Friday, December 11, 2015

Corbyn's top priority for internal reform should be changing the nominations system for Labour leadership elections

Some of Stephen Bush's political predictions this year have proved uncannily accurate (admittedly he didn't call the general election correctly but was much closer than most), so we should probably take heed of his claim that Corbynistas are increasingly confident of being able to remain in control of the Labour party for the next decade, and that anti-Corbynistas are increasingly despondent about their chances of averting that fate.  If that's true, the first thought that occurs to me is that it makes an SDP-style split highly likely at some point between now and 2020.  The only reason that Blairites are still rubbishing the idea of a breakaway party is that they're still trying desperately to convince themselves that Corbyn is just a passing nightmare.  To use a Daisley-esque analogy, it's a bit like the Arab reaction immediately after the Six Day War - it's initially hard to believe that something that happened so quickly can possibly have such lasting consequences.  But it only took Mrs Thatcher a couple of weeks to seize control of the Conservative party from Edward Heath, and nothing was ever the same again.  The Tory "wets" eventually accepted that harsh reality, and if the Labour right start to do the same now, it's hard to see how they will reach any other logical conclusion than that their future lies in a different party.  It might take a few years to emotionally reconcile themselves to that logic, however.

The second thought that occurs to me is that Bush's belief that Corbynism is safe depends entirely on Corbyn himself not voluntarily standing down.  He'll be almost 71 by the time of the next general election, so it's hardly inconceivable that a health or stamina issue might crop up.  If he does decide to step aside for any reason, it's far from certain that whoever he anoints as his preferred successor will even get onto the ballot paper in the subsequent leadership election, because he or she would require nominations from 15% of Labour MPs, who won't feel under the same obligation to 'play fair' that they might do if it was a question of renominating Corbyn himself.  So I would have thought the left's most urgent internal reform priority should be to give themselves an insurance policy by changing the nomination system.  Perhaps the most elegant solution would be to allow nominations from constituency parties to be taken into account.

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You might be interested in Alasdair Soussi's article about the Scotland Bill on the Al Jazeera website, which includes quotes from myself, James Mitchell, Paul Cairney, and (brace yourselves) Duncan Hothersall.  You can read it HERE.

36 comments:

  1. Glasgow Working ClassDecember 11, 2015 at 8:33 PM

    James, I do not bet but knew Cameron would win. The shambles and tablets of stone from Milliband were embarrasing. A labour friend of mine had his head in his hands with embarrassment.
    As for Thatcher she was groomed for dunkies to get rid of Heath in fact some trade unionists were crapping themselves because they knew her politics and they would be attacked and were. The untold story about Heath is he did one of the best pay deals ever as he tied pay rises to inflation up to £4 which was a lot in those days.
    Corbyn will try and hang in even if he knows Labour will lose the next election. He has his own causes.

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    1. You have friends?---how quaint.

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  2. There is an alternative to the SDP route - cross the floor. Join the Conservatives. New Labour and Cameronite Conservatism are pretty much in the same place anyway. What are they waiting for? Defectors are like trophies to the party that wins them over. They will be assured competitive seats to contest in the inevitable tory landslide - whereas, under the Corbyn, they'd be f*cked for re-election.

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    1. Glasgow Working ClassDecember 11, 2015 at 9:32 PM

      The joke Nat sis are more likely to cross the floor.

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    2. If Hilary Benn's "better than sex" speech is anything to go by, he's simply waiting for the Tories to embrace "socialism".

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  3. Be very interesting the watch the developing situation in Syria.

    I do not think the utter quagmire this could become for Cameron/Osborne has yet been appreciated.

    If it does indeed become a massive albatross round the Tory Party's brass neck, it will mean that Corbyn's objections/stance is completely reassessed by voters.

    Military interventions/wars can just as easily break a Government/Party as boost it.

    Opinion polls are already showing a very substantial shift away from support for bombing Syria and look to continue in that vein.

    The next few months/year could prove to be disastrous for Porky's Pal and his Camp Followers.................

    Even forgetting the EU.

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  4. Glasgow Working ClassDecember 11, 2015 at 10:11 PM

    When you are fighting facists polls are irrelevant. I suspect many in the SNP support fighting fascism but have been silenced. Scots will never accept this vile IS bunch of gangsters who want to spread their poison worldwide and have succeeded to a certain extent.

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    1. Daesh/ISIL were formerly known by various names, the last being Al Quaeda in Iraq (AQI)

      Where they got their arms/funding from is a matter of conjecture, however, this summer, a some US Govt papers were declassified and obtained by an American conservative educational foundation, Judicial Watch.

      The following is a brief summary of what they contained -


      "According to new documents from the (US) Defense Intelligence Agency, obtained by Judicial Watch, the United States knew all too well that arming moderates would actually result in the arming of extremists, but looked the other way in the interest of undermining the Assad regime.

      For starters, the documents show that the Pentagon was fully aware of al-Qaeda’s key placement within the Syrian opposition.

      “AQI supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media.”

      The report then shows that the Pentagon was briefed on the rise of the Islamic State.

      The report then shows that the Pentagon was briefed on the rise of the Islamic State.

      “If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime,” reads the DIA report, dated August of 2012.

      The documents also make mention of the possible collusion between various terrorist groups in the region.

      “ISIL could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.”

      Yet, even with these predictions, the United States government went ahead in arming the so-called moderate factions. Whether this was a gamble on the part of US intelligence, or a show of solidarity with allies who have knowingly funded the Islamic State – like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar – is impossible to say."

      Interesting stuff.

      Did the US actually help create the monster they and others are now trying to destroy?

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    2. James - apologies for going a tad off-topic, but I was trying to address a point made by McGibbon about us all fighting IS.

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    3. Glasgow Working ClassDecember 11, 2015 at 11:52 PM

      David, we can speculate about rumour and who did what but IS need to be dealt with now. The USA are not the inventors of the dark side of politics. Our ancestors did not behave well.

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    4. I want that bunch of nuts stopped as much as anyone else - I just disagree about the best way to do it and one which will only put more innocents at risk and play into a narrative that will only increase Daesh's reach/followers.

      The point about those US papers was that they were not romours, the were factual accounts of what the US Intel community were saying about the potential for AQI/ISIL to grow, strengthen and spread.

      Those worries now seem very prophetic, to me.

      The history of that Group is complicated and very, very dirty - and does not seem to cast the US and its allies in a particularly good light.

      It is imperative that Daesh be dealt with - but that does not mean that their origins/weapon-suppliers/backers should be ignored or whitewashed.

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    5. Glasgow Working ClassDecember 12, 2015 at 12:13 AM

      I would not accept those papers as the truth. A wise man once said that in time of war the truth must be disguised in a veil of lies.

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    6. Considering that those papers were stamped all over with US Intel stamps and were released by the US Intel community itself, I fail to follow your "logic".

      But, feel free to keep using a snorkel as your head is obviously stuck up somewhere it should't really be.

      The papers are nor a matter of public record in the US.

      Feel free to ignore that fact as well - or to construct whatever conspiracy theory around them, you wish.

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    7. Should have read - "are NOW a matter of public record in the US"

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    8. Glasgow Working ClassDecember 12, 2015 at 12:48 AM

      The Normandy Landings are now public record. Get a grip David.

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    9. Not for the first time McGibbon, you are merely highlighting the fact that you have the intellect of a house-brick.

      Apologies to all house-bricks out there.


      Still writing Trump's speeches?


      Nite Nite, Dummy.

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  5. I wonder if you are underestimating just how old-fashioned Corbyn is. His spiritual home seems to lie in the 1980s or earlier when Labour had a real measure of internal democracy (if you ignore the often dodgy role of union bloc votes).

    It's ironic that Labour introduced one (wo)man one vote in the 1990s to try to improve party democracy and then plunged straight into a Blairite personality cult where the only role of the members was to follow the leader's dictates.

    It looks as though Corbyn may genuinely want to reverse this and restore democratic debate and decision-making. This may be a forlorn hope: the Facebook and Twitter generation often look keener on celebrity culture and trolling than on reasoned debate.

    I suspect Corbyn might not be unhappy to stand down himself if he thought he had managed to put real democratic structures in place. But I agree that would have to include a better way of electing the party leader.

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  6. When SNP economists predicted oil at $120 a barrel, do you think they missed a decimal point out?

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    1. When you thought that comment was on-topic, should you have gone to Specsavers?

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    2. Glasgow Working ClassDecember 11, 2015 at 10:30 PM

      I did not know the SNP had economists but you should never predict anything. Petrol is going at under a quid a litre apparantly. Never had a car always use privatised buses and trains!

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    3. In that case, so did the Dept of Energy and Climate Change, who produced the same figures in Westminster.

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    4. In fact,the Dept.of Energy and Climate Change actually predicted a higher figure,a fact that seems to have escaped or been conveniently forgotten by our Unionist friends

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    5. In fact,the Dept.of Energy and Climate Change actually predicted a higher figure,a fact that seems to have escaped or been conveniently forgotten by our Unionist friends

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    6. Erm, the UK government promised a massive oil boom with jobs protected if we voted No. What happened to that?

      Cameron Promises 200bn oil boom

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  7. "When you thought that comment was on-topic, should you have gone to Specsavers?"

    Is this not a 'pro-independence blog'? If so, I would have thought that it is very much 'on topic'

    I assume it was the same SNP 'economists' who, desperate to cast off the 'milestone' of sterling, advocated joining the 'successful' euro in c2000. Perhaps it was the same economists who then advocated a sterling currency union in 2014?

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    1. Oh for the love of God. You're commenting on a blogpost, not on the entire concept of the blog. You could at least have had the decency to start your comment with : "Sincere apologies for going WAY off-topic with this blatant trolling, folks, but..."

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    2. Glasgow Working ClassDecember 11, 2015 at 11:26 PM

      You miss the point where the SNP come from. They do not care if Independence wrecks the economy and whatever currency is being used. That is just a short term crisis for them. Independence at any cost is their goal. The enemy for them is England and Britain.

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    3. And George Osborne is doing a great job with the economy at the present time?

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    4. £1.5 trillions in debt and counting and how the unionists in Scotland love him for it!

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  8. Corbyn is just another BritNat: ignorant and arrogant in his attitude towards Scotland and its people.

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  9. Why are you so obsessed with Corbyn James? He is a unionist (calling himself an internationlist to justify in his English mind, Scotland's captivity by the UK) who will never do anything for Scotland even in the unlikely instance of ever being able to do anything meaningful in England.

    All that is relevant to us in Scotland is that due to his weakness politically - for he lacks ruthlessness - England is going to condemn us to Tory governments for the next 30 years. And even in the unlikely event of his ever purging English Labour and getting it back on track, he is not going to further the cause of Scottish independence.

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    1. Glasgow Working ClassDecember 12, 2015 at 3:51 PM

      He is a Unionist among other things so why would he promote independence!

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  10. Re. Mr Corbyn's thoughts, beliefs and opinions on the direction or machinations of the Labour Party I am with Clark Gable as Rhett when he says "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn"

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  11. We can't even vote for Corybn anyway here in Scotland. Scottish Labour are an 'autonomous party' which 'decide their own policies' independently of English Labour.

    Unless SLAB are Carmichaeling about this?

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