Posts Tagged ‘St Helens North’

Kay Dickinson on the Exclusion of Grassroots Labour Members in West Ham

July 30, 2016

In my last article, I discussed a piece put up earlier today by Mike, reporting that a fifth of the constituency Labour parties that had nominated Owen Smith for leader, had done so in locked meetings from which ordinary, grassroots members were excluded. This was done in Blaenau Gwent, where the sitting MP was a director of Progress, the New Labour faction within the Labour party. It was done in Chuka Umunna’s party in Streatham, and in St. Helen’s North by Conor McGinn, who then span a complete fiction about being threatened by grassroots members when a group of women discovered how he’d misled them.

Kay Dickinson, one of Mike’s readers, posted this comment to Mike’s piece, describing how the same dirty tricks had been done to the members of the Labour party in West Ham. He wrote

Exactly the same happened in West Ham – 57 delegates decided the nomination for a CLP with well over 500 members and apparently the members are fuming – the result was 30-27 for Smith. The same almost happened in Morecambe too – we had an opportunity to speak on behalf of either candidate and not one person spoke for Smith – yet only 8 people in the whole CLP were allowed to vote and the nomination only went JCs way cos one delegate didn’t express a second preference. I’m going to be proposing that delegates are fine for day to day decisions but that there has to be an option for the members to ask for a full members vote for issues they deem important enough. I’d encourage others to do the same – maybe voxpolitical can help make it a national campaign?

See the article at http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/07/30/anti-corbyn-stitch-up-in-labour-leader-nomination-process-is-another-attack-on-democracy/ and scroll down. Mr Dickinson’s is the first comment.

As a Labour supporter, I fully back Mr Dickinson’s proposal. In questions like this, the ordinary members should be allowed to vote. Anything else is undemocratic. As for the Blairites, while they may be congratulating themselves in having succeeded in checking some of the overwhelming support for Corbyn, they are in fact storing up massive resentment, a resentment that will be expressed sooner or later. And their antics are doing far more than anything Jeremy Corbyn himself is advocating to discredit Labour as a political party. New Labour has shown itself to be deeply anti-democratic, willing to use lies and horrendous personal smears against its opponents and the ordinary people in its grassroots organisation. Part of the reason Broon lost the 2010 election was because he was despised for apparently looking down on ordinary members of the electorate. And even before then, New Labour had a reputation for spin and ‘negative briefing’, the euphemism given to the attacks on party members and officials, who didn’t toe the line laid down by the Dear Leader Blair.

The Blairites desperately need to clean up their act. They should fully embrace democracy and the wishes of their grassroots members, and make due apology to those they have lied to and about. if they cannot do this, they should leave.

New Labour Sets Up Delegate-Only Meetings to Exclude Corbyn Supporters from Nominations

July 30, 2016

Mike today has posted up another piece about the anti-democratic dirty tricks pursued by the Blairites to stop Labour party members voting for Jeremy Corbyn, according to an article in the Evening Standard. Mike reported yesterday how Conor McGinn, the Labour MP for St. Helen’s North, had misdirected Corbyn supporters to Century House for a meeting over a vote of confidence in Jeremy Corbyn. McGinn and at least six of his cronies held the real meeting behind closed doors over in the Town Hall. When a group of women, who had come to support Corbyn and been misled, tackled him about it, McGinn reported them to the police and then wrote a completely misleading account of the incident for Politics Home, claiming to have been threatened and intimidated by them.

This process has been repeated in Blaenau Gwent, where Labour party members were prevented from attending a meeting to nominate, who they wanted as leader of the Labour party. The CLP instead chose Smiffy. It is not remotely coincidental that the local Labour MP is a director of Progress, the Blairite faction in the Labour party.

Now it also appears to have been done in Chuka Umunna’s local party in Streatham. The party’s grassroots members were locked out of the meeting, and the nomination was made by the party’s general committee, which chose Smudger. A party spokesman told the Standard that they had to do it like that, as the party’s membership was too large for everyone to be notified at such a short notice.

Mike points out that this is rubbish. They could have used email. If the problem was that the membership was too large to fit in the usual premises, then they could have done what Jeremy Corbyn does, and booked larger premises. Mike speculates that the people, who’ve arranged such anti-democratic tricks, don’t realise the amount of ill-will they’re creating for themselves, ill-will that will be expressed later on. Or they simply don’t care, as they’re trying to create a literal party within a party with Labour.

Mike concludes his article with the following recommendation

In the meantime, anyone who feels mistreated by this attempt to sidestep democracy is entitled to express their displeasure to the NEC – perhaps in the form of a multiple-signature letter or petition; perhaps with a motion of no confidence in the nomination decision and the process by which it was made.

See http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/07/30/anti-corbyn-stitch-up-in-labour-leader-nomination-process-is-another-attack-on-democracy/

I’m not surprised that Chuka Umunna’s CLP in Streatham have tried this trick. Umunna is a Blairite through and through. A little while ago, when it seemed the party was going a little too far to the left for his liking, he warned that if it continued to do so, he and other ‘aspiring’ Blacks and Asians would leave the Labour party. This was part of a general warning by Blairites that a leftward turn by the Labour party would lose them the votes of all the aspirant, upwardly mobile ‘swing voters’ Blair, Broon and Mandelson had cultivated as part of their electoral strategy.

In Umunna’s case, there’s a nasty undercurrent of racial entitlement in this. The Labour party was founded to protect the interests of the working class and poor. At the heart of Socialism is a profound belief in equality, a belief that also motivates Socialists to support the independence movements that arose in the British colonies abroad, and support Blacks and Asians in their campaigns for racial equality at home. But Umunna’s statement suggests he believes that the majority of British people, regardless of colour, should continue to suffer if they are poor or working class, in order to reward Black and Asian swing voters, who are, like their White part counterparts, likely to come from the more affluent sectors of the population. It’s a nasty, racist attitude, though I doubt Umunna sees it as such. He probably sees it as supporting the rights of Blacks and Asians to join the affluent White groups, a demand for equality, even if it means the further impoverishment of everyone poorer than them.

It’s also particularly toxic politically in the present climate post-Brexit. Brexit has led to a massive increase in racism and racist incidents across Britain. Many racists believe that the vote to leave the EU has given them tacit permission to express publicly their private racial hatred. Dissatisfaction and frustration by the White working class was one of the fundamental causes of the Brexit vote. By pursuing the votes of affluent ‘swing voters’, Blair, Brown and Mandelson left very many members of the working class feeling left behind, as conditions for the working class generally worsened. Tory papers, such as the Scum and the Heil have consistently attacked affirmative action campaigns to improve opportunities for Blacks and Asians, and immigration, as discrimination against the White British. Umunna’s comment could easily be seen by disaffected Whites as confirming their belief that New Labour has no interested in helping the poor or working class, unless they are Black or Asian.

Owen Jones, in his book, Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class, makes the point that despite the abandonment of the working class by New Labour, the working class as a whole isn’t racist, although the Tory press has done its level best to claim that it is. He describes a strike at a large industrial plant against the use of cheap immigrant labour. Yet while the Tory press claimed that this was purely a racist attack on the employment of migrant workers, the trade union that called the strike did so partly because it was concerned about the exploitation of the migrant labourers, who did not share the same working conditions as the British fellows, and were forbidden to join a union.

The demands by Umunna and his White counterparts that the Labour party should continue to focus on getting the votes of the middle class, and promoting the ambitions of the aspirant few against the impoverished many, should be strongly rejected. Mike himself has quoted surveys from Labour supporters that show that social aspiration rarely, if at all, figures as one of their concerns. Furthermore, the neoliberal policies Umunna and the rest of the Blairites have embraced, have actually destroyed social mobility.

If Umunna and the rest of them are serious about restoring social mobility, and enabling Blacks and Asians, as well as Whites, to rise higher, then they need to go back to the old Social Democratic consensus. The architect of this strand of Labour ideology, Tony Crosland, argued that it was in the interests of business to support the redistribution of wealth through the welfare state, as this allowed the workers to buy more of their products, and so stimulated both production and profitability. And he also argued that there was no need for more radical forms of industrial democracy, such as works councils and worker directors, if trade unions had an active role in negotiating with management, and workers had good chances of promotion.

If New Labour returns to this policy, then it will both bring prosperity back to working people, regardless of their colour, and get more Blacks and Asians into the middle classes. It isn’t social democrats like Corbyn blocking the social advancement of Blacks and Asians – or anyone else, for that matter. It’s neoliberals concerned to hold on to the status and privileges of the rich at the expense of the poor, no matter what colour they are.

More Lies from the Blairites: The Truth about Conor McGinn’s Claim He Was Attack by Female Thugs

July 30, 2016

On Wednesday, Mike put up another piece from The Canary, a pro-Corbyn blog, which exploded another lie from the Blairites about how they were being attacked and victimised by Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters. McGinn, the Labour MP for St. Helen’s North, had reported several women to the police, claiming that they had ransacked his office and threatened him to the extent that he was forced to approach the police for protection. He also published a version of the incident on the Politics Home page.

The reality of the incident, from the women McGinn accused, is very different. They were accused of threatening the MP because they caught him in appalling deceit, and dared to challenge him about it. And far from them threatening him, it would appear from their account that it was they who felt threatened and intimidated.

As they ladies themselves and witnesses tell it, they had turned up on the 7th of July at Century House to attend a meeting of the Constituency party in St. Helens, which they had been told was going to be about a vote of confidence in the Labour leader. They came independently, and none of them knew each other. They were directed up to the appropriate room, which was locked. When they knocked, all the lights went out. They knocked again, but there was no response, and so they went down and asked security. They couldn’t give them an answer either, so the women left the building.

They went over to the Town Hall, and tried that too. It was also locked. After waiting an hour, they saw McGinn and a group of men leaving the building, laughing. Two of the women went over to challenge him about it. McGinn was with six other men, who were extremely patronising.

See Mike’s article at http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/07/27/the-embarrassing-truth-about-mps-claim-he-was-attacked-by-corbyn-supporters/

From this, it would appear that McGinn is another Blairite, who started telling porkie pies to disguise the fact that he was caught lying about the location of the meeting, which was held behind closed doors, in order to get the result he wanted. The remnants of New Labour in Progress, Saving Labour and the rest have shown themselves to be consistently deceitful, using lies, PR stunts and smears against their left-wing opponents. McGinn has shown himself in this as more than willing to use the same tactics. Rather than showing Jeremy Corbyn as unelectable and unfit for government, McGinn, Angela Eagle, Owen Smith and the rest have shown themselves to be completely unsuited for government office. They lie to the British public to smear Corbyn, and they will lie to the British public if elected to government to protect the corporate interests they serve. They should reconsider their place in the Labour party, and resign if they cannot serve their leader or the vast majority of the party’s members.