Couch Potato

My thoughts on TV, Sport, News, Politics and Film

Month: June, 2016

Corbyn must stay, the plotters are the issue

Jeremy Corbyn Takes The Lead In The Labour Leadership Race

5 days on from the referendum, British politics (not to mention the country as a whole) is bedlam. Her Majesty’s Government has descended into infighting over their next leader when they should be focused on trying to tackle the mess that is Brexit: when are we triggering Article 50; is there a way to keep Britain (or at least the parts that want to) in the single market; how do we stop the rising incidents of despicable racism; what does post-Brexit Britain look like; what’s the plan? Do any of the Tories know? Nope. They’re busy trying to work out which of the short straws is longest: Bozo Boris?; Theresa “close the border” May?; Stephen “born on a council estate” Crabb?; Other? It’s certainly a great watch, luckily though we have Her Majesty’s Opposition to hold them to account and actually ask the questions the people need answers to for reassurance that our elected officials can actually steer us through the oblivion that is Brexit, oh wait, no, Labour have decided that this period of national crisis is the perfect opportunity to try and oust the democratically elected leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Right. Ok. Makes sense.

Since Friday, Margaret Hodge (yeah I’d never heard of her either) called a vote of no confidence in Corbyn due to what she saw as his lacklustre campaiging during the EU Referendum, on Saturday night, Shadow Foreign Secretary Hillary Benn was sacked after saying he no longer had confidence in Corbyn’s leadership, this then sparked a wave of (seemingly staged and planned) Shadow Cabinet resignations over the coming days, who all called on him to resign. The vote of confidence was lost by Corbyn by 172 to 40, and again they called on him to resign. Today former Labour leaders, Labour deputy leaders and even the lame duck outgoing PM himself have asked Corbyn to go. The situation as it stands is that Corbyn is still in office backed by: his parliamentary loyalists, McDonnell, Abbott and Thornberry; the majority of the membership and the unions. It is expected that the now former Shadow Secretary of State Angela Eagle will launch a leadership challenge tomorrow.

So let’s look at what the MPs issues are with Corbyn. A number of MPs were unhappy with his campaign to keep Britain in the EU, some going so far as to blame him for the Leave vote. Well while Jeremy is a known Eurosceptic, he rightly backed Remain as he understood Britain in a reformed EU is far better than leaving altogether, I believe this pragmatic view was the right position to campaign on as opposed to the “EU is perfect” line advocated by some further to the right in the Labour party, as it has become clear, large swathes in Labour heartlands had animosity to the EU due to flames stoked about immigration (actually a largely positive force) by UKIP over the last 20 years or so, then the Leave campaign over the last few months, these voters bought into a false narrative concocted over a number of years when Labour was ignoring it’s deprived, disllusioned heartlands. Corbyn is mending those bridges (2/3rds of Labour voters did vote remain) but it’ll take a long time to win back those that haemoraghed to UKIP. Regardless the referendum was not lost because of Corbyn, it was lost because of the Tories (From Thatcher right through to Cameron) and the failings of Blair/Brown Labour government to bring prosperity to its heartlands. Another issue the PLP seem to have with Corbyn is that he can’t win an election as he’s out of touch with the general electorate. Well Labour are currently neck and neck with the Tories in the polls, Jeremy won the Labour leadership with the biggest mandate ever, he’s been winning elections in his constinuency since 1983, he’s won every by-election during his leadership tenure, Labour won back the London mayoralty, and Labour remain the biggest party in the local elections. There is simply no evidence that Corbyn wouldn’t connect with the electorate, but plenty on the contrary. I would hypothesize that given the anti-establishment sentiment that is becoming dominant in this country, as evidenced by UKIP and the Greens rise as well as the referendum result, Corbyn would inspire a swath of voters as a genuine anti-establishment leader of a mainstream party, with policies that would help the most deprived in our society. The people are begging for a genuine alternative to the painful, cruel, heartless, needless austerity of the Tories, Corbyn is this.

It’s clear that this attempt to force Corbyn out, has very little to do with the referendum or his leadership, it is a pre-planned coup by the Blairite bloc of the party who fear the left of the party winning as it would prove their “modernisation” and ideologies to be what they are, outdated and ineffective. The country’s moved on, New Labour should go. What is particularly sickening about the actions of the PLP over the past few days is that it is exactly what is turning people against Westminster politics, Corbyn was democratically elected by over 200,000 ordinary, hard-working people including myself, who are the PLP to remove him, they have no legitimacy, they know no better than us, they are not better than us, they are not smarter than us, if anything they’re stupider if they think Labour is better off without Corbyn, if Corbyn goes they’ll be giving the country to the far right for a generation, seriously, the stakes are that high. The PLP have no right to overrule the will of the people, Labour are the party of the people. If this coup succeeds they will relinquish the right to call themselves that. They will become hypocrites and traitors to the ideology they claim to serve. What they’re doing is selfish, nasty and treacherous, and is exactly the kind of underhand behaviour that makes so many people hate politics, and why so much Labour voters have been turning to the “straight-talkers” of UKIP.

Thankfully, Corbyn, being the great man of the people sees resigning as a betrayal of the membership which he clearly values, he’ll be on the ballot and will undoubtedly beat Eagle in an election. What happens then? There is serious talk of a split if Corbyn wins the election with those that are against Corbyn forming a new party, with Corbyn perhaps then forming a left-wing alliance with the Greens and SNP. Whatever happens, this nation needs a Corbyn-led Labour party in whatever form that has to take. More importantly it needs a Corbyn-led opposition even more, pressuring the weak Tories and preparing to win an iminent general election, instead the PLP may have pushed Britain even further into the abyss. There’s a vacuum of leadership in the time of our greatest need, the one man who could of helped is being backstabbed by his own party. It’s truly shameful. The most worrying thing of all, they think Corbyn and the membership of the Labour party are in the wrong for wanting to follow the rules. We live in a democracy. The problems with politics today is that the Westminster elite are more concerned with what the richest and the media think, rather than the cast-iron democratic will of the people. Look at recent years, the media has been wrong on every election result (Corbyn remember has been attacked by the media more than any other political leader in history and still won the biggest mandate in Labour history), as has Westminster MPs, the people have stopped listening to those that believe themselves betters, those that talk in soundbites but do nothing, those that look great on camera but care only about their own ambition, the people want their voices heard. Labour is the party that needs to listen before it’s too late but the only one listening is Corbyn, but the Westminster cabal led by the smiling Labour assassins have sharpened the knives. I stand with Corbyn.

A Dark Day For Britain

20131243153252734_20“A victory for real people, a victory for ordinary people, a victory for decent people” – Nigel Farage

Britain will be leaving the European Union. That is the will of the people, well 52% of them. I like most Remain supporters, now fear for this country, I fear for what we’ve become, I fear for what we’ve done, I fear for what the future holds. Brexit will cause great pain and suffering in all arenas of British life. The economy will crash, jobs will be lost, the poor will be become poorer, the right wing government will be given more powers to force their ideological cuts on the most vulnerable in society, the undercurrent of racism and xenophobia that has bubbling in certain sections of the UK will bubble over, and of course the UK itself will cease to exist in short this decision is a catastrophe in every way, and I truly believe that this day will be remembered as the beginning of Britain’s darkest period.

Now why would the people of Britain make such a disastrous decision, what could drive them to ignore all informed wisdom, facts and sound argument. The answer to this question is a false narrative could persuade them to plunge Britain into darkness. Now don’t get me wrong I’m no raving Europhile, I, like Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, have many issues with EU particularly it’s neoliberal agenda and treatment of Greece, however the EU is Britain’s biggest trading partner, it makes the country prosperous, it provide jobs, we can move freely around the continent, it protects our human and workers rights, it helps tackle climate change, plus the fact that 27 countries that have spent the majority of their histories invading each other now solve their problems through talks and negotiation is a truly remarkable thing. Frankly without the EU we would struggle in the modern world, as we shall now find out. It’s very cold out there we’ve just burnt our lovely technicolour fleece.

So what was the false narrative that persuaded 17m to say “up yours Delors” for good, was it the lie that the EU is slowly eroding away our sovereignty, or the lie that there are secret plans to form a European super state, nope. Instead the Leave campaign ran a very effective campaign targeted at the white working classes in the most deprived areas, the former industrial heartlands destroyed by Thatcher in the 80s, who were then the biggest victims of the financial crisis and subsequent austerity programme, not forgetting the 12 years of New Labour completely disregarding them altogether. Their disillusionment is understandable, politicians don’t listen to them, they don’t help them, why should they care. The genius of the Brexiters, influenced by Farage and UKIP over the last few years is to convince the disillusioned that all their problems are not the fault of Tory austerity, a banker-fuelled financial crisis and Thatcherism. That actually it’s because Johnny Foreigner has stolen their jobs, their houses, their child’s school places and their parents’ hospital beds. This of course didn’t happen, for one there are no immigrants in rural areas and two, immigrants have an overwhelmingly positive effect on our economy, always have, always will. Leave however demonised these heroes of our economy, and inflamed as much vitriol, racism and xenophobia as they could, they ran a campaign of hate and division, which worked we’ve left. And now the moderates tell us they’ll be more migrants from the Commonwealth except when there were waves of Commonwealth migration in the 60s, 70s and 80s the same demonisation took place “keep Britain white”, “we’re full”, “fuck off to your own country”, my parents were victims of such attitudes so I’m quite passionate about this, my point is, what was one fringe far right views of groups such as the National Front, UKIP and the BNP are now mainstream views of the electorate outside London and Scotland. The Brexiters have not simply made it acceptable to discuss migration, they’ve made it acceptable to scapegoat, and simplify the argument. Britain is becoming a country were ignorance is king. The people chose feeling over fact. That’s dangerous because contrary to what Boris and Gove probably think, this will continue, now the white working class see they can affect change, they’ll keep going after EU migrants they’ll be new targets, Muslims?, black people?, gays?, a touch papers been lit and I’m no longer convinced Progressives on the left can reverse the false narrative that’s been planted in these communities. I’m all for voting against the establishment, I’m all for protest, I’m all for making your voice heard, but all they’ve done is make it worse for themselves, they chose the wrong enemy, they were fooled, they believed the myths and lies, they were narrow minded, and the repercussions are already becoming apparent we have a divided nation, a broken nation, and amongst 48% of us there is a sense of great shame that our countrymen chose this path.

Politically, the PM has gone, we knew it’d happen. I’m no fan of Cameron’s but the uncertainty is only going to get worse if we have no stable government in this period of limbo, there has to be a leader to say this is what happens next, this is what leaving actually means, because let’s not forget, there was no plan, Farage, Gove and Johnson just had a crib sheet of soundbites “Australian style points system”, “we can govern ourselves”, “we’d adopt the Great Britain model”. Then we’re potentially gonna have another election for the new PM (Boris) to have a mandate, I’d vote Corbyn of course but I fear that his message is too late to break through to the disillusioned, the communities of the North needed Labour to address their concerns at the last election, instead Miliband chose to pander to UKIP as well as committing to austerity. A Corbyn government would alleviate their problems, yes but they’ve already been seduced by Farage’s pint and gravy vision of Britain, if there’s an election, I expect more UKIP MPs, a Tory/UKIP coalition and Farage in the cabinet. My optimism’s dried up this is the Britain we live in now, the right wing is king, the left’s too busy infighting. I say Britain, Scotland, NI and London were sensible and all voted Remain. Scotland will go now and rightly so, they got dragged out by England which just isn’t fair, this would of course mean the UK would cease to exist as we know, which like many of the Brexit consequences is a terrifying prospect. Sinn Fein are calling for a unification referendum which could become a flashpoint for a renewal of the Troubles, which thankfully have been non-existent, my generation. Finally Labour, well guess what the PLP are blaming Corbyn surprise, surprise. Blair and Miliband lost Scotland by ignoring them. Blair and Miliband sewed the seeds for the North voting out by letting UKIP slowly grow in the absence of Labour attention. Corbyn’s task is vast but you can’t blame him for long term trends, especially when the facts show only 37% of Labour voters that voted Out, this was a Tory/UKIP Brexit not a Labour one. However the PLP have wanted him Out from day 1 so any excuse. Frankly if he is forced out, I won’t be too fussed, right now I don’t think this country deserves him.

Economically, we’re in big trouble, overnight Sterling dropped to it’s lowest level since 1985, lower than even the 2008 crisis. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney was forced to make a statement to settle the markets but predicted further volatility. I’d hazard a guess than that volatilty will be fairly long term. It’s also inevitable that they’ll be mass job losses due to our ties with the EU there are a number of firms that are based in the UK, specifically because of our access to the common market, without that, they’ll now look into relocating and finally we’ve just walked out on our biggest trading partner, sort of shooting your foot to well, shoot your foot.

This result will usher in a new age for Britain, a dark age, of decline and misery. It’ll be doom and gloom, it’ll be awful, and we’ll look back on this day in history as the most significant since WW2 in British history and most certainly as the greatest mistake this country has made since the days of Empire, the day it changed. And do you know the worst thing, the people that dragged us out did it for the wrong reasons, giving the establishment a bloody nose? No you ensured the establishment (Boris, Gove, Farage) will be setting our agenda for years to come. Meanwhile you shunned the one and only anti-establishment leader. Well done. Enjoy “freedom” you real, ordinary, decent people. You got your country back. Mine meanwhile may be gone forever.