Labour MPs have just given Jeremy Corbyn a big ‘screw you’

Politics, eh? One minute you’re bemoaning how your party resembles a coma patient and you might as well pull the plug. The next, the patient is positively kicking the NHS blankets onto the floor and asking for a glass of water.

As a word of explanation, there now follows quite possibly the most boring sentence on the internet this year: the results of elections to the chairmanships of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) committees have been announced.

No, don’t click away! This is important. Each committee covers the remit of a Whitehall department, and the chair of each committee, in theory, at least, speaks for the PLP (note: not the front bench) on those subject areas.

PLP committees are an oft-overlooked institution, rarely meeting and never noticed – by Labour MPs, let alone the media. Continue reading

The Labour Party I love is in hock to Trots, Islamists and woman-hating Twitter trolls

What’s left to say?

After Labour’s summer of madness and the first bizarre, chaotic weeks of Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure as Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, it’s hard to feel anything more than numbness at the daily digest of political missteps and pratfalls that now define the party of which I’ve been a member for 31 years.

What’s left except perhaps to hide under the duvet and hope that you, or perhaps the country, will wake from this nightmare soon.

Then Catherine West prodded me out from under the duvet. The new Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister was reported as having told a meeting of Stop the War activists that Labour would consult them before deciding how it would vote on any future motion on military action in Syria.

Continue reading

By hiring Seamus Milne, Jeremy Corbyn shows his utter contempt for real Labour voters

Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t make it easy for himself, does he?

He could have chosen as his new Director of Communications someone whose skills in media management were better known than his personal political views.

Instead he chose Seamus Milne, a hate figure on the right of the Labour Party and of pretty much everyone else to the right of that. A man whose strongly expressed views on terrorism, Israel and the United States align him precisely with the long-held views of the Labour leader.

Continue reading

Renationalisation debate clouds a rail industry success story

It’s odd that nationalisation of the railways has become the totemic issue in this Labour leadership debate. Despite the swathe of privatisations that took place under Margaret Thatcher, it’s the one she never got round to – in fact, the one she positively rejected as too difficult – that Labour is obsessing about.

So what are the implications for the industry as a result of the current heated debate within the main opposition party?

Continue reading

The only thing worse than Corbyn leading Labour to defeat…

There’s only one thing worse than Jeremy Corbyn losing the next general election, and that’s Jeremy Corbyn winning the next general election.

Those of us who opposed the Islington MP’s campaign for the leadership of my party weren’t just worried about the fact that he’s unelectable, although he is.

In fact, if he had a realistic chance of becoming Prime Minister, we would have opposed him even more strongly.

Continue reading

Choice is the key if the NHS is to enjoy a healthy future

So frequently repeated has the phrase about the NHS being Britain’s national religion that is has become a cliché as well as an accurate observation.

And it’s the deference with which the health service is regarded by politicians, media and citizens that is its greatest strength and weakness. Strength because it is unassailable; no party would dare undermine or threaten the central concept of free health care at the point of use, paid for from general taxation and available to all irrespective of income.

Continue reading

What will Corbyn’s supporters do if he doesn’t lead Labour?

Whatever happened to the People’s Assembly? This was the “grassroots” campaign founded by a host of what Alan Partridge would no doubt dismiss as “that lot”: Owen Jones, Mark Steel, Ken Loach. Oh, and Jeremy Corbyn, naturally.

You get the picture.

The assembly’s manifesto, published just before this year’s general election, stated: “There is no need for ANY cuts to public spending; no need to decimate public services, no need for unemployment or pay and pension cuts; no need for ‘Austerity’ and privatisation. There IS an alternative.”

Bear those rousing words in mind; we’ll come back to them.

Continue reading