Home / Dave Brockington / Random Musings on the Continuing British Fiasco

Random Musings on the Continuing British Fiasco

Comments
/
/
/
60 Views

Conservative Party Chief Whip Michael Gove addresses delegates on the final day of the annual Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, central England, on October 1, 2014. Talk of treason cast a shadow over Britain's Conservative party conference this week, where gossip raged over who might be next to defect to the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP). AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Michael Gove has joined the cast of thousands vying to be the next Conservative Party leader, hence Prime Minister.  Seriously. Yesterday while enjoying a pint or several with fellow bemused Labourites, we figured Gove was the next Chancellor of the Exchequer in a Boris government. After all, he screwed up education and alienated all the teachers, then messed up the justice system, so why not have a crack at what’s left of the economy?

His personal path of destruction has loftier ambitions.

Corbyn is not going anywhere, and will likely face a challenge from Angela Eagle. She will probably lose. I’ve asked this before, but I’m at a loss to understand how he can run an opposition without the support of enough MPs to fill out a shadow cabinet? A country based on an unwritten constitution runs smoothly on tacit norms. Corbyn is ignoring one of those tacit norms. As was brought up in comments yesterday, according to David Ward, Chief Policy advisor to John Smith, the then-Leader didn’t think there was the need to hard code the requirement to resign into the Labour Party rule book when he was redrafting it in 1993:

If the Parliamentary Labour Party had passed a motion of no confidence in John Smith he would have resigned immediately. How do I know this? Because he told me he would. In 1993 during the Labour Party debates on the creation of an electoral college we discussed the lack of a mechanism to eject an unpopular or ineffective leader. He argued there’s no need for one. Without any hesitation he told me that any leader who lost a motion of no confidence in the PLP would have no alternative but to instantly resign.

John Smith was acutely aware that the PLP is the part of the Labour Movement that directly represents millions of Labour voters. He knew that any leader lacking the support of Labour MPs would not have the slightest chance of persuading voters to elect a Labour Government. That’s why he favoured the adoption of an electoral college made up of the three pillars of the Labour Movement; MPs, ordinary members, and the affiliated unions that created the Party in the first place. This system gave the elected leadership a powerful link with trade unionists, members, MPs and their voters. If that link collapses, as it now clearly has with Jeremy Corbyn, then resignation is the only responsible course of action.

To quote a local Labour Councillor and a friend of mine:

The Labour Party leader effectively is leader of three things: the Party at large, the Parliamentary Party, and the Labour Party staff (although Ian McNicol, General Secretary is de jure in charge there). Just in terms of organisational functionality, if they cannot command substantial support in two of those three areas, then their ability to lead the Party as a whole is nullified.

The Labour Party itself is supposed to be the democratic representative arm of the Labour movement, whose official constituent parts include Trades Unions, various socialist societies, the Co-op Party, and unorganised disparate groups and individuals. Obviously this more disparate movement changes over time. It’s primary purpose is to elect representatives of this movement to positions in Parliament, Councils, and other elected positions. For someone so steeped in the Party, I can only be either astonished that the present leader doesn’t recognise this, or assume he ignores it.

Fortunately for Labour, the chances for a snap election following the naming of the new Conservative leader are receding, with both Johnson and Crabb on record as stating it won’t happen. Apparently the Conservative backbenchers don’t want an election having just had one nearly 14 months ago. The overly optimistic amongst us might read into this that they’re worried. I’m not one of those people. This does, of course, bring to the fore questions regarding democratic legitimacy and quite likely contradicts statements made by several of the contenders back when Gordon Brown supplanted Tony Blair. (Side note: the now notorious “Blairite” Tom Watson orchestrated the coup that deposed Tony Blair in 2007. Such is the loose relationship with reality exhibited by some Corbynistas).

UPDATE: While three days old, Owen Jones on the plight of Labour and the left in Britain. Sobering.

Finally, in skimming the comments from yesterday’s post, I’m delighted that the Daria reference was picked up. I should watch that again.

janelane

 

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • deptfordx

    I have been furious for days, everytime I think about the ongoing clusterfuck that is Britain today. I can feel my Blood Pressure spiking.

  • sibusisodan

    Is the thinking that the next PM calls an election based on the results of the negotiations?

    Without putting it in a manifesto there’s a non zero chance that the Lords could get huffy about leaving (not sure where the Lords stands on the issue, but given that the Commons is heavily pro-Remain…).

    • MilitantlyAardvark

      Would any government want to take that risk? I imagine the Tories can’t see any triumphs coming out of their “negotiations” with the EU, so they’d rather delay indefinitely, or else go the Lady Macbeth route and get it done quickly and hope that the voters forget their anger after a year or so. I can’t see any party doing well from Europe in the next election, except for UKIP, unfortunately.

    • Amanda in the South Bay

      The Guardians live blog said May, if she becomes PM, won’t call an election till the next regularly scheduled one in 2020. That seems rather remarkable.

      • Yankee

        One voter, one vote, once, and we already had it.

    • catclub

      Is the thinking that the next PM calls an election based on the results of the negotiations?

      Are these the negotiations that the EU says do not START until Article 50 is invoked while the English say they will be completed before Article 50 is potentially invoked? Sounds like the makings of a negotiations impasse.

  • MilitantlyAardvark

    The more I read about the hateful incidents of xenophobia, the more ashamed I feel for the English. God knows, they’ve been storing up a major kicking for themselves for years, but I didn’t think its arrival would be quite so grotesque and hideous to see.

    Maybe it sounds naive, but I wake up each day and worry about Bijan and other good, decent people who are British and contribute so much to Britain – and now face abuse and hatred as a result of an ongoing dishonesty and incompetence by the politicians and managerial elite over the last 40 years, combined with this last idiotic referendum and the despicable conduct of the media and the chancers like Gove and Johnson.

    I wonder whether Brockington or some other front pager could put up a post for Bijan and others in that situation, just to say that we value them and they are in our thoughts. Anyway, just a suggestion.

    • Warren Terra

      For “the English” maybe substitute “Little Englanders”? Gawd knows there are a lot of them, and they’re scum – but England also has some of the most diverse, integrated, cosmopolitan cities in Europe, which voted to Remain.

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        I think this is about more than Little Englanderism – all of English society is complicit to some degree, including the metropolitan elites who stayed in their comfort zone and did little or nothing to resist this creeping sickness in the body politic.

    • but I wake up each day and worry about Bijan and other good, decent people who are British and contribute so much to Britain – and now face abuse and hatred

      Thanks! Your thoughts and care are very nice to have.

      I think for now, in places I go, street violence is likely to be low and sporadic. Plus, I’m not brown enough to be an obvious target and my American accent probably is ok. (I do worry about my Polish neighbours.)

      My long term job security took a big hit. I.e., my 5 year probability of being (if I chose) at Manchester went down to maybe 80-90% from 100% (Maybe as low as 70%?) My worst case back of the envelope scenario is we have to halve our size. It’s going to be tricky weighing a voluntary severance package.

      I think I’m highly unlikely to be at risk of redundancy any time in the next 10 years, but who knows. I’m not the most expensive and I’m relatively vigorous, so…you can squeeze me.

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        you can squeeze me

        I can offer a virtual hug, if that would be acceptable. Two, if you really are that vigorous!

  • Murc

    As was brought up in comments yesterday, according to David Ward, Chief Policy advisor to John Smith, the then-Leader didn’t think there was the need to hard code the requirement to resign into the Labour Party rule book when he was redrafting it in 1993:

    This seems somewhat short-sighted, because the Labour Party has been gradually changing itself to give the rank-and-file more of a voice. Which is great! But when you do that you have to understand that it has the potential to produce a leadership figure who is roundly disliked by the establishment but can claim a mandate based on broad support from the membership.

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but you do have to recognize the possibility of that happening and structure your rules such that there’s a definitive resolution mechanic. Say what you like about the Republican Primary, but the underlying mechanism worked in a completely sound manner; the party didn’t collapse under its own weight and there’s absolutely no uncertainty about who won, who lost, and who has what mandate to represent who. Nobody is standing around fretting because “norms” were violated or staring at decisions made by Trump or Ryan or Priebus and going “can they actually DO that?” because the rules on what they can and can’t do are, in fact, super super clear.

    Write your rules down. Assume that impasses are going to happen. Generate rules for resolving them.

    Having said that, Corbyn should probably resign and take his message directly to said rank-and-file he’s claiming a mandate from. And Labour as a whole needs to decide who precisely is going to hold the whip hand if and when this happens again in the future.

    (Side note: the now notorious “Blairite” Tom Watson orchestrated the coup that deposed Tony Blair in 2007. Such is the loose relationship with reality exhibited by some Corbynistas).

    Serious question: what does Blairite actually mean?

    (I am looking for an actual answer to this, not a response like “It means the same thing neoliberal does!” although I cannot of course control other commenters.)

    I’ve always understood it to mean “an adherent to the New Labour policies and ways of doing things as exemplified by Tony Blair, the embodiment of the New Labour movement.” In that context, one could absolutely have orchestrated a coup against Tony Blair and still be a Blairite, in the same way that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are both centrist Democrats with similar policies and politics, but still went at each other hammer and tongs in the 2008 primary.

    I am not saying Tom Watson is in fact a Blairite. I barely know much about the man. But I am saying that from my perspective, using the above definition, “helped remove Tony Blair from power” doesn’t automatically mean “not a Blairite.”

    However, I often seem to see people to use it to mean “specifically a booster and ally of Tony Blair the person.” And those people often seem to get really angry when it is applied as a label to people within the party who are not allies and boosters of Blair the person. I’m not sure using it that way is any more or less wrong than my own understanding of the term, although the two aren’t exactly compatible if you get two people arguing about who is and isn’t a Blairite.

    I also of course see it used to mean “anyone in the Labour Party I don’t like.” I disregard this usage out of hand.

    Finally, in skimming the comments from yesterday’s post, I’m delighted that the Daria reference was picked up. I should watch that again.

    Find the pirated TV rips. The DVD version strips out all the music in the original broadcasts, because getting all of that music back would be a rights nightmare. A lot of the key moments in the series really lose their punch without the soundtrack.

    (You should of course buy the DVDs. I have done so. I just don’t watch them. But people worked hard to make the series and they should get paid.)

    It’s actually not possible to watch the entire series in its original form, alas; I’m pretty sure the originally aired versions of the two “movies” (“Is it fall yet?” and “Is it college yet?”) have been lost to time; I think the only ones still available are the “cut down for rebroadcast to allow for more commercials” versions.

    Finally, I’m just gonna leave this here.

    • MilitantlyAardvark

      But I am saying that from my perspective, using the above definition, “helped remove Tony Blair from power” doesn’t automatically mean “not a Blairite.”

      Tom Watson might be Blairite-kryptonite and so both.

    • sibusisodan

      Write your rules down. Assume that impasses are going to happen. Generate rules for resolving them.

      I know this is a very non responsive response, but: that’s not the traditional way of running the British political system. Tacit norms allow for a great deal of flexibility and invention.

      Maybe those days are over, but we British have been pretty resistant to the idea of codifying our constitution (Brown floated the idea). And there are benefits to doing it this way.

      And there is a definitive resolution mechanic here: hundreds of years of precedent and the unanimous voice of present and past leaders. If somebody is going to ignore such strong precedent, I don’t see how one extra rule is going to turn the tide.

      • Murc

        I know this is a very non responsive response, but: that’s not the traditional way of running the British political system.

        I should, perhaps, be more sympathetic to this point than I am. You guys are running the oldest continually existing polity in the western world (although that run might be coming to an end) so clearly you’re doing something right.

        I can only say that my observations over the course of my politically-aware have been that leaning on tacit norms and unwritten rules is asking for trouble. (See: the United States Senate.) In times of political, social, and economic instability, or even just one of the parties to said norms deciding to play hardball, they just fall to pieces.

        It is, of course, impossible to codify everything. All systems demand a certain degree of good faith on the part of the people operating in them. The legal system is a good example of this; we don’t have a million laws that say when you can and cannot exceed the speed limit in your car, we rely on prosecutors and police officers to not throw the book at the proverbial dude rushing his pregnant wife to the hospital.

        But you can, and should, codify where you can, especially when it comes to potentially intractable land mines.

        Maybe those days are over, but we British have been pretty resistant to the idea of codifying our constitution

        This isn’t even about the constitution, though, is it? It’s about internal Labour party policies and procedures.

        If somebody is going to ignore such strong precedent, I don’t see how one extra rule is going to turn the tide.

        Well, eliminating uncertainty in a clear way allows you to do things like call the cops and have the crazy person refusing to acknowledge reality escorted from the building. If you can prove “no, he doesn’t own the building, he’s not allowed to be here” they’ll cooperate and most people will go “you were right to have that crazy man thrown out.”

        If you have to say “Weeeeeeell… he might, in fact, own the building. It’s complicated” they’re a whole lot less likely to intervene and people are more likely to say “Well, if he owns the building he has a perfect right to be there, innit? YOU leave.”

        This is of course an imperfect analogy. Corbyn does not “own” the “building” of the Labour Party.

        • sibusisodan

          This isn’t even about the constitution, though, is it? It’s about internal Labour party policies and procedures.

          Well, it’s about how the constitution interacts with those party procedures. Corbyn cannot act credibly as Leader of the Opposition right now.

          That’s not a world ending problem, but it is a problem.

          According to the SNP rationale, Labour can’t claim to be the government in waiting right now. And they have a point.

          I expect this to be fudged somehow, of course. It is what we do.

    • sibusisodan

      On ‘Blairite’, a definition (possibly accurate!) based on political content is as follows: someone who is willing to reinterpret Labour tradition in light of a neoliberal economic framework, viewing citizens as consumers and trying to use a fusion of public and private sectors to increase individual choice and freedom.

      That’s not what Corbyn’s supporters mean by it. To them it means ‘enemy, destroyer of Clause IV’.

      ‘You’re more interested in responding to the perceived desires of the electorate in order to govern in their interest than you are in maintaining the deposit of Labour faith handed down to us. Do you even know the words to The Red Flag?’

      • Warren Terra

        I’m a million miles away with no actual dog in the fight, but my distant impression is that Blair’s signal taint is Iraq, and all it implied; the neoliberal cozying up to finance houses and away from socialism I tend to associate with Brown, as he was the exchequer for the era and because Iraq is plenty enough to define anyone.

        • MilitantlyAardvark

          Blair and Mandelson (arguably the second most hated man in Labour mythology) both did their share of cozying up to the merchant bankers and Blair has amassed a fortune by some very dodgy activities indeed after leaving politics. Iraq is the original sin – but it’s not the only thing that taints Tony Blair by a long way.

          • Warren Terra

            I’m not absolving Blair from responsibility for his economic policies, I’m just saying that the overwhelming magnitude of Iraq makes it hard to associate his name with anything else, even if they were totally on him, so I find it convenient to label the economics of that era with Brown’s name.

            This works in both directions, of course: it’s not like Brown resigned in protest over Iraq, after all!

        • sibusisodan

          My impression is that being publically OK with wealth was Brown’s end of the bargain provided he was left in control of Treasury to work on redistribution and poverty reduction.

          New Labour was Blair’s project. Brown tinkered within it (in my view very effectively). Which is why Brownite is no longer used as a descriptor or insult.

          So while Iraq is certainly part of the mix, it’s not all of it.

          • sibusisodan

            …having read that Angela Eagle has been described by a pro Corbyn source as a “second rung Brownite”, I retract my observation above.

            • Ahuitzotl

              Wait til they revive Gaitskellite

    • Daragh McDowell

      It’s quite simple really – all that is not of the Corbyn is of the Blair. The Corbyn represents all that is good, pure and noble, the Blair all that is wicked, deceitful and base. Logically if one opposes the Corbyn, then one is against goodness, and therefore of the Blair.

      (Yes I realise this is a touch flippant, but as Dave mentions in the OP it’s not far off the thinking of a lot of the Corbyn cultists).

      As to Blairism itself – basically much of it is the general trend of social democratic parties making peace with the markets, stressing aspiration and social mobility over class solidarity and redistribution, and presenting itself as a ‘modernising’ force compared to the tired reaction of its opponents. Then Iraq happened…

      • Amanda in the South Bay

        It has distinct similarities with criticism of Sanders in the United States. Especially from people who only on in the last year started following politics to any degree and couldn’t have picked Bernie Sanders out of a lineup prior. I love having my left wing bona fides questioned by them!

        • Phil Perspective

          It has distinct similarities with criticism of Sanders in the United States.

          Except Corbyn won his primary.

          • Redwood Rhiadra

            A “primary” which was, as has been noted, quite undemocratic (only 4% of Labour voters participating). If the Democratic Party had only caucuses, Sanders would have won too.

    • Joseph Slater

      Re “Daria,” I believe that was my comment yesterday and I’m tickled that David noticed it. It really was a great show, one of the most underrated of all time, and it is a shame that it can’t be watched in its original version.

      Also, as someone who spent a junior year abroad in Bristol, England in 1980-81, I feel really sad about all that is going on there now. Best wishes to folks here who live there, and to the country as a whole.

      • Murc

        It really was a great show, one of the most underrated of all time, and it is a shame that it can’t be watched in its original version.

        To be perfectly fair to MTV, getting all those music rights would have been a stone cold nightmare, because they assembled an amazing soundtrack composed of a lot of really good commercial music, from big-name bands to well-regarded indie acts. It really captured the zeitgeist of the times.

        The problem was that Daria actually began airing in 1997. DVDs weren’t a thing yet in any major way; VHS still ruled the roost, and those were expensive enough to produce and distribute that very, very few TV series could ever look forward to getting themselves released in their entirety on VHS. Certainly not a cartoon airing on cable, on the Music Television Network, would ever expect that. So securing the music rights to sell the series like that was a consideration for nobody at all.

        Daria went off the air in 2002. By that time VHS was dead, DVDs were everywhere, and were in fact regarded as a great way to monetize your TV show, because people wouldn’t pay thirty dollars for a DVD with two episodes on it but would pay fifty dollars for an entire season, which you could fit in reasonably high fidelity on a single lightweight disc.

        MTV did the best they could with the DVDs, although they did not release the set until 2010. Much of the music was replaced with covers or sound-alikes… but a lot of the oomph was lost. Losing Monaco’s What Do You Want From Me? from “Quinn the Brain” was a big deal to me, although I’m sure many people would not even notice.

        I may be a dilettante when it comes to British politics, but I am an authority on Daria Morgendorfer.

        • witlesschum

          It’s only one of those shows I bet I’d enjoy more now than I did when it was on, when I watched it intermittently.

          The only other thing I can add is that my very favorite pun costume at the Song of Ice and Fire convention was the woman who dressed up as Daria Naharis.

          • Halloween Jack

            Daria Naharis

            I really want to see this, but GIS yields me nothing, and the con site is blocked because malware.

            • witlesschum

              http://imgur.com/a/4LXmN

              She’s in this set. It’s from the 2015 con, which was in Ohio at a castle someone built in the woods.

              • Halloween Jack

                OK, that’s cute. In general, the costumes seem to range from “good, but probably repurposed from general Renn Faire stuff” to “hilarious high concept.” I really liked Punk Dany and Daario; I want both a “Gods Save the Khaleesi” and a “Dragones” T-shirt.

            • addicted44

              Daario Naharis

        • Hogan

          “Rock ‘n’ Roll Lifestyle” in Road Worrier . . . “Trouble” in Speedtrapped . . . it just goes on and on.

          • Murc

            Hogan, I knew you were a discerning individual of excellent taste.

            I’d like of course to add the grand daddy of them all, I Know There’s Something Going On in the closing credits of “I Loathe A Parade.”

          • Dave Brockington

            “I May Hate You Sometimes” at the end / credits rolling for the first (?) “movie”. The Posies, two or three of whom I knew back in the day.

        • DW

          My DVR has been picking up the odd Daria episode the past few weeks; I’ll have to look at them and compare them to the DVDs to see if the reruns use the original music.

          • Murc

            They probably are, because the broadcast rights for the music attach indefinitely.

            • skate

              Really? I recall complaints that reruns of WKRP used a lot of generic filler because music rights obtained when the show originally aired had lapsed.

        • Joseph Slater

          Agreed, I’m not blaming MTV. Also, I actually own some of the “Daria” shows on VHS.

          I thought that show really captured what it was like to be an artsy, at least wanna-be-intellectual type kid in an average high school pretty much perfectly — soooo much better than the “Breakfast Club” standard depiction of high school cliques in which all the “nerds” just wanted the “jocks” to like them. In my view, reality features lot more mocking sarcasm than “will you call my name as you walk on by?”

          Plus, pretty darn feminist for the time.

          • Murc

            One of the interesting things about Daria (the person) is that she and Jane weren’t stereotypical social outcasts reviled by their peers. Daria and Jane were actually very popular and well-liked; they had a decently sized circle of friends, including (whether they liked it or not) the quarterback and head cheerleader. Their teachers liked them. Even DiMartino liked them and he hated everyone. They were never obviously bullied or picked on.

            • heckblazer

              Never picked on except for Beavis and Butthead…

    • Yankee

      Really, you can’t write everything down as if you are that asshole who wrote Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. At some point you have to have a cultural understanding of what is going on and where is the good, that is, be Virtuous in MacIntyre’s sense. It seems self-sacrificing integrity is just not part of the reigning virtue set.

      Corbyn is behaving just like a regular capitalist entrepreneur, if you think about it. Creative disruption and all that.

      • so-in-so

        Behaving like our politicians, come to mention it. We (The U.S.) HAVE a written Constitution; there are still norms and expected behaviors and those have been continuously violated over the past 8 years by the opposition party.

        • LosGatosCA

          there are still norms and expected behaviors and those have been continuously violated over the past 8 16 years by the current opposition party – even when they were the ruling majority

  • Donalbain

    Fortunately for Labour, the chances for a snap election following the naming of the new Conservative leader are receding, with both Johnson and Crabb on record as stating it won’t happen.

    Well, if Boris has gone on record saying something, we can all rest easy knowing that he wouldn’t ever go back on his word.

  • MilitantlyAardvark

    John Rentoul ‏@JohnRentoul 9m9 minutes ago
    Jeremy Hunt backing Theresa May.

    With friends like that…

  • MilitantlyAardvark

    James Forsyth ‏@JGForsyth 2h2 hours ago Islington, London
    Nick Boles now chairing Gove campaign, no longer supporting Boris

    Nicky Morgan decides to back Gove. My reckoning suggests that the National Emborissment is in for a big loss and May will win this going away.

    • sibusisodan

      This tweet made me chuckle:

      Just watched Dominic Raab backing Michael Gove while reading his Sun article backing Boris #ToryLeadership pic.twitter.com/46LAggVoWW

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        Gosh, that’s a rare bird – someone who actually reads the Sun!

  • MacK

    This would be hilarious if it was an Opéra Bouffé”, but it just plain terrifying to be in it.

  • Warren Terra

    How is it possible that the leading candidate to oppose Corbyn voted for the Iraq War and is guaranteed to have no credibility with the people who overwhelmingly put Corbyn in his current position? Is there noone with a little experience and a little charisma who isn’t tainted by Blair (or for that matter by Brown’s economic vision) who could unite the party, someone who could reflect the party membership’s rejection of Blair/Brown while also not being Corbyn?

    • MilitantlyAardvark

      There are rumors around Owen Smith.

      • Craigo

        Rumors around lots of people. I’ve given up following them as of today.

        • At this point, I’m just closing my eyes and waiting for the dust to settle.

    • witlesschum

      Yes, from afar the idea that the problem with Corbyn is that he has done a terrible job uniting the party so we’re going to replace him with someone who isn’t very likely to be able to unite the party seems less than good.

    • rea

      Well, there is one person . . .

    • Simeon

      Heard good things about Dan Jarvis, but he refused to run last year because he thought Leadership would detract from looking after his young family iirc.

      • Craigo

        Jarvis probably has a bright future, but he’s kinda inexperienced (2011 intake). Same for Starmer, Kinnock, Lewis, Malotra, de Piero…lots of young talent, but those at the top are underwhelming.

  • sibusisodan

    There are too many people who have not seen their wages rise. Or have seen them fall.

    FTSE 100 bosses now receive 150 times as much as their workers. It used to be 50 times, he says.

    Well, Boris, I suppose decimating our finance industry by leaving the EU is one way to tackle this, but doesn’t it seem a little extreme to you?

  • Gregor Sansa

    What would the ideal system for choosing a Labour Party leader look like? I’m going to let my imagination run wild, and invent a system that can be as abstruse as EPH+, while realizing that the chances of that kind of system actually getting implemented are very low.

    So, the basic constraints are:

    – Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the (party’s) masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
    – … but which masses? The dues-paying members, or the voters who choose Labour?
    – A leader should ideally have the support of the majority of the party MPs (the PLP).
    – … and the only way to square that with the circle above is to have the “masses” pick parliamentary candidates …
    – … but the time frame for doing so can be very short in the case of votes of no confidence; weeks at best …
    – … and in a parliamentary system, you want MPs to have some loyalty directly to the party, and not solely to the voters, so that they will vote the party line and governments will be reasonably stable.

    Initially, it seems clear that the right way to combine all this is to start with a principle of delegated proxies, aka asset voting, aka liquid democracy. The idea is that each Labour voter’s support is something that can be passed up through multiple levels of representatives until one overall leader accumulates a majority of all support.

    To deal with the dilemma of dues-paying members versus voters, I think you’d try to make it so that the basic count of votes comes from the general election, but that the dues-paying members can modify that.

    I’ll continue this in further replies.

    • Gregor Sansa

      Parenthetical note: obviously, designing a system like this is basically weakly utopian project. That is, I’m going for an ideal, even though I realize that the chances of that ideal becoming reality are low. Still, I agree with Brad Delong that current situations demand utopian frenzy.

    • Gregor Sansa

      Here’s the basic system I’m thinking of. It’s an iterative process between having parliamentary elections and choosing candidates and leaders. I’m going to start with an election, assuming that the candidates are already chosen, and then show how that helps choose the candidates for the next election.

      I’m presuming that I get to make additions to the ballot format for the parliamentary elections, but that I don’t get to change First Past the Post (FPTP). Obviously, if I could, I’d overthrow FPTP too. I’ll talk more about how my basic leadership system is compatible with better parliamentary election systems at the end.

      So here goes:

      The general election ballot would start with a list of the parties presenting candidates in that district. Whichever party got the most votes in that district would get that seat.

      Below that, the ballot would a “delegation section”: some way to optionally choose an individual from your party of choice, from a list of all that party’s candidates nationwide, or to write in the name of a dues-paying party member. If you yourself are a dues-paying member, you could write in your own name. The party apparatus would choose the order of the candidate list for each , and could put one or more “official local candidates” at the top of that list in larger/bolder fonts.

      Party members could publicly preregister how they would pass on the votes delegated to them, if needed.

      If the party got the seat for a district, then whichever person was chosen, directly or indirectly, by the most people from that district would be the MP. (If the same person won in multiple districts, they would get the seat from the one where they got the most votes, and the others would go to the next-highest).

      “Indirect” choices would be determined by bottom-up elimination and preregistered chains of delegation.

      So, after an election, you’d have a parliamentary delegation, and you’d also have a list of how many direct delegated votes each party member had gotten, with official candidates dominating in the second list.

      …to be continued.

      • Gregor Sansa

        Note that there would be a large number of casual voters who wouldn’t bother to vote anything but a party, and so their votes would not be counted in the delegations.

        So now, choosing a leader is a piece of cake. Just hold a delegated-proxy election, with each dues-paying party member getting one vote for themself, plus all the delegated votes they hold. (Note that that means that there are actually 2 votes for each voter/member: the one they delegated in the secret ballot general election, and the one they control in real time in the leadership election). This allows for “membership votes of no confidence”, in which the party re-does the leadership election.

        In order to choose who the top-of-the-list candidate is for each constituency (sorry I said “district” above), each would-be candidate could choose where they wanted to be counted as “local”, and the list in each constituency would have “local” candidates first, sorted in descending order of the delegated votes they hold. The party leader would have “overvotes”, those beyond the ones they needed to be listed first in their own constituency, and they could use half of those overvotes to divide equally between a set of candidates, to help party faithful candidates become listed first.

        …OK, that’s not the clearest explanation by a long shot, but I think it’s actually a pretty good system.

    • sonamib

      My impression is that the current system is fine, it just needs to be tweaked a little. Any candidate needs the support of a certain number of MPs to be eligible. There just needs to be a norm that no MP will support a candidate if they’re not actually fine with them winning. The MP support threshold could be increased (instead of 50, why not 75, or 100?) if necessary.

    • Humpty-Dumpty

      I’m going to stick with one man, one vote: He is the man, and he has the vote.

    • Simeon

      I’d be okay with an American-style public, publicly-funded primary election for Party leaders (perhaps with the current 35-signature requirement retained), but that’s not in the cards since it would require transitioning to a system of publicly registering party affiliation in order to work properly.

      But as long as we’re speculating about processes not likely to be implemented.

      (current selection rules for individual MPs by constituency parties with input from the party executive would remain in place, in order to preserve that party loyalty)

  • sibusisodan

    Boris isn’t running!

    • Matt Heath

      The actual fuck?

      • sibusisodan

        Guardian liveblog [12.03]:

        Well, I must tell you, my friends, you who have waited faithfully for the punchline of this speech, that having consulted colleagues and in view of the circumstances in parliament, I have concluded that person cannot be me.

        My role will be to give every possible support to the next Conservative administration to make sure that we properly fulfil the mandate of the people that was delivered at the referendum and to champion the agenda that I believe in, to stick up for the forgotten people of this country.

        Very funny, Boris. You’re such a card.

        • Matt Heath

          I can’t believe Dave is going and Boris is out and I am not happy. Fucking, Gove! At least Johnson knows he is an arsehole.

          • Craigo

            May v Gove, who do you take in that fight?

            • Matt Heath

              In an actually fight, May, for sure. Gove probably falsely believes himself to be a martial arts expert, while May would just go for the balls and eyes.

              Gove will win the leadership because Britons have clearly offended the Gods.

              • MilitantlyAardvark

                May will win this one comfortably, I think. The Tories trust her more than Gove and he’s got the taint of bringing down Cameron all over him.

              • sibusisodan

                Gove will win the leadership because Britons have clearly offended the Gods.

                “The British people have had enough of experts, and I’m going to prove that to you all!”

                • MilitantlyAardvark

                  So is Gove an expert on experts? A meta-expert? Or just a really annoying git who hacks away at complex problems until he’s made them impossible?

              • My sweetie suggests that the standard Gove pattern of being given a job, attempting something monumentally stupid, being caught out, then backtracking to status quo ante works in our favor this time.

          • MilitantlyAardvark

            There have been rumors for a while now that there was a file on Boris of really bad stuff – and I am starting to take the idea seriously.

            • Craigo

              Must be in solely Tory hands. That or whoever has it hates Ken Livingstone even more.

              • Warren Terra

                So, quite possibly not solely in Tory hands.

                • Craigo

                  Sometimes I find it hard to believe that these two men could consistently and collectively win about 2 million votes…but in a city the size of London, I guess it’s hard for voters to actually meet them.

              • Ahuitzotl

                whoever has it hates Ken Livingstone even more.

                so basically anyone in the UK?

            • MilitantlyAardvark

              Looking at the speech by Boris and it’s a remarkable tissue of falsehoods. He was a mediocre, incompetent, grand-standing arse-head as Mayor of London, not a triumph for social justice at all.

            • Matt Heath

              There is a tape of him conspiring to commit battery in the public domain and nobody seems to care. What could the file have?

              • MilitantlyAardvark

                Something involving prison if discovered, I think. Given Johnson’s form thus far, I would guess at some sexual misconduct of an extreme nature. He’s really not the cheeky chappy the press likes to build him up as – he’s actually a very nasty piece of work.

                • Jack Merchant

                  Intercourse with animals of the porcine variety? Wouldn’t be the first time in British politics though….

            • Amanda in the South Bay

              So Boris helps destroy the UK, and all for nothing? What a dumbfuck.

        • deptfordx

          Leave winning wasn’t part of his plan. There was supposed to be a narrow victory for remain and he would build his cult of personality higher with pledges ‘to fight for Britain etc’ and build a putsch amongst disappointed conservatives to force out Cameron.

          Having helped piloted the ship of state into the Iceberg, he doesn’t want to be captain of the ship as it goes down taking him with it.

          • rachelmap

            I thing that’s basically it.

    • Craigo

      !

      Smarter than he looks/sounds/usually acts?

      • Donalbain

        He crossed Gove. Mrs Gove very close friends with both Dacre and Murdoch.

    • Warren Terra

      Quoting someone on Twitter:

      This is the most extraordinary day in British politics since yesterday.

      • sibusisodan

        Private Eye must be either producing the best issue ever or about to give up in despair. How do you parody this?

        • MilitantlyAardvark

          Well, damn. I thought Boris was in trouble, but I didn’t think things would happen so quickly. #Borixit.

    • Murc

      BREAKING: Lord Petyr Baelish – “I have reluctantly concluded that I am only one who can now unite the Tory Party”‘

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        Donald of House Trump will lead his loyal Scottish retainers to freedom and preserve the union by building a wall to keep out the Andorran hordes!

        • Murc

          I should add that for the past few days, the GoT/UK memes and gifsets have been choice.

          • Gregor Sansa

            links, please.

      • EliHawk

        So basically, time to export Martin O’Malley to unite the Labour Party?

        • Lincoln Chafee. England is already on the metric system, so he’s golden.

          • Craigo

            He and Boris can trade hair styling tips.

          • ajay

            England is already on the metric system

            Wow.

            • EliHawk

              There was some report that a meat shop went back to counting things in pounds and ounces the day after Brexit, because they were finally “free.” So Chafee may have a fight for it yet.

    • Turangalila

      Very ignorant question that’s already apparently out of date, but: Is Boris even an MP? Wasn’t he Mayor of London until like a week ago? Or do you not have to be in Parliament to be PM?

      • Craigo

        Not ignorant. He was elected an MP in 2015, but did not leave the mayoralty until a few weeks ago. He double jobbed in the meantime, which is somehow not illegal.

        • Turangalila

          Sweet Jayzus. What a strange little country. Thanks for that!

        • EliHawk

          Didn’t Huey Long try something like that for a while? Got elected to the Senate but refused to serve until he settled out his cronies in the LA Governorship?

          • Manny Kant

            It’s more common in other countries. I know that in the Third Republic in France, most of the Radical Party leaders in parliament were typically also mayors of various cities in southern France.

            • Craigo

              I looked it up, and apparently it’s still true today. Lots of national politicians hold local office – Hollande was a mayor, Bayrou, Sarkozy…

  • glasnost

    It seems clear to me that the answer here is to grow some balls and a little vision, back corbyn without reserve or hesitation, and to have gone all the way and endorsed brexit, from the left. then there is no crisis. just a bunch of butthurt financiers.

    per the author’s own link, the pro-coup laborites are useless shitbags with no vision, leading the well-meaning astray. corbyn needed to find – create – a way to credibly threaten and/or remove them, yesterday.

    situation is not going to play out like this, but the problem are the MP’s who cut and ran on their leader over… nothing. over failing to dedicate him self to a politically and moral loser – the EU. The EU is not worth saving, guys. nice idea, clusterfuck in practice. needs to be torn dowm. the labor rebels, they’ve killed their party, and themselves. they deserve to be wiped out, and they’ll get what they deserve.

    • Craigo

      Well, as long as it seems clear to you.

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        the answer here is to grow some balls and a little vision, back corbyn without reserve or hesitation

        Testosterone poisoning is a terrible affliction.

        • Warren Terra

          grow some shrooms, more like.

          • petesh

            You say that like it’s a bad thing

      • Do we have evidence that it’s clear even to them?

    • Murc

      I would like it to be known that I am in no way affiliated with glasnost and do not endorse his ideas.

      • Craigo

        Your case for Corbyn has been mostly colorable and well-received, if (IMO) ultimately unpersuasive.

        • Murc

          “Colorable and well-received, if ultimately unpersuasive” should be on my business cards.

          • Rob in CT

            Mr. Gambini, that is a lucid, intelligent, well thought out objection.

            Overruled.

          • Craigo

            Or on the LGM masthead, given your guest appearances on the front page.

            • Murc

              Eh, not that frequent. I’ve been here nearly a decade, I think I’ve been front-paged… maybe five times? Six?

              So a bit more frequent than once every other year.

              • Craigo

                Luckily for me, I’ve never said anything cogent or controversial enough to be called out, and I’ve been commenting nearly as long.

                • Murc

                  Yeah, you know, sometimes I end up thinking “You know, Warren and DrDick don’t get called out. I’m either doing something very right or very wrong.”

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  Murc: go with “very right”. Few of us here give things the sheer thought you do, plus you’re an engaging writer- makes sense the front-pagers pick you out from time to time

      • EliHawk

        I would like it to be known that I am in no way affiliated with glasnost and do not endorse his ideas.

        – Gennady Yanayev, 1991

        • Murc

          Eli, this is the cleverest thing you’ve ever said, and I mean that as a legitimate compliment.

    • solidcitizen

      “then there is no crisis. just a bunch of butthurt financiers.”

      Yeah, the “left” should have made common cause with the xenophobic nationalists in order to stick to the neoliberals. And sure, the people who will take control of the government will put into practice policies antithetical to the left – less regulation, less taxes, more austerity – that will hit the working classes hardest, but look at the stock market fall. Look at those contradictions heighten! A Labour victory is just around the corner!

  • MilitantlyAardvark

    Well, that’s a win for cosmic justice.

  • MilitantlyAardvark

    Nick Cohen ‏@NickCohen4 31m31 minutes ago
    Let me see if I can get this right, Johnson creates an economic and constitutional crisis to become PM, then says he doesn’t want to be PM

    Fuck up and flee has been the story of Johnson’s career thus far. Why change now?

  • MilitantlyAardvark

    (((Dan Hodges))) ‏@DPJHodges 20m20 minutes ago
    So to summarise, at Labour’s anti-Semitism event a Jewish MP was abused, Labour’s leader stood by and watched, then compared Israel to ISIS.

    That’s my Corbyn!

    • Craigo

      Remember, there is no crisis.

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        For this is the best of all possible worlds and we must cultivate the Socialist Workers Party.

    • WHAT? what what what?

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        Well, quite.

        • sibusisodan

          Apparently it was in his prepared remarks, so not an off the cuff slip.

          He, or his team, is not ready for prime time. Irrespective of the content of the remarks, you don’t give your opponents a free hit in this manner.

          • Murc

            Apparently it was in his prepared remarks, so not an off the cuff slip.

            … really.

            I have had some very uncomplimentary things to say about the State of Israel. I will say more uncomplimentary things about it in the future. Strong language will be used; the term “apartheid state” may be deployed.

            I would never say those unkind things at an anti-Semitism event. Jesus god! Who the fuck does that? There’s a time and place, you goddamn idiot!

            I would also be very hesitant to conflate a Jewish state with an explicitly Muslim, explicitly eliminationist cult. That’s just the kind of analogy you don’t go anywhere near unless things are… much different than they are.

            These were prepared remarks? Good lord.

            • MilitantlyAardvark

              If this is how Seumas Milne is handling communication and public events, he needs to be fired and told never to come near Labour again.

              • MilitantlyAardvark

                Marcus Dysch ‏@MarcusDysch 17m17 minutes ago
                @DPJHodges Truly never seen anything so shambolic in years covering Westminster. Utter chaos. Seumas in background. Only a BNP rally uglier.

                (((Dan Hodges))) ‏@DPJHodges 28m28 minutes ago
                Told Labour press officers saying they will not work future Corbyn events.

                (((Dan Hodges))) ‏@DPJHodges 28m28 minutes ago
                Labour press officers in tears after anti-semitism event. Say Corbyn press team refuse to intervene.

                What really is left to say?

                • Craigo

                  Sometimes I get the feeling Milne sees himself as an eminence grise guiding the revolution from behind the scenes, when he’s really just the snotty schoolkid who eggs others to fight and watches smugly from a safe distance.

                • BigHank53

                  Who knew that political dumpster fires were contagious?

                • N__B

                  Who knew that political dumpster fires were contagious?

                  It was known.

                • efc

                  https://mobile.twitter.com/paulwaugh/status/748577259561324544

                  JC speech was shown to Israeli ambassador b4hand + he didn’t think JC comparing Israel to ISIS. But ET apologised for after others’ reaction
                  11:01 AM – 30 Jun 2016

              • JonH

                Seumas love’s Putin’s style, I guess.

            • sibusisodan

              The wiki of his Comms Director, Seumus Milne (on leave from the Guardian) makes for enlightening reading on this topic…

              They seem to be not very good at dealing with the world as it is.

              A few years ago the Pope faced a firestorm for a very nasty quote about Islam which, in context, he was disagreeing with (if I remember rightly).

              This comes with the territory of being a public figure. This is a continual leadership audition. Your words are going to be dissected, amplified and distorted.

              If you can’t deal with that, you shouldn’t be in the role.

            • Craigo

              The worst thing is…Corybn probably thought he was being conciliatory.

              Some on the left are well known for conflating Jewishness with the worst acts of the Israeli government, and he meant to rebut that.

              He failed. Hard.

              • The thing is, even if he’d said what he meant to say, it would still be pretty awful. The problem with anti-semitism is not that not all Jews support Israel. Saying “it’s as wrong to assume that all Jews support Israel as it is to assume that all Muslims support ISIS” implies that Jews who do support Israel are fair game, including for anti-semitic attacks.

                • Joseph Slater

                  What Abigail said. I co-sign.

                • Craigo

                  The “anti-zionists” always says that it’s about policy, but they routinely personalize it. What he needed to do was denounce anti-semitism, full stop. No waffling, no equivocation, no sidetracks, no yes but.

                  If you want to oppose Israel’s policies and not be anti-semitic, then do just that. Separate the two completely in your mind, and you won’t end up tripping over it.

                  Every time he he talks about this issue he talks about how he opposes “racism in all its forms” in a sort of #AllLivesMatter way, or brings up Israel needlessly. What does that have to do with some Jewish kid at Oxford being racially abused? He seems congenitally unable to just flatly condemn this cancer, and instead minimizes it at every step.

                • Craigo

                  Here’s some better from him: During the same remarks he called out the slur “zio” as a “vile epithet” and said that Nazi metaphors should not be used because they dilute the Holocaust. That’s how it should be done.

                • Murc

                  During the same remarks he called out the slur “zio” as a “vile epithet” and said that Nazi metaphors should not be used because they dilute the Holocaust.

                  … I didn’t know that “zio” either 1) was a thing, or 2) was an epithet. Is this an exclusively British form of racist slang for attacking Jewish people?

                • Craigo

                  I don’t know if it’s exclusively British, but it is an epithet with some currency among the British left (and appears to relatively uncommon among right-wing antisemites).

                • Murc

                  I don’t know if it’s exclusively British, but it is an epithet with some currency among the British left

                  That just seems unnecessarily nasty. There are different rules when it comes to dealing with Israel, and one of those is recognizing the history of anti-semitism surrounding the Jewish people means you have to avoid personalizing things, avoid epithets, and generally operate with care and respect.

                  You should of course do all those things anyway, but when it comes to Israel you have to do them extra well, for obvious reasons.

                  Although something I have noticed is that British politics in general have this weird swing between high-sounding language and absolute gutter shit spewing out of peoples mouths. I’ve heard Labourites talk about Tories in terms I wouldn’t use to describe actual, literal Nazis, and vice-versa. It’s weird to me as an American, and we’re no strangers to intemperate rhetoric.

                • solidcitizen

                  I have seen “zio” used in comment sections in the US. I had a good guess what it meant, looked it up, and yep. Pretty sure I have seen it only from right-wingers in the US.

            • CrunchyFrog

              Yep – agree with all of this.

          • jim, some guy in iowa

            I have the idea he was going for “fearless truth-telling” and ended up with something less

          • djw

            He, or his team, is not ready for prime time.

            I’m not sure he’s ready for the 3:00 AM slot currently filled by a program about the extraordinary life-changing benefits of a juicer.

            • sibusisodan

              Apparently he just released a statement to the Labour membership from ‘Jeremy Corybn’.

              Poor chap.

              (Twitter link no longer works, so I assume it’s been pulled and corrected)

            • EliHawk

              Honestly, Michael Dukakis needs to run for Labour Leadership, if only because “This election is not about ideology; it is about competence” is something they need to hear over and over and over again.

    • Warren Terra

      The Independent‘s story on the event.

      The quote in question is this:

      Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organisations.

      a few paragraphs later:

      When challenged on the remark, the Labour leader said “of course I’m not” drawing links between the two.

      But, of course, he was doing so – or, certainly, close enough. Netanyahu is a disaster, a cynic or narcissist who promotes war and undermines peace and justice because it suits his short-term ambitions – but that doesn’t make it right to flat-out equate Israel with Daesh.

      • Murc

        Wait, hold on. That’s the quote?

        That’s not at all equating Israel with ISIS. Saying “Assuming that all of X people support Y bad thing that is generally associated with them is no more accurate than saying that all of Z people support Q bad thing that is generally associated with them” (or the equivalent) is a common rhetorical device and does not necessitate drawing a direct link between Y and Q. That is, it doesn’t require that Y and Q be equally bad or related at all.

        It’s still an inappropriate thing to bring up at an anti-semitism event, of course, where perhaps the focus should be on anti-semitism rather than the intractable quagmire of Israeli politics, but I was envisioning something much much worse.

        … although I suppose the mere fact that I was envisioning something much much worse says bad things about Labour’s problems in this arena, doesn’t it.

        • Craigo

          a common rhetorical device and does not necessitate drawing a direct link between Y and Q. That is, it doesn’t require that Y and Q be equally bad or related at all.

          It’s an incredibly clumsy rhetorical device that only serves to link Y and Q at the very best, and directly compares them at worst.

          He’s saying that Z is not evil just because Q is evil, and that similarly X is not evil just because Y is (?). Fill in the blank, because whoever wrote that for him knew that everybody who heard it would.

        • SIS1

          You are supposed to feel more outrage….we live in the time of soundbites, after all.

        • Warren Terra

          Look: the context is an event about confronting anti-semitism in Labour. The context includes a Jewish Labour MP being harangued and leaving in tears … as Corbyn and his staff do bupkus.

          And: you’re wrong. I think Netanyahu is genuinely evil, that he promotes tension and undermines peace because doing so sends voters fleeing in terror to back his strong-man persona. But: Netanyahu isn’t Israel, and Israel isn’t Daesh. He didn’t even say “the worst actions of Israel”. He made it clear that when he contemplates “the actions of Israel” he is putting them on a level with “those of [Daesh]” – an entity that exists to wreak mayhem upon civilization as we understand it.

          Is it a completely unambiguous denunciation of Israel as inherently the same as Daesh? Not quite, I suppose – hence my saying “close enough”. Because it is close enough. Corbyn could screw up falling if he started in midair, and it’s past time for him to leave public life.

          • +1 to all of this. The very fact that this is what Corbyn thought was appropriate to say at an event about anti-semitism tells you basically everything you need to know. And as you say, however vile you find Netanyahu or Israel’s actions against the Palestinians, putting them on the same level as what ISIS has been doing is, at best, absurdly ignorant.

            • EliHawk

              And, of course, the explanation of the statement is, if anything, worse:

              “The point in the report is that you shouldn’t say to somebody, just because they’re Jewish ‘You must have an opinioin on Israel’ any more than you say to someone who’s a Muslim that ‘You must have an opinion on any vile actions that’s been taken by misquoting the good name of Islam in what they do.”

              • Alex.S

                It’s a bit more of a walk forward than a walk back.

              • Joseph Slater

                Oh FFS. This probably isn’t the time or place, but at some point at least I would be interested in an “anti-Semitism within (some parts) of the Left” conversation.

      • witlesschum

        Nothing at all wrong with that quote from where I’m sitting.

        Israel has probably managed a higher innocent body count than the Islamic State, so how much you want to balance that against it obviously being light years better a country for people to live in is a reasonable people can disagree situation, at least for me. Honestly, you could say the same of the U.S.

        Corbyn also says various, so he presumably means Iran, Saudi Arabia and such along with the Islamic State. I guess Jews are lucky to have only a single self-proclaimed Jewish state to commit atrocities for which they’re unfairly blamed, compared to Muslims who have maybe a dozen?

        • Warren Terra

          You’re reaching to excuse this blithering doofus at best, vicious antisemite at worst.

          • witlesschum

            I don’t have a strong opinion on Corbyn other than generally hoping the leftier politician does better. I just don’t think it’s an outrageous thing to say.

            • Warren Terra

              At an event intended to repudiate antisemitism, he equated Israel – all of Israel, not its worst actions – with Daesh. This while a Jewish MP was driven from the event in tears, amid an atmosphere that one onlooker (of what reliability I don’t know) described as being similar to that of a British National Party rally (ie an explicitly racist gathering).

              To the extent I as an American care, I was delighted he won the leadership, because I thought a repudiation of Blair’s Iraq War and Blair/Brown’s economic vision was desperately needed. I still think he should be replaced by someone who’s good on those issues. But I could find random people on the street who would have done better than this on ten minutes preparation. It just isn’t possible to excuse his failings at this point.

              • witlesschum

                As far as the atmosphere, if that’s accurate and he did or said nothing about that, that’s wrong and terrible.

                And my tentative opinion would be you’re right about Corbyn being a failure as Labour leader who ought to be replaced.

                But I don’t believe the actual quote says what you say it does. It didn’t name Daesh, it said actions of Israel and the current government.

              • Joseph Slater

                I’m with Warren on this completely. The quote, as it is, is terrible.

        • Murc

          Nothing at all wrong with that quote from where I’m sitting.

          Well, the context is largely what’s wrong.

          I sort of tepidly defend it in isolation above, and I stand by that, but the context was wildly inappropriate. It’s not what you say at an anti-semitism even! I don’t have a fancy-pants PR team working for me and even I know that.

          • witlesschum

            It’s possible that being a non-Jew living in the U.S. and mostly being exposed to specious complaints of antisemitism from people who appear to be defenders of the Israeli government no matter what, I’m not as sensitive as I should be. I certainly don’t know much about what British Jews have to put up with.

            It’s not immediately obvious me that Corbyn needs to pretend his criticism of Israel doesn’t exist at an antisemitism event. Seems to me that saying “Hey, you don’t have to like the State of Israel or things it does, but blaming that on other Jews who have nothing do do with it is not okay” is exactly what a politician should say in such a situation. Along the lines of one of the few good things George W. Bush did with trying to tamp down anti-Muslim sentiment after 9/11 by saying we don’t blame all Muslims for this.

            • twbb

              “It’s not immediately obvious me that Corbyn needs to pretend his criticism of Israel doesn’t exist at an antisemitism event. Seems to me that saying “Hey, you don’t have to like the State of Israel or things it does, but blaming that on other Jews who have nothing do do with it is not okay” is exactly what a politician should say in such a situation”

              Yeah, this whole thing confuses me a little; a lot (most?) European anti-semitism is driven by conflating Jews and Israel. An anti-semitism event seems to be the exact place to raise that point.

              Edited to add: Looking closer at what he said, yes, I see the issue now.

              • a lot (most?) European anti-semitism is driven by conflating Jews and Israel

                No, most European anti-semitism is driven by centuries of cultural indoctrination that culminated in Europeans rounding up, torturing, enslaving, and finally murdering Jews by the millions.

                Europeans don’t need a reason to be anti-semitic. It’s part of the culture. To assume that the anti-Israel European left becomes anti-semitic because it sees Israel’s excesses and applies them to all Jews is not just inaccurate, but perpetuates the anti-semitic canard that “the Jews bring it on themselves.” More importantly, it’s reversing the order of events – first people are anti-semitic, and then they come up with a pretest to justify that, not the other way around.

                • djw

                  +1. The quoted statement is the rough equivalent of “Racism in America is about high crime rates in inner cities.”

                • witlesschum

                  This all seems correct, unfortunately.

                • Joseph Slater

                  Abigail is exactly right. And again, while I detest Bibi and his policies, progressives really do need to understand that anti-Semitism on the *left* is and has been a real thing, entirely independent of Israel.

        • Gareth

          Corbyn also says various, so he presumably means Iran, Saudi Arabia and such along with the Islamic State.

          Also Hamas, according to follow-up comments. Presumably they’re not his friends any more.

      • wengler

        Wow. That is a completely innocuous statement. Corbyn should’ve talked about all the people he was going to kill for Israel like US politicians do.

    • I’ve been shaking with rage about this for the last hour. The Israeli press has tried to make a big deal out of Corbyn’s anti-Israel stance since his election, and I’ve mostly demurred from that because a) he was unlikely to ever be prime minister, b) he’s not my politician, c) the world, including Israel, is probably better off if the UK has a strong left-wing party and Corbyn seemed to be the path to that, and of course d) Israel deserves quite a bit of criticism, even if I don’t agree with all or even most of the kind Corbyn supports. But this is simply beyond the pale. To do this in an event whose purpose was to address Labour’s serious problems with anti-semitism, and in his prepared remarks! To me it indicates that he never took on any of the criticism of Labour, or of him, that came out during this scandal, and that his participation in this event was merely pro forma.

      I’ve been watching Labour’s infighting with exasperation, and genuinely uncertain which side I thought was right or should win. But this does it: I hope this clueless idiot gets tossed out on his ear.

      • RonC

        It looks to me that most of the people in this thread and at LG&M look for any reason to attack Corbyn. Since he isn’t perfect then he’s is either the most incompetent nincompoop imaginable, or the worst ogre, take your pick.

        The statement as quoted doesn’t seem to me to be so off the wall concerning Israel as she is currently operated. But then I am sure it will soon be pointed out to me that I am also antisemitic, so I should also never be listened to.

        • JonH

          “look for any reason to attack Corbyn.”

          They don’t need to look, he’s offered them by the bushel.

        • Joseph Slater

          If a number of black people say X is racist, you should give that opinion significant deference. If a number of women say Y is sexist, you should give that opinion significant deference. If a number of Jewish people say Z is anti-Semitic, even if you really don’t like Bibi and his policies, (and I personally really don’t like him and his policies), maybe you should consider giving that opinion some deference.

          • EliHawk

            I would also point out that while Corbyn has a pretty low approval rating among the LGM commentariat, I would bet good money it’s still higher than Netanyahu’s. Doesn’t mean that people can’t both loathe Bibi and spot Anti-Semitism where it lurks.

            • LosGatosCA

              +1

              Bad behavior occurs everywhere and shouldn’t excuse other bad or insensitive behavior anywhere.

              As football coaches will tell their running backs, if you don’t want a reputation as a fumbler – don’t fumble. If the defense thinks you’re weak on turnovers they will go at you with extra incentive.

              Corbyn is the equivalent of a turnover machine at this point. As Charles Pierce likes to say – sit the next play out. I’d say it’s time for Corbyn to retire

    • Phil Perspective

      And you believe a jackass that writes for The Daily Fail? Okay!!!

    • Warren Terra

      the Jewish MP who was harangued and fled in tears from the Labour anti-antisemitism event has released a statement. This in particular stands out:

      No-one from the Leader’s office has contacted me since the event

      • twbb

        I thought his “office” consisted of just himself by this point.

        • Manny Kant

          Seumas Milne, John McDonnell, and Diane Abbott are still manning the barricades, at least. Andy Burnham is somehow still in the shadow cabinet.

      • SIS1

        Here is the video of what happened:

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-activist-who-berated-mp-ruth-smeeth-says-he-did-not-know-she-was-jewish-and-denies-momentum-a7111366.html

        So a long time left wing Labour activist who was handing out pamphlets asking for those are acting to remove Corbyn sees a MP, learns she was one of those to resign, and berates her for that (never once bringing up her background, though blaming her for colluding with the right wing press, an accusation that this guy appears to be willing to make of any MP going after Corbyn) and its a ‘anti-Semitic’ incident?

  • MilitantlyAardvark

    Let’s see…

    Cameron finished, Johnson finished, Gove pressing self-destruct, May about to inherit a poisoned chalice because there’s no way she can keep people happy on Europe….

    Not a bad few days, if you overlook a damaged economy, empowerment of racism and xenophobia and the fact that the world is amazed at the crass stupidity of the English.

    • Craigo

      Somewhere, Rory Stewart is glancing at a map of Afghanistan and sighing wistfully. The man who would be king…

      • ajay

        “God, I miss working with rational people in a non-toxic political environment…”

  • Ghostship

    What I’ve not seen much mention of so far is the impact of tax exiles n the vote and four in particular, Rupert Murdoch, the Barclay Brothers and Viscount Rothermere. Corbyn’s impact was nothng compared to their but we’ve heard nothing from the Labour shadow front bench about it.
    As for Corbyn’s defenestration, Corbyn was right to sack that arrogant shit (just like his father), Hilary Benn. If you’re going to plot within the shadow or real cabinet, don’t get caught and if you are caught expect to have to “resign”. The PLP should have accepted that as Corbyn seems to have the support of a majority of the Labour Party.
    If they wanted to have a no confidence vote, they should have delayed it by a month or so as there is no real rush to replace the leader. In the meantime, they should have got out the beer and sandwiches and talked to the unions, Momentum and Corbyn with the aim of getting Corbyn to either make it clear he want’s to become Prime Mnister and come out of his corner fighting or stepping aside. If anything, it’s the PLP that so far have demonstrated they are not fit for government.
    Where do Labour go from here. Fuck knows but sack the whips and sit their replacements in front of Netflix so that they can watch the House of Cards on replay – this shambles would never have happened with Francis Urquhart around.

    • MilitantlyAardvark

      Do you think Corbyn can manage to find enough whips to sack? He can’t even fill his Shadow Cabinet. Time for him to go and take that fatuous thug McDonnell with him. Neither of them has the capacity to manage a coffee-maker, never mind the country.

      • Phil Perspective

        For a blog that supposedly is a strong supporter of unions, you sure seem to hate a strong supporter of unions. You do know why the unions are still backing Corbyn, right?

        • Manny Kant

          I’m actually incredibly curious as to why the unions are still backing Corbyn.

          • Linnaeus

            A couple of (admittedly) guesses:

            1. The unions are hoping to gain some leverage with a possible successor to Corbyn.

            2. The unions simply don’t trust any of Corbyn’s possible successors.

            • To be fair, Corbyn is a more vocal supporter of unions than a lot of the other folks. Milliband, for example, had some tone deaf stuff during various protests.

              My union isn’t affiliated so I’m not getting any union chatter about it. If you look at the unison website, you can see they’ve been close to Corbyn for a while.

              This is part of what’s maddening.

              • EliHawk

                I mean, the Unions were also behind stitching up Ken Livingstone’s attempted comeback to London’s mayoralty when he was almost the only Labour candidate who could lose vs. Boris. I kind of feel like US and UK Unions can both have terrible political judgment in the exact opposite way. The US can be too accommodating to electoral politics, while the UK can be (dating back to the Scargill era), completely clueless on the subject. Has Len McCluskey (who, mind you, flirted with going to found some 3rd party after the last election) ever been right about anything?

                • Manny Kant

                  McCluskey certainly seems to be awful, but I’d have thought that there’d be pragmatists somewhere in the mix.

              • Manny Kant

                I can understand the unions wanting to have someone who is close to them in power. But it was never my impression that the majority of British trade unions were particularly radical (some, certainly, but not that the radicals were dominant across the board). It seems weird that, in this particular situation, so many are sticking with Corbyn, rather than using their influence to make sure that a post-Corbyn leader is friendly to them. Surely they don’t want a Labour crack-up? Surely they’d like to win a general election?

        • MilitantlyAardvark

          @Phil Perspective – I have a lot of time for unions, even the frequently idiotic and self-harming British unions, but not much for wannabe kingmakers like Len McCluskey, or, as he is often known, Len McClusterfuck. Not that I expect you to understand the distinction. You may now return to babbling at random to yourself.

    • SIS1

      Exactly.

      The entire execution of this coup has been a disaster to watch.

    • Linnaeus

      I agree that this coup has been badly timed and executed. Owen Jones, in the piece that Dave linked, gets it mostly right. Whatever Corbyn’s faults, responsibility for the current situation lies with the Conservatives. It was not Corbyn’s choices that put the UK on the course of leaving the EU; it was Cameron’s choices that did so, and the Labour Party coup only distracts attention from that fact.

      I don’t say this to defend Corbyn’s leadership. Though he definitely had a number of party members working against him, he’s made a fair number of his own mistakes and has shown himself to not be ready to lead Labour. But just as being a critic of Corbyn does not necessarily make one a Blairite, being a critic of the coup and its participants doesn’t necessarily make one a Corbynite. It appears that the anti-Corbyn faction figured that a parliamentary revolt against Corbyn would be sufficient to get rid of him as leader, but that faction has disregarded the fact that Corbyn won in the leadership in a party vote under rules to which all of the contenders at the time agreed. This is a glaring problem in that the anti-Corbynites did not do the groundwork necessary to convince enough of Corbyn’s supporters that someone else needs to be leader. That doesn’t speak well of the ability of the next Labour leader to unite the party.

      Furthermore, It does not appear that the anti-Corbyn faction in Labour has any ideas itself about what the party should stand for and how it should achieve its aims. If the anti-Corbynites agree generally with Corbyn’s general inclinations, but think they’ve got a better way to realize them, then they should be clear about that and why. By the same token, if they think the New Labour course is the better way to go, then they should be clear about that and why. If they think there’s some way to reconcile these stances, they should be clear about that too. None of this has been forthcoming, and it doesn’t bode well at all.

      • It appears that the anti-Corbyn faction figured that a parliamentary revolt against Corbyn would be sufficient to get rid of him as leader, but that faction has disregarded the fact that Corbyn won in the leadership in a party vote under rules to which all of the contenders at the time agreed.

        I don’t think that’s quite right. Corbyn not resigning in response to the vote of no confidence (and the idea that he’d stand again) is, as I understand it, wildly outside the norms. Like, probably unthinkable to many people ex ante. Manny Kant keeps pasting lists of quotes that will give you a sense of how this is a big surprise move by Corbyn.

        And, really, this is Ed Miliband’s fault. He made the party members sovereign without working out the rest of the details. Indeed, the MPs who nominated Corbyn are also at fault, because you don’t nominate someone without expecting that they might win. Those were plausible moves born of very laudable motives but are breaking the party.

        Corbyn is obviously at lots of fault, as is the team around him. The Corbynites who support him to the destruction of the party share some blame. And the revolted MPs sure aren’t shining with a bright light at the moment.

        and it doesn’t bode well at all.

        Yep.

        I shoulder some blame for unhelpful comments and not having a ghost of a plan to fix the world. The jet streams crossed, and you know you never, ever cross the streams.

        • Linnaeus

          I don’t think that’s quite right. Corbyn not resigning in response to the vote of no confidence (and the idea that he’d stand again) is, as I understand it, wildly outside the norms. Like, probably unthinkable to many people ex ante. Manny Kant keeps pasting lists of quotes that will give you a sense of how this is a big surprise move by Corbyn.

          A fair point, though I do wonder if anyone in the PLP gave any thought at all to the circumstances of Corbyn’s election as leader and if those circumstances would complicate the PLP’s effort to depose him. But, hindsight and all…

        • Manny Kant

          Everybody’s come off terribly. Certainly the rebel MPs aren’t covering themselves in glory – they’re leaderless and don’t seem to have had any plan for what to do if Corbyn did resist the vote of no confidence. Corbyn winning another leadership election would be utterly disastrous, and the PLP certainly deserves a share of the blame for that by launching this coup without having a plan to win.

          I still think, though, that Corbyn is most to blame here for flouting the most basic norms of parliamentary government.

          • Rob in CT

            Seriously… isn’t having a replacement on hand like the first lesson of Coup Attempts 101?

            • SIS1

              I think its lesson two in Coup Attempts 100. Which these fools missed.

            • A charitable view is that they thought it would be better to work with all the stakeholders on a new slate and that they’d have time to do this after Corbyn resigned.

              But he didn’t, so they’re left scrambling.

              A more Machiavellian thought is that they are trying to drive away “troublesome” party members. So, the story would be:

              1) Boot Corbyn, and hard.
              2) Keep him or any like figure off the list for leadership.
              3) Run anyone, but if they are really a blairite so much the better.
              4) Win the vote because all the candidates are non Corbynites.
              5) Watch the mass exodus of Corbyn supporting party members who, up to this point, don’t really contribute to elections except as individual votes.
              6) “Fix” the rules.

              There’s some tacking right and union placating in the mix.

              This seems like more elaborate a plot than would be plausible to accept. But one thing does seem true is that the exodus can be seen by the MPs as a feature.

              The big problem is how to salvage the relationship with the unions.

              • Manny Kant

                I don’t think anyone expects a genuine “Blairite” victory as long as the current method is in place. It’d have to be someone from the soft left.

                I do think you’re absolutely right that a lot of them have no interest in preventing new party members from leaving. And why should they? They view them as Trotskyist entryists who are destroying the party.

        • SIS1

          I don’t think that’s quite right. Corbyn not resigning in response to the vote of no confidence (and the idea that he’d stand again) is, as I understand it, wildly outside the norms. Like, probably unthinkable to many people ex ante.

          Except Corbyn isn’t the government, and this was a move that has no real legal standing when it comes to leadership of the party. Actual written rules supersede ‘norms’, and in this case, the rebels appear to have chosen this route because they don’t seem ready to actually challenge Corbyn based on the rules.

          That unpreparedness is 100% their fault.

          • Manny Kant

            Forget about the Labour Party for the moment. How can you be the leader of the opposition when none of the opposition MPs back you? Corbyn’s position is untenable.

            The PLP is certainly to blame, though, for not anticipating that Corbyn would be so stubborn as to attempt to hold on (and possibly purge them if he wins another leadership contest). They should have had some sort of plan for this eventuality. It’s fairly clear that they don’t.

            I actually kind of think the thing to do might be to not announce a leadership challenge, but to basically carry out a strike against Corbyn’s leadership – refuse to serve in the shadow cabinet, refuse to support him on anything they disagree with him with, basically show him that he can’t carry on, regardless of his mandate from the members. Ideally, all the whips would quit, too. A couple weeks of that, and maybe Corbyn starts to see that he has no endgame, either. If Corbyn can wildly defy norms with no consequences, the PLP should be able to as well.

            The formal leadership challenge plays into Corbyn’s hand, because either he gets on the ballot and probably beats whoever the PLP runs, or he doesn’t get on the ballot and becomes a martyr.

            • SIS1

              You and Bijan keep claiming he is “defying norms” – but what do you call a bunch of MPs who know they lack the support of their party membership specifically taking actions to undermine the choice of those party members?
              Seems to me that violating THAT norm is far worse an act that anything you accuse Corbyn of.

              The Labour party instituted rules stating that they wanted to be a more democratic party, so their members would be responsible for choosing the leader. That membership voted for Corbyn. What the PLP is trying to do, and you and Bijan endorse, is actively trying to nullify the choice of labour’s members by removing their support for the chosen party leader. And you are saying that this is fine, because you fear that the membership would still back Corbyn….You are actively supporting the act of nullifying the choice of Labour’s membership under the theory that somehow, the choice of Labour “voters” means more, and that the PLP stands for that, so the PLP should be able to, against the written rules of the party, nullify the actions of the membership if they so choose.

              I find such a claim to be a far greater attack on the norms of representative government than anything Corbyn has done. If the members of the PLP don’t think they can convince the membership of Labour that Corbyn is the wrong leader, then the honorable and right thing to do is to resign from Parliament themselves.

              • LosGatosCA

                It seems like part of the current pattern in the UK and Europe, as well. Do half measures with good intent that don’t hold up under stress.

                Like the Euro – currency but not fiscal unification.

                The Scot secession – what currency will I use?

                Brexit – is it final? What about Parliament? Article 50 trigger?

                Labor – new democratic leadership selection, but try to apply old norms for no-confidence results

                Corbyn was elected by a legitimate process that the PLP seems unwilling to live with now that circumstances are much different than anticipated.

              • Oy, long reply eated.

                Short bit: Your reconstruction of my arguments bear little relation to my arguments and your arguments don’t acknowledge the structural situation, the existential crises aspects, or normal representative theory.

    • Ahuitzotl

      if FU is in the Labour ranks, this is what I’d expect in fact – getting both sides to discredit themselves/eachother, leaving a clear opening for a ‘neutral middle way’ leader. Hm.

      • Manny Kant

        Rosie Winterton?

  • MilitantlyAardvark

    Sayeeda Warsi, the former Conservative chair, has said this to Sky News this morning.

    I am quite surprised [by his announcement]. I never really thought it [the referendum campaign] was about Michael’s political ambitions.

    I am also surprised at what he said. He talks about healing and speaking for all and bringing the country together.

    From my experience of Michael and his approach towards teachers, the legal profession, ethnic minorities, that is not the Michael Gove I see.

    Say this for Sayeeda Warsi, she knows her slithy Goves.

    • sibusisodan

      The bios of Gove seem to lean heavily on the fact he’s a really nice, polite, intelligent person who is excellent company at dinner, likes chap hop and can be witty and self depreciating and really knows how to listen, you know.

      And then you watch what he’s done in government and it doesn’t add up at all. Self obsessed, convinced he’s the smartest person in the room, annoying all the stakeholders in whatever ministry he’s appointed to…

      He’s the most reviled Education Secretary of the last 20 years, and that’s not an easy achievement.

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        And he was silly enough to listen to that neurotic con-artist Dominic Cummings – the man who read a couple of self-help books and convinced himself that he was a Renaissance man ideally suited to advise his prince and set Britain straight.

        • sibusisodan

          Wow. How totally dissimilar to Steve Hinton.

      • Murc

        The bios of Gove seem to lean heavily on the fact he’s a really nice, polite, intelligent person who is excellent company at dinner, likes chap hop and can be witty and self depreciating and really knows how to listen, you know.

        I’m always suspicious when political bios lean heavily on that stuff.

        I regard those sorts of things in a politician as sort of a value-add. That is, it’s nice if it’s there, but it’s purely secondary. When people start banging on it hard I start thinking “this person is trying to sell me sizzle without any steak.”

      • shah8

        Oh jesus, NOW I remember the Gove motherfucker.

        Hated by the Education department for goddamned good reason.

        • sibusisodan

          Bingo.

          His big idea was giving every school a King James Bible, paid for by private religious donors. And this joker wants to be PM?

  • Warren Terra

    I’m very concerned about the safety of the members of the British Parliament, in a building that’s in notoriously poor condition – apparently Tory aides are going around hiding the emergency exit signs lest Boris or other Brexiteers get photographed next to them in an obvious visual joke.

    ETA first response in the thread is: “isn’t that against EU regulations”?

    ETA2 this is great.

  • MilitantlyAardvark

    Interestingly, Theresa May has ditched George Osborne’s fiscal rules as part of her pitch – and has also said that there’s no rush to invoke article 50, but Brexit means Brexit, although she also wants trade with the single market plus reduced immigration as well as a couple of squared circles in nice shiny chrome. Nice jab at Boris and his negotiating skills as well.

    • Amanda in the South Bay

      Is May the slightly more polished version of Cameron with a stiffer spine and lacking the Bullingdon Club pedigree?

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        I wouldn’t call her more polished, but she’s probably tougher and more of a long-term thinker. No Bullingdon pedigree, for obvious reasons.

        I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see her put off Brexit until there was enough of a movement in favour of quietly forgetting it altogether to let her calmly and efficiently screw Nigel Farage over without mercy.

        • Murc

          This assumes such a movement appears. It may not. England might double down. It would be a very English thing to do.

        • Amanda in the South Bay

          Everything I’ve seen of her indicates that she’ll follow through with Brexit.

          • Manny Kant

            She is, at the very least, less likely to follow through than Gove, who is a true believer.

        • I wouldn’t call her more polished, but she’s probably tougher

          I don’t know. Between the poisoned apple strategy at the “go” to Corbyn, Cameron’s looking pretty tough these days.

          Petty architect of destruction, to be sure, but he seems tough.

          • MilitantlyAardvark

            I would say that Cameron is more verbally agile and quicker to adopt a short-term solution to political problems. May is more heavy-handed as a speaker and tends to stubbornly pursue long-term objectives, even when it’s clear that she probably won’t win.

            In a knife-fight, back Cameron; for a marathon, back May would be my best summary.

  • MilitantlyAardvark

    Chris Ship ‏@chrisshipitv 11m11 minutes ago
    I’m told Boris’ widely criticised @Telegraph column – was SUB EDITED by Michael Gove who suggested changes – and Boris put them in

    Looks like Mike the Spike may have nailed Boris rather neatly.

    • Manny Kant

      Am I wrong to feel that Gove is one of the most odious politicians out there? What redeeming qualities does this weasel have? His politics are utterly disgusting and he manages also to be outrageously personally disloyal. What positive qualities is he supposed to have?

      • twbb

        His politics are utterly disgusting

        He tells it like it is!

        he manages also to be outrageously personally disloyal

        He’s not beholden to special interest groups!

      • Ahuitzotl

        What positive qualities is he supposed to have

        um .. his dog loves him?

  • MilitantlyAardvark

    Gavan ReillyVerified account
    ‏@gavreilly
    While Tories stunned by BoJo’s shock-and-awe, Jeremy Corbyn faces formal complaint of anti-Semitism over comments at an anti-Semitism launch

    • I think the parties are in a contest to see who can get the most news coverage. “Oh yeah, well top THIS!!!”

  • SIS1

    Gove may be less of a clown than Johnson, but he is just as guilty of bringing about the Leave disaster.

    So now the Labour coup plotters can’t even agree on their opposition candidate – maybe they should have waited, to, you know, have a freakin’ plan? Imbeciles.

    • Phil Perspective

      The even funnier thing is they’ve been planning this thing for 9 months.

      • SIS1

        I think you mean 10 months (which is when Corbyn was elected).

        And this has stopped being funny and is now just exasperating.

        All Labour had to do this week was allow the Tories and the Leave campaign to hang themselves on their lies and mendacity, but instead they decided that it was more important to set themselves on fire, cause why not make a spectacle of themselves?

        • petesh

          Yes. Mind you, a better politician (and worse person) than Corbyn would have found a way to neuter them long before.

  • Gallipoli

    This entire thing strikes me as shitting the bed and then lighting it on fire to clean up the mess.

    • petesh

      On many different levels: Tory; Labour; northeast; southeast … clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, dadoo-da-da

  • SIS1

    And now The Guardian (the best Labour coup plot source, at least, if you support the coup as they do) is saying that pressure on Corbyn to resign from unnamed (always unnamed) supporters is growing. Got to love those unnamed sources…..

    And the sad truth is that the damage is already done – even if the coup plotters succeed in changing the party leadership through press pressure as opposed to the prescribed rules, they have poisoned the well with that membership which then has to vote for the leader of the party.

    Incompetence is sometimes the worst vice of all.

    • EliHawk

      Incompetence is sometimes the worst vice of all.

      Indeed. Which is why Corbyn must go, and precisely why he’s lost 80% of his caucus, nearly all of his shadow cabinet, and can’t fill out his front bench. People were willing to give him a chance, but he’s a walking clusterfuck.

      • SIS1

        People were willing to give him a chance

        Sorry, but that is patently false.

        Even before the results of the referendum were done coming in, you already has stories about “Corbyn failed!”. The very first NY Times article on the fallout of the referendum was already mentioning a crisis in Labour’s leadership at the same time they are talking about the Tory crisis.

        This could have been an entire week all about the clusterf*** in Tory-land, exposing the fraud and lies behind the Leave campaign and the incompetence and lack of a plan in that group. Instead, the brilliant minds at the PLP and its supporters decided that this week should instead be all about Corbyn (who didn’t arrange this referendum) and how terrible he was, so that when that idiot Cameron, the man most responsible for the problems in Britain today went back to Parliament, it is him who could get a zinger at Corbyn’s expense.

        And even now, after a full week of attacks, supporters of this coup still have to count on Corbyn resigning because they don’t have any clue of whom they actually want to replace him!

        Who do you want to lead Labour right now, huh?

        • petesh

          Clem Atlee. Harold Wilson, at a pinch.

        • EliHawk

          Sorry, but that is patently false.

          Even before the results of the referendum were done coming in, you already has stories about “Corbyn failed!”. The very first NY Times article on the fallout of the referendum was already mentioning a crisis in Labour’s leadership at the same time they are talking about the Tory crisis.

          Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t elected last week. They gave him ten fucking months, this front bench. The broader part of the PLP. He failed. Miserably. 80% of his caucus recognizes he can not lead. The idea that the Labour Party would be united by Jeremy Corbyn is everyone would shut up is not demonstrated in the slightest by the actual leadership of the actual Jeremy Corbyn.

          This could have been an entire week all about the clusterf*** in Tory-land, exposing the fraud and lies behind the Leave campaign and the incompetence and lack of a plan in that group.

          The idea that this week could have been all about the incompetence of the Tory Party was never going to happen because the Leader of the Opposition has demonstrated himself fundamentally incapable of glancing even the slightest blow on them. The best case scenario for him this week was being a passenger. In the words of Mike Dukakis, “This election is not about ideology; it’s about competence.” Corbyn simply does not have any of it.

          • SIS1

            Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t elected last week. They gave him ten fucking months, this front bench.

            “Gave him”? Corbyn was elected the leader of the party under the rules of that party. The notion that the PLP was “gracious” in accepting the wishes of the party they claim to be members of is absurd, unless you think the members of the PLP should ignore the wishes of the members of the Labour party. And maybe you do, but then don’t claim to care about said party.

            The best case scenario for him this week was being a passenger

            That is all Labour needed to do, and the PLP FAILED! Yes, Labour could have just sat back and let the Tories damage themselves. Corbyn and his people wouldn’t have needed to say anything – after all, it was Farage and his ilk who were walking the £350M for the NHS promise back the very next day, and it was Boris (with Gove’s pen perhaps) who wrote that column on Monday trying to walk back some of the statements from the Brexit campaign.

            Labour’s enemies set a rope around their own necks, but people like you decided that your hatred for Corbyn was more important so instead you felt the need to pour gasoline over your party and set it on fire to showcase how terrible he was. And on top of that you have the gall to act like the wronged ones….

          • Manny Kant

            Let’s remember that Corbyn’s first instinct after the referendum was to demand that Cameron invoke Article 50 immediately.

            • efc

              How else will Labour regain credibility with their traditional voters other than telling them to fuck off and that their votes don’t matter when they disagree with the “elites”?

              • Rob in CT

                I thought Labour voters voted heavily for Remain, though…

                • SIS1

                  Labour voters in London and the industrial cities voted Remain, but a third of Labour voters, particularly in the Northern depressed industrial areas which used to be a Labour stronghold voted Leave.

                  of course, one of the lines against Corbyn is that his lefty ideas can’t win those voters in Northern England…and at the same time, he should have tried to win them over to Remain and its his fault they didn’t vote for Remain.

                • Manny Kant

                  I thought the big complaint against Corbyn is that he can’t win the Labour/Tory marginals the Labour Party would need to end the Tory majority. The northern depressed industrial areas mostly still have Labour MPs, no?

          • efc

            Failed to win by-elections? Nope. Failed to win mayorships? Nope. Failed to win (or at least do better than anticipated) in council elections? Nope. So you mean failed to placate people who hated him from the get go.

            What has been interesting about the whole Corbyn experiment has been the words used to criticize him. “Competence”, “credibility”, etc. These words don’t mean anything objective. I don’t find you credible but what does that mean? Nothing. It is basically, “I don’t like him because I don’t like him.” That’s why it has taken this long (“Ten fucking months!”) for them to be able to make a genuine effort at a coup. Because there was no way to argue that Corbyn had show an objective measure of “incompetence” until now with the Brexit vote. As BS and mendacious as it may be, it’s a colorable argument.

            • MilitantlyAardvark

              Sadiq Khan won very largely by distancing himself from Corbyn and so running a clear, competent campaign. Corbyn also managed to lose council seats, where even Miliband made some gains.

              Your Corbynite claims simply don’t match the reality of his record.

              And then, we have the abject disaster of the referendum, compounded by Corbyn’s inability to manage the party, on which he has repeatedly tried to impose his own unrealistic views.

            • EliHawk

              He did worse at the local elections than Ed Miliband. Ed Miliband! He actually lost seats in a midterm, the first opposition leader to do that since the 1980s. Even William Hague, going from the ’97 blowout to the ’01 blowout managed to pick up seats in a midterm when everyone wants to kick the government. Corbyn, whose authentic leftism was supposed to win back Scotland, came in 3rd behind even the Tories. The one Labour bright spot, Sadiq Khan winning the London Mayoralty, ran far, far, away from him.(Crediting Corbyn with his win is like saying Arnold Schwarzenegger can thank W for getting him reelected California Governor in ’06). The fact that he hasn’t lost byelections contested in overwhelmingly safe seats is not a mark of his competence, any more than the fact that in 2008 Republicans still held Louie Gohmert and Jeff Sessions’s congressional seats were a mark of W’s.

              He polls worse in favorability than Nigel Farage. He had a 2 to 1 unfavorable to favorable ratio, even before he became a national joke post-Brexit. He polls about as bad in favorability as Donald Trump. Even as the Tory party has been riven with scandals and exploded over Europe, Corbyn’s Labour remain behind several points in the polls. At a point in the last cycle when Miliband Labour was 5-6 points ahead, still not a strong enough lead to hold up come election time. In the 70 polls that have been taken during his leadership, he has lead the Tories thrice. Donald Trump has better statistical noise than that. He has lost the confidence of 80% of his caucus, including 2/3 of his entire front bench and shadow cabinet. The shadow cabinet, mind you, that he chose, and agreed to serve with him under his leadership. These are MPs from every wing of the party: Hard Left, Soft Left, Brownite, and Blairite. A majority of the MEPs and the MSPs have asked for him to go. Are these not all pretty clear measures of incompetence? As much as the Corbynauts want to pretend this is some palace coup or limited rebellion or whatever. You can say “incompetence” by itself is not an objective standard, but he is drowning in the evidence of it.

    • DW

      And the sad truth is that the damage is already done

      Wasn’t that around the time of Trident replacement?

      • SIS1

        Then why didn’t people make a move to replace him then, six months ago?

        Could it have been that none of these other MP’s could stand as the replacement themselves?

    • Dave Brockington

      Hell, even I’ve been an ” unnamed Labour source” in print. Turns out off the record is a nuanced term.

  • Oliver

    I am at a complete loss as to where we go from here.

    I was a passionate Corbyn supporter during the leadership elections. His policies most closely reflect mine and I was cautiously optimistic that his different style might genuinely bring about a change in British politics.

    Unfortunately, I have lost confidence that he is electable. Anyone who lives in Britain knows how unpopular he is. Most people I ask seem to view him as a joke. When I hear people at work (whom I know have voted for Labour in my lifetime) discuss his politics they view him somewhere between Trotsky and Red Robbo, and that kind of flat cap politics has always been electoral suicide.

    The Labour party has actually made some huge strides under Corbyn – they have the most credible economic policy for years – but to go with that they also need a leader who has a hope in hell of being elected to carry out those policies.

    Am I being completely unreasonable to ask for both? Someone who can campaign like Blair with the politics of Corbyn? Why do we have to choose between competence and ideology?

    The time has come for Corbyn to stand down. Who is right and who is wrong is irrelevant when the stakes are this high. The only thing that matters now is ensuring that the possibility of a credible left government isn’t destroyed for a decade.

    • Murc

      Am I being completely unreasonable to ask for both? Someone who can campaign like Blair with the politics of Corbyn?

      You’re not, but I would submit that the Labour Party has failed you and others like you.

      It is true, however, that any Labour leader is going to be painted as a commie; they hung “Red Ed” around Ed Milliband, which was a sick joke.

      • EliHawk

        Saying any Labour Leader is going to be painted as a commie kind of ignores that 50% of the last four Labour Leaders weren’t. As with Obama, the fact that smears exist doesn’t make them effective smears unless you make them plausible. Back in the ’90s the Tories tried to paint Blair as another ‘scary communist’ with the campaign about ‘New Labour New Danger’ and the ‘Demon Eyes’ poster. It was a miserable failure. As it stands, the reason Corbyn is painted as a Trot joke is that he is one, and surrounds himself with people like McDonnell and Milne that reinforce it.

        • Manny Kant

          Was John Smith painted as a commie? That feels unlikely to me.

          And, yeah, people view Corbyn as a Trotskyist because he’s…kind of a Trotskyist?

        • SIS1

          Ah yes, Blair, who is seen by the majority of the Labour membership now so fondly – if by fondly you mean “war criminal”.

        • Manny Kant

          Of Labour leaders since the beginning of the Thatcher era, two have been painted as commies because they more or less were (Foot and Corbyn), two were more or less unfairly pegged that way (Kinnock and Miliband) and three were not (Smith, Blair, Brown). Attlee, Gaitskell, Wilson, and Callaghan were also not tarred as commies, but the political climate was much different then. Is that about right?

          • EliHawk

            Yeah. The fallacy that having a leader who can rebut smears doesn’t matter because they’ll make them anyway seems common within liberal/leftist thought bubbles on both sides of the Atlantic.

            • witlesschum

              I’ve probably been guilty of this at times. It comes from the experience of seeing people like Max Cleland and John Kerry having their military records assailed by conservatives. The real lesson we should learn from those cases is that there’s more to effectively rebutting smears in politics than just having the smears be ridiculous.

              • EliHawk

                Or just assuming a resume alone makes for a rebuttal. But also, the fact of the matter re: Cleland (and I’m from Georgia, have worked in politics there) is that looking back on it the state was changing and getting more Republican (Dem lost the Governorship that year for the first time since reconstruction despite outspending his opponent 2 to 1, and the entire legislature flipped from Deep Blue to Deep Red in just 2 years, W won the state in ’04 by 20 points) that Cleland didn’t lose because of a negative ad, any more than a negative ad was the reason Lincoln Chaffee lost in ’06.

                (And, as an aside, at least in my experience Cleland wasn’t great at constituenting. An uncle got a citizenship award up in DC for doing community service, there was a big dinner to honor the winners with Cleland there, and he more or less blew them off because he was more important. Just didn’t do the kind of Politics 101, make the local folks feel special kind of stuff, to the point that someone who was a voter for him in ’96 didn’t help him in ’02. And for a Democrat who’s trying to fight a partisan tide by being a unique, well liked brand, that’s just unhelpful.)

      • Oliver

        but I would submit that the Labour Party has failed you and others like you.

        No arguments there.

        I just feel like circumstances have forced the matter: the opposition party is in complete disarray, Cameron who was an extremely competent politician has been ousted and the British public are more politically engaged that I have seen them in my lifetime.

        I was happy for Corbyn to continue to the next election, even when some of his weaknesses started to become more apparent, but I feel like now there is a huge opportunity and we cannot let it go to waste.

        Even if the PLP are completely wrong (and I have a lot of sympathy with the argument that the majority of people involved have just been waiting for the opportunity), the fact remains that if Corbyn doesn’t resign and we settle in to an extended internecine war the people of this country will be irreparably damaged by ten years of Gove, May et al.

        • SIS1

          Even if Corbyn resigns, who replaces him? Internecine warfare is inevitable, as for there to be a new Labour leader, you still have to go through a membership, and the forces that put Corbyn in power haven’t gone away.

    • Gregor Sansa

      Over on this side of the pond, we actually got a once-in-a-generation combination of left-of-the-mainstream and decent campaigner. And he still flamed out because he wasn’t enough of a realist. I think that combining the convictions to stay left of the CW, and the strategic realism of at least a shodan Go player, is not just once-in-a-generation, it’s a hundred-year storm. And in fact, Obama comes closer to having that combo than Bernie, and Bernie comes closer than Corbyn.

      It isn’t easy.

      • Oliver

        Yes. I know that you are right it’s just difficult to accept!

        In a way that’s almost part of my problem with Corbyn. Watching the US primaries has given a sort of hope that it is possible. That if presented in the right way a genuinely left message could catch and take off.

        It’s incredibly hard to see Corbyn as the person to deliver that message.

      • I think a key issue is that you need a team. What differentiates Obama and Bernie is that Obama built an extraordinary team. Indeed, they primarily worked well *as a team*. And Obama really can lead. He makes his team better than they are without him, by a lot.

        Bernie and esp. Corbyn don’t reach far outside themselves at the right level. They inspire a segment of the population, but they can’t translate that into politician level stuff. And thus they fail.

        • EliHawk

          I wonder if there’s both a strength and a limitation there: That because they were outside of the mainstream for so long (and against everything, so they could have voted against Iraq, banning gay marriage, the banks, etc.) that they could be plausibly authentic in a generation that’s craving antipolitics and authenticity. But what made them stand out as authentic against inauthentic opponents is also the kind of obstinate stubbornness and deep ideological entrenchment that makes them bad at the politician level stuff.

          The thing, of course, is that Obama (and, for that matter, Trudeau) exude authenticity while being mainstream center-left politicians.The idea that the young are dying for a Sanders or a Corbyn is that if given a choice they’d just as easily vote for the two of them. There are multiple ways to authenticity and inspiration. You go back to listen to ‘Yes We Can’ and the ’08 campaign and at the heart of ‘hope and change’ is conventionalmainstream post-DLC center left politics. And, over 8 years, Obama has moved that mainstream to the left while still operating within it. (For that matter, and it gets ignored by their opponents now, but Clinton and Blair also moved those mainstreams to the left: Bush ran as a ‘compassionate conservative’ and not a Gingrichite, and Cameron as a kinder, gentler Tory who backed Gay Marriage, the environment, pledged to match Labour’s public spending plans before the crash and even afterward kept the higher Foreign Aid budget ringfinced from austerity. It wasn’t a return to full-blown Thatcherism.)

    • catclub

      Unfortunately, I have lost confidence that he is electable.

      I just read Barney Frank’s autobiography. He is a fan of obtaining half-loaves, when that is all that is attainable, and getting elected (or re-elected). He is NOT a fan of purity ponies.

      He is also retired – but he wanted to get appointed interim senator.

  • LosGatosCA

    Hard to sort out the stupid from the incompetent from the evil reading all the political news from the UK.

    It’s almost like mass hysterical blind amnesia has hit Great Britain. Have their been any pod reports?

    • Ahuitzotl

      ergotism, maybe?

    • NonyNony

      The English have always been a bit nuts. I think it’s a large part of why the US is kind of screwy too.

      (Note the specificity here – I mean the English, not Brits in general. The specific strain of nuts going on in the UK right now is very English and maybe a bit Welsh. The Scots and the Irish have their own forms of craziness, but they manifest differently than this current insanity that the English are champing on at the moment…)

  • A Rising Ape

    They’re called Corbin-ites; if you’re going to try to sneak in a little implied false equivalency, at least get your terminology right.

    • MilitantlyAardvark

      That would be CorbYn. At least get your terminology etc etc.

  • wengler

    Spain has been casting its eyes toward Gibraltar. Perhaps a nice little war will calm down the internal divisions? And the UK already has a fifth column of fat, sunburned retirees.

  • First Time Caller

    Please forgive the reposting from a prior thread. I’ll try to keep as neutral as possible about the personalities, but was it legitimate of Corbyn to advocate exit via Article 50 when exit polls suggest 60-70% of Labour voted Remain? That would seem to be the Party position. If he’s serious about continuing as Leader, shouldn’t he forcefully outline a plan for next steps? Stating categorically, “a Labour Government will not abandon the EU ideal” seems the clearest way to conduct a “do over”.

    My US-based impression is that much as the Democratic Party has moved leftward from Clintonism, the Labour Party has returned to its left wing roots, and is prepared to battle the financial and “moral” support for austerity. Keeping the UK in the EU would seem of a piece with that argument against austerity (looking at you, Cornwall). We are talking about the future of the Realm, it would be helpful if the remaining adults acted like it instead of repeatedly hitting themselves with a hammer.

    • Please forgive the reposting from a prior thread. I’ll try to keep as neutral as possible about the personalities, but was it legitimate of Corbyn to advocate exit via Article 50 when exit polls suggest 60-70% of Labour voted Remain? That would seem to be the Party position. If he’s serious about continuing as Leader, shouldn’t he forcefully outline a plan for next steps? Stating categorically, “a Labour Government will not abandon the EU ideal” seems the clearest way to conduct a “do over”.

      Yep, but, though I hate it, to be fair, there’s some 11 dimensional chess wiggle room. I.e., to embarrass Cameron. But it’s a pretty scary game of chicken and Cameron wiped the floor with him.

      • First Time Caller

        Re-reading, I want to make sure I’m clear about my point. If 60%+ of Labour voted “Remain” then shouldn’t the position of the party reflect that? Regardless of Corbyn’s personal feelings (Remain-curious seems to be the consensus) the actual voters who identify with Labour voted Remain.

        Consequently, shouldn’t the Leader forcefully announce in Parliament that “Labour stands for Britain, Labour stands for Remain”? Given the support of the Party for Remain and that the economic consequences of Brexit will be severe, how better to hang the Tories with it than to repeatedly and loudly proclaim that Labour will not exercise Article 50?

        If it’s unacceptable to Labour to leave the EU, then what’s the downside of aggressively calling to Remain? Supporting it now certainly doesn’t tie you to the Tories, and it seems straightforward enough that it shouldn’t take a week to generate the strategy. Given their current omnishambled state, I can’t see how reflecting the democratic desires of Labour voters is a worse argument than the non-message that they’re peddling now.

        • Rob in CT

          Seems like a good point to me. Stake out a strong pro-Remain position, and stick to it, pointing at the mess the Tories are.

          This is in part not possible b/c Labour appears to be as much or more of a mess (with plenty ‘o blame to go around).

          I get the idea behind the demand to invoke Article 50… it’s a gotcha. “You fucktards went and did this, and you shit the bed. Lie in it!”

          Except… the whole country has to lie in it…

          • Manny Kant

            You’re certainly not going to out-Brexit UKIP and the Tories in any useful way.

        • mds

          If 60%+ of Labour voted “Remain” then shouldn’t the position of the party reflect that?

          Haven’t you heard? Labour voters in general don’t count for shit. It’s the miniscule subset of them that are actual members who are the sum total of the will of the party and the people.

          • rea

            The party is the Vanguard of the Proletariat.

      • shah8

        Oh for christ’s sake, it’s not eleven dimensional chess.

        Translated to American politics, Corbyn’s move to ask the gov’t to press article 50 already is out of the same desire for smooth control of the situation, like Obama’s refusal to use a Platinum Coin to break the debt ceiling debacle, or his refusal to use executive power to make gay marriage legal rather than the clear effort made to have a more robust change in American Law.

        You do what is possible to do.

        You do what would give you the most power over the outcome.

        You do what might actually bring you the long-term best policy or the least worst policy.

        Campaigning further on nullifying the referendum is a very, very, heavy lift, and has further attendant consequences that may well be unpleasant, and I wish you’d acknowledge this.

        But noooooOOOOooo! We gots to be ANTIANTIANTI CORBYN!!!1! HE HAS NO RIGHT TO DO ANYTHING!!!1! SEE?!! LOOK AT TODAY’S EVIDENCE OF HIS UNFITNESS!!!1!

        • Hogan

          Corbyn’s move to ask the gov’t to press article 50 already is out of the same desire for smooth control of the situation

          So Corbyn now has control of the situation? Or even “power over the outcome”?

          And insisting that the two-year clock start running now is an effort to make things “smooth”?

          • Manny Kant

            Yeah, that’s insane. Even if you think Brexit should happen, it’s insane to invoke Article 50 before Britain actually has a plan in place for how it will negotiate and what it’s trying to achieve.

            • shah8

              If you signal that you intend to invoke article 50 once you have a plan, that’s entirely fine.

              Everyone understands the need to build a response, and people will respect the delay so long as the intentions are clear.

              If you think that keeping things up in the air is going to help, you will find that you are wrong.

              • Hogan

                If you signal that you intend to invoke article 50 once you have a plan, that’s entirely fine.

                Everyone understands the need to build a response, and people will respect the delay so long as the intentions are clear.

                But that’s not what Corbyn insisted on.

                • shah8

                  hmmmm…

              • LosGatosCA

                My personal rule is that you never have to be in a hurry to a car/train wreck.

                Take your time, bring the bandages, have a stiff drink, call the family and friends, take care of the loose ends you can.

                Then have the wreck.

                To eliminate the uncertainty by putting the car into the wall sooner doesn’t make much sense.

          • shah8

            Does Corbyn actually have a choice?

            What do you think would happen if Labor started a “Lets Ignore the Referendum” media blitz?

            Remember, this wasn’t really a close vote. 52% at like 72% of the eligible nationals is a strong victory. Then remember, the *bulk* of the Remains were in places that Labor already sort of preconvinced to Remain (metro London), and in places where Labor doesn’t play a large role (Scotland, NI). It looks like the SNP has lockdown in Scotland, so Corbyn has to win England and Wales, who voted to Leave at an even higher ratio.

            Now, there was 20-40 of Labor who voted Leave as well in various places, and generally, they did have reasons, if not well articulated or what would have been ameliorated by a Leave vote.

            This is actually a pretty monster task for a party in opposition with little ability to make concrete changes. Corbyn would have to speak to a audience that is diverse in reasons why they want to leave, make effective reassurances (how?), and keep on that until the next full election, which is 2020, I believe? Way past two years, if the Tories won’t call that election early?

            Corbyn would have to ally himself with some faction of the Tories to actually get the power to do anyone any good. Let’s say that Corbyn *isn’t* a stubborn idiot…Which *Conservative Leader* is going to work with The Left against their own base? I see that as dramatically unlikely. Even if it’s the Labor Right who is leading is offering.

            Pressing Article 50 now is probably simply acknowledging the inevitable, and the fact that it’s the Tories, and only the Tories, decision/legitimacy to annul the referendum. If the button is pressed, then Labor can actually compete with a vision of the future that might get enough people on board to pressure the Tories. Voting *for* something, rather than convincing a disparate group of people that today’s reality is just wrong, wrong, wrong. Labor representing Cornwall’s interest will get Cornwall’s votes, rather than trying to convince Cornwall that they’re not going to get those subsidies and should try to annul. Labor speaking up for the Northeast in *how* the separation happens, will help get Labor more votes and stop the bleeding to UKIP that’s been going on.

            A lot of what’s been discussed is basically how do we contort the Labor Party in terminal ways, “for the good of the Empire” in a basic facts free, mechanics free way. Destroying the Labor Party, in a Unity Government or in a backstab-fest, will not change the impact of the Referendum. The permanent 24/7 media massaged anti-Corbyn campaign will not change the facts or help the situation. It’s pretty damned obvious that it’s partly about ensuring that Labor or any other part of the UK Left doesn’t have a vote or say in the UK’s future.

            • sibusisodan

              Thank you for the thought provoking post, shah8.

            • Hogan

              Does Corbyn actually have a choice?

              How about not going out of his way to own a piece of this mess?

              • shah8

                Sure, let’s see you mark out an effectual path…

                • Hogan

                  So unless I have a detailed plan to get myself elected president, I shouldn’t observe that Donald Trump is doing it badly?

                • shah8

                  I don’t require a detailed plan. Look at what I said in my own post. They were all sketches, not even worthy of being called a plan.

                  I just want to see some sort of genuine idea of where you’re going, that’s all. Maybe it’s a little bit more in depth than you’re accustomed to, but some sort of intuitively sensible chain of possibilities that seems like it’s good enough to work on it further.

            • That doesn’t look like an unreasonable analysis.

              It doesn’t have anything to do with anything I’ve said anywhere.

              I almost certainly irrational in my long shot hope that the referendum result can be finessed. I don’t thinking that’s too strange on a personal level, and the fact that there is some wriggle room means that there is something to analyse.

              In other comments you shouted out I pointed out that the leave case for not hitting article 50 is that no one has a plan. If Corbyn had a plan or demanded a plan so we can get to article 50 I would be heartbroken and pissed, but that looks like something responsible.

              We have a big chunk of Labour voters including myself and lots of young people who are die hard Remainers. Ham fistedly going along with leave isn’t going to make us happy. So at least some finesse is required.

              I have no interest in cutting out the left from influencing the future. I’m on the left.

              I suppose you’re going to yell at me again. Oh well.

              • shah8

                I’m mad at you because you seem shocked at the idea that democratic processes could leave you with less say or control over what happens to you. Then behave that kicking people who don’t have the power to help you (and the kicking prevents them from ever *accumulating* the power to help you), instead of blaming the people who do have the power to fuck everyone up and having a fruitful conversation about we actually can do. Instead of constantly dealing with the Metropole and their media, Corbyn might have actually managed to get something productive going. He might have said, “Okay, let’s go for an EEA with these appealing planks…” If he didn’t, other people in Labor might have put out their own plan, within Labor or through their friends in para-organizations or media. But the enforced party combat of the situation prevents anything good from happening, and well, people need to stop enabling this shit.

                Enabling sort of implies that it was just, all, Democracy For Me, but Not For Thee. If you vote wrong, my buddies will chorus about your illegitimacy…

                • I’m mad at you because you seem shocked at the idea that democratic processes could leave you with less say or control over what happens to you.

                  I’m in no way shocked by this.

                  Sad, yes.

                  Then [believe] that kicking people who don’t have the power to help you (and the kicking prevents them from ever *accumulating* the power to help you),

                  This seems wrong. I am mad at Corbyn for what I saw and have read about his campaigning for Remain and his handling of the aftermath. I think that was all poor.

                  If you asked me soberly about whether the no confidence vote was a good idea, I’d probably waffle. It certainly doesn’t seem well organised at all, so it’s hard to see any positive outcome.

                  instead of blaming the people who do have the power to fuck everyone up and

                  Why do you think “instead”? I’ve been quite vocal about my distain and hatred for Cameron, Johnson, Farage, etc. I mean, at least it has to be *even though also*.

                  having a fruitful conversation about we actually can do.

                  I don’t know what conversation you want to have. You’ve not engaged me, afaict. I’m sorry my conversation doesn’t live up to your standards for fruitfulness.

                  Instead of constantly dealing with the Metropole and their media, Corbyn might have actually managed to get something productive going.

                  That seems unlikely, but yes, I can think of a number of things that might have at least not sucked. Like, oh, hammering the government on not having a plan. I mean, I’d just ask stuff like, “So the pound crashed because of the referendum vote, what measures did the government have in place to deal with that?” or “Such and such company has changed it’s plan costing X jobs, did you anticipate that and how are you going to manage it?”

                  I’d prefer to have some proposals ready to hand as well. I would say, “Where are the exiters proposals for what we ask from the EU?” Etc.

                  But he hasn’t, afaict, done that. I don’t see that the coup stopped him.

                  ut the enforced party combat of the situation prevents anything good from happening, and well, people need to stop enabling this shit.

                  I fail to so anything anywhere that I’ve done that’s enabled this. I didn’t write my MP.

                  Enabling sort of implies that it was just, all, Democracy For Me, but Not For Thee. If you vote wrong, my buddies will chorus about your illegitimacy…

                  There is obviously a danger when being on the losing end to try to find other rules. And even comfortably within democratic theory, there is a lot of wiggle room. (E.g., supermajorities, representatives, etc.)

                  So, yes, I prefer the referendum result be overturned. I’d also prefer a functioning Labour party. I’d also prefer someone other than Corbyn, though if he had a shot at being effective or more effective than anyone else, I’d support him.

                  For the first, my ground is primarily that it involves rights dilution and a fundamental change in the constitutional order and even the people for it don’t seem to have regarded it as a real thing. But it’s possible, perhaps probable, that a durable majority of the UK public soberly wants to leave. In which case, my view shall lose.

                  For the second, we obviously have broken rules given the make up of the party members and MPs. I have no power to compel any of them, so I don’t know what you think I should do.

                  I intend to vote in the leadership contest though at this moment I have no idea how I’ll cast my vote. Of course, we don’t yet know who will stand. My guess is that the party will fall apart. How to vote to not make that happen is beyond me.

                • FWIW, I like a lot of Owen Jones’s article and analysis. I agree that the Labour folks who abandoned him at the beginning bear enormous responsibility for the weakness that followed. Corbyn came in to his own surprise, so it’s not surprising that he didn’t have his own infrastructure and then the existing infrastructure took the fuck off.

                  And now the next round of support team have left again. But then he can’t function. My sense is that some of it is him as well, whether situation or temperament, he’s in the position.

        • First Time Caller

          I disagree with your assumptions. There is widespread theoretical and now quite real consequences to Brexit. The working class will (per usual) feel the brunt of it. The underclass, the underrepresented will the feel the brunt of it. It seems entirely in keeping with the full breadth of Labour’s history and philosophies to say that a Labour government will vote to Remain. Labour voters and Labour MPs seem united on that.

          It is not at all like the magical $1T coin because there was never a plank in the Democratic platform, widespread support in Congress, in the public, or in the Administration to do so.

          I’ll put it differently — how does Labour refusing to invoke Article 50 leave them worse off? Are there Labour voters who voted Remain but would vote Tory on the principle that “at least its an ethos”? There’s no evidence to support that, nor is there any evidence that daring the Tories to invoke Article 50 actually moves voters toward Labour.

          • shah8

            There is no realistic pathway for Labor to influence the consequences of the Referendum. Labor can’t invoke article 50. Labor also has no chance of influencing whether article 50 is invoked or not, at least not without compromises with the devil.

            • MilitantlyAardvark

              There is no realistic pathway for Labor to influence the consequences of the Referendum

              Tripe. They remain the largest opposition party. If they could organize themselves and bring pressure to bear, they absolutely could influence the outcome, especially given that Tories remain split, business remains furious and there’s only going to be more buyer’s remorse as the economy stumbles. And all that is before we price in the EU refusing to negotiate and the Tories’ desperate desire to retain access to the free market. Corbyn’s strategy of standing around with thumb up arse and your strategy of not even trying is certain only to leave Labour even more marginalized than before.

              Why is it that Corbynites insist on being fatuously ineffective and calling it virtue or realism? Is it some sort of bizarre cult loyalty?

              • shah8

                I think that is a fatuous analysis, much like the whole, Iraqis welcoming US Army with rose petals thing.

                Organize themselves, eh? With who? For what?

                Buyer’s remorse as economy stumbles? Leninist “The Worst The Better” as far as I’m concerned. Look at the timeline. Four years of this ambiguity. Yes, you’d basically crash the economy before you even get the rewards.

                You seek to blame Corbyn at every turn, even for the paralysis you played your own tiny role in perpetuating. Think you can keep it up, buddy?

                • MilitantlyAardvark

                  I see that shah8 is still ignorant of both logic and British political reality. It’s certainly amusing to watch the various flailings he’s come up with on the subject.

                  I wonder whether he has a future as the head of Unwitting Entertainment: “Epic Clownfails R Us”.

                • shah8

                  Oh my MilitantlyAardvark, you sure love blasting people, hey?

              • Manny Kant

                There seems to be some consensus that invoking Article 50 requires parliamentary action. The PM can’t just do it using prerogative powers.

                With the 4 Sinn Fein MPs refusing to serve, you need 324/650 for a majority. Opposition parties opposed to Brexit (Labour, Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Green) have 298 seats. If they were to all hold firm in refusing to vote for Article 50, you’d need 26 Tory defectors to bring down the government and presumably force a new election. You’d presumably need more than that, since at least some Labour MPs are pro-Brexit, but even so that’s not out of reach.

                Then you could, in theory have a new general election run on the question of whether Brexit should really happen. The Tories would probably win, get a Brexit mandate, and do it, but then it’s very clear that this is the Tories’ baby. Assuming that you really believe Brexit will be a disaster, for the medium to long term Labour should want to be on the other side of it, right?

                And maybe, by the time you get your new election, public opinion has turned sufficiently against Brexit that the Tories get turned out, and you could have a Labour/Liberal Dem coalition (with SNP providing confidence and supply) and hold a new Brexit referendum to undo the other one. I think that’s less likely, but I can’t see how either result isn’t better for Labour in the long run than acquiescing in invoking Article 50.

                Unless you think that Brexit won’t actually be a disaster…

                • MilitantlyAardvark

                  I don’t think the PM has to get parliament’s assent to invoke article 50. A wise PM might want to do so, just for political cover if things go even more badly wrong.

                • LosGatosCA

                  I don’t think the PM has to get parliament’s assent to invoke article 50. A wise PM might want to do so, just for political cover if things go even more badly wrong.

                  Of course, wise left the room when they decided to have the “refeyrendum.”

                  It’s pretty easy to see everything they did wrong and very specifically not outlining the post-election processes.

                  Of course at this point a vote in Parliament will be pretty amazing. It’s not unlike the 2002 AUMF vote here. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t for a lot of the Labour MPs.

                • Hogan

                  If they were to all hold firm in refusing to vote for Article 50

                  Oh Jeremy, is this a three-line whip I see before me?

                • Manny Kant

                  My understanding is that invoking Article 50 would be to effectively repeal the European Communities Act 1972, which would require parliamentary approval.

        • So, I offer one positive spin on Corbyn and because you don’t like it I’m still a crazed Corbyn hater.

          I guess I don’t no why you find this a useful or persuasive argument.

  • Yankee

    One apparent difference between American and UK elections: us, the right always thinks it can’t lose; them, the right thought it couldn’t win.

  • shah8

    I’ve grown past contempt and anger at the Anti-Corbynites, and have started to see humor in the situation. It is better to laugh at the deluded fools, even when you pity them for the situation of those of UK residence…

    The world only owes you the leaders that you put in charge, yourselves, with your own strength of wit, intelligence, gregariousness, compassion, and judgment. Throwing the rattle out of the crib in a hissy fit that the “wrong person” got the job (through the rules and has the backing of the folks with the ultimate authority, natch), regardless of the truth of his or her actual qualifications, is unbecoming, and not adult behavior. I know, because as I’ve said before, I’ve seen this shit in football forums. But the stakes are higher than a damned game, and no–there won’t be a culture of whiteness that protects you from how people will judge you in the future.

    • SIS1

      This group had ten months to try to figure out WHY Corbyn was made the leader – why they were repudiated so openly by the membership when the membership chose to, overwhelmingly, put someone in power they didn’t want. They could have spent that time trying to figure out how to replace him correctly, could have spent their time trying to in the background win support from the very membership whose support they would need to gain leadership. And its clear they haven’t done any of those things. They have been waiting, thinking that Corbyn will eventually screw up, and everyone will see what they see, and then without them doing anything, Corbyn would be driven from power. And then, in a blind stupid panic last week, thinking that instead of having years to plan, they would only have weeks, they pull this stupid sh*t, and now they blame Corbyn for not just laying down and taking it….

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-36676018

        Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been accused by the Chief Rabbi of making “offensive” comments at the launch of a Labour party probe into anti-Semitism.
        Rather than rebuilding trust with the Jewish community, Mr Corbyn caused “greater concern”, Ephraim Mirvis said.

        ….

        However, former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks added his voice to the complaint that Mr Corbyn appeared to compare the state of Israel to so-called Islamic State (IS), calling it “demonisation of the highest order, an outrage and unacceptable”.
        The comments showed “how deep the sickness is in parts of the left of British politics today”, he said in a statement.
        He said IS was “a terrorist entity whose barbarities have been condemned by all those who value our common humanity. In the current political climate, when hate crimes are rising and political rhetoric is increasingly divisive, this is all the more shocking.”

        Only Jeremy Corbyn could manage to fuck up Labour’s big anti-Semitism event so completely. At this point, Labour’s office cat would be a more convincing leader.

        • Manny Kant

          I believe the official Corbynite position is “He wasn’t really comparing ISIS to Israel, because we don’t understand how analogies work, and also Israel really is just as bad as ISIS, so it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to say.”

          • SIS1

            As someone else pointed out, if you say:

            A leg is to a chair as a wheel is to a car, are you comparing the leg and the wheel, or the chair to the car?

            • Warren Terra

              uh huh. If I say: A foot is to your mother as a cloven hoof is to Satan – you’re not going to be offended?

              (also: he was directly equating Israel’s actions – all of Israel’s actions, not particular offenses – with the crimes of Daesh)

              • SIS1

                uh huh. If I say: A foot is to your mother as a cloven hoof is to Satan – you’re not going to be offended?

                Except Corbyn did no such thing, so if people like you want to feel offended, there is nothing anyone can do.

                • Warren Terra

                  He really, really did. He said not all Jews support “the actions of Israel”, just like not all Muslims are responsible for the actions of “self-styled Islamic states”. That’s closer than my mother/Satan analogy, which consisted of putting them insultingly in the same sentence without – as Corbyn explicitly did – implying they’re essentially as bad as each other.

                • Manny Kant

                  Right, Warren. The idea that he didn’t make the comparison is totally ridiculous. He was obviously doing so.

                  When do Corbyn supporters move to the “There’s nothing wrong with comparing Israel and the Islamic State” part of the argument? That at least has the virtue of being on the merits, and not premised on pretending that we’re all idiots.

        • SIS1

          People who want to be offended will be offended as they please.

          So, do you have a point, or are you still merely a vehicle for quotes?

  • LosGatosCA

    Fuck Article 50, says I.

    Dial it up to 11 and push it right over the cliff.

    Except for the immediate deadly consequences (big exception there) these politicians make the Bush handling of Iraq almost Nobel worthy.

    That Bruno Ganz / Hitler redub is the best since the iPad reaction.

  • DrS

    Are we sure Gove isn’t angling for Ministry of the Silly Claps?

  • Quite Likely

    “John Smith was acutely aware that the PLP is the part of the Labour Movement that directly represents millions of Labour voters. He knew that any leader lacking the support of Labour MPs would not have the slightest chance of persuading voters to elect a Labour Government.”

    This seems to be the main flaw in Smith’s reasoning. Corbyn has been consistently polling slightly higher than the results Labour got in 2010 and 2015, even with the whole ongoing party civil war going on. Seems pretty clear that the divisions with the parliamentary portion of the party are not enough to significantly reduce the Labour vote, or else it is reducing it from a much higher level than we saw under previous Labour leaders. When you combine that with the fact that Corbyn quite recently won an overwhelming victory in the Labour leadership election, it’s very clear that it’s the bulk of Labour MPs who are out of touch with what their constituents want, not Corbyn. The solution is to get the PLP on the same page as their leadership and constituents, not to say that the current PLP gets a permanent veto on party policy regardless of the preferences of those who voted them into office.

    • Craigo

      Corbyn has been consistently polling slightly higher than the results Labour got in 2010 and 2015, even with the whole ongoing party civil war going on.

      Speaking of flawed reasoning – oppositions almost always poll higher in the middle of a parliament than they do at the end of it. Milliband was ahead by several points a year after taking the reins, and remained there nearly through to election day.

      While Labour is now running several points behind, and they just posted one of the worst opposition results in local elections ever. They’re on track to get destroyed.

      • Oh, are they comparing the election results to mid term polling?

        • Craigo

          Well, even if it were held tomorrow, Labour would be projected to win between 230-240 seats.

          In 2015 they won…232 seats. And I think the polling is outdated and optimistic.

      • Manny Kant

        Right, Corbyn is running significantly behind where Miliband was at this point in his leadership.

    • Corbyn has been consistently polling slightly higher than the results Labour got in 2010 and 2015,

      Could you point to your source for this? Thanks!

  • Craigo

    The silver lining with Boris was that 1) He seemed wary of actually going through with it and 2) he had been backing away from a snap election. Where does May look to go on these two?

    • Manny Kant

      I think she’s said she doesn’t want to call a snap election. She also said “Brexit means Brexit,” but says no hurry to invoke Article 50 until there’s a plan in place, I believe.

      • geoffarnold

        No snap election, and no Article 50 before the end of the year, apparently. I’m not sure whether the “cooling off” or “festering” processes will move faster…

  • Manny Kant

    Well, this is much less bad for the PLP than I’ve been led to believe:

    On another Labour leadership election, I will probably…Vote for Corbyn: 50%Not vote for Corbyn: 47%(via YouGov, Lab members / 27-30/06)— Britain Elects (@britainelects) June 30, 2016

    That’s winnable, I think.

    • SIS1

      Well, for what its worth, YouGov the day of the Referendum before the actual vote said it would be 52-48…for Remain.

      • Manny Kant

        The poll is interesting because I feel like the conventional wisdom up to this point has been “Corbyn will almost certainly win if he’s on the ballot.” The poll shows a close race – Corbyn’s ahead, but only slightly. Depending on how the new members break, and how well the anti-Corbyn candidate makes her (or his) case, this makes it really possible to envision Corbyn losing.

        • SIS1

          “Generic opponent” usually does better against someone than an actual person, as actual persons have records.

          And yes, Corbyn could always lose an election of the members of the party – the point is that an election of the party is how Labour’s rule say someones leadership ends, not meaningless “votes of no confidence” meant to avoid the possibility of such a campaign.

          • Manny Kant

            Yes, it’s true that generic candidate does better, but I think it’s fairly clear that this leadership election, should it occur, will be a referendum on Corbyn. The rebels obviously need someone acceptable to the soft left, though. (Unclear if Eagle fits the bill, given her Iraq war vote – better to get someone untainted by that, if possible)

            Beyond that, obviously there are two ways someone’s leadership can end – through a leadership challenge election or through resignation. For instance, if Corbyn lost a general election, there would be no formal rule saying he had to resign, but it would be expected that he would, and that he would not run again. Similarly, if Corbyn got caught up in some huge scandal, he’d be expected to resign.

            The rebels’ position, supported by the (admittedly biased) opinions of everyone other than Corbyn who has ever held an elected leadership position within the Labour Party, is that, similarly, a leader who loses a vote of no confidence among the members of his own parliamentary party is likewise expected to resign, because even if he wins a new leadership election, he can’t effectively serve as leader when the vast majority of his own MPs won’t work with him.

            The basic position is that, whatever the formal party rules say, a party leader has to have the confidence of his own MPs, at least to the nominal extent that Corbyn had it before the EU vote. If he doesn’t, it’s his responsibility to resign.

            Why should party leadership election rules drawn up within the last five years trump hundreds of years of precedent of how the parliamentary opposition works?

            More importantly, what good does Corbyn accomplish by not resigning? If he runs again and loses, then he’s unnecessarily drawn out a process that could have ended much more quickly and with much less damage to the party. If he runs again and wins, he remains in the same untenable position he’s been in where he’s leader of a parliamentary party that hates him and won’t work with him, and he almost certainly presides over some kind of formal split.

            What is the upside that makes all that worth it?

  • geoffarnold

    For residents of the USA (or those with VPN karma), “Daria” can be streamed on Hulu. I never saw it first time around, but for the last few weeks we’ve been enjoying one episode as a nightcap every evening…

It is main inner container footer text