British Labour, Tony Blair and Jeremy Corbyn

This video by Russell Brand from Britain says about itself:

Who Is Worse For Britain – Blair Or Corbyn? Russell Brand The Trews (E364)

18 August 2015

I examine the policies of Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn as prominent members of his own party line up to condemn him.

Corbyn’s surge can be at the heart of a winning coalition, by Seumas Milne. A democratic eruption is transforming Labour. If it continues, it can change the electoral landscape too: here.

Iraq war opponent Corbyn, new British Labour leader?

Iraq triptych, by Michael Sandle

In this painting entitled “Iraq Triptych,” Tony Blair was depicted by Michael Sandle as a naked, stony-faced person and surrounded by haunting images of the war in Iraq.

By Lindsey German in Britain:

Longtime Iraq war opponent Jeremy Corbyn has Blair running scared

Friday 14 August 2015 16:13 UTC

Running scared. That is the only explanation for the increasingly desperate and angry denunciations from the right wing of the UK’s Labour Party, as Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn‘s campaign looks more and more likely to win him the party’s leadership on 12 September. The mass grassroots support for the anti-war and anti-austerity candidate has taken most Labour politicians by surprise. Their horror at this development only indicates their sense of entitlement to their own positions, their undimmed arrogance in the face of political failure, and their paper-thin commitment to any form of real democracy.

This week war mongering multi-millionaire Tony Blair published a second article attacking Corbyn. Blair warns of “annihilation” for Labour if Corbyn becomes leader. In the Guardian he wrote: “The party is walking eyes shut, arms outstretched, over the cliff’s edge to the jagged rocks below. This is not a moment to refrain from disturbing the serenity of the walk on the basis it causes ‘disunity’. It is a moment for a rugby tackle if that were possible.”

His fellow warmonger, former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, told Channel 4 News on 13 August that elections cannot be judged on the basis of the Iraq war. Alastair Campbell, the spin-doctor who spun the 45 minutes WMD claim, has argued that a Corbyn victory would be a “car crash” for Labour.

It takes a supreme level of arrogance and insensitivity for those who were the architects of one of the most disastrous modern wars, whose consequences are still being played out across the Middle East with devastating outcomes for the people there, to feel that their pronouncements should be listened to. Jeremy Corbyn has the advantage over them in that he always opposed this war, and indeed the whole War on Terror since 2001, and he has been proved right.

His view is much more in tune with public opinion, on this and many other issues. How many people supporting Jeremy in this election are doing so because of his position on the Iraq war? Blair, on the other hand, lost the party a million votes in the election of 2005 (generally accepted to be largely as a result of the war), saw membership shrinking, again often for the same reason, and was forced out of office in 2007 again partly because of his enthusiastic backing of Israel in the Lebanon war of 2006.

Families of servicemen and women who died in Iraq this week launched the threat of legal action against Sir John Chilcot, demanding he set a date for publication of the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war, an inquiry which took its final evidence four years ago but still has been not been released to the public. Blair, Straw and Campbell are all likely to be at the least highly criticised.

Much of the decline in support for Labour can be dated to the war and its aftermath. Of course there are many other issues that are now persuading many Labour members and supporters to back Jeremy Corbyn: opposition to government austerity, a sense that levels of widening inequality need to be halted and reversed, opposition to the scapegoating of migrants and Muslims. The anti-Corbyn candidacy hysteria stems from support for a neoliberal consensus that has led to this inequality.

The potency of Jeremy’s campaign is precisely that it breaks the dominant political consensus in the UK and elsewhere, and puts forward a real alternative. While the right of Labour claim that the Conservatives will welcome a Corbyn victory, this is by no means the case among the more intelligent of them. The neoliberal pro-war consensus needs a supine and weakened Labour leadership, dragged increasingly onto the centre ground in the vain hope that it can implement a slightly more humane set of what are in essence barbaric policies. A Corbyn-led party will put on the agenda a range of policies that the Conservatives would rather were not given much airing.

There is also the small issue of democracy here. Labour’s electoral system was changed expressly to weaken trade union influence, and was accepted at a party conference by all sides. It ended the electoral college system where MPs got one third of the vote, trade unions another third, and individual members the final third. Perhaps least remarked on but most galling to Blair et al is that the MPs have no more say in the election than anyone else (although they do have the power to prevent candidates getting on the ballot paper).

The new system has worked to benefit the left, which certainly was not the intention. That the individual members and supporters, and union affiliates, have the temerity to vote for a left candidate is something that the Blairites thought they had put a stop to. They cannot believe how wrong they were.

Now they are desperately claiming that there are thousands of “entrists” with their own agenda, and combing through lists to disqualify anyone they can. This is a negation of democracy.  It is the same negation of democracy that we saw over Iraq. Then millions marched but were ignored, treated with contempt by a leadership that relied on the passive support of millions but did not see it as important to listen to their views.

What is happening with Corbyn’s campaign is that many people are waking up to the fact that there can be an alternative political manifesto and that the dominant neoliberal agenda can be fought. Perhaps what frightens the Blairites most is that, far from the myth that this will lead to annihilation, such policies can win elections. The onslaught the Conservatives are planning in this government will meet widespread opposition: there has already been one mass anti-austerity demo since the election, called by the People’s Assembly, and in October there will be mass protests at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

The Corbyn campaign is one expression of that movement: the fear of mainstream politicians is that it lights a fire of opposition to their policies.

Lindsey German is convenor of the Stop the War Coalition and co-author of A People’s History of London.

This video from Britain says about itself:

Jeremy Corbyn: what has the anti-war movement achieved?

12 August 2015

Jeremy Corbyn, frontrunner in the race for the Labour Party leadership, and national chair of Stop the War Coalition, tells Lindsey German what he thinks has been the impact of the anti-war movement in the years of the ‘war on terror’.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Ex-PM Brown wheeled out to wade into leadership row as attempts to demolish Corbyn support fail

GORDON BROWN proved himself a walking contradiction yesterday after he claimed that Labour needed to learn from its past in choosing a leader that “inspires hope.”

The former prime minister was constantly pacing up and down during his speech as he swung from asserting that the party needed fresh change to making thinly veiled attacks on leadership favourite Jeremy Corbyn, despite having promised not to attack any particular candidate.

In what looked like yet another “intervention” by a senior politician, after Tony Blair and his ex-spin doctor Alastair Campbell both had a pop, Mr Brown warned that Labour would be “powerless” as a “party of protest” and urged voters to consider its chequered history.

See also here.

Families of British soldiers killed in Iraq demand end of covering up Blair’s guilt

This video from the USA says about itself:

SPRING RISING DC/ END ENDLESS WARS/ Military Families & Iraq Vets Against the War

Friday March 20 2015

Organized by World Can’t Wait

UDC David A. Clarke School of Law
4340 Connecticut Ave., NW # 454
Washington, DC 20008

“What are the connections and challenges for those working to stop targeted killing by the U.S. and those working to stop killing with impunity by U.S. police?”

A discussion by Veterans for Peace and Military Families Speak Out.

Jeff Merrick, Military Families for Peace

Kevin Lucey, Son Jeffrey committed suicide after returning from Iraq in 2004.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Iraq inquiry faces court for delay

Friday 14th August 2015

Families of dead soldiers threaten legal action against Chilcot probe

FAMILIES of soldiers killed in the Iraq war said yesterday they will take legal action against the Chilcot inquiry if it doesn’t publish its report by the end of the year.

Reg Keys, whose 20-year-old son Tom was killed in Iraq in 2003, said Sir John Chilcot did not grasp the families’ feelings.

Twenty-nine families have threatened Mr Chilcot with legal action, believing that the inquiry may have broken a law requiring it to wrap up in good time.

Giving people criticised in the report time to reply — known as “Maxwellisation,” after pensions thief Robert Maxwell — has fuelled serious anger.

Mr Chilcot claimed last month that the inquiry was making “significant progress” but couldn’t say when it would be finished.

Set up in 2009, it has now dragged on for six years.

Mr Keys said that bereaved families need closure and demanded Mr Chilcot publish the report by the end of the year or face court.

He also argued that there is no legal requirement to give those criticised a chance to respond.

“I think what Sir John doesn’t understand is the strength of feeling amongst the bereaved,” Mr Keys said.

“I think what Sir John has to bear in mind now is that we want closure on this, it has to be done fair, it has to be done right.

“But he’s had time enough now and he’s not imposing deadlines on this and that’s where our argument is, we want to give a deadline now, by the end of the year or legal action will be following.”

Former foreign secretary Jack Straw — who alongside Tony Blair is expected to be criticised — claimed that it wasn’t letting witnesses respond that had caused delays.

But Stop the War Coalition spokesman Chris Nineham condemned the “special privileges and in effect protection” Mr Blair and others had received.

“It is an outrage that the report has been so many years in the making and particularly despicable because the delays are clearly due to pressure from those who stand accused of crimes against humanity.

“It is disgraceful that those who face potential criticism are given special dispensation almost to appeal the verdict before it is even published.”

He said the peace group “obviously understands and totally supports” the families’ legal strategy.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament general secretary Kate Hudson also backed the families’ bid, saying: “Most people want this inquiry to identify culpability for war crimes and to lay bare the process by which the UK ended up in a catastrophic and bloody war of aggression.

CND still believes that Tony Blair should stand trial for his actions. The hundreds of thousands killed in an illegal invasion, and the continuing bloodshed, is what Blair will be remembered for. He must not be allowed to avoid responsibility.”

Speaking recently, Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn said that if Mr Blair is judged to have committed a war crime by carrying out the illegal war he should be tried for it — as with anyone else.

“I want to see all those who committed war crimes tried for it, and those who made the decisions that went with it,” the leftwinger told BBC Newsnight.

British Labourite Corbyn not stooping to Blair’s level

This video from Britain says about itself:

26 November 2014

Should Save the Children charity have given Tony Blair its Global Legacy Award, ignoring his role in the Iraq war that slaughtered thousands of children and made millions more orphans? Former Blair advisor Matthew Doyle says yes. Stop the War‘s Chris Nineham says no. Broadcast on BBC radio.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Jeremy Corbyn replies to Blair warning: I don’t do personal, I don’t do abuse

Corbyn, who has emerged as clear favourite to become next Labour leader, says life is too short to respond to dire warnings from party heavyweights

Rowena Mason, Severin Carrell, and Andrew Sparrow

Thursday 13 August 2015 15.31 BST

The Labour leadership frontrunner, Jeremy Corbyn, has said he does not do “personal, reaction or abuse”, after dire warnings from Tony Blair and Yvette Cooper about the prospect of his leading the party.

Corbyn said life was too short to respond and the attitude devalued the political process, after fellow candidate Cooper said his polices were not credible and could split the party, and the former prime minister Blair said his ideas could lead Labour to annihilation.

Asked about the comments, Corbyn, the MP for Islington North, told the Guardian: “We’re in the midst of the biggest democratic process that the Labour party has ever been involved with. Hundreds of thousands of people are party members and union supporters and registered supporters, a lot of them are young people who’ve never been involved in party politics before but involved in other activities like the environment or peace or student issues, and older people who have come back to Labour.

“Shouldn’t we be happy about that? Shouldn’t we be happy that it’s a popular discussion and a popular debate, and a choice will be made. And after 12 September , whoever wins the election, there’s going to have to be a big discussion about the policy direction of our party: on austerity, on Trident, on many many other issues. We’ve used this campaign to put forward policy issues on the economy, the environment, arts policy.

“We’re the one putting forward ideas, so I don’t do personal, I don’t do reaction, I don’t do abuse. Life is too short and it devalues the political process. I think we should try and enhance the democratic life of this country, not reduce it to that level.”

Corbyn is now the clear favourite to win the contest, according to polls and internal data from at least three of the campaigns.

Andy Burnham, the MP for Leigh, and Cooper (who represents Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford) are battling for second place, while Liz Kendall, MP for Leicester West, appears to be trailing last.

Corbyn’s chances have been boosted by a tripling in Labour membership and registered supporters, since the election, to more than 600,000. Around 190,000 have been recruited through trade unions, with between 90,000 and 100,000 thought to have come through Unite.

Len McCluskey, leader of Unite, will, over the weekend, be writing to his members who are signed up reiterating the union’s official position, which is a vote for Corbyn and a second preference for Burnham.

However, Burnham hit out at those making attacks on Corbyn, saying this misread the mood of the party. In an interview with the BBC’s World at One, which was dominated by questions about Corbyn, Burnham warned against Labour figures dismissing the frontrunner and suggested he could serve in the team of any of his rivals if they were to win.

Burnham said he believed his own campaign showed he was the only candidate who could unite the party, but he also praised Corbyn for having brought the contest to life. “The attacks we’ve seen on Jeremy misread the mood of the party because what people are crying out for is something different. They are fed up with the way Labour has been conducting policies in recent times,” he said.

He criticised Blair in particular, saying it was not helpful for former prime ministers to “second-guess the outcome and to make these dire predictions on the back of it”.

He added: “I will be keeping it positive. I want to get my case over to the 600,000 people who have a vote in this contest. They will rightly decide the future of the Labour party now. I think people are well aware of the issues at stake and I think the time has come to trust the members of our party and the supporters of our party to make the right decision about its future.”

SCOTLAND has been the glaring and conspicuous omission in the predictions of doom and disaster being offered by a parade of New Labour voices in the event that Jeremy Corbyn “dares” win the Labour leadership election. In fact, so glaring is this omission you would think that Scotland had vanished from the map. The reason Scotland has been so conspicuously absent from the shared analysis of doom being proffered is, of course, because Labour’s dire predicament north of the border utterly refutes it. For it is in Scotland, specifically in former Labour heartlands, that the appellation “Red Tories” is now firmly attached to the party and its members and supporters: here.

‘Tony Blair maybe on trial for Iraq war crimes’, Corbyn says

This 4 August 2015 video from Britain is called Jeremy Corbyn: Tony Blair ‘must explain illegal Iraq war‘.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Jeremy Corbyn: Tony Blair could face war crimes trial over ‘illegal Iraq invasion

Labour leadership favourite warns former PM ahead of the impending Chilcot inquiry report

Henry Austin

Wednesday 05 August 2015

Tony Blair could be made to stand trial for war crimes, according to the current Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn.

The veteran left winger said the former prime minister was reaching the point when he was going to have to deal with the consequences of his actions with the coming Chilcot inquiry report.

“I think it was an illegal war,” he said in an interview with BBC2’s Newsnight adding that former UN secretary general [Kofi Annan] had confirmed that. “Therefore he (Blair) has to explain that,” Corbyn said.

“We went into a war that was catastrophic, that was illegal, that cost us a lot of money, that lost a lot of lives,” he added. “The consequences are still played out with migrant deaths in the Mediterranean, refugees all over the region,” he said.

Pressed on whether Mr Blair should be charged with war crimes, he said: “If he’s committed a war crime, yes. Everyone who’s committed a war crime should be.”

However, he admitted he didn’t know whether Blair would be tried, although he said it might be possible.

His remarks are likely to infuriate Mr Blair’s supporters in the party while once again highlighting the deep divisions that remain over the most controversial decision of his premiership.

Blair recently attacked Corbyn’s platform as “old fashioned” and claimed he was the “Tory preference” to lead Labour.

The former Prime Minister also claimed a ”traditional leftist position“ was not the way to win a general election, despite growing support for the Islington North MP.

See also here. And here.

Win or lose, Jeremy Corbyn has already changed the rules of the game, by Seumas Milne. In six weeks, Labour’s outsider has forced anti-austerity on to the agenda and created a national movement: here.