Beware Bewildered Blairites 147

The Guardian/Observer remains the house journal of the Blairites, and while they have temporarily turned down the volume on the Corbyn hate, it is a good place to assess how the right wing forces in Labour are planning to reassert themselves. And the answer is in part that they are clutching at racism like a drowning man clutching at a straw. Andrew Rawnsley, the epitome of the Blairite journalist who exudes overpaid entitlement, quotes with endorsement Gordon Brown protégé Natascha Engel, defeated Labour ex-MP for NE Derbyshire, who states “what we need to do is reconnect with our white working class voters”.

Now ask yourself, what is the purpose of the word “white” in that sentence?

Tom Watson, in a co-ordinated interview in the same edition also much quoted by Rawnsley, does not use the word white. He employs the euphemism “traditional”. He talks of the need to “give greater reassurance to our traditional working class voters.”

But we know exactly what the Labour right mean when they talk about reassuring the “white working class” or the “traditional working class”. They mean that Labour should mimic UKIP and the Tories and pander to popular anti-immigration racism.

Rawnsley reports:

“Deborah Mattinson, the strategy director of Britain Thinks, was involved in her first Labour campaign in 1987. She can’t be dismissed as a Tory stooge. After conducting extensive focus groups with swing voters in six marginal seats, she reports: “There were as many who voted Labour in spite of Corbyn as did because of Corbyn.”
That chimes with the views of the many Labour MPs who are still Corbyn-sceptics. They are keeping their heads down at the moment for fear of being monstered by Momentum activists and targeted for deselection, but their secret view is that the election result was not proof of a resounding endorsement of Corbynism. “Given that no one thought Labour could possibly win, it was a massive protest vote,” says one of their number.”

Mattinson certainly can be, and ought to be, dismissed as a Tory stooge – Britain Thinks is closely connected to right wing entryist group Progress. But all of this speaks to a determination by the right to continue to argue that only right wing policies can win votes. You have to be against immigration, for Trident, for military action abroad, for privatisation, or you can’t win votes.

The truth is that Corbyn got more votes than New Labour ever did, except once in 1997 – and in 1997 Labour fought on a left wing manifesto (which Blair then betrayed). But the re-assertion of the myth of the unelectability of the left is the only weapon in the Blairite arsenal. All of which hinges on a portrayal of the “traditional working class” as Alf Garnett.

It is worth noting – and is a symptom of the Labour right’s hopeless state – that the immigrant knocking plan is at odds with the Chukka single market plan, which entails freedom of movement. It is also extremely peculiar that the sixty MPs who defied the whip to vote for the single market correlate very closely with the MPs who voted to launch bombing and destruction on Syria. You need a warped mind to reconcile those views.

Rather than being grateful for the very well paid job the Labour Party has landed them, Labour MPs remain convinced it is they who are important and they should have a key role in determining party policy. Years of determined Blairite/Progress activity has given them a firm grip on party machinery. Most of the party’s paid staff are very right wing indeed. Jeremy Corbyn, at the moment. is in a much more powerful position within the party than he was six months ago. But the right will be digging relentlessly to undermine him again, starting now. Corbyn and his supporters need now to show a ruthless streak in purging their party structure of the Blairites, asserting membership control of policy and executive power, and of course introducing compulsory deselection and reselection of MPs. Otherwise, I predict this Corbyn phenomenon will be looked back on as a brief spark of hope, soon snuffed out.

147 thoughts on “Beware Bewildered Blairites

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  • Martinned

    They mean that Labour should mimic UKIP and the Tories and pander to popular anti-immigration racism.

    Indeed. But I’m not sure what’s so Blairite about that. In fact, it’s pretty much what the Corbyn wing has been doing, except by other means. The main plank of the Labour Party’s GE17 campaign was promising voters that they’d stop all those brown people coming in. (Aka “have cake and eat it”.)

    • Janet Marks

      I don’t know where in the Manifesto for GE17 promises that the Labour Party would “stop all those brown people coming in”? Could you please give references?

      • Martinned

        They have a whole chapter on Immigration that starts with: Labour offers fair rules and reasonable management of migration.

        (The “brown” bit is implied.)

        By the way, speaking of the manifesto, if you think that manifesto = campaign, there’s a bigger conversation we need to have.

        • Toilet Paper

          Nonsense. Just because you reject the free movement of labour in Europe does not de facto mean you hate brown people. What a ridiculous argument – Europe’s populace is mostly white. Someone’s been drinking the Graun kool-aid.
          It’s down to the tone of your language. Whilst Corbyn would’ve liked to reduce immigration (most of the country’s population do – get over it), he countered it with short-term economic needs and leaving the reduction of migration as a long-term goal. Since you think the campaign from the “Corbyn wing” was promising a lack of brown people, you’d need to provide evidence or you’d look like you’d spent all day sitting in a liberal-centrist echo chamber.

          • AliB

            TO GIAYNE

            It is possible to enjoy a cosmopolitan culture, and people from all over the world and still wish that in total there were fewer of them coming to the UK. All around me there are hundreds of new houses being built, the roads are becoming congested and yet we are still being told we need to build more houses as our population increases by 500,000 each year. It is too much.

          • Toilet Paper

            Incorrect giyane. Two thirds of the population thinks the current level is too high.


            That’s not to say people hate immigrants – that’s a conclusion that you drew up to try and justify your position. Most people just think that the current level is too much. AliB is correct – there has to be a stop to people like yourself and Martin who jump on anyone who thinks lowering immigration figures is racist. The Left seriously needs to learn this if it wants to win. It doesn’t need anti-immigrant rhetoric a la Farage, but it does need to accept reality. I too enjoy living in cosmopolitan Britain and don’t give a flying monkeys where someone’s from. How strange that you came to that conclusion – you seem to just be confirming the “liberal echo chamber” point I made earlier

        • Chris Rogers


          You have zero knowledge what you are PROPAGANDISING about, so let me clear up a few points about Corbyn & the Left: First & foremost the current Labour party leadership is not opposed to immigration, they are however opposed to shoddy companies importing workers from across the EU to rip them off, pay them hourly rates lower than in Unionised jobs & basically make a mockery of the freedom of movement of EU nations – by the way The UK never joined the Schengen Agreement or actually imposed EU restrictions on migrants, quite the reverse, New Labour & the Tories actively encourage cheap labour so that employers can maximise profit at the expense of our Regions.

          Further, and as someone impacted by these Racist Policies, Labour under Corbyn is committed to reversing 2012 UK Border Agency restrictions on married persons bringing their non-EU/EEA spouse to the UK – these 2012 restrictions not only increased to three years the period married couples could not have access to the public purse, but also added a financial threshold whereby you had to either have three years savings of in excess of £60K to bring your spouse to the UK, or be in full time employment in a job paying above Median income & with sufficient saving to last you through a stint of unemployment, that no clear guidance is given on these savings requirements, many persons get turned down to come to the UK legally.

          Should I go on Martinned, or would you like to withdraw the crass comment you have made?

  • Ishmael

    Similar to this analysis.

    I don’t see some critical forces behind this letting up. …And yes these correlations with the warmongers seems clear, I assume they want contol to extricate themselves from responsibility, accountability. That office is the place to do this I find a disturbing reality of the current system.

  • J Galt

    Watch out for the managed emergence of a new “third force”.

    New Parties from nowhere are all the rage on the continent – why not here?

    Chukka may lead the walkout from Labour but it may take an unknown (like Heidi Allen for instance) to lead the Tory walkout.

    • John Goss

      I think after the ‘gang of four’ split from the Labour Party to form the Social Democratic Party most will have learned their lesson that this is not a good idea. Yes, they got enormous support from the media without concomitant growth, eventually coalescing into the LibDem Party and thus ruining themselves and the old Liberal Party, leaving us, like the US, a two party system.

      One lesson Labour can learn from the hastily-called election earlier this year is how concentrating central party funds and personnel on safe seats instead of marginals they can do much better. Central Office thought that sitting MPs were vulnerable. Sitting MPs thought the same (I got repeated flyers from my MP, Steve McCabe about how close it was going to be). McCabe got in with twice as many votes as the next candidate showing the power of the Corbyn factor. It is up to those of us in the party to change the direction of support to building a real Labour Party again, one of which Keir Hardie would be proud.

      • sentinel

        As you probably remember, John, Labour committing to withdraw from the EEC (forerunner of the EU, for the benefit of young readers) was one of the major reasons the SDP was formed. Now that madness has returned what about the 43% of Labour voters in the 2017 GE that want to prevent Brexit?[1]

        The risk of forming a new centre party is that it splits the anti-Right vote. For example, 1983 GE share of vote (%): Tories, 42.4; Labour, 27.6; SDP/Libs, 25.4. We don’t have PR so under FPTP the Tories won a landslide in terms of HoC seats.[2] But in 2018 a centrist party might attract a lot of pro-EU Tories.

        [2] curiously with exactly the same share of the vote (%) they won at the June 2017 GE!

        • John Goss

          I suspect, sentinel, Paddy Ashdown did not conduct the poll himself as he says in his first sentence. This is disrespectful to those who asked the questions on his behalf. Nevertheless the body of the survey seems believable. In this day and age I cannot see any opposition to a two party system.

          It is the way of our electorate to see things in black and white. This may always have been so. Thinking back as long ago as the Whigs and Tories two-party system when the poor never even got a vote there has never been a real choice of opposition. I may be wrong but I cannot envisage a new party emerging in the foreseeable future.

    • SA

      Chukka was too frightened of the limelight to stand as labour leader. Do you think he has now picked enough courage?

  • Aim Here

    I don’t want to tempt fate, but the way things are looking now, all Corbyn just needs to have the stones to tell those guys to fuck off until he landslides the next election and that’ll be the Blairite theory of power dustbinned for a generation at least.

    • Martinned

      Yes, that could happen. Or the Tories could go into the next general election with a leader who isn’t completely useless at campaigning, and then you’re back to about 55/45 split of the main-party vote.

      • J

        I hope and very much suspect that you’re wrong. Much has silently changed and Craig’s right about cementing some of that change into Labour party structures:

        “Corbyn and his supporters need now to show a ruthless streak in purging their party structure of the Blairites, asserting membership control of policy and executive power, and of course introducing compulsory deselection and reselection of MPs.”

        From here on, I predict that the neo-liberals will find themselves increasingly against the flow.

        • Shatnersrug

          Martinned works in failed Blairite/clintonite logic which follows this line ” let gays get married and the odd state funded education programme and say nothing about our wars for oil and hatred of the poor” it’s classic liberalism delivered with robotic manager speak.

          They have had the left wing press captured for 25 years, however they haven’t updated and now look absolutely ridiculous.

          I would ignore Martinned – he has absolutely nothing to add to the debate except Concern trolling. He suffers from the same problem all centrists suffer from – they don’t realise that when an educated person makes a stupid (and disprovable) comment it’s not the education that rubs off on the comment.

          • J

            Agree with much of that. Labour politicians are well advised to understand that it’s simply not about them. It’s about all of us, including them, but very happily without them if necessary.

      • Republicofscotland


        I think Theresa May got a big fright in the last GE, instead of extending her authority, she and her party were forced into doing a sleazy deal with the DUP.

        I don’t foresee tthe Tories calling a election anytime soon, especially with Corbyn riding high on a wave of popularity at the moment. However if Corbyn is deposed and replaced with a more Tory friendly leader, the Tories may call an election before 2022.

        Incidently Martinned, what’s your opinion on the Netherland’s being found partially guilty of the deaths of hundreds of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrencia, after they were expelled from a Dutch UN peacekeepers base in 1995.

      • Aim Here

        Nah, Martinned. The toothpaste is out of the tube. What happened at the last election isn’t reversible by a change of leadership. There was an irreversible shift in public perception towards Corbyn.

        There’s a known polling bias where up to 6% of the electorate can be persuaded to vote for the winning party in an election, merely by being told they’re ahead in the polls. The Labour vote was suppressed by a relentless campaign by supporters and detractors of the Labour Party that Corbyn was unelectable, and that cost Labour hundreds of thousands of votes, easily, and the election result instantly nuked that idea. I’m sceptical that the effect is as much as 6% myself (I’d have thought 2%), but It’s telling that the first post-election poll showed a jump of a whopping 5% over the actual result; As soon as the voters received the message that he wasn’t completely unelectable they jumped on board the Corbyn train.

        What can the media, or the Tories do now? They’ve already flung the terrorist thing at him, they’ve already decried him as unelectable, they’ve dredged up everything they already could.

        A change in Tory Leadership is going to do precisely nothing. Whoever they put in will be a sitting Prime Minister who was already compared unfavourably to May at the last leadership contest (either one of the 5 dismal losers, or someone who wasn’t worth even putting up as a candidate), and who was unable to do anything at all – or at least nothing that would piss off 7 Tories or 10 DUP members) in their entire term of office. The Tories are sunk, no matter how they rearrange the deckchairs…

      • Sam

        May could well have looked good against another candidate Owen Smith would probably have let her set the agenda as Miliband did and allowed her to tell her Strong and Stable lies, where Corbyn set the agenda and made May fight him on his terms, but the Blairites would have us believe May lost it rather than Corbyn winning it.
        And yes I know he didn’t win the election, just the battle, with a bigger swing than Blair’s landslide, but unfortunately starting from 3 elections of Blair/Brown losses rather than the two of Kinnock gains that Blair started from.

      • giyane

        ” Useless at campaigning.”

        The BBC were trying to persuade us that Mrs May was not a Tory whip. But for many years that is exactly what her job was. A nasty, manipulative, dirt-spilling piece of shit. Her PR team have re-invented her as a dumbed-down vicar’s daughter because they think that false image might appeal to the electorate.
        Truth is she spent many years shafting her own side before she embarked on shafting the electorate.

      • D_Majestic

        Only problem, Martinned, is that they haven’t got one. Not one with half a brain, nor any hope of real ‘Leadership’, as far as I can see.

      • SA

        With a leader ‘who is not completely useless’ like for example Johnson, Gove or Leadsom?

  • Xavi

    In his interview with the Guardian at the weekend, Tom Watson insisted that Labour’s right are now all on board with Corbyn, so Corbyn’s allies should stop their efforts to end the right’s continued dominance of Labour’s controlling NEC. There’s no need for any change, apparently, because the NEC’s agenda is now identical to that of Corbyn’s ..

    He also claimed that ‘traditional’ Labour voters have been lost because they now trust the Tories more on ‘policing and security’. That’s despite Corbyn having loudly condemned the Tories for taking 20,000 police of our streets since 2010 and for burying the report that flags up Saudi funding of jihadi groups in the UK. Tom conspicuously didn’t say what more he thinks Labour should do to garner trust on policing and security. Nor was he asked to by the Guardian. As ever, it was just left for the reader to assume that Tom and the New Labour lot have all the right answers. (Despite New Labour having haemmorhaged millions of traditional working-class voters since the millennium). Unfortunately, they seem as arrogant and ignorant as ever and are leaving no option but deselection and reselection.

    • Shatnersrug

      Watson’s days are number. We now have nigh on a million members who are young and organising. I cannot tell you how inspiring these youngsters are.

      See unlike us older folk, they are completely aware that if their generation doesn’t do something meaningful about global warming, poverty and war, it’s them that will have to deal *directly* with the consequences – they believe the older folk have frittered away time because we didn’t see it having any true effect on our lives. They don’t have that luxury – however they do seem to have a full understanding of the 21 century in a way we don’t. I believe they are naturally equipped with the tools to transform their lives and hopefully ours.

      • Xavi

        Agreed. But it’s not only the very young. Contrary to myth, Corbyn also won majorities among working-age, tax-paying people in their 30s, 40s and 50s. The only age-group among whom the Tories prevailed was the over-59s. (Bizzarely, given their proposed dementia tax and end to triple-locked pensions and winter-fuel payments).

        Hence why Heseltine was moaning after the election that Tory voters are dying at a rate of 2% every year and are not being replaced ..

  • Kempe

    ” in 1997 Labour fought on a left wing manifesto..”

    Not my recollection at all, it was their shift towards the centre ground that made them more electable. The party constitution had already been re-written to neutralise Clause IV and the manifesto promised little change to Tory labour laws, keep Trident, “reinvigorate” PFI and no increases in income tax.

    Interesting to note how little of it they actually achieved but then that’s not uncommon.

    • Shatnersrug

      Yeah it was a mishmash, blair killed claus 4 but we pushed back in other places – of course now it would look extremely left wing compared to the woeful rubbish of the last 10 years. This new manifesto is really quite excellent.

      • MJ

        The minimum wage, windfall tax, restoration of union rights to GCHQ staff and a real commitment to peace in N. Ireland. Seemed quite radical at the time.

  • Eric Davies

    Craig how right you are. I believe and hope that Jeremy and his close colleagues are very well aware of their opposition in the Party at all levels and will be taking action. The constituency Parties must be able to select representatives they are sending to Labour conference by open voting at their selection meetings.

  • J

    This represents the clearest articulation of what’s happening that I’ve seen by a Guardian journalist. Not sure how helpful it is to extend the warfare metaphor, a new way of doing things implies a new language, and demands new and different metaphors. Anyway, Paul Mason:

    Consider the events of the past six weeks a series of unexpected plot twists. Labour starts out polling 25% but then scores 40%. Its manifesto is leaked, raising major questions of competence, but it immediately boosts Corbyn’s popularity. Britain is attacked by terrorists but it is the Tories whose popularity dips. Diane Abbott goes sick – yet her majority rises to 30,000. Sitting Labour candidates campaign on the premise “Corbyn cannot win” yet his presence delivers a 10% boost to their own majorities.

    None of it was supposed to happen. It defies political “common sense”. Gramsci was the first to understand that, for the working class and the left, almost the entire battle is to disrupt and defy this common sense. He understood that it is this accepted common sense – not MI5, special branch and the army generals – that really keeps the elite in power.

  • Sean Nilibud

    Why would any properly thinking person give a toss about the “Chukka plan” ??

    That filthy snake should just confess his sins and join the Tories

  • Leon Crossfield

    Hello. Not completely sure about the automatic correlation between traditional voter and anti immigration. I think that the press did everything to label an anti EU stance as UKIP and intolerant. Personally, I do not agree with the EU structure and voted against. The argument of traditional labour voters is much more sophisticated than you say. They feel abandoned by decades of a Neoliberal system that marginalises year on year. They recognise that the press deceives them. This is why they have voted in this way in my opinion.
    I think that your very pro EU stance is clouding your judgement in this matter. ?

    • MJ

      Agreed. I think the most unpalatable thing for Craig is that the impetus for the UK leaving the EU is pretty much the same as for Scotland leaving the UK. It’s just that the UK as a whole shows a far greater appetite for independence than the Scots.

  • BrianPowell

    We purged Scotland of Blairites but Corbyn is using England to try to destroy the SNP.

    • Ishmael

      By making people in Scotland vote tory?

      Cunning, so the media is on his side.

    • Ishmael

      Many factors. But one has to the SNP contains people just like those in ukip. “True”- (enter racial category here) -man.

      I entertained to possibly of a left movement in the “independence (with Europe)” campaign. But it’s clearly more a racial consciousness “thing” at the heart of things, hence why no practical spelled out vision ordinary people can understand, i.e. what it’s actually going to mean.

      No were all “Scottish” it’ll just be great. Ruled over by “great scotsmen”…My guess is young people don’t dig this actually. I certainly hope they don’t as I found Scotland seemed relatively cosmopolitan.

      Old dreams.

  • Jacomo

    I read this article and there was other nonsense in it – such as the claim that people earning £20k – £30k ish a year had turned against Corbyn.

    Obviously, this nugget was meant to suggest ‘traditional working class jobs’, but they obviously forgot that this income bracket also included large numbers of urban millenials – exactly the group that turned out for Corbyn in such huge numbers.

    It was also New Labour of course that sowed the seeds of discontent in the heartlands – parachuting in approved candidates from HQ to enjoy the local guacamole and patronise the good people of Stoke or wherevers. These Labour seats voted Brexit all the way – yet the MPs in these seats of course blamed Corbyn for failing to persuade their own constituents to vote Remain.

    On a point of principle, I believe that continued membership of the single market should be on the table. It is what we should be striving for. But, generally, the Blairites don’t have a clue what has happened to politics in the past 2 years.

  • Jayne Venables

    Completely in tune re Andrew Rawnsley. Was appalled at his cognitive dissonance after the GE, when he wrote of Corbyn, “Whatever anxieties his MPS continue to harbour about him, if he wants another crack at Number 10, most now think they cannot deny him the opportunity.” Attitude. ‘Overpaid entitlement’ spot on — as if Corbyn hadn’t achieved such success in spite of blairite mps. In the same article he wrote of the ‘revenge’ of the young, somehow morphing their uprising, after years of abandonment, into a dysfunctional response, fuelled by negative impulses. Corbyn inspired the young with hope; he re-enfranchised them. They now feel the weight of their power.

    As for expelling these restless, flailing mps, the party seems to be rising above their undermining attempts, accepting the ‘broad church’ Labour, confident and tolerant. This is Corbyn’s style. Shows, as ever, strength of character and perhaps political nous; Chukka’s disruptive behaviour simply galvanises Corbyn’s supporters and looks pretty appalling to bystanders. It hasn’t impacted the strength of the party. Others contemplating further disruption must reflect on the possibility it casts them in a poor light.

  • Mirian

    As an SNP voter, I’d be over the Moon it if the Corbyn phenomenon were snuffed out. Who wants that anti-immigrant, anti-FoM, ukippy Hard Brexiteer as leader of the “Opposition”? Who needs government when you have an “opposition” like his?

    • Xavi

      I wonder how devoted to freedom of movement the SNP would be if they were confronted with the same electoral realities Labour are, as a party aspiring to govern Britain as a whole. Labour would have lost half their seats in the Midlands, North and Wales had Corbyn not respected the views of millions of tradiitional Labour supporters, who’d made clear they wanted an end to permanent and unlimited mass immigration of cheap labour. Had he adopted the SNP or LibDem position after the referendum, Labour would probably already be finished as a serious electoral force, and there’d be no prospect whatsoever of an end to Tory austerity and misrule..

    • Ishmael

      As someone who voted JC/lab (first ever pp vote) seems SNP are showing the way to decline, not labour.

      This simplisic twisted characterisation id guess is informed by bitterness more than reason. He’s actually offering something to people, spelling out what and how. Maybe it would serve you better to look at whats going on, even learn something. Though myself don’t think encouraging the SNP on indy is a good idea for most of us.

      Im more communist so I defend the socialist ideas of lifting up together on this.

      • JOML

        Ishmael, I watched the clip in the link you provided – the gentleman contradicts himself when he states that ‘no deal’ would be a hard Brexit. He then provides another scenario and states it’s neither hard or soft Brexit because they don’t exist?

        • Ishmael

          Yes think he was illustrating as a binary it doesn’t, WT rules could be said as ‘hard’est of many possible options, But still not two choices.

          Well spotted but not a big issue, the main theme was clear. I think.

  • Loony

    Even the Venezuelan government admit that security forces have killed 80 protesters in the last 3 months, Other concerns include illegitimate detentions and arbitrary raids by the security services. Hyperinflation has resulted in acute shortages of flour, meat, medicines and toilet paper.

    Maybe someone could explain either exactly how Corbyn’s preferred policies differ from the actual policies of Maduro or why, the same policies enacted in the UK would lead to different results from those seen in Venezuela. I am not hopeful of any answers.

    • MJ

      In Venezuela the imposition of strict price controls on food led to greatly reduced food imports and therefore great shortages. Not aware that Corbyn is promoting the same poicy.

    • Xavi

      Corbyn is simply a common-or-garden social democrat of the postwar European variety, whose outlook would not have been seen as outrageous by the Conservative party before the 1980s. It is not that of a radical anti-capitalist. In his own words:
      “Everybody aspires to an affordable home, a secure job, better living standards, reliable healthcare and a decent pension. My generation took those things for granted and so should future generations”.

  • Ishmael

    I think reactions show what Scotland would get under the SNP in an “indy” Scotland, complete subservience to the EU.

    Seems “power” and individual recognition as “nation state” players is the thing. The people are unimportant to a corporate style party looking to go up in the world…

    I think they have lead themselves into a very hierarchical disciplined order for finical success. Money for “Scotland”…And replicating this order for Scotland is what I imagine the’ll do (and expect of others) in a free market fundamentalist kinda state. Sink or swim. Get your spelling just right, where a shirt, tidy yourself up. Make some money.

    Not so far from the Tories really is it?

    Or irvine welsh..

    • Republicofscotland

      “I think reactions show what Scotland would get under the SNP in an “indy” Scotland, complete subservience to the EU.”

      Utter tosh, Scotland would be like the other 27 nations, a independent nation, but part of a trade block.

      The EU did not impose austerity on Scots, and the rUK for that matter. Nor did it impose the bedroom tax, nor did the EU dupe Scots into falling for the watered down Smith Commission, it was Westminster and its subordinate lackeys in Scotland.

      Throw in that we were told the only way to stay in the EU, would be if we voted no to independence, we did, now we’re being dragged out of the EU, whether we like it or not, even though 62% wish to remain.

      The EU did not impose Trident on Scotland either but we got it. Nor did we vote for a Tory government in Scotland, but still as part of this failing union, we must cede powers to Westminster, effectively the SNP are trying to govern, with one hand tied behind there backs.

      Independence will give Scotland a voice in the EU, and afford the Scottish government all levers to govern Scotland. It may have slipped your notice but Scotland has been as part of the UK a member of the EU, laws and all, without great complaint, from either party.

      Tell me Ishmael, apart from Greece which brought about its current financial ruin. Which other EU nations are “completely subservient” in the EU? And why?

      • Ishmael

        “Utter tosh, Scotland would be like the other 27 nations, a independent nation”

        like Greece?

      • Ishmael

        “Greece which brought about its current financial ruin”

        Utter tosh. Many voted against those loans. You make the classic “error” (at best) of conflating people and goverment.

        • Republicofscotland

          On the contrary, it was the people of Greece who to a certain extent, brought about the woes that Greece is currently experiencing.

          A prime example was and probably still is corruption and mass tax evasion at the highest to the lowest levels, for goodness knows, how many decades.

          Throw in that Greece, from articles I’ve read, wasn’t even financially proficent enough to join the EU, and a creative bit of financial chicanery was need, for Greece to get it foot in the EU door.

          • Ishmael

            “On the contrary, it was the people of Greece who to a certain extent”

            To the extent some in government and elsewere are corrupt/criminals, Yes they are classifies as “greeks”.

            To lay the woes of what many Greeks have faced (I followed it, more closely than you it seems) Ones who can’t hep but just absorb the consequences of government choices on themselves (in the system they are forced into) including utter poverty and death, is sickening.

            Your world view is dangerous. Deluded, and deeply immoral. Get out of politics.

          • Republicofscotland

            Id say to that, the IMF should never have loaned Greece the funds, in the first place. The Greek government should’ve been more savvy.

            Especially when the funds were primarily used to bailout financial institutions. I have a certain amount of sympathy for the Greek public, especially now. They exported huge quantities of fruit and veg to Russia, which has now been greatly curtailed due to sanction on Russia.

            The Greeks should in my opinion leave the EU.

            At one time Sparta, a ancient Greek city state used a legendary iron bar currency, well according to Spartan law giver Lycurgus.

            Alternatively the Greek government could come up with canny ways to enforce new taxes. Such as say a urine tax, that Vespasian did in Rome in 74AD, his son Titus complained of the nature of the tax, Suetonius the Roman historian recorded that Vespasian asked his son to smell a gold coin.

            Vespasian then asked his son Titus, does the coin smell? Titus said no, Vespasian said yet it comes from urine. This led to the rise of the saying pecunia non olet (money does not stink).

          • German Girl

            It was countries like Germany or the EU administration who helped Greece to fiddle with their numbers until those numbers matched the EU regulations for joining the EU. I think Goldman Sachs did provide some help, too.

      • Ishmael

        You know better than to think anyone is “independent” in the EU. So why are you saying it? Over and over.

        I suggest it’s because you have a vested interest in not getting into the complex details. That’s for you to understand and others to follow. Like “There no time to get into it here”, I’m an important and busy man.

        I think you’ve illustrated my point well.

      • Loony

        Is it not odd that racism is a universally reviled concept – except when it is applied to Greeks and then it becomes a manifestation of purity of thought and action.

        Take a look at Spain and Italy and ask how the EU is working out for the citizens of those countries. Take a look at how Germany has created 50% youth unemployment in Spain and then tells the youth of Spain that there are no jobs for them in Germany as Germans prefer large numbers of migrants with unknown qualifications and unknown skills from unknown origins.

        Take a look at how Germany has launched a financial war against Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic because they refuse to adopt German mandated immigration policies. Consider that the Czech Republic is taking measures to arm their citizens and ask why this might be.

        Take a look at what happened in Elk and ask whether you agree with these actions. Do you want Scotland to exhibit the same behaviors or is this kind of thing repulsive to you. If it is the latter then how can you possibly argue in favor of union with such people.

        Germany runs the EU and all other member nations are completely subservient to German economic demands. That is the way it is set up and that is the way it works. It is not all the fault of the Germans – no-one forced the British to stop doing any form of meaningful work. They chose idleness and sloth for themselves – but there is a price to pay for indolence and the Germans require that you pay.

        Pay or die is the motto – and the Greeks cannot pay so they are dying. You think Scotland can pay? Or will they too be required to die?

        • Ishmael

          “except when it is applied to Greeks and then it becomes a manifestation of purity of thought and action”

          Bang on.

          & How can it be it was “the people” to some extent? Some people maybe but all the people to some extent?

          The idea all “the people” are a bit responsible is just insane, actually insane. One would assume their are all kinds of variation of ideas/actions/political power etc, Within greek society.

        • German Girl

          @ Loony

          A very good description. I am ashamed of my countries politics.

    • Ishmael

      I think like anyone who is willingly or otherwise bent into a shape some have lost themselves in the process, and lost potential for action of a more unified and effective sort as a result. And lost indavidual imagination/instinct as a result of this dehumanisation.

      There may be more politicised groups in Scotland, but it seemed quite normal to me. Some may follow a native better, but aside from the smart arses pointing out the obvious fallacies of others iv seen little talk of any radial social ideas.

      ps, The guardian should be engaged with by those on the left. This simplisic view of it is unhelpful to potential use.

  • aletho

    These defeated Labour ex-MPs are in denial just as the Hillary DNC is.

    Trump won the US November election in Milwaukee, Detroit and Cleveland.

    Black and also immigrant communities are the most economically impacted by immigration and they vote in private, for any candidate that will promise to protect their ability to earn a living.

  • giyane

    I was chatting with a gentleman at the Arrivals entrance at Gatwick Airport whose wife was coming from Kiev when mine was arriving from Kurdistan. he managed to slip a piece of ultra-right wing pro-fascist propaganda into our brief conversation that Russia had downed the passenger plane over Ukraine. In view of this one can easily understand that if May’s right wing are propped up by delusional remorse over their choice of political allies in Europe, Corbyn’s right wing are propped up by delusional remorse over their leader and inspiration , Blair.

    The fact that these two lame-ducks are hobbled together for support doesn’t mean anything. Blind leading the blind. If the weak-minded, weak-limbed Blue and red Tories were to combine and make one party, they would be nothing more than a compost heap of withered leaves and vines.

  • K Crosby

    The fascist wing of the Liarbour partei are trying to re-establish the partei as the Judas goat of British fascism, which has been its role since the early 1920s. The relatively left faction around Corbyn needs to act quickly to get rid of these filthy war criminals, before they undermine him again.

    • K Crosby

      I remember listening to a Liarbour stooge on the radio in the 1970s bemoaning the Tory (Official) bid to woo racist gits because Liarbour couldn’t afford not to compete. I was young and naive in those days so I wondered why it wasn’t a golden opportunity to put distance between the parteis by advocating the opposite. There is no white working class because class is colour blind and objectively defined by a person’s relationship to the means of production, distribution and exchange.

      • Ishmael

        Yea, they were never a very good party in those days in some ways. Yet now offering the most left wing policies of any large country in the EU.

        I assume many pushing a left-ish agenda (who I consider centre of the party, the current team along with Cornyn ) are quite aware of those who got us into what is defined as a war crime on it’s face, Seems clear to me it was and is ongoing with consequences.

        • K Crosby

          I met a bloke today who is one of the 200,000 oil and gas workers made redundant over the last few years and was reminded of the early 1970s conspiracy of the Wislon regime and Big Oil to exclude unions from the North Sea gas and oil industries. With a partei like that, who needs Mussolini?

        • Republicofscotland

          Well as Corbyn, compelled his MP’s to abstain on the Single Market.

          The City of London remembrances will fly out to Brussels to do their own deal to keep them in the EU after Brexit.

          However the Home nations will not get the same chance.

  • Phil the ex-frog

    Blimey. Only a very f few years back the Liberal Democrat Party was his fav. Then it was the SNP. Now Murray is loving the Labour Party. Hip hip hooray! Craig Murray, defender of capitalism, executive on multiple boards, landlord, lap dancing fan, is a born again socialist. Understandable. Everyone to the wrong side of Marr is a socialist these days. Down with the BBC!

    • craig Post author


      My mother was English my father Scottish. I have lived my life between the two countries. I wish to see Scotland independent but I would like to see a decent government in England. What is wrong in that?

      I was a Liberal, and proud of their opposition to the Iraq War and the worst of the “War on Terror”. Then after Charlie’s death they went markedly to the right.

      I do not describe myself as a socialist. I want to see nationalisation of natural monopolies and worker ownership of enterprises, but within a market driven system.

      I am not a landlord. Why do you think I am?

      • Ishmael

        The market system (I assume you imagine it “free trade”) doesn’t give you that.

        In reality (not ideologically) within means subject to it, as we are. Sure we can regulate better but as iv explained (maybe not simply enough) if it’s within a market driven system these things will be under constant attack by corporate forces. They are not getting any poorer. We are.

        This is why slaves wanted freedom not better conditions. Because we should not live under a master. And the “market” is that master, or it isn’t.

        I think markets are fine, even capital (its) can be tolerated. But the truth is a “market driven system” is not what we actually have. Or could ever be without the sate and socialist policy to maintain it. Markets and the state arise together.

        Capitalism, (as David grabber noted) is just a bad way of organising communism (of the “each to need” verity) That most of us actually have to do even in the most controlled corporation. We act communistically. This natural way of acting should be a basis, not some contrived “free market” notion that would fall to bits in five seconds where it ever realised.

        People pay for everything anyway, in most cases more than once. First via the state funding of corporations then the result, an iPhone or whatever. All that stuff was initially paid for by public taxes.

        If you want this to continue it’s simply wrong. Call it what you will. It looks like naked exploitation to me.

        • Ishmael

          without the state* and socialist policy to maintain it

          Your arguing for something that’s not possible without a socialist basis. Exists only because of a socialist basis.

          And that socialist basis is built upon communistic relations of human beings. How we really must operate to get anything done.

      • Ishmael

        “I do not describe myself as a socialist”

        Craig, you have risked your life for others.

        These definitions are loose but you certainly don’t seem to have a market basis your actions, and that’s not what you get from others.

      • Dave

        Except the Liberals or more accurately the Lib Dems never opposed the Iraq war, but nevertheless dined on that lie. They actually only opposed the war without a second UN resolution explicitly authorising the conflict, hence why they never highlighted the lie about WMDs. But I agree without Charles Kennedy they wouldn’t have even been that qualification.

  • Cindy

    This tallies with my own views. The fight is not yet over and groups like Labour First, Progress and the labour Friends of Israel will continue to do what they can to sabotage Pro Corbyn attempts to control the NEC. Forget party unity its aint gonna hsppen we have got to be real and introduce the very thing Blairites are petrified of..Reselection. we MUST follow this route or all our efforts are in vain.

  • Ishmael

    ROS, you may mean well. But your grasping at straws now.

    Govements, states, people, economies, these are complex things to be sure. But looking at the complex realties, Articulating (and haveing) clear ideas people can understand in the context of there every day lives is important..

    This is why those like Corbyn, like Varoufakis are respected by people who don’t even agree with them is there respective countries. Not that they are perfect but they help explain want’s actually going on now, not just large generalities. Honest people.

    You sound the way a dictator thinks about “his” or “her” “country”. Nobody wants it like that…Ever those who seem to want it the most, they are the worst. Nigel doesn’t want to live here (and I’m glad)…He wouldn’t be seen dead around ordinary folk.

    • Republicofscotland

      Still waiting on your list of EU subservient countries?

      Or is it just Scotland that would be completely subservient? Where have I heard that nonsense before.

        • Republicofscotland

          A very poor answer indeed, the world needs to trade, not just the EU.

          • Ishmael

            Free trade..


            “It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom—Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation”

            “like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his own spells”

            You either know it and are lying, or stupid ….

          • Republicofscotland

            Free trade, you really are naive aren’t you? Free trade is ideologically a thing of the past. The Hanseatic League, a trade bloc of sorts dates back as far as the twelfth century. So trading blocs have been around for quite sometime.

            So they’re nothing new, and this is possibly why they form in the first place.

            “Economist Jeffrey J. Scott of the Peterson Institute for International Economics notes that members of successful trade blocs usually share four common traits: similar levels of per capita GNP, geographic proximity, similar or compatible trading regimes, and political commitment to regional organization”

            Free trade, is a misty eyed utopian dream, even the WTO, has restrictions, that Britain may soon need to come to terms with.

            As for Marx and Engels, both wrote for the New York Daily Tribune newspaper, and the USA went on to become probably the most materialistic country on the planet, so much for free trade.

    • Ishmael

      We must be democrats. Believe that collectively we can come up with something better than some individual by working together despite difference. On a far wider scale than a nation state because alone even a nation state can do little nowadays.

      “independence” is a very abstract thing to fight for. States are states, they are not independent in any real sense. It’s an abstract binalry notion that doesn’t describe what goes on among humans either, eg, The condition we live in, even among people who are “separate”. Especially nowadays.

      Anyway must go, too much spelling for one day.

  • FranzB

    I suspect the Chukka Umuna vote for the single market ploy was part of a stategy to detach younger EU supporting Corbyn supporters from the Corbyn camp.

    Jonathan Freedland pointed at this strategy in his post Copeland election comment. He wrote:-

    “This is the terrible paradox that paralyses the party today: Labour needs Corbyn gone and yet cannot bid him go. The glum truth is, the pressure that counts won’t come from the likes of me, people who warned Corbyn would be a disaster from the start. It will have to come from within the movement that carried him to power.”

    Meantime the Labour right wing is on manoeuvres to ensure the NEC remains in the hands of the right:-

    That would be important to ensure a large number of right wing MPs keep their constituencies after any boundary changes.

    The noises about traditional voters is probably aimed at the trade unions, i.e. if you trade unionists want a Labour government you’ll have to vote for a leader who the trade unionists are going to vote for.

  • Leonard

    I commented a few threads back that the Blairites had not been purged and they were still alive and well in the Labour Executive. I said so because so many articles and comments have been written claiming the Blairites were “finished”. They are not. Owen Smith is just one example, having accepted a front bench job while at the same time doing his best to announce barely cryptic statements that indicate he is still fighting a rear-guard campaign from a front bench position. So too the “progress” twitterati who are up to their usual tricks. This is all knock about stuff and perfectly fine, until one observes that the Labour Executive still has factions within it that are trying to go against the overwhelming mandate won twice in succession by Corbyn.

    After a honeymoon period in which the press was forced to concede that Corbyn temporarily obliterated the back-stabbers, already the neo-cons in the Labour movement are re-grouping for the next round of smears and undermining. They are not going to go away in the forseeable future.

  • Ben

    Your foundational premise is that anyone who does not believe human beings to be wholly interchangeable is a racist. But if what distinguishes one country from another is primarily the people who compose it, then the identity of a country is dependent on controlling the traffic of people through it. If what you like about Scotland is that it is not England, then wishing Scotland to separate from England implies you want it to remain populationally distinct. If you do not mind England and Scotland exchanging their populations, then it makes no sense to prefer one over the other, for their individuation would be lost. So you are either a racist, by your own absurd definition, or your are not a nationalist, by any definition.

    • Chris Rogers


      This article sums up the situation well, although CM believes everyone who Voted to exit the EU is a racist, well South Wales voted to leave the EU & in the 8 June GE the vote holds up the central premise of the article, namely, in Wales as a whole almost 49% voted Labour & the Tories lost 3 of their 11 seats. Further, the pro-EU parties of Plaid Cymru, LibDems and the Greens all lost votes to Labour, which certainly was not campaigning on a pro-EU, pro-Austerity manifesto.

      Indeed, the racist vote, which exists moved either to the Tories or UKIP.

      Still, again, the Blog host states we are all racists, which is strange given my own opposition to EU inspired neoliberal prescriptions since the debacle with Latvia in 2007-9, this before the GFC and the sovereign debt crisis.

      • Loony

        What you have here is a sneering elite who are determined to frustrate and/or prevent Brexit.

        Clearly they cannot admit to what they are – totalitarian despots. Consequently they construct and spew a narrative that all who oppose them are ignorant racists. This allows them to comfort themselves with the fiction that they are the enlightened people, that they, and only they, are the people of great and munificent principal. Thus they smash their iron heel of oppression into the face of humanity and applaud themselves for having the courage to do so.

  • Ultraviolet

    There is a really fascinating piece of cognitive dissonance going on.

    These Blairites damn Corbyn for failing to connect with “traditional Labour voters”, the “white working class”, whichever phrase they are using. Such voters were the core of the Brexit vote, and are the most likely to still want a hard Brexit and to be suspicious of mainstream parties who seem to be rowing back on the referendum vote.

    At the same time, these same Blairites damn Corbyn for opposing Ummuna’s amendment on the Single Market which would have committed Labour to free movement, and for maintaining a position in which he says he wants to negotiate a version of tariff-free access to the Single Market which will allow the UK to limit immigration if it wishes.

    He has also said very clearly that he does NOT expect immigration to fall significantly, because it will be driven by the needs of the economy.

    In short, he is taking a logical, pragmatic position that treats the electorate like adults and respects their views. And it is the Blairites who are driving away the “traditional voters” with their gung-ho commitment to the EU and unlimited immigration.

  • wall of controversy

    “It is also extremely peculiar that the sixty MPs who defied the whip to vote for the single market correlate very closely with the MPs who voted to launch bombing and destruction on Syria. You need a warped mind to reconcile those views.”

    Is it? Why is it? You don’t need a warped mind to recognise that the EU is absolutely joined at the hip with Nato. Or that the EU, Nato and US share common foreign policy objectives. Libya, Ukraine, Syria… Why would anyone need to warp their mind over something so straightforward?

  • Ishmael

    Just to quickly summarise earlier points in this thread.

    “Craig’s blog” …Typed on a machine developed in the “state” (by public funds) sector, using telecommunications developed on the state sector. The output of which is largely unpaid voluntary work by author and contributors.

    I think ownership an abstract concept, and we can assess what went into this blog existence without going into such odd ideas. It is a social, communist construction. A set of relations nobody can limit the actually of to claim any sane “ownership” over.

    I use my computer but I can’t really own it, it’s simply an object in my possession that many people brought into being. Standing on the shoulders of many other people.

    I would not be here if it wasn’t (to a large extent) communist. It is certainly it’s basis.

    • Ishmael

      Standing on the shoulders of many other people.

      And of course nature, which is why it’s apple, good relative power management and some notion of envorenmental impact in it’s construction, far from perfect but yea.

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