The Left Must Take Back Labour 363

The hundreds of thousands of Corbyn supporters who carried him though multiple leadership challenges have not vanished from the face of the earth, even though many have vanished from the Labour Party.

If you believe that the Starmer project was a genuine belief that a right wing agenda would get Labour back into power, then the Starmer Project has totally failed on those terms.

If you believe that the Starmer project was a scheme to neutralise any threat from Labour to the vast disparity of wealth in the UK and internationally, then it has spectacularly succeeded.

Firstly, it seems to me that anybody who believes the Starmer project was ever the former is a fool. It was at best an insurance policy, so that in the improbable event of a Labour victory nothing radical would happen to discomfit the rich. The Labour victory was in itself seen by Starmer’s backers as an event to be avoided, and Starmer’s job was to mitigate any Labour victory.

Corbyn never returned any election result remotely as bad as Labour suffered on Thursday. At previous council elections, we were told by Blairite after Blairite that Corbyn would have to resign if he achieved a result even 10% better than Starmer just achieved. Does anybody remember all those Guardian front page articles featuring focus groups led by right wing charlatan Professor Rob Ford of Manchester University, at which small groups of denizens of the M4 corridor or Northern England were led to repeat unbecoming things they had read in the papers about Corbyn, and it was claimed disaster loomed were he and his policies not immediately removed?

It was not becoming of Jess Phillips, Ian Austin and others to display openly their delight at Labour defeat in the last general election. But I cannot understand the passivity of the left now. Get off your backsides, you lazy defeatists, and start to lay into Starmer very heavily indeed. You owe him no loyalty – he lied through his teeth in the leadership campaign about willingness to maintain left wing values, then went straight into ditch and purge the left wing, and supercharge the witch-hunt, once he had won.

Starmer is down now. To quote a left winger who did know how to grasp the moment, I beseech you in the bowels of Christ. It is time now to announce a leadership challenge. It has to come from John McDonnell. Get people back into the Labour Party. Give the people of England some hope and inspiration again, and at least a chance to hear about, and vote for, the possibility of a truly fairer society.

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363 thoughts on “The Left Must Take Back Labour

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  • Lorna Campbell

    The far left has always either eaten itself with ridiculous policies that many cannot endorse or it has acted in such a way that it has allowed itself to be swallowed whole. Many Labour voters have voted Tory, not only in England, but also in Scotland, voting tactically for Tories in seats where Labour hadn’t a chance of winning. Although there was some movement the other way, both from the Tories and the Tory Lites, the Lib Dems, it was barely reciprocated.

    This is a sea change since Brexit. We just have to accept that many Unionists of all hues, in Scotland, either want Brexit or accept it as a done deal, but are vehemently opposed to Scottish independence. The two positions are inextricably linked, and they feed into the constituency and list votes. I have been saying since 2016 that the No vote and Leave vote were one and the same to a huge extent, and, feeding into the constituencies and list, in Scotland, they are also anti SNP and anti independence. The SNP “strategists and tacticians” have given very poor service on so many levels if independence was the goal, or have they, because, if they are on top of their game, the game can involve only the SNP in power forever and a day and no independence as both a long-term strategy and a tactic?

    I have read your tweets on your take that Alba lost because it supports women’s rights and spaces as opposed to trans incursion and take over. You are wrong, very wrong, because it is utter despair and a deep feeling of betrayal that has driven the women in Alba, and, in time, you will be shown to be wrong because, for women and girls, if this stuff is rushed through by the SNP, it is going to lead to tragic consequences and revelations that will shock and rock Scotland.

    I said that I would help your campaign, as best I can, because I believe you have been treated badly, but you have lost my support because of your trans views. I feel totally alienated. Genuine trans people – those with proven body dysphoria – have nothing to fear from women and girls retaining their own sex-based spaces and rights, and women and girls would back them in campaigning for their own, but we have a great deal to fear from men with paraphilias gatecrashing our spaces and rights, our sports and our political and social representation, as the longer term will show. The wilful blindness around this issue is very, very disturbing and raises questions that few are willing to answer.

    • Jo1

      Very well said, Lorna. I too was very disappointed when I read CM’s tweet. Many women have valid concerns about the proposed reforms and for raising them they were labelled “transphobes” and “bigots”. Those labels were used even by the First Minister and the Cabinet Minister Shirley Anne Somerville. Many were subjected to vile harassment online. The hatred and abuse thrown at them was disgusting. Some received threats, like Joan McAlpine and Joanna Cherry. Craig’s take on the issue is extraordinary.

    • Jon

      Lorna, I recognise you as a long-term commenter here, and I think you have deeply misread Craig. He may have written too quickly, but he may well be jailed next week, so I advocate some patience on your side if you can muster it.

      It is not in doubt that there are misogynists and transphobes in Scotland and in the wider world. We should also take great care to avoid pitting these rights against each other. As we try to support women, trans people, (and indeed trans women) without prioritising one over the other, can we agree that +some+ sections of the “pro-women” side of this debate has indeed been obsessive and irrational?

      I’d submit as evidence the comments section of Wings Over Scotland. It’s probably polite to say that the author and owner of the site is, erm, polarising, and he visits the topic of gender far too often for a blog supposedly about independence. Anyway, never mind the author – below the line is a genuine car-crash. Trans folks who are feeling psychologically vulnerable are best advised to stay away – much of the gender-related commentary really is bigoted.

      (By the by, I don’t support the HCB either).

      • Lorna Campbell

        Jon, I support human rights for all, so I have no hatred for trans people as trans people. I do have a deep-seated loathing of the way that Stonewall and its arms have conducted this issue. Can either you or Craig Murray explain why one set of people should actually lose their rights and spaces to another in the name of human rights? Human rights for others involves moving over to make room for people; it does not, and should never, involve one set of people losing their rights to another to the extent where their rights are negated. That is precisely what is going to happen. Anyone who cannot see the impossibility of there being both women’s rights and spaces and trans women’s rights and spaces in the one area is utterly deluded – and dangerous to women and children.

        “Oh, but they are harmless”, many bleat, while I could direct you to many documented cases of abuse carried out by either trans people or those who support trans people. No one is saying that all trans people, or even all trans women, are a risk; we’re not stupid. However, if you make Self-ID legal and all legal distinctions disappear, there is no way for women and girls to know who is a risk and who is not. Subjecting children and young people to life-changing drugs and surgery before they are able to decide for themselves is child abuse. Then there are the sports and the other areas where women have had to carve out their own niche. The trans lobby’s parasitical behaviour is utterly deplorable and disgusting. Their abuse of women who have had the temerity to stand up for their rights is unforgivable. Who is preventing trans people from having their own spaces? Nobody. Too much effort though ,when they can just piggy-back on women, eh?

        The inconsistency is also telling. Let us into your spaces because we are vulnerable, they cry. Yes, maybe, but to aggressive men, not women. So, if we open up our spaces to trans women, do they not become vulnerable even more, just as women would become, because neither trans women nor women would be able to tell the difference between a nice, benign male-bodied person in a beard and dress from the predatory male in a beard and dress? Incidentally, the legislation was intended, way back, to reflect the fully-transitioned trans person and those with genuine and diagnosed body dysphoria/dysmorphia, not paraphiliac men, to whom the trans umbrella has widened in order to ‘shelter’ them and usher them into women’s sex-based spaces. By no stretch of the (rational) imagination, can these men be deemed to be women, any more than a cat can be deemed to be a dog.

        What we are seeing is the bringing out of the dark internet into the light, the whole smorgasbord of male sexuality and the foot-stamping to have it legalised. This is what the stakes are, what the end game is, even if it all looks like something benign at the moment, the, and the massive wodges of lovely lolly to be made from destroying children and putting them on life-long drugs, and then, there’s all those surgical repairs. No wonder the corporations are investing heavily. They won’t stop at women’s spaces either.

        Queer theory sounds very liberal and liberating until you think about the end results: only the strong would be in control; the weak (women, children, the disabled mentally and physically, the poorest women who would have to indulge appetites or starve, much as they do now, but with even less control, animals of all kinds, and so on) would have their consent by-passed because, when anything goes, it’s only ever the weak in society who are forced into situations not of their making. Consent is already an issue, but it will become a massive issue if queer theory, via Stonewall and its arms, is allowed the ascendancy because we were all asleep. It is just another form of Ubermensch masquerading as faux vulnerability.

        The politicians and others who push this stuff should be held to an account of their responsibilities. I, for one, am fed up of politicians and the pseudo ‘wokerati ‘ forcing their decisions on us then skipping off into the sunset to pastures rich and new. If Nicola Sturgeon and her handmaidens in the SNP and other parties introduce this stuff, they will be held to account for anything and everything that goes wrong – and it will go wrong. It is going wrong as we speak.

        • Bruce Lesnick

          Bravo Lorna. You are absolutely right, and if the socialist left doesn’t get its act together in this issue it will continue to discredit and tear the left apart.

        • Tony Laverick

          If anyone wishes to see the inevitable result of this insanity, just type “trans jail Ireland” into Google and peruse the results. We are moving beyond the post-truth era into the realm of pure fantasy!

        • Jon

          Thanks for the reply, Lorna.

          Do I have some concerns about minors being encouraged to transition? Maybe, but I don’t think that is related to the main issue, which I *think* is self-ID. Do I have concerns about that, in relation to the potential for abuse? Again, tentatively yes, but it matters how we discuss it.

          My main concern is that, despite your early caveat, your post seems to paint strong and sweeping anti-trans sentiments. I make that observation not to offend you, but to illustrate where I think the debate might be going wrong. Perhaps it is the Twitter-lexicon which you might not notice, perhaps because you’ve become subsumed into these hot-tempered fights on social media. I understand why this is important to you, but I wonder if the language has become dehumanising and othering to such a degree that it is no wonder accusations of transphobia are frequently made. That leads us to one of those impossibly philosophical questions: if someone is definitely not transphobic, but they are using aggressive and unfiltered speech to criticise “the trans lobby”, which in turns sounds awfully, well, transphobic, has a transphobic event taken place? (It walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, but it is definitely not a duck?)

          Let me expand on that a little bit. Your post describes your “loathing” for a mainstream gay rights group. Your opponents don’t protest like you do, they “bleat”. While you hold sensible opinions, your opponents are “child abusers” and “parasitical”, and the “lobby” is “disgusting” and “deplorable”. Again, I am not looking for a fight – I am merely struggling to tell this apart from, say, a Christian fundamentalist on a American pay-to-pray channel. Didn’t they raise the dangerous spectre of a terrifying “gay lobby” during the AIDS panic of the 80s? Equally the references to “the far left” and “the wokerati” belongs either in The Spectator magazine (which is deeply conservative and often spiteful) or on a far-right Reddit sub just before it gets shut down by admins (believe me, I’ve peeked at those channels, and they are appalling).

          Indeed, there is a new phenomenon amongst genuinely bigoted right-wing men to suddenly support “biological women”, as if these right wingers have now seen the light and become feminists. I would apply this assessment to the Wings comments section, to which I referred earlier.

          There are other problems with your language, and I hope you can indulge me, because I think this is important. If you are genuinely accepting of trans phenomena, then a better way of communicating that fact will improve your persuasion rate. Currently, people like me who are looking to ally with trans folks might be turned off by your language, even if there is value in part of what you say. Indeed, I expect transwomen would stand with you, because they don’t want men with paraphilias in women’s spaces either. But – just guessing here – I don’t think you have any transwomen in your political corner, and there is a reason for that.

          I have other worries, and as I’ve analysed your text, they have become more insistent in my mind. Let me ask you about them. Ostensibly your fight is against men with paraphilias, but you throw the whole of “queer theory” under the bus. I am insufficiently practised in gender studies to know what that means, but it feels a great deal wider than merely women’s spaces being invaded. If I myself were trans, I wonder if I might suspect that your specific problem with the potential of self-ID misuse was a smokescreen.

          You want transpeople to “get their own [safe] spaces” – do you mean that transwomen aren’t to be made welcome in women’s spaces, even during or post-transition? The whole ethos of trans acceptance is that some people born and raised as men identify with the female gender, and they carry the shaping of womanhood and female identity throughout their psychology. I hope I am characterising this correctly, and I apologise to readers if I get nuances wrong, but I think this is the nature of gender dysmorphia – experiencing life with a female identity while having the body of a man. It is a confusing time, and these people – our brethren and our kin – deserve our support. What is the Left if it does not stand up for these folks?

          Isn’t a women’s group to share their experiences based on their gender? They do not filter based on child-bearing capability – imagine the horror of a ciswomen being turned away because she cannot bear children! No, the point of the group is the experience of identifying as a women in a gendered world, and transwomen can contribute to that. If you are minded to continue the conversation here, and I would encourage that, I wonder if you could reflect on the possibility that you have strayed into biological essentialism.

          • Twirlip

            Slightly tangentially – and very tangentially to the subject of Craig’s blog post! – this is a good article, which I just found in the Guardian, of all places:

            Tavistock trust whistleblower David Bell: ‘I believed I was doing the right thing’ | Transgender | The Guardian [Sun 2 May 2021]

            I won’t attempt to summarise it (still less discuss this whole complex subject in these comment pages!), but here are the last two paragraphs:

            There is anger on both sides of the debate. But given his politics – Bell describes himself to me as a “Corbyn-supporting Jew” – he has been most shocked by the reluctance of the left to engage with the issues. “They think this is to do with being liberal, rather than with concerns about the care of children. Mermaids and Stonewall [the charities for trans children and LGBTQ+ rights] have made people afraid even of listening to another view.” It surprises him that the left is unwilling to consider the role played by big pharma. In the US, a journal that published a paper about the effect of puberty blockers on suicide risk recently had to disclose that one of its co-authors received a stipend from the manufacturer of another drug.

            When he appeared on Channel 4 News earlier this year, Bell was asked if he feared being on the wrong side of history. “I’ve often thought about that question,” he says. “It’s a good one. Psychiatry has a sad past. Homosexual men were given behavioural therapies and so on. But history isn’t always right. What matters is the truth. I hate the weaponisation of victimhood, the fact that the fear of being seen to be transphobic now overrides everything.” The current campaign to ban so-called gay conversion therapy is, he believes, likely to become a Trojan horse for trans activists who will use it to put pressure on any clinician who does not immediately affirm a young person’s statement about their identity, decrying this, too, as a form of “conversion”. For Bell, the prospect of not being able to talk openly about such things is a tyranny: just another form of repression. “This is about light and air,” he says. “It’s about free thinking, the kind that will result in better outcomes for all young people, whether transgender or not.”

          • Lorna Campbell

            Jon: that was a fine piece of whitabootery. I am agnostic, so your observation is off-kilter. Gay people never pretended to be other than they are: men and women who preferred their own sex. No male person can ever know what it is to be a woman, just as I can never know what it is to be a man. All I could ever say is that I might have this feeling that I am uncomfortable as whichever sex I am.

            Nowhere did I say that trans people should not be accepted. I specifically stated that actual transsexuals (fully transitioned) and severe body dysphoric/dysmorphic people were always recognised as requiring their rights (which they have, incidentally). That is not what self-ID will bring. It will bring every man with a paraphilia who wants to, into women’s and girls’ spaces, with or without a GRC. Legally, all identification as a trans person will be erased, even down to the birth certificate – which is the aim. For trans men, who pose no threat to men except in that they, too, might not be welcome in men’s sex-based spaces, the situation is different.

            Women who cannot have children are still women – in every cell in their body – and, if, in the far future, her skeleton was to be dug up and examined, she would be instantly (more or less) recognisable as a woman. This is very different from being born a male without a womb, ovaries, female genitalia, etc., and is grossly insulting to all women. After all, some men don’t produce sperm. Does that make them something other than men? Of course not. What a silly comparison.

            My problem with queer theory is that it is ostensibly male in conception, and, although, on the surface, it appears to be benign and a flag for personal liberty, it will always come down to sexual oppression of those who cannot escape control. I believe that Foucault himself believed that it would lead to unforeseen consequences if allowed a free rein. Where are women, girls in all this? Nowhere. Personal liberation always comes with personal responsibility, otherwise you create hell for others.

            I have no problem with seeing trans people on television, in films, in the street, etc. I just want them to campaign for their OWN spaces – trans units in prisons, trans prizes for literature, trans sports, etc., and keep out of women’s. We fought for our rights. How dare they think they can colonise them? Women who oppose trans access to women’s spaces do not validate paraphiliac men as women, and we never will. Unisex rest rooms are okay so long as they are big and busy, with a caretaker.

            I don’t believe that I have strayed into biological essentialism, but into biological reality. I also think you need a huge dose of reality yourself – if you don’t mind my saying so? Gender and sex are profoundly different. To some extent gender co-incides with sex in that we behave as society expects our sex, male or female, to behave, and, frankly, that has been extremely negative for women, less so for men, but it has its downsides for them, too. However, innate biological sex cannot be wished away or surgically removed. I am happy to acknowledge that trans people who have physically transitioned are no threat to women, but I think you will find that most of them have no desire to gatecrash women’s spaces, apart from bathrooms when necessary.

            We are talking specifically about paraphiliac men who may or may not pose a threat to women and girls. The fact is that there is no way of telling until they do pose a threat – when it will be all too late. There is already a wealth of evidence to suggest that many of them will be, and that goes for men who support their incursions into women’s spaces, because a fair few of them who have publicly called for women to open up their sex-based spaces, have later been convicted of sexual offences.

            One women or girl harmed, physically or psychologically, is one too many. If the politicians want to push this stuff through, they had better be prepared to defend themselves in court as individuals, liable to large compensation claims, if it all goes pear-shaped – as it will.

          • Jon

            [Lorna, I can’t reply directly, as the forum only permits conversations of a certain nested depth. This is a reply to your May 9, 2021 at 19:00 post]

            Thanks for your thoughts. I am sorry that my responses seemed to be “whataboutery” to you – I put them together because I though a fulsome reply would be interesting, and I wanted to take care not to avoid any of your points.

            To some degree, perhaps we were talking past each other. You want to talk about whether transwomen may self ID as women, and I want to talk about whether you accept that transwomen are women.

            I haven’t avoided self ID – I have acknowledged that it is complex, and I think Craig’s latest post is a good compromise: keep self ID generally, and then in edge cases, have an arbitration committee, such as in prisons and in female sports. These will be pretty small numbers, and they ought to be manageable.

            The reason why I wanted to cover the wider territory of accepting transpeople in general is that it is a much more general marker of a person’s attitudes to transpeople, and whether they are accepting or discriminatory. I invited you to agree that post-transition transwomen should be able to join women’s spaces, and if you were able to do that, the thorny issue of pre-transition self-ID would have been our final small hurdle.

            But we don’t have that small final hurdle, because you don’t/won’t accept transwomen as women regardless of their transition status. The issue of self ID is thus entirely moot – the only time we worry about self ID is when a cisman pops on a frock and busts into a women’s safe space for a giggle. You’ve suggested that post-transition transwomen would not “desire to gatecrash women’s spaces”, and I agree. I think transwomen would like to be *welcomed* to women’s spaces, and furthermore, I think ciswomen should make them welcome. That is the crux of our disagreement.

            I am somewhat confused on your thoughts on sex/gender. You’ve said that a cisman who cannot produce sperm is still a man, and I agree – that supports my argument, not yours. This is entirely in agreement with my similar example, which is that a ciswoman who cannot bear children is still a woman. What this reveals is that bodily functions do not determine our gender – a woman who can produce children does not feel like a woman because she has working ovaries, and a man who can produce sperm does not think this defines his experience of being a man. This is why biological assessments of people are relatively unimportant – it is people’s (lived) experience of their gender that is critical. Gender is ultimately a psychological phenomenon, and being admitted into a gendered space is not a medical assessment. This means the cisman and the transman use their lived experiences to decide what it feels like to be a man, and the ciswoman and the transwomen use their own experiences to decide what it feels like to be a woman.

    • james

      it seems to me focusing heavily on sexual issues is a good way to avoid looking at how the right as representative of wealth and influence is very talented at keeping the plebs focused on the wrong priorities, and making them the biggest and most important priority for some. it looks like a distraction to me..

      • Lorna Campbell

        James: the right is up to its neck in this trans stuff. Corporations are investing heavily in it – and they never do that unless they can make a big buck. The far left is fixated on ‘liberty’, but only ever succeeds in ruining itself by being the act opposite of liberal. They are actually mirror reflections of each other in effect – both fascistic/totalitarian, one neoliberal and the other verging on the nihilistic.

        • Twirlip

          Here is how one corporation implemented an unbelievably heavy-handed, narrow, rigid, irrational, oppressively prescriptive “code of conduct”, thereby managing to upset absolutely everybody:

          TTP #1 | Monica Cellio On The Fallout At Stack Exchange – YouTube (1hr 5m 12s)

    • Peter

      “The far left…” With those three opening words you show yourself as much a prisoner of newspaper propaganda as any of those millions who just voted Tory. I challenge you to read the book “Economics for the Many” edited by John McDonnell where the ‘far left’ outline their progressive ideas. In reading it I thought that the policies were far better than anything that has been offered by Labour previously but at best (or worse, depending on your viewpoint) it is left-of-centre social democratic stuff, many of the policies themselves wouldn’t look out of place in mainland Europe. Such was the fear engendered, however, by these modest proposals that, as we all know the manufactured campaign against Corbyn that resulted. Johnathan Cook’s most recent blog deals with it quite effectively (

      As for the policies, to take a couple or so:
      *Broadband for all – laughed out of court; we dodged a bullet there (ahead of a pandemic where for millions of school kids it would have been just the ticket and where even Tony Blair eventually argued for this policy –—tony-blair/)
      * Then there was the proposal for a four-day week the implementation to be spread over many years with the public sector setting an example. Again preposterous we are told by Labour’s right! Only, then for Unilever, yes Unilever, to announce in November 2020 that they were going to trial a four-day week in their subsidiaries in New Zealand. (
      *Then there was the proposal to liberate leaseholders from feudal imposed ‘ground rent’ an all sort of other anachronistic relics from centuries gone by.

      There was no proposals for mass nationalisations; no five-year plan; no monopoly of foreign trade; no closed capital account to stop capital fleeing; Gosplan was not about to be resurrected; the House of Lords wasn’t going to be abolished in Labour’s first term; and the Queen would remain Head of State! Hardly far left!

      Tell me, if the far left dominate the Labour Party why did Rebecca Long-Bailey lose the leadership contest? Truth is, most Labour Party members are not where near the caricature portrayed in the press.

      • Phil Crowe

        Yes, her opening 3 words “the far left” were a good predicter of what followed.
        You are absolutely right.

        • Lorna Campbell

          Are you talking to me, Peter and Phil because I can assure you that I am on the left and agree that Corbyn was hi-jacked? I also agree that much of the policy offered was very acceptable. However, Labour figures, including Mr Corbyn and Mr McDonnell, have never supported Scotland’s right to govern itself. I’m sorry that you don’t see that the far left is as big a problem as the far right. They are two sides of the same fascist/totalitarian coin. Not being of the Labour persuasion – SNP till recently, but totally disillusioned – I always found myself in harmony with many ‘old Labour’ initiatives, as I would imagine do many others on the left of the independence movement: land reform; tax reform, etc.

          • Pigeon English

            IMO there is difference between International Socialist and National Socialist.
            In leftist theory nationalist movements are regressive, counter revolutionary.
            Scottish Nationalism does’t sound good to me if I am honest. I would rather be called Scottish Independence Party
            SNP sounds very Fascist/Nationalist/Racist/Xenophobic to me!
            Calling Corbyn Fascist by a Scottish Fascist/Nationalist is tragic-comic!

          • Lorna Campbell

            Pigeon: what are you on about? I did not call Corbyn fascistic/totalitarian. Neither he nor Mr McDonnell are, to my mind, far left. The SNP used to be a broad church, and I was always on the left, a bit more left than some. I could never support Labour because of its anti independence stance. All that rubbish about internationalism but not nationalism. Logic dictates that you cannot have the first without the second – literally – because that is the meaning of internationalism. The failure to understand that always put me off, especially when it was always fine for other countries to be both independent and on the left, just not Scotland. Scottish Nationalism is nothing other than the desire for independence. National Socialism – Nazi-style – was the very epitome of imperialism and colonialism and very much closer to England Nationalism (minus the fascism) which has always involved the oppression of others. I know that Scots were very culpable in the empire-building, but we are talking about the 21st century, and we are destined to become the most northern part of a Greater England if Boris Johnson gets his way. He won’t.

      • Stan Bell

        Given the record of Blair and his successive administrations for where we are now compared to where we should have been it’s perhaps best not to mention the the words Blair and broadband in the same sentence.

        At the 1996 Labour Party Conference Blair announced that an incoming Labour Government would build an integrated “Broadband Network of the Future” across the entire British Isles.

        Such an undertaking is not cheap. At the time the price tag was around the £20 billion mark. Two realities have to be recognised here. Firstly, the infrastructure cost of provision, as with any utilities such as gas, electricity, water and sewage is cheaper in areas of higher population density such urban areas than in more remote locales. Say, rural areas. There are more subscribers in higher populated areas to provide the revenue stream for the capital outlay and fewer resources are required – duct, cable, poles etc etc closer to be Exchange compared to be distances involved with remote villages and farms etc.

        Secondly, and related to this is the ’80/20′ rule. Where 80% of revenue is generated by only 20% of subscribers. The converse being that 80% of subscribers only generate 20% of revenue. It’s why in a privatised utility such as telecoms (and it’s the same even for snail mail post under this model) that higher revenue generating business subscribers are prioritised over lower revenue generating residential subscribers. Effective cross subsidisation ended with Frauline Roberts and Blair’s second rate tribute act was never going to be sensible and reverse trickle up.

        The deal Blair brokered was that in return for scrapping Thatcher’s ‘asymmetry rule’ – which prevented the former public now privatised Telecom Utility BT from providing entertainment services over it’s infrastructure assets – BT would use a proportion of the increased revenues to provide the necessary level of investment to achieve the objective.

        What went wrong? Well it more or less started immediately after the 1997 election with Brown’s first budget which imposed a one off utilities tax which took a chunk of that investment before any money was earmarked. Then, a couple of years later we had the 3G wireless auction which took a sum of investment out of the system some one and half times the size of the investment required under the 1996 deal.

        As a consequence of this, apart from some players getting their fingers burned on the 3G wireless auction and ending up over extending themselves to a point in which losses rather than profits were being generated, that grand scheme for a broadband network of the future ended up being done piecemeal and in selected areas over a much longer period of time. The first thing which occurred was that the definition of ‘broadband network of the future’ was altered from new fibre cable to the existing copper based network from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries via a piece of technology called ADSL. Which in essence squeezed more out of the old creaking copper network to enable faster data transfer than the old 250k modems we once used which took all night and half the next day to download a simple computer game.

        For sure some fibre was going in the ground but it was not until around the midway mark of the last Labour administration before serious moves were made to use the temporary time bought by ADSL technology to move in the original direction. Given this coincided with the financial crash shortly afterwards what we have ended up with is a dog’s dinner. Where an imposed pseudo competition model of delivery has resulted in many remote communities having to either provide their own infrastructure, sometimes involving some kind of multi organisational (and therefore bureaucratic) ‘partnership’ (public (sic)/private) alongside the horrendously inefficient Carillon Contractor model.

        Most of the network – some of which is being duplicated by companies like Virgin (imagine a model in which a separate road network is constructed for each different car manufacturer) – has fibre only as far as the street corner green coloured cabinet with the last maybe up to 100 metres or so being copper. There are, a quarter of a century after the smoke and mirrors of the grand announcement of autum 1996, some fibre broadband connections going into new sites and a number of remote communities fed with overhead fibre on poles. But integrated with the same quality of service across the whole country at a cost of only £20 billion after all that time?

        Some record?

  • Scozzie

    Craig, I have just seen your tweet about your thoughts on the failure of Alba at this election.
    Frankly, I’m stunned at how uniformed you are on women’s rights issues.

    Your second argument: “There, we alienated many people by apparent identification with an obsessive and irrational hatred of trans people.”
    Women’s rights, (supported by Alba the only party to do so) is not about an irrational hatred of trans people – it’s about protecting ourselves as a sex-based class. Hard won rights over 100 years – you call yourself a historian you should know that!!!!!
    Women are facing being erased as a biological and legal entity. Trans women are not women – people cannot change sex.
    I’m all for everyone having rights and for transsexuals having protected status. But self-ID reduces the female sex class to a feeling in a man’s head. And it opens up women’s safe spaces, prisons, refuges, sports etc. You must know that the Hate Crime Bill protects cross-dressers but not women. I cannot express enough how uninformed you appear to be on this issue.

    You have worked in developing countries and you must know that access to female only spaces is vital for women’s safety, access to education etc. Please Craig get informed – you’re coming across as a misogynist.

    I honesty thought that as an intellectual you would be on the right side of science on this – seems like you’re just taking the kool-aid. So fucking disappointed in you.

    Yours – a woman fighting to keep her rights and safeguarding children against medicalisation of puberty blockers.

    • DiggerUK

      Many have gone down the road of homogenising biological sex with sexuality and life style choice it beggars belief.
      Such is the catastrophe of a liberal elite in crisis…_

    • S

      I can’t speak for Craig, but he used the word “apparent”. Perhaps the point is that these matters are extremely important to some people, but for other people, they do not seem important (for whatever reason, and rightly or wrongly). And for those people, it can _appear_ to be an obsessive position. That’s irrespective of whether they are actually important and what is right or wrong.

      I don’t know the demographics, but to win an election, I think you have to appear to be talking about the things that matter to the right people.

      • Scozzie

        They’re important to 51% of the population whose rights are being discarded to validate the feelz of men.

        • S

          Quite possibly, and possibly even more than those 51%. But my point is that what matters in an election campaign is what the crucial voters think matters, not what is actually important.

          (Fwiw I think the most important thing to get across, which quite possibly did not come across broadly enough, was that a list vote for Alba would not count against independence.)

        • craig Post author

          That is simply untrue. My daughter and my wife were both furious at Alba’s stance on trans rights. The claim of a specific type of segregationist feminist to claim they speak for all women is peculiar.

          I was not thinking of the intellectual arguments, much as I do not agree, but the stream of homphobic abuse that came alongside of it, about women with beards and making fun of various trans people’s appearance. Which abuse mostly was not from women.

          • Baalbek

            Crude and cruel people making fun of “women with beards” does not change the fact that the trans lobby’s position on biological sex is just plain wrong. It is illogical and flies in the face of science (biology).

            It helps to separate support for the right of trans people to live and exist without being subject to prejudice and bigotry from support for the trans lobby and its backwards and wrongheaded agenda.

            It is not transphobic or hypocritical to support the right of trans people to live their lives in peace, free of bigotry and abuse, whilst at the same time opposing the trans lobby’s creationist-style position on biological sex being a personal choice.

          • DiggerUK

            “I was not thinking of the intellectual arguments”…….

            ….and that, is blindingly obvious…_

          • Lorna Campbell

            Mr Murray: I used the phrase ‘men in beards’ not as an insult (my hubby has a beard) and not as a very debased form of wit, but to illustrate that we are not talking about genuine transsexuals or those with severe and diagnosed body dysphoria/dysmorphia.

            I have no problem personally with men who cannot get peace in their lives unless they present as women, and I imagine it must be a horrible condition to have to endure. However, there are masses of evidential material out there proving that many of these men are paraphiliacs and should have no right, under human rights or anything else, to colonise women’s and girls’ spaces. Self-ID and the elimination of all legal barriers to men who may be predatory or who may simply get their rocks off by intimidating women and girls and making them feel uncomfortable, given that male violence and aggression are entirely sex-based, is so contemptuous of women and girls that it takes the breath away in this, the 21st century. Women fought for their rights, and men had to move over. Women will move over, but we will not have our spaces and rights eliminated so that trans people don’t have to actually do anything at all but eggy-back like parasites. That is the point.

            As I said: if Alba is not a home for women, then we will have to find our own, but it will not get my vote any more than the SNP now, if that is its attitude. By the way, I have contributed a little to your fund – what I can afford at the moment because I do feel that you have been wronged, and I do not wish to see you in prison. I will try to contribute again when I can afford to do so. If you end up there, I may join you one day, because, like you, I will not back down on either the trans issue or independence, or indeed, human rights.

      • Lorna Campbell

        S: if you believe that alienating 51% of your potential voter base is sensible, you are not going to go far. Trying to protect women and girls from elimination as a sex is not an obsession, anymore than trying to protect Scotland against elimination as a nation is not an obsession. Both are realities. Changing sex is not reality and preventing a country from expressing its own right to existence is not reality.

        You must be very young because you evidently have no knowledge of how the SNP was once perceived by the Grandees of the Establishment – pretty much in the same way as the SNP regards Alba today. Who’d a thunk it, eh? Obsession with the constitutional question was just one of the many insults thrown at us in the early days. I can tell you from experience that the SNP in those days did considerably less well than Alba has just done. If it is discovered that the concerns of more than half the electorate are of no interest to men as husbands, fathers, uncles, grandfathers, etc. and that they would willingly betray our spaces and rights to people with no inherent interest in independence, then women will look elsewhere and set up their own means of protest and gaining power.

        The Suffragettes and Suffragists ploughed their own furrow against strident and hysterical, not to mention, brutal, male opposition. We might have to do the same again, but against a different type of male aggression and male indifference. Thanks for your support – not.

        • skyblaze

          couldnt reply to this in the post above —-

          “However, there are masses of evidential material out there proving that many of these men are paraphiliacs and should have no right, under human rights or anything else, to colonise women’s and girls’ spaces.”

          masses of evidence – ok provide some here then

        • S

          Lorna, Thank you for explaining your position. I’m sorry if I came across as unsupportive. My understanding is that Alba’s main focus was meant to be to get independence asap, and so they should probably have just talked about independence. That’s all I meant.

    • Baalbek

      Well said. I agree that Craig has jumped the shark here. I hope his support of the toxic trans lobby position is due to ignorance caused by stress and receiving bad information and that he’ll eventually come around to realizing how profoundly illogical and harmful, and anti-science, the “there is no such thing as biological sex” stance is.

      It might also help if he took a break from Twitter. That place is a toxic cesspit and I fear he may have adopted his erroneous position to appease trans activists who were bullying/pressuring him to “support trans people”. They are quite adept at conflating support for trans people with the small but very vocal trans lobby and its profoundly misguided policies.

      • skyblaze

        you seem to have a weird obsession with trans issues which are not really that significant

  • T

    If they allow another leadership election to take place it would only mean they are content that no left candidate can get on the ballot. Under Corbyn it seemed certain that the left had a permanent lock on the leadership with the party”s massive membership being overwhelmingly leftwing. It did not seem possible that English politics could return to the no-choice era that preceded Corbyn, no matter how much the media craved it.

    Now the only question is how quickly Labour succumbs to the full PASOKification that has befallen Blairite austerity parties across the continent.

    • Blissex

      «how quickly Labour succumbs to the full PASOKification that has befallen Blairite austerity parties»

      Look at the absolute vote numbers I have summarized from Wikipedia (2004 and 2021 were by-elections), with blank lines to separate some obvious phases:

      1974: total 49,688, Con 22,700, Lab 26,988
      1974: total 47,300, Con 16,546, Lab 24,440, Lib 6,314
      1979: total 49,109, Con 18,887, Lab 27,039, Lib 3,193
      1983: total 48,434, Con 18,958, Lab 22,048, SDP 7,422
      1987: total 50,136, Con 17,007, Lab 24,296, Lib 7,047
      1992: total 51,710, Con 18,034, Lab 26,816, Lib 6,860

      1997: total 44,452, Con 9,489, Lab 26,997, Lib 6,248, Ref 1,718
      2001: total 38,051, Con 7,935, Lab 22,506, Lib 5,717

      2004: total 31,362, Con 3,044, Lab 12,752, Lib 10,719, UKI 3,193
      2005: total 35,436, Con 4,058, Lab 18,251, Lib 10,773, UKI 1,256
      2010: total 38,242, Con 10,758, Lab 16,267, Lib 6,533, UKI 2,682, BNP 2,002

      2015: total 39,490, Con 8,256, Lab 14,076, Lib 761, ind. 2,954, Gre 1,341
      2017: total 41,835, Con 14,319, Lab 21,969, Lib 746, UKI 4,801
      2019: total 41,037, Con 11,869, Lab 15,464, Lib 1,696, BXP 10,603
      2021: total 29,933, Con 15,529, Lab 8,589, Lib 349, ind. 2,904

      The Conservative vote has not surged, it is the New Labour that has collapsed and abstentions and protest votes have returned to levels seen during the Blair era. Starmer has accomplished so much in just 1 year, it took some years for Blair himself to achieve the same level of PASOKification! 🙂

  • Goose

    Like in the US with the Democrats, the UK Labour party is so full of bad faith actors and self-interested careerists it’s pretty much unsalvageable. And hence needs to be electorally wiped out and then new party rebuilt in its place. In a corrupt two-party system, the second party was always at risk of being infiltrated by the more unscrupulous financial interests and criminal elements in the UK establishment protecting themselves. At a guess, something like 75% of PLP MPs have no interest whatsoever in promoting left-wing solutions, not even moderately left-wing solutions. Starmer is just the latest, albeit more obvious incarnation of this ‘managed opposition’.

    Starmer’s spent the last year lecturing the left as if the party’s right has all the electoral magic beans. At least this result, definitively shows that they haven’t. There’s little doubt that were Starmer a Tory leader, he press would now be in full cry for him to quit. Instead we’ve got the guardian + Tory press (increasingly indistinguishable) making excuses for him and still bizarrely, blaming Corbyn. IDS was dumped, Theresa May was dumped when they became electorally toxic. Labour members need to adopt the ruthlessness of the Tories. But those vested interests who’ve infiltrated the party, along with the MSM won’t even allow that.

    On Scotland. Doesn’t Alba’s disappointing result somewhat vindicate Sturgeon’s cautious approach to a second referendum? I wish it wasn’t the case, but it has to be acknowledged that a massive boost to the independence cause was dangled before the Scottish people and they refused to grab it.

    • N_

      Sturgeon’s last minute statement that she only wanted a referendum if it was legal meant

      a) (to a minority of SNP voters) “give your second vote to Alba”, and
      b) (to the famous “middle ground” or “flaky” Labour or Tory) “vote SNP because we’re not really as bad as all that, you know; in fact we are very moderate and centrist and not at all opposed, when it really comes down to it, to what you want”.

      b) is just classic politics. Almost all parties say things like that towards the end of a campaign. It happened in the referendum. It practically always happens. No point aiming at those who have already decided to vote for you.

      The ironic thing about a) is that Sturgeon or at least her puppetmasters have a lot of responsibility for the ruining of Alex Salmond’s popularity rating which was the reason why Alba failed so dismally on Thursday.

      Now it looks as though we will be in the horrible position where pro-independence MSPs have a majority of seats but unionist parties won a majority of votes. Does that mean the SNP with its climate kook Green helpers have a mandate to make another s30 request? Seriously that could be argued either way.

      As for “socialism”, it was the SNP that forced this out of the picture in Scotland, making xenophobic nationalism the main “issue” – and the corrupt cynical lying scum intend to continue doing the same thing.

      Stop press: SNP have held Edinburgh Pentlands, with a 4% swing in their favour from Labour. They won’t make it to 65 seats though. Looks like they will win 63, the same number they won in 2016.

      • Goose

        The SNP emphasis on #BothVotesSNP seems self-harming for a pro-inde party, must admit.

        The SNP should have been more neutral. Even if Sturgeon doesn’t like Salmond they’ve no reason to dislike the Alba platform and the motivations behind it more generally. They know how the system works (penalises constituency success in the list). Another case Sturgeon and her hubby putting themselves before Scotland’s future.

      • Goose


        All this talk about whether the SNP have the right to hold a referendum is somewhat missing the point; namely, that ultimately it’s for the Scottish people to decide their destiny, not the SNP, Tories, they can only advocate for/against independence. The Scottish people are the final arbiter. If the unionists are confident in their pro-union arguments, why fear a referendum? A referendum that’ll give them a chance to highlight all those marvellous advantages of being in the United Kingdom.

        And the way the unionists have clung to and misrepresented the ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ throwaway remark, as if it was a sworn, sacred, engraved constitutional oath, is laughable. It’s a cliché, he could’ve just as easily have said ‘a golden opportunity’ or ‘a million to one shot’. The stock the unionists have put by it nonsense. And besides , nearly 10 years after the last is a different generation of voters.

      • N_

        Seats: 72 for another referendum: a clear majority of 15.
        Voteshare for another referendum: ???
        47.7% for SNP + Greens in 2016. What is the figure for SNP + Greens + Alba in 2021?
        Has anyone got the overall voteshare (for constituencies plus lists even if they only stood on the lists) for Alba?
        Total for SNP + Greens is 48.7%.
        So support in the popular vote for another referendum is 48.7% + (Alba % on the lists)/2
        I’m guessing Alba didn’t score as much as 2.6% nationwide and therefore no indyref beat indyref in the popular vote.
        But…kinda interesting to know whether that’s actually accurate.
        Looks a very close run thing anyway.

        • Goose

          Weren’t you praising Anas Sarwar?

          Could this be the New Labour magic at last?
          Could it be magic?

          Labour ~ 22 (-2) , that’s 2 down from what was thought of as the nadir in 2016.

        • N_

          Alba got 1.7% on the lists, so rounding up say 0.9% overall, so the voteshare for pro-indyref candidates seems to have been 49.6% – a very narrow victory for “no indyref” in the popular vote.

          @Goose – Yes, a bad day for Labour. If we hold our noses and call them “left wing”, then the right/left ratio in the Scottish GE (with right including far right and nationalists and greens, and with – maybe again holding our noses – the LibDems counted as “centrist” and ignored) was 4.7, up from 4.2 in 2016. It wasn’t anywhere near that high in the three federal elections in Germany in 1932-33. It was 1.6 in the Welsh GE, 0.4 in Manchester, less than 1 in London too.

          • Goose

            Final tallies:

            SNP + Green + Alba: 1,359,611

            Tories + Labour + LDs + Alliance for Unity: 1,283,401

  • Athanasius

    Craig, the left IS the problem. For the last two generations, people who’ve voted for Labour have been voting for Keir Hardie and Clement Attlee and the pantheon of Labour greats. The problem was that these men were not socialists, although they were called so. They were culturally and philosophically Christians. One way or another, it was to THIS that their policy traced back to, not socialism on the continental model. Most people don’t want that kind of socialism. That’s why those people can’t get elected under their own banner and why they have to infiltrate other organizations to get their agenda through. The fact is, there is no role left for the kind of Labour Party that people DID vote for in the past. That party won its battles. What’s left in Labour now are the people who aren’t wanted. The party is not going to be re-invigorated by a bunch of elitist middle-class vanguardists whose contempt for the people they claim to be representing is palpable.

    • Goose


      I don’t see how you can draw that conclusion when Corbyn attracted so many enthusiastic young members – the party’s membership peaking at nearly 600,000 the largest mass membership party in Europe and envy of left-wing parties throughout Europe. When Theresa May called her snap election in April 2017, polls put the Tories 21% ahead and May’s personal ratings were politically ‘godlike’. After a campaign which Labour produced a well-received manifesto, Corbyn ended up tied in polls for ‘who’d make the best PM?’ and Labour were virtually level-pegging, winning 40% in the June election. If the SNP hadn’t lost those 13 seats to the Tories in Scotland Corbyn would’ve been PM.

      After that close call the establishment and willing rogue elements in the PLP went to war against Corbyn. The threadbare antisemitism stories flowed daily on the BBC and across the press. It was pure character assassination drip by drip; the deliberate gaslighting of members, leaving supporters feeling bereft. No one will forget or forgive.

      • Goose

        I think the population would be fine with a Scandinavian leftish template, if offered that in a ‘fair hearing’ media environment. But the problem is in getting that fair hearing. Britain has one of, if not the most vile, aggressive dishonest media environments in Europe. Truly a ‘lying press’ full of sinister rogues, including at the BBC. When good people and good policies have to swim through that sewerage and hate they don’t stand a chance of getting a clean, fair hearing. Johnson is the king of these sewer rats.

        • Baalbek

          Yes, the UK media is particularly vile and dishonest but the problems of the left go far beyond the borders of the UK. Is there a credible left-wing party (class politics as opposed to identity politics) in power anywhere in Europe or North America? Even the “Scandinavian model” isn’t what it used to be and those countries have long been drifting to the neoliberal right as well.

          What is commonly referred to as “the left” today is a toxic mix of identity politics and Thatcherist economic policies. The pre-Blairite/idpol left that some of us remember hasn’t been anywhere near power in decades.

          Maybe the overarching problem is that we, in the west, already live in the post-democratic era. The state and its institutions have been mortally weakened and taken over by corporatists and bankers and the national security [sic] establishment. The trappings of democracy remain but no party with genuinely people-centred policies will be allowed anywhere near power.

          The post-Second World War era is well and truly over. The Atlanticist bloc squandered its advantages and destroyed its economies at the alter of “free market” capitalism and now its hegemonic power over the world is waning and being challenged by Russia and, particularly, China. There is no going back.

          The powers-that-be can’t accept the idea of a multipolar world centred around international cooperation that puts the interests and wellbeing of citizens ahead of the ability of a handful of avaricious billionaire psychopaths, their political enablers and deluded spooks to enrich themselves and/or gorge on power at the people’s expense, and are in full blown panic mode. Hence, the dearth of democracy and the chaos and madness currently gripping the Atlanticist west.

          Add to that the effects of resource depletion, a trashed environment and a climate in disarray and you get the structural instability we have today.

          Liberals in particular have a difficult time accepting this.

        • Blissex

          «Britain has one of, if not the most vile, aggressive dishonest media environments in Europe. Truly a ‘lying press’ full of sinister rogues, including at the BBC.»

          My standard points about it:

          * Most media actually preach to the already converted, so they don’t swing many votes. The BBC is more widely listened to, so it is far more important.

          * Who pays the piper calls the tunes! Leftist donations could create new media or boost existing left media. No pay no gain :-).

          But as to the latter point, that would be only temporary: if the left funded successful media, they would eventually be taken over by careerist infiltrator, just as it happened to New Labour and New New Labour. The struggle against quite clever, well funded, rentier interests will never end.

      • Jon


        I think your post boils down to:

        > The problem was that these men were not { something I disagree with } although they were called so. They were culturally and philosophically { something I agree with }. One way or another, it was to THIS that their policy traced back to, not { something I disagree with }. Most people don’t want that kind of { something I disagree with }.

        I wish I could talk for “most people”, but sadly no-one has said that is OK. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), I can only talk for myself.

    • N_

      At least Keir Hardie was very friendly with Sylvia Pankhurst, and she was definitely a socialist.

      • N_

        Sorry – that was a bit of an inane comment by me.

        But although Clement Attlee was not a socialist, there was a lot of force and hope from the working class in 1945 – a time when millions of proletarians had recently learned how to shoot – that ensured that the government, which was of course a bourgeois government, made real and lasting concessions on behalf of the ruling class to the working class. Now we live in a time where the majority of people pick their interactive little TV sets all day long and can’t do joined-up writing or converse intelligently about obvious things like self-checkout tills in supermarkets or student loans or advertising.

        It seems like another world now, but the Attlee government wanted to crack down on advertising. It wanted to ban companies from claiming expenditure on advertising as a business expense for tax purposes, or at least to reduce how much of it was claimable. (Perhaps someone should recommend this to Jean-Luc Melenchon – he might be into it.) It also wanted to do something about land law and – the holy of holies of the ruling caste – the private schools. Moral is they should have acted faster. Shouldn’t have joined NATO either.

        The story of the 1951 election may still have to be written. The standard view is that Attlee jeopardised the Labour majority because it might have been difficult to hold an election the following year because the king wanted to go on a long holiday (a “Commonwealth tour” as it was called). Apparently if Attlee had wanted to “go to the king” the following year there could have been a problem because the king might have been on a “royal progress” through Africa or something. Never mind that the king could presumably read a telegram, and even if he couldn’t he could have got a lackey to do it for him. Or he could have left a sealed envelope painted with gold ink on a fancy cushion in Buckingham Palace or something. Or appointed a regent or something. You would have thought the chinless scum who ruled an empire on which the sun never set could have come up with something. I mean what on earth would have happened if the USSR had attacked? But anyway, an election apparently had to be held, and, whoopsadaisy, the Tories won.

        Say what you like about Nye Bevan but he did call the Tory party “lower than vermin” and say that what he wanted was their “complete political extinction”. Credit where it’s due…

        • N_

          Another good effort from Nye Bevan (long before the “naked into the conference chamber” embarrassment):

          Hansard for 2 July 1942:

          The Prime Minister must realise that in this country there is a taunt, on everyone’s lips, that if Rommel had been in the British Army, he would still have been a sergeant. Is that not so? It is a taunt right through the Army. There is a man in the British Army—and this shows how we are using our trained men—who flung 150,000 men across the Ebro in Spain, Michael Dunbar. He is at present a sergeant in an armoured brigade in this country. He was chief of staff in Spain; he won the battle of the Ebro, and he is a sergeant in the British Army. The fact of the matter is that the British Army is ridden by class prejudice. You have got to change it, and you will have to change it. If the House of Commons has not the guts to make the Government change it, events will.

          The ruling class do NOT like hearing such words…

          • Blissex

            Great quote, but the “funny” thing is that at that time the armed forces of the UK were the *least* ridden by class prejudice in the history of the country up to that point, as officer training and promotions had been effectively opened up also to the middle class.

  • Lapsed Agnostic

    Not sure whether this is of any relevance to the ongoing debate around Starmzy, but the likeable (imo) former Corbyn-era Labour MP Thelma Walker – who was running as an Independent but was endorsed by the newly-formed Northern Independence Party* – declared herself (almost certainly correctly) to be the only socialist candidate standing in the Hartlepool by-election, though couldn’t even muster 1% of the vote – and indeed only got two votes more than a recently-convicted sex offender Independent, who claimed that he was only standing “to see how much publicity I can get”.

    Interestingly, the previous Hartlepool Borough Council could, in a sense, have been viewed as the most socialist in Britain, as it ended its term with no less than four representatives of Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party – the party’s only political representation in Britain, I believe – though they only defected from Labour proper because, rather than any disputes about the distribution of wealth in society, they were of the opinion that the latter was guilty of “racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, disability discrimination and a general disrespect towards others.”

    *She wasn’t able to stand as their candidate since the northern monkeys were not apparently able to fill in an Electoral Commission party registration form without messing it up.

    • Lapsed Agnostic

      Alternatively, in a broader sense, the previous Hartlepool Borough Council could be viewed as Britain’s most right-wing, since it was for a time the only one led by the Brexit Party, as well as the only one to feature councillors representing the Veterans & People’s Party (key selling point: Islamophobia) and the Morrissey-endorsed For Britain Movement (key selling point: Islamophobia that’s too de trop even for Gerard Batten-era UKIP) who amusingly sat on opposite sides of the Council chamber. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that the Hartlepool electorate doesn’t appear to be exactly typical of England or the UK: in 2002 the Labour candidate for mayor was beaten by a man in a monkey costume.

      On a related note, I note that, despite having managed to get a yeowoman farmer from deepest Yorkshire with no connections to the monkey-hangers sent to parliament with almost 52% of the vote, the Tories still weren’t able to field a full slate of candidates for their local council elections, or even half a full slate for that matter. Someone’s missing a trick: 14 grand a year or whatever tax-free for attending a handful of meetings is not to be sniffed at – it might even cover a half-decent light & dark habit.

      Which reminds me: former Brexit Party Hartlepool Councillor Dave Mincher provided me with the biggest laugh of the last general election campaign – and, for me, there weren’t many (I’m not generally a big fan of the let’s-drive-a-JCB-into-a-wall-cardboard-boxes-with-Get-Brexit-Done-written-on-them type of slapstick humour – my mother dying didn’t really help either).

      Anyway, to wit:

      Channel 4 News reporter: Would you say you have a big drug problem in Hartlepool?

      Cllr Mincher: Only problem ah have round here, like, is ah can’t sell all mah ****in’ white.

      • Lapsed Agnostic

        Re: first paragraph.

        For clarification: that’s ‘beaten’ as in defeated in the election, rather than beaten up.

      • Tony Laverick

        Your sarcastic comments sum up perfectly the arrogance of the “educated” new gentry. Ordinary people in the old Labour heartlands are fully aware of such disdain and contempt. That’s why they voted for Brexit, partly because to them it represented traditional values, but also, figuratively speaking, to kick people like you in the gonads and stamp on your necks.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply. I may have been ‘educated’ to PhD level, but I’d hardly describe myself as new gentry. I may also not have been born and raised on Teesside, but in my misspent youth I did spend more time in downtown Middlesbrough than Big Yin spent in the Govan shipyards – and, despite its name, Park Lane, Boro isn’t exactly like Park Lane, London, although it’s a bit more chi-chi than the nearby Gresham ward, for example. So I know somewhat of which I write.

          Rather than sneering at what used to be called the lower orders, I generally like most of them and have plenty of sympathy for them, though experience has taught me that the divide between the upstanding, salt-of-the-earth working-class and the near-feral underclass is generally one of those blurred lines than Robin Thicke & Pharrell kept banging on about in every bar you went into a few years ago.

          I hope that the Tories, and particularly Ben Houchen, can bring a revival to Teesside with lots of great new jobs etc. for people – but I have my doubts. I also hope that the heroin-assisted treatment programme currently being piloted at the Fulcrum Centre, Boro can be implemented throughout Teesside (although not supervised injection as its too expensive to administer) – and indeed throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK – almost certainly resulting in burglary & shoplifting rates going through the floor, not to mention better health outcomes for its beneficiaries.

          Finally, I’m sure that many members of the white working class would, quite literally speaking, kick me in the gonads and stamp on my neck, for saying a lot less – or at least try to – but one or two others, after a few pints and a parmo, have been known to put their arm round me and exclaim: “Ah ****in’ love you, man!” only to be met by the (sardonic not sarcastic) rejoinder: “Well at least you don’t love ****in’ me.”

      • Lapsed Agnostic

        In case you missed it, I’ve just found a clip of ex-Cllr Mincher’s bravura Channel 4 News performance on Utube. I’d forgotten that, like his first namesake Cameron (allegedly), he seems to like to having his fun with a pig’s head.

        Dave appears at 3:00 – 6:30 & 9:30 – 11:00, if you’re short on time.

    • DunGroanin

      Smogies always had a chip on their shoulder – a bit of bantz I picked up long ago between Durham and Boro associates who lived in London.

  • Uwontbegrinningsoon

    Mr Murray

    Best of luck at the sentencing. I think your well telegraphed intention to appeal has concentrated minds.

    Starmer and Watson may well have had access to polling which unequivocally pointed towards many seats being majority leavers amongst the previous labour voters and campaigning to remain would alienate many.

    And that was the point. There is a great tweet by Alexi Sayle describing Watson who appeared on a reality tv programme and I think it applies equally to Starmer.

    The changing political situation in Scotland would always make it much harder for Corbyn to pull it off, even without the demonising by the media, but in 2017 he worked miracles and came so close.

    I do wonder if Starmer is as useless as he presents. Wooden performances and his inability to land meaningful punches in exchanges with an extremely unpleasant PM do not give much cause for hope.

    You may well be right.

    • George

      Good luck next week at the sentencing Craig !
      I think it is a complete farce by the legal system to control you. Chipmunk is behind it.

      Starmer was controlled opposition, he lost the election from his approach and attitude to the pub landlord in Bath last month and the use of his minder.

      This similar to Gordon Brown when he had his Rochdale moment with the woman he called a bigot.

      Nigel Farage has made his money and pension out of politics. He again was controlled opposition and now has been paid off by B flair

      The people of the Uk ( that included Scotland) but it will not happen. Because of greed and power.

  • Goose

    What amazes me is the naivety of Labour members about what is happening to their party. Do they think leaders and MPs just arrive on the scene in a wholly organic,natural process? That politicians naturally just emerge from the ether, when there’s so many vested interests out there?

    On the face of it, Starmer has little in common with the Labour party. As DPP he took authoritarian, pro-establishment positions and was no doubt rewarded with a knighthood for that. As leader, he’s never happier than when in the company of security and military personnel. All his appointments, sackings and suspensions, most notably Corbyn, and advisers (like the loathsome Mandelson) show he’s clearly on the political right. And we’re supposed to believe he left a lucrative legal career to join a party then led by the leftish, deeply uninspring Ed Miliband?

    Something doesn’t fit. Who sent him?

  • giyane

    Oh come on, it was fun while it lasted, the ludicrous notion that Starmer was appealing to people in the electorate, rather than driving them headlong into the arms of the Tories. Credit where credit is due, BoJo has surfed a very good covid wave on the intellectual energy of global scientists. But the only wave Starmer waved was a wave goodbye.

    • Goose


      He takes full responsibility. /S

      We can guess what he’ll do next, guided by the likes of the hideous Mandelson and co. He’ll fire any remaining remotely leftish shadow cabinet members and veer even further to the right, chasing the votes of the mythical ‘Mondeo man’ and ‘Worcester woman’ or whatever the latest terminology is for a certain type of voter. So dismally predictable and electorally suicidal imho. Why vote Labour for better conservatism? Starmer’s so politically dumb, he and his ilk haven’t a clue as to why Corbyn sparked so much enthusiasm.

      Labour’s right, listening to the London based media, convinced themselves Corbyn was holding the party back. When in reality, he was nurturing it and propping it up.

      • Lapsed Agnostic

        Angela Rayner’s just got the chop already. Cap-doff to Mystic Goose.

        • Goose

          She’s lost her Chair & national campaign coordinator role, but the Deputy post is an elected position so he can’t fire her. Hell, how frustrating was Tom Watson in that role – he needed firing.

          Because of this, and the fact they’ll have to interact daily I’m going to be cynical and say they jointly agreed this step. A jointly agreed move, to make it look like Starmer is ‘doing something’.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks for clarifying that Goose. My bad for just glancing at the ‘Rayner sacked’ headline on the Beeb News channel over supper. I had the sound turned down, having hit election saturation point earlier in the afternoon.

            On a similar theme, watching his interview on the same channel yesterday, I found it fairly amusing that Sir Starmzy kept repeating his current “We-need-to-listen-to-the-British-people” mantra ad nauseam, when he didn’t appear to be even listening to the British Broadcasting Corporation politics reporter person asking him the simple, non-gotcha question “Are you going to have a Shadow Cabinet reshuffle?”, even though she had the courtesy to repeat it three times.

            Credit where it’s due: at least he didn’t actually cup his hand behind his ear when he said it, like he did a couple days earlier on Channel 4 News – as if he was addressing a remedial class of six-year-olds.

  • mickc

    Not McDonnell, not enough voter appeal. Andy Burnham is likely to have much more appeal, in my view.

    • Goose

      Burnham entered parliament in 2001, he was promoted under Blair and New Labour. That’s not a good sign.

      Remember, he stood to be leader against Corbyn in 2015, and was trounced because he couldn’t state a clear leftish policy platform. He’d buckle under pressure and wouldn’t stand up to the establishment – he’d be thoroughly disappointing. Like khan he’s very much New Labour. .

      • Steve Hayes

        I was never a Burnham supporter because he was so deeply uninspiring. But the event that put Corbyn in the lead was when Harman unilaterally decided to whip the MPs to abstain on the horrendous Tory Welfare Bill “to show the voters that we are listening” (or words to that effect). Corbyn was the only candidate with the courage to defy the whip and his support rocketed. If Burnham hadn’t been a coward then, he’d likely be PM now. The feeling I have is that he’s learned that lesson and I’d give him a hearing now.

    • Ingwe

      Jesus! If you think Burnham is the answer, I’d hate to think of the question. He’s a right-wing, Blairite, make-capitalism-a-little-less-beastly advocate. Not for me thanks.

      • Goose

        See Blair’s resurfaced, looking like he’s been swigging from the false grail.

        Either that,or he’s destroyed his own portrait Dorian Gray style.

  • Paul Short

    Sorry Craig but I think this is taking optimism to George Galloway levels (okay, not that cynically delusional- sorry). Labour has always been the Ruling Class B Team, for when the A-Team, the Tories of course, somehow can’t get elected any more (eg 1997). The difference between past Labour parties and now is that there was always a strong core of socialists in them, which can make basically soft-right Labour Parties like Wilson’s, look quite left wing. The truth is they were no such thing, but the socialists inside Labour prevented the party moving too far right, and even managed some progressive acts. Nothing that wasn’t able to be turned back next time the A-Team was back, but good regardless. Corbyn’s brief sojourn was a desperate move to try to turn back the clock to those times, but the power brokers and the PLP in Labour simply didn’t want that, and blatantly sabotaged him, as we all know. Starmer was business as usual therefore, and rather than some fightback from a minute (if existent at all) left in Labour, the party will almost certainly move further right. McDonnell will be well aware any move to get a left-wing opponent to Starmer’s leadership up, would crash and burn instantly. In fact it is improbable he could even start it. Labour nationally is as much a lost cause for those with leftwing ideas as it is in Scotland. The usual response to this is – well who can be that party? Answer – there isn’t such a party. Nor can one be set up. For a socialist this is not the end of the world – socialism is ground-up, not elected top down, and we fight in the unions, as I have done all my working life, and on the streets (some of that too against fascists in London). The EIS win recently is a case in point. Depressing for those wanting the voting-way to socialism, but we don’t get to make the rules; we just play in the game. Best of luck for Tuesday of course.

  • Fwl

    The Conservative and the Republican parties have always been pragmatic parties without any real noble or idealistic aspirations (some pretend ones from time to time). The Labour and the Democrat parties had ideals, but it is easier to fall than to climb.

    Now when one looks at the parties the Conservatives and the Republican are what they always have been – self serving and pragmatic. Not particularly attractive but they are what they are.

    The Labour Party and the Democrat parties have both lost their ideals, the voters now this and they are less attractive in their fallen state than those who never had ideals to begin with. A choice between laughing devils or fallen angels?

    There is a second reason for Labour’s lack of success in these elections, which is probably specific to the pandemic. In ordinary times voters turn against the Government on what are basically mid-terms so as to give a bloody nose. In a pandemic as in war, voters, rightly or wrongly, want stability. They just don’t want to rock the boat. Hence Labour’s success in Wales because in Wales they are the Government.

    • fonso

      Except the public kicked out Churchill to elect a radical government in 1945. Polling throughout the last year has shown the vast majority of people do not want Britain to ho back to how it was pre-pandemic.Fertile conditions for a Labour leader with an inspiring vision and transformative agenda. Instead Sir Keir Starmer used the last year to attack anyone in the party with such a vision and agenda. The Covid pandemic was a huge opportunity with the public crying out for change and Starmer blew it. Do not believe the official excuse making narratives.

      • Fwl

        Sacking Churchill after the war is consistent with the idea voters seek stability during a crisis. After it’s over they reflect and look for something new. Opposition parties ought to plan for that. After WW2 people expected a new social contract and it was delivered (NHS & education). The party / idea / leader who offers and is believed to be able to deliver a new deal after the pandemic will be potentially more popular than the steady hand leader (yes it’s a bit rich to call Boris the steady hand but that is what he represents).

    • Wikikettle

      The state of the Labour Party was demonstrated by the likes of Hilary Benn in his speech for bombing Syria. His betrayal of Corbyn that day received a standing ovation from the Tories and the media. He was actively plotting against Corbyn. With the likes of Watson and the pro Israel Blair Babes, the party won’t receive its traditional votes. Ken Livingston and Chris Williamson have been expelled. Well done Hillary, I am sure your good father will be rolling in his grave.

  • Mike Ollerton

    My story is leaving Labour as an outcome of a White paper by Blair and Blunkett supporting ‘ability’ grouping. I still voted Labour. When Corbyn was running for leader I rejoined in order to be able to vote for him. Partly to purge the party from Blair’s war criminality. That Johnson can lie and lie whilst Corbyn was unjustly and pathetically accused of anti-semitism demonstrated to power of the right-wing media.

    • Bramble

      Which is all the media – the most damage to Mr Corbyn was done by the Guardian, which is openly now an instrument of secret security state propaganda. Liberals pretend not to notice this, however: they are too anxious to stay in the gang.

      • Baalbek

        A lot of liberals – and if the sleazy grifters running and working for the Guardian aren’t liberals I don’t know what they are – seem quite okay with being in cahoots with the national “security” state.

        Of course they tell their readers, and themselves, that they are fighting nobly to save western society from fascists, misogynists and antisemites and to save the stupid proles from Russian and Chinese mind-control rays…and large numbers of good liberal burghers either agree or are too cowardly to oppose it.

  • Pigeon English

    After reading some posts I came to conclusion that we (Labour) need Nigel Farage if not leader than at least deputy leader or adviser.
    He can talk to the people! Question is do we want to win election or make Britain and world better place? FPTP sucks!!!!!
    That should be Labour, Lib Dem and Greens priority in every election.
    Otherwise is Fascism against National Socialist.

    • Shatnersrug

      You’re living in a fantasy land. The point of the Lib Dem and the greens is to fight labour over the same few seats every election

  • Dermot M O Connor

    Starmer in 2017 (a few months later Corbyn would win more than 40% of the vote, something SIR KEIR DPP has little chance of matching) – and Corbyn did that in the teeth of backstabbing scabs like KS and Jess Philips and the entire Blairite apparatus (Guardian, BBC, etc).

    QUOTE: Labour lost Copeland to the Conservatives, having held the Cumbrian seat since 1935. It is rare for oppositions to lose seats to the governing party.

    Starmer said: “It is a very bad result for the Labour party and we need to be honest about that. A number of things came up, including the direction of travel of the Labour party, Labour’s ability to communicate and understand what people are saying to them and of course the leadership of the Labour party, and we all know that.” …

    “I do think the Labour party needs to be much clearer about what it needs to do, to get from where it is now to getting into power, because 18 points behind in the polls, and losing seats like Copeland, are not the position that any party in opposition that wants to get into power can be in, so there’s a lot of work that needs to be done…

    “Simply having a leadership debate is not going to get us anywhere until we’ve answered those questions, and so I’m up for that debate about what is the direction of travel of the Labour party.”

    “What is important after Copeland and Stoke is that everybody reflects honestly on where that leaves the Labour party and everybody asks themselves, did I need to do everything I could have done, and does anything need to change?

    “You’re not going to solve tomorrow’s problems with yesterday’s answer, whichever part of the Labour party you come from.”

    Starmer hinted that he was starting to think about the kind of platform Labour might need to be a serious contender for government at the next general election.

    “We need to understand how and when the Labour party wins, and it wins and it wins big, rarely. It did it in 45; it did it in the 60s; and it did it in 1997. And each time it did it by glimpsing the future, understanding the challenges ahead, not the challenges behind, and making the government look like yesterday’s goods.”

    Note that KS’s bromide comments as vacuous then as now. “Work to be done”, “Direction of travel”.

    Christ, he’s a Thunderbird puppet.

  • Chris Barclay

    Talk about missing a cow’s arse with a banjo. Labour’s candidate in Hartlepool should have been a working-class Northerner who voted for Brexit. Instead Labour decided to stick two fingers up at the people of Hartlepool and selected a posh man who grew up in the south and who had worked to overthrow the referendum decision. Add to that he had been part of the decision to remove the A&E facility from Hartlepool’s hospital and had already been rejected by the voters of Stockton in 2019. The people of Hartlepool were also treated to Labour dignitaries self-righteously claiming the moral high ground, despite the by-election only coming around because the former Labour MP has been accused of sexual harassment and victimisation, accusations that may yet turn into criminal charges.

    • Wally Jumblatt

      (parachuting in the wrong candidate)
      Well that’s a lesson these London-controlled parties never learn.

  • DunGroanin

    I keep thinking what is the best way out of the unavoidable trap that has sprung.

    I keep coming back to use the populism weapon that has been used against the English voter – populism. Yes the Corbynite grassroots resurgence did really come out of honest impulse. Unlike the foreign billionaire funded, social media mesmerised top down BrexShit. But that genuine grassroots has been muffled with a pillow aimed at killing it. Starmer and Phillips and co no doubt were making sure no cameras were watching when they didn’t keep a straight face but punched the air and danced around whooping in delight as the results came in, celebrating a further ‘I can’t breathe’ sigh from the Labour supporters.

    So … to use their weapon against them and to do judo, to turn this trap into a attack – my opinion is moving to the breakaway NOW.
    Labour as a party is being killed by Starmer and co as the last coup grass of Blairism. That is their purpose.

    The moment is ripe for the GilleteJaunes in France to find the way between Macron and Le Pen in their 4th year of activism.

    Alba has led the way with not being afraid of killing your corrupted nest.

    Labour MP’s recently honestly elected under Corbyn against all odds need to take a deep breath and …CHARGE!!!

    I expect best part of the half a million will follow.

    I would actually join a political party for the first and last time in my life if such a genuine grassroots party launched. I think so would many like me. And the young will vote for the NEW.

    • Tony Laverick

      You live in a world of fantasy and your use of the word Brexshit proves it. Why don’t you switch on your critical faculties and work out why, despite the monumental pro-EU propaganda campaign, traditional Labour heartlands voted for Brexit? One small clue can be found in the Swing riots of 1830 when the down-trodden told their “betters” to “Employ your own poor, damn, blast and bugger your eyes!”

      • DunGroanin

        They voted BrexShit because of Austerity.
        A political choice by outgoing NuLabInc continued by coalition Tories and sell out LibDems.
        And were told that it was the EU’s fault.
        And even then the suspiciously astronomic turnout was necessary in some areas.

        Is that real enough for you?

      • Bayard

        They voted for Leave because the Tory government, the same government that had harried the poor relentlessly every day that they were in power, were for Remain. No matter that the main Brexiteers were Tories too, the government was for Remain and, with Project Fear, the government was promising great pain for the hated middle class if the UK left the EU.

        • DunGroanin

          The stance of being for Remain was just that, a pose.
          Tories, NuLabInc and Clegg’s Dems were party to it too.
          Cameron and Osborne and the rest of the above have all gone off to enjoy their millionaire lifestyles. The likes of Campbell, Mandy and the ever more Sick Bob resembling Blair having been further engaged to put back into the coma the Labour Party that woke up by the hubristic game that let Corbyn in followed by a party that bludgeoned to 600k members as his babes and bastards went for the insta knife in the back and front and generate the AS slur because the Spring surprise election by May failed to dislodge him.
          Starmer having resigned once came back in the second time and then hijacked the BrexShit policy at the 2018 conference.
          The major mistake the Corbynites made was not firing him there and then for disrespecting the referendum, which Corbyn, an actual remainer, had conceded on the day of the result – as the Chickencoupers launched their putsch immediately against their new leader, regardless of the outcome of the referendum.

          The constant attempt by posters here to rewrite that history is obvious. I for one am not going to let it pass unchallenged.

  • Baalbek

    I wonder how many of the 600k Labour Party members who joined the Party because of Jeremy Corbyn are actually leftists of the “old school” economic/class politics variety.

    In a recent interview (link below), Corbyn went on about racism and BLM and offered up stale and cliched platitudes about equality, fairness etc. whilst giving short shrift to economic issues, the bread and butter of the left before it went Blairite and became the IdPol obsessed left wing of neoliberalism.

    Listening to him talk I couldn’t imagine many Leave voters in the north of England buying into a Labour platform that foregrounded moral posturing of the sort Corbyn was nattering on about. And of course they didn’t, which is one of the reasons Labour was, and is, being trounced by a two-bit Trumpian grifter like Boris Johnson.

    If the Labour Party (and the left generally) wants to regain the support of the working class it has to drop identity politics and again focus on class politics. There is no other way.

    • Goose

      That’s a good point. Progressives are a disparate bunch encompassing everything from anti-poverty and anti-war campaigners, through to constitutional / democratic reformers. Woke is a silly distraction.

      I think what unites them all is they yearn for the type of leader who has a conscience. There’s a remarkable short supply of such people in US/ UK western leadership roles, as having a conscience is viewed as weakness. Not being a tool of US hegemony is vitally important after what Blair did.

    • ronan1882

      Corbyn’s economic platform saw him increase Labour’s vote share in 2017 by more than any of the party’s leaders since 1945. He achieved that while remaining steadfast on equality and fairness (and by respecting the referendum result). Working-class people are not “anti-woke”, knuckle dragging bigots and racists.

      • Bramble

        Nor are they Thatcherite worshippers of greed and power who shit on “stale” ideas like equality and fairness.

  • Goose

    On the ‘leadership challenge’ point.

    It needs ~ 40MPs(20% PLP) to trigger I believe, there’s only 34 (iirc) in the Socialist Campaign Group. I suspect Starmer & Evans will probably move at conference to change the rules to make that path even harder. Another problem is the membership simply isn’t there anymore, were there to be a contest with a viable LW alternative candidate. Who’d pay subs to party that spies on your social media posts looking for reasons to expel you; one that is constantly attacking your views and generally holds you in contempt. Then those people expect loyalty, fuck that for a game of foot soldiers.

  • Mike Davies

    Hi Craig,

    I am in the Labour party, on the Left and a delegate to my local GC. *How* can I take back Labour ?


  • Soothmoother

    It looks like a lefty meltdown on here. Do you believe Mr. Murray that Ms. Sturgeon and her underlings conspired to put Mr. Salmond in the slammer illegally? If it is true, the British State knows this and she is most probably under their control.

    The left is no more and the working class is forgotten. The media pushes propaganda, the left woke politics and the right lines it’s pockets. Divide and conquer has succeeded.

    It’s just a game to Mr. Murray and establishment idiots like Sturgeon, Salmond, Blackford, Starmer, Johnson, laughing lunatic Hancock etc.

    A major clearout is needed.

  • Dave

    Disagree. The right should be granted their wish to “double-down” fast, the faster and harder the better, because those c***s won’t give up until they have been totally and utterly humiliated and everybody knows it.

    Yesterday was a start, but we need more, much more. And if self-important numpties like Wes Streeting and Jess Philips get appointed to senior positions so they can f*** up in spectacular style, so much the better.

    Maybe CLPs can get a motion through Conference on de-selecting MPs. It maybe the only way to get rid of the “moderate” tossers.

  • Ross

    Has to be Ian Lavery.

    There is no way he would have meekly capitulated to the Zionist mob. Corbyn’s problem throughout his leadership was an inability to conceive of his critics acting purely out of bad faith. He always wanted to compromise with them, concede something, and broker a peace. His only response to the lies and smears put out by the israel lobby should have been to identify the groups responsible, and explain their motivations for attacking him. That would have shut the smears down rapidly, because one thing Zionists don’t want, is a politician with a national platform calling out their tactics.

    Lavery’s first act as leader should be to expel Starmer from the party, detailing his role in pandering to Zionist activists, in exchange for a cessation of hostilities. He should also make it clear that any Labour MP who gives so much as a hint of support for such lies in the future, will be immediately expelled from the party. No debate, no conversation, no mealy mouthed apology. You are out, and at the next election additional resources will be deployed to make sure you lose the seat.


    As is so often true, the left is right and the right is wrong. I know it’s trite but it seems a good axiom.

    Keir Starmer is Blair 2.0. An agent of the right sent in to destroy Corbyn and all he stood for. But for all his faults, Blair was a savvy politician. Starmer lacks even the basics.

    I despair, but we must not. Anger would be a better emotion.

    Thanks again for the post – I know it must be hard under the shadow of your own persecution.

    Thinking of you Mr Murray. Stay strong.

    • Coldish

      AAMVN (01.47): Starmer was already being suggested as Labour party leader within 10 days of being first elected to parliament in 2015. Was Corbyn even a leadership candidate then? Might Starmer’s initial target have been Ed Miliband, who was himself regarded as too far ‘left’ and too friendly with the trade unions for comfort?

      • Blissex

        «Starmer was already being suggested as Labour party leader within 10 days of being first elected to parliament in 2015.»

        Starmer was a barrister up to 2008 when he was zoomed up to the DPP post, then after the end of that in 2013 he spent 2014 pondering about politics, and was then zoomed up in 2015 to one of the safest MP seats in the UK, and then again zoomed up in 2016 to be a full shadow secretary of state, and in the critical area of brexit, and then in 2020 zoomed up again to leader of the opposition. An amazingly fast rise, leaving behind many people who had been slogging it for years.

      • Giyane


        Sex using a condom is about as biological as a wedge of plastic cheese doorstop. The no doubt biological urge for sex is a device for continuing the human species and marriage is a. device for ensuring that the species is protected when it is young. If it’s not doing that , then divorce followed by another protective relationship.

        Since I was born a Christian and the church in my lifetime has always been a kind of woke singing club and intellectual vacuum, I got zero help from the church in my divorce. Like the state, it forces the children to be placed in the care of the mother in nearly all cases on the assumption that it is always the father who is chasing sexual biological urges at the expense of the interests of the children.

        In the absence of good advice from this society, or from the state, or from the church, I was driven to enquire about other religions . OK so the rules might seem excessive if your base point is absolute and unmitigated freedom.

        But little by little it dawns on one that the purpose of our lives is not necessarily to pursue our biological urges to destruction. I’m not trying to stop anybody else who wants to do that, but if anybody wants guidance about anything, the manufacturer’s instructions is a good place to start. How best to use your lawn mower or human machine.

        As I have said before , I am not a socialist, I’m a Muslim. If so plastic that it can incorporate neo-conservative aggression and neo-liberal QE economics that artificially makes our economy stronger than everybody else’s, the what kind of socialism simply looks after No 1 at the expense of all other considerations?

        Answer: Starmerism. Corbynism by contrast recognised the international dimension of socialism, that our vision must extend to our neighbours. That is what Blairites want to block, the detestable concept of stopping us from colonising and destroying other countries.

        Outrageous, disgusting, beyond the pale of human comprehension. Tun Wells Sunday morning.

  • Blissex

    «It is time now to announce a leadership challenge. It has to come from John McDonnell.»

    I think that the corbynistas would even vote for Owen Smith at this point.

    «The Labour victory was in itself seen by Starmer’s backers as an event to be avoided, and Starmer’s job was to mitigate any Labour victory.»

    Let’s listen with reverence to the master of winning elections: 🙂

    Tony Blair says he wouldn’t want a left-wing Labour party to win an election

  • Barbara Hillier

    Yes, absolutely! I’m one of those left-wingers (socialists) who left the Labour Party after Starmer won the leadership. I’ve been appalled by Starmer’s stance on almost everything. His recent dismissal of Angela Raynor whilst claiming to ‘take responsibility’ would be laughable if it wasn’t so depressing.

    I initially felt guilty that I hadn’t stayed on to fight from within but I realise that the Labour Party is as opposed to socialist policies as the Tories.

  • Elspeth Parris

    Many of us have been agitating for a leadership challenge for ages, we can’t understand why it hasn’t yet happened. I don’t, however, think it should be McDonnell, though of course, he could start the process and then withdraw when a more suitable candidate steps forward.

  • nevermind

    Thanks for the excellent come on Craig, I wish you would have focused less on peoples proclivities and more on what keeps them alive.
    Those who believe in communities,equality and a sustainable future should take a hard look at why Sophie Scholl, who would have been 100 years old this year, 80 years after her death, took up to remonstrate with the fascist regime in Germany.

    In her early twenties she was arrested more than once and eventually guillotined for treason, her crime was to disseminate leaflets of the white rose network to the public, at university and places of work. Her disillusionment with the all incumbent Nazi propaganda in education and just about all teaching institutions in Germany as well as her religious convictions were paramount to what drove her to do what she did.
    I’m with Dungroanin on this matter. The existing right wing cabal that has taken on Labours name and changed the party to suit their right wing ideas must be swept aside, or failing that a new party created that does not act up to the MSM and focuses on the needs of voters, not just at elections, but at all times.
    The voting system lies at the heart of this continuing shambles, controlled as it is by the powers of right wing moguls and establishment figures. If those thousands of young people that left Labour disillusioned after the wooden peg/p..k took over with his cupboard full of skeletons and controlled by nefarious dark forces Mandelson applies to, if their future needs and aspirations can’t be taken seriously, then there is no hope left.
    The focus must change to the needs of the future, away from the bank balances and strings attached by those who will always have enough to live on, relying on the same prospects and celebrity self servers that have got us to this point in time, will only exacerbate the situation.
    Those in the MSM who target unity and common understanding/community spirit as they have done with Corbyn, should be shunned and attacked for the divisions they perpetuate on behalf of a minority in this country, power must be decentralised and controlled in a fair proportional manner.
    Leaving such an important task to the parties currently in existence is not an option anymore. Starmer is the dead parrot, however much prodded by the media to wake up and do their bidding, he has failed and the Labour party has beens in their rickety vehicle should not faze us, total renewal is the only option left if there is any hope to be had, imho.

    a little more about Sophie Scholl

    • Giyane


      1/ Education in Britain is glorification and no lo get about teaching us to understand life
      2/ Democracy has been hijacked by the Tories for the Tories and their Tory clones like Nicola Sturgeon
      3/ .Party politics is now like a clothes shop where all.of the clothes are made of nylon. Why not wear a dustbin bag instead at 50p for a roll of 20?

      The consensus of British politics is based on the lie that we have deterrents and WMD, but we use economics and mercenaries as deniable proxies to impose our will on the rest off the world. That is colonialism by another name. Britain has never ceased to be an Empire and it will.never achieve greatness until it changes its Empire mentality.

      Why not just use plastic bags for clothing? Because there’s so much more in life than self- interest.
      Cotton breathes and international collaboration breathes. No. Stick em in plastic bags and tell em they are clothes with pretty patterns on.

    • David Ganz

      Worth looking at how radical the Weisse Rose were in terms of the resistance they urged:

      Sabotage in Rüstungs- und kriegswichtigen Betrieben, Sabotage in allen Versammlungen, Kundgebungen, Festlichkeiten, Organisationen, die durch die nationalsozialistische Partei ins Leben gerufen werden. Verhinderung des reibungslosen Ablaufs der Kriegsmaschine (einer Maschine, die nur für einen Krieg arbeitet, der allein um die Rettung und Erhaltung der nationalsozialistischen Partei und ihrer Diktatur geht). Sabotage auf allen wissenschaftlichen und geistigen Gebieten, die für eine Fortführung des gegenwärtigen Krieges tätig sind – sei es in Universitäten, Hochschulen, Laboratorien, Forschungsanstalten, technischen Büros. Sabotage in allen Veranstaltungen kultureller Art, die das “Ansehen” der Faschisten im Volke heben könnten. Sabotage in allen Zweigen der bildenden Künste, die nur im geringsten im Zusammenhang mit dem Nationalsozialismus stehen und ihm dienen. Sabotage in allem Schrifttum, allen Zeitungen, die im Solde der “Regierung” stehen, für ihre Ideen, für die Verbreitung der braunen Lüge kämpfen.

    • Soothmoother

      Thanks for sharing that, I had never heard of her.

      Very moving and humbling.

      I have a feeling that it will be our women who will save society from it’s downward spiral!

    • Soothmoother

      So thanks again. I just watched the film:

      As a male, why is it that I am so moved by the unjust death of a beautiful female soul (aged only 21) and less for her brother and comrades?

      Some kind of internalised bias I suppose!

      Is she on the list of feminist icons?

    • Lapsed Agnostic

      More thanks for posting that Nevermind and for the Wiki link. Aptly, Fraulein Scholl – surely an exemplar that few of us, our generous host perhaps being one, could even begin to match – would have been exactly 100 years old today (9th May). Interestingly and perhaps even more tragically, her older sister – who went on to marry Sophie’s boyfriend, one of the last Germans to make it out of the Stalingrad kessel without the company of any vengeance-hungry Soviets – did live to be 100. A hundred years and one day to be exact.

      Whilst I wouldn’t equate the current Labour leadership with the Nazis just yet, in my view they’re defo taking baby steps in that general direction.

  • Greg Park

    Polly Toynbee, The Guardian, Mon 16 Nov, 2020

    “Starmer puts no foot wrong, aiming at his targets with a sharp-shooter’s eye, every elephant trap sidestepped. They can’t pin anti-patriotism or anti-security on this state prosecutor. Next they will challenge Labour to vote down a Brexit deal, trying to expose Starmer the remainer. But that’s easily avoided by abstaining: of course Labour can’t vote down a deal, when even a damagingly inadequate deal struck by Johnson would still be better than none.”

    Great piece here by Daniel Finn
    Under Starmer’s Leadership, Labour is on the Road to Nowhere

    • Giyane

      Greg Park

      I’ve driven her. My chauffeur boss got me to drive a businessman to London in his 7 series BM, then collect P Toynbee in it and bring her up to Brum. Then park up the BM . I was sitting on the bus home and my boss called: ‘ aren’t you going to take P Toynbee back to London? ‘ No, I’m on the way home.

      I suppose she just thought she was getting VIP treatment on the way up and had been downgraded to a Rover back to London

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