Tag Archives: labour

On Corbyn, And Lenin


On Labour, And Accountability

A week ago a piece of paper appeared through the door.Would I care to vote for XXX XXX, the Labour candidate for the forthcoming London Assembly elections?

I emailed back thus to the relevant address:

“Many thanks for your suggestion that I vote for you in the elections for the London Assembly. As a long time Labour supporter I find it impossible to vote for a party led by an apologist for terrorists with a director of strategy and communications who is an apologist for Stalin. Perhaps you would let me know when you decide to return to the path of liberal democracy, and I will reconsider my decision. Yours in deepest sadness…”

A week later and no reply.

Do you think Old Labour is relying on its core votes and refusing to engage with anyone who might need persuading of its strategy? Do they think this will win them the next election?

On The Minimum Wage

A while back one of our offspring found themselves in a part-time holiday job in the services industry. It swiftly became obvious that the employer was not only not paying the legal minimum wage, he was not even paying the amount his employees had been promised.

Said employer operated a business in one of the most affluent areas in the country, and was charging customers accordingly. Our offspring did not need the money to stay afloat; some colleagues, though, were supporting families on that sub-standard wage.

Let’s just say the authorities became involved, and a degree of back pay was handed over.

There is a wonderful row raging back and forth this week, with some bosses of big quoted companies saying the requirement to pay, to over 25s only, a living wage will impact on their profits and require them to put up prices. This view is also held by the employers’ organisations. Oddly enough.

Some also claim it will put upwards pressure on wages generally, because employees slightly up the food chain will not want to be paid the same as those at the bottom.

Business supporters of the Government are in a bit of a quandary, though, because the measure was brought in by Prime Minister In Waiting George Osborne. Therefore other employers say, grudgingly, that it will put pressure on profits but it can be absorbed.

My take: if your business model requires you to pay poverty level wages, possibly topped up by tax credits, your business model is unviable. Threatening to put up prices is the equivalent of putting a gun to the customer’s head and saying, give us the money or he or she gets it.

Osborne’s move shows why he will be in charge by the 2020 election. One, it scuppers Labour’s claim to be the only party of the poorly paid.

Two, it chimes with people’s feelings that, as they get more prosperous, that prosperity should be spread around. And their guilt that the person serving them with expensive drinks, coffee, meals, consumer goods, whatever, that they can increasingly afford is being exploited. Or on a zero hours contract.

Bear in mind that many of us are launching our offspring onto the jobs market, whether part time or at the start of their career, and are equally concerned that they are being exploited. See our experience, above.

Four, it sends a dog whistle message. Don’t think unscrupulous employers can import appallingly paid migrants, exploit them and do you out of a job. We won’t let them.

Pure genius.

On Corbynism, An Inclusive Church?

met Yvette Cooper once, and I can report that she is a great deal more charming in person than she appears in the media. She is, however, known to most punters for just one thing, being married to Ed Balls.

She did not strike me then as a potential future Prime Minister. Her career consists of  a succession of policy wonk jobs, a brief foray into political journalism and various ministerial posts, none of them the really senior ones in Government. Nothing outside the Westminster Bubble.

I had literally never heard of Liz Kendall before the leadership race, not being part of that Bubble, and I still have trouble remembering her name. Liz Kershaw? Liz Kerslake? My fault, I am sure.

Andy Burnham strikes me as a Blair-lite apparatchik without a principled bone in his body.

Is this really the best the main opposition party can muster?

Apparently not, because into the fray came, blinking in surprise, someone who would appear to be a genuine individual, with principles, possibly even an inner life. I have explained why, with reference to Daughter, a staunch Labour activist, the grass roots of the party have swung so far to the left without anyone apparently noticing.

Jeremy Corbyn has some very odd views, though, the imposition of which, we discovered throughout the history of the previous century, led to economic disaster. Or something much, much worse.

He also has some very odd friends. Middle Eastern terrorists, the occasional Holocaust denier. It is one of the odd facts of politics that the extreme left often ends in bed with religious extremists because of their mutual loathing of the US and Israel. Just think of George Galloway.

Attacks on Corbyn, on this basis, are having some unpleasant consequences. Attackers are seen as friends of Israel, and you do not have to look very hard on Twitter to come across what looks like explicit examples of anti-Semitism from his followers, or people who claim to be.

Corbyn has so far dodged this one and is clearly not himself anti-semitic. But it is something that his hundreds of thousands of supporters might care to consider, on perusing those Twitter feeds.

PS: Scroll forward to 2020. Prime Minister Corbyn takes office as President Trump nears his second term. As the man asked, is there life on Mars?

On The Labour Party

A nice lady came around the other day from the Labour Party. She was here to talk to Daughter, who is a party member and very active at her university.

Having let the dogs out to run her off the estate, I began to ponder Daughter’s support for Thigmoo, or This Great Movement Of Ours, as Labour Party people used to refer to it.

She has precious little choice. When I was a student, in the 1970s, the choice for the radical leftist was the various Trotskyist splinter groups* or, for the more fuddy-duddy, the Communist Party. Neither option seems to be around today.

The Labour Party existed on campus, but more as an extension of the party nationally. By no means cutting edge.

One has to wonder if the unexpected success among the Labour grass roots of the hard left Jeremy Corbyn, initially dismissed as a joke when he entered the Labour leadership contest but now ahead in some of the polls, has to do with the arrival, largely unnoticed, of hordes of young leftists. The party is startlingly cheap to join, even for students.

This means Labour may be about to select the fourth unelectable leader in my lifetime at the behest of a large number of people who, in another era, would not be party members. Or would be opposed as entryists, the name formerly given Trots and communists who tried to join in order to influence policy. Oh, the irony.

Incidentally, I would be ashamed of Daughter if she were anything else at her age. God forbid some Tory Libertarian, always banging on about Ayn Rand.

(*In my youth there was a splinter group known as the Communist Party of Great Britain. Nothing to do with the CP, or for that matter GB, the only country they approved of was Albania. They had an unusual membership policy.

If a member was accused of deviationism, or incorrect thoughts, the entire membership voted to expel him or her. If they passed, fine. If not, then they were expelled, and a similar vote was taken on any who had supported them. And so on, and so on, in an endlessly recursive process.

As a party, they were very small, but very ideologically pure.)