By Ben Chacko in Britain:
Arfon Labour candidate lost ‘due to lack of help from HQ’
Monday 12th May 2017
Right-wing party bosses ‘withheld resources’
A LABOUR candidate who came within 92 votes of winning a constituency in north Wales has criticised the party’s headquarters for starving her campaign of resources.
Website The Skwawkbox published allegations at the weekend that “almost no resources were made available for the fight to win Tory-held marginals or even to defend Labour-held ones” following a decision by “right-wing NEC members” and party officials.
The Skwawkbox accused the party officials and national executive rightwingers of either assuming that Labour could not win seats or deliberately seeking a bad result to undermine the party’s left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Mary Griffiths-Clarke, the Labour candidate in Arfon, won 11,427 votes to Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams’s 11,519 — missing out on the seat by 0.3 per cent of the vote.
She told the Morning Star that her campaign had received “no support — not even a tweet” from the Labour Party at the British or Welsh levels.
It was the party machine, not the leadership, which declined to put resources into her campaign, she said. “Jeremy [Corbyn] was amazing. He was in touch throughout the campaign and even on polling day itself.”
But Ms Griffiths-Clarke says she did not get a campaign manager from central office and had been told by an official in Welsh Labour, when she asked for help, that the party’s priorities in north Wales did not include Arfon.
“It was like campaigning for a franchise — I had the logo and the excellent manifesto, and that was it. Labour sent no activists to campaign in Bangor even on the day of the vote.”
She said she was speaking out as it was important for Labour to not make the same mistake if another election is called.
The party should avoid rural communities being left behind in its campaigning priorities, she urged, adding that it needed to “mobilise locals on the front line.
“It needs to value all constituencies. There are no longer any safe seats.”
Her experience echoes the cases of Julie Hilling in Bolton West and the victorious Chris Williamson in Derby North, as described in The Skwawkbox article.
Similar stories have reached the Morning Star from activists in Scotland, where Labour leader Kezia Dugdale sparked outrage during the campaign by suggesting people could vote Conservative in some areas to defeat the Scottish National Party.
A Scottish Labour source said the party — which won seven seats north of the border, up from just one in 2015 — could have won another five if it had campaigned wholeheartedly for all candidates.
The Morning Star tried to contact Welsh Labour for comment but had received no reply by the time of going to press.
A few thousand more votes in marginal constituencies could have made Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minster, preventing Conservative Theresa May from clinging precariously to power with the help of the sectarian religious fundamentalist Democratic Unionist Party. It looks like Blairites prefer a Conservative government to a Labour government. I suggest: let them join the Tories if they want to continue in politics in that case.
From Twitter, 11 June 2017:
The first post G[eneral] E[lection] 17 voting poll: LAB[our] take 6% lead in Survation survey for [conservative] Mail on Sunday CON[servative] 38.9% LAB 44.8% L[iberal] D[emocrat] 7.3%
UK: Blairite challenges Unite union leadership election result. By Robert Stevens, 12 June 2017. The aim of the Blairites is to take control of the union and remove substantial financial backing from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn: here.
Right-wing Labour MPs organise to support Tories and overturn ‘Leave’ vote: here.
Tuesday 13th June 2017
posted by Conrad Landin in Britain
JEREMY CORBYN has not previously had much to look forward to at meetings of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), writes Conrad Landin.
Over the past two years, his fiercest critics have used the weekly private gatherings to savage the leader — while all the time texting their mates in the press gallery.
It was in this bear pit during last year’s leadership challenge that they sought, in the words of one Labour MP, to “break [Corbyn] as a man.”
Tonight, however, the party leader’s grin is likely to spread from ear to ear.
Many MPs have spent the past two years complaining that his leadership would cost them their seats.
Instead, they now have Corbyn’s national campaign to thank for their increased majorities.
Yes, I’m looking at you Wes Streeting (Ilford North, majority 9,639, up from 589), Neil Coyle (Bermondsey, majority 12,972, up from 4,489) and Jess Phillips (Birmingham Yardley, majority 16,574, up from 6,595).
Chuka Umunna and Lucy Powell are both desperate to return to the shadow cabinet, now they know there’s no hope of unseating Corbyn and he could become prime minister.
If you hear of a mea culpa today or tomorrow that has just happened to find its way into a national newspaper, that’s probably what has prompted it — rather than any heartfelt conversion to public ownership and raising taxes on the rich.
There will be others yet who may struggle with even a limited engagement in the grovelling project. One wonders if the hard right of the “hostile” group — MPs such as John Woodcock and Ian Austin — will even turn up.
One senior Corbynista MP predicted that there would no doubt be a few “moaners” at the meeting, but it would be “all right” on the whole.
“There will be dozens of new MPs there, and dozens whose majorities will have doubled thanks to our beloved leader,” the MP said.
It’s certainly true that the ranks of the “core group” around Corbyn will be swelled by the election result.
As well as newbies such as Lloyd Russell-Moyle (Brighton Kemptown), Emma Dent Coad (Kensington) and Laura Pidcock (North West Durham), Corbyn can count on the support of old timers returning to Parliament such as David Drew (Stroud) and Chris Williamson (Derby North).
None of the small handful of Labour MPs who lost their seats were supporters of the party leader.
The PLP is still largely sceptical of Corbyn’s leadership, and there will be manoeuvres aplenty in the coming months. But that’s no reason why he can’t enjoy a sense of vindication for the time being.
Wednesday 14th June 2017
posted by Morning Star in Editorial
WHAT a pleasant surprise it must have been for Jeremy Corbyn to receive a standing ovation from Labour MPs as he walked into the House of Commons chamber yesterday.
The Labour leader is experienced enough to enjoy the moment without being seduced into believing that the entirety of Labour’s parliamentary representation has performed a political U-turn.
Those who derided him as an irrelevant 1970s throwback incapable of winning over the public have had to eat their words. Acceptance that earlier pronouncements were wrong and that Corbyn’s consistency in the face of media abuse has proven popular with voters has come more easily to some Labour MPs than others.
Only a tiny rump of bitter holdouts, the likes of Chris Leslie, hold to his ludicrous line that Labour’s ability to transform a juggernaut of pro-Tory public opinion, projected to translate into a landslide of Tory MPs, into a hung Parliament constitutes a defeat.
Further that Labour led by someone other than Corbyn could have won a parliamentary majority.
Leslie worried that, if he were to return to the shadow cabinet, he might have to resign if “something would come up which I would disagree with, and these are my principles, whether it is to do with security or the running of the economy.”
Fortunately, the Labour leader is unlikely to place the former minister in such a quandary, perhaps being less convinced of his unique qualities than Leslie is.
While the length of a week in politics is well known, there has been a plethora of comments since Friday, when the scale of the party’s achievement dawned, advising that now is the time to transform Corbyn’s shadow cabinet by bringing back superstars who chose to resign earlier.
John McDonnell is right to point out that the current membership is a winning team that shouldn’t be broken up.
Corbyn was not joking, totally, when he described himself as a “most generous” leader and he is not so inflexible as to refuse a second, or even third, chance to MPs who have spurned his comradeship before.
But he is not a mug. Politeness and good humour don’t serve as cloaks for naivety.
The party leader will reach out to those who recognise not only that they were mistaken in their assessment of where Labour was heading under Corbyn but understand why.
The anti-Corbyn sniping majority acted as they did because of a belief that, in line with New Labour orthodoxy, the party could only gain office by mirroring the neoliberal approach of the Tories and their Liberal Democrat allies while claiming tactically based marginal policy differences as political principles.
No Corbyn supporter should be turfed out of the shadow cabinet to oblige repentant sinners, but there are junior shadow minister places up for grabs because of the scale of previous co-ordinated resignations.
But those who regret their previous statements and agree to put the party before their egos, whether in junior posts or front-bench vacancies that arise, must understand that self-discipline is required.
They will not be in the shadow cabinet as freelances or in a personal capacity.
The shadow cabinet loyalty demanded by previous Labour leaders is owed equally to Corbyn and should be expressed by a willingness for public campaigning and addressing labour movement events to extend support for the party and its leadership.
Unity remains the key to isolating and defeating the May government and opening the way to a Corbyn premiership.
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