POLITICS CORNER

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by PanBiker »

From the position of a local activist, let me make one or two observations about the campaign and polling day and how it panned out on the Barlick patch. These comments are in no way an excuse for the dismal result but will have had a contributory effect.

The Labour Party maintains a secure national database which stores electoral data. The database holds all the electoral registers from every constituency across the country. Registers are supplied by the local councils and they are obliged to make this information available annually and when any major updates are made to the registers. One such date is the 1st December. I have access to the system and was watching for when the Pendle register was updated. The dashboard into the system has news items on maintenance issues and informs users on updates to the system.

The information held on the database is used to produce canvass sheets during electoral campaigns the results of the canvass are then inputted back into the system by local operatives. All of this activity, storage and security is strictly governed by the rules of the Data Protection Act.

Pendle Council did not produce an updated register in electronic form. The upshot of this was that the version of the register that any canvas was conducted on was out of date. This did not become apparent until the polling cards were issued which showed that the electors polling numbers did not tally with the data on the system. Canvassing and campaigning takes place on names and addresses which of course are in the main correct. You come across odd empty properties which show residents on the register but these are accepted as movers. All comes good when an updated register is supplied.

In the last few days before the poll, Pendle produced a register changes file which can only be used manually. Our campaign co-ordinator managed to produce an accurate merger of the register on the Wednesday before the poll. This could only be used manually so I overlaid the labour vote onto a spreadsheet version of the register for the Barlick wards. It took until 1.30am of polling day morning to complete the three polling districts of Coates. I did the same for Craven when we had fired up our campaign centre on polling day.

PC based systems previously configured with the old register and data were useless so we didn't use them. Turning the clock back around 30 years we ran a manual system. I printed out our identified labour vote for our 5 polling districts and we crossed them off the lists as the teller data came in from the polling stations.

CR polling place (Civic Hall) was not ideal for telling operations in December. It has two entrances and requires that the disabled ramp required tellers to sit or stand outside, so it didn't happen. Tellers (only Labour and Tories on any polling station) covered the front entrance missed about 50% of throughput but avoided hypothermia. We know this from comparing the telling data to the official throughput obtained from the electoral staff by our polling agent.

On constituency party social media and almost at the same time via a message from Sally after arriving at her first venue for telling at 7am. She noticed that there was a fly posted anti-Corbin/Labour poster illegally mounted on the lighting standard outside Helliwels on the route to the polling station. It soon became apparent that this was not a local issue but a nationally organised negative campaign designed to influence the outcome of the vote. Literally thousands of these posters had been deployed, all illegally fly posted overnight. One of our members in Colne watched a bloke fastening one up in Colne and he noticed that when he drove of he had left what was discovered as his distribution folder behind. This was duly recovered complete with maps, contact details, names etc along with the illegal poster.

Tracing the name on the poster does not immediately lead back to the Tory party. A bit of investigation on the internet though leads back to a Tory councillor from the south of England. This of course an attempt to keep the costs of the production and distribution off the Conservative election expenses. This would be OK if it was just a local dirty trick but this was National! As such the production and deployment would run into thousands of pounds. I chopped the one down that Sally found, we got off reasonably well in Barlick as we only found three more around town. Activists recovered over 30 in Colne and many more throughout the Borough. We passed all the information to the police who are investigating.

A Facebook site was set up to appeal for examples of distribution and it confirms that it was a National dirty tricks campaign. As such the numbers deployed must have run into the tens of thousands. The manpower and transport for distribution must have been at considerable expense. Whether anything ever comes of this against the Lords of the Universe remains to be see.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

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PanBiker wrote: 15 Dec 2019, 21:09 printed out our identified labour vote for our 5 polling districts
Good to hear this sort of account soon after the event. I respect your loyalty and the hard work you do in the Labour party cause. The extract above is interesting. How do you know who is an" identified Labour voter" ? Many changed their loyalties this year, and this result wasn't entirely unexpected in Pendle. Mr Stephenson was big odds on for the whole campaign, and the local council has a Tory majority.

I was amazed by the vote in such as Blyth Valley, and Leigh etc etc. Many of "our identified Labour vote" changed allegiance. I doubt things will go the way they think they will, and they'll be back . - We'll see. :smile:

No one knows my vote except me - I refuse to speak to tellers (there were none here this year) and don't speak about it afterwards.

The dirty tricks you describe seem to be on the milder end of the scale to me - if in fact any electoral offence was committed at all. I doubt it had any effect on the outcome. The Tory majority was nearly 6,200.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

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I doubt the fly-posters had a main effect, but would have re-inforced any doubts some persons. Are there local or otherwise laws against fly-posting (political or not ?) ?

Labour Voters - generally they are known to the local groups over many years, many too have been members or activists in the past.

Boris was able, once again, to go for simple soundbite lies or easy truths, difficult to re-butt without a lot of explaination that many could not/ would not comprehend.

I had forgotten how in Blair gaining a large majority with an effective right-wing government how much though of groundwork had been done by John Smith in moderate, but reforming, work when Labour was in opposition https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opende ... -not-take/ is worth a read and though out-dated (by about 4 months !) goes some way to explaining more of the fundamental changes in English voting and parlimentary choice.

Perhaps too much of politics is about personalities, Labour has missed (though Smith would have been 80 by now), the work and incision of John Smith and also the fairness of Robin Cook, it has few shining out MPs, or even ex-MPs (and the tories fewer still though the strange charm of Iain Duncan-Smith I fail to understand). John Smith also wanted permanent membership of the EU - its legal system though being closer to Scots law rather than English I think would still have been difficult to overcome.

Has Labour too over the years been undone by the EU European Project ? The Callaghan Years ended up with the implosion of a trade union run disaster which did not get good support in building a better economy from the EEC at the time, Blair expanded the EU, Brown mis-understood its implied effect on english perception of society and Cameron created the sitution in his own party that made leaving the EU at whatever cost something that Labour could neither agree with, or effectively build a popular opposition to. Corbyn could have maybe worked out a better way of answering the in/out question but he would have to be more clever - or have far better advice- than was around. 25 years on from the death of John Smith, his thoughts on the ensuring the true poorest in our society remain relevent, but how the working out in the next 4 years things will be I dont know, I suspect profits and cash will continue to leak from the many to the few though through real estate developement in our cities and countryside.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

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Interesting posts. Ian's fly posters are interesting, I hope someone pursues the case. I don't think it matters what effect it might have had, just the fact that it was organised and illegal.
Ian, what effect did it have when the Blair government took all subs in house at HQ? My impression was that it severely damaged local parties. Treating Scotland like a back office of HQ certainly had a bearing on Labour decline there. The Tories said the same thing about their organisation.
I hold to my forecast. Events during the next few years will be driven by a failing economy and difficulties in coming to a deal with the EU. Irish Unity and Scottish Independence are definitely more possible now. All depends on how powerfully the new Red Wall members argue their case.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

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Now that Jeremy Corbyn and John Mcdonnell are standing down both the right-wing media and the Tory party are lining up their preferred candidates on who should take over. Reminds me of the popular press picking football managers. If the Labour party are daft enough to take any notice they deserve all they get.
The EU means different things to different people. Virtually every aspect of our lives have some related element of EU controls in them. Most have been to our advantage but examples of subsidizing industries to move to low paid locations (eg: Poland) allow rapine capitalist enterprises to move profitable industries to more profitable locations. Cadburys springs to mind. You could move round the country and find similar examples, fishing, farming, steel works, ship building, coal mining..... all blaming the EU but where the rot had already set in for other reasons.
My personal bete noire is of trade deals with America where our input is to say the least is suspect. Unfortunately, under Johnson and the Tories we will be at America's mercy.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

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Tripps wrote: 15 Dec 2019, 22:15 How do you know who is an" identified Labour voter" ?
Of course it is a perceived loyalty as you can never be certain exactly how they vote in the booth regardless of what they say on the doorstep. Canvass data is built up over many years and is easy to track using database systems. Successive canvasses add to the validity of the data. If a person canvasses solid labour year in year out and will display a poster for you, you can be pretty certain that they will also cross the right box! You can also track switching loyalties, some electors may vote differently in local and parish elections than they do in the national ones. I think Stanley fits into this category. Because the data is held in a database you can apply computer modelling techniques to identify likely voting trends. You can build custom reports to filter in hundreds of different ways for targetted mailings and the like, first time voters, WASPI women, over 75's etc. A far cry from how we used to do it on a copy of the marked up register with notes in the margin. :smile:
Stanley wrote: 16 Dec 2019, 03:39 I hope someone pursues the case. I don't think it matters what effect it might have had, just the fact that it was organised and illegal.
Aye, that's the point. It was a planned negative campaign designed to influence the vote and in many cases posters were deployed illegally within the environs of the polling places. All were fly posted which in itself is an offence. It must have been a massive undertaking as it was national. Costings for the same should be shown in the Tory election expenses but they won't be. Candidates have their own expense cap and even for a general election it is not a bottomless pit. All the ones in Pendle should be attributed to Stephenson's expenses.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

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PanBiker wrote: 15 Dec 2019, 21:09 Tracing the name on the poster does not immediately lead back to the Tory party. A bit of investigation on the internet though leads back to a Tory councillor from the south of England. This of course an attempt to keep the costs of the production and distribution off the Conservative election expenses. This would be OK if it was just a local dirty trick but this was National!
Panbiker, a much bigger and wider example of this is the misleading campaigns on Facebook and other platforms which have been organised by `mercenary' businesses which will work for whoever pays them and you probably can't trace the source of the funds. The BBC did an investigation and the campaigns seemed to be affecting all the larger parties. Perhaps we might eventually find out where the original source lies. We definitely need better control of such activities at election and referendum times but I guess it won't happen until we regulate the big tech companies.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

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PanBiker wrote: 16 Dec 2019, 09:49 Of course it is a perceived loyalty as you can never be certain exactly how they vote in the booth
That was my main point. There was such a large swing from Labour to Conservative- well predicted by Jonathon Ashworth - that many of your loyal core must have tergiversated.

For all the clever data analysis - no one knows what I'm going to do on the day. :laugh5:
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

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Has the demise of the desire to buy paid for local newspapers contributed to a lack of local understanding of issues and persons in politics? Without the advertising funding and well-written journalism at the local level to the extent of the past, flimsy sheets with news of everywhere but homeland dont really replace what was around from the 1950s to the 2000s.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

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Tripps wrote: 16 Dec 2019, 11:07 That was my main point. There was such a large swing from Labour to Conservative- well predicted by Jonathon Ashworth - that many of your loyal core must have tergiversated.

For all the clever data analysis - no one knows what I'm going to do on the day.
Spot on, there's nowt so queer as folk. Of course there were many factors influencing the switch from Labour to Tory in this particular election. It is up to us as a local party to not exactly start again but to carry on and put over party policy and win over the electorate. This will take place using soft canvass methods where we try to expand the number of residents that we talk to. Mixed in of course is the damned if you do and damned if you don't syndrome. Again in the nowt so queer as folk category. Some members of the public will complain if you don't knock on their door, (our candidate was expected to personally visit 41,000 individual households in the 6 week campaign!) and others complain if you do.
Whyperion wrote: 16 Dec 2019, 11:53 Has the demise of the desire to buy paid for local newspapers contributed to a lack of local understanding of issues and persons in politics?
To some extent yes. When Sally was campaigning to serve on the borough and town councils. She made it a quest to always have some input into the local papers, she made regular press releases of what she was up to on the campaign trail etc. Of course 30 years ago in Barlick we had two local papers and an advertiser that most people subscribed to which made a vast difference for recognition and public perception. There is only so much you can do via social media as not everyone uses FB and the other channels. Many residents do not use a computer at all.

A big problem is total apathy and the feelings that a lot of folk have that their vote won't make a difference so they don't register. Short of compulsory voting this is the challenge.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

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Tizer wrote: 15 Dec 2019, 16:59
Tripps wrote: 15 Dec 2019, 14:26 And it means ensuring that the working class, in all its diversity, is the driving force within our party.
And there lies one of the problems. He hasn't grasped that most people these days don't see themselves as `working class'. They see that as outdated and don't want to be described that way. Gone are the days of thousands upon thousands of miners and shipbuilders and dockers. A great many of the people Corbyn would call working class are actually running their own small businesses, setting up enterprises, going to university, or working in those small businesses, and they have aspirations for greater things. Even the poor dream of being well off. To those people Corbynism smacks of East Germany.
Just read this. I agree completely and have said so many times to friends. I am not working class indeed not even a worker. Corbyn kept saying he was for the worker. He never mentioned people like me with a few savings ...but only because we worked hard, saved hard and ‘played’ little for years.
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Good posts again. I agree with you P about the US trade deal. That will give us a measure of Johnson. My bet is that he will be outmanoeuvred on drugs patents and that will open the way for more US investment in peripheral services. The thin end of the wedge.
Ian, I'll lay a small bet that if we ever found out, the culprits are the people who will benefit from a hard Brexit and a predatory City. Look at who has financed Johnson's campaign.... Hedge Funds and off-shore money. (For a start, look at the treasurer of the Party!)
Sue. I understand you and agree. All I can say is that in every one of the 18 general elections I have voted in there have always been voters who believe quite rightly that they have not been represented. (You can please some of the voters all the time....')
As for the Labour Leadership, that is shaping up to be a classic example of the Party at its worst, already they are at each other's throats. It will be a Westminster Village process despite lip service to the membership.
Always remember that Johnson, though riding high at the moment, is fundamentally a Bullingdon Boy and will not change his spots. This will eventually be his nemesis. Watch and wait....
PS. One of the first major decisions is what to do with what looks like failure of the British Steel rescue deal at Scunthorpe. This is priority number one.
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Later... News that Johnson is proposing an additional clause in the Brexit Bill. This will make it illegal to extend the transition period beyond the end of 2020. Given the fact that everybody has warned that the timescale is 'very challenging' (EU speak for impossible) this looks like a recipe for No Deal Brexit. Could this be the last piece of the jigsaw that has been the Cunning Plan? Is this why the ERG group has gone quiet?
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

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Caught a snippet on the BBC National News last night. Reporter was in Burnley and interviewing 2 young men, both on zero hours contracts and sharing a single bed sit. Very pleased they voted Tory as "Boris will get us out of this mess". Nolic
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

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Sue wrote: 16 Dec 2019, 22:35 Just read this. I agree completely and have said so many times to friends. I am not working class indeed not even a worker. Corbyn kept saying he was for the worker. He never mentioned people like me with a few savings ...but only because we worked hard, saved hard and ‘played’ little for years.
I agree. people have been placed in categories that they never deserved. Bearing in mind that in the 1900's people were referred to as 'lower orders'. The 'class' system still exists although now rapped up in complex gradings like B1, C1, C2 etc, white collar, blue collar and under the euphemism of 'hard working people'. I've worked with people who may not have made the grade on academic subjects but had talents that I could only wish for.
In today's world its all about money. Its fine to have aspirations but the reality is how long could you last with NO income. including benefits or pensions?
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

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Here is a post from over in FB land from Sydney Silverman's lad Roger Silverman which includes an interesting analysis of the result and how it's reported.

Roger Silverman
13 December at 19:44 ·

"This is no time for glib slogans. This is a serious defeat; a disaster. It clears the way for the most brutal Tory attacks yet seen on our living standards and our democratic rights. It will destroy the last remaining vestiges of the welfare state established 75 years ago. It will at least for a period demoralise a generation of youth desperate for the chance of a future. And it puts at risk the huge advances made in the last four years towards the reconquest of the Labour Party as the party of the working class and the 99%.

In a lesser-known story by Lewis Carroll, there is a scene where the masses are rioting in the streets demanding: “Less Bread! More Taxes!”. In Victorian England, that was a piece of playful nonsense fantasy, along with the Cheshire Cat’s grin or the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. In 21st century Britain, the population have actually in real life elected a grotesque pantomime prime minister who could easily have walked straight out of Alice In Wonderland, promising exactly that very programme.

But let’s cut straight through the fog of misinformation and put this result in context. Just as the media lied outrageously and shamelessly throughout the campaign, displaying blatant bias, so still now they are lying through their teeth in their reporting of this result. Yes, this is a bad result for Labour. But their repeated description of it as “Labour’s worst result since 1935” is simply yet another outright lie. In terms of the total number of votes won, this is Labour’s second best result out of the last five general elections, winning 10.3 million votes, compared to 9.5 million in 2005, 8.6 million in 2010, 9.35 million in 2015, and 12.9 million in 2017. Even in terms of percentages, Labour’s result this time, at 32.2%, is not as bad as in 2010 (29%) or 2015 (30.4%). So the unremitting poisonous filth of the media in discrediting Corbyn haws continued beyond the election campaign. The truth is that under his leadership, Labour has twice in two successive elections won more than ten million votes – something that Blair failed to achieve in 2005, Brown in 2010, or Miliband in 2015.

What are the prospects for a Johnson government? This vain, pompous, lazy, incompetent, arrogant, racist buffoon and puppet of the billionaires will prove hopelessly incompetent in coping with the multiple catastrophes lying ahead for the British ruling class: the economic consequences of a “hard Brexit”, the onset of a new recession on the scale of 2008, the near-certain secession of Scotland, the very probable reunification of Ireland, even the possible collapse of the monarchy, the rapid diminution of England into a cheap offshore-island tax haven.

There will be plenty of opportunity to deal more deeply with these issues. Meanwhile, we can be sure that the mass of the population will not stay tame or silent: the pauperized zero-hours workers, the cash-starved pensioners and disabled, the migrants and the unemployed, the homeless and the hungry, above all the youth robbed of a future.

Under a Johnson parliamentary dictatorship, years of volatility, conflict and crisis lie ahead, erupting in an explosion of protest which could well bring it crashing to its downfall. In countries around the world, from Europe to Africa, the Middle East to Latin America, tens of thousands are marching on the streets, braving police bullets and in many cases overthrowing their oppressors. Britain is plunging into the turmoil that is already gripping at least thirty countries throughout the rest of the world. Let Boris Johnson chortle in his moment of glory while he can. He least of all will be equipped to withstand the era of revolution and resistance that is sweeping the world."
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

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Boris and Partners have about 12 and a half months to get the first and second chunks of brexit done. Its either ambitious or foolhardy.

For riots on the streets I suppose he could un-mothball the water-cannon May stopped him using before.

But I don't see 'The Young' as being particulary hard done by, my friend (she is from Rwananda) has got her son into Oxford (2nd year now of Politics and Government Course- presumably its interesting) - at term breaks he is back in South London volunteering at a homeless project where most of its clients are east european with drink or drug addiction issues (not all, and there is regular sucess in passing on some clients to short and longer term accomodation along with training or work). Of course if university places are rationed then not every 18 year old will get a place, but there remain other academic or vocational offerings. By contrast another friend's grandson about the same age from a few roads away is not interested in work , or learning, supposedly having issues somewhere on an Aspberger's scale, an assortment of programmes and encouragement have been tried, his parents are in a relation best described as tumultuous , yet his brother just gets on with building and labouring work for the pride of doing it. What different, and effective, could either Labour, or Tory actually offer . Polictics and community is more than just parties and pressure groups: charities and educational trusts all have roles to play and the danger is that social success despite what resources a government throw at issues will be claimed as positive outcomes and painthing themseleves with an undeserved golden glow.
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Stanley wrote: 17 Dec 2019, 04:09 As for the Labour Leadership, that is shaping up to be a classic example of the Party at its worst, already they are at each other's throats. It will be a Westminster Village process despite lip service to the membership.
Well the media would like you to think so wouldn't they? They can pontificate and argue all they want, the process will not start until the New Year, January 7th rings a bell. You will get a vote like every other member of the party. We are the only party that elects our leader by the membership so why would you tar this as mere lip service?
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PanBiker wrote: 17 Dec 2019, 10:29 ....even the possible collapse of the monarchy,....
A bit of wishful thinking here.
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Saxe-Coburg-Gotha married Phillippos Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg,
Their adopted name is Windsor. They are here for the long haul. They represent the pinnacle of our democratic classless society. In fact they could be with a bit of luck be the beneficiary of Johnson's largesse in the form of tax cuts, subsidies and not forgetting the Sovereign Grant for April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 was a whopping £76.1 million. I think that they will scrape through any deprivations and adverse events that Brexit may throw at them.

If not convinced read 'War of the Windsors, A Century of Unconstitutional Monarchy'. brings tears to your eyes.
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I saw that interview Comrade and my first thought was "You poor sods". That's the Achilles heel of Johnson and his ilk. Young Silverman has the picture but is being extreme and falling into the same trap that Marx and Engels found as they predicted revolution over and over again and it didn't happen.
Watched the Brexit prog on BBC2 last night. Emily Thornbury hit the nail right on the head in that interview with Laura Kuenssberg.
I repeat, the changes to the Brexit Bill are significant. The clause to make longer adjustment period after end of 2020 illegal signals to me No Deal. The erasure of any mention of worker's rights is the shape of things to come. (Those two lads in Burnley!) You ain't seen nothing yet.
Ian, Labour MPs threatening to take fellow MPs to court is a fact not media hype. A two hour meeting of the PLP in which only two new members avoided criticising Corbyn is a fact, not media hype.
The bottom line is that by making Brexit an internal party debate and not opening it up to cross party discussion the Tories condemned us to this outcome. Everything else flows from that and consensus is what is needed now, nit Tories pursuing a radical agenda. And it will be radical, believe you me. But not equitable and therein lies our fate for the next ten years at least. Labour should start from this point and stop looking for scapegoats. Corbyn was, in a way, as much a victim as everyone else. He failed but he is not the Anti-Christ!
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Stanley wrote: 18 Dec 2019, 04:03 Labour MPs threatening to take fellow MPs to court is a fact not media hype.
When I see headlines of some ex-Labour MP, slamming or some other aggressive adjective, Corbyn. I look up their profile on Wikipedia, Usually I find that although they may have a sound history as a MP they generally have long standing dislike for Corbyn. Many will have voted against him in the Labour ballots and may have resigned leading shadow bench position. Once voted out as a MP they have thrown their toys out of the pram and let rip on Corbyn or his associates. Perhaps the lesson is to never take a headline at face value.
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Stanley wrote: 18 Dec 2019, 04:03 Ian, Labour MPs threatening to take fellow MPs to court is a fact not media hype. A two hour meeting of the PLP in which only two new members avoided criticising Corbyn is a fact, not media hype.
Of course there will be arguments and tussles in the lead up to the election. No different to any other election. The PLP will have it's input but it does not select the leader. The NEC will eventually produce a shortlist and you will get your members franchise. I was more interested in why you thought this was lip service to the members?
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer »

That vituperous diatribe from Silverman is one of the most depressing things I've read for a long time. It's guaranteed to turn British folk against the Labour Party.
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Stanley wrote: 18 Dec 2019, 04:03I repeat, the changes to the Brexit Bill are significant. The clause to make longer adjustment period after end of 2020 illegal signals to me No Deal.
More on that from Laura, here...
`A moment of early chest beating over Brexit' LINK
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by PanBiker »

Tizer wrote: 18 Dec 2019, 10:22 That vituperous diatribe from Silverman is one of the most depressing things I've read for a long time. It's guaranteed to turn British folk against the Labour Party.
I don't think he has said anything that we haven't already discussed and broadly agreed with within this thread over the last couple of years. As for "Laura", I'm surprised she is still in a job with her less than impartial breach of electoral confidentiality.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley »

As I said at the time Silverman was too virulent for me.
Good Article by Laura Tiz. She's right and 'You ain't seen nothing yet!' rang a bell, exactly my comment yesterday.
Labour should be homing in now on opposition to ditching worker's rights not arguing about who did what. Many of the things Blair said yesterday ware right but he too is partisan and should keep his nose out. He had his spell at the wicket and as I remember it didn't go well. There is a school that would argue that it was his move to the right which triggered the resurgence of the far left.
My message is disregard leadership elections, they will sort themselves out. Watch Johnson! He is running on adrenaline and so are his advisers. They will make mistakes and go too far too fast forgetting promises. I fear that damage is going to be done.....
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The floggings will continue until morale improves!
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