From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Labour proves critics wrong
Saturday 7th may 2016
And in most parts of Britain Labour has done well considering the obstacles in its path.
Jeremy Corbyn’s election eight months ago was the product of a mass democratic revival in a party that had operated as a Leader’s Office dictatorship since Tony Blair’s election in 1994, and reflected the public’s disillusionment with a political consensus that had turned Labour and the Tories into mirror images of each other.
That disillusionment was reflected in the total indifference shown to Corbyn’s leadership rivals. Claims that Labour’s performance would have been stronger under any of them are unconvincing.
The Labour that Corbyn, at the head of hundreds of thousands of new members, is revitalising has difficult legacies to overcome: the loss of five million votes under Blair and Brown as it abandoned working-class communities and treated its trade unionist core vote with contempt; a reputation for involving the country in unprovoked foreign wars; a “they’re all the same” mentality encouraged by Tory-lite economic policies and blatant examples of Establishment corruption such as the expenses scandal or the money-grubbing antics of a Geoff Hoon or Patricia Hewitt.
The fact that some MPs clearly see nothing wrong with any of those legacies and publicly attack their leader’s attempt to make a fresh start doesn’t help, and on top of that the party has faced unprecedented bias from all major media outlets — the public-funded BBC among them — and a succession of artificial scandals cooked up by the enemies of change.
Despite all this Labour has avoided the meltdown gleefully predicted by its critics, registering strong performances across England and holding control of key bellwether authorities such as Crawley.
It stays the largest party in Wales and will continue to govern in that country.
And Sadiq Khan’s victory in London [see also here] should be celebrated by everyone opposed to the disgusting racism of the Conservative campaign for the mayoralty there.
Taken together these results show that the public are harder to fool than the Establishment thinks. Londoners did not rise to the “dog whistle” racist descriptions of Khan as a “radical” or the slur that he was close to fundamentalist terrorists, clearly motivated solely by his Muslim faith.
The more multimillionaire former tax exile Zac Goldsmith slandered his opponent, the further behind he fell. Hopefully this will be a lesson for those in Conservative Party headquarters willing to stoop to the poisonous politics of race.
Similarly across England and Wales media hysteria was unable to seriously dent Labour’s vote, though of course it could have done better and probably would have done if certain MPs put as much effort into taking on the Tories as they do sniping at and sabotaging their boss.
This is promising. The media onslaught won’t stop any time soon: the Establishment is not going to play fair when its power and privileges are threatened by democratic revolution. Labour’s ability to fight through it is crucial and we can build on yesterday’s victories.
But the story was very different in Scotland.
Scottish Labour’s third-placed position cannot be laid at Corbyn’s door,
but it is true that hopes a return to socialism would win back large numbers of nationalist voters have not materialised.
Clearly what exists of the “left independence” vote remains wedded to the SNP, despite its right-wing economic policy. New groups such as Rise received negligible support.
This places a burden on those socialists who are in the SNP — and there are some — to challenge their party leadership’s record on privatisation and inequality.
The labour movement faces an even greater task — to fight to rebuild a politics of class, rather than of nation.
IN HIS first national electoral test, Jeremy Corbyn has made a really good start. Results are better than expected, with a strong swing in Labour’s favour since the general election. Last May, the Tories led by 7 per cent. When Jeremy became leader last September, that lead had swollen to 15 per cent in some polls. There is no evidence of any voter hostility to his leadership — no swing against Labour in the south of England, for example, since the general election. No other leader could have done better than this, and these results weaken his internal opponents: here.
Detractors who gleefully predicted Corbyn’s downfall will certainly want to gloss over these election results, writes EMILY MAIDEN: here.