15 thoughts on “British Blairites ban trade union leader from voting for Corbyn

  1. LOUISE MENSCH says she “cried” when the Conservatives won back her old Corby seat in the general election. But the Labour MP who replaced her in the 2012 by-election, and then lost the seat again, seems to be laughing all the way to the bank.

    Mensch says she was “thrilled” and driven to tears when Conservative Tom Pursglove unseated Labour’s Andy Sawford in May. Mensch might have been feeling guilty because Labour won the seat in the first place because she abandoned it, standing down to go to New York in 2012 to spend more time with her money.

    However, Sawford doesn’t seem that bothered about losing the seat himself: he has walked out of the Commons and straight into a new job as a boss of leading lobbying firm Connect Public Affairs.

    Five weeks after being kicked out by the electorate Sawford said he was joining Connect and “was delighted to be offered the opportunity to return to work with them as CEO. Connect is a great company. In my view it is the best in the business and is primed for even greater success and growth in the years ahead.” So losing his seat wasn’t such a bad thing.

    Connect say they can — for a price — help clients “engage with and build relationships with your most important political advocates. We know how to ensure your voice is heard by those who count.”

    Here are a few of the clients who can get their voices “heard” with the former Labour MP’s help: privatised utility British Gas; the European Azerbaijan Society, representatives of that nation’s authoritarian ruling elite; and Essential Living, a developer that wants to build private tower blocks and rent them to Londoners in a conscious effort to exploit “generation rent.” Essential Living also employs Tory former housing minister Mark Prisk.

    The Corby seat shows our Parliament sliding back to the kind of rottenness of the early 19th century, with seats either represented by rich hobbyists like Mensch, who might wander off at any moment, or hired guns like Sawford, who seem as happy representing foreign dictators or exploitative firms for cash as they do representing voters in Parliament.



  2. Friday 28th August 2015

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    by Paul Donovan

    Jeremy Corbyn will face three major challenges if elected leader of the Labour Party on 12 September.

    The challenges will come from the Parliamentary Labour Party, a hostile media and the Conservative government. Ironically enough it is the third of these that may prove the easiest to fulfil.

    The opposition of so much of the Parliamentary Party is a real problem. There is the party within a party known as the Progress group, which seeks to keep the flame of Blairism burning bright. This group, represented by Liz Kendall in the leadership election, are likely to oppose much of what Corbyn will try to enact. Leading Progress supporters, such as Chuka Umuna, have already said they will not serve under Corbyn in the shadow Cabinet. The Progress group seem the most likely to cause strife, maybe even leaving the party like the SDP did in the early 1980s. Others could coalesce around the rebels.

    Among other MPs there will also be opposition, though this may be more easily dissipated. The MP is first and foremost a creature driven by the need for self-preservation. As such, many MPs will be willing to give the Corbyn agenda a chance just to see if in the long term it might profit their own personal position and ambitions. Some no doubt will make a miraculous conversion to left wing politics almost overnight.

    Then there will be the left of the party who have backed Corbyn. They should be the ones taking up shadow cabinet positions, moving forward.

    The second problem area will be the media. The hostility to anything other than the mainstream neo-liberal orthodoxy has been clear for all to see over the period of the leadership election. Corbyn has received virtually unanimous hostility from across the mainstream media. Even the Guardian, which many expected to at least operate a level playing field has done its best to give voice to opposition to Corbyn. In the end the paper – not a Labour supporting publication over the years – felt the need to guide its readers by backing Yvette Cooper for the leadership. The Mirror has backed Andy Burnham, whilst the Independent has not made a recommendation.

    The old mantras about the 1980s and such like are likely to continue with the media. Where things may change is if the transition from simply a leadership campaign for a left candidate continues to become a mass movement for an anti-austerity agenda. So if the 600,000 eligible to vote in the leadership election morphs into a couple of million or more, enthused further by what it sees from a Corbyn led Labour Party then some of the media – particularly on the liberal side of the market – will start to change their hostile position.

    The Conservative Party may not be as happy as some in the media have prophesied with a Corbyn led Labour Party. It is not difficult to imagine David Cameron being rather non-plused by Corbyn at Prime Minister Questions. A man failing to rise to person vitriol, attacking from a position grounded in social justice and socialist based principles.

    The sort of dilemmas that Corbyn could face as leader with all three of these challenges could come together on the subject of the European Union. So far he has declared that he would campaign to quit the EU if Dave Cameron’s renegotiation is about “trading away workers’ rights, trading away environmental protection and trading away much of what is in the social chapter.”

    The EU as presently constituted represents the embodiment of neo-liberalism. Indeed, if Corbyn wants to achieve many of his policies, such as renationalisation rail and the utilities, then remaining in the EU probably won’t be an option. The country would need to get back control over its own sovereignty.

    But what if Corbyn were to set a steady ant-EC course putting himself at the front of the no vote campaign come the referendum. It would cause consternation amongst the Tories who are already split on the issue. In the country, it would help bring back the Labour core vote that has deserted to UKIP. The policy would also be popular with many of Labour’s traditional opponents. Such a stand would not be popular with the SNP in Scotland but again would set Labour out as distinct and apart from the Scottish nationalists and their version of anti-austerity politics.

    The biggest problem Corbyn would have would be with his own party who are overwhelmingly pro-Europe. It could be another cause for splits. So a policy that could really appeal to the wider electorate in the country and split the Tories may founder on the need to keep the Parliamentary Labour Party unity. So the issue of Europe nicely illustrates some of the problems Corbyn would be likely to face moving forward.

    What does seem for sure is that winning the leadership of the Labour Party is only likely to be the start of the challenges facing Corbyn. The need to square the circle of keeping Parliamentary party unity and opposing the Tories whilst winning support in the country will be the real challenge. But if the left agenda that Corbyn leads continues to draw in support across the generations then dealing with all the issues will become a lot easier.

    * see: http://www.paulfdonovan.blogspot.com



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  9. Thursday 3rd March 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Britain

    LABOUR chiefs have finally allowed two left-wing union leaders to rejoin the party.

    Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack and Public and Commercial Services union leader Mark Serwotka both applied to join Labour following the election of Jeremy Corbyn in September.

    Mr Wrack was active in the Labour Party Young Socialists before going on to join the Socialist Party, which he had left by the time he was elected to lead the FBU in 2005. His union disaffiliated from Labour in 2004 but reaffiliated last November.

    Mr Serwotka, whose union has never been affiliated, had previously lent his support to to the Greens and Respect but joined Mr Corbyn’s leadership campaign last summer.

    Now Labour’s national executive has accepted membership applications from both men. A previous rumour that Mr Wrack’s constituency party in Leyton and Wanstead had objected to his application is thought to be untrue.

    The executive also reversed the expulsions of several activists yesterday, some of whom were involved in far-left groups that work within Labour. But others have been expelled on similar grounds more recently.



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