24 thoughts on “British media anti-Corbyn bias

  1. Wednesday 28th September 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    LABOUR members voted resoundingly for Jeremy Corbyn as party leader, but that cuts little ice with those determined to undermine him.
    National executive committee officials and some conference delegates can repeat the “in a spirit of unity” mantra, but the rule change to authorise party leaders in Scotland and Wales to nominate two new NEC members is dodgy.
    It undermines the principle of members being elected and it was designed to alter the NEC political balance.
    Enhancing Scottish and Welsh Labour autonomy is long overdue, especially since New Labour brought the party in Scotland to its knees.
    Former Welsh first minister Rhodri Morgan’s insistence on issues concerning Wales being decided there — summed up in his reference to “clear red water” between Welsh Labour and Labour HQ — helped prevent a similar fate for Wales.
    National autonomy is a democratic essential, which Welsh Grassroots Labour has long supported, along with a Welsh Labour NEC representative elected by one member one vote, but it is a million miles away from personal nominees sitting on the NEC.
    Yesterday’s shenanigans, played out live on TV, did little for Labour’s democratic reputation, from having a single vote to cover a bundle of unrelated rule changes emanating from the NEC to the failure of conference chair Paddy Lillis to recognise any speaker opposing the proposal.
    The crudity of the operation, excused by pretexts of saving conference time or moving swiftly to policy debates to take the battle to the Tories, was breathtaking.
    It smacked of a return to the worst days of Blairism when New Labour ruthlessly drove through constitutional amendments to underpin right-wing change.
    This year’s elections to the national executive committee for constituency parties resulted in a clean sweep for six Centre Left Grassroots Alliance members who were perceived as broadly pro-Jeremy Corbyn and tipping the political balance on the NEC.
    That balance will be reversed when, as expected, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale takes up her seat on the committee and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones nominates his personal champion.
    Scottish MSP Jackie Baillie was disingenuous in claiming that blocking this change would have meant putting “internal politics ahead of the interests of the people of Scotland and Wales,” when she knows that these changes are dictated totally by internal politics.
    The NEC has untrammelled power to decide on how parliamentary candidates are chosen, whether reselection challenges can take place and, as the leadership ballot showed, who could vote in the contest.
    The Court of Appeal ruled that general secretary Iain McNicol had virtually unlimited power over internal elections, including the right to apply a six-month cut-off date for full members to be eligible to vote, denying 128,000 fully paid-up comrades their democratic rights.
    That’s apart from a possibly even larger figure that fell foul of the unaccountable NEC Star Chamber that axed members at will.
    Had McNicol not been outvoted by the NEC, he and those close to him would have rejected Corbyn’s right to defend his leadership against Owen Smith’s challenge.
    This is the same Corbyn who romped home in all three voting categories, so scrubbing his name from the ballot paper would have amounted to a monstrous denial of democracy to the entire party membership.
    The Labour bureaucracy’s machinations in response to Corbyn’s election confirm that a rearguard action has been mounted to undermine the leader and minimise change.
    Labour members must be wary of those prattling about the “spirit of unity” and be vigilant to defend democratic norms and Corbyn’s new political direction.



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  6. Monday 27th February 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    IT IS fitting that Jeremy Corbyn’s fiery response to critics who say he should pack it in after last week’s reversal in Copeland came at the Scottish Labour conference yesterday.

    For no part of the country better illustrates than Scotland how bankrupt New Labour’s vision for the party had become, and how counterproductive returning to it would be.

    It’s hardly surprising that Corbyn’s traditional enemies are making a meal of Copeland, arguing that it spells disaster to have lost this “stronghold,” while dismissing the positive result in Stoke since “retaining a rock-solid seat” is “the minimum ask of an opposition party in midterm,” to quote the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland.

    Actually, the fact that Labour had held both seats for a long time does not make them “rock solid.”

    When previous MPs Jamie Reed and Tristram Hunt threw in the towel, the media was near unanimous in terming them marginals — the BBC, Guardian and Spectator all used the term for Copeland, on the reasonable grounds that Labour’s lead over its rivals in both seats had been whittled away for years and was looking distinctly threadbare based on the 2015 results which, of course, predated Corbyn’s election as leader.

    Understanding Labour’s loss of millions of votes from 1997 on is key to any serious fightback for the party.

    The way the British electoral system works means that a slow decline of this sort can be masked for years.

    A seat in Parliament is a seat in Parliament, no matter how large or small the majority.

    But, as we saw in Scotland in 2015, it cannot be masked forever.

    And a party which once dominated the political scene was reduced in one fell swoop from 41 MPs north of the border to a single one, all under the leadership of “more Blairite than Blair” Jim Murphy, a supporter of all things Tony from tuition fees to Iraq.

    Quite possibly Corbyn’s long-standing opposition to nuclear power went down badly in Copeland, where jobs depend on the nuclear industry.

    But the real tragedy is not that Corbyn is sceptical about an industry over which serious safety questions abound, but that decades of free-market dogma have so decimated British industry that other skilled jobs in the area do not exist.

    If Labour is to turn that around, it needs to be pushing for a real industrial strategy — just as Corbyn and John McDonnell have fleshed out with their plans for a national investment bank to develop our regions and an active, interventionist government that does not leave economic policy to the City of London and the Bank of England.

    Labour activists in Copeland heard on doorsteps that locals had not been canvassed for a decade or more.

    The story will be familiar in many parts of Scotland, where a mixture of Tory-lite economics, complacency and a sense that decisions were being taken in London rather than locally contributed to the success of the nationalists.

    But the SNP’s allure is empty.

    In government it has proved a party of spending cuts and austerity, not of the “redistribution of power and wealth” that Corbyn promised yesterday.

    Because Labour’s leader is spot-on that “class, not identity, is what still impacts most on people.”

    Turning Labour into a movement of the class again, into a party made up of and representing working-class communities, is a mammoth task that will not be completed overnight. It faces a long legacy of mistrust.

    But Corbyn is right that “now is not the time to retreat, to run away or to give up.”

    Britain needs radical change. Not one of Corbyn’s critics is offering that. Few of them seem even to understand it.



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