Tag Archives: John Mann

On the process of political smearing

Labour Leadership 2015I wasn’t planning to write another blogpost on the Labour leadership election. (I hope I’m not going to be starting a lot of blogposts over the next few weeks with that sentence.)

I don’t have a vote because although I’m a member of an affiliated organisation (which has sent me a mailshot about the election) I didn’t register for a vote because I am a member of the Scottish Green Party. So I’m just waiting for 12th September, like everyone else who doesn’t qualify for a vote, which is 99.0472% of the population of the UK.

610,753 people do have a vote, and according to most polls the majority currently plan to vote Jeremy Corbyn.
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And they’re off: Labour leadership

To the likes of Tony Blair and Alistair Campbell, this is what Jeremy Corbyn’s electoral success looks like: an inexorable, mindless force that’s destroying their cosy living quarters. To others this may look exciting and fun and interesting, but Blair and Campbell and the rest live in those houses: it’s their comfy homes that left-wing pressure would be knocking down.

It wouldn’t be reasonable to expect them to welcome this. (And they don’t.)

If Corbyn is announced the winner on 12th September, and worse yet for Blair if Corbyn’s Prime Minister in May 2020, then everything Tony Blair did to create a new Labour party may be destroyed: the verdict of history that Blair looked forward to, might amount to:

“Tony Blair, who tried to drag the Labour Party rightwards, succeeded in doing so from 1994 to 2007, but in the process lost many voters and MPs, especially after he took the UK into war with Iraq in 2003: but the old Labour Party was restored in 2015, eight years after Blair stood down, by Jeremy Corbyn, who then led the Labour Party to a large majority in the Commons in May 2020.”

That’s a paragraph Blair would never want to read in any history book, from start to finish. If Corbyn wins, Blair will want Labour to lose in May 2020. Blair may not have anything else in common with Donald Trump, but the two men have the same size ego.
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Labour Party Split

Jeremy Corbyn, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Liz KendallJeremy Corbyn is the kind of MP who’s not afraid to stand up against cruelty to pigeons or to say openly that he opposes renewing Trident.

Being pro-pigeon and anti-Trident may be popular stances, but it’s a truism in professional political punditry that serious candidates don’t stand up for that kind of thing. Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham, and Liz Kendall are too professional as politicians to have that kind of thing in their political record.

I’m no longer a Labour Party supporter. I decided, a couple of days before Corbyn joined the leadership contest, that the Labour Party had become too right-wing for me to tolerate any longer. The May 2015 election was the first election in quite a few years where I didn’t vote Labour.

I became a socialist in a business studies class at Napier many years ago. The lecturer didn’t know he was making me a socialist: he was explaining company structure. A company is run by its CEO, who is appointed by the company shareholders. The CEO’s first responsibility is to the shareholders: this is in general expressed as a legal obligation to keep the value of the shares rising. Because the value of the shares is usually dependent on the company profits rising quarterly, a CEO’s goal is to have each financial quarter show more profits than the last.

In small-scale companies, with few shareholders all of whom take a personal interest in the doings of the company, the CEO can be instructed to make the profits of the company secondary to other things which are more important to the shareholders than seeing the value of their shares go up and up: their good name in producing quality goods for sale, their desire not to exploit or discriminate against their employees, their belief in climate change, their desire to own both an ecologically sound as well as a profitable company.

But in large-scale companies, where the shareholders are themselves corporations, there is no such human check. The CEO representing the corporate owner of the shares has the overriding legal obligation to see profits go up. And because this is the overriding focus of the business, they frequently expect their employees – whose wages may have been frozen or cut in pursuit of that goal – to share their focus in making profits go up.
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The truth about Hillsborough should lead to justice

David Cameron made an excellent speech today in the House of Commons on the Hillsborough report:

The evidence in today’s report includes briefings to the media and attempts by the police to change the record of events. On the media: several newspapers reported false allegations that fans were drunk and violent and stole from the dead. The Sun’s report sensationalised these allegations under a banner headline, “The Truth”. This was clearly wrong and caused huge offence, distress and hurt.

News International has co-operated with the panel and, for the first time, today’s report reveals that the source for these despicable untruths was a Sheffield news agency reporting conversations with South Yorkshire police and Irvine Patnick, the then MP for Sheffield Hallam.

The Conservative MP Irvine Patnick reportedly told these stories to Margaret Thatcher when he was walking her round the Hillsborough football grounds. Kelvin MacKenzine says they came from Patnick and an “unnamed police source”. Irvine Patnick was knighted in July 1994.
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