have and still perceive of themselves as the ‘good guys’, which they clearly do, they must hold a really strong justifying narrative. From the arguments these folk make and the attitudes and postures they adopt, I extrapolate that this narrative goes something like this: Continue reading

Post truth politics is just invented, its not a reality

I wish people would stop using this idea of ‘post truth politics’ as an explanation for Brexit and Trump, and take responsibility for what really happened. For a start off when did politicians ever get the reputation of telling the truth?! For thousands of  years politicians have been renowned for being duplicitous, conniving, careerists who would say anything to get elected. All that is different in the Brexit and Trump campaigns is that the politicians are now so emboldened by the lack of resistance that they lied openly and blatantly. Secondly, people didn’t vote for Brexit because of the lies of the Brexiteers. Most people had adopted their voting positions long before the campaign began, same with Trump.

Politics is not a scientific activity based on objective fact, it is a cultural activity based on values. There is no way of objectively saying whether it is better to be in the EU or not! You can say unemployment will increase or decrease if we stay in or if we leave, or whatever, but even those figures are not ‘facts’ only predictions, and in any case such things will not ultimately convince most people one way or the other because most Remainers are driven by a cultural identification with middle-class ‘civilised’ Europe and most Brexiteers by the wish for national autonomy – neither of which have much to do with ‘objective facts’ but are based on values.

The post 1979 neoliberal consensus and the failure of the centre-left to protect the interests of their core voters is what has created this mess. Tony Blair claimed to be a post-ideology, pragmatist, responding to the reality of the real-world. But this is nonsense. Blair had accepted the TINA narrative and the ideological difference between him and Thatcher was paper thin. Ideologically Blair was a neoliberal capitalist and as such he carried out policies that made sense using the logic of neoliberal capitalism. This resulted in falling living standards for the many and obscene wealth for the few. Same with Clintonian Democrats in the USA. It is true that these New Labour capitalists were and still are, ‘liberal’ in the sense of ‘identity politics’ i.e. they believe in equal rights for minorities facing oppression based on race, creed or sexuality. BUT the identity politics agenda has resulted in a perception among the white majority that minorities (immigrants particularly) were/are being privileged over the indigenous population. Which in fact they are. The joke that to get access to public money these days you need to be a one-legged, black, muslim, transexual, lesbian, is based in reality. A reality that is justifiable in the sense that oppressed minorities have been and still are, genuinely oppressed and are entitled to public resources to overcome their oppression. But in terms of public resources oppressed minorities are perceived as being privileged while the ‘white’ majority  struggles endlessly to make a life while their real incomes fall and they are endlessly vilified in the media. And note I do not say the white working class majority because this sense of being sneered at and alienated in your own society applies equally to the middle-classes.

If you are a heterosexual economically struggling white man, especially a middle-aged struggling white man (regardless of class) it has become as if you are a pariah in your own country! You are under immense financial stress, the demands on you seem endless and you have no little or no autonomy, yet your own country treats you as if you have everything going for you and that you are the ‘bad guy’ oppressor of everyone else. It might make sense in a sociology text book to say that ‘middle-aged white men’ rule the world and are profoundly ‘priviliged’ but experientially for most of us living the lives of powerless, impoverished middle-aged white men it sounds pretty ludicrous!

And this is because economic ‘class’ has been omitted from the Clintonian/New Labour ‘liberal’ analysis. Blair claimed that ‘we are all middle-class now’. Yet a billionaire Asian lesbian has far more in common with a billionaire middle aged white man than she does with a poor Asian lesbian. Indeed they don’t live in the same world. And the billionaire Asian lesbian (or billionaire black gay guy, or disabled woman, or whatever) will exploit the poor Asian lesbian as soon as look at her and will have dinner on the white middle-aged billionaire’s yacht and discuss their new private jets over champagne and caviar.

So I would say to all those metropolitan, middle-class, liberals out there, stop whining about our supposed descent into post-truth politics and look at look at what is really happenning!

This is NOT 1982. Corbyn is NOT Michael Foot and Momentum are NOT Militant

So it has started already. David Blunket in the Daily Mail two days after the result (note that’s the Daily Mail!). Polly Toynbee in the Guardian today. Defiant speeches at Progress and Labour First fringe meetings.

The leadership is now established.  What purpose can be served by continued criticism of Corbyn as Party leader so soon after the election? Launching such attacks in the name of electability is incoherent and profoundly anti-democratic.

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JC4PM Sticks It To The Tory Conference!

Right, the leadership election is over, time to concentrate on the real enemies, the Tories!
 
They are coming to Birmingham this weekend and we have a real welcome waiting for them, including a fantastic JC4PM gig at the Birmingham Rep on the first day of their conference and in the building right next door!
 
This will be an in-yer-face statement that there is an alternative, there always has been and there always will be… in fact the alternative is having a right laugh right next door to the nasty party conference!
 
Get your tickets ASAP as this is the hottest ticket in town during the Tory Conference.
 
sticking-it-to-the-conference

It’s Only Common Sense!

The attacks on Corbyn and Momentum from the corporate media have completely exposed their role in maintaining the hegemony of the plutocracy we live in.

This morning on R4’s, Start The Week, Andrew Marr’s smug, insider, smirking with Margaret Hodge was sick-making – Momentum are an agent of the devil they sniggered, only half-jokingly.

Then tonight a Dispatches on C4 that was simply anti-Corbyn propaganda and took TV journalism to a new nadir. Then a Panorama on the BBC that while less vitriolic than the C4 show, was nonetheless founded upon a number of false assumptions.

Amazingly the day had started more interestingly as on R4’s, Today, as Nick Robinson did something that I don’t think I’ve heard any other MSM journalist do… he spoke to some Corbyn supporters! And he was clearly baffled and puzzled by what he discovered, because he found that these Corbynistas were NOT the Trots and looney left he had assumed, they were intelligent, rational, ordinary people attracted to a sincere politician proposing a genuine alternative to austerity. Speaking to them the Corbyn think didn’t seem quite so bizarre as it must appear from inside the Westminster bubble.

But overall today was pretty representative of the MSM’s perception that it is simply ‘common sense’ that markets are always more efficient than state planning, that competition will inevitably increase prosperity for all, that history is over, that there-is-no-alternative, that the ‘experts’ always know best, that ordinary citizens are not capable of making intelligent decisions, let alone ‘tough’ decisions, and that the electorate in the UK will NEVER ever, ever, elect an even mildly reformist leftie government ever again.

All of which is of course not ‘common sense’ at all, but a very particular political and economic position based on Neo-Liberal economics of Milton Friedman and Hayek. That fact that this truly absurd set of beliefs could become regarded by so many as ‘common sense’ is an illustration of how ‘hegemony’ and ‘soft power’ works.

If you want to know more about the absurdities of post-Thatcher common sense read this! It’s fecking brilliant and only costs 99p!!!

51skenvpyul

 

Hoist by their own petard?

The underlying assumption of New Labour strategy with regard to mass membership of the Labour Party was that mass membership would always push the party to the right (which was the direction in which they wished to go), and that the Party was only leftist because of a small number of left wing activists that ‘dominated’ Party meetings and structures but were unrepresentative of the wider public and indeed the Party membership. The assumption was that ‘the public’ and the rank and file membership would always be to the right of these lefties and thus the more members you got the further to the right the Party would go.

Even the £3 Supporters scheme for the 2015 leadership election was accepted by the PLP because it was assumed opening up the Party to the wider public would ensure the victory of a ‘moderate’ (read right wing) candidate.

Imagine their baffled horror at the events of the last 12 months!!!

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Triangulation = Strangulation

Saw this clip of Labour MP, Thangam Debbonaire, and Martin Manear, a member of the Momentum National Committee, being interviewed on ITV in the South West, and was fascinated by the MP’s logic.

In the interview Martin refers a number of times to the failures of  ‘triangulation’. Triangulation is an approach to the positioning of political parties developed by Bill Clinton’s team in the USA, and attempts to blend ‘the best’ of policies from both the left and the right and by doing so transcend these old political factions to constitute a third force in the debate, i.e. Tony Blair’s ‘Third Way’.

To those of us in the UK this sounds remarkably like the Liberal Democrats, who have not been in government in the UK since 1922! Nonetheless this ‘centrist’ idea was presented by Blair as being something new and something guaranteed to win elections because it would appeal to uncommitted floating voters, because the Third Way was presented as a pragmatic, post-ideological politics that was almost apolitical, thus appealing to apolitical, floating voters. It was also presented as if devising pragmatic policies to achieve practical, real-world outcomes, could be free of ‘divisive’ value judgements or ideological assumptions. Indeed, the Blairites cried, the pragmatic, rational, Third Way would surely appeal to all voters except of course the ‘crazy’ ideologues on the extremes of the old left and right wings?

In this interview several times Thangham Debbonaire (you really couldn’t make that name up could you) said, “We have to win over Tory voters to win an election.” She went onto explain that its no good appealing to left wing voters because they all live in labour safe seats and won’t win us an election. To me this seems a quite startling statement for a Labour politician to make; surely it is the Tory parties job to provide policies attractive to Tory voters, not the Labour Party? Continue reading