What is the point of Labour’s leadership election?

The tragedy of the Labour leadership contest is they are not debating what really matters to the country and to their party for the future. It cannot resolve most of the big questions, as they are not  being posed.

The Labour party in Parliament is bitterly divided over what it stands for, what it should oppose and what it should support, and what it should offer electors in 2020.

Some think it should return to more Blairite ways, agreeing with the Conservative government over matters like lower tax rates, keeping a nuclear deterrent, and running budgets that keep tax revenues related to spending with modest deficits. They recall they won in 1997 by promising to keep to Conservative spending plans, running a surplus in their early years, and keeping Income tax rates at inherited levels. They think Mr Miliband was too left wing.

Others think the last leadership compromised with the Blairites and with the Conservatives too much in 2015. They want a more radical socialist alternative, that opposes nuclear weapons, proposes much higher Income and Wealth taxes, argues for larger public deficits, advocates more wide ranging nationalisation from railways to health and offers a substantial strengthening of trade union rights and influence.

Both these are legitimate positions worthy of debate. It is not obvious looking at the current state of UK politics that either offers a clearly winning formula to give Labour 40-44% of the vote and a possible General Election victory. The problem is this last century debate misses out on matters that worry modern electors a lot. Both sides in the debate would prefer  continued membership of the EU despite many Labour voters and a large majority of all voters in heavily Labour areas agreeing with the national verdict to leave. Neither side has a positive view of what to do about unlimited immigration. Neither side dares mention the word England, sicking to their outdated lop sided devolution for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with nothing for the largest country of the Union. Neither has good ideas on  how to win back votes from the SNP in Scotland nor how to stop more votes for Conservatives and UKIP in England.

Even more strange is this leadership contest is between two people who largely agree on all these matters. Both Owen Smith and Jeremy Corbyn subscribe to the view that Labour should shift leftwards on employment rights, pay, tax levels, and more nationalisation. They do not yet have any disagreement on migration, the EU or the problem of English identity and government. It’s an argument about personality and style more than about substance.

Mr Corbyn can claim that Mr Smith is splitting the party and trying to upend a legitimately elected leader. Mr Smith can claim that he has the support of more MPs than Mr Corbyn, who finds it difficult to staff an Opposition front bench given the way many Labour MPs are on strike against the current leadership. Mr Corbyn looks the most likely to win. This poses  big issues for Labour MPs, who have to decide if they then will get behind their duly elected leader.  Can they suddenly discover confidence in him where they had none a few days before? If Mr Smith suddenly does better and surprises, then he will have a very unhappy party in the country trying to drive him to more Corbyn type policies when the MPs may wish to tack back to try to win more English and middle class votes.

It would have been better if a champion of a genuinely different strategy to Mr Corbyn’s had arisen to have the debate they need to have about the future direction of policy and the country. It would also help if both sides thought through the meaning of the EU referendum decision, and showed some respect for the public view. It is going to be very difficult running an Opposition with no new policies on identity and migration, and with a grudge against electors for voting the wrong way as they see it in the EU referendum. Opposition should be  about getting more into line with public opinion, not trying to find more ways of disagreeing with it.

 

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88 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Indeed Owen Smiths 20 pledges would be just a disastrous as Corbyn’s agenda. He even wants equality of outcome for people, so I assume he want people to be surgeons, pilots, doctors and structural bridge engineers regardless of their ability and intellect. It does not sound very safe or sensible to me. Like it or not people do not have the same aptitudes and abilities as we see at the Olympics. Does he want equality of out come there too?

    Magic money tree lunacy, economic vandalism and yet more red tape and taxes to strangle the economy – the usual damaging labour lunacy essentially Cameron and Osborne’s agenda but even worse.

    These were Owen’s pledges:

    1. A pledge to focus on equality of outcome, not equality of opportunity.
    2. Scrapping the DWP and replacing it with a Ministry for Labour and a Department for Social Security.
    3. Introducing modern wages councils for hotel, shop and care workers to strengthen terms and conditions.
    4. Banning zero hour contracts.
    5. Ending the public sector pay freeze.
    6. Extending the right to information and consultation to cover all workplaces with more than 50 employees.
    7. Ensuring workers’ representation on remuneration committees.
    8. Repealing the Trade Union Act.
    9. Increase spending on the NHS by 4% in real-terms in every year of the next parliament.
    10. Commit to bringing NHS funding up to the European average within the first term of a Labour Government.
    11. Greater spending on schools and libraries.
    12. Re-instate the 50p top rate of income tax.
    13. Reverse the reductions in Corporation Tax due to take place over the next four years.
    14. Reverse cuts to Inheritance Tax announced in the Summer Budget.
    15. Reverse cuts to Capital Gains Tax announced in the Summer Budget.
    16. Introduce a new wealth Tax on the top 1% earners.
    17. A British New Deal unveiling £200bn of investment over five years.
    18. A commitment to invest tens of billions in the North of England, and to bring forward High Speed 3.
    19. A pledge to build 300,000 homes in every year of the next parliament – 1.5 million over five years.
    20. Ending the scandal of fuel poverty by investing in efficient energy.

    It is a shame we did not get any debate of the issue in the Tory party due to Gove’s knifing and Leadsom throwing in the towel. Is Mrs May going to actually give us a Tory agenda or will she follows the Cameron Libdim, tax borrow and waste, pro EU, greencrap approach?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 5:39 am | Permalink

      Interesting to hear of the £1 billion + “Troubled Families” programme, launched by the Prime Minister in 2011 and managed by Dame Louise Casey DBE CB (from Newnight yesterday).

      It seems it has achieved virtually nothing (but a few jobs for essentially parasitic bureaucrats). Rather typical of most of government “action” I suppose. Still it is not their money, so who in government cares about results.

      • Hope
        Posted August 9, 2016 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        JR, you are not in a position, or as a party, to comment on other parties after the disgraceful lack of democracy putting May as PM! She said Brown had no right to be PM and ought to be elected, she should take heed of her own view. We have a PM elected by 185 Tory MPs without a public mandate. She is opposed to the central policy of leaving the EU that she is supposed to be leading! Moreover she has elected MPs as. Insiders who are of the same view!

        We read this week in the papers how the EU gave Italy an ultimatum on 09/11/2011: your PM must resign accept our choice of PM or the EU will bankrupt the country. It happened in four days. Since this date the public of Italy has not elected their leader. May, Rudd, Hammond, Fallon and co agree with this and want the same foreign dictatorship to run our country. An EU coup of Greece was the same.

        There has been no difference between the Tories and New Labour. Remember the claim: heir to Blaire? At least Corbyn is trying to show a difference, what was Cameron’s excuse? He also claimed to be a Liberal Conservative. Also a Eurosceptic. Has your party membership increased or decreased?

    • Richard1
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      Owen Smith, if he really believes in the drivel above, seems to be even more left wing than Ed Miliband. A positive effect of Brexit will be that a majority of the electorate recognise that the UK outside the EU needs to work very hard to be competitive and cannot possibly afford such an agenda. Anyone in any doubt as to what the ‘outcomes’ of a Corbyn / Smith economic policy would be can look at Venezuala. It’s amazing Blairite MPs haven’t had the sense and courage to field a proper moderate candidate who would not bankrupt the country if in power. What are the likes of Frank Field, Gisela Stewart and Mary Creagh thinking? Perhaps they will break off in any event. They certainly should, whether Corbyn or Smith wins.

    • bigneil
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      “want people to be surgeons, pilots, doctors and structural bridge engineers ” – clearly hasn’t seen the claims that ALL those coming across the Med from Libya and ALL the fake “Syrians” crossing from Turkey, already are fully qualified in these careers. Pity they all end up as a financial burden forever, on benefits and doing cash-in-hand car washing. With the amount of these car washing places across the country they must be the best tax avoidance/ illegal immigrant employment scams going.

      • miami.mode
        Posted August 9, 2016 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        bn. Most people who use these car washes are probably aware that the record-keeping or payment of relevant taxes is doubtful, but by using them they condone the practice!

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted August 9, 2016 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

          Most people who use these car washes are probably aware that the record-keeping or payment of relevant taxes is doubtful, but by using them they condone the practice!

          Too true. I won’t use them again. For a start they didn’t know how to put the brake on my car and it nearly rolled into another one and they didn’t offer me a receipt. How does the tax man know what they are earning? They don’t. I won’t use them again. All foreign extraction. I think Eastern European.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 9, 2016 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        Restaurants with more waiters than customers, Neil.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Dear Lifelogic–You haven’t understood it–Their idea of Equality and, worse, Identity, both by State diktat, is that everybody gets a surgeon’s salary whether he is a surgeon or not, indeed if he is anything at all or not. The only good news on this front is that the Swiss in their recent referendum threw this nonsense out. When everybody’s somebody nobody’s anybody.

      • Margaret
        Posted August 9, 2016 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        Do you not understand some of the people who have these titles are the dumbest of all. A surgeons job is important, he has to know when to cut and not to cut, she has to be dextrous, accurate, patient and so do many others who work for instance installing electrical systems. Having worked with all these disciplines for all my life, god help us if we have to rely on them for basic intelligence and analytical aptitude . A sports person is judged on their performance physically which can be immediately and obviously assessed . Written work is assessed by opinion and influence .There is a big difference.

  2. Mark B
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The Labour part had to reinvent itself after the disaster of the 1992 GE. Time and time again they thought that this time would be it. It was only after then that they needed to reform. The same journey can also be said of other parties, especially the Nationalist ones like the SNP. They became broader in both their views and appeal, whilst still maintaining their core beliefs and support. This is, I believe the problem with ‘New Labour’. They had to ditch, and be seen to ditch (Clause 4), the old ways. To some this was a betrayal of the Labour movement and Socialism. But to gain power some, like Peter Mandelson knew that this was a price worth paying. It is alright having high-minded ideals, but that is all they will be if you are not in power.

    The real tragedy of Labour over the period between 1997 – 2010, was that those in the poorest parts of the country, traditional Labour heartlands, have suffered most under Blairism. Blairism is nothing more than a Red Tory. With no one apart form the likes of, Dennis Skinner to speak up for those at the bottom, those people who hoped a ‘New Labour’ government would be good for them were sorely disappointed. New Labour were even more Europhile than the Tories and MASS Immigration from all parts of the globe and not just the EU has blighted their lives. It is NOT the fault of the immigrants but a betrayal of the people by the political class I might add that I rally against.

    What we are seeing here is a schism between those who want power, at any price – Owen Jones. And those who want to make sure that the people at the bottom are properly represented – Jeremy Corbyn.

    Our nation, people and parliament has been denied an effective opposition for far too long. Those Blairite MP’s need to realise that they are there to serve the people of their continuances and not themselves. Whatever Jeremy Corbyn’s views on things, and much of it I do not agree with or like, they must unite behind him and hold the government to account for the sake of the above. That is their job, as Her Majesties Official Opposition !

    If you cannot be united in opposition, how the hell can you be united in government and why the blazes should anyone vote for you ?!?!?!

    Apologies to our kind host for the length of this post.

  3. GTE
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    So why did the Tories increase taxes?

    Ah yes, its got a lot to do with those debts hidden off the books.

    Your big blunder, was not publishing the £5,010 billion pension debt you inherited. You kept quite about it.

    Now your problem is the same as any debt addict. How do you reveal that you have stuffed a debt down the back of the sofa?

    The result is wealth inequality. When the state creams off huge sums of money, and uses it not on services, but to pay its debts, that’s the direct consequence.

    When state’s spend 30% or more on of their income on debt, its a bust. It’s called austerity.

    Either personal austerity caused by high taxes, or state austerity. ie. No services because the money goes on debt.

    Labour are bonkers. They are advocating more of the cause of the mess. The big reason, that debt is hidden and they aren’t smart enough to see it.

  4. Jerry
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Do we actually know if the Tory party is divided or at one, can we even be sure that all Tory MPs are signing from the same sheet [1], my guess is that the Tory party is also at war with its self (there is already criticisms of Mrs May) and as such attacking the democratic process of another parties leadership election is the best form of defence against ones own internal strife!

    As for a shift to the left within the Labour Party, one might also argue that there has been a shift to the left in the country, and that is why we now have Brexit, indeed why UKIP are openly talking about taking their fight to the (now eurosceptic) Labour heartlands because the current official Labour party policies towards the EU -as laid down by Kinnock and Blair- are out of touch with the membership.

    [1] other than, presumably, those within the cabinet

  5. Alan Hill
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    The Labour Party represents itself only and with luck and a fair wind will shortly disappear up its own fundament.

  6. Old Albion
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t trouble yourself JR, Labour is currently unelectable and shows no sign of becoming so.

    • Richard1
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s a problem. The absence of effective opposition in a parliamentary democracy can lead to incompetent – and even corrupt – government, notwithstanding the work of independent Conservative MPs to scrutinise the work of ministers. Also, it would be hugely beneficial for the Economic and investment environment in the UK for the chance of election of a Hugo Chavez style socialist government to be removed. But for the moment it’s either Corbyn or Corbyn-lite/smarmy. God help us if Labour under either leadership ever get near power.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      @Old Albion; “Labour is currently unelectable and shows no sign of becoming so.”

      They used to say that about the nationalist parties, they used to say that about UKIP, they said that the electorate would never vote to leave the EU…

      The 1980s have to be seen against the backdrop of union strife in the 1970s, thirty odd years later the second decade of the 21st century has to be seen against a backdrop of the banking and Euro financial crash.

      The best way of preventing the government you do not wish to see in elected is not to give (often otherwise disaffected) voters reasons to vote for “anyone but” the party you wish to have re-elected, that means governing for all, not just those who are confirmed party supporters come what will.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 10, 2016 at 7:33 am | Permalink

        You misread Albion’s post Jerry
        It talked about being electable.
        The fringe parties you mentioned may get a few million votes or a number of MPs but like the Lib Dems they will never get a majority in the Commons and thus govern.
        And with the current chaos in the Labour Party neither.will they.

        • Jerry
          Posted August 10, 2016 at 11:03 am | Permalink

          @Edward2; No I did not miss read Albion’s comment, but you have misread mine (no surprise!).

          Who says the Corbyn left is not electable, the Tories, the Blairites?… Ten years ago many on the right, many in Blue-Labour dismissed UKIP, the europhiles were in power, and in opposition, not now – because the europhiles didn’t listen, never mind giving the majority what they actually wanted.

          Also remember that Mr Corbyn was anti EEC/EU when people like our host were standing by Mrs T as she signed the UK up to the SEA and all that then followed, and that probably is why traditional Labour areas delivered Brexit.

          Reply I advised Mrs Thatcher not to sign the Single European Act. I was not in Parliament, but would not have voted for it.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 10, 2016 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

            @JR reply; You could have resigned your job as an advisor, after all if ones advice is rebuffed…

            You chose to say in post and thus stand by Mrs Thatcher’s decision to sign the UK up to what has turned out to be just about the most damaging treaty in modern political history.

            Reply Rome was the most damaging Treaty, which I opposed and voted against in the referendum.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 10, 2016 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

            The polls all show Corbyn’s Labour is very unlikely to win an election.
            Both in polls comparing party leaders and polls looking at overall popularity of the parties.
            So not just me Jerry.
            If you are saying UKIP or Lib Dems will get hundreds of MPs and form a Government then I think you are very mistaken.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 11, 2016 at 6:20 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Except the polls have been wrong more often than they have been correct in the last ten years…

            Also once again you reply to something I have not said, but to answer your question, I would be very surprised if either the LDs or UKIP (at least in their current forms) do well at the next GE and perhaps not even in any by-elections between, but that says nothing about how electable Labour is under Corbyn (or Owen Smith).

            As I said to @Old Albion; the safest way Mrs May and the Tories can maintain their advantage is to govern for all, facilitate what the majority wish and not use Brexit to take a leap to the right as many on this site seem to want. Remember, Labour doesn’t need to win outright, just hold enough seats to allow a working coalition with the nationalists and others, some of whom are even further to the left than the “Corbynista’s” are!

          • Edward2
            Posted August 11, 2016 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

            Corbyn has lower personal ratings than Foot
            Labour are over 10 points behind the Conservatives giving them a projected 90 seat majority if there were to be an election.
            Considering the current circumstances you would expect Labour to be doing well.
            You are wrong about pollsters
            Over the decades they have nearly always been correct.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 11, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; “Corbyn has lower personal ratings than Foot”

            So the right-wing media keep telling us!

            Mind if I don’t take yours or their word for it though, after all according to the same opinion pollsters have got the result of the last two general election wrong, never mind according to them in 1992 John Major should have simply gone home and watched his favoured cricket team practising in the nets during the pre-season training, rather than getting out and on his soap-box…

            “Conservatives [have] a projected 90 seat majority if there were to be an election.”

            Considering the current circumstances you would expect the Conservatives to be looking at a projected (1983 style) 143 seat landslide majority if there were to be an election. That is what Mr Foot and Labour party suffered, so why are the Conservatives doing so badly in the opinion polls when the opposition leader is apparent even less popular than Mr Foot was (with many of the same issues rearing their heads again -(re)nationalisation, nuclear disarmament and hard-left infiltration etc- at least Corbyn doesn’t have to include a manifesto pledge to exit the EEC, and that might be the clue to why the political landscape has changed since last year.

  7. alan jutson
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Labour in its present form, and with Owen Smith as an alternative are so far out of touch with its real core support, only UKIP will benefit if they themselves also do not continue to self destruct.

    The LibDem supporters when push came to shove, showed themselves to be just protest voters and living in a dream world, when responsibility was the order of the day.

    The Conservatives themselves have had nothing much to crow about for the last 6 years failing in almost everything they promised, and losing many members in the process, and David Camerons last act with his so called honours list for cronyism summed up his failed thinking.

    John your Party seems to be the most popular at the moment, but that is only because all of the opposition Parties are so dire.

    Politicians throughout the World, have never been seen in such a poor light by their citizens, certainly in my memory.

    Mrs May now has the ideal opportunity (as a new leader) to capitalise on the present situation, and hold power for a very long time.

    Time will tell if she can really understand the people, and take them with her.

  8. agricola
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    There are three elements associated with current Labour. The members largely left wing radicals. One might say idealists or children of Greenham Common. The parliamentary party, currently too broad a church to please anyone within it.. Lastly that part of the electorate who traditionally voted Labour, but do not recognise the party as it is, and in increasing numbers will not vote for it because it abandoned them in their concerns over immigration and membership of the EU.

    Maybe it should face up to reality and divide into two separate parties. One to speak to traditional party supporters in the electorate and the other to satisfy the radical aspirations of their party members. I see no future for it as it is, too wrapped up in it’s search for an identity to fulfil the function of a coherent opposition.

  9. The PrangWizard
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    One element of Labour’s intent under Corbyn is being implemented through the rail unions. That is the nationalisation of the railways. He is surely is behind this and could well have encouraged the planning, after all his whole career has been one of subversion.
    He is bent on his revolution and this fits nicely.

    It is clear to me that they intend to destroy the business of Southern Rail through organised absenteeism and with politically motivated strikes. This is intended to and will weaken the business and they will then call for it to be nationalised.

    What dismays me is the widespread attitude amongst commuters and others that the disruption is the fault of the company. Do people not see beyond the end of their noses these days? The media must give a more balanced view and not encourage the easy option.

    I hear that Mrs May has said something although I don’t know what, but we do need an extremely robust defence of this and other businesses from government. If Labour and the Unions succeed here they will move on to another target. Now is not the time for compromise and concession with the unions, quite the reverse in fact.

    We have heard Mrs May say she is on the side of the many not the few; the many in this case are the commuters and their families, she must defend them and the rest of us, not the few strikers and the privileged union bosses.

    • Pick It.
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      No. It really is a case of luddism. A union’s role is to preserve jobs and the jobs of guards are definitely under threat, if not immediately. This is not to say that they are right to resist progress but one can’t blame them.

      Privatisation and union laws have seen to it that their cannot be a significant and concerted revolt against government – and one suspects most workers would resent their unions being political. Nationalisation would be the worst thing that could happen to union members – their pay would be cut and they really would become political pawns.

      Both Aslef and RMT were both for Brexit btw.

    • forthurst
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Govia has four more years of their Southern Rail franchise; would you wish to run a company that was time limited in the way that rail operating company franchises are? The separation of track and train has been an unmitigated disaster and was enacted by the Europhiliac, John Major, in obeyance of the Brussels regime in our state of vassalage to it. Now that we are leaving??, perhaps we should re-examine this piece of Brussels insanity as with many many others.

  10. stred
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Corbeau does seem to be a likeable politician, unlike the Welsh non-entity who has adapted his beliefs to suit the membership. Corbeau is apparently honest and has only changed his beliefs about the EU under pressure. He must have enjoyed telling us that staying in would mean unlimited immigration, knowing that this would annoy all the professional liars in the Bliarite wing. Mrs May showed them how to present the case for Remain as as proper politician, pointing out that we already had control of our borders by showing a passport, hoping that 3/4 of us are too thick to realise this still allowed anyone from the EU to stay apart from a few serious criminals.

    The Bliarites must be hoping that their appeal agaist the Red Ed rules is upheld. How they thought they could sell membership for £3 to all the Trot/Socialist Worker/ anarchist/greenloon buy a vote army and then tell them they were no longer members, is difficult to understand. Perhaps they have no experience of contract law.

    If they really wish to join the centre ground with the Modernisers in the false Tory wing of professional politicians, they could split and already have a name- New Labour.They could even merge with New Tories and have an indistinguishable party, largely run by the Civil Service.

    Then they could rejoin the EU and sit back earning their salary and expenses while rubber stamping any directives from Herr Junker or his highly pensioned replacements.

  11. Antisthenes
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Socialism and progressivism and crony capitalism have failed miserably(I quote from a clever person than me. H/T to Cafe Hayek). There is considerable evidence that supports that statement. Yet Labour doggedly attempts to foist them on us even Blair did if not quite so aggressively as Corbyn and Oily Smith. Although Oily I believe is more committed to wining the leadership battle than he is to the extreme nonsense he spouts unlike Corbyn who actually believes it. Even the Conservative party has it’s fair share of left leaning nincompoops fortunately most of them have a modicum of common sense and Blairism is as far as they will lean.

    The world is moving increasingly in a socialist and totalitarian direction. So Corbyn, Smith, Sturgeon and the like are going to be the types that are going to shape our future. Not a pleasant thought for liberals (in the classical sense ) and the rational and which can only lead me to believe that people are the dumbest animals on the planet.

    • Mitchel
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      “The world is moving increasingly in a socialist and totalitarian direction.”

      The west has been,not sure about the rest of the world,at least regarding the socialist bit.

  12. Roy Grainger
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    You do not mention their split on the EU. Corbyn is clearly opposed to the EU, spoke against it for 30 years, and was at best a lukewarm Remainer in the campaign though most assumed he was personally a Leaver. Most of his MPs think this too. He also stands alongside Nigel Farage as the only politicians who called for A50 to be invoked immediately the result was known. Many of his hard left fellow travellers (like Arthur Scargill) were also Leavers. This split is a component in the Labour party’s current problems.

  13. A different Simon
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Whilst channel hopping last night I stumbled across a BBC program whereby politicians for both sides in the recent referendum gave a retrospective .

    I’m not sure whether the remainers are genuinely failing to grasp the fundamental reason they lost the referendum or are just pretending to and are in denial .

    – even if there had of been no political campaigning , the result would have been a vote for leave .

    – the electorate had not failed to understand the remain campaign . They understood it perfectly well .

    – the public wanted their country to be self governing and did not want to remain in an EU of ever closer union . They rejected the remain message , no amount of packaging or explaining could have made the majority of people want it .

    Lastly and perhaps most importantly , the remainers showed no recognition that they had sided with the globalists by compromising the impartiality of the civil service or remorse for declaring war against the British people by directing the full force of the UK establishment , media , and international bodies against them .

    It seems that Mr Corbyn understood that the people would vote to leave and avoided Cameron’s mistake of staking his career on remain . What a pity he didn’t come out full force for Leave .

    Owen Smith fails to grasp this and just patronises the electorate and is less likeable than Mr Corbyn .

    If the Labour members have any sense , they will return Mr Corbyn and consign Owen Smith to history .

    Mrs May has massive a black mark against her for the manner in which she pushed through the EU arrest warrant – which does not offer enough protection to the individual .

    However , as P.M. , she’s got off to a very good start .

    Unless Mrs May really drops the ball , the electorate will give her a full term in 2020 regardless of who is leading Labour .

    • rose
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      “I’m not sure whether the remainers are genuinely failing to grasp the fundamental reason they lost the referendum or are just pretending to and are in denial .”

      One of them, Professor Vernon Bogdanor, has got the message: he said he thought the Leave vote would have been even bigger if it hadn’t been for the murder and the threats to people’s pensions.

  14. Edward.
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    It is a shame we did not get any debate of the issue in the Tory party due to Gove’s knifing and Leadsom throwing in the towel. Is Mrs May going to actually give us a Tory agenda or will she follows the Cameron Libdim, tax borrow and waste, pro EU, greencrap approach?

    Is Mrs May, a Social Democrat and a follower of the pro EU line? Doubtless, at the moment it’s very hard to define just what are her [Prime ministerial] ideas, I think we’ll know much more when, Mr. Hammond our new chancellor announces his Autumnal statement.
    I also think that, the Internationalist aficionados – EUrophiles and Tory grandees will have all on to hold to a line during the September party conference and what about the proposals and Tory policy alluding to the vital sundering of our membership of the EU? We want out but Ken and Michael and their corporate friends decidedly, do not.
    Events, dear boys, may precipitate action which certain Tories would baulk at, and for sure the EU is at its end of days, it’s just a question of when.
    Indubitably, Britain needs to be setting a course now, so that we are well clear of the harbour and before the inevitable and demonstrably self inflicted Brussels economic and political implosion occurs.

    In reference to the labour party, an image of angry ferrets tied in a sack comes to mind, they surely do deserve each other, when two enemies are scrapping to the death, the best policy is to stand well back to observe from the sidelines but remain strictly neutral and smile.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      https://euobserver.com/tickers/134598

      “Turkey’s deputy prime minister, Numan Kurtulmus, shot back on Monday at comments made by Germany’s vice chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, on Turkey’s dim chances of the country one day joining the EU. Gabriel had said it would take up to 20 years for Turkey to join the EU. Kurtulmus, for his part, said the existence of the EU in 20 years is in doubt, reports the Turkish Daily Sabah.”

      • Edward.
        Posted August 9, 2016 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        Kurtulmus, for his part, said the existence of the EU in 20 years is in doubt, reports the Turkish Daily Sabah.” /quote.

        I am not even a tad curious as to what Mr. Kurtulmus foresees in reference to the longevity of the EU [collectively western Europe?] and what possibly could be installed in its place. Alas, the very thought, thus I care not to speculate for it bodes such an unease, it makes me shudder in iced sweat.

        • Mitchel
          Posted August 10, 2016 at 8:48 am | Permalink

          Absolutely and how very clever of the “west” to kow-tow to Turkey whilst seeking to make an enemy of Russia.

  15. acorn
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    What was the point of the Conservative leadership election? It managed to change leader and the minor matter of changing the nations Prime Minister, with no involvement of party members or the general electorate!

  16. oldtimer
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    The only point of the Labour leadership election is to confirm Jeremy Corbyn as the clear choice of Labour party members (as defined by the rules of the NEC and amended by High Court decision) and provide the last chance for Labour party MPs, who disagree with him on fundamental issues, to set up their own party and seek to gain the funding and membership to build a viable opposition. Time alone will tell if they have the gumption or the wit to attempt this. Given their apparent detachment from much of their natural constituency, as evidenced by the referendum vote, it is not obvious that this will be a viable strategy. The other possibility is to seek some alliance with the LibDems to form a new party of the centre left. Perhaps there is someone bold enough to attempt this in the current parliament and to seek to wrest the title of official opposition (and the cash that goes with it) from the current Corbyn led Labour party. But if this group (if it emerges) wants a second referendum, like the LibDems, as a building block for its programme for government it too will probably be doomed to failure.

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 10, 2016 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      oldtimer

      Rather than set up another Party with all of the upheaval that would entail, the more simple solution would be for the more sensible Labour Mp’s to join UKIP.

      Shame UKIP is also in some turmoil at the moment otherwise they may have got to start a real breakthrough in Westminster with a substantial number of MP’s.

  17. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    God, John, this post shows me without any doubt why I have never voted Labour and never will. What an absolute mess and a shambles they are particularly in Scotland where all their loyal voters have deserted them and gone over to the SNP much to the detriment of Scotland.

    I really don’t know why England is such a hated word but then it seems similar within the conservative party too with nobody really standing up for England. As for the EU, well you couldn’t make it up but I feel everything that can be said about that issue has been said. We need to move on and get on with it.

    How the party will ever merge into one again is beyond me. They have shown such distaste for Corbyn that the party wouldn’t be credible again. It will be interesting to see what happens now. All in all the country is worse off for it as there is no credible opposition and unless UKIP gets their act together, not much choice. Everyone in politics today seem so unprofessional and in it for them rather than the betterment of the country.

  18. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Out here in the provinces, we have problems: Comprehensive Education is not working (another head has followed the last four in five years into “retirement”). Ofsted is blistering.
    The town centre, once a pretty little Georgian town with Trumpton like Fire Station, Law courts and Mayor (now has many migrants from Eastern Europe ed) We have lost most of our amenities which have been moved elsewhere.
    The local papers are not reporting any of this.
    And, I suspect (and do not know) that there is a lot of debt. I do know that there is a lot of unemployment and also a lot of people collecting money off the State who ought not to.

    What is the Labour policy on any of this please? Only asking.

  19. JoolsB
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    “Neither side dares mention the word England, sicking to their outdated lop sided devolution for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with nothing for the largest country of the Union.”

    You could equally be referring to the Conservative party on this one John. It’s an even bigger disgrace that the party put in Government thanks to the people of England has done absolutely nothing to address the rotten deal the majority of their constituents have been subject to for the last 18 years post devolution – ZILCH.
    Cameron promised English votes for English laws and they couldn’t even deliver on that, itself nowhere near parity with what the rest of the UK already enjoys. Cameron lied as usual and gave us English vetoes instead which is a sop and an insult and still allows MPs with non-English seats to poke their unwanted noses in and vote on English only matters.
    Owen Smith has a Welsh seat yet if he became Labour leader and possible Labour PM (God help us) he would have complete control over the English NHS, English education and all the other matters which are devolved to Wales yet he would have no say whatsoever on these matters for Wales and no doubt, just as with Brown, your lot would not utter one word of protest at this affront to democracy to the people of England.
    Shame on all three anti-English parties – the Lab/Lib/Cons but especially the Conservatives for failing England. They have all proved they care not a jot about the undemocratic nature in which England is governed but it is only the Conservatives who rely on England for their support.

    • rose
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      Sadly there is a lot of Anglophobia about, because there are a lot of people in positions of influence – in the press, in television, in education, in politics, in luvvieland – who have been brought up with historic hatreds of the English going back over many generations. The English on the other hand are open-natured and generous, forgiving and tolerant, to the point that they have in effect given their land away.

  20. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    The 172 dissident Labour MPs argument in an eggshell:-

    1. “We should head for the middle ground of politics. This is what will bring us electoral victory, power. Only by being in power can we do anything at all. It does not matter what good deeds we may wish to do, we cannot do things unless we are elected into power”

    The 172 careerists have repeated the above so many times, with exactly the same words or perhaps with using the words “must” for “should”; “go” for “head”; “centre” for “middle”; “point” for “ground”; “elections” for “politics” etc etc. So many times repeated parrot-fashion they have become immunised or deaf to the fact that it says absolutely everything about their undemocratic and paternalistic position.

    Clearly, they trumpet to Labour Party members and all Labour MPs and blatantly as if above the heads of the voter….” Never mind what your personal views are on this or that topic; never mind what you think and believe; never mind your earnest and heartfelt opinions; what matters is that we present policies and views to the electorate, get them to vote us into power then we can do what we really want to do, do things the majority of the electorate do not want, would not have voted for but we think are good for them.”

    It is to be hoped the 172 Labour careerist MPs perhaps with the exception of the MP for Rotherham Sarah Champion who has put duty to her electors first and taken a position of virtue, that they leave the whole of politics. It would be better for a Labour Party which wishes to put an alternative view to the electorate… a wrong view….but one genuinely held and therefore one which commands respect.

    The point of the Labour leadership election? …to show Parliamentary “democracy” at its worst.

    • getahead
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      I think you could swap Tory for Labour in your comment Christopher. It would make no difference. What we lack is politicians of political conviction. Right wing Tories, and Corbynistas excluded.

      • CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
        Posted August 9, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        getahead:
        I should not exclude any point of view.
        Sad though so few the number of political parties in Parliament and with 66 million people on these islands to somehow represent. Hard for two main parties to read so many millions of letters from them .How do they remember what each says?

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, I watched the BBC’s programme on the referendum campaign last night and among the “lies” attributed to Leave campaigners was their claim about Turkey joining the EU. According to some Remoaners, this along with other Leave “lies” could even be held to invalidate the result.

    Nobody with any sense said that Turkey would be joining the EU in the next few years; the point was and is that our politicians had prevented us from having any direct say on the development of the EEC/EC/EU/USE project for four decades, and along with other countries lined up for membership Turkey could well join the EU over that timescale, rather than the ridiculous millennial timescale claimed by Cameron in response – a real whopper of a lie, which was passed over in the BBC programme.

    And what do I see yesterday, from Germany’s Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel?

    http://www.dw.com/en/turkish-eu-accession-far-off-says-gabriel/a-19455171

    “Any Turkish EU accession remains “10, 20 years” distant”.

    Not a thousand years, just “10, 20 years”, and that projection is after everything which has happened recently.

    • ian wragg
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Well Denis Dave said leaving the EU could start WW3, that should be enough to cancel any leave misinterpretations. Anyway it looks like Angela is going to give Turks free movement by October. We don’t get a say.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Denis – They tell us that Brexit is just Brexit and they don’t know of any single reason why we voted Leave.

    • acorn
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Denis, Turkey is a member of the EU Customs Union, that is the only bit of the EU worth belonging to. I don’t understand why they would want to become a full member of the EU; they already have got the best bit.

      In fact, it is the only bit of the EU worth saving, if we had the choice. No internal tariffs with 32 States and, a common EU external tariff. Exactly where the UK would like to be post Brexit.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 10, 2016 at 7:51 am | Permalink

        If you’re in the EU customs union then the EU runs your trade policy.

  22. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    One Conservative Party in the UK is enough.

    For the Labour Party also…to want a Conservative Free Enterprise system; a Conservative Defence Policy; a Conservative Environment , Housing, NHS, Agriculture and until recently a Conservative EU policy is ridiculous. That would be and is a complete breakdown of our Parliamentary democracy. That breakdown, that utter farce is what the anti -Corbynite PLP wish to inflict upon the British people.

    It would be like the Conservative Parliamentary Party fielding a leadership candidate who was completely at odds with rank and file membership. Who advocated total nationalisation of our basic industries, borrowing without limit, the abandonment of Trident, open-door immigration without limit, the total dismantling of grammar schools and Comprehensives for all. The end to private education and health care, wind turbines replacing nuclear power stations, and forming a pact with Al Fatah against Israel and America.
    The position of badly-named “right” wing Labourites is untenable in our democracy at large. They should resign their MP-ships and go work in Nigeria selling shares in super-dooper diamond mines over the internet for just a few bob a share. If, you send them personal bank account details.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      wind turbines replacing nuclear power stations

      Christopher, these few words chill me to the bone.

  23. Bert Young
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Labour has lost its way due to its weak and unconvincing leadership . The swing to the left under Milliband was the beginning of its demise ; he failed to recognise that aspiration and wealth creation was an ideal to the population as a whole ; he was convinced that there would only be a level playing field under a ” communist ” styled regime .

    At the moment another prime difficulty for Labour is the distinction between the power and influence of the Unions and the ordinary member ; until they ditch Union influence they will never emerge as a democratic body .

    Corbyn is a weak and unconvincing individual who cannot – and will not , gain the respect of the other Labour MPs ; extreme ” leftism ” is a thing of the past and will never secure a majority support . Another ” Blair ” has to emerge with a strong ” centrist ” message .

    Meanwhile the Conservatives have a lot of patching up to do ; their move to the ” centre ” with Cameron was a mistake highlighted by the coalition with the Libdems . True Conservatism is to the ” right ” – aided and abetted by a low taxation system , when this is in place and the results show in the economy , Labour will never be a challenge . Theresa has to get this right asap .

  24. Atlas
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Indeed John, one can only look on an be bemused.

    My halfpennyworth is that Stephen Kinnock, MP, will attempt to form a new party after Mr Corbyn’s overwhelming re-election. Also since the MPs forming this new party are pro-EU then they will find support from most of the voters in their constituencies sorely lacking as analysis of the Referendum has shown.

    All this would be very good news for UKIP except that it can’t resist snatching defeat from the jaws of victory either !

    • Mitchel
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      There was a report back in July in the MoS that Kinnock jnr and Paddy Ashdown had held secret talks about “safeguarding the interests of our country” but Ashdown,when questioned, denied these included the formation of a new centre-ground party but called for a new “progressive platform” to unite politicians from different parties who share the same centrist beliefs.

  25. Timaction
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Interesting comments about the Labour Party but what are the Conservative Party going to do about its majority MP’s still in favour of the EU? Is there going to be new selection processes to remove those who wanted to remain in the EU and mass migration and all the issues that entails? Westminster is out of kilter with the electorate and supports an antiquated voting system in FPTP to retain its own self interest. UKIP gained 4,000,000 votes with one MP. SNP/Lib Dems and others with about 100 MP’s with less votes. Our voting system needs reform as does the Lords. We don’t need to discuss the broken honours system, corrupted by the legacy parties. Our Country is more and more resembling a banana republic every year that passes without serious reform of the political class.

    • CdBrux
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Given many comments here then I don’t think the Tory party is so far away from some infighting and people wanting it to become ‘True Tory” (but each with their own definition of this) again.

      “What to do with it’s majority MP’s still in favour of the EU?” asks Timaction? Is the equivalent of labours momentum movement? Out of step with the electorate? Well yes, but not by so far. Perhaps any reselection of Tory MP’s should be based on aligning their Brexit views to how their constituency voted?

      More widely a gentle shake up of the political class is needed before a more radical one is imposed. One of the few sensible things I heard Owen Smith babble on about was having a 5 year period between leaving office and getting an award.

      • A different Simon
        Posted August 9, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

        That is the only remotely sensible thing I’ve heard Owen Smith say .

        However , if people behaved with integrity , such measures would not be necessary .

        Why are they handed out to chief police officers and senior civil servants whilst still in harness ?

        One wonders whether these megalomaniacs ego’s are so fragile that they need honour’s bestowed on them when they leave office and whether they would fall apart if they did not get them .

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      I think MPs who try to resist implementation of the vote to leave the EU will be at most risk. Others who campaigned to keep us in the EU but now accept the decision and decide to make the best of it will be forgiven in most cases. But the unelected legislators-for-life in the Lords need not concern themselves about it.

      • getahead
        Posted August 9, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Patience, Dennis.

      • Chris S
        Posted August 9, 2016 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

        Obviously that means Soubry will be gone, then.

    • miami.mode
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Timaction.

      Surely you have not forgotten that we had a referendum on AV just 5 years ago.

  26. Dan H.
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    The basic problem for Labour is that they cannot admit that the majority of the population do not actually subscribe to deeply left-wing ideology now, if indeed they ever did. The Labour Party started off life with the promise of more fairly redistributing profits from industry to the workers, and in this aim they succeeded rather well. However now the world has moved on from those days, and the hordes of low-paid Working Class voters are no more.

    Instead the archetypal Labour voter now doesn’t want to see the demise of the hated Rich People, but wants to become one of these people. Thanks first to Old Labour, and later to Thatcher, our Labour voter actually has a realistic chance of achieving his dream. It is possible to prosper quietly, or to thrive spectacularly in modern Britain regardless of where you started out.

    As such, the majority of voters now don’t subscribe to deeply left-wing ideologies. Instead they’re a sort of fluffy Tory-lite who like a benefits safety net, but abhor overweening state control of everything. Tony Blair (a genius in his way) realised this, and to win elections did two things: gagged the majority of the Labour Party, and projected a fluffy Centrist policy platform.

    Tony Blair was a Prime Minister with a popular electoral platform. As a leader, he was an incompetent twerp, but his projected policy platform was very popular. Labour under Tony won power in spite of the Labour doctrines, not because of them.

    Modern Labour has either forgotten this, or more likely has blocked it from their collective consciousness simply because it says such horrible things about their deeply held political convictions. Until such time as they grow up, face reality and these facts and accept that the Hard Left is an electoral liability, they will remain out of power and we’ll all be the poorer for it.

    • CdBrux
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      I thin Blair has 2 major problems as far as the left are concerned:

      1. Iraq
      2. Excessive spin

      Whilst they would never have liked him I don’t think they could hold anywhere near as much against the ‘Blairites’ (or red Tories, in a similar way that many here think at least 1/3 Tory MP’s are really Lib Dems / Labour) had those not have happened.

  27. ian wragg
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    ……..agreeing with the Conservative government over matters like lower tax rates…………
    When are we going to see some evidence of this, Gideon presided over the biggest tax take in history despite preaching austerity. The only cuts came to the armed forces, border force and police whilst increasing spending on foreign aid and EU tribute payments.
    We have the weakest armed forces since the 1930’s at a time when the world is in turmoil.
    We continue to let all and sundry into the country following on from Blair, Brown and
    CMD.
    When we know what the Tory leadership is about then we can discuss Labour.

  28. ian
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    You all misted the point.

    A historical moment in the history of the uk parliament is underway.

  29. Bryan Harris
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Corbyn and the rest of the red team do not want a proper debate, as this would expose the frailty of their policies and ideals.

    Neither candidate is viable, even for the labour party, but we can but hope they destroy the party between them.

    The major concern here is that Corbyn will deselect moderate labour mp’s, replace them with his clones, and have his army of red acivists take over the constituences. So to be honest, any debate between the 2 candidates is worthless anyway.

    The country cannot afford another labour government ever – they have shown how destructive they are too many times, and like the EU, we are better off without them.

    What we badly need is at least one more right of centre party, as Westminster is already full of socialists, of one label or another.

  30. getahead
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    The Labour Party represents the unions and the public sector.
    It does nothing for the net taxpayer.

    On the other hand the Conservative Party represents big business.
    It also does nothing for the net taxpayer.

    • ian wragg
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Correct Doha. No one represents us the Net taxpayers so probably one of the reasons we voted “OUT”.

  31. Iain Gill
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    UKIP are the real opposition.

    Labour are an irrelevance.

  32. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, I’ve just been taking a little trip down memory lane, back to November 10th 2015 when our last Prime Minister gave this speech at Chatham House:

    https://www.chathamhouse.org/event/future-britains-relationship-european-union

    At 39 minutes in:

    “Whether we could be successful outside the European Union – that’s not the question. The question is whether we would be more successful in than out? Whether being in the European Union adds to our economic security or detracts from it? Whether being in the European Union makes us safer or less safe? That is a matter of judgment. And ultimately it will be the judgment of the British people in the referendum that I promised and that I will deliver. You will have to judge what is best for you and your family, for your children and grandchildren, for our country, for our future. It will be your decision whether to remain in the EU on the basis of the reforms we secure, or whether we leave. Your decision. Nobody else’s. Not politicians’. Not parliament’s. Not lobby groups’. Not mine. Just you. You, the British people, will decide. At that moment, you will hold this country’s destiny in your hands.

    This is a huge decision for our country, perhaps the biggest we will make in our lifetimes. And it will be the final decision. So to those who suggest that a decision in the referendum to leave would merely produce another stronger renegotiation and then a second referendum in which Britain would stay I say think again. The renegotiation is happening right now. And the referendum that follows will be a once in a generation choice. An in or out referendum. When the British people speak, their voice will be respected – not ignored. If we vote to leave, then we will leave. There will not be another renegotiation and another referendum. So I say to my European counterparts with whom I am negotiating. This is our only chance to get this right – for Britain and for the whole European Union. I say to those who are thinking about voting to leave. Think very carefully, because this choice cannot be undone. And to those who are campaigning to leave but actually hoping for a second referendum – I say decide what you believe in. If you think we should leave – and leave means leave – then campaign for that and vote for it. But if you are actually arguing for a better relationship between Britain and the European Union, then don’t campaign to get out. Work with me to get that better deal for Britain.”

    I suppose the question is whether his precipitate resignation after losing the referendum automatically cancelled out all those fine uplifting promises about “It will be your decision”, “Your decision. Nobody else’s. Not politicians’. Not parliament’s. Not lobby groups’. Not mine. Just you. You, the British people, will decide. At that moment, you will hold this country’s destiny in your hands”, and “it will be the final decision”, and “When the British people speak, their voice will be respected – not ignored. If we vote to leave, then we will leave”, and “leave means leave”.

    Some people seem to think so, and it didn’t take them long to decide that:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-08/how-a-hairdresser-s-lawsuit-could-spell-trouble-for-brexit

    “In the hall of London’s Inner Temple, a grand dining chamber with stained-glass windows and coats of arms adorning the walls, 300 lawyers assembled to complain about Britain’s exit from the European Union.

    “The world has effectively been turned upside down,” said former attorney general Dominic Grieve. The campaign in favor of leaving was “the constitutional equivalent of crimes against humanity,” remarked Richard Gordon, a barrister at Brick Court Chambers. When the speakers asked if anyone in the room had anything more positive to say, there was silence.”

  33. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Tom Watson,, the Deputy leader up to now of the Labour Party, has stated today via a dull and boring newspaper that the Labour Party is in danger of “Trotskyist Entryists.”

    One is accustomed to bizarre statements coming from the Labour Party. But what is the equivalent bizarreness for a normal person? It would be a gross exaggeration to say that it is on a par with saying you were abducted by aliens and they insisted you marry one of their kind on Planet Dthag who looked like a 1970s car sparking plug. But it is equivalent to say the Conservative Party has been infiltrated by members of (an extreme right party ed) ( not sure there is one ) and they have the force of numbers amongst young people sufficient to make a difference in a Tory Party leadership election where several hundred thousand can vote if their National Executive Committee don’t do a sudden rule change behind closed doors. And that these waves of humanity are each trained in fox-like infiltration where a like a meeting recently in Bristol ..a Constituency Labour Party meeting … turned away well over a thousand people trying to attend.. by a group of 5 or so people in control as stated by scores of would-be attendees on social media.
    If the United Kingdom had so many communists, Trotskyists, Leninists, Maoists, Marxists, Castroists and they were so terribly adept at political activity, then they would be the the ruling party by now in Parliament and the Conservative and Labour Party would be in joint Opposition.
    Though as second preference the 172 careerist MPs of the Labour Party hope for a Conservative Party victory at the next election so Corbyn will tumble, it unlikely any of the 172 or the Labour Party as a whole will ever form majority government again. The Party started 100 plus years ago and they have run out of ale. It was much watered down anyway

  34. Posted August 9, 2016 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    ” agreeing with the Conservative government over matters like lower tax rates “

    Apart from VAT you mean? VAT, as we might guess from the acronym, is a tax too!

    How many increases in the VAT rate have been due to any other than Conservative Chancellors?

    Has any Conservative Chancellor, ever, reduced the rate of VAT?

  35. Margaret
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    It is not just the leadership , but the voters and people belonging to the party as a whole. Many have pre set ideas of what Labour stands for .They think of unions, bad working conditions , workers rights etcetera which are all part of the past. The unions continue into the future in a different way. Some simply do not serve the public but instead are self serving ensuring that the legal business gets plenty of work and the establishment have their own way instead of the lone worker. They are often more concerned with their own position than the people they represent. In the past the unions made great achievements.

    The labour split and leadership ethically should go to Corbyn. His ideals are what labour was all about, but with those vying for attention like Burnham , Ivan Lewis ( who I think in the 70’s was a Nurse in my locality) to become Mayor of Manchester smacks of self interest , although I am sure they would do the job well. Corbyn is attractive due to his experience and humility. He breaks the mould in a gentle way. The go getters have spoiled it for me. The Manchester mods became the Manchester mob and the rockers biked off into Range Rovers and body piercings.

    Manchester are now debating

    • Margaret
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      My Laptop is rubbish .The net is so slow all entries Get mixed up . Manchester may be debating but it is nothing to do with this comment.

  36. hefner
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    “What is the point of the Conservative Party’s leadership election?”
    Oops, there wasn’t any.
    Here isn’t it a case of the pot calling the kettle black? What a laugh!

    • Edward2
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Do you mean like when Gordon Brown became PM?
      Selective memory Hefner
      What a laugh!

      • hefner
        Posted August 10, 2016 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        Both parties are as bad. What’s the point of JR’s post?

        Reply I rarely comment on other parties, concentrating on government and government policy. The long and dramatic leadership challenge going on in the Labour party is important and is on the rest of the media much of the time. My interest in it is what is the likely approach of the Official Opposition to the big issues coming to Parliament over the next year. Many of my readers do wish to discuss this. If you do not want to, just miss out this particular posting.

  37. Theresa
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to JR for this unique blog. It’s important to have this clear voice looking at everything that’s happening in a calm, considered way. Well done.
    Was looking at the old photos of 1930s crims in the Mail online today. How times have changed since then.
    Labour/Conservative/Liberal , are their differences relevant today ?
    The Internet has changed information sharing for the good.

  38. Chris S
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    I wrote a long post out on the LeHavre-Portsmouth cross channel ferry tonight and lost it when the ship’s connection went down. This is a summary only :

    Forget their current difficulties :

    As long as the Conservatives are some way into the centre ground, Labour will find it extremely difficult to win an outright majority if the SNP continue to take the 41 seats Labour used to hold in Scotland and they lose at least a further 20 seats to boundary changes.

    2015 indicated that the task would become impossible with a candidate anywhere to the left of Miliband D. The outcome in 2015 also showed that the faintest possibility of any kind of deal whatsoever with the SNP renders Labour toxic in England.

    Ironically Labour’s best chance of power rests with Scotland out of the equation, either through Independence, where there would no longer be any concern in England about a Labour / SNP deal, or in the event of a UK-wide equal devolution settlement.

    In the latter case, the real power to effect change to the lives of the largest number of people in the UK would be if Labour could somehow gain control of an English Parliament via proportional representation, even if the Conservatives ran the UK Government via the current FPTP system.

    Labour might find that convenient as Nuclear defence would be a UK rather than English matter !

    Even without the above difficulties, it’s hard to see how Labour can recover from its current deeply divided position.

    Over the next three years it looks like Momentum will ensure the de-selection of many of the 170 rebels and if he wins the current leadership campaign, as seems likely, Corbyn will put forward a manifesto even further to the left than Michael Foot’s infamous Longest Suicide Note In History.

  39. Posted August 11, 2016 at 3:03 am | Permalink

    “…argues for larger public deficits…”

    Not necessarily. But we do need to understand what the government’s deficit is and why it has been so difficult for George Osborne to make good his election pledge of reducing the deficit or even turning it into a surplus.

    It must be obvious to everyone by now that reducing Govt spending, or trying to reduce it, and increasing taxes like VAT has had a deflating effect on the economy which has in turn led to reduced tax revenues. So the reduction in the deficit hasn’t been what it might have been calculated to be in advance.

    If we look at the problem from a slightly different angle, we can see money flowing into the economy from Govt spending and returning to the Govt in the form of taxation. The difference is simply what everyone else but Govt saves. That ‘everyone else’ includes our overseas trading partners who like to sell us more stuff than they buy. So they are the big savers and the trade deficit has been almost entirely responsible for the Government’s own deficit.

    Many of us, who have perhaps a less laissez-faire attitude to the economy than might be typical in Conservative circles, argue that the trade deficit needs to be actively reduced. Reduce that and the Government’s deficit will reduce too.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 11, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      If the Government reduced its spending then the deficit would reduce.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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