Fightback Friday!

13th December 2019

People's Gov

The Tories – not for the many but for the few

To suggest that the British working class collectively took a gun and blew its own brains out in yesterday’s General Election may sound melodramatic but is not far from the truth.

Faced with the opportunity to properly fund the NHS; embark on a major programme of Council house building; start a green industrial revolution to invest in new jobs and industries; take back control of the inefficient, privately run water, rail and postal services, the UK voted simply to, Get Brexit Done.

This virtually meaningless and indefinable slogan was a major factor in returning the Conservatives with a 78 majority and, in effect, the capability to negotiate whatever form of Brexit they choose.

The other major factor in Labour’s defeat was clearly, from a wide range of reports, dislike of Jeremy Corbyn.  At least, it was dislike of a version of Jeremy Corbyn crafted by the media, the Tories and many in the Parliamentary Labour Party over the past two years, terrified by how close Labour came to victory in 2017, with Corbyn as leader, and determined to make sure there was no repeat.

It is remarkable that the position Labour were in after the 2017 election could be turned around so dramatically.  Having effectively robbed Theresa May’s government of its majority, and pulled off the biggest swing to Labour since 1945, the obvious thing to do would be to build upon that success, based around the 2017 manifesto For the Many, Not the Few, as well as Corbyn’s personal popularity.

The policies, based around the core values of public services, the NHS, state control of key industries, abolition of tuition fees in the 2017 manifesto were not significantly different in the 2019 manifesto, It’s Time for Real Change, so why the shift?

The vilification of Jeremy Corbyn by the UK press, in particular, and media in general has been sustained and systematic over the past two years.  This has been both personal and political but in particular has focussed upon leadership ability, past political associations and personal integrity.  The latter has been particularly sinister, accusing a man with a lifelong record of anti-racist activism of being anti-Semitic takes some nerve.  Throw enough mud for long enough however and, for many people, they will take the view that some will stick.

The past two years has also seen the erosion of a clear Labour position on Brexit, which in 2017 was to honour the outcome of the 2016 referendum and leave the EU.  For much of the Parliamentary Labour Party this position was unacceptable and they have consistently agitated against it.  Support for the so called People’s Vote campaign, a significant Remain faction within the Parliamentary group and splits, by the cabal around Chukka Umunna for example, have both undermined the Brexit position and fuelled the debate around Corbyn’s leadership.

The culmination of this process was the policy position of Labour seeking to negotiate a new deal with the EU, then put that to a second referendum, which would also have Remain on the ballot paper.  Faced with the simple and systematic onslaught of Get Brexit Done this was an almost impossible position for Corbyn to sell.  It was further exacerbated by the position that Corbyn as leader would remain neutral in the referendum process.

If anything was setting Labour up to fail, this was.

The Labour right wing will no doubt paint themselves as moderates and point the finger at the ‘hard Left’ Jeremy Corbyn as the fall guy for the election defeat.  The media are already spinning this narrative.  Even though Corbyn has already said he will step down as leader there are those sharpening the knives to get him to step down sooner, rather than later.  The only thing preventing them stabbing him in the back may be the number of knives they already find there and the lack of space for more.

The battle to maintain the core values in the 2017 and 2019 manifestos as the basis of Labour’s programme in opposition begins now.  Siren voices will call for restraint and moderation.  The issues facing the people of the UK, however foolish they have been in this election, require radical solutions.

Labour needs to regroup and find a way of getting its message across.  Just because it failed to do so in 2019 does not mean that the message is wrong.  Whatever the working class thought they voted for in getting Brexit done in 2019 will soon unravel, as the Tories revert to type.  The working people of the UK deserve better than Boris Johnson and they need a radical, committed Labour Party, which is on their side, to come home to.

The fightback is underway!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tories – not for the many but for the few

To suggest that the British working class collectively took a gun and blew its own brains out in yesterday’s General Election may sound melodramatic but is not far from the truth.

Faced with the opportunity to properly fund the NHS; embark on a major programme of Council house building; start a green industrial revolution to invest in new jobs and industries; take back control of the inefficient, privately run water, rail and postal services, the UK voted simply to, Get Brexit Done.

This virtually meaningless and indefinable slogan was a major factor in returning the Conservatives with a 78 majority and, in effect, the capability to negotiate whatever form of Brexit they choose.

The other major factor in Labour’s defeat was clearly, from a wide range of reports, dislike of Jeremy Corbyn.  At least, it was dislike of a version of Jeremy Corbyn crafted by the media, the Tories and many in the Parliamentary Labour Party over the past two years, terrified by how close Labour came to victory in 2017, with Corbyn as leader, and determined to make sure there was no repeat.

It is remarkable that the position Labour were in after the 2017 election could be turned around so dramatically.  Having effectively robbed Theresa May’s government of its majority, and pulled off the biggest swing to Labour since 1945, the obvious thing to do would be to build upon that success, based around the 2017 manifesto For the Many, Not the Few, as well as Corbyn’s personal popularity.

The policies, based around the core values of public services, the NHS, state control of key industries, abolition of tuition fees in the 2017 manifesto were not significantly different in the 2019 manifesto, It’s Time for Real Change, so why the shift?

The vilification of Jeremy Corbyn by the UK press, in particular, and media in general has been sustained and systematic over the past two years.  This has been both personal and political but in particular has focussed upon leadership ability, past political associations and personal integrity.  The latter has been particularly sinister, accusing a man with a lifelong record of anti-racist activism of being anti-Semitic takes some nerve.  Throw enough mud for long enough however and, for many people, they will take the view that some will stick.

The past two years has also seen the erosion of a clear Labour position on Brexit, which in 2017 was to honour the outcome of the 2016 referendum and leave the EU.  For much of the Parliamentary Labour Party this position was unacceptable and they have consistently agitated against it.  Support for the so called People’s Vote campaign, a significant Remain faction within the Parliamentary group and splits, by the cabal around Chukka Umunna for example, have both undermined the Brexit position and fuelled the debate around Corbyn’s leadership.

The culmination of this process was the policy position of Labour seeking to negotiate a new deal with the EU, then put that to a second referendum, which would also have Remain on the ballot paper.  Faced with the simple and systematic onslaught of Get Brexit Done this was an almost impossible position for Corbyn to sell.  It was further exacerbated by the position that Corbyn as leader would remain neutral in the referendum process.

If anything was setting Labour up to fail, this was.

The Labour right wing will no doubt paint themselves as moderates and point the finger at the ‘hard Left’ Jeremy Corbyn as the fall guy for the election defeat.  The media are already spinning this narrative.  Even though Corbyn has already said he will step down as leader there are those sharpening the knives to get him to step down sooner, rather than later.  The only thing preventing them stabbing him in the back may be the number of knives they already find there and the lack of space for more.

The battle to maintain the core values in the 2017 and 2019 manifestos as the basis of Labour’s programme in opposition begins now.  Siren voices will call for restraint and moderation.  The issues facing the people of the UK, however foolish they have been in this election, require radical solutions.

Labour needs to regroup and find a way of getting its message across.  Just because it failed to do so in 2019 does not mean that the message is wrong.  Whatever the working class thought they voted for in getting Brexit done in 2019 will soon unravel, as the Tories revert to type.  The working people of the UK deserve better than Boris Johnson and they need a radical, committed Labour Party, which is on their side, to come home to.

The fightback is underway!