The Entirely Fake Owen Smith 624


Even the mainstream media feel compelled to drop hints that Owen Smith is not what he is being promoted as. The Guardian’s words yesterday were unintentionally revealing;

the former shadow work and pensions secretary plans to pitch himself as the soft-left option

Note “to pitch himself”. For PR professional Smith, political stance is nothing to do with personal belief, it is to do with brand positioning. On Channel 4 News last night, an incredulous Michael Crick pointed out that the “soft left” Smith had previously given interviews supporting PFI and privatisation in the health service. He also strongly supported Blair’s city academies.

As chief lobbyist for Pfizer, Smith actively pushed for privatisation of NHS services. This is not something Pfizer did very openly, and you have to search the evidence carefully. Footnotes often tell you what is really happening, as in this press release in which Owen Smith says of a Pfizer funded “focus group” study:

We believe that choice is a good thing and that patients and healthcare professionals should be at the heart of developing the agenda.

You have to look at the footnotes to see what kind of choice Owen Smith is actually talking about. Note to Editors 3 includes

“The focus groups also explored areas of choice that do not yet exist in the UK – most specifically the use of direct payments and the ability to choose to go directly to a specialist without first having to see the GP.”

Well, at least it is clear – direct payments from the public to doctors replacing current NHS services. Smith was promoting straight privatisation. As Head of Policy and Government Relations for Pfizer, Owen Smith was also directly involved in Pfizer’s funding of Blairite right wing entryist group Progress. Pfizer gave Progress £53,000. Progress has actively pursued the agenda of PFI and privatisation of NHS services.

Owen Smith went to Pfizer from a Labour Party job, while Labour were in government, and there is no doubt that his hiring was an example of the corrupt relationship between New Labour and big business which is why the Blairites are so hated by the public. It is also beyond any argument that if Pfizer had any doubts about Owen Smith’s willingness to promote the Big Pharma and NHS Privatisation agenda, they would never have hired him.

Owen Smith is a strong supporter of Trident and assiduously courts the arms industry. He is a regular at defence industry events.

Perhaps most crucially of all, Owen Smith joined his fellow Red Tories in abstaining on the Tory welfare benefit cuts.

I do not doubt Owen Smith’s expertise in brand positioning. I expect that there are indeed a large number of Labour Party members who might vote for a left wing alternative to Corbyn. But I also suspect that Smith has adopted the PR man’s typical contempt for the public, who are not as stupid as he seems to think. There is no evidence whatsoever that Smith is a left winger. There is every evidence that he is another New Labour unprincipled and immoral careerist, adopting a left wing pose that he thinks will win him votes.

People will notice, Owen. They really are not that stupid.

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624 thoughts on “The Entirely Fake Owen Smith

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  • Clark

    I upgraded to full membership of the Labour Party yesterday. I’m supporting Corbyn.

    Fascinating battle for the Labour party. The insiders’ intention is clearly “anyone but Corbyn”, in direct opposition to the popular democratic support for him.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      You probably won’t be able to vote, unless you have £25 to spare.

      No concessions for unemployed / sick / pension credit etc. That really says it all. You can vote if you can pay for your vote.

      • Anon1

        I think there is a way around it so that you only pay £2. Something to do with Unison but I can’t remember the details.

        #KeepJezSafe

          • ArthurCravan

            I believe, unfortunately, that the NEC has closed that possibility.

            It’s obvious what is going on. Those who will not, under any circumstances, accept or engage meaningfully with a socialist Labour Party will continue to utter pieties about the problem being Corbyn’s leadership where the truth is that they would rather a centre-right government in perpetuity than one offering a coherent, fundamental challenge to neoliberalism. The near certainty that any takeover would result immediately in the entire frontbench being purged of socialists and a rush from the backbenches as all those who refused to work with Corbyn leap over each other to claim the shadow cabinet positions their sense of entitlement tells them should be theirs by right.

            But more than that, I am sure there are some among them who foresee Jeremy winning the contest. The question is then about the margin of victory – and that is why they have moved to disenfranchise so many voters despite the fact that last week they were all talking up the myth that those joining were doing so, post-referendum, to “Save Labour”. Their actions now reveal the duplicity of those claims and merely underline the bad faith in which the coup organisers have acted since last September.

            What they intend to do, I think, is gerrymander the election so that if Corbyn does not win handily, he wins with a reduced margin of victory. They can then utter more sanctimonious shit about how the membership is deserting him, how his mandate is fatally weakened, and in the mean time fluff some new challenger to take him on in yet another leadership contest triggered by whatever event they see on the horizon as a suitable pre-text.

            It is basically a race against time. Jeremy and those who want to see a democratic, socialist, member and union-driven party have to force through as many reforms as possible – the autumn conference is important here, and members must make sure they vote in elections for the NEC and other vital committees. They must, at conference, make changes to the policy-making of the party, to its structure and plans for the future. They must, so to speak, retroactively build foundations for the revolution that took place to wonderfully and unexpectedly last year, because you can be sure that there are major figures in the party who are already warming up the wrecking ball to demolish any and all changes made under Corbyn’s leadership in the event they get back the keys to the executive toiler.

        • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)

          £25 is the price of two and a half packets of cigarettes, about eight pints of lager (probably fewer – I am not a beer drinker), a couple of hundred miles of motoring and about three standard price paperbacks.

          Surely not excessive?

          • reallyoldhippy

            What is your income? Considerably more than mine, I should think. And I don’t drink lager, smoke cigarettes and buy paperbacks except from a charity shops. Anyone not recognising the difficulty some of us might have paying £25 lump sum to vote is part of the problem.

    • Celia Fitzgerald

      I know this is a bit off topic but I’m consumed with rage over a letter I received this morning from my Constituency Labour Party:
      Suspension of meetings: our AGM will no longer take place on 21 July.
      View this email in your browser

      Ms Celia Fitzgerald

      Dear Ms Fitzgerald

      We have received instructions from the Scottish Labour Party that all local meetings, except those called explicitly and solely to agree nominations for the upcoming leadership election, are to be suspended until after the leadership election is completed.

      This means that regrettably our AGM scheduled for 21 July will no longer be taking place.

      Full details of the leadership election process should be released shortly. Apologies on behalf of your CLP Executive for this further postponement, which is outwith our control. We will continue to keep you informed on developments.

      Best wishes,

      Duncan Hothersall
      Chair, Edinburgh Southern CLP
      Margaret Graham
      Secretary, Edinburgh Southern CLP

        • Celia Fitzgerald

          They’re afraid of their members. We’re an inconvenience and the fewer there are of us there are the better.

          • Herbie

            Yup.

            They want to run the party through the Westminster media bubble with minimal input from ordinary people up and down the country.

            Just as Blair ran the country.

          • K Crosby

            Why don’t you all go bowling instead, discuss site value rating and other matters of interest…?

        • Paul

          We had a meeting in Wallasey last night.

          It wasn’t a Labour Party meeting. It was a meeting of Labour Party members.

          Almost 80 people at a local branch meeting. My first one for 25 years, but I suspect that usually, 2 men and a dog turn up. The mood of the meeting was overwhelmingly pro-Corbyn, but not exclusively. There was no intimidation, shouoting down, homophobia, bullying. Just people having their say, in a fairly chaired meeting.

          A lot of people who took the opportunity to speak said what I would have said.

          “Hi. My name is _________.

          I used to be a member years ago, but left when Blair/Kinnock/etc…”

          I saw the writing on the wall when they expelled the Liverpool councillors and closed down the youth section (LPYS) I didn’t leave the Labour Party. The Labour Party left me.

          I hope that whatever happens over the coming weeks or months, this influx of people, who’ve been waiting for a crack in the clouds for a generation, stay in. Even if Corbyn is unseated, we can hopefully deselect some of the right wingers that currently make up the majority of the PLP.

        • Daniel

          130k+ members being denied the vote, which explicitly says in the terms and conditions that membership gives voting entitlement rights, will surely be challenged in the courts.

      • Hadrian Speight

        Yes, got the same thing in Bridgwater, Somerset. It is to stop us taking any form of action over the dodgy decision made by the NEC to ask people to join the Labour Party offering them the right to vote in Leadership elections and then taking that right from them after they’ve joined. It’s scandoulous.

      • Alan

        Canary have an article on that:

        http://www.thecanary.co/2016/07/13/shock-announcement-shows-scared-labour-elite-corbyn-tweets-images/

        “Furthermore, many CLPs have expressed their anger and frustration at their own MPs for their attitude and disloyalty towards the Labour leader.

        One such example is Wallasey in the Wirral, leadership contender Angela Eagle’s constituency. Her CLP executive committee met on Monday night to prepare a full meeting of the group on 22 July, where the issue of possible deselection of Eagle as an MP was due to be debated.

        It would appear that Eagle is now “out of the woods”, as the ruling from Labour HQ means that the CLP meeting in Wallasey will now not go ahead. Similarly, Stoke-on-Trent CLP tabled a possible motion against their MP, Tristram Hunt, with others slamming the PLP for their attempts to unseat Corbyn.”

        • John Spencer-Davis

          I hear Theresa May is getting rid of Jeremy Hunt and offering Tristram Hunt his job as Health Secretary instead…

      • Dave Gerrard

        There’s a school of thought that says they’re trying to avoid votes of no confidence in leadership candidates from those candidates’ CLPs.

        Eagle especially.

          • Anon1

            Have you been to one of those Momentum events? Like a show-trial in which you have to profess loyalty to the Leader.

        • Clark

          The push for totalitarian corporatism is in trouble. The more of this the Parliamentary Labour Party attempt, the more anti-democratic they reveal themselves to be. Corbyn clearly has widespread popular support, yet the Blairites’ only excuse for trying to depose him is their claim that he’s “unelectable”.

          • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)

            Anon! – I agree and that is why I’m sure you’re like me in hoping that Mr Corbyn will remain leader and in fact convert the entire party to his political stance. If that happens, the British electorate will be offered a clear choice between centre-right policies and the policies of the far Left. I have no doubt about which set of policies it will choose.

          • Dave Price (Servire Deo Regnare Est)

            Habbakkuk! – I disagree and that is why I’m sure you’re like me in hoping that Mr Corbyn will remain leader and in fact convert the entire party to his political stance. If that happens, the British electorate will be offered a clear choice between centre-right policies and the policies of the far Left. I have no doubt about which set of policies it will choose.

          • lysias

            That’s Newspeak, where neoliberal laissez-faire policies of a kind that most Repyblicans and Tories of a couple of generations ago would have rejected as extreme are now called “center right.”

        • Paul

          New Brighton Branch supported Corbyn 66-11 last night.

          A motion of no confidence in Angela Eagle was also overwhelmingly carried, but by a smaller margin.

          A motion condemning the imposition of a 6 month or £25 ban on voting was carried unanimously. Nobody was happy about this.

      • Nicola Kirton

        This is obviously a tactic of the Blairites, as a result of their fear of facing votes of no confidence against them, because, as we all know, Angela Eagle is already facing a vote of no confidence by her CLP. She is definitely going to be dumped by them.

        Therefore, I would, in the name of democracy and free speech, either ignore that command and turn up and do your business anyway, or just postpone any vote of no confidence which is planned until after the leadership election. So really what the Blairites are doing is actually just postponing the inevitable. Yesterday, as a Labour Party member, who only joined this year because I support Jeremy Corbyn, I tried to register with Unite as a an affiliated Community Member, but because that part of the website crashed, which I assume would be because of the huge amount of people registering so they can vote for Jeremy, I was only able to do this at about 9 pm. Either way, their tactics are becoming more and more extreme, because they are becoming more and more desperate, because everything they do to try and get rid of Jeremy fails. This tactic will also fail and Jeremy will be re-elected. Not only that, but a poll today, contrary to what the Blairites are saying on the TV, Labour are 8 points ahead of the Tories in the opinion polls, so Jeremy is not losing support in the country or anywhere else, only amongst the Blairites, who are yesterday’s news, with yesterday’s opinions, and they will be gone once this is finished.

          • reallyoldhippy

            Brutish politics, more like. Being able to get a Rizla between Smith and Blair does NOT indicate any meaningful difference.

    • Celia Fitzgerald

      If you are a member of an affiliated Trade Union and want to sign up as a Labour supporter and hence get a vote in the leadership election ( and not spend £25 in one go). Here is the link – if you aren’t sure whether your union is affiliated – there’s a list when you are signing up. (If you’re not a member of an affiliated Trade Union, Unite & the genius that is Len McClusky has opened up a £2.00 registered supporters scheme so you can vote for Labour leader – but you’ll still need to sign up as a Labour supporter as well.)
      http://support.labour.org.uk/

      • Nicola Kirton

        I became a Labour Party Member this year because I support Jeremy Corbyn and have registered with Unite as an affiliated Community Member, do I also need to register as a Labour Supporter in order to vote for Jeremy?

        • harrylaw

          Nicola, The way I see it the Labour Party has Labour members and Labour supporters [Affiliated supporters and registered supporters] Affiliated supporters must be members of a Trade union or other affiliated organization, which pays an affiliation fee to the Labour Party on their behalf. Affiliated supporters can vote for the Labour leader. Unlike registered supporters, affiliated supporters will not be required to pay a fee to participate in the leadership elections because their affiliation fees cover this. Contact the Union Unite, I think their scheme is called community supporter and has different rates for whatever your working status is, I believe it is very cheap.

          • harrylaw

            Sorry Nicola the NEC have just decided to bring all new affiliated members into the same category as new members of the Labour Party and will now require to pay 25 pounds to vote.
            Along with the ban on LP meetings, the NEC ‘may’ follow and monitor all members to ensure they do not gather in groups of more than 2. For security reasons, they are sure you understand.

  • Je

    He claims to have been against the invasion of Iraq but that’s inconsistent with what he said in 2006:

    “We are making significant inroads in improving what is happening in Iraq… I thought at the time the tradition of the Labour Party and the tradition of left-wing engagement to remove dictators was a noble, valuable tradition, and one that in South Wales, from the Spanish Civil War onwards, we have recognised and played a part in.”

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/owen-smith-iraq-war-working-2338066

    I’m not sure about your not-that-stupid bit. If they don’t hear about these things people will be taken in… someone they hadn’t heard of before… fill in the gap with assumptions and hopes. I noticed a lot of I-like-him type comments on the Independent yesterday.

    • MD

      So what if he did support Iraq? The public did and so did parliament at the time. How has this fact has any bearing on his ability to lead in 2016 exactly? Your attempt at smearing is shameful. Don’t ever cry about the right wing press trying to smear Corbyn again.

  • James Dohertyj.

    Funnily enough I in my unsubtle way had placed Smith by reading the names of his promoters; Harman and the man who has remained in the shadows since he was sacked, H Benn who really fancies himself as the big hitter of the anti-Corbyn campaign and a leader of the Blairite faction backed by the Blair PR Company. Sorry Mr Smith. You are history?

    • MD

      Smith isn’t a Balrite. Don’t you know anything about the Labour Party? Are you even a member? How long for?

  • RobG

    But, but, Smith is a cheeky chap with a northern accent, he can’t be fake!

    These days the sheer size and deviousness of the propaganda machine is just breathtaking.

    When Theresa May was giving her speech outside No.10 yesterday you could clearly hear a noisy demonstration going on. As far as I’m aware none of the presstitutes commented on this, or mentioned the fact that it was DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) who were demonstrating; this while May was spouting the usual nonsense about Cameron’s great social legacy, and how under her leadership Britain will be a more fairer and inclusive place, etc, etc.

    Surreal is not the word.

    • Rose

      Northern accent Rob? I thought I detected a hint of a Welsh one when I listened to him being interviewed yesterday – though I could be mixing him up with that other bloke Crabbe – it’s difficult to keep up with all these chancers coming out like the ants are from the brickwork of our porch. Yes it was the Pfizer connection that got my nose twitching about this chap. Thanks for nailing him Craig. Hope all is on an even keel with your Mum.

      • RobG

        Maybe I’ve lived in France too long, and am losing my connection with UK accents.

        Talking of which, it’s Bastille Day!

      • Ba'al Zevul

        You’re probably both right. He was born in Morecambe, but schooled at Barry Comprehensive, in Glamorgan. Given his da’s job, he probably had to modify his accent a bit there. Happens to the best of us, ‘appen.

  • Jean williams

    I am saddened that Owen is standing as he is my MP it beggars belief that he has taken the side of the BLAIRITES I am not anything but a democrat and I hope to vote for Jeremy again I am a pensioner and not in good health so I paid the £3.00 to be a supporter I find it unbelievable that Angela Eagle thinks we can all afford £25 it says a lot about the reality of her beliefs and the rhetoric she spouts

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Good digging, Craig. Yet another trajectory from the media to spad to global corp to shadow minister without a single check on his qualifications or aptitude for government. Which, as far as I can see, consist of a notional ability to sell the sizzle rather than the nonexistent sausage.

    A little more background:

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/former-bbc-producer-lined-up-1938806

    Mr Smith was Labour’s candidate in the 2006 Blaenau Gwent by-election, which followed the death of Peter Law, who had famously won the seat as an Independent the year before.

    Mr Law, who had been a long-serving Labour councillor when he became AM for Blaenau Gwent at the first National Assembly election in 1999, left the party when it imposed an all-women shortlist on the constituency Labour Party before the 2005 general election.

    Mr Law defeated the official Labour candidate Maggie Jones by 9,121 votes, but died a year later after developing a brain tumour.

    Ms Jones – a full-time union official – was given a seat in the House of Lords, and Mr Smith was selected as Labour’s candidate for the parliamentary by-election. He was defeated by Dai Davies, who had been Mr Law’s agent and who also stood as an Independent.

    Mr Smith’s father, Professor Dai Smith, who chairs the Arts Council of Wales, has been a close friend of Dr Howells for decades.

    However, walesonline is mistaken when it implies that Amgen, for which Smith was then working as director of corporate affairs, is a British company. It is an American-owned multinational. And in 2012, the year of the article in the US, ” Amgen paid $762 million after pleading guilty to criminal charges of improper promotion and sale of misbranded drugs.”

    • Rose

      Another nice revelation there Baal re Amgen. As all us old farts say, you can tell a lot about a person by the company he keeps.

  • James lake

    Welcome back Craig!
    Hope all is well with you mother and you are keeping well.
    Another great piece on Owen Smith.
    I and others I speak too just can’t understand why these MPs are behaving like this.
    That the NEC is banning meetings. It is making a lot of labour voters angry. There seems to be an assumption that we are all rabid lefties, when many of us are traditional labour voters who have stuck with labour through its ups and downs. The contempt for the membership is really insulting.

  • IanF

    Good to see you back Craig (and to learn your mum is doing well).

    Good timely piece – focusing on the little known Owen Smith and underlining the “revolving door” habits of the typical Blairite Labour MPs like Smith.

    For me, however, there is just one very simple fact that condemns Smith. He resigned as part of the ChickenCoup in the vain hope, along with the others, that JC would crumble and resign. If he had any decency, principle or regard for the democratic mandate JC had – he would have simply challenged Corbyn in line with the Rule Book – not be party to the squalid failed coup attempt.

    Case proven – defendant guilty as charged!

  • Mike Hart

    This looks so much like controlled opposition. Infiltration by neoliberals that lie through their back teeth about everything and cheat and connive to make sure they keep power. I’m convinced that the real problem is that Jeremy is VERY electable and this would be a disaster that the big business paymasters of the likes of Smith are not going to let happen if they can help it. Be vigilant everyone.

    • MJ

      “Jeremy is VERY electable and this would be a disaster that the big business paymasters of the likes of Smith are not going to let happen if they can help it”

      Putting forward more than one candidate to challenge Corbyn doesn’t seem like a very good start. The words ‘foot’, ‘yourself’ and ‘shooting’ spring readily to mind.

    • Salford Lad

      The long, silent, downtrodden, have spoken in the Brexit campaign and achieved a victory against the odds. They are now mobilised to reclaim their Labour Party, which has been emasculated by the Blair /Kinnock imposition of carpet baggers,posing as social democrats under the Nu Labour flag.
      .In reality those 178 MPS who have attempted their coup against Jeremy Corbyn are opportunistic chancers ,attempting to fill their pockets from corporate hand-outs.
      There is a revolution in progress against Nu Labour, we must stand together and reclaim our Labour Party, which is the only protection we have against the destructive, Corporate ,neo-liberal,austerity programme of the Tories.
      We have gained some victories in the past weeks,unexpectedly and against the tide. The Chilcot opinion against Blair, the Brexit referendum and the overthrow of Cameron and his failed Chancellor Osborne.
      We now need to clean house at the Labour Party and de-select those Nu Labour drones who have no belief in social democracy, but in self enrichment and aggrandisement.
      The have exposed themselves in the failed coup against Jeremy Corbyn, all 178 of them.
      The Labour Party is of course in turmoil, but this is an opportunity for the grassroots to reclaim it and make it into a real social democratic Party, which protects all of the people and runs the country and economy for the peoples benefit and not the corporate scavengers.

      • nevermind

        ‘We now need to clean house at the Labour Party and de-select those Nu Labour drones who have no belief in social democracy, ‘

        yes Salford Lad, but lets think before we act, some of those drones are Trident opponents and are left of centre, running with the sheep so to speak. These might decide to come back to the fold after JC wins second time round.
        Momentum must realise that common progressive goals exist on the left spectrum, as well as with Greens Plaid Cymru and to some extend inn the Lib dems.
        But talks between these could progress before they had their vote, indeed this should happen ASAP.

      • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)

        “The long, silent, downtrodden, have spoken in the Brexit campaign and achieved a victory against the odds. They are now mobilised to reclaim their Labour Party,”
        _____________________

        I suspect that quite a few of the long silent downtrodden voted UKIP (a different party, I believe)at the last election.

  • David

    Craig, I have put this on my Facebook page. The graphic is unrelated to the article. This always happens when I post your articles, but on no one else’s. Thus I assume the fault is at your end! Excellent blog and great comments! It all gets more like Game of Thrones by the minute, but considerably less entertaining!

    • Darth

      If there is no image in Craig’s posted article body then Facebook just picks one at random off the rest of the page. Usually it picks the picture of Craig but sometimes it picks David Tennant (from the radio play) or some other picture. If it is picking something not on the page then I haven’t seen that before.

      For twitter we can specify default image and article headline image via “twitter cards” feature. An upgrade to our Facebook feed is planned and we should be able to control the image picked then using Facebook “Open Graph”.

      Thanks for the feedback.

  • Tony M

    I’ve been weeping for the Cameron family, all of whom, the kids too, the British Broadcasting Corp(se) said yesterday, are now homeless.

    Never heard of this Owen Smith, (any relation Owen ‘Lets bomb Syria’ Jones?), nor care to, which highlights the gulf between Scottish politics and the farce that is England-Wales. I expect during the England-Wales EU advanced exit negotiations, that Scottish national politicians will be represented, and play a key part in the negotiations, on the EU side of the table.

    Sorry to burst so many delicate bubbles, but the institutions involved are incurably malign, and need demolition, not a makeover.

    TPTB will never allow or give Jeremy Corbyn 25.4 mm, ever. As PM he’d be completely hamstrung by a hostile establishment, and achieve close to zilch, except identity politics on steroids and harmless tinkering at the edges, the rich will still get richer, the terrorisation and criminalisation, the ghettoisation, impoverishment of the rest will not relent or be rolled back. Who knows how England will react when it finally sinks in that Scotland has been keeping them in gimcrack tat for the last forty years, at great cost and hurt to themselves, but The City stole it all and pissed the lot against a wall, and all that’s left is a nasty stain and a rank smell.

  • Tony M

    For ‘bluff’ Yorkshireman fakes, see Bernard Ingham, Mrs Thatcher’s Alistair Campbell thug.

  • Eric Smiff

    Corbyn is the establishment candidate. He will guarantee a Tory victory as long as he’s leader. Just like Sanders did for Clinton in America. I predict he will stay.

      • bevin

        ” The media are (normally) the only voters that really count…. .”

        This is an interesting theory and one which is an article of faith among Blairites. In fact it is the reverse of the truth: the power of the media is crumbling rapidly, newspapers are dying and so are the old TV networks. At the same time there is a significant increase in the power and reach of media such as this blog.
        The intense vitriol and the volume of the misinformation being pumped out by the media is an indication of their desperation as they see extinction on the horizon.
        It is interesting to contrast the current media campaign with the treatment previous incarnations of the Left have received in the media- the old mask of amused toleration of childish antics has been dropped. Now it is a matter of life and death because if the UK returns to its socialist trajectory it won’t be long before the USA, Europe and much of the world follows.
        And that would cost a lot of people a lot of money: there are those in our society who would sooner that the planet caught fire than that they were required to pay 50 pence in the pound on incomes exceeding a comfortable subsistence.

        • Eric Smiff

          That’s a good point. However there has been a large swing to the right, not left thanks to immigration. In 1970s, left voted against EU partly to prevent industrial decline north of Watford.

          The self identifying working class has gone, replaced with an army of mortgaged individuals with Disneyland degrees causing havoc in the public services from Mid Stafford to Rotherham to Cumbria to Rochdale.

  • Jonathan Matthews

    Here is Owen Smith on the Today programme yesterday saying he opposed the Iraq war at the time and would have voted against it if he’d been in Parliament http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0419q4g

    Compare and contrast that unequivocal response with what Je has already noted Smith was saying back in 2006, i.e. “We are making significant inroads in improving what is happening in Iraq” and “I thought at the time the tradition of the Labour Party and the tradition of left-wing engagement to remove dictators was a noble, valuable tradition.” The reporter also notes, “He [Owen Smith] didn’t know whether he would have voted against the war, as the previous MP Llew Smith did.” http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/owen-smith-iraq-war-working-2338066

    Fake indeed.

  • James

    You could’ve titled the post, ‘The Illusion of Choice’, or that would perhaps be better used for a wider ranging post about Lab/Con if a Blairite steals control of the Labour Party.

  • fedup

    Manifestly a case of yet another political entrepreneur* exploiting the opportunity he has spotted and is moving in to exploit the opportunity that is available.

    As for the rest of the “democracy” brand, well, it is all in the mind of the plebs, and so far the formula has worked. Although the same formula’s application in the US seems to have come unstuck as the spectre of a civil war seems to be on the brew there. Let’s wait and see how that will pan out?

    *mistakenly identified as a political actor/politician.

  • Chris Rogers

    Sad to say it, but with more NEC Rulings impacting everyone who has joined a Trades Union or any other affiliate organisation as of 12th January, all are now barred from the Labour Leadership Election – massive purge also to take place by those who have utilised social media to criticise the Coup Plotters.

    So, thats it folks, its official: RIP the Labour Movement, Destroyed by Thatcher, Blair and the Middle Class – Workers & the Poor not wanted, they are only voting fodder for the fascistic forces now dominating the PLP and NEC.

    • bevin

      Tony Greenstein’s blog is good on what is happening.
      http://azvsas.blogspot.ca/
      The ban on Constituency and local party meetings indicates to me that the Blairites have lost all touch with reality. The NEC cannot have any power to prevent properly constituted local meetings from taking place.

    • RobG

      Chris and bevin, in the unlikely event that Corbyn does get ousted, what do you think his next move will be?

      • Chris Rogers

        RobG,

        With regards the Labour Movement, should Corbyn be beaten in this false election, I’d say its effectively the end. Already I’m of the opinion following further NEC rulings today that I’ll be purged from the Party for being forthright in my views and opinions about the ChickenCoup plotters – although don’t think I’ll get purged from the Co-op Party.

        If mass purges begin, which I’m confident they shall, its then up to the Unions to decide what to do next, particularly the likes of Unite and FBU, which itself had its affiliate status revoked by Wilson as its members voting in the Leadership election is concerned.

        One fact is now obvious, the Labour Movement today stands at approx. 550,000, thats 370,000 larger than under Miliband, of that number I’d say 300,000 are pro-Corbyn, with about 30% of the original 180,000 still being Pro-Corbyn, so we are looking at 350,000 members who are opposed to a Blairite Labour Party, not withstanding the Unions themselves.

        As this juncture in time, given the anti-democratic attack unleashed by the Rightist factions within the Labour Party, the PLP and the NEC, it would seem the anti-democrats now have the upper hand, but its still not clear if Corbyn will lose, given many of his supporters actually joined Labour as full members following his win last year.

        So, and with all the chicanery we have witnessed since Tuesday, should by a miracle Corbyn win, and the NEC elections go to the Left, hope remains, that hope being the the SDP-type Entryists who predominate the Labour Benches actually press the nuclear button and clear off, thus allowing the Labour Movement to redeem itself and grow itself into a democratic socialist movement, that in alliance with other anti-neoliberal groupings, actually has a chance of forming a government, although, and lets be honest, not until 2025 given the wrecking ball game the Rightist forces in the Party are presently playing – suffice to say they have pissed a lot of people off, many of whom will not vote for these buggers come election day whatever happens.

        • RobG

          Chris, in case you missed it I posted a link at 12.16 that gives Labour a 5 point lead in a very recent opinion poll; this despite all the totally unprecedented chicanery that’s been going on. I think it’s safe to say that this opinion poll lead is down to the ‘Corbyn factor’ (just prior to the Brexit vote, Labour and the tories were neck and neck in the polls).

          If Corbyn does get ousted (and I repeat, that’s by no means certain at the moment), and he leaves the doomed red tories to it and starts his own party, would you support it? This isn’t SDP-land: Corbyn has a huge amount of support, not just from the Labour Party members, but also from the country as a whole.

          • Chris Rogers

            RobG,

            First and foremost, I actually have to get into the Labour Party personally before I can even consider leaving it.

            For me at least, I gave up tribalism a long time ago and am quite pragmatic as to which left-of-centre groupings I can belong too, given as in Scotland, we have a greater choice than in England.

            In answer to your question though, Corbyn can have as much personal support as he likes, but the sad fact is that without the backing of the Trades Union movement any new party formation would be doomed, i.e., would suffer a fact similar to Sanders or Occupy Wall Street.

            The best bet we have is for the ‘Rebels’ to move on, that’s essential because when we before to the Labour Party, in reality we are referring to the Labour Movement and I’m very much a member of it, one with strong ecological views as well as socialist principles.

            I think the Rightist/NEC plan is to undermine Corbyn and have him removed regardless of the outcome of this latest Coup, and if they can’t do this soon, well the NEC will move in a leftwards direction, which means the Party moves to the Left – but it’s the purging I now fear about, just remember we have NEC elections as well, which means they may extend the 12th January ban for those elections as well.

            So, its all eyes on the Unions, and if they decide to move, this old bugger will follow, particularly if we can claim back at least the title of the ‘Labour Movement’ and consign the Labour Party to the dustbin of history, for presently it certainly does not represent labour in any form or fashion whatsoever, indeed, it represents the Islington Set, which is anathema to me and many others.

  • Loony

    “Join the Labour Party Join the Hate” T shirts. T shirts which the Daily Telegraph regrets to announce are not on sale.

    All this bullying of Angela Eagle now being transferred to someone called Owen Smith really needs to stop. I have never heard of Smith but Angela Eagle is a working class lesbian whose father was a printer and whose mother was a seamstress. Surely these facts alone are sufficient to validate her credentials.

    Angela bravely voted for war in Iraq – only reactionary Armed Forces policies viciously discriminating against women prevented her from joining up and serving her country on the front line.

    Equally bravely she voted to oppose an inquiry into the Iraq war. Had she been listened to then Tony Blair would never have had his good name besmirched by loud mouthed bigots crying over split milk.

    That Jeremy Corbyn could be mentioned in the same breath as a woman like this beggars belief. Quite simply Corbyn is weak -he has never been in favor of randomly killing large numbers of foreigners. He is not prepared to launch (or participate) in a nuclear war that will destroy the planet – in other words he has no principals. If he did then he would expect other people to die for those principals, and he would not be shy in making such a straightforward demand.

    Politicians today need to be corrupt – look at Hillary Clinton. No-one could be more dishonest and more corrupt and yet she stands on the verge of being crowned POTUS. Corbyn is not corrupt and keeps bleating about something called honesty. Weakness like this will be ruthlessly exploited by Clinton – and rightly so.

    On the contrary Angela Eagle could be much more attractive to Hillary and I have no doubt that the Sun will let everyone know just why this may be the case!!

    • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)

      Nice use of sexual innuendo, Loony. and very different from your usual learned posts.

  • Gulliver

    A few days ago, prior to the NEC meeting, the Guardian asked why people had recently joined the Labour party – http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jul/11/have-you-recently-joined-the-labour-party

    Having reviewed the results of this poll would it be a bit too “conspiracy theorist” of me to think that perhaps the results were not what they were expecting, post #savinglabour, and that the reason all these members are now being prohibited from voting is because many of them would have voted to retain Corbyn?

  • Leonard Young

    Nice piece of detective work Craig. Thank you. And we now have the NEC that has done the following:

    1. Tried to chuck Corbyn out of a meeting while they decided his fate behind his back.
    2. Waited until he left said meeting before banning perfectly legitimate Labour Members from voting by twisting the rules.
    3. Increased the membership fee to £25.
    4. Closed down Unite’s and other Unions’ offers to get around this unlawful manipulation of membership rules.
    5. NEC tries to ban all constituency parties from having meetings until after the election.

    All five of the above represent a vivid illustration of just how far the NEC will go, lawfully or not, to shut down any discourse about Corbyn, limit any new membership that might vote for him, and proceed without the slightest respect for democracy. That is how desperate they are to get rid of Corbyn. Owen Smith is yet another attempt to get the media to lie to the electorate by describing him as “soft-left”.

    Meanwhile we have an NEC member who toured round the studios tearfully claiming bullying and intimidation. If that was actually true then of course it is unacceptable. But it is fair to ask a few questions: She did not actually refer to herself as being personally bullied, but relied on a third party whom she claimed was bullied not directly but merely because the ballot was not secret. She also cited a couple of legal letters sent NOT to her, but to the NEC as an organisation, telling it that proper democratic procedures should be followed, failing which they might take legal action. That cannot possibly be personal bullying. But the media seems to be believing what this woman says without asking her any searching questions. I must emphasise that if there really was intimidation I condemn it, but the evidence is extremely flimsy.

    • RobG

      The propaganda machine that is the media never ask any searching questions, and that is nine tenths of the problem.

      Just look at the horror show that are May’s cabinet appointments: chancellor, foreign secretary, heath secretary, education secretary, etc, etc. Just look at the overt provocation of Russia, the train crash that is the UK economy, the doctors going on strike, the teachers going on strike, etc ,etc. A five-year-old could tear apart the absolutely disastrous tory policies, but the media don’t do it, and instead paint the neo-con agenda in a shining light.

      In this respect, modern-day Britain is really not much different from North Korea.

    • fedup

      Playing the victim card is the game of the “advisors” to the chicken coup plotters et al, hence the ham fisted attempts in portrayal of the events within the the current neolabour party.

      As Peter Oborne has gone on record “our democracy is dead” these events are clearly indicative of the death of democracy that even the party of the “poor”/”socialists” is no longer fit for the purpose of representing the workers, and the masses.

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