Sadiq Khan not a Signpost

Khan - Going for Gold
Just a few days before the ballot papers are sent out, Labour London Mayor Sadiq Khan has come out for Owen Smith.

Khan presented himself  today as a Corbyn supporter who has reluctantly come to the conclusion  that Owen Smith will be best for the Labour Party.

Fortunately these things are easy to check:  Khan has always been strongly anti-Corbyn.  Yes, he nominated Corbyn for leader along with a lot of other Blairites and Progress members, but admits he did not vote for the person he nominated.

In fact Khan appeared in the March 2016  leaked core list as "Hostile ", the most anti-Corbyn of the 5 categories of Labour MPs.  Khan undoubtedly voted against Corbyn in the secret no confidence vote that began the coup.

Also in the "Hostile"  group are Progress members Caroline Flint, Chuka Umunna, Yvette Cooper and Simon Danczuk.  Even the coup ring leader Hilary Benn only made it as far as the "Core Group Negative", one level below "Hostile".

So it's no surprise that on the eve of the ballot Khan shows his true colours, with a carefully constructed and planned speech.  What is shocking is his blatant misrepresentation of the position he has always held.  How can we ever trust politicians like this?

Paul Mason on the Sound of Blairite Silence

The sound of Blairite silence

Owen Smith has become the willing dupe of the Labour right

No matter how hard you listen it’s impossible to hear the Blairite wing of Labour. They have shut up shop. The Progress website looks like it’s being maintained by interns, while there are no official Progress events being held until the day after the leadership election (Angela Eagle and a venture capitalist, since you ask).
During their attempt to stop Corbyn getting on the ballot paper, the right launched Saving Labour  — there’s no information about where it gets its money, who its officers are, what it’s statues are. It organised a day of street stalls, issued three press releases and went quiet on 28 July.

It’s been superseded by “Labour Tomorrow” — a private company with a reported £250,000 war chest to fight Jeremy Corbyn once he wins. This money will be distributed only to “moderate centre left organisations”. No other other information provided on its website apart from a single blog post by David Blunkett and Cold War union rightwinger Brenda Dean. No explanation of what “centre left” means, again no indication of where the money’s coming from.

The purpose of this Blairite* dumb-show is to foist the entire job of keeping Labour under the control of the neoliberal elite onto the soft left around Owen Smith.

The aim, clearly, is to reduce the ballot to: which face would you like to see at PMQs? Perky, untested, bland, technocratic Owen, or gnarled, unpredictable Jeremy? The massive differences in policy, strategy and class orientation signalled by the emergence of Labour Tomorrow are not to be allowed to surface in the actual election itself.

Thus, Smith’s campaign has been designed as Jeremy Lite. Nearly as left wing as Corbyn, only competent at playing the parliamentary game. Close to Corbyn, but a bit “more patriotic” and less “metropolitan”.
To facilitate the illusion that this is about two left wingers with marginal disagreements, something else had to go quiet: the tabloid media. There has been almost no right-wing criticism of Smith’s faux-left programme in the papers.

Normally, if a Labour figure stood up and, from thin air, plucked a £200bn spending pledge based on a wealth tax, the Sun, the Mail and the Telegraph would have reporters going through his bin-bags.
It’s the same 0ver Smith’s call for a second referendum. The pr0-Brexit tabloids would normally be eviscerating any Labour figure who called, effectively, for people to be made to “vote until they vote the right way”. But they’re silent over this.

Revealingly, the second referendum call is the kind of gestural trick that you can only pull off if you’ve no chance of winning. What if people vote for Brexit again? — Smith has no answer and is never asked. But coping with the actual Brexit process, as actual Leader of the Opposition, is the practical question Corbyn has to deal with now. It involves consultation, juggling the various Labour interest groups: Scotland, the unions, northern MPs etc.

Smith has named no putative shadow cabinet. He has made no attempt to define his future relationship with the Blairites, or the Brown-era veterans such as Yvette Cooper who stood down last Summer. There’s no plan because the Owen campaign does not believe Owen himself would ever be allowed to call the shots. If Corbyn is defeated it will be Peter Mandelson, Brenda Dean and David Blunkett calling the shots. And behind them millionaires like Michael Foster who called Corbyn’s supporters “sturm abteilung”.
This summer of Labour right omertà reached its nadir yesterday when Smith inadvertently blurted out that he wanted Britain to negotiate “round the table” with ISIS.

Corbyn immediately and clearly rejected the idea. If Corbyn had said it though, the right would have screamed blue murder. It was quietly put to bed by Fleet Street, with a retraction. Instead the headlines were about Corbyn failing to recognise a picture of B-list celebrities Ant and Dec, with the New Statesman rushing out an immediate condemnation of Corbyn’s alleged “disrespect for popular culture”.

Smith is part of a whole generation of Labour MPs who sounded left wing, but you could never quite place what was left about them. They have willingly shouldered the task of keeping Labour under the influence of big pharma, big finance and big war. And they are losing.......

Full article here

GMB Labour Leadership Results

Says it all about union democracy nowadays.

GMB have 639,000 members
The GMB official  results were:

Lord Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary.
Note the biased question - not who do you want to lead the Labour Party but who [are the media telling you] is best placed to win a general election and serve as Prime Minister.

In the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours, Sir Paul Kenny was knighted 'for services to trades unions'.

Shame on the GMB bureaucracy.

More on the GMB

Labour NEC Election Results

All six pro-Corbyn supporters won the 6 seats up for election to the Labour Party National Executive:  
BLACK, Ann 100,999 Elected
Eddie Izzard, Lost
SHAWCROFT, Christine 97,510 Elected
WEBBE, Claudia 92,377 Elected
WILLIAMS, Darren 87,003 Elected
WOLFSON, Rhea 85,687 Elected
WILLSMAN, Peter 81,863 Elected
REEVES, Ellie 72,514
IZZARD, Eddie 70,993
BAILEY, Bex 67,205
BAXTER, Johanna 60,367
DHANDA, Parmjit 53,838
AKEHURST, Luke 48,632
WHEELER, Peter 44,062
GALLAGHER, John 22,678
GUL, Amanat 14,693  

Labour: The Way Ahead

A superb article by Paul Mason, ex economics editor of Channel 4 News and Newsnight, and author of 'Postcapitalism — A Guide to Our Future':

Paul Mason
In the war movie The Way Ahead, David Niven is in charge of a platoon of working class conscripts, who skive their way through basic training. In their first real battle they’re forced to launch an attack on the elite Afrika Korps. As they go over the top Niven quips: “This is for the day on the training ground we missed”.

For the Labour left, the last five weeks have seen the same kind of payback. Last year’s victory was too easy: it felt like a bloodless revolution. But they’re never bloodless.

Corbyn won the leadership election in 2015 almost by accident. He wasted months trying to operate a “collegiate” shadow cabinet, half of whom turned out to be leaking and sabotaging everything he did, and preparing to overthrow him. The movement that brought him to power got shunted off into local ward meetings, got bored and demobilised. His own leadership operation was, at times, shambolic.

But the revolt of 170 Labour MPs following the Brexit referendum has now forced the left, unwillingly, to wage the fight that was always coming. With Corbyn assured of a place on the ballot paper, winning again will still be a challenge — but not the main one.

The real challenge is to make this leadership campaign the springboard for winning a general election. That, in turn, demands we spell out an alternative political strategy to the one inherited from Blair, Brown and Ed Miliband.

To do this involves facing the following facts squarely:

  • A hard-core of Labour coup plotters intend to destroy Labour as an effective opposition between now and 2020.
  • Corbyn to become prime minister means Labour will have to win as an insurrection or not at all (For the sake of clarity, this is a metaphor not an actual call for armed insurrection).
  • Labour has suddenly become a mass party. It can become, as Corbyn says, a social movement. But this would be something new in Labour politics and therefore difficult to achieve and hold together.
  • The route to power also involves Labour itself becoming a more formal alliance and, in turn, being prepared to make political alliances across party lines.

Understanding the coup

Day after day, the tactics of the coup plotters have evolved. It began with veteran Blairites, quickly spilled over into a disorientated group of soft-left young MPs and was organised in the background by the Blairite apparatus. The sole aim was to remove Corbyn: lest we forget, Angela Eagle launched her doomed campaign with not a single policy.

Then a pattern of political coercion emerged: create a spurious victim narrative so that the Labour membership, whose democratic decision was being stolen from them, could be portrayed as a bunch of mysogynist thugs.

Then Corbyn’s enemies on the NEC suspended the entire local apparatus of the party and excluded 130,000 recent joiners from the vote. They used millionaire money to attempt to get a court to exclude Corbyn from the ballot. They used the Sun and to encourage non-Labour voters to join the party defeat Corbyn. They dragged Labour’s reputation through the mud of tabloid journalism with slanders, willingly repeated in the broadcast media.....(continued here)