Labour Party Conference 2017

Well, this is proving to be interesting. Jeremy Corbyn and his activists have rammed though changes to try to minimize the influence of members of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Because, of course, those people who do the day to day work in parliament as well as have to run as local candidates don’t know anything about what makes an effective leader and potential prime minister.

The only good thing is that these rules can easily be changed in the future. I’m still highly skeptical that Corbyn can actually win an election, but Theresa May’s incompetence seems to have no bounds, so we shall see.

Labour refuses to grow a backbone and stand up to the idiocy of Brexit. Labour needs to stand for something, so why not take a principled position in remaining in the single market?

I’m looking forward to seeing what happens over the next 3 days. Corbyn is the leader now, so he needs to grow into the role. Theresa May is a shockingly incompetent prime minister, but Labour needs to grow into an electable alternative.

I fear Corbyn’s refusal to countenance keeping the Single Market will cost him some votes.

So, I just finished listening to the podcast of BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour which focused. The guests made a very good point that too much of this party conference is being taken up with internal party matters, mainly strengthening the constituent Labour party over the Parliamentary party to try to give more power to the Corbynista cult. There is precious little being said about exactly what policies the Labour party would enact should they be in power. No one knows when the next General Election will be held, I’m thinking it’ll be sooner rather than later, but Labour really should start looking ahead as to what they’ll do in power.

I do know that holograms of Jeremy Corbyn are a bad idea and I can’t believe the party even seriously considered it. I seriously thought this was a satire story given than everyone knows Corbyn adores being a cult hero.

It’s disgusting statements like ‘We won the election’ that infuriate me about these left wing activists. It’s the same bullshit Bernie math from 2016.

No, Labour did not win the 2017 U.K. General Election. Theresa May is still the prime minister, the Tories have the most seats and they formed the government.

Having a noble cause or enthusiastic activists doesn’t help you put policies in power.
The Corbyn flag suggests a cult, not a political party with ideas to solve Brexit, fund the NHS, develop a sane foreign policy, or an economic policy that helps people hurt by a rapidly changing world without implementing Luddite policies that hurt younger workers.

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A viable political party is more than the precious representatives who not only cream off the benefits of power, but expect to be unchecked by those who made sacrifices to put those fools in their privileged positions where they can pontificate and be generally useless *, but the very body of the party as well.

  • Most Labour MPs, even if one confines oneself only to the last 10 years, have been as effectual as a chocolate fire-poker.

The reason that Labour came closer to the Tories at the last election was partly due to Corbyn and partly due to Tory incompetence. The reason they didn’t win overall is wholly down to Corbyn.

The conference seems to be based on the premise that Corbyn actually did win. That seems to be a common misconception. And the thing to do now is cement his position and double-down on an incoherent policy on Brexit that sees the UK not only having it’s cake, eating it, but also having some bacon sandwiches as well and a couple of chips off someone else’s plate. There will be plenty of formal discussion and votes on internal party matters but nothing on Brexit. It remains impossible for a floating voter like me to understand exactly what Labour wants other than it should not harm jobs, trade, freedom of movement, workers rights, the jurisdiction of the European courts or access to the single market. And yet at the same time it fulfills the requirements of the referendum.
I’ve yet to hear how they accomplish that and remain astonished that they think heading into a negotiation willing to accept any deal rather than none is a good tactic.

Sprinkled throughout the labour promises are some things I can get on board with but in general it looks like under a labour government we’d go back to a world of state controlled industries as national policy, increased union control and power with massive public borrowing to fund all the promises they are making. Looks like a harder left power grab to me, the last gasps of hardline socialists. Not appealing to me I’m afraid.

Corbyn didn’t win, but what he did do was to refute conclusively the notion that had been assiduously propagated ever since he became party leader that he was unelectable. Labour under Corbyn took 40% of the vote. British political parties have often been voted into power with less than that - in the quaintly crapulous UK electoral system, much depends on how the vote is distributed nationally, and on how the vote that you didn’t get is distributed between other parties.

So, yeah. Corbyn is clearly capable of attracting votes in numbers that could deliver power to Labour, contrary to what was almost universally asserted for several years. In the circumstances a certain amount of smug triumphalism is only to be expected. Whether he will actually deliver power to Labour remains to be seen, but he can’t be written off as glibly as he was before. The “Corbyn is unelectable” view may once have been the outcome of dispassionate political analysis, but for those who still hold it it looks more and more like there is a large dollop of wishful thinking in the mix.

Most backbench MPs, regardless of party, see their role as more of constituent service than activist politics. They may have a particular issue that’s important to them, but no political party can survive with every member trying to be the party leader.

A couple of things I noted from Corbyn’s Leader speech on Wednesday.

  1. This really is a cult of Corbyn. This is really dangerous. There’s always a chance that this parliament will go the full 5 years. Corbyn is 68, is he really going to hold on and have the stamina over the next 5 years? Also, a lot of the starry eyed millennials who worship him are going to get older. After they’ve spent a few years in the workforce and matured, are they going to be responsive to a hard left message? Corbyn has danced around Brexit, because he knows his party is split between younger Europhile remainers in the cities and the older trade union types who are traditionally eurosceptic.

  2. Corbyn still won’t outrightly condemn the anti Semitic far left. Again, he continues to dance around the issue and this is one issue that there is only one acceptable side.

  3. It is really time for Corbyn and his cult to quit whining about the media. They seriously sound like Donald Trump. Corbyn is this leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, he’s not a backbench gadfly any longer. It is the role of the media to cover him, his past, and his performance as Labour leader. He seems remarkably thin skinned, unable to handle even the mildest criticism, and sees conspiracies against him everywhere. Trump looks like a pathetic child whining about the fake news media and Corbyn needs to learn to ignore the Daily Mail.

Over on this side of the pond we saw just how well a cult leader can hijack the mechanism of a party to create a wave of newbie voter enthusiasm that has no relevance to governing; nor to the party’s traditional interests, platforms and constituencies; nor to the professional politicians forming in the rest of the legislature.

It seems this trick works real well *once *to put a lot of that party’s members in office. But once the cult is done using the party to get elected, what happens next? It’s early days yet over here, but it’s unclear the Republicans haven’t mortgaged most of their future to gain a few extra seats in 2016. I don’t expect the trick to work twice.

With luck Corbyn is simply not up to the task of governing, rather than being actively destructive.
An interesting observation applicable across both sides of the pond: If one or more PMs / Presidents demonstrate that the nation survives adequately despite their fecklessness / incompetence / abject malice, what will that do for the future campaigners? IOW, what if we prove that the head of government really doesn’t matter that much?

This doesn’t really hold water, dalej42. Corbyn’s resilience has been exceptional - he’s had the entire UK print media crawling up his ringpiece for two years solid, even the Guardian hates him. Unprecedented negative and distorted coverage and I’m far from a fan of the man.
He can appear thin-skinned on a personal level, as he’s not the sort of polished political performer who can glide over insults, but it certainly hasn’t harmed his resolve. That this morass of negativity backfired on the media in a spectacular way [13 pages of direct anti-Corbyn coverage in the Daily mail election edition IIRC, a glorious take-dick-out-and-step-on-it editorial decision] is remarkable, and a bit of crowing about it at the party convention isn’t out of line at all.

TV is more important these days and the BBC politics group is conspicuously anti-Tory and anti-Brexit. (Clues: how often does Question Time have a right-wing majority panel? How often does Question Time have a pro-Brexit majority panel?) I was there when James Naughtie, a well-known BBC presenter, proudly stated he was a liberal. No matter how much they despair of Corbyn, they hate the Tories even more.