British Democracy is Dysfunctional 918

A significant proportion of Labour MPs are actively seeking to cause their own party to do badly in forthcoming local elections, with the aim of damaging the leader of that party. To that end they have attacked Jeremy Corbyn relentlessly in a six week crescendo, in parliament and in the entirely neo-liberal owned corporate media, over the Skripal case, over Syria, and over crazy allegations of anti-semitism, again and again and again.

I recall reporting on an Uzbek Presidential election where the “opposition” candidate advised voters to vote for President Karimov. When you have senior Labour MPs including John Woodcock, Jess Phillips, John Mann, Luciana Berger, Mike Gapes, Wes Streeting and Ruth Smeeth carrying on a barrage of attacks on their own leader during a campaign, and openly supporting Government positions, British democracy has become completely dysfunctional. No amount of posing with leaflets in their constituencies will disguise what they are doing, and every Labour activist and trade unionist knows it.

British democracy cannot become functional again until Labour voters have a chance to vote for candidates of their party who are not supporters of the neo-liberal establishment. This can only happen by the removal as Labour candidates of a very large number of Labour MPs.

That it is “undemocratic” for party members to select their candidates freely at each election, and it is “democratic” for MP’s to have the guaranteed candidacy for forty years irrespective of their behaviour, is a nonsensical argument, but one to which the neo-liberal media fiercely clings as axiomatic. Meanwhile in the SNP, all MPs have to put themselves forward to party members equally with other candidates for selection at every election. This seems perfectly normal. Indeed every serious democratic system elects people for a fixed term. Labour members do not elect their constituency chairman for life, so why should they elect their parliamentary candidate for life? Why do we keep having general elections rather than voters elect the MP for life?

Election of parliamentary candidates for life is in fact a perfectly ludicrous proposition, but as it is currently vital to attempts to retain undisputed neo-liberal hegemony, anybody who dissents from the idea that candidacy is for life is reviled in the corporate and state media as anti-democratic, whereas the truth is of course the precise opposite.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn to the Labour leadership was a fundamental change in the UK. Previously the choice offered to electors in England and Wales was between two parties with barely distinguishable neo-liberal domestic policies, and barely distinguishable neo-conservative foreign policies. Jeremy Corbyn then erupted onto centre stage from the deepest backbenches, and suddenly democracy appeared to offer people an actual choice. Except that at the centre of power Jeremy did not in fact command his own party, as its MPs were largely from the carefully vetted Progress camp and deeply wedded to neo-conservative foreign policy, including a deep-seated devotion to the interests of the state of Israel as defined by the Israeli settlers and nationalist wing, and almost as strongly wedded to the economic shibboleths of neo-liberalism.

These Labour MPs were, in general, prepared grudgingly to go along with a slightly more social democratic economic policy, but drew the line absolutely at abandoning the neo-conservative foreign policy of their hero Tony Blair. So pro-USA policy, support for bombings and missiles as “liberal intervention” in a Middle Eastern policy firmly aligned to the interests of Israel and against the Palestinians, and support for nuclear weapons and the promotion of arms industry interests through a new cold war against Russia, are the grounds on which they stand the most firmly against their own party leadership – and members. Over these issues, these Labour MPs will support, including with voting in parliament, the Tories any day.

I have never voted Labour. I come from a philosophical viewpoint of the liberal individualist rather than of working class solidarity. Labour support for nuclear weapons and other WMD, in the blinkered interest of the members of the General Municipal and Boilermakers’ Union, is one reason that I could not vote Labour. The other is of course that in many cases, if you vote Labour you are very likely to be sending to parliament an individual who will vote with the Tories to escalate the arms race and conduct dangerous and destructive proxy wars in the Middle East.

There is an excellent article on Another Angry Voice which lists the only 18 MPs who were brave enough to vote against Theresa May’s 2014 Immigration Act, which enshrined dogwhistle racism and the hostile environment policy.

Diane Abbott (Labour)
Jeremy Corbyn (Labour)
Jonathan Edwards (Plaid Cymru)
Mark Lazarowicz (Labour)
John Leech (Liberal Democrat)
Elfyn Llwyd (Plaid Cymru)
Caroline Lucas (Green)
Angus MacNeil (SNP)
Fiona Mactaggart (Labour)
John McDonnell (Labour)
Angus Robertson (SNP)
Dennis Skinner (Labour)
Sarah Teather (Liberal Democrat)
David Ward (Liberal Democrat)
Mike Weir (SNP)
Eilidh Whiteford (SNP)
Hywel Williams (Plaid Cymru)
Pete Wishart (SNP)

5 of the 6 SNP MPs stood against this racism (the sixth was absent) and the current leadership of the Labour Party stood alone against the Blairites and Tories in doing so. The Windrush shame should inspire Labour members to deselect every single one of the Red Tories who failed to vote against that Immigration Act. It is also a measure of the appalling shame of the Liberal Democrats, of whom only three of their sixty odd MPs opposed it, and who consigned themselves to the dustbin of history through Nick Clegg’s gross careerism and right wing principles.

There is more to say though. This vote is testament to the great deal in common which the SNP have with the current Labour leadership (who also personally consistently opposed Trident), as opposed to with the bulk of Labour MPs. Put another way, Corbyn, Abbot and McDonnell have more in common with the SNP than the Blairites. It is also a roll-call of those MPs who have most consistently stood against the appalling slow genocide of the Palestinians. It is astonishing how often that issue is a reliable touchstone of where people stand in modern British politics.

Corbyn’s supporters have slowly gained control of major institutions within the Labour Party. The essential next move is for compulsory re-selection of parliamentary candidates at every election and an organised purge of the Blairites. If the Labour Party does not take that step, I could not in conscience urge anyone to vote for it, even in England, but rather to look very carefully at the actual individual candidates standing and decide who deserves your support.

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918 thoughts on “British Democracy is Dysfunctional

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  • reel guid

    The Observer has an interview with Kuji Tsuruoka, the Japanese Ambassador to the UK. Mr. Tsuruoka paints a fairly bleak picture as regards Brexit. He points out that 40% of Japanese investment in the 28 EU states had been in the UK before the EU referendum. But that Japanese companies who have interests here have just been treading water after decades of increasing UK investment. And he should know a lot about international trade. Prior to his appointment to London he negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership for Japan.

  • Sharp Ears

    The Millennium Dome was renamed the O2. I meant this was demolished.

    ‘The project and exhibition was the subject of considerable political controversy as it failed to attract the number of visitors anticipated, with recurring financial problems. All of the original exhibition and associated complex has since been demolished. The dome still exists, however, and it is now a key exterior feature of The O2. ‘

    The original cost in today’s money was £1.25billion.

    I have never been there nor ever will.

    Do you remember all the hoo ha about the world as we knew it coming to an end at midnight 31st December 1999? Computers. Aircraft. Trains and so on. All crashing.

    In Ghana, for instance.

    Remember Y2K? Here’s How We Prepped for the Non-Disaster

  • Ophelia Ball

    French Oedipal Revanchism is Dysfunctional

    It has become increasingly obvious that Napoleon Macron has fallen under a Stockholm-syndrome-like spell, compelling him to commit obscene acts which would be illegal in many jurisdictions, merely to impress older maternal crone-archetypes such as Merkel, May, Hillary Clinton and his wife.

    As child-abuse is such a universally-despised abomination and a crime against humanity, the only logical course of action appears to be a humanitarian missile strike against French chemical weapons facilities, and after not very much research at all I have carefully selected the Pernod and Gauloises factories just outside Boulogne, and a bunker located deep inside the Eurotunnel terminal, which is reliably reported to contain stocks of Absinthe and cheap perfume (both of which should be banned as a matter of principle, whether reported by the OPCW or not).

    Concern has been raised about both the legality of attacking a NATO country, and about the possibility of civilian casualties, and I would like to take this opportunity to address both of those issues head-on. Firstly, Calais is and always will be sovereign British territory despite having been illegally occupied by the French for the past 466 years or so, and consequently Article 7 of the NATO treaty cannot be invoked – at least not by the French. Secondly, my “nice”, “smart” , “new” missile of choice for use during this attack will be the Paines Wessex Mk5 parachute distress flare, of which I currently maintain a small arsenal aboard my boat in Dover harbour; these have a range of about 150ft and carry no warhead, making them about as dangerous to the cowardly occupiers of British Calais as the French cruise missiles fired at Syria appear to have been.

    You may ask where all of this is leading, and the simple answer is that the only legitimate and viable solution is the partition of the nation currently referred to as France into sub-regions, as follows:

    1.Paris, Marseilles and all the other metropolitan areas – a new Islamic Caliphate ruled exclusively by and for unemployed 2nd generation Muslim immigrants
    2. Pas de Calais and the Ile de France – sod it mate, you’ve forked it up so much since Mary Tudor’s reign, you can keep it – to be ruled by militant farmers, onion sellers and anyone else smelling even remotely of garlic
    3. East of the Rhone – ceded to Italy and renamed “Transalpine Gaul”; to be run by privately-educated Chalet girls
    4. All the other bits – henceforth to revert to the epithet “Vichy” and to be ruled remotely from Brussels

    What goes around, comes around – Vive la Revolution!!!!

    • Doodlebug

      “Absinthe and cheap perfume (both of which should be banned as a matter of principle, whether reported by the OPCW or not).”
      I say, take it easy! Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.

      • Ophelia Ball

        Listen carefully – I will say zees only wunce: we are shortly to introduce punitive economic sanctions on the French, hitting them where it hurts – in the Duty Free stores, in the Hypermarkets, and in the roadside fruit markets (We will fight them on the Peaches!)

        Daytrippers, semi-literate exchange students and middle-aged caravanners with no command of French whatsoever will be equipped with placards and loudhailers, blaring our Edith Piaff singing Non! Rien de Rien! Non – je n’achete rien!

        Remember Agincourt!

        • Sharp Ears

          What’s he that wishes so?
          My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin:
          If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
          To do our country loss; and if to live,
          The fewer men, the greater share of honour.

          God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
          By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
          Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
          It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
          Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
          But if it be a sin to covet honour,
          I am the most offending soul alive.

          No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
          God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
          As one man more, methinks, would share from me
          For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!

          Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
          That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
          Let him depart; his passport shall be made
          And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
          We would not die in that man’s company
          That fears his fellowship to die with us.

          This day is called the feast of Crispian:
          He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
          Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
          And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
          He that shall live this day, and see old age,
          Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
          And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’

          Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
          And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’
          Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
          But he’ll remember with advantages
          What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
          Familiar in his mouth as household words.


      • Mochyn69

        I heard a joke once and the punchline was ‘Absinthe makes the fart go Honda!’

        Can’t for the life of me remember the joke though!

    • Radar O’Reilly

      St. Maggie (a.k.a the dead witch/opinions vary) required at one point bunker located deep inside the Eurotunnel that the tunnels were fitted with a ??300 kiloton warhead, in case the French/Russians were getting a bit too close.

      I suppose that really would be England exiting in a huff.

  • Paul Barbara


    ‘…The provided documents reportedly “contained precise information on the geographical position, time and exact details [of the US cooperation with ISIS].”

    “When Mosul in Iraq was under the Daesh occupation, an American A330 landed at Mosul Airport, American generals got off the plane and military equipment was unloaded,” the Iranian politican said. “At the airport’s VIP lounge, the American generals talked with Daesh [ISIS] leaders in Mosul for three hours and 23 minutes and then boarded the plane and returned.”

    Amir-Abdollahian continued saying that the US provided ISIS with “weapons and equipment it needed and that they had already agreed on.” He added that three helicopters landed and delivered military equipment to senior ISIS figures.

    In a separate case, the US allegedly evacuated ISIS commanders arrested by Iraqi security forces. Some of these terrorists were then transfered to Afghanistan.’

    On other occasions, two British planes were shot down by Iraqi forces whilst airdropping arms to IS, and also at least one US helicopter delivering arms was shot down.

    Why, oh why, do not the Russians publicly remind the West about Operation Gladio, where CIA-run ‘Stay Behind Armies in Europe were used to commit bombings and mass shootings to create instability (‘Strategy of Tension’) and blame on ‘Red’ or Left-wing groups in order arouse the ire of the public and to prevent them gaining power in elections?
    That will put in perspective the Skripal and Douma cases of ‘False Flag’ ops to demonise Putin and Assad.
    And of course, also to publicise the Iranian documents and their own similar findings.

  • Paul Barbara


    ‘…“The day we will finish this war against ISIS, if we leave, definitely and totally, even from a political point of view, we will leave the floor to the Iranian regime, Bashar al-Assad and his guys … The U.S., France, our allies, all the countries of the region, even Russia and Turkey, will have a very important role to play in order to create this new Syria,” Macron said.’

    ‘..Macron claimed on April 15 that he convinced US President Donald Trump that US troops should stay in the war-torn country a long term. The White House denied Macron’s claims on the same day and said the US is still planning to withdraw its troops from Syria as quickly as possible, just as Trump had promised before.

    However, the White House’s statement is far away from the reality because the US military is de-facto bulding new military facilities in the country.

    Some Syrian activists veiwed Macron’s plan for “a new Syria” is a replica of what France tried to achieve during its occupation of Syria from 1923 to 1946 and doubted that such an outdated plan could succeed.’

    So not so much a Regime Change’, but a recolonisation by France.

  • Republicofscotland

    The Scottish Labour Party has said it will keep its suspension of nine Aberdeen city councillors under review.

    They were suspended for disobeying former leader Kezia Dugdale’s instructions not to form a coalition with Conservative councillors following last May’s local government elections.

    We’re still eaiting on their promise to review the House of Lords, so we could be in for a long wait on this on as well. Ple ty of time to keep pushing the old federalism chestnut.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    What a brilliant morning, afternoon and day.

    The band were completely awesome – we know some of them.

    The meal was great – everyone turned up on time, except my Sis

    She was rather late.

    She missed our Grandchildren, who we had no idea, they were coming too

    It was just like Nana – and our oldest grandchild who is just 2
    It is totally obvious, they both really love each other.

    He was crying, when he had to go home with his mum.

    It was very loud, even outside

    This is, my wife, family and friends.

    Some may think I am a bit of a cnt, but it seems to me that absolutely everyone loves my wife..

    even Thersea May’s speech writer

    He didn’t see our Grandkids..Too late for that mate.

    But he did say he was going to an interview tomorrow Monday…

    I thought he was a bit old for that…I asked what was the job?

    He said Personal Security For The British Government..

    He is nearly as old as me.

    So I asked him again- You are really interviewing people tomorrow for The Personal Security For The British Government..???

    He Said Yes.

    I said, don’t you realise that some of the people who may turn up, are likely to be incredibly evil bastards, that just want a job with GCHQ??

    He said Yes.

    I am not making this up.

    I am almost certain he is still a virgin.


  • Sharp Ears

    At least 55% of French ‘dissatisfied’ with President Macron – Poll
    22 Apr 2018

    Over half of the French people broadly disapprove of President Emmanuel Macron’s job performance, according to a new poll that took place around the time Paris joined US-led airstrikes on Syria, and amid protests over reforms.

    As many as 55 percent of the respondents said they are “dissatisfied” with the president’s performance, says Ifop poll, published by Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

    The study was conducted online and by telephone, from April 12 to 21, with a sample of nearly 2,000 people polled.


    • Paul Barbara

      @ Sharp Ears April 22, 2018 at 21:38
      But that could be bad news, if it suggests 45% approve. I suppose there would be some ‘don’t knows’, but the 55% dissatisfied would not unite to agree on an alternative person/party.

    • bj

      The grand illusionist appears to be ‘En marche’ towards Syria. But on whose orders?

    • Dungroanin

      He appears to be in the same situation as Thatcher was in her first term of neoliberalism.

      A sticky wicket from which there was no possible escape and a failure after one term.

      She was hastily einvented as the Iron Lady, new hair, new voice, new everything, on the back of a convenient war in a far off place. The PR folk, Bell Pottinger (yup these beggars) and the media establishment tried their best. Yet their efforts were insufficient. So the SDP breakaway was quickly formed on the reputations of two loved old Labour darlings and a young turk – again backed by the masters of media. Only then was the Labour vote split, with a massive monstering of Michael Foot, who actually fought in the WW2.

      Macron is following a tried and trusted path for the benefit of the same corporate interests.

      He is a wholly invented personality, representing a wholly new party that is represented by his initials E M.

      Will the French allow themselves to be as easily fooled as the British were?

      • des

        agreed;Macron is a marionette for the Rothchilds/Bilderbergers/global crapitalists.I think Marine Le pen will be next president.

    • SA

      The three big losers May, Macron and Trump have joined force to attack Syria with 103 missiles and a success rate of 30%, to destroy a venom research centre already certified by the OPCW as clear, only to divert attention from thier own internal problems. I don’t think it is working.

      • Hatuey

        If that was their aim, I’d say it has worked to an extent. Trump and May were basically regarded as warped fruitcakes anyway before the attack and had little to lose.

        But I don’t think that was the aim.

  • Mary Paul

    Interesting piece of information for you. Who was made the UK’s National Security Advisor under Theresa May and has presided over the Skripal exercise? Sir Mark Sedwill. Who was the Permanent Secretary at the Home office under Theresa May, from 2003 -2017 (when the Windrush scandal was being operated)? Sir Mark Sedwill. Who is being tipped as the next Head of the Civil Service to replace Sir Jeremy Heywood (while Theresa May is PM?) You guessed it, Sir Mark Sedwill.

    (Supplementary question: who did Sir Mark take over from at the Home Office? Dame Helen Ghosh, the woman who screwed up running the National Trust which she joined from the Home Office. She has been moved on to be Master of Balliol College Oxford. Hopefully the potential there to do much damage in the public realm is limited.)

  • BrianFujisan

    Every Couple of years, Westmonster invites all of North Atlantic Terrorist Organization,, To Do what they like in Scottish waters.. There are Currently at least 30 war ships on my River

    But I’d rather Have the Orca Dolphins. That came even as far as my Town.. I wonder if their Echolocation abilities are being fucked up Cos there aint a Sufficient food source for Orcason the Clyde.. they chased the seals ect ..And all this going on when I’m on the east coast In Edinburgh. Typical

    • nevermind

      Thanks for that little local news Brian, much appreciated.
      Oh how i’d wish those killer whales would have titanium teeth able to crunch rudders and ancor chaines…..

  • Mark Russell

    Well, I guess that’s it then….the game’s moved on and Russia has had its day. What a blast though; but now its back to the usual fare and God Bless our Glorious just in time for Harry’s wedding. Step ye gaily.

    That’s how it goes down these days. Putin’s been taught a lesson and we can all relax until the next time our wonderful leaders decide to shake the dice for another round. Thank you for your concerns and don’t forget to buy a commemorative mug.

    No need to discuss these pesky anti-seminite Palestinians either. Our friends in tel Aviv have the situation under control…

    • John Goss

      Russia has not had its day Mark. The World Cup is coming up. I don’t know what WADA might be up to! If the host nation wins a match or two it could get very active. When the OPCW reports back that there were no chemical weapons for which $126 million dollars of missiles rained in on empty buildings to teach Assad a lesson it will not change anything. In a Cold War anything goes to denigrate the enemy.

      The meme “Russia is to blame” is evergreen.

      By the way, if that’s your arse it’s not very attractive. I have to speak the truth. The skirt’s quite nice though.

    • Hatuey

      yes, but I’m not sure the congressman shares the same views as Russia and Syria. He seems to be saying gas was released whereas Russia and Syria are saying it was staged and suggested that the victims of the gas attack were suffering from smoke inhalation or something.

  • Sharp Ears

    There are suggestions that the IDF have been using dum dum type bullets when shooting Palestinian children. There are a massive number of injuries with unusual wounds.

    Snipers ordered to shoot children, Israeli general confirms
    22 April 2018

    The IDF General is Zvika Fogel! No words. The photo is scary enough.

    ‘More than 1,600 other Palestinians have been shot with live ammunition that has caused what doctors are calling “horrific injuries” likely to leave many of them with permanent disabilities.’

    ‘Horrific injuries’ links to MAP’s
    ‘ Horrific injuries reported among Gaza protesters – MAP News – Medical Aid for Palestinians
    As the Great March of Return protests continues on its fourth Friday, medical workers in Gaza are reporting horrific injuries

    and this evil from the Deputy Knesset Speaker =
    ‘Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager famed for slapping an Israeli soldier on camera, should have been shot, at least in the knee, Deputy Knesset Speaker Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) wrote on Twitter Saturday.

    “In my opinion, she should have gotten a bullet, at least in the kneecap,” he wrote. “That would have put her under house arrest for the rest of her life.”

    All of this from the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’.

    • nevermind

      would there be anyone setting up a crowd funding for someone to shoot Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) in the knee caps, should he ever visit this country?

      At least that would guarantee that he’ll only visit once.

  • Don

    Just working my way through BROKEN VOWS – Tony Blair: The Tradgedy of Power by Tom Bower. Would suggest it as reading material to gain a background insight of just how far Labour has drifted from what I had assumed were moral values which were cast in stone. Across the political spectrum there are a few notable individuals – from various shades from blue to red – whom I hold in respect; for he rest? Carpet Baggers would be the most generous without breaking into invective.

  • des

    whilst I applaud your speaking out on the Skripal & Syrian gas attack false flags and agree that the parliamentary labour party are mostly neo-liberal warmongers,on the subject of immigration you are wrong.
    It is out of control & multi-culturalism is a destructive cancer eroding our indigenous culture & traditions.
    Corbyn & momentum in this regard are part of the problem not the solution.
    We have a conservative party which does not conserve or treasure this nation & a” labour” party which treats the indigenous working class with contempt,preferring to pander to minority groups;a curse on both their houses.

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