British Blairites’ hypocritical U-turn on Corbyn

This video from Britain says about itself:

Jeremy Corbyn’s a popular man – but what did [the Blairite right wing of] his Party say about him before?

13 June 2017

Before the general election, many Labour Party figures said Corbyn was unelectable, unqualified and ruining the party. Now, some of them may want to come back into his shadow cabinet.

This video from Britain says about itself:

Standing ovation for Jeremy Corbyn on 13.06.2017 as he entered the House of Commons.

This satiric music video from Britain says about itself:

PLP – “Sorted for Seats and Shit”

14 June 2017

Oh is this the way they say the future’s meant to feel?
Some old lefty scruff has gone and garnered mass appeal
And I’m not entirely sure just how to process it
But that’s okay, ’cause we’re all sorted out for seats and shit
And tell me what the lesson is, ’cause all this has just got to mean something

At 9pm [one hour before the general election exit poll on TV] on the dot, he was a dirty Trot
But one hour later, ooh, ooh the news came through

Oh yeah the exit poll told us just what was going down
As did a parade of quite dismayed Conservative frowns
And I’m still not sure if he’s for or against Brexit
But that’s okay, ’cause we’re all sorted out for seats and shit
At half past two, the chicken coup seemed very, very, very far away

At 9pm on the dot, he was a dirty Trot
But one hour later, ooh, ooh the news came through
Ooh, red was competing with blue

24 thoughts on “British Blairites’ hypocritical U-turn on Corbyn

  1. Thursday 15th June 2017

    posted by Conrad Landin in Britain

    by Conrad Landin in Southport

    LABOUR MPs should face a full reselection process before the next general election, the bakers’ union BFAWU conference heard yesterday.

    Delegates voted in favour of introducing the “power of recall, reselection and if necessary sacking of MPs.”

    Currently sitting Labour MPs are automatically reselected to run in an election if a majority of branches in their constituency approves their candidacy.

    The system has been criticised because local trade union affiliate branches have the same voting strength as party branches, regardless of their size.

    Party bosses circumvented even this limited system ahead of the snap general election, saying there was no time for such “trigger ballots.”

    Bakers voiced their anger at Labour MPs who had “gone out of their way to damage the party” by criticising Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

    They argued that MPs should be held accountable by members in their constituencies.

    Bristol delegate Adam Brown said: “We have to account for our actions every day, I don’t see why it should be any different for them?”

    BFAWU president Ian Hodson stressed unity in the union, telling delegates that “one of the most important things is that we all come together as a movement and when the next election is called we’re all fighting for one cause.

    “That is Jeremy Corbyn and a Labour government,” he said.

    And BFAWU general secretary Ronnie Draper warned that unions must “keep a careful eye” to ensure there is not “another coup” against Mr Corbyn.

    He told the Star that members need “the opportunity of reselecting people who don’t support our leader,” adding that “this is what democracy is about. You can’t create democracy to suit yourself.”

    Unite, Labour’s largest affiliate, voted in favour of mandatory reselection contests at its policy conference last year. But a similar motion was lost at the shopworkers’ union Usdaw last month.

    Under mandatory reselection, MPs would have to face an open contest before each general election — in which other candidates could put themselves forward as alternative choices.

    Delegates at BFAWU conference also voted for motions calling for a ban on MPs having “second jobs,” and in favour of replacing MPs’ expenses with giving them accommodation directly.


  2. Friday 16th June 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Britain

    AFRICANS for Jeremy Corbyn have praised the “positive campaign of hope over fear” that led to the Labour Party’s electoral resurgence.

    The group, which aims to galvanise Africans to engage with the Corbyn-led Labour Party, praises “Team Corbyn’s” election campaign in a letter published in the Star today.

    “It is a victory that the Labour Party has put out a socialist-facing manifesto, which has been well received,” the jointly signed letter reads.

    “For the first time in decades, there is a clear understanding of what Labour stands for. It is not a difference between austerity and austerity-lite.”

    The letter also heaped praise on union and community activists as well as newspapers such as the Morning Star that supported and “helped raise awareness” of Mr Corbyn’s message.


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  6. Saturday 24th June 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Britain

    LORD SAINSBURY will stop funding Blairite group Progress, the billionaire supermarket tycoon revealed yesterday.

    The peer said he would now be concentrating on “non-political causes” including charities after two decades as a key donor to the New Labour think tank.

    The pro-EU group is directed by Richard Angell, who has been an outspoken critic of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his policies.

    A public conference held by the group in April included a talk entitled: “Has Labour lost its way?”

    Progress also opposes the so-called John McDonnell amendment, which will be put forward at the annual party conference in September.

    The amendment would see the threshold of Labour MPs and MEPs’ votes required to stand in a leadership election reduced from 15 per cent to 5 per cent.

    Branding this “disastrous,” Progress has gone as far as posting a cartoon of Mr McDonnell, labelled “The Trotfather,” on its website.

    The loss of Lord Sainsbury’s financial support at the end of this year poses problems for Progress, as it is now appealing for donations to help it block the amendment, as well as to continue campaigning.

    Last year, the tycoon donated £260,000.

    The group said it was now moving to a “member-funded model.”

    Mr Angell said: “We have already started signing up new supporters to take on [the] funding role and so far we have pledges of one-third of the target we need.

    “We are asking that more of our supporters join them so that Progress can continue to support the progressive ideas and organisation we need to win again [sic].”

    Lord Sainsbury claimed that Progress had “provided Labour with an election-winning path” — despite all the evidence that Labour’s gains in the recent general election were the fruit of policies developed under Mr Corbyn.

    Camden Momentum activist Sara Callaway told the Star that the Parliamentary Labour Party “shouldn’t have the power to block the membership from nominating the leader of our choice, which Progress has been doing.”


  7. Saturday 24th June 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    The general election destroyed the myth that Corbyn was unelectable and incompetent. But ALEX NUNNS tells Morning Star editor Ben Chacko that the battle inside Labour is far from over

    ALEX NUNNS’S book The Candidate, often seen as the most informed account of Jeremy Corbyn’s rise to leadership of the Labour Party, documents in great detail the incredulity of a political and media establishment faced with a serious revival of socialist politics.

    The pundits dismissed Corbyn in the summer of 2015, and were proved spectacularly wrong. Yet the general election result earlier this month appeared to take them equally by surprise.

    “What people had dismissed as a nervous breakdown in the Labour Party was actually a sentiment shared by millions — that’s what shocked the ‘experts’,” Nunns explains, when I put the conundrum to him.

    “I remember one of the talking heads on Sky saying that ‘everyone who would vote for a Corbyn-led Labour Party is already a member of it’ — the mainstream commentariat thought this phenomenon was isolated from society and had no deeper lessons.

    “But the truth is that Labour, especially now it is so huge, is part of society, and the dynamics within it are reflective of wider trends. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anybody that Corbyn would have a wider resonance. The 2017 result is just a bigger expression of the same thing that brought him to lead the party in the first place.”

    Corbyn himself drew attention to the parallels with the leadership contest when the election was called, reminding doom-mongering critics convinced Labour was headed for oblivion that he had been a 200-1 outsider to lead Labour but had pulled it off.

    “Yes and someone who actually kept repeating that through the election campaign was Theresa May!” Nunns laughs. “Trying to get out the Tory vote. I don’t think she believed it; she wasn’t worried, but she ought to have been.

    “She was part of that broader feeling among media and political cliques, newspaper columnists and even academic political scientists, that the movement behind Corbyn didn’t need to be taken seriously.

    “I think it betrayed that the pundits don’t really understand politics.

    “They think it’s a game of messaging that is played via broadcasters and newspapers, who can set today’s news agenda, who can score this or that point. It’s played for five years and the party that played most skilfully wins.

    “That’s not true at all.

    “Politics is about interests. It’s about conflicting forces. And what was happening was the awakening of a section of society that felt unrepresented, was reeling from the effects of the 2008 financial crash and wanted something done.

    “To their eternal shame people who are professionals in telling us what is going on refused to hear that voice and now they look stupid.”

    It’s true many in the media have publicly eaten humble pie after the election result and admitted that they got it wrong.

    But, I ask, isn’t there some truth to the charge — levelled at the commentariat by MediaLens — that a lot of these pundits didn’t just underestimate Corbyn — they took part in an active campaign of character assassination against him.

    “That’s absolutely true,” Nunns says. “There were three things which the pundits and the right of the Labour Party threw at Corbyn constantly — he was, one, unelectable; two, not a leader; three, incompetent.

    “The general election has destroyed all three of those myths. It was an extremely competent campaign run by the leader’s office.

    “Corbyn’s message was self-evidently inspirational, in that he got millions to vote for it: more Labour votes than anyone since Tony Blair, a higher share of the vote than any Labour leader since 1970, and the biggest increase in vote share since 1945.

    “So the three pretexts for an attack have fallen away, and all we’re left with is that these people disagree with his politics.

    “Hopefully that will avoid the farcical charade we saw in 2016, when we saw Owen Smith running against Jeremy Corbyn on Corbyn’s own programme.

    “They knew Corbyn’s politics were too popular to beat, so they tried to run on the ‘he’s not up to the job’ card.

    “Similarly, the experts saying they underestimated him mistake their role for passive observers of politics when they are players in the game. What they write or say — and remember this group includes a lot of politicians and grandees as well as journalists — has an influence, or they wouldn’t bother.

    “The idea was that if you keep saying someone is unelectable people will believe it. And it seemed to be working.

    “Before the ‘chicken coup,’ Labour’s results and polling wasn’t bad, though I’m not saying it was great. Afterwards it was terrible, and the Copeland and local election results weren’t at all good.

    “But the strategy didn’t work in the general election because it was much higher profile and more people were paying attention.”

    Was this down to the requirement on broadcasters to be impartial during an election?

    “Well, yes, they had to report what Labour was saying and give the leader’s team time to express their views, that was important.

    “But despite the impartiality rules, the broadcast media was still sailing close to the wind. After the London terror attack people were sharing the BBC ‘shoot to kill’ interview by Laura Kuenssberg, the one where the BBC Trust itself said it was inaccurate, and it showed the BBC hadn’t ever removed it though they knew it was misleading.

    “And then it was aired again on the Daily Politics despite being a known falsehood.

    “So the media didn’t become paragons of virtue, but the fact that they were giving Corbyn airtime meant that people could hear the message.

    “And he made the most of it. He was very bold. After the Manchester terror attack his foreign policy speech was very rational and reasonable, but it was also very brave.

    “People were walking on eggshells, and he took the bull by the horns and talked about the links between foreign policy and terror.

    “The media chorused that it was an outrage, and then a poll came out showing an outright majority agreed with Corbyn.

    “The media had actually spent two days popularising what he had said in order to demonise it and it totally backfired.”

    Indeed, Labour’s strategy succeeded despite overwhelming media hostility.

    In some senses it was a very traditional approach — face-to-face canvassing, street rallies and a big community “get out the vote” push — but the means by which this was done, including brilliant innovative use of social media as an organising tool by the likes of Momentum, was brand new. Will all parties learn from this, I wonder?

    “I’m not sure all parties can,” Nunns points out. “Only Labour has the hundreds of thousands of people you need to make it work.

    “This was a campaign where the divide was clear on policy and equally clear in approach: the Tories have the money, but Labour has the people.

    “Of those half a million members, lots and lots campaigned. And they didn’t just campaign, they talked to friends, family, colleagues.

    “When you’re talking about 500,000 people doing that, all you need is for them to convince a few friends before you’re looking at millions of votes.”

    These new members — the Corbynistas, as they are often dubbed — have been patronised and misrepresented by the media and MPs alike.

    “There was a sneeriness to the way the rallies were reported,” Nunns agrees.

    “When we saw thousands in Gateshead people said: ‘That’s a safe seat, what’s he doing there?’

    “But it inspires and encourages people and if you do that maybe they will go out and campaign and convince others.

    “You shouldn’t underestimate the huge sense of energy and confidence these generate on social media either.

    “Labour supporters got to feel they were not alone, you’re part of a huge movement of people who are as excited about what’s happening as you are.”

    He welcomes Corbyn’s determination to remain on a campaign footing.

    And what of the Labour right, most of which has spent most of the last two years doing nothing but plot to oust Corbyn?

    “They’re going to have a hard time threatening his leadership, at least directly.

    “He’s destroyed the ‘unelectable’ pretext, and the manifesto actually excited a lot of people who had had doubts about him before.

    “They have to fight him on policy, and his agenda is very popular, so how can they win?

    “But that doesn’t mean they have been routed. The Labour Party establishment still has a huge presence on the NEC, in the bureaucracy, in regional structures, in CLPs and in the PLP.

    “Last year, despite being vastly outnumbered, they were winning votes on the floor of Labour conference. It will be interesting to see what happens at conference this year.

    “Their disagreement with Corbyn is political, it’s ideological, so they aren’t about to change their worldview and become fans.

    “They will still try to frustrate efforts to turn Labour into a social movement, to democratise the party. But the case for that is now overwhelming.

    “Labour is becoming part of the landscape in communities and that is a huge campaigning asset. The members chose twice to make Corbyn leader, against the strenuous efforts of the establishment, and the election result shows their judgement was better than the establishment’s.

    “Ditto with the campaign, where a bid to run an entirely defensive, unimaginative campaign by the bureaucracy was overcome by the leader’s office and the members.

    “It was self-activation that won seats like Battersea, the Wirral and Weaver Vale, not resources from party centre.”

    With the Conservatives so weak and divided, Nunns senses that the future is bright for Corbyn’s Labour, especially given the way the Grenfell Tower inferno exposed the rotten nature of Tory Britain.

    But the mobilisation cannot stop, he warns.

    “If Labour had won, it would be in the midst of a monumental struggle with a weak economy and a Parliament totally divided on Brexit.

    “When it does win, we must anticipate that the forces that will be thrown against it will be huge.

    “To sustain a Corbyn government and to see its programme implemented will require popular mobilisation on a far greater scale even than the election. But socialists don’t have a choice about it. We have to seize the chance that is arising.”

    Alex Nunns is the author of The Candidate: Jeremy Corbyn’s Improbable Path to Power. Ben Chacko is editor of the Morning Star.


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  10. Monday 10th July 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    Bullying is unacceptable – but beware MPs who claim every attempt to hold them accountable is intimidation

    THE spectacular Big Meeting at the weekend was a testament to the strength and solidarity of our class.

    Some 200,000 people massed in Durham to celebrate our culture and what we can achieve when we act together. Miners’ leaders Dave Hopper and Dave Guy, sadly no longer with us, would have been overjoyed at the sight but perhaps not surprised — not only because of their hard work over many years previously but because they recognised the strength of socialist ideas to bring us together in the fight for a better future for us and our children.

    Those huge crowds in north-east England at the weekend are also a reflection of the immense and growing support for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party leadership.

    But, now that we are safely away from the election and Labour’s prediction-busting performance, the drumbeat of hostility to the left is gathering strength and pace.

    Kick-starting this is supposedly one member of Luciana Berger’s constituency party saying that she should “get on board” with the overwhelmingly popular Labour leadership.

    In reports, the rest of the quote has been ignored: “She will now have to sit round the table with us the next time she wants to vote for bombing in Syria or to pass a no-confidence motion in the leader of the party — she will have to be answerable to us.”

    This is, to say the least, an odd thing to get worked up about. It is almost as if the content of this quote is not the real motivation behind the vitriol it has supposedly provoked.

    Where is the controversy in an officer of Berger’s CLP saying that an MP should reflect the views of those who select them?

    Obviously this taps into another concern for those on the Labour right — the fear that constituency parties with their exploding memberships might have a say on who goes to Westminster.

    While some recalcitrant MPs may genuinely believe that they are too brilliant to answer to a bunch of plebs, the majority must see that they must cling on to their positions until they are able to oust the socialist leader of the party.

    Recent days have shown what happens when members are divorced from decision-making, with the disgusting spectacle of Labour-controlled Haringey Council handing over £2 billion in public assets to profit-hungry developers over the absolute condemnation of local members.

    This kind of attitude, of excluding members’ voices, is what gave rise to the most hideous acts of the New Labour government.

    We are seeing a return to the pre-election demonisation of the left by Labour rightwingers who are given an enthusiastic welcome in the corporate press. Hence the spectacle of Yvette Cooper defending BBC reporter Laura Kuenssberg, who notoriously fabricated the “shoot-to-kill” interview with Jeremy Corbyn.

    Cooper also says she is disgusted by left-wing protesters who carried a placard showing Theresa May’s head on a spike. She says the request of Berger is “utterly shameful.”

    We can perhaps judge the truth in these statements by the fact that Cooper presumably finds no shame in the actual violence of the Iraq and Libya wars, which she supported and which have killed hundreds of thousands of people.

    As before, the Labour right will use whatever slurs they can lay their hands on against Jeremy Corbyn and those who support him, no matter how fictitious. It is important that we do not cede any ground to them, and instead press on with the vital task of strengthening democracy in the Labour Party.


  11. Tuesday 11th July 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    The MP was right to call out abuse but why did she leave out the Blairites, asks Roger Domeneghetti

    ON SATURDAY, Labour’s Yvette Cooper gave a wide-ranging speech to the Fabian Society outlining her four-point plan for Labour’s pathway to power. However, given the media coverage, you could be forgiven for thinking it had nothing to with finding a way to government and everything to do with the abuse of MPs.

    Cooper — who set up Reclaim the Internet to challenge offensive behavior, particularly that aimed at women — called for a “kinder, gentler” politics, arguing that: “We are normalising a level of vitriol and violence in our lives” and “escalating hatred and contempt for others.”

    Cooper went on to suggest “some of the worst and vilest abuse” has been aimed at Diane Abbott. She’s right on both counts.

    But Cooper is no fool. She is a savvy political operator. She must have known how her words would be refracted through the prism of the mainstream media. She must have known that her support of Abbott would be all but ignored and instead the focus would be on the fact that she said she was “sick to death of the vitriol” the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg receives.

    Furthermore, when she spoke of Labour’s Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger testifying in court against the man who racially abused her but failed to mention that he was a far-right extremist, Cooper must have known her words would be conflated with her later statement that: “Sometimes our party members and supporters attack each other.”

    The press needed no second invitation, once again casting Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters as an intolerant, misogynistic, anti-semitic mob instead of the decent, ordinary people who just want to live in a fairer society they mostly are.

    These are real issues that must be tackled; it would be remiss to suggest otherwise. But it is also remiss to suggest that the abuse only comes from one wing of the Labour Party or that politicians themselves don’t need to show each other a little more respect.

    Let’s, for a moment, imagine that a male MP on the so-call “hard left” of the Labour party had, within four months of first being elected, told an experienced female MP from the opposite wing of the party to “fuck off” in front of their parliamentary colleagues. I suspect that there would have been a considerable amount of outrage, and rightly so.

    Imagine that, instead of apologising, our imaginary male MP doubled down, claiming that: “People said to me they had always wanted to say that to her, and I don’t know why they don’t, as the opportunity presents itself every other minute.”

    Again, rightly there would be outrage. Surely this would not be the “kinder, gentler” politics Cooper believes shows Labour at its best?

    Yet this is exactly what Jess Phillips did to Diane Abbott. Not only did Phillips escape censure, but her act of sisterhood was rewarded by her being elected as chair of the women’s Parliamentary Labour Party, beating her predecessor Dawn Butler in the process. Make of that what you will.

    Cooper also decried the violent language US President Donald Trump has used against Hillary Clinton. These were not, Cooper argued, “just harmless rants from a sad man in his bedroom. This is the bully pulpit […] echoed and amplified by the Breitbarts, the cheerleaders, the echo chambers.”

    Again, she’s absolutely right. But, again, she is noticeably silent on the violent language used by the supposedly “moderate” wing of the Labour Party.

    Imagine that Copper had been elected Labour leader in September 2015. And imagine that within three months our imaginary “hard left” male MP had publicly told her: “I won’t knife you in the back, I’ll knife you in the front,” if he didn’t think she was doing her job properly.

    Again, rightly, there would be outrage. Yet, again, this is exactly what Phillips said about Corbyn. And she said it just seven months before Jo Cox was stabbed to death.

    Am I suggesting that Phillips’s ignoble comments led directly to Jo Cox’s murder? No, of course not. However, this wasn’t a harmless rant from a sad woman in her bedroom; this was violent language used for effect by an elected member of Parliament echoed and amplified by the mainstream media.

    In its own small way it added to the “darkness” Cooper identified at the edges of our political discourse.

    If Cooper really wants a “kinder, gentler” politics then she can’t give anyone a free pass. After all, when is violent language unacceptable — is it only when a man uses it about a woman but not when a woman uses it about a man?

    And when does foul and abusive language become unacceptable; is it only when someone on the supposedly “extreme” wing of the Labour Party directs it at someone on the so-called “moderate” wing, but not vice versa?

    Perhaps Cooper thinks the vitriol Phillips aimed at Abbott or the violence of the language she used about Corbyn is acceptable because she wasn’t hiding behind a keyboard but is an elected member of Parliament? I really hope not.

    MPs, who lest we forget are public servants, need to set an example. They must demonstrate the respect for each other they wish to receive themselves.

    Those that fail to act with such dignity and responsibility must be called out for their behaviour.

    Roger Domeneghetti is a lecturer in journalism at Northumbria University, author of From the Back Page to the Front Room: Football’s Journey Through the English Media and the Morning Star’s North East football correspondent.


  12. Wednesday 12th July 2017

    posted by Conrad Landin in Britain

    MATTHEW TAYLOR’S appointment to lead the review into modern employment practices was seen by some as a coup. He is, after all, a Labour man.

    The only trouble is, he hails from a Labour tradition totally at odds with the party’s current leadership.

    Like a number of other New Labour grandees, Taylor comes from radical roots. His father, Laurie Taylor, is a familiar voice on Radio 4 as middle England’s favourite sociologist.

    Taylor Junior, born 1960, was educated privately at the Emanuel School in Battersea — followed by degrees at Southampton and Warwick. He established a reputation as a Labour leftwinger and a supporter of Tony Benn.

    He became a county councillor in Warwickshire, and stood unsuccessfully for Parliament in 1992. Shortly after he moved to Labour’s Millbank HQ — where he played a key role in the 1997 general election campaign as policy director.

    Having left Labour HQ after a reportedly fractious relationship with general secretary Margaret McDonagh, Taylor became director of the centre-left Institute for Public Policy Research.

    One fellow party staffer recalls that Taylor returned to the fold during the 2001 election campaign.

    After a think tank published a report predicting a “big marketisation and choice agenda in the health service,” Taylor was seen “high-fiving” colleagues, the insider says.

    In 2003 Taylor replaced David Miliband as head of the Downing Street Policy Unit.

    “All the word in the street was that [Miliband] was unhappy with direction of Number 10,” Taylor’s colleague said. “It was put around [Miliband] wasn’t a true believer.

    “When Taylor took over that was when the real Milburn agenda came in,” they add, referring to the pro-marketisation former health secretary.

    “Listening to him this morning took me back to when you used to listen to Labour ministers on the radio, and they’d just be triangulating to death.”


    • Wednesday 12th July 2017

      posted by Conrad Landin in Britain

      Labour joins unions in attacking review into work practices

      UNIONS lamented a “massive missed opportunity” yesterday as a report into employment practices threatened to entrench precarious work.

      In his review into modern employment practices, former Tony Blair adviser Matthew Taylor suggests “technology and forms of WorkerTech” as a potential substitute for trade union organisation in so-called gig economy workplaces.

      The review was commissioned by the Tory government following a series of employment tribunal cases, in which self-employed couriers and taxi drivers working for firms such as Uber and Deliveroo have argued for employment rights as workers.

      Mr Taylor declined to recommend a ban on zero-hour contracts, instead calling on the government to “incentivise employers to provide certainty of hours and income as far as possible.”

      The review recommends that the current employment category of “worker,” which lies between employees and the self-employed, should be renamed “dependent contractors.”

      It would be “unreasonable” for such contractors to log onto gig economy computer systems “when they know there is no work” and expect to still be paid the minimum wage, the review says.

      Mr Taylor said online platforms could be used to “provide individuals with an accurate guide to their potential earnings” — which unions fear could lead to workers losing the right to take action against companies who fail to pay legal minimums.

      Accrued employment rights can currently be denied to workers who take — or are forced to take — a gap of a week between assignments. Mr Taylor recommends this should be extended to a month.

      Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn hit out at the “missed opportunity to tackle insecure employment.”

      He said that in Labour’s manifesto, the party had set out a plan “to transform the workplace and protect and improve workers’ rights. By abolishing employment tribunal fees, scrapping zero-hours contracts and giving rights to all workers from day one, we would halt and reverse the spread of exploitation in the gig economy.”

      Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said the report demonstrated that “insecurity is the inevitable new norm” for gig economy workers.

      At the review’s launch, Prime Minister Theresa May said zero-hours contracts should not allow employers to “exploit” workers, but said banning them would “harm more people than it would help.”

      But University and College Union general secretary Sally Hunt said: “For people who live in daily fear that their hours will be cut if they even speak out, such a right is quite meaningless and makes this review a massive missed opportunity.”


    • Wednesday 12th July 2017

      posted by Morning Star in Editorial

      IT seems a long time since a Labour frontbencher with the business portfolio thought it acceptable or advisable to quote a trade union leader in support of her position.

      But Rebecca Long-Bailey differs from most Labour MPs in being born into a working class family with a trade union shop steward father and retaining a class loyalty that helps cut through the Westminster blizzard of babble.

      Her observation that Unite general secretary Len McCluskey’s hope “that work would once again pay and there would be no profit in exploitation” is giving way to “a depressing sense that insecurity is the inevitable new norm” will resonate with many workers forced into the gig economy.

      Matthew Taylor’s report oozes the “on the one hand, on the other hand” balancing act beloved by New Labour prior to opting unerringly for a pro-corporate position.

      Although the courts have ruled in the Pimlico Plumbers and Uber drivers cases that workers are indeed workers and not self-employed, Taylor muddies the waters by dreaming up the concept of “dependent contractor.”

      What workers in the gig economy need is not fancy descriptions but a new sense of purpose and commitment to justice.

      Instead they are witnessing a classic ruling-class ploy to play for time and obfuscate a point of principle.

      This means setting up an inquiry under an Establishment figure unlikely to rock the applecart, wait several months for its report, welcome it warmly but with reservations and then work out how to change as little as possible.

      Most workers — not just plumbers and drivers — imagine that government has a duty to respond to clear court rulings by telling the gig-economy exploiters of zero-hours, insecure and bogus self-employed workers that they are out of order and must change.

      They should tell them that they must, as a consequence, do what other bosses have to do — employ workers directly, pay the minimum wage, deduct national insurance and income tax, introduce pension, sick pay, maternity and paternity leave schemes and so on.

      But that’s not how it goes. We’ve had the warm welcome and joint launch with the Prime Minister. Now it’s up to Business Minister Margot James to dampen down expectations. She’s already said that she might not accept all the Taylor report proposals.

      The government also refuses to end zero-hours contracts because “many people” want them and, as Theresa May says, it wants to avoid “overbearing regulation,” preferring to retain “the flexibility that people value.”

      The “many people” and “people” she cites but opts not to identify are basically employers and their hangers-on.

      Employers make great play of wanting all workers to have good-quality, well-paying jobs, but their basic motivation is making profits and they see driving down workplace rights in the name of flexibility as the best environment in which to enrich themselves.

      Taylor has nothing of substance to say about the Tory government’s ramping up of employment tribunal fees to a minimum of £1,200 for workers, suggesting only a free service to establish whether someone is an employer, worker or dependent contractor.

      He shares his basic assumptions on workplace rights with Tories and employers — namely that profits are paramount.

      Neither Labour nor the trade union movement should or will have anything to do with this con-trick.

      Workers’ rights will only be guaranteed by a government that prioritises them and that means doing everything to bring forward a Jeremy Corbyn premiership.


  13. Wednesday 26th July 2016

    posted by Conrad Landin in Britain

    Abbott: Too many MPs have no experience of the ‘real world’

    A CLASS of professional politicians has “brought politics into disrepute,” Diane Abbott says.

    Speaking at a gathering of young Labour activists, the shadow home secretary argued that Westminster had encouraged young graduates to become politicians “for the sake of it.”

    She said this had led to Labour MPs not being representative of the country or the diversity of the party’s support base.

    Too many MPs had moved straight from university into jobs as party apparatchiks and then got selected in safe seats, she said.

    Other speakers at the Tower Hamlets Young Labour launch event on Monday night told the audience of their experience of “getting into politics.”

    But Ms Abbott warned: “It’s a narrative which I regard with a certain amount of scepticism. Politics is not like being a manager at Waitrose.

    “This is what has brought politics into disrepute. If you don’t care about anything, if you want to be a politician for the sake of it, find something else to do.”

    Ms Abbott worked as a TV journalist and was active in London Labour Party politics before she was selected as a parliamentary candidate. Elected in 1987, she was Britain’s first black female MP.

    She said it was too easily forgotten that representation of people from marginalised groups in Labour’s ranks had been a struggle. She recalled that she had been told her local party was “full up” when she tried to join in the 1980s.

    “It has been a battle, and the price of equality has been eternal vigilance,” she said.

    She also said critics of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership should quit sniping.

    “We shouldn’t let sectarianism blind us to the fact that we have an opportunity as a party that we will not have again,” she said.

    Corbyn-sceptic Labour MP Wes Streeting, who also spoke at the event, acknowledged that he had been wrong about the Labour leader’s effect on the party’s support.

    But he said that changes to party rules to make it easier to deselect MPs would be a “waste of time” and a “distraction.”


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