Alastair's Blog

Return to:  Blog | Articles | Videos RSS feed

Corbyn has won, the fundamentals are unchanged, non-Corbyn PLP must fill policy vacuum

Posted on 24 September 2016 | 6:09am

Ok first things first. WHOOSH BREAKING NEWS … Jeremy Corbyn has won and probably by a considerable margin.

In the hope some of the broadcasters read this – thanks for your interest in my views but today is not a day to pee on the JC parade. So thanks for the bids, but no I won’t be rushing to studios in London or Liverpool or anywhere else.

However nor should anyone imagine that the basic fundamentals which led to the failed challenge have changed. Indeed the real danger is that Corbyn takes his victory as a green light to continue as he has done since becoming leader in the first place.

Let’s be clear what that means. It means talking the talk of ‘reaching out’ while in most actions and deeds making clear that the real loathing of the Corbynistas is for non Corbynistas in the Party, not the Tory government. It means trying to deselect people like Peter Kyle, the one MP who won a seat from the Tories last time out. It means a shadow cabinet and PLP getting frustrated once again at the lack of leadership on policy making and decision making. It means further moves to policies, positions and a style of politics that are likely to alienate rather than attract people we need to attract to have any hope of power.

It means the consolidation in the Party of a hard left that has always seen Labour either as an enemy or as a vehicle for its own politics, not a force it wishes to see in government. It means more sway for the posh boy revolutionaries who call a lot of the shots in the ‘social movement’ being built around Corbyn. It means the boosting of the confidence and standing of the party within a party that Corbyn is keen to promote and is holding its rival conference in Liverpool this week. It means continuing denial about our dire standing in public opinion. It means continuing to attack New Labour as being all about spin while desperately portraying poll deficits as leads, council election failures as successes, profound disunity on policy and politics as agreement.

As to what happens now a lot depends on how Corbyn and his supporters react to his win. The pre-victory signs have not been good. He and his supporters will take this as vindication. It is fine to call for unity. But it has to be clear what we are being asked to unite around. As Labour MP Kerry McCarthy pointed out this week, he needs to start setting out policies that go beyond a slogan that fits on a T shirt. We all believe in equality of opportunity. We all believe in ending the housing crisis. We all believe in making sure everyone can go to a good school. We all believe in supporting the NHS. We all believe in strong communities. The question is what are the economic and other detailed policies that are going to deliver on these noble goals?

As we saw on Question Time last week it suits the Corbyn-John McDonnell agenda to portray New Labour as having been about nothing but spin and Iraq. One of the most radical and broad ranging list of achievements any government can boast dismissed as of little or no significance because it doesn’t fit the McDonnell-Momentum spin.

That being said the non Corbyn side of the party which continues to dominate the PLP also has to react in the right way. Above all that means going beyond saying simply that he is not up to the job and is never going to be elected Prime Minister. It means providing a policy debate and a policy agenda that goes beyond the platitudes so far. Some MPs say that is impossible whilst Corbyn is leader and John McDonnell is shadow chancellor. It is not. It is difficult. But not impossible.

In the end politics is about policy and ideas as well as the organisation which has helped Corbyn win again. Whether those who either refused to serve in the shadow cabinet in the first place, or left when they realised Labour was going nowhere under Corbyn, decide that is best done inside our outside the top table team – that is a matter for them. The signs are that despite his long held ‘belief’ in annual shadow cabinet elections among the PLP, Corbyn has gone off that now.

But though the Labour talent pool is not as deep as we might like there are enough people there to start commanding the policy debate in a way they failed to do last year. That has to change. Because I fear that very little else will.

  • Paddy Roach

    A good start. It is time to unite. The Tories are in disarray and to be doing anything other than attacking them is counterproductive.

    I fear that the PLP will continue to repeat the rhetoric that Labour are unelectable to ensure that it happens. In a similar way to the underfunded public services being highlighted as failing to enable privatisation.

    It’s about representing now. There is a clear will, from the party, for a different kind of politics. It’s time to get behind the driver or get off the bus. Standing in the way is pointless. The PLP have to understand that it is not about ‘being elected’ it’s about representing what the people in the party want. Personal agendas need to be put to the side.

  • Al Devon

    Complete drivel by the king of spin. Right hand man to Britain’s most infamous war criminal somehow still thinking you have the moral capacity to even commentate on Corbyn’s clear victory. Corbyn has been overwhelmingly chosen by the people. The people you and the rest of Labour apparently represent.

    The damage to Labour is done now because those who put self ambition before the will of those who prop up the party. Corbyn will only get stronger because you Alistair, and those you align with have made and continue to make the colossal mistake of thinking hundreds of thousands of members are less intelligent and less qualified than you are.

    The truth, which more and more people are seeing now is that your problem, blue Labours problem with Corbyn is that his morals and ability to relate to everyday people is something that threatens to derail your own personal career prospects.

    Finally we have a man with real compassion, real vision, brave enough to stand as a shield between a wholly corrupt establishment and the person on the street that for so long has been viewed as nothing but a number.

    Get real Campell, you should be in prison alongside Blair and Mandelson. You have lost your right to even speak on this whole unsavoury episode.

    Climb back under your rock

  • Dave Hudspeth

    Fine comments from the Right Hand Man of a War Criminal.. its you and your self serving like who have ruined the Labour Party, and Corbyn will bring real ethics to the party

    • Michele

      Want to suggest how similar what is happening now in Syria is to what was anticipated for Iraq once Dr Kelly suggested that its dictator had sent its wmds there for storage during inspections?
      If not, perhaps you know where Assad did get his arms from.
      Jeeeez

  • Law Turley

    I think I need a drink.

  • Dave Simons

    ‘Start the discussion’ has been blank since 8th May when I log into this blog, so has my computer become faulty, have I been blocked or has it become total ego and no discussion? A lot’s happened since 8th May and it would be useful to know what other people think – otherwise it’s pointless.

    • Michele

      I think AC thinks we all need to get out more during summer 🙂 – or this one didn’t get the final push up in to the ether for around 3wks, it’s not actually been visible for that long.

      Things always slow down then as well as for a few days Xmas- NY.

  • Bob Vant

    If you want to see what we did in one Town between 1997-2010, take a look at http://labourclp227.nationbuilder.com/one_constituency_two_governments It was written for the 2010 election, the Intro’s been slightly changed for 2015 – not entirely to my satisfaction. It shows what a mess the Tories left us, and what we did to try to sort it out.

  • Ehtch

    Got to admit, Corbyn is reaching parts that many possibly cannot reach.