Saturday, October 3, 2015

British Labor Consigned to the Corbyn of History

I saw the blogs and alternative media talking up the guy, but I'd never heard of him until I saw this:

"Britain’s Labor Party swings left, picks Jeremy Corbyn as leader" by Stephen Castle New York Times  September 12, 2015

LONDON — After three decades as a political outsider and clarion of the left, Jeremy Corbyn on Saturday won the leadership of Britain’s opposition Labor Party with an emphatic victory.

Corbyn, 66, won the role with the backing of thousands of newly recruited supporters, and in doing so delivered one of the biggest upsets in modern British politics.

His program includes expanding the economy, nationalizing energy and rail companies, scrapping nuclear missiles, and undoing the centrist policies of his predecessors as the party’s leader, including former prime minister Tony Blair.

Corbyn’s victory underlines the extent to which European political structures have been destabilized by the aftershocks of the financial crisis in 2008, with voters increasingly attracted away from the political center ground, either to the socialist left or the nationalist right.

However, Corbyn’s positions appear to have shallow support among fellow Labor lawmakers, suggesting he may struggle to unite his party.

Already being undermined. Great.

Several senior party figures, including Emma Reynolds and Tristram Hunt, have already announced that they would not be serving in Corbyn’s team, though another, Hilary Benn, promised to support him.

On Saturday there were jubilant scenes after the release of results showing Corbyn had won almost 60 percent of the vote, crushing his three opponents, Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham, and Liz Kendall.

“We don’t have to be unequal; it doesn’t have to be unfair; poverty isn’t inevitable,” Corbyn told a cheering crowd in a short acceptance speech.

“Things can change and they will change,” he added, decrying “grotesque” levels of inequality, and blaming the migration crisis sweeping Europe on the bitter legacy of going to war. One of his first acts, Corbyn said, would be to attend a demonstration in London to highlight the plight of refugees.

Corbyn’s perceived integrity and his willingness to speak his mind have struck a chord in a party in which many supporters were left disillusioned by the leadership of Blair, whose decision to join President George W. Bush in invading Iraq poisoned his legacy.

Related: “Your Lies Killed My Son’’ 

That struck a chord with me, and still does after all these years. 

Yet Blair is one of only a handful of Labor leaders to win a general election, and critics fear Corbyn will turn the party into a protest movement rather than a realistic alternative to the Conservative government of Prime Minister David Cameron.

“I’m learning how to grit my teeth and bite my tongue,” said one Labor lawmaker, who asked not to be named to avoid alienating Corbyn, speaking outside the center where the results were made public.

Corbyn’s parliamentary record as a serial rebel who frequently defied the party line will also make it hard for him to appeal for loyalty.

Agents of change for the good-- if that is what he is and not another false friend served up as an alternative --never even get a chance to get started.

On Saturday, political opponents moved quickly to condemn Labor’s leftward shift. Michael Fallon, the defense secretary, described the party as “a serious risk to our nation’s security, our economy’s security, and your family’s security.”

“Whether it’s weakening our defenses, raising taxes on jobs and earnings, racking up more debt and welfare, or driving up the cost of living by printing money — Jeremy Corbyn’s Labor Party will hurt working people,” he said in a statement.

More worrisome for Corbyn may be internal critics, however. Steven Fielding, professor of political history at Nottingham University, said that his strong showing made it likely that his opponents would lay low and hope for him to trip up.

“I think there will be some kind of cease-fire” for six months or so, he said, while they wait for Labor’s opinion poll position to start to fall.

And if it doesn't?


He's already whistling a different tune:

"Labor leader arrives using a fresh tone" by Gregory Katz Associated Press  September 17, 2015

LONDON — The question time had been crowd-sourced from the public. They included queries about the chronic lack of affordable housing, the extortionate rent charged by some private landlords, and the quality of mental health care offered Britons.

The left-winger Jeremy Corbyn, the new leader of Britain’s Labor Party, represents a sharp break with Labor’s move to the center over the past three decades — a strategy that many credit for the party’s three straight election victories under Tony Blair from 1997.

As well as presenting a style change, Corbyn is staunchly rejecting the government’s austerity prescription for the British economy, which he slams as unfair and counterproductive.

His first few days as leader have not been smooth, most notably on Tuesday when he declined to sing ‘‘God Save the Queen’’ at a memorial event honoring World War II fighter pilots. In the past, Corbyn has spoken of his desire to turn Britain into a republic.

Maybe he was busy saluting her.

Corbyn’s insistence that he stood in respectful silence didn’t cut it with a large swath of Britain’s tabloid newspapers, which accused him of insulting 89-year-old Queen Elizabeth II.

Corbyn sowed confusion Wednesday when he refused to say explicitly during a Sky TV interview that he would sing the anthem at future events, saying only that he will participate fully.


"New leader of UK Labour Party fires up followers in 1st speech" Associated Press  September 30, 2015

LONDON — Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn used his first conference speech — a nationally televised event Tuesday — to try to soften his image as a radical left-winger who will dash the party’s electoral hopes by bringing back discredited policies from the past.

The unconventional 66-year-old leader did differentiate himself from Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives by criticizing the government’s austerity program as unneeded and unfair to working people.

Corbyn said globalization has been used as a way to justify keeping wages for workers throughout the world low while the leaders of global companies get rich.

And he repudiated the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which was launched with the strong backing and participation of Labor’s own Tony Blair, who was prime minister at the time.

‘‘It didn’t help our national security when we went to war with Iraq in defiance of the United Nations and on a false prospectus,’’ he said.

Print ended there.

Corbyn, who had offended some by declining to sing the national anthem at a recent memorial service, emphasized his patriotism, proclaiming his love of Britain and British values.

And he took a few jabs at the unrelenting hostility he has raced from some in British’s rambunctious tabloid press, pointing out that one paper had gone so far as to say Corbyn was welcoming the possibility that mankind would be wiped out by an approaching asteroid.

The implication being he is some sort of conspiracy kook!

At least he doesn't want to turn into a genocidal virus like Prince Philip.



"Jeremy Corbyn: 9/11 was 'manipulated'" --h/t

He will be removed if he ever attains power.

What's really behind the griping?

"The Labour Party’s worrisome leftward lurch" by The Editorial Board   September 16, 2015

In Britain, what was once the successful “New Labour” Party has reverted to Old Labour form. Having recently lost a winnable national election under Ed Miliband, an ineffective leader perceived to be too beholden to outdated party verities, Labour has now lurched even further to port, into the embrace of hard left-winger Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn’s politics date back to the Labour program in the days well before Tony Blair took the marginalized party and crafted it into a more pragmatic, progressive organization, one that could actually win a national election.

That lost election was the one where Scottish nationalists took all those seats after Scots rejected secession and independence.  

What do you do in a democracy when elections are no longer legitimate?

Labour’s three national victories under Blair in 1997, 2001, and 2005 were the high-water mark for the modern Labour Party. But in 2010, under Gordon Brown, Blair’s successor, Labour lost its parliamentary majority. That loss enabled the Conservative-led coalition government that held power until the 2015 election, when the Conservatives won an outright majority.

During that time, party control slipped away from the moderate Blairites, and Labour started to tack left under Miliband. What enabled that shift was Blair’s fall from favor in Britain. The reason for his eclipse, however, was not his domestic record. Rather, it was accumulating fallout from his decision to commit Britain to joining the war in Iraq.

The election of Corbyn as Labour Party leader represents a large leftward lurch even from the politics of Miliband. Corbyn’s stands include such outmoded ideas as nationalizing the UK’s railroads and energy companies, imposing a maximum wage on private-sector salaries, and the widespread reimposition of rent control. Some prominent Labour MPs are already upset about his refusal to rule out joining the campaign to pull Britain out of the European Union.

On foreign policy, Corbyn has called for unilateral nuclear disarmament for Britain, is against air strikes targeting ISIS, and supports a ban on the sale of weapons to Israel. He has talked of having Britain leave NATO, though more recently has called for a rethinking of NATO’s mission. He labeled the killing, rather than trial, of Osama bin Laden “a tragedy.”

And there you go. That's the real rub right there.

As for the other things, I say do not disarm until Israel does, leave the airstrikes against ISIS™ to Russia, and he's already backtracking on leaving NATO.

The prospects of him ever leading Labour back into 10 Downing St. are considered virtually nil. Indeed, some close observers of British politics are even talking about the possibility of Labour fading from major-party prominence. Some see a possibility of a more moderate centrist party supplanting Labour, others of the Conservative Party taking advantage of the return of Old Labour to sidle centerward and consolidate its majority position.

In other words, any of those positions will be frozen out of consideration for policy by any means necessary.

One thing, however, is apparent. If Labour is to regain the central role it played from 1994 to 2010, it won’t be under Corbyn. Rather, it will take a different leader, a modern-day Blair, to reverse the ideological excess that now holds sway. That’s probably at least one general election loss away, but the sooner it happens, the better.

The LAST THING the British people need is ANOTHER Tony Bliar(sic)!! They need another one of him like we need another Bush!


Also see: 

"Siege of Gaza must end, Jeremy Corbyn tells Labour Friends of Israel"  He would have been better received had he just gone in and farted for half an hour. -- xymphora

I guess I've captured enough Boston Globe gas (blog editor makes face) for the day.