15 September 2015

Corbyn Wins in UK, Hopefully, This Presages Bernie in US

So, Jeremy Corbyn has won the election to lead the Labour Party, which means that after about 25 years, Labour will be an actually supporter of (small "L") labor, as opposed to the Blairite policies which favor the wealthy in general, and the City of London (their Wall Street) in particular.

What is particularly significant is that he absolutely crushed the opposition, and he did so with a voter turnout that puts Tony Blair's wins to shame:
Jeremy Corbyn has been elected leader of the British Labour party, in a stunning first-round victory that dwarfed even the mandate for Tony Blair in 1994.

He won with nearly 59.5% of first-preference votes, beating rivals Andy Burnham, who trailed on 19%, and Yvette Cooper who received 17%. The “Blairite” candidate Liz Kendall came last on 4.5%.

Minutes after his victory, Corbyn said the message is that people are “fed up with the injustice and the inequality” of Britain.

“The media and many of us, simply didn’t understand the views of young people in our country. They were turned off by the way politics was being conducted. We have to and must change that. The fightback gathers speed and gathers pace,” he said.

The north London MP is one of the most unexpected winners of the party leadership in its history, after persuading Labour members and supporters that the party needed to draw a line under the New Labour era of Blair and Gordon Brown.

Attention will now turn to who serves in Corbyn’s top team, with MPs such as John McDonnell, Angela Eagle, Sadiq Khan, Ken Livingstone and possibly leadership rival Burnham tipped for key roles. Liam Byrne, Mary Creagh and John Healey have also indicated they would be willing to serve on his frontbench.


Corbyn’s campaign has also been helped by a surge in new members and supporters who paid £3 to take part in the vote, leading to a near-tripling of those eligible to about 550,000 people. Throughout the campaign, he addressed packed rallies and halls, where he had to give speeches outside the buildings to crowds gathered in the street.

While his supporters will be jubilant about Labour taking a turn to the left, his triumph will be deeply disappointing to the parliamentary party, which overwhelmingly backed other candidates by 210 to 20.


In the campaign, he promised to give Labour members a much greater say in the party’s policymaking process, in a move that could sideline MPs. His key proposals include renationalisation of the railways, apologising for Labour’s role in the Iraq war, quantitative easing to fund infrastructure, opposing austerity, controlling rents and creating a national education service.

He is also likely to prove an obstacle to David Cameron’s ambition to launch airstrikes on Syria, although some Labour MPs could defy the whip to vote with the government.
I would expect that a significant portion of the Labour Party, particularly in Parliament, will be dedicated to undermining him. (Shades of McGovern in 1972)

Of course, if they do so by voting with the Tories, and against Labour on war, I think that they will be buying into a severe, and well deserved, sh%$storm at the next elections.

And of course on the donor side, we are already seeing the rich donors who were so courted by "New Labour" now throwing tantrums:
Labour's biggest private individual donor has pledged to stop giving money to the party now Jeremy Corbyn is leader and instead fund a group of MPs dubbed ‘The Resistance’.

John Mills, who gave £1.65 million under Ed Miliband, told The Telegraph that Labour would become a “protest” party under the hard-Left MP and warned his economic policies were unworkable.

He stands ready to “funnel” cash into Labour for the Common Good – the group set up by Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt – and think tanks looking to reinvigorate centrist thinking in the party.

It comes as with senior moderates due to go public with their concerns about the party's direction at a string of policy seminars being organised between now and Christmas.
We also have a large number of Labour "front benchers" indicating, at least for now, that they are uninterested in leadership roles under Jeremy Corbyn.

Clearly, they hope that the party will suffer in their absence, but it suffered in their presence, so make of this what you will.

In either case, it does appear that Corbyn has managed to populate his shadow cabinet:
Jeremy Corbyn, the new Labour leader, is facing the first test of his ability to lead the parliamentary party after appointing his closest political ally, John McDonnell, as shadow chancellor. [of the Exchequer]

The decision means that the five most senior positions will be filled by men, including Andy Burnham as shadow home secretary, Hilary Benn as shadow foreign secretary, and Tom Watson as elected deputy as well as Corbyn and McDonnell.

Corbyn’s biggest problem may now be the fierce resistance within the parliamentary party and even among some union leaders to the appointment of McDonnell, with some asking Corbyn to appoint Angela Eagle as shadow chancellor, to balance the shadow cabinet politically and by gender. Eagle was instead given the business portfolio and will also become shadow first secretary of state, deputising for Corbyn in the Commons.

McDonnell was Corbyn’s leadership campaign manager and has advocated nationalisation without compensation in the past as well as 60p tax rates. Among MPs, his appointment was seen as a disavowal of Corbyn’s commitment to create a political consensus.
Seeing as how the most recent "stand" by the Labour establishment was to abstain, as opposed to opposing, draconian cuts to the social safety net, because there were a few items in the bill that might have engendered mild support from some potential Labor voters.

For anyone who thinks that the political policies of the "New Labor", are wrong, I would point them to Ian Welsh's advice on this matter:
So, you voted for Corbyn. You’re a Labour party member, old or new. What MUST you do to have Corbyn’s back?

Because, be clear, he will fail without you. He will lose. He and a few allies within the Labour party cannot win this fight alone. He will be destroyed by lack of cooperation, scandals, and engineered crises. The vast majority of all media coverage will be negative, etc.

You must take over the locals—the branches and constituencies. Flood them. If the officers don’t act how you think they should, let them know. And by “let them know,” I mean, get in their faces.

Make sure your local MP, who probably doesn’t like Corbyn or support him, know that if he doesn’t get onside, he won’t be the nominee in the next election. Make his/her life personally unpleasant. If s/he votes against Corbyn, picket him. Mock her. Make sure there is a cost. Because on the other side, that MP will know that if they oppose Corbyn, they will be taken care of by the City and the other usual suspects.

You must prove there is a cost for opposing the democratic will of the majority of Labour party members. MPs and officials must know that if they try to sabotage Corbyn, their days in the party are numbered and will be extremely unpleasant.

The carrot is that if they get onside, they’re gold. They can keep their positions, they can feel like they’re part of a swelling horde.
This statement would be a good blue print for supporters of the "Democratic Wing" of the Democratic Party.


Stephen Montsaroff said...

I would read Krugman's article, for a slightly different take.

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