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Monday, 11 July 2016

The commissars are back

Len McCluskey said rivals to Jeremy Corbyn were unlikely to win union support.
Source; Guardian Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

Perhaps they have forgotten but Marx is dead, Thatcher is dead. 

Severely weakened by Margaret Thatcher, the power of the Trades Unions is not what it used to be but the current difficulties being experienced by the Labour Party, driven by Momentum, have provided the opportunity for some Union bosses to flex their muscles again, Len McCluskey General Secretary of Unite and General Secretary Mark Serwotka of the Public and Commercial Services Union among them, with Corbyn appearing to be under the control of the unions.

The hard Left is campaigning for people to join the Labour Party simply to vote for a Leader who does not have the confidence of  the majority of Labour MPs to lead them. The hard Left's intervention is reminiscent of  Militant Tendency in their attempted take-over of the Labour party in 1985 before Neil Kinnock made his memorable speech at the Party Conference in Bournemouth. 

Many of the new activists appear to be young idealists who did not vote in the EU Referendum then complained afterwards because they did not like the result, mainly because of a perceived restriction on their movement around Europe, the same generation which tries to stop discussion in our universities. Examples here and here.

I have listened to Jeremy Corbyn. He is a prisoner of Party members who delude themselves into thinking that they represent the electorate. Corbyn may be the clear choice for leader of the Labour Party but MPs are elected by a much broader spectrum than party members. He says that the Opposition should be putting "enormous pressure on the Tory government on inequality, injustice and poverty", sounding remarkably like a pale reflection of what Theresa May has on offer in her leadership speeches.

More importantly, Theresa May is focused on Brexit, as is the electorate, not the petty party politics which continue to obsess the Labour Party. Principles without power are not the stuff of government. Corbyn may represent his party but the wider electorate takes a broader view.

There is no confidence in Corbyn among MPs as their leader so he should stand down to restore confidence in Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition in the interests of the country.

Postscript [19.07.2016]

The Trident vote has come and gone with a thumping majority in favour of renewal. Unlike 140 of his party colleagues the Leader of the Opposition decided to do his own thing and vote against the motion in opposition to Labour Party policy. The wishes of the membership can be fluid apparently.

Given Corbyn's pick and mix approach to politics he could be a modern day Anglican but apparently he has no religion. He says "I go to churches, I go to mosques, I go to temples, I go to synagogues. I find religion very interesting. I find the power of faith very interesting." A little more faith in his fellow MPs would not go amiss instead of pressing the Labour destruct button. Said to be a "nice guy", Jeremy could easily be a New Anglican!


  1. So you tend to think that the Opposition and maybe Government are showing signs of derangement.
    One day I found myself placing the yogurts straight in Waitrose ,when along came one of my employment managers.He stopped and told me that I must learn to tolerate a degree of disorganisation!

  2. These Socialists are all of the same ilk.

    Jeremy Corbyn will not stand down "to restore confidence" and "in the interests of the country" any more than will bully boy ++Bazza to restore confidence and in the interests of the Church in Wales.

    1. Neither man wishes to lose face and risk humiliation.
      ++ Barry will keep going to the end so we may then witness a display of 'bon ami' from good and faithful servants.

    2. It is early days, but Mrs May could also be another Hubris. Underneath the layers of mascara there may some remnant spirituality of her late father. Lets hope so. Although I wont be holding my breath. It seems, that for her, dropping a Trident bomb on a 100,000 people doesn't pose too much of a problem.

  3. When, and if He goes 1662, you would do well to pray that there will be no 'Second Coming' of an Emeritus Archbishop. The Enforcer apologizes for sharing unpleasant thoughts on this blog.

    1. Pope Benedict is still alive and well so I suppose anything is possible.

      Nothing I've seen or heard during the tenure of Darth ++Insidious is worthy of "merit".

      Spare Us, Good Lord.

  4. I have recently rejoined the LP after a quarter of a century. I'm not a young idealist but a retired lecturer (Ph.D. at 51) and before that a senior shop steward in one of Unite's predecessor unions.

    NcCluskey is NOT a "boss". He is the employee of members, and a rather insecure one since he must be re-elected every five years. Curbyn is NOT my slave, but shows a commendable loyalty to ordinary members like me when we are treated with contempt by the over-entitled members of the PLP, many of whom have risen without trace from "special adviser" posts.

    And, by the way, since this is supposed to be a theologically conservative Anglican bloo, let me just add that in half a century as a worshipper in "spiky" churches, the closest I have heard to a pulpit endorsement of a politician was a thoroughly traditional parish priest speaking about the current shadow chancellor, John McDonnell.

    Please, AB, stick to your theological/liturgical knitting, and don't turn your blog into a party political broadcast for the Tories.

    1. Ouch Alan! Just to clarify I use this blog to comment on "politics, society and religion" (see Introduction). My concern is for stable government with a effective Opposition which depends on the electorate as a whole, not the narrow interests of party members, especially Entrists. As for the opinions of some parish priests these days, the less said the better.

  5. That's correct Alan. It needed to be said. There are some swipes at the Tories that will not see the light of day on this blog. However Alan, you, being a socialist, and myself kicked out of the Tory Party, you should know not to separate faith and theology, both are intertwined. Ancient Briton, (the old codger) is correct to include both sides of the coin. Full marks to AB for posting your comment.Give the old fellow a round of applause. Don't you agree?