And then there were three …

by / Wednesday, 13 July 2016 / Published in News

Owen Smith this morning confirmed he will run for the Labour leadership just hours after the party’s ruling body confirmed Jeremy Corbyn automatically has a place on the ballot.

After another madcap 24-hour period for Labour, Smith today vowed to be a “radical and credible” leader and to stave off a split in the party. The ex-shadow Work and Pensions Secretary presents a different proposition to Eagle, in part because of his opposition to the Iraq War, but echoed some of her criticisms of Corbyn who, he said, had suffered a “dramatic collapse of faith and confidence”. Smith and Eagle are now expected to do battle for the right to be the single backbench candidate to take on Corbyn.

The members’ vote closes on Wednesday 21 September with the result announced on Saturday 24 September, according to a leaked timetable, dashing hopes of a swift contest now the Tories have settled their own leadership question.

And, crucially, the party has imposed a freeze date of January 12, meaning members who joined over the last six months are not handed a vote. However they do have the option, it seems, of signing up as registered supporters, although the cost has been hiked from £3 to £25. Today a key Momentum organiser described the new rules as unfair while centrist group Labour First said the NEC had closed “some of the loopholes”.

After all this it seems a long time ago that, yesterday morning, we learnt that yobs had thrown a brick through the window of Eagle’s constituency office.

This moronic behaviour has no place in the party and it is, so far, unclear who carried out the attack. Last night the Wallasey MP condemned some Corbyn supporters for “orchestrating” bullying behaviour while the leader has said he “utterly” condemns any violence of threats. Lets hope the leadership election is conducted in a better tone.

From Labourlist 13th July 2016

16 Responses to “And then there were three …”

  1. I am quite disturbed by the immediate reaction of Angela Eagles to this mindless vandalism. I imagine this sort of event takes place frequently throughout the country. I have never thought you could identify the culprit/s from over 100 miles away.
    I voted for Jeremy as the branch did, I never saw him as electable as PM, but I wanted the party’s direction changing from being Tory light as I believe Tom Watson called them. The establishment PLP never was going to support Jeremy. These Tory lights, the same people congratulating Angela on tv are the same brilliant people who have lost two elections in a row. Angela feels that the party under her will support the working class more, if her friends are anything to go by, she will be as much out of touch with the working class as Blair, Milliband, Balls and the rest of the professional class of politicians are. In a just world more of the cronies would be deselected.

  2. Martin H says : Reply

    It’s a shame that recent members will not be allowed a vote. The six month restriction appears arbitrary and undemocratic. Also, the leisurely timetable will distract our MPs from their duties to oppose the new Prime Minister for too long. I appreciate the NEC’s desire to announce the result on the eve of Conference, but surely it would be better to get everything done and dusted at least three weeks earlier. I find myself envying the ruthless efficiency by which the Tories came up with a new leader in short order!

    Still, if we end up with the best leader at the end of it all, I’m sure we will soon put all this behind us.

  3. Tim says : Reply

    I won’t hold my breath re the tone. It is utterly depressing what has happened to this party. I expect I will have my vote in the upcoming election and then move on once it becomes apparent that the membership has no interest in being elected to govern again. Untold damage to this country by the Conservatives and the story is all about us. Only Labour….

  4. Tom Canty says : Reply

    Although I have always been a labour voter I rejoined the labour party when Jeremy was elected as I believed in his vision of a better way to conduct the political debate and his promise to fight for the less well off in our society. A promise he has kept.
    His record on challenging the government in his short time in charge is second to none. Just when the Tory government was in such disarray after the brexit vote; instead of backing Jeremy and focusing on the one person who was responsible for the UK leaving the EU (Cameron) some of the PLP were more interested in their own self interests and power hungry ambitions.
    Some of you still don’t get it, whilst you have sat in your ivory tower listening to yourselves speaking the only person who was listening to US was Jeremy Corbyn.
    I am totally disappointed that at a time when the whole country needed us to be strong and show that the Tories put self interest above the national good, some of our party done exactly the same.

  5. Catherine says : Reply

    I have to say I am looking around and seeing bullying on all sides. This bullying on all sides needs to stop. Change might be needed but for most of us it is important that change comes about through rational, principled and courteous discussion and actions from all involved.

  6. Michael cross says : Reply

    Seriously how disconnected are these Labour MPs from the voters??? We want JC, end of! No get behind him or join another party. Remember. You are elected to serve the interest of the people, not to serve your own interests.

  7. Ashley Woods says : Reply

    Well I’ve joined the party only to discover I’m now banned from voting. So much for the democratic process. I shall stump up the 25 pounds however there are many that can’t afford that sum, surely those that the labour party are supposed to support.

  8. mark says : Reply

    C’mon the CORBYN.

  9. Tim says : Reply

    They’re not disconnected from me Michael. MP’s serving their own interests in getting this party back into government would meet my interests very nicely thank you.

    The interests of the people… novel idea. Are the interests of the people served best by an unelectable opposition? Inspire me and tell me the JC road to victory at a general election.

    • Tyler says : Reply

      Tim, please do inspire me and tell me the Eagle/Smith road to victory at a general election.

    • Tim,

      The previous party leaders after Harold Wilson have been centralist/right wingers as have their cronies, they have through the years disconnected themselves from the party’s roots, thr Unions and the Working Class. Following your theory that an individual MP is more important than a collective of members we will continue to get professional politicians who have never had a proper job running the Labour Party. We need to get a clear gap between the Toriesand the Labour Party, not confused by tory lights, thus when the Tories overdo themselves as they have done with their austerity programme(supported by the tory lights), the electorate will see that left wing ideas that help working class people are a valid and more attractive alternative.
      I was going to end with a comment you may have thought as midly insulting, but I don’t do that to comrades however mistaken I may think they are.

      Fraternal Greetings,

      Brian

  10. Bob says : Reply

    I hope there’s a legal challenge so the 130000 member’s have the right to vote, you can’t tell people they have the right to vote in an election, then when an election is called telling them that they can’t vote, the anti Corbyn member’s made a lot store in trying to apply the rule’s to keep JC off the ballot paper (they lost) to the retrospectively change the rule on eligibility to vote, and may the best man or woman win.

  11. Sandra says : Reply

    I agree Tim, elected MPs have to listen to millions that voted them in, not just CLP , some of us millions too are LP members. Perhaps they don’t want to be bullied by radical activists with their own agenda but want a viable opposition party that serves everyone’s needs. A United party that can work effectively as an opposition party .
    Get rid of the bullies and those that control by intimidation.

  12. Mike says : Reply

    I have never experienced such a fast moving instability in the Labour Party. I find it inconceivable that the parliamentary Labour MPs have passed a motion of “no confidence” in Jeremy Corbyn. He is the only Labour leader with the right (in my opinion) values. In the mid-seventies I took up the challenges of representing north Hackney plumbers as their elected shop steward. Then I went through the whole learning curve of how best to negotiate on behalf of my members. In those days Hackney was a progressive inner London Borough that treated, in the most part, their DLO (Direct Labour Organisation) with respect and allowed generous time off for stewards and members to hold meetings. Later I became the convenor steward and later still a steward in the officers union of Hackney NALGO (National Association of Local Government Officers). For just two years at the end of eighties beginning of the nineties I was privileged to be elected as the Branch Secretary.

    The inhabitants of the “Westminster bubble” where these MPs exist is a world apart. They are Blairite only interested in prolonging their time with their noses in the gravy train trough –it seems they happily soak up salaries each month with little or no experience of real life. Nothing really new in their mind set. Neil Kinnock is a notable failure. He gave no support to the miners in their brutal one sided fight against Margaret Thatcher who introduced a quasi-police state in the coal fields. This misuse of the police force was disgraceful. Then came Blair “the Warmonger.” Hundreds of thousands of us marched through London on that cold day in 2003 to make our protest against his proposed Iraq war. I got his measure when soon after he became leader he pushed through the scrapping of the Labour Party’s “Clause Four” an action I hotly disputed at my CLP (Constituency Labour Party) meeting. Unfortunately most of the comrades at that meeting thought Blair was a saint! Now the long awaited Chilcot Report Blair has been brought to account. Ed Miliband was a nice enough leader but totally ineffectual as champion of the working class. In hindsight I now do think his brother, would have made a better fist of it, but then again, I realise “hindsight” is twenty-twenty vision.

    So what happens now? I think the mandarins of the Labour Party are so scared of us ordinary party members they tried that to deny Jeremy’s name on the next leadership ballot paper. If he hadn’t been on that ballot paper me and several thousand of us would have torn up our membership tickets. Incidentally, I am also deeply disappointed in the stance being taken by the Daily Mirror, a paper I have bought and read all my life, but is far too critical of the Labour left. I foresee a scenario in which we will once again return Jeremy as Leader of the Party probably with an even bigger majority vote than he won last year. Please God, all those M.Ps who put their name to the “no-confidence” motion on Jeremy are deselected by their constituency parties and we get rid of them for ever. They are not true members of the party that I have supported for the last forty years.

    Yes, I am considered too far left and militant in my attitudes by some people but I am now old enough to admit I don’t care what people think of my politics. Like it or lump it I want Jeremy to fly the red banner high and take out all this Tory/New Labour privatisation. The NHS should never be left in Tory care again and come to that there is a place for nationalisation. This is especially the case for the post office, railways, steel industry and water.

    Mike

  13. Bob McArdle says : Reply

    Certain points spring to mind regarding the last few days.
    Of course Jeremy, as the incumbent leader ( and particularly in the light of his recent mandate from the party members ) and according to the wording of the party rules, had to be on the list regardless of MP nominations.
    Labour MPs, including the likes of Ben Bradshaw and Angela Eagle, have to stop the ridiculous charges that somehow Mr Corbyn is orchestrating or condoning the abuse some Labour MPs are getting via social media. he has said it has to stop. That is all he can do. I am sure he doesn’t know who is doing these things. Similarly regarding the brick through the window of Ms Eagles office. These things happen, unfortunately, but I don’t see he can do anything else to prevent it. These accusations from Mr Bradshaw and Ms Eagle ( and others ) are playing into the tactics of the media, i.e. ignore the real issues of this election. Totally unhelpful to the Labour movement. Totally unhelpful for the country and wider electorate.
    I am not someone who wants Mr Corbyn as leader regardless of anything. I am someone who supports Mr Corbyns policies. I do, however, get the impression that maybe Mr Corbyn is just not up to the job as leader of the Labour Party. There are many occasions during his tenure that i thought he should have been far more voluble than he was. He is nigh on invisible, and i still can’t work out why. I do not believe that all the MPs who gave him a vote of no confidence are plotting against him. I do wonder whether being leader of the party is his forte. I do question whether he is, in laymans terms, a leader and a manager. My concern was highlighted during the EU referendum. As has been claimed by his opponents, Mr Corbyn was nigh on invisible and mute during the campaign which I found very disconcerting. I did see Jeremy on the tv programme The Last Leg ( a comedy chat and sketch show ) in which Jeremy was asked by the presenter, on a scale of one to ten where one is leave and 10 is remain, where he stands on that scale. He replied something along the lines of “Hmm, 7 or maybe 7.5”. This statement did not convince me that Jeremy was fully behind the Remain campaign. It left me confused. It may be that many Labour MPs do not agree with Mr Corbyns policies and are using their claims of Mr Corbyns ineffectiveness as a means to change the current policies of the Labour party. I hope this is not the case, although i suspect it is in many cases.
    I liked Owen Smiths recent statement that he would push for a second EU referendum once exit terms are agreed. This would make sense to me as the referendum was based on lies, deceit and ignorance.
    If Owen Smiths, and for that matter, Angela Eagles policies are basically the same as Jeremys then I would definitely consider voting for one of them. But I, we, need to know their policies. This is what is needed. An election based on policies. Jeremy was elected based upon his policies. If one of the challengers has similar policies i would happily vote for one of them in order to keep the party together.
    Finally, every contender has to stop ignoring the populations concerns over immigration. It is a concern that will not go away. Jeremys way of dealing with immigration, as i understand it, is to improve infrastructure so that immigrants do not become a burden. Of course if the country has 330,000 net immigration every year infrastucture has to be improved. My question to the challengers is; How will you manage the impact of immigration on communities? Burying heads in the sand is not a way to manage immigration.
    To sum up, all contenders need to state their policies clearly, and let the members make their choice based upon that.

  14. Daryl says : Reply

    Interesting times… To contribute my opinion (I’ll hope you’ll have the patience to read it ha!) I’ll start by mentioning I’m a 30 year old man who has lived in the Harold Wood area for the most of my life, I don’t come from a particularly politically-minded family but my general outlook on life has led me to a liberal perspective, and my views tend to broadly align with what would be seen as Labour policies.

    I ‘came of age’ as a voter in Blair’s Britain, and although I had grown up expecting to be a Labour supporter due to my general belief in a socially liberal, egalitarian and tolerant society that allows its citizens to get ahead in life based on their own merits, without their fates being solely pre-determined by circumstances of birth and heritage. However, I found myself, in the 2010 General Election, voting for the Conservative Party.

    Many things had turned me away from the party I had had felt naturally aligned with; the Iraq War and more broadly our general stance of walking hand-in-hand with aggressive American foreign policy, a neo-liberal approach that struck me as watered-down Tory Lite politics, and concerning, unnecessary ‘Nanny-State’ ideas like National ID Cards. It could be argued I suffered from naivety, and was ‘sucked-in’ by David Cameron’s pre-election concept of a ‘Big Society’, but after many long years of a Labour government which seemed to be so distant from its core values, a change seemed prescient and necessary.

    Now, 6 years down the line, that there has been change is indisputable, but those 6 years have left the UK a worse place for the majority of its citizens – with a noticeable change in the quality and independence of our journalism and media, wage freezes, a decrease in tolerance and reasoned discourse, an increase in tabloid, lowest-common-denominator politics (although this seems to be a global phenomenon..!) a disastrously-handled Brexit debacle, horrendous austerity policies, increased uncertainty, hunger, homelessness, and a rise in zero-hour contracts, predatory bailiffs, and rabid nationalism coupled with a general air of fear and misinformation. I have been revulsed and horrified by some Tory policy and ideology, despairing at a government running roughshod over its citizens and siphoning public wealth away to the benefit of private interests.

    Older and (somewhat!) wiser, I have gained a deeper and wider understanding of British and global politics, history, and many of the real and underlying issues at play, but as I have looked around the British political scene nobody seems to offer any suggestions for meaningful change. Wary of New Labour and unconvinced by Liberal Democrat conviction or substance, I wondered who I could in good conscience vote for.

    Call me idealistic, but to me the UK should be leading by example – building a robust, diverse modern economy that doesn’t rely too heavily on its financial services industry, which recent history shows us is so volatile its wobbles can paralyse entire nations. Our values have already led our society to be one of the most tolerant and diverse on earth, and our incredible cultural output is testament to that – we should be seeking to deepen this, not halt it. Unchecked migration is of course folly, but its shameful that in times of global crisis we have done so little to present any meaningful solutions to issues like the European refugee emergency, or even its root causes, to which we continually contribute. The world is on the cusp of huge advances in alternative energy, robotics, medicine, computing, bio-technology etc., and as science races ahead exponentially, society is in danger of being left behind as it scrabbles to make sense of the mess it is so very often in. Misinformation is spread as per the particular bias of a media outlets owner, and as the waters remain muddy, the real issues are often missed.

    We need a shift in our approach to cope with the changes the world is undergoing; as the planets demographics, balances of power, economics, and climate all change, so must our ways of doing things as a society and a government. As society evolves, its approach surely must evolve too. It is clear that austerity politics does not work, and that a economic doctrine that narrows spending power and influence into a concentrated number of hands is damaging for wider society. Policies need to be in place, with a sense of urgency, that move us towards a fairer economy and promote a business philosophy that entrenches responsibility and stability. Why are so many content to advocate and continue neoliberal policies and ideas when its clear that they aren’t working for us, and never have?

    The first voice in mainstream modern politics that I heard touch on any of these issues was the now Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn – who although admittedly unconventional in style, has shown he is unconventional in policy too, with some of the ideals espoused by him and a few others displaying a sensible, rational approach to politics. A gentler type of politics for one, but a holistic approach to building a fairer society – funding for essential services, an alternative approach to quantitive easing, an increase in house building, and a reasonable approach to corporate tax that doesn’t allow corporations to milk our system for the benefit of its shareholders. It fascinates me how often the poorest and most downtrodden in our society are vilified as scroungers, yet wholesale corporate/individual scrounging and abuse of subsidies, tax havens, loopholes and shell companies can rob the nation (and therefore public services like infrastructure or the NHS) in plain sight and come off as ‘clever’ and ‘just playing the system’.

    For the first time, I have felt enfranchised by a political approach as opposed to alienated by the mindless continuation of the status quo – and it strikes me as bizarre that more of the Labour parties MPs aren’t working together, and with their leader to get across a genuine and strong message about a real alternative. I imagine some of them may not even really want a strong alternative.

    We have seen with the recent Brexit vote that the British public is prepared to vote against the status quo and for change – it indicated a real backlash against the current political system and way of doing things. Unfortunately it was a period marred by much information – but this only serves to show how important it is to get a clear message out and express solid policy. If Jeremy Corbyn is re-elected as leader then surely it is the responsibility of every Labour MP to play their part in this. This all makes the constant narrative of Mr Corbyn being ‘unelectable’ seem a little ideologically loaded. Attempts to keep him off the ballot paper show contempt for the members and the electorate as a whole – the same type of contempt that motivated large parts of country to vote against the Westminster Message just last month. It feels rather bigger than accusations of incompetence. The problems in our society and the wider world are too large and too urgent to be dealt with by lukewarm, diluted policies – we need clear voices and a united party to take on the current government and win a General Election based on a new and fair approach.

    The sentiment that led the British public into voting to leave the EU still exists and can be tapped into – it was an expression of disenchantment, a call for change – a message to the political establishment that all is not well, and the public are not satisfied. It is a mistake to underestimate the electorate, who are generally reasonable people when presented with clear and genuine information and fact. Public patience with mealy-mouthed promises and political game playing has worn very thin.

    The Labour Party membership is at a modern high, and recent events have engaged the public in politics more than ever before. Instead of capitalising on this surge of support and awareness, the party is mired in open rebellion. As a voter I am just one voice amongst millions more individual opinions, but for what that vote is worth the direction of Labour under its current leader has lead me in a path back to a party I had long thought a lost cause. This feeling has only been solidified by the determined resolve he has shown in standing his ground in the face of an extraordinary state of affairs.

    I would suggest that all consider how many other members of the voting public are feeling engaged for the first time in their lives, what potential for change that brings, and how there has never been a more important time to forge a new path. I always find what hasn’t been done before tends to seem impossible at first!

Leave a Reply

TOP