The Demonisation & Suspension of Jeremy Corbyn

This week’s events in the Labour Party are devastating not just for Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters but for all the people who want a credible democratic opposition in this country. No politician in recent memory (not even Tony Benn or Michael Foot) have had such a brutal kicking not just from the media and the Tories but from sections of his own party too.

Politics has been dragged yet again into a cesspit of lies, smears and pure vindictiveness all because parts of the establishment seen this one man as a danger. A danger to their cosy status quo yes but he was never a danger to us ordinary people but rather a ray of hope.

But Jeremy has never been a ‘god’ to me nor was there ever really a cult around him. When I rejoined Labour in 2012 it wasn’t because of Corbyn but because I felt the party had started (only started mind you) to turn a corner under Ed Miliband after the disastrous Blair and Brown years. Now I know some will say how can you call them years disastrous when Labour won 3 Elections under Blair. But to me the 13 years in power were mostly wasted, yes we did do some good things like the Minimum Wage and Surestart for example but a lot of the time we were being Tory like and of course how can we forget the awful illegal war we went needlessly into. I like many others were incredibly angry at the wasted opportunities of 13 years in power.

But I liked Ed and always felt he was hamstrung by the people around him. But all the same I could see he was passionate about inequality which for me is a key reason for being in the Labour Party and also about getting a Green New Deal which is vital for the very future of the planet.

There were plenty on the right of the party who didn’t like Ed but that was really only a very small taster of what was to come. When Jeremy Corbyn stood for leader I was really pleased because I hoped we would be able to steer the debate leftwards. The 3 candidates who had been standing were totally uninspiring not just to me but thousands of others too infact hundreds of thousands. Those people had similar ideas and beliefs to me which was a joy to discover. In that summer of 2015 me and many others started to dream. At first we didn’t think Jeremy had a chance of winning and neither did he himself but as that summer went on it became clear that he had an excellent chance of achieving what seemed impossible at the start of the contest actually winning.

When he did win the leadership on the 12th September 2015 it was a shockwave a political earthquake the like of which had never been seen. Many on the centre and right of the party couldn’t believe it but more than that couldn’t and wouldn’t accept the democratic result. Corbyn won partly because his vision was very popular with the young and also older people some of whom rejoined the party.

The vision was nothing new really it’s about creating a fairer type of society that works for the majority instead of just the ultra rich elite. That is why I became a member of the Labour Party to help challenge for that better society for the majority. That in essence is what Socialism is to me. So when I’ve been accused of being on the ‘hard left’ or some sort of Commie Trot I’ve found it amusing and depressing in equal measure.

So although I’ve always liked and respected Jeremy Corbyn it’s never been about one person but rather the ideas of Socialism and a different sort of society. However when he became leader it became very clear very quickly that certain elements in the party were never going to put up with him and much more than that undermine him at every turn. I wasn’t surprised by this in itself I expected some of it as I’m sure most of us on the left did. Jeremy would have expected some of it too. But the actual amount of sheer venom, nastiness and lies from people in your own party was on a completely different level to what had happened with Ed.

I won’t go over all that happened the last 5 years when Jeremy was leader. Frankly too much went on to go through it all. Everything and the kitchen sink was thrown at Jeremy and his dignity and calmness throughout in what must have been a personal nightmare at times shows the measure of the man. But of all the insults the one that must have hurt the most and which also gained the most traction was that Jeremy was anti-Semitic.

I’ve never believed for one second that Jeremy is or has been anti-Semitic. If I thought he was I would never have supported him. He’s certainly made mistakes as leader and before but who doesn’t. But what never gets reported in the mainstream press is how much an anti racist campaigner he has been over the years. The sheer hypocrisy of many who have called Jeremy for anti semitism is sickening and I won’t take lessons on anti racism from a Tory Party that has always had racist elements.

Now Jeremy got suspended after his statement after the EHRC report was posted on Facebook. Presumably it’s this paragraph that has caused his suspension but we haven’t actually been told.

“One antisemite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.”

To me that is a obvious truth but to say a truth has got him suspended. It reeks of McCarthyism and I feel as though our freedom of speech in the party has been eroded. To say the problem was dramatically overstated for political reasons is not in anyway downplaying the evil of Anti-Semitism itself. Far from it but let’s briefly explain what I’m trying to say.

When Corbyn was elected leader in 2015 the General Secretary was Iain McNichol who its perfectly fair to say was not a fan in anyway. Also while Jeremy put his own people in the leaders office the full timers around the General Secretary were hardly fans too. The truth is a clever political game was waged by McNichol and the people working for him in the Party against Corbyn. Yes politics can sometimes get underhanded but what happened was completely nasty and on a scale not seen before because the Plot was about deliberately making Corbyn look bad regards complaints of Anti-Semitism. This would be lovingly reported by the right wing media that hated him and everything he stands for.

Corbyn called it as this,

“The party’s processes for handling complaints were not fit for purpose”. when he became leader and he added: “Reform was then stalled by an obstructive party bureaucracy.”

That’s him being polite about it. In 2018 Corbyn ally Jennie Formby became General Secretary and things got better. The proof in the pudding as I see it is in this. Forty-five members were expelled in 2019 for Anti-Semitism compared to one in 2017, according to the Labour Party own statistics. That shows things were moving in the right direction. However that wasn’t the narrative of course that was ever said by the media or Corbyn’s opponents. Rather he has been made a scapegoat. Nothing has been said about Labour’s inadequate procedures before he became leader or the efforts he made to improve it. Only that as leader he should have done more. The point is until Formby became GS he was obstructed not just by a slow moving party bureaucracy but by people who wanted to make the leader look bad. Because to some no matter what he did it was never going to be good enough.

All through his leadership there were plenty of Jewish people who supported him but that wasn’t reported either or if it was they were the wrong sort of Jew apparently. Again it’s vital to say how abhorrent Anti-Semitism is and remember throughout history the atrocities the Jewish people have endured. It must never be forgotten. I empathise with people who have been wronged. Which also means I empathise and feel for the Palestinian people too. It’s possible to do both.

But I believe more than anything else the demonisation of Jeremy Corbyn has been dirty politics by a right wing who could never accept his Socialist politics and who worked to undermine him at every opportunity. The small amount but completely unacceptable amount of Anti-Semitism in the party has been disgracefully used as a political football and a convenient tool against Corbyn in particular and the left in general. This is still going on now even though Corbyn isn’t leader and it’s obvious to me his suspension is about the destroying the left in the party. If Keir Starmer wanted unity he’s got a funny way of showing it. Of course unity was never the game rather a ruse to get himself elected as leader which worked.

If I sound bitter it’s because I am. We were so close in the 2017 Election and could have won it on a Socialist Manifesto if there hadn’t been insiders working against us. How life could have been different. That’s why I joined the Labour Party to help make a change to a better fairer more equal society. To find out that’s not how all members feel has been a hard pill to swallow.

So I’m calling for Jeremy Corbyn’s immediate reinstatement into the Party. He hasn’t broken the Parties rules even the EHRC report doesn’t recommend suspensions like this. I think Starmer has tried to look big and tough but I think it’s a strategy doomed to failure. The very thing Starmer says shouldn’t be done being factional he has done by suspending Jeremy. Which only goes to prove my point this has always been about politics. It’s a political act not Anti-Semitism or racism itself that was just the tools used. Which is a very sad reflection on life in the 21st Century and the party in general. We have to do better than this because racism in any form cannot be used in this way.


Remembering the ‘Big Picture’.

This piece started  life as a Tweet which quickly became a few Tweets when I realised it needed to be expanded some more. I hope it doesn’t come across as patronising I’m just trying to be honest and open up a debate.


Everyone has their own lines on things. If the line gets crossed that’s it we are out of here. But should that really be applied to Politics? Because Politics is about many things it’s not just one issue. If we are passionate about one issue that is so important to us that’s good.

But can we go too far? What I mean is if we don’t get what we we want with that one issue is it helpful to throw the baby out with the bath water? Similarly if one person makes a statement on the thing you are so passionate about that you completely disagree with does that override everything you agree with them about? Everyone is different.and have their own lines. But should that get in the way of the bigger picture? Because ‘betraying’ our principals is one thing but by doing that are we not losing sight of the bigger picture and everything else we want to do? These can be difficult questions but in my opinion we always need to keep an eye on the prize. To make myself more clear give I’ll give an example. I’m passionate about Nuclear Disarmament & have been for many years. I think us having a deterrent is ridiculous. But me & many others in the party didn’t make it the defining issue when Corbyn became the leader. We accepted along with him that it wasn’t the issue to mount our flag on at the that time in the interest of us getting elected. We are all impatient & desperate for change. God knows I am. But sometimes we have to bide our time for that big picture of Socialism.

Shoot me down if you like but to me Socialism isn’t about one issue it’s about a whole alternative way of doing things which are all important for the overall aim. I’ve often used this phrase in the past “we all have to compromise in life but we if compromise too much we can actually lose the essence of what we are about. ” I still believe that, I only have to look at the direction the Labour Party is going in now like it has in the past to confirm that to my mind. When you make endless compromising you end up with words that mean nothing because the heart had been ripped out of them. A greyness that tries to be everything to everyone but really is completely wishy-washy. I hate that because I’m a believer in saying what you mean and if there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s meaningless waffle.

But on the other hand I do think the ‘left’ in general and I include myself in that can go too far. Our passion sometimes carries us away. Passion is fantastic in Politics, I love to hear someone passionate speaking. But it’s best if it’s tempered with some clinical thinking too. I guess I’m trying to be pragmatic not always easy for me. So what I’m getting at is sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. We have everything against us as it is and then sometimes we make our situation even worse ourselves.  E.g. “I’m not voting for her/him they said this on that.” Your line has been crossed. But is that helpful when someone who you disagree with even more gets in? I just think sometimes we have to hold our noses and think of that bigger picture. That’s not to belittle anyone’s cause or campaign. But we can be self defeating if we aren’t careful.

That big picture is always there that’s about all our views on everything and sometimes it’s very easy to forget about it. So much of what we fight for is related it’s got a common thread. Inequality, Racism and Sexism are obviously related but so are things like the fight against Climate Change and for Peace. These are some of the issues closest to my heart but there’s many more. I can’t say which is the most important because they are all important.


I think it’s all about balance myself and picking the right time for battle. That’s what so important in the nitty gritty of Politics and I hate to say it but the right wing get that so much better than us on the left. When so many joined the party in 2015 they were inspired by the hopeful vision that Jeremy Corbyn was saying. A lot of them had never been involved in Politics before. Sadly I’m betting that many were put off when they found out that meetings were not only boring but some people were distinctly unfriendly to them. The right wing have weathered the Corbyn storm well and some of that was because they know when to pick their battles and are prepared to bide their time doing it. They see their bigger picture and were organising and plotting all throughout Corbyn’s leadership.

I know this won’t be popular with some but I feel we need to learn some lessons from them. And let’s be less precious about things. Maybe our own lines need to be a bit more flexible because at the end of the day it’s that’s bigger picture that’s more important. Yes we have to be true to ourselves, of course we do and only ourselves knows what that is. But politics is a crafty dirty thing that can suck you in and spit you out and I don’t like that part of it myself. I much prefer talking about a grand vision and how things could be better for all of us. But in Politics like in life sometimes you just have to do the crap work first before you can get onto the nice stuff. I still want and have to be hopeful there’s a better world for us all ahead. We always get setback after setback but we have to be resilient in this world. Believe me that’s not my strongest point myself my natural tendency would be to hide away and give up. But what really is our alternative as people who care and want a better world for our kids and everyone? I just think of that big picture to remind me.




Richard Burgon 4 Deputy


To be quite honest the Labour Leader and Deputy Leadership contest hasn’t exactly set me alight like it did in 2015 with the arrival of Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate. I suppose that’s inevitable to an extent because that was like a reawakening of something for some or the first flush of an political awakening for others. Also we’ve had 4 and half years of relentless attacks not just from the Tory press but pretty much most the whole media not to mention the attacks and backstabbing from inside our own party. I feel battle weary like most of us.  But when I look at our candidates for leader and deputy the one who really excites me the most is Richard Burgon and that’s who I’m endorsing for Deputy Leader.

That’s not to say there aren’t others I don’t like but it’s Richard who I feel is the one who’s carrying the torch that Jeremy lit for Socialism the most. Make no mistake I’ve always liked Richard but that’s not the only reason I will be voting for him. He’s a campaigner and if elected he’s promised that he will be a campaigning Deputy. We have to get back out into the communities not only listening but getting our message out there. Richard will help do that and engage and encourage our members to do it too. He’s a fighter who doesn’t give up as well that can be seen in his successful libel case against the Sun newspaper ( if it can be called that) and the Tories hate someone like that.

Something else very important is he’s a brilliant public speaker who always electrifiy’s the crowds. He is someone who can make us feel a bit better by his rousing speeches when things are tough. This attribute shouldn’t be underestimated because it’s a very powerful talent and is a vital part I think of the Deputies job. Richard is a breath of fresh air not just in this contest but in politics generally where boring and middle of the road politicians usually hold sway.


One of the most important things to me is that Richard is a Socialist and that’s vital to keep the party moving in a Socialist direction. So often in the past we have seen backtracks and capitulations on policy and I’ve every confidence in Richard to make sure there isn’t any sort of that nonsense if he is Deputy. As he says it’s Socialism that has given this country it’s greatest achievement the NHS and he wants more of society running along the same values putting people before profits. That’s why he’s calling for a new Clause IV that hardwires support for public ownership into Labour’s constitution.

richards promises

Something else that is vital for me is that Richard backs Open Selection. Much more needs to be done to democratise our party and this would be a massive step towards this goal. There really isn’t anything controversial about it after all it’s what Councillors have to do why not MP’s? What makes them so special? If they are good MP’s they shouldn’t have anything to worry about. The trigger ballot system is cumbersome and not as fair as Open Selection and has got to be the way forward for an open transparent socialist democratic party.


But when I look who to support it’s not only what they want to do in the future it’s what they’ve done in the past that interests me. Richard passes that test with flying colours. One of the most important litmus tests for me was the Tory Welfare Bill in 2015 and in all honestly I would only consider someone who voted against it for leader or deputy and as you can see from the list above  Richard voted against. I say this because it was a vital test and one of the clearest indicators I know of where the candidates really stand. We mustn’t ever fall into line with the Tories or play political games on something so fundamental as Welfare and this back in 2015 was a clear indication of Labour’s drift at that point. It’s Jeremy Corbyn who has put us back on track on this and so much else besides. To see Richard’s name on that list along with Dawn Butler and Rebecca Long-Bailey shows the only options for me to vote for.

Another plus point for me is that Richard’s campaign manager is the wonderful Laura Pidcock who was simply magnificent as an MP and is a massive loss to the Parliamentary Labour Party. Don’t forget he nominated Jeremy Corbyn for leader in both 2015 and 2016 and has been totally loyal to him since he became leader. More than that he has defended Corbyn against the demonisation he received in the right wing press time and time again.


There’s one last thing that I think is very important. I’ve said this many times before that I think it was our Brexit position that was the biggest (not only) reason why we lost in December. Since our disastrous defeat it’s been truly disturbing to see how so few have actually owned up to this catastrophic decision and how so few in the party actually get this. As you see Richard does and it’s another reason to vote for him because unless we understand and recognise  where we went wrong with Brexit we are going to struggle to ever win back these voters back to Labour. If we are to win the next Election we have to start winning these people back to Labour and we need to start doing it now. I’m convinced that Richard will be able to reconnect to our lost voters.

I hope that you can see why I think Richard Burgon is the best candidate for Deputy Leader and why I will be voting for him. It’s a time for standing firm and bold and there’s no doubt in my mind that Richard will do that because he has the courage and conviction needed. Backtracking and capitulation is not the way to go and will only lead to the collapse of our vote more. Richard gets this. Just one last thing like his Political idol Tony Benn he believes in a member’s led party and that is his aim to deliver that. Please consider voting for Richard Burgon as 1st preference for Deputy Leader. Thank you.

Keep Left to Win

Political, Feminist & Literary Gifts~2

As a Labour Party member I want us to win all Elections. Seems an obvious thing to say surely we all do. You would think so anyway but some on the other side of the party to me sometimes seem to say that our ideas are unelectable and we must be round the bend to think that we could ever win with them. If there’s one thing guaranteed to wind me up it’s when another member says something like “For all its great ideals, socialism is a minority interest. When Labour offered it red in tooth & claw, it enthused the few but scared the many. Corbynism failed.” The underlying tone is we can never win with Socialism.

I disagree and if I thought we couldn’t I might as well give up. Some speak as though it’s an impossibility but you only have to look through history to see that’s not the case. In the past the Labour Party has had what I would call 3 different sorts of Election Manifestos. Firstly the explicitly Socialist,  Secondly the ones with bits of Socialism in it and Thirdly the ones with none or hardly any. Well we won in 1945, 1950 and 1974 with explicitly Socialist programmes. Now yes they were different times but to deny that happened is completely wrong.


What is happening now is like what happened in the 1950’s and again in the 1980’s the right wing is fighting back. So they can retake control of the party. This is politics let’s be honest about it. I’m old enough to remember the 80’s and after the defeats in 83 and 87 being told we can’t win with Socialism. So the policy reviews begin the focus groups start and we get told we didn’t listen to what the people wanted they didn’t believe us etc. It’s all been said before.

Hammer the left

The right wing in the party will tell us they were proved right because of our win in 97 and after and that we have to appeal to middle England to win. For me there are some big flaws in these arguments. I truly believe that John Smith would have easily won in 97 had he lived or indeed any leader who was a bit left of Blair because by then the majority of the people after 18 years of Tory rule wanted a change. Yes maybe the charisma of Blair won us a few more seats at first but I believe we would have gotten a majority.

One of the things that always annoyed me about Blairism was that in our drive to appeal to middle England and the home counties we forgot about our core traditional voters. Over time this has bitten us on the backside. I have always believed in our desperation to get elected after losing 2 then 3 then 4 Elections that we compromised our vision of a better fairer more equal society far far too much.

In the 97-10 period we did some good things but also bad things and we didn’t take the chance of the opportunity that was before us. Worst of all we let people down and we didn’t take any notice because we were complacent thinking that our  traditional voters would stay with us because they had nowhere else to go. We were arrogant and completely out of touch hence by 2010 we lost and in 2015 we not only lost but we were annihilated in Scotland. Red Scotland of all places the most left wing place in Britain. We failed them and they punished us and I think some seem to be forgetting this to suit their narrative. Anyway back for power for us must include Scotland it’s that simple and turning back rightwards will never cut it in a million years there.


This wasn’t Corbyn’s fault he wasn’t even leader then but he hasn’t been able to win the Scottish people back. Let’s be completely honest whoever wins the Labour Leadership has got a massive task on. With where we are now electorally it will be a gigantic uphill battle. But nothing is impossible. However if we are to do it there’s certain things we have to admit and not brush aside. There’s an inconvenient truth that some are refusing to see because their views are clouding this simple truth. I mentioned earlier that in the 80’s we were told we didn’t listen to what the people wanted. Well the biggest lesson we need to learn now is at the last Election we didn’t listen to what the people wanted. Yes I’m talking about Brexit.

I find this quite ironic that the people who say we need to listen to the people didn’t and still won’t on this. I knew we were going to lose in December and that frustrates the hell out of me. Others knew too. As soon as we changed our Brexit position we were doomed and what we came up was a fudge that didn’t go down well in vast areas of the country. Until we realise this and own up that we got it very wrong we aren’t going to do better electorally because people think we betrayed them from saying in 2017 we would honour the referendum result to our fudge 2 years later. They won’t forget in a hurry. I haven’t got a crystal ball and I’m certainly not especially clever so why couldn’t the architects of our Brexit U turn see what was going to happen? I didn’t expect us to lose so badly but deep down I knew it would happen. So how can we trust these people with Starmer being the key figure in this.

The right wing will keep blaming Corbyn for our defeat and I’m not going to deny it wasn’t an issue on the doorstep but quite often it was related to our Brexit position. What I’m saying is we need to recognise what is happening here. Corbyn has always been the fall guy and now groups like Labour First are using our devastating defeat as the excuse they needed to change the direction of the party back to being some sort of Blairite version. This is inevitable and part of the normal cycle of politics but the importance of this next period shouldn’t be downplayed. We are heading into the most important time in human history.

I think there are many differences between the left and the right of the party of which one of the key ones is the right’s lack of boldness. Winning is everything and the only way to win is to play safe. The right say we have to listen to the people but they don’t seem to have faith in them and as we have seen it’s only when it suits their narrative. Corbyn failed because we were too left wing too ambitious they didn’t believe us but what is their vision? They simply don’t have a coherent vision of a better society or how it can work rather they want to tinker with the system to improve people’s lives. The trouble with that is after 40 years of Neo-liberalism’s inbuilt inequalities and now Climate Change hanging over us all like a black cloud of doom it doesn’t provide the solutions to the crisis that’s happening.


We can’t take another 5-10 years of Tory rule making us even more unequal and with their inadequate response to Climate Change. That is exactly why bold policies and a bold vision are needed. Any backtracking on policy isn’t going to help us the people in the long run. The Blairites say the voters rejected our bold Socialist vision but that is only telling part of the story. As I have said they aren’t taking our Brexit position into account and completely ignoring how close were to winning in 2017 completely against the odds. Politics is so often about the short term but we are entering uncharted waters now and we need to do so much more than that. What we need is radical Socialists solutions not tinkering around the edges.


I believe we not only have to listen to the people we have to take the lead and show a positive alternative vision. As Socialists one of our crucial jobs is to educate and that is a key thing for us to do now more than ever. Lots of people feel hopeless that there’s nothing that be done. That’s why so many were attracted to Corbyn because his message was one of hope. With the environmental and economic crisis that is enveloping us any return to some sort of 3rd way isn’t going to be enough not only to inspire the majority of people but to actually provide what’s needed to help the people and the planet. These are uncertain dangerous times and the Labour Party has to start wining but not by trying to go back to some 1997 timezone. We have to regain people’s trust by listening, helping in our local communities and putting our case forward for the type of Society we not only want but actually need. The times are a changing and we have to be on the right side of history for the good of everyone. Democratic Socialism offers the solutions to the problems facing us more than ever as unregulated Capitalism runs amok with the environment and ruins people’s lives not only here but all around the world. We have to say what we mean and mean what we say as Tony Benn use to say. This really isn’t the time to backtrack it’s a time to keep the courage of our convictions. The future is still to fight for and it’s the future that we have to think of because future generations won’t thank us for any centrist fudge. Now more than ever we need to be bold and stand up for our Socialist beliefs. That’s what the Labour Party is for and to make the changes we need by winning the battle of ideas and then enacting them. The fight carries on.


Starmer? Really?


Labour leadership contests are obviously vital as a guide to the future direction of the party which is why it’s vital we make the right decision. At the moment Keir Starmer seems to be favorite and he is definitely picking up a head of steam. I understand that to a degree, we have just had a catastrophic defeat in the General Election and to some Starmer seems to be the safe option. Some of the talk I’ve seen in his favour is he looks the part apparently and he can talk well.  That’s he’s clever and is the only credible option. The one that’s really has confused me is that he is media friendly .

So let’s just go through these.

Safe? Well who to is my question to that. I suppose this is connected to the media friendly one as well After the mauling that Jeremy Corbyn has had the last 4 and half years I can understand why it’s appealing to have a leader that would get a better press. But we are deluding ourselves if we think any Labour Leader is going to get one. Tony Blair is the only leader who has had a good press and that was only because he did a dodgy deal with Rupert Murdoch and that only lasted temporarily. Normal order was restored after a few years. So yes Corbyn had a particular time at the hands of the press because the establishment recognised he was a threat to them.

This brings something else up to me.  At the moment Starmer is talking quite left at times trying to attract Corbyn supporters to vote for him. But if he wins and he carries on doing that the press will really put the boot in and I really don’t trust him not to capitulate and backtrack to appear yes more safe. What I’m saying is any Labour Leader worth their salt will want to be a threat to the establishment and you have to set your stall out from the start. Does anyone really think if he capitulates on one thing he wouldn’t on another? The press would love that and would carry on putting the pressure on for more backtracking more watering down because at the end of the day it’s not Jeremy Corbyn the media actually hated but what he stood for and our policies.

You see we have been here before. Back in the 80’s when Neil Kinnock became leader he believed in Public Ownership, he believed in unilateral disarmament he had principles or so we thought but by the time his 2nd General Election came in 1992 he had long jettisoned them and we all know what happened we still lost. Personally at this stage I have less faith in Starmer than I did when Kinnock became leader in 1983. You see it all comes down to who appears more electable.


Yes electable is the magic word and funnily enough we were told that about Kinnock when he was elected leader in 1983. But of course who appears electable is very subjective. In my view Starmer doesn’t seem electable at all because with his anti brexit views I don’t think he has a hope in hell of winning back our heartlands. It was Starmer who was at the heart of our Brexit volte-face between 17 and 19 which I believe was the biggest reason we lost 2 and half million votes. That’s one big reason I believe he isn’t the answer and would be a disaster. He’s done nothing to own this calamity of the highest order and doesn’t seem to be able to accept his huge role in it. If he can’t see the problem how on earth can he try to put it right?

While Starmer himself is probably more from the centre of the party than being an out and out Blairite just look who he appointed in his campaign team Matt Pound from Labour First a right wing faction. He’s trying to tack left to gain votes but there’s nothing in his history to prove he’s on the left of the party. In the 2015 Leadership election he supported Andy Burnham and more importantly in 2016 he endorsed Owen Smith.  Which brings me to another reason I couldn’t vote for him as leader. Some people say he’s been loyal to Corbyn but that’s not true he was part of the Chicken Coup in 2016.



Another thing that’s important to me and that was the position Starmer took on the Tory Welfare Bill in 2015. He abstained and didn’t vote against it like Jeremy Corbyn, Richard Burgon, Dawn Butler and Rebecca Long-Bailey for example. This was an important litmus test and he failed it.



There’s something else about Keir that isn’t a very nice thing to say but I think it’s a very important point as well. A leader should be someone who inspires and excites people. They should be charismatic in some way especially now in the modern age. Jeremy Corbyn and Tony Blair both were in their own ways and agree or disagree with them they excited and inspired people to vote Labour.  I’m afraid I can’t see Keir doing that at all, to me he comes across as a very old fashioned type of politician which is me being kind for saying he is very boring. I really don’t like being personal like that but ignoring this won’t help us. I suppose this goes back to him being safe. Some might find that comforting but politics isn’t about being safe. At this critical time in not only the parties history but the world’s where we are staring Climate Change in the face I really don’t think safe is what we need.

Now I’m sure Keir Starmer is a nice enough guy but I really don’t see him as the person to take the Labour Party forward my view is it would be a massive backward step. The bottom line is I just don’t believe he would be a keeper of the torch that Corbyn has lit. I really don’t see him as an answer to our electoral problems but rather just a desperate reaction to them. I’m convinced over time he would begin watering down our policies.  So to anyone who voted for Corbyn in previous leadership elections I’m asking please think carefully about who to vote for. As I said at the beginning it’s so vital we don’t make the wrong choice.






It’s Still Labour for a Socialist Future.



I know we are all fed up but I just wanted to say this because I’ve seen on social media some have said they are thinking about leaving Labour or have left already. I get that, we have been fighting for what we think is right for a long time and it’s been hard work. Now Jeremy Corbyn is standing down and we are all weary.  Sometimes all we need to do is step back and have a recharge. I’ve done that a few times and it can work wonders. But  I wanted to share my perspective on why I think leaving would be a huge mistake.
The idea of leaving Labour to start another party might seem appealing especially at times like this. But the reality is it puts you straight into the fringes and nowhere land. There have been countless attempts to start another party left of Labour and they have all failed and failed dismally. There’s plenty of left parties out there already and they have never set the world alight. Recently there’s been Left Unity and Respect. Bit further back to the 90’s the Socialist Labour Party. Recently there have been a couple of alliances the Socialist Alliance and TUSC both with various left parties. None of them have made any headway. The only major success has been George Galloway’s two Elections wins as an Respect Mp and that had at least something to do with him being a ‘name’.  If you go further back when the ILP disaffiliated from Labour in the 1930’s they had a big membership but soon faded into obscurity and the fringes eventually of course coming back to Labour in the 1970’s.

SLP1996 2

Even if you look at it the other way the right wing split off the SDP  formed in 1981 after some initial success and some backing from the right wing press had to eventually merge with the Liberals or risk obscurity.
I also speak from a little personal experience. A long time ago I was in Militant in Coventry in the Dave Nellist era and when I first come back into politics in 2012 I went to a couple of Socialist Party (as they are now) meetings. I quickly came to the conclusion that it was only going to be through the Labour Party that we could achieve mass Socialist change. Think back to what the Labour Party was like in 2012 and it will give you a glimpse of how hopeless being on the fringes felt to me. But joining Labour then still felt like a massive thing with Blair and Iraq in my recent memory. But I was encouraged by what I was seeing on Facebook in those days and I felt some change was in the air at last. Although many on the left scoffed at the idea then I began to think that Labour wasn’t a lost cause for Socialism. So it was in the winter of 2012/13 that I decided to  join Labour and the rest is history so to speak.

This little history lesson shows the Labour Party for all it’s many faults is the only game in town as far as left political parties that can get into Government. Many have tried to make a breakthrough but the odds are stacked so far against them. We would be fooling ourselves to believe otherwise.

A major thing we have to grapple with as Socialists is how pure can we be to get into power balanced with how much we have to compromise? I have always thought that many times in the past we have compromised too much.  But also I realise if we are too pure it can be self defeating as well because we can back ourselves into a corner that keeps getting smaller. I have always put it like this. We all have to compromise in life and that is what a political party is all about. But if we go too far down this watering down compromising route we actually lose the essence of what we are and what we want to achieve.
My point is we are so much stronger than we were back in 2012-2015. Yes things have gone wrong but I truly believe Socialist change is only going to come through the Labour Party in the UK. I thought that then and we are so much stronger now than before Corbyn became leader. In some ways when we elected JC we did it the wrong way round.


So yes I get people are demoralised, depressed, frustrated, hurt, angry and upset. I am too. The last 4  and half years are starting to look like they have been a waste of time. But they haven’t been because we the left are still in the ascendancy. But just think about this if many of us do leave they will have been for nothing and it will play into the Blairites hands. Two of our Socialist heroes Tony Benn and Dennis Skinner did what I’m going to do. They stayed in the party through the battles of the 80’s, the take over of the Blairites in the 90’s and fought and kept the left wing beacon burning. That’s what Jeremy Corbyn did too. Being a Socialist in the Labour isn’t easy but I still believe it offers the best path open to transform our country.

Yes the Labour Party will need a push from the outside too but it needs the mass left membership we have now to drive it. We have lots of battles ahead and it’s going to be very tough. So if you’re thinking of walking away I totally get it. But please think carefully. We need all of us.

A Return To Blairism? No Thanks

Item of the Month – June 2014 – People's History Museum _ Manchester Museums
I know there are many on the political right & some on the right of our Labour Party who are celebrating the end of Corbynism. Who think the Corbyn ‘project’ is over, that the last 4 & half years have been just a blip & now normal service can be resumed.
Well I’ve got some important news for you if that’s what you’re hoping for.
Well think again.
Us Socialists aren’t going anywhere.
You see all the talk I’ve seen of it being the ‘cult of Corbyn’ has been a load of rubbish. Yes we all admire Jeremy Corbyn but it’s never been about one person. Ever.
It’s been about Democratic Socialism & completely changing the narrative from the Blair days. That’s what we’ve done with 2 exciting manifestos.  So before some start rubbing their hands thinking we need the return of Blairism to win again we need to evaluate why we lost.

As I’ve said before I think our Brexit position was the biggest reason where in our leave heartlands we were well beat. Winning Putney & keeping Canterbury was no substitute for losing our red wall. Labour leave voters felt betrayed by our position. I’m not denying either that Corbyn polarised opinion. Some love him some hate him. But there’s an elephant in the room here that’s absolutely vital not to forget. We have been losing votes in our heartlands since 2001. We were wiped out in Scotland in 2015. These things weren’t Corbyn’s fault as he wasn’t leader then but rather a rejection of the Blair New Labour era & people losing trust in us. They lost trust because they felt we took their votes for granted & hadn’t done anywhere near enough for them in all the years we were in power not to mention Iraq of course. I’m denying that our 97-10 Governments didn’t do some good things. But we could and should have done more for ordinary people and the sense of frustration by the early noughties was palpable.


If we don’t remember this and learn from it we still won’t get elected. So blaming Corbyn and the left might suit their narrative but the facts don’t stack up. In 2017 we got our most votes since 2001 and the 9.6% swing to us was the highest since 1945 even higher than the 8.8% we got in 1997. We gained seats for the the first time since 1997. This wasn’t by luck but because people were genuinely excited by our Socialist Policies. We were seen as an anti establishment party and most importantly we pledged to honour  the referendum result. As soon as we changed that we were in trouble. It’s important to note too that we still got a higher share of the vote than we did in 2010 and 2015. Also that while we won in 2005 it was with the lowest share of the vote in an Election since the Second World War just 35.2%. This is still an uncomfortable truth for fans of Tony Blair and we should have been learning the lessons then but we didn’t. This is something we need to remember in the forthcoming period.
Election results
So yes we lost and lost badly but if you think a return to the 1990’s is the answer it’s not. That boat has sailed & sunk. The times are very different and there’s no appetite for some 3rd way that let so many down.  This isn’t the death of Socialism either. There must be no big retreat on policies. We need it more than ever and I refuse to believe it’s not popular or we can’t win a General Election with a Socialist Manifesto. It’s Brexit that has sunk us now not Democratic Socialism.  So we carry on and fight on for Socialism because not only does the Country need it, the whole world does if we are to have a future.

Don’t Give Up


Well another year is nearly over so I thought I should get some of these thoughts down that are floating around my head and that are too long for a Tweet.

It’s been an extremely tough year both personally and of course politically. I’m not going to get into the personal stuff today just the political. This is the time for reflection after such a disastrous defeat. It’s also the time to think where to we go now?

I just knew that the timing of the Election was wrong for us especially with the Brexit position we took. Many of us said that our position would be looked on as a betrayal in our leave heartlands and sadly we were proven correct. It felt at times like a slow car crash that you knew was going to happen but you were helpless to stop it. This was one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever gone through but I don’t want to keep saying I told you this would happen. The last thing I want to do is sound patronising. But somehow we have to move forward from this and carry on.

Which brings me to this vital point. Please don’t give up. We are all battered, hurt, upset, tired, deflated and angry. I am too. We lost a fantastic opportunity to actually get a Socialist Government. I completely get if you feel you’ve had enough. I’ve felt like that before many times too. Sometimes I think I can’t keep doing this myself. If you need a little break have a break. We all need breaks. But if all us Socialists gave up where would we be?

Well the answer to that is simple in the crap. We all know that really. So I’m asking every Labour member who supported Corbyn if you’re thinking of leaving the party please don’t. If you’re thinking of going off Social Media permanently please don’t. Or if you’re thinking of never going to go to a meeting again please reconsider.

So we are down yes but not out. The right wing in the party and out the party would love it if we gave up. I do what I do not to make friends although that’s a bonus but because I feel I have to. I’m driven because I want to help to make a better world for my daughter’s, the less fortunate and basically the many not just the few. I know we all feel the same.

But I’m not prepared to let the last 4 and half years be for nothing. All of us have done so much it can’t be. When I think back to 2014 when I was invited to get involved with Red Labour we have come so far as Socialists in the Labour Party. It’s been a journey that I’ve been proud to have been a small part of. Helping Jeremy Corbyn get on the ballot paper and then winning the first and second leadership Elections is something I will never forget. I think it’s good to remember our victories because it gives us strength to fight the battles ahead.

Since the General Election on the December 12th I don’t mind admitting it’s been very tough. But two quotes from the late great Tony Benn keep coming into my head that I think are especially pertinent at this time.

“There is no final victory, as there is no final defeat. There is just the same battle, to be fought over and over again. So toughen up, bloody toughen up.”


Which is what I’ve been saying. Even if we had won on December 12th that would have been just the beginning of another battle. These battles will never end even when we are winning. But these battles have always gone on. Which made me think of another famous Tony Benn quote.

“From the beginning of time there have been two flames burning in the human heart. The flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope you can build a better world. And my job is to go round fanning both flames.”

It’s quotes like this which help to give me strength to keep going in the hardest of times like now. I feel that’s my job too to keep fanning those flames in whatever small way I can.  And I won’t give up because there’s simply to much at stake. There’s still a world to win for Socialism. So we dust ourselves down and start building again. See you next year on the other side.





Election Reflections


I’m trying to get my thoughts together on the General Election result. We are all devastated not just because we lost but because we know that for the next 5 years life is going to be hell for so many. I don’t want this to sound bitter or like sour grapes either. So many of us tried our best and we are all hurting now. But what we have to do is dust ourselves down and fight again. We may need a break I know I do but we can’t give up because there’s so much at stake.
So what went wrong?

Well from my point of view it was our Brexit position. Of course there were other factors too we and particularly that Jeremy Corbyn has been demonised and smeared like no other Labour leader. Yes no Labour leader has had good press except Blair at certain times. Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock were both treated particularly bad. It goes with the terrain of radically trying to change Society and is a badge of honour in a way. But Corbyn has been accused of being numerous things he’s not with make no mistake the sole purpose of damaging him and Labour electorally. And to some extent it has worked. How much it’s really difficult to say but I don’t think at the moment it’s the main thing to focus on. Because since 2017 we have lost 2 and half million votes. Those people were prepared to vote for us then after 2 years of lies and smears about Corbyn then so what’s changed?

Well that brings me back to Brexit and I think it’s undeniable that it was the major factor in our devastating defeat. It’s so frustrating because we were warned about this earlier in the year with the rise of the Brexit party. Their huge success in the Euro Elections should have been a warning shot across the bow. But too many in the party thought it was just a protest vote and that most would come back to us. They didn’t get how deep the feeling was in parts of the Midlands and North and it was ignored that 70% of our seats voted leave. Well a lot haven’t come back to us and we have a lot of work to do to win them back. I have to say this but some London centric lefties really don’t seem to get it. Some seem to think that working class people who voted Brexit have not only got it wrong but imply they are stupid or racist. So many already felt that they weren’t being listened to and when the referendum came they voted against staying in the EU as a rejection of the neo liberal establishment elite. But 3 and half years later Brexit has stalled and to put it bluntly we have took the blame and we are the ones who have been punished. People who voted Brexit really want it done and some leavers think we have betrayed them. They didn’t want a second referendum they wanted the result of the first carried out.

Before anyone thinks I’m a ardent leaver I voted remain in 2016. But the major difference between the Election 2 years ago and now is that then we said we would honour the result of the referendum, now we were offering a another one. Like it or not people who voted leave didn’t like that, so much so many were even prepared to vote Tory who of course were saying they were going to get Brexit done. So no matter how many great policies we have it was always going to be a major uphill battle to win people over when as they see it they had won the referendum result and we had helped to block it in parliament. Many of us on the left warned about this happening but we lost the battle.

I have to say again as well that certain figures on the London left in their bubble didn’t help with their sneering patronising attitude. And the constant manoeuvring by some to not accept the result of the democratic referendum result has cost us dear. We may have not liked the result in 2016 but we should have accepted the democratic mandate after all that’s what democracy is. This attitude that some show that we know best really doesn’t go down well.

Let’s be honest in some of our heartlands our vote has been going down for a long time way before Corbyn became leader. This has just been the final straw. It was always going to be difficult for us because opinion varies so much around the country. We tried to unite leave and remain but to many our policy was a fudge. I admit I wanted us to adopt this policy at conference myself but only because the other option of us being a full remain party would have been an even bigger disaster for us I believe. That would have been unforgivable to many at least now we have a fighting chance of winning these people back to us. We have had the massive misfortune of having to deal with the Brexit issue at this particular time in history, things could have been so different without it but it’s proven to be such a divisive issue. Hopefully by the next Election it won’t be the issue it is now.
I think Jeremy is right to not rush into going as leader, we have to choose our next leader carefully. It would also be a mistake in my view to back track on our policies or water them down. We have to offer a radical alternative and next time we will be better placed after 5 years of Tory rule hopefully. These are the times for radical Socialist policies because the problems we face as a country and indeed in the world as they are the best solutions to the crisis we face. As I have said before time is running out but we mustn’t give up because of this gigantic setback. We have to learn from this and learn fast. We are all hurting now but the fight goes on. Who’s up for it?

Running Out of Time


We are in the middle of another General Election and Jeremy Corbyn has said this is an once in a generation chance to change things and I agree. Because this Election isn’t just about Brexit. It’s about the future direction of travel about everything facing us and that is a hell of a lot.

Everything the Tories want to do is about doing things short term and looking after their own and friends vested interests. It’s what they do and they haven’t got the vision or inclination to do what’s needed.
To put it bluntly we are running out of time. I don’t say that to just gain your attention I’m simply stating a fact. Last year the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) brought out a report stating that we had only 12 years left to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. The Tories so called plans to limit Climate Change do nowhere near enough. Because as always they put big business first not the people or the planet. They can’t really conceive of the enormity of the task ahead because they are quite happy with how things are and deep down don’t want to change much at all. Now it’s 11 years the clock is ticking and what have the Tories done? Nothing

They say the NHS is safe with them but it’s a lie. The Tories have been running it down and opening it up to the market the last 9 years. President Trump and his big pharma cronies are waiting in the wings for the post Brexit trade deal where they will want to carve up the most profitable bits of the NHS. This isn’t scaremongering but something that is increasingly believed by many. The brutal truth is the NHS won’t be able to survive another 5 years of Conservative Government. It’s running out of time.
The same with Education. The Tories have pushed their Academy policy which is wrecking Schools by making them more like a businesses instead of putting children first. For example my eldest daughter’s School became a Academy while she was there. The trust reduced the Special Educational Needs Department to one person who had to teach part time. The well being of our Children is being hit as well as their Education.

There are plenty of other things that worry me about the future under the Tories like Obscene Inequality and their consciously cruel policies on the poorest and most vulnerable in society for example. The Tories have done all this deliberately. They are short sighted, have a narrow vision and are only interested in benefiting things for their rich mates. The country has gone backwards in recent years with them in Government.

In the last few years though politics has changed. For far too long we had been told that nothing can change that we have to accept that the wealth will trickle down to benefit us. This has proven to be rubbish. The wealthy are getting even more obscenely rich while the rest of us are struggling ever more.
Only 2 parties can form a Government and you have to ask yourself what future do you want for you and your family. I would argue that a vote for the Tories is a vote for no future because everything will get worse for ordinary people if they win the election. More Food banks, more poverty the destruction of the NHS it’s a depressing thought. But a better future is within reach and is entirely possible. I predict there will be lots of smears and scare stories the next couple of weeks. The official CONservative Party are already doctoring videos and pedaling fake news. Ignore them because they will be biased rubbish that has the sole objective of lessening the chances of Corbyn’s Labour being elected. The establishment are running scared and that’s good news for you and me.
In case you haven’t noticed the Labour Party has changed the last few years. No longer can the main parties be accused of being nearly the same. Now the Labour Party has a vision of a better fairer future for all and what’s more it’s got the will to make it happen. We will implement a Green New Deal giving us a better chance of a green future and will lobby for it worldwide. We will save the NHS by making it a completely public service again, by in its future and stopping any grubby deal with Trump’s big pharma mates. Most important we will put the c and s back into Government. C is for caring and S is for socialism, they actually go together because creating a fairer, greener more equal society is what it’s all about. As Barry Gardiner said it’s Labour who will transform the country and make life better for the majority of people.
I said earlier we are running out of time and it’s likely it will be another 5 years until the next Election. All Elections are important of course but I’m not exaggerating to say this one is absolutely vital to the future of the country and indeed the world. That’s why I’m asking everyone to vote and to make sure you vote for Labour. Because only Labour can and will make the changes we need to rebalance society and combat Climate Change. Did I mention we are running out of time?