Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Corbyn, Trump and the Prince from Across the Sea

Your Choice
Your Choice
Currently the country is in political, financial and social turmoil. With the lack of a clear leadership voice for the country, its difficult to see a way forward. The upper class leaders of the Leave Europe campaign have fled and the two largest parties are embroiled in internal power struggles.

For us, the massive surge of support for Jeremy Corbyn has been a concern, so far left unanswered by the Greens. 

Can it be argued that joining Labour in support of Corbyn is potentially a dangerous thing?

Here is a scenario that starts with suggesting that Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump find themselves in exactly the same position.

Putting the difference in politics aside, both are outsiders elected to leadership by their memberships over the wishes of their party representatives, with both sets of representatives having tried to remove their new leaders.

In England, the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) is currently trying VERY hard to remove its leader. But it is being checked by its grassroots activists (and in particular the Momentum movement) buoyed by a massive surge in membership.


Momentum in particular seems powerful. As most of the new joiners are specifically joining in support of Jeremy Corbyn, and engaging with Momentum to do so, it is clearly the strongest organising force in the party. 

But if Corbyn stays, with their support, the PLP though in retreat, is not going anywhere. 

So what now?  With weak alternative PLP candidates and a strong Momentum, is it stalemate until the next attempted coup? Maybe. 

Part of the strength of Momentum's position is that there is no viable, strong enough candidate within the PLP that can challenge them, challenge Corbyn. And that is true.

The Prince from across the Sea

On the assumption that there is no snap election called, one possibility could be that the 'Prince from across the Sea' would break the deadlock. 

This Prince could regain a seat in a by-election and position himself as, not just coming back to lead the Labour Party but to save the country. He would have the support of the PLP, be of wide enough appeal to the country that the grassroots activists would grudgingly accept him. And so he would defeat Corbyn in a leadership election, at the same time breaking Momentum across his knee.

A defeated Corbyn would be a massive blow to the progressive movement in the country.

Only the progressive alliance talked of with the SNP, Greens and Plaid Cymru could possibly defeat both the government and keep the Prince at bay.

Building that alliance cannot be focussed on joining Labour, its too unstable a situation. While the party is likely to keep hitting itself in the face for the foreseeable future, in England, a larger Green Party has to be a better bet.

In the meantime, the Prince, David Miliband continues to comment in the US media.

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Saturday, 2 July 2016

Brexit, Racism and Accountability

Brexit - Voting to Leave
Brexit surprises - the ‘Out’ result itself, who voted out and the ensuing political turmoil.

Generally, the media has characterised those who voted out as the disenfranchised white working class, and given the spread of the ‘Out’ vote, this applies to most of the country.

The rise in attacks and abuse against Asians, Blacks and Europeans has been swift. Many column inches have been devoted to ‘Shock’, pointing to the effects of austerity and the words of grey, white people in small towns.

But England and its people hasn't substantially changed over the years and certainly not since the EU referendum vote. For some, it would seem, are now more comfortable being openly racist because, through the vote, they believe most people think like them.

And the fault for this lies squarely with the leaders of this country.

Recently, too many politicians have taken Race and used it to demonise as a cover for the negative consequences of their policies or the deficit in their thinking.

They have 'weaponised' it.

Race played a major part in last year’s General Election with the main parties all promising to be tough on immigrants and doing nothing to dampen down the resulting xenophobia. 

The Labour Party even produced its infamous 'Controls on Immigration' mugs.

The recent London Mayoral campaign was openly Islamophobic.

The use of high levels of fear by BOTH the Remain and Brexit campaigns was new, with Brexit basing their fear platform on immigration and Europeans.

That immigrants and Europe have been the main cause of England's problems – lack of services, housing, jobs - was not only a central plank of Brexit but also often used by the government over the years.

By voting 'Out', the majority of the public accepted these argument.

What have politicians been doing to allay these fears? 


Leadership battles have turned politicians inward instead of outwards to the country. No-one is trying to close the wounds this campaign has opened.

A pox on all their houses. Blame for this situation should be pointed in the right direction.

So what does this mean for the Greens?

  • The national leadership to be much more vocal about their anti-racist policies and practices.
  • Hold any racist, xenophobic actions and policies of the other parties to account.
  • Local parties to be much faster to condemn racist incidents wherever they happen in the country.
  • Show more diversity in its leadership platform.Its done that relatively successfully over the last couple of years with Shahrar Ali and Amelia Womack presenting a different complexion to its membership, Natalie Bennett covering almost every inch of the country in support of local members and Caroline Lucas retaining her popularity with the press.

If though, as a party, we are going back to having a white, middle aged, middle class leadership, that is a statement in itself.

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