Posts Tagged ‘Labour leadership election’

The Entirely Fake Owen Smith

July 19, 2016
Owen Smith

Owen Smith more Blairite than Blair

Owen Smith unelectable

Owen Smith unelectable

Even the mainstream media feel compelled to drop hints that Owen Smith is not what he is being promoted as. The Guardian’s words yesterday were unintentionally revealing;

the former shadow work and pensions secretary plans to pitch himself as the soft-left option

Note “to pitch himself”. For PR professional Smith, political stance is nothing to do with personal belief, it is to do with brand positioning. On Channel 4 News last night, an incredulous Michael Crick pointed out that the “soft left” Smith had previously given interviews supporting PFI and privatisation in the health service. He also strongly supported Blair’s city academies.

As chief lobbyist for Pfizer, Smith actively pushed for privatisation of NHS services. This is not something Pfizer did very openly, and you have to search the evidence carefully. Footnotes often tell you what is really happening, as in this press release  in which Owen Smith says of a Pfizer funded “focus group” study:

We believe that choice is a good thing and that patients and healthcare professionals should be at the heart of developing the agenda.

You have to look at the footnotes to see what kind of choice Owen Smith is actually talking about. Note to Editors 3 includes

“The focus groups also explored areas of choice that do not yet exist in the UK – most specifically the use of direct payments and the ability to choose to go directly to a specialist without first having to see the GP.”

Well, at least it is clear – direct payments from the public to doctors replacing current NHS services. Smith was promoting straight privatisation. As Head of Policy and Government Relations for Pfizer, Owen Smith was also directly involved in Pfizer’s funding  of Blairite right wing entryist group Progress. Pfizer gave Progress £53,000. Progress has actively pursued the agenda of PFI and privatisation of NHS services.

Owen Smith went to Pfizer from a Labour Party job, while Labour were in government, and there is no doubt that his hiring was an example of the corrupt relationship between New Labour and big business which is why the Blairites are so hated by the public. It is also beyond any argument that if Pfizer had any doubts about Owen Smith’s willingness to promote the Big Pharma and NHS Privatisation agenda, they would never have hired him.

Owen Smith is a strong supporter of Trident and assiduously courts the arms industry. He is a regular at defence industry events.

Perhaps most crucially of all, Owen Smith  joined his fellow Red Tories in abstaining on the Tory welfare benefit cuts.

I do not doubt Owen Smith’s expertise in brand positioning. I expect that there are indeed a large number of Labour Party members who might vote for a left wing alternative to Corbyn. But I also suspect that Smith has adopted the PR man’s typical contempt for the public, who are not as stupid as he seems to think. There is no evidence whatsoever that Smith is a left winger. There is every evidence that he is another New Labour unprincipled and immoral careerist, adopting a left wing pose that he thinks will win him votes.

People will notice, Owen. They really are not that stupid.

Re-posted from Craig Murray.

Owen Smith claims to be the unity candidate, only he can heal the wounds in the Labour Party, that he is as radical as Jeremy Corbyn.

His record shows anything but. He was one of the coup plotters, thus hardly a unity candidate or someone to heal wounds when it is he and hos coup plotters that have caused the damage to the Labour Party.

To claim  as radical as Jeremy Corbyn, is laughable.

His background is PR, he is a former lobbyist for a major US pharmaceutical company, favours privatisation of the NHS, has obtained funding for Blairites within the Party from a  US drugs company.  A former adviser.. He abstained on damaging Tory welfare cuts. Has contempt for democracy with his call for a second referendum on Brexit.  In Wales he is known as Oily Smith.

A candidate who is as shallow as Tony Blair.

Is this the sort of person suited to lead the Labour Party?

Most would say no.

Owen Smith and Angela Eagle have done a dirty little deal as to who would stand. Labour MPs met to decide who will stand.

Once again contempt for democracy, contempt for the members.

The only thing that ties the coup plotters together, is intense hatred of Jeremy Corbyn and contempt for the members.

Owen Smith is a careerist politician, satiated on his lust for power.

If not already registered to vote in the leadership election, please register before 5pm on Wednesday.

Labour NEC contempt for democracy

July 14, 2016

Labour NEC has nothing but contempt for the demos, the people.

Two days ago they met to decide whether or not Jeremy Corbyn should be on the ballot for leader. The rules are crystal clear, no ambiguity, and yet it took them almost six hours and threat of legal act to reach an agreement, that yes, he would automatically be on the ballot.

They went into secret session. Are they not accountable to Labour Party members?

Then, as Jeremy Corbyn left the room to let supporters know the good news, and a couple of his supporters also left, NEC pulled a fast one. They decided anyone who had joined the Labour Party after 12 January 2016, would not be entitled to vote.  They also decided that to register as a supporter there would be a fee of £25 (last year it was £3). The window of opportunity to register is very small, a couple of days only within which to register. Those who registered last years, apparently cannot vote (though this need clarification).

This ruling, which at a stroke, disenfranchised well over 100,000 members, was not even on the agenda.

A check of the Labour Party website this afternoon, no information on the leadership election, no information on how to register as a supporter.

Labour Party changed its rules a couple of years ago. No longer could Trade Union leaders cast a Bloc Vote at Party Conference on behalf of their members,  individual members  had to register and vote as affiliated members of the Labour Party.

This offered an alternative route to vote in the leadership election, for example register as a community member of Unite.

Today, Labour NEC blocked trade union affiliate members from voting. Affiliate members who registered after 12 January 2016, will be disenfranchised.

What is particularly insidious about these rulings, is that they are retrospective.

Member who joined in good faith, have found that they had a vote, and now it has been taken away.

There has been no discussion, no debate, within the Party, to bar members from voting, or to hike the supporter fee to £25.

None of this is new. Last year, people experienced problems registering as supporters. Lists were passed to local parties and names scrubbed off the voting register. Many people did not receive ballot papers.

Labour NEC has suspended Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party, strong supporters of Jeremy Corbyn.

The Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party has been suspended and its recent election results annulled, according to its new secretary.

On Saturday (9 July 2016), the city’s Labour party voted for its new executive committee and Corbyn supporters took the top jobs.

But the recently-elected secretary Greg Hadfield said this afternoon the branch received a letter from Labour’s national executive committee (NEC), which said the local party had been suspended.

Please sign the petition demanding that Brighton suspension is lifted and the elections at their AGM honoured.

Labour NEC has suspended all local party meetings until the leadership election is over at the end of September.

Local parties are defying the NEC ruling.

In Wallasey, the Merseyside constituency of Angela Eagle – one of the two challengers to Corbyn – members booked a hall for a meeting of the New Brighton branch on Wednesday night. It went ahead as an informal meeting of Labour members rather than an official event.

At the end of the two-hour meeting, a vote of no confidence in Angela Eagle was passed by 54 to 9. In a second vote, they unanimously rejected the £25 membership fee, which one of those in the hall denounced as “a surcharge on democracy”.

Members at the meeting accused the labour NEC of trying to exclude the tens of thousands who had joined since the attempt to remove Corbyn a fortnight ago. Kathy Miller, secretary of the Wallasey constituency party, said 369 new members had joined her branch since 24 June , bringing the total to 1,221.

Local parties across the country should hold meetings in defiance of Labour NEC. What are they going to do, suspend every local Labour Party in the country, disenfranchise the entire labour Party membership?

What we are seeing is gerrymandering on an industrial scale.

If this level of gerrymandering and vote rigging was seen in Iran or Russia or Zimbabwe, there would be international outcry, call for international monitors, questions raised as to the validity of the election.

The behaviour of Labour MPs is little better.

They mounted a coup against Jeremy Corbyn. They had no mandate to do so.

Two Labour MPs have tossed their hat into the ring, to challenge Jeremy Corbyn.

Monday, Labour MPs will decide behind closed doors, which of these two MPs will stand, one will drop out. Party members are not allowed to participate. The only policy the Candidate will have, We Hate Corbyn.

If coup plotters, Labour NEC, Labour head office, want war, then let us give them  war.

There should be meetings across the country in defiance of Labour NEC, pass a Vote of No Confidence in NEC.

Ordinary people should take control of their local Labour Party. Labour NEC needs a clear out, as does the Labour head office. And when a General Election is called, every single one of the coup plotters should be de-selected and replaced not by Party automatons (we have had enough of them), but with people who are capable of independent thought, who will act for the people who elected them.



Gerrymandering by Labour NEC

July 13, 2016

It was not even on the agenda. At a stroke, Labour Party NEC disenfranchised over 100,000 party members and hiked the fee for registered supporters from £3 to £25.

Yesterday, Labour NEC agreed to allow Jeremy Corbyn on the ballot.

Why did it take nearly six hours, and threat of legal action, when the rules were crystal clear with no wriggle room?

As Jeremy Corbyn left the room, to tell supporters outside of the good news, and a few of his supporters also left the meeting, NEC slipped through rule changes, at a  stroke disenfranchised over 100,000 members from taking part in the ballot, and levied a charge of £25 for those wishing to register as supporters.

These rule changes were not on the agenda.

All Labour members who joined after 12 January have been disenfranchised.

Contrast with the big push to get people to register to vote before the EU Referendum.

What we are seeing is an illustration of all that is rotten within the Labour Party.

We have been here before. We saw the same gerrymandering of the leadership election last year. People who tried to register as supporters were blocked on quite trivial grounds. Lists were sent to local Labour Parties to strip out any possible Corbyn supporters. Many people never received their ballot papers.

A few years ago, Labour Party rules were changed, no longer Bloc Votes by Trade Union bosses at party conferences. Now, Trade Union members may vote as individual affiliated members.

It is possible join the Unite union as a community member, paying 50p a week until becoming an affiliate member by 8 August 2016. Downside, have to sign a Direct Debit.

Lunchtime on Wato, a tearful member of Labour NEC complaining they were intimidated. And what was this intimidation? A threat of legal action if they failed to comply with the rules and let Jeremy Corbyn onto the ballot. This is not intimidation.

She also wanted a secret ballot, and claimed Jeremy Corbyn was encouraging intimidation by opposing a secret ballot. Jeremy Corbyn has consistently opposed any intimidation.

She was not questioned on why they had disenfranchised over 100,000 members, why the £25 registration fee, why those who have previously registered as supporters are not entitled to vote.

No one else from the labour NEC was granted a platform.

What happened on Wato is just one of many examples of BBC bias. It has now become almost a daily occurrence on Wato. Last night on World Tonight, Blair chum Charlie Falconer, they shared a flat together, granted a platform to give his views on Labour Party split (there is no split, but according to BBC there is).  Paul Mason gives another example.

Owen Smith has thrown his hat into the leadership race. He says he wishes to help heal the wounds in the Party, says he respects the will of the membership.

It is the likes of Owen Smith, Angela Eagle and other coup plotters, who have caused the wounds in the party. Will Owen Smith be speaking out against the action of Labour NEC to disenfranchise any Party member who joined after 12 January 2016, demand the reduction of the £25 registration fee for supporters, and to extend the period of registration beyond a few days?

Owen Smith is a former special adviser and lobbyist for a US giant pharmaceutical  company, background in PR. Is he the type of person to lead the Labour Party?

As Theresa May returned from Buckingham Palace having accepted the invitation to form the next government, she gave a speech on social justice that could have done justice to Jeremy Corbyn or John McDonnell. Even David Cameron in his last words as Prime Minister, highlighted his achievements in terms of social justice.  And yet the coup plotters still do not recognise the world has moved on, still cannot get their heads around why they lost the last election, want to return the Party to the dark days of war criminal Tony Blair.

The Labour leadership campaign should be used as an opportunity to turn Labour into a mass social movement, that engages with people at every possible level. That is no longer about people like Owen Jones and his ego and ambitions, it is about engaging with many people, of involving many people, at all levels. It is not about power, and obsession with power, which is all that motivates the coup plotters. It is following the example of Barcelona, Frome in Somerset. It provides the opportunity to engage with people, to reach  a broad consensus of what they wish a Post-Brexit future to look like.

In Barcelona, the activists who now control City Hall, recognise democracy is far more than ticking a box in a ballot paper every few years.

But if the coup plotters want war, then deliver them war.  Ordinary people should take control of their local Labour Party. Labour NEC needs a clear out, as does the Labour head office. And when a General Election is called, every single one of the coup plotters should be de-selected and replaced not by Party automatons (we have had enough of them), but with people who are capable of independent thought, who will act for the people who elected them.

Jeremy Corbyn for Labour Party leader

August 11, 2015
Labour Leadership race explained

Labour Leadership race explained

far from denying the deficit we must tackle it

far from denying the deficit we must tackle it

 public ownership does not mean state control

public ownership does not mean state control

I am just an ordinary person trying to do an ordinary job. — Jeremy Corbyn

Corbyn is the only candidate sticking to the line that the banks were to blame and he is reaping the benefit. Not least because he is absolutely right. — Larry Elliott

As people wake up to the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn actually being able to win the Labour leadership, the reaction has become increasingly hysterical, especially from elements of the Labour establishment. — John McDonnell

Sunday smear of the day: Jeremy Corbyn is taking us back to the bad old days, failed state nationalisation.

Not true. Jeremy Corbyn has questioned monopolies like rail, electricity, water. Questioned why we are making public investment in rail infrastructure to benefit private companies. He has suggested public ownership, where we all have a stake, open coops, collaborative commons.

I believe in public ownership, but I have never favoured the remote nationalised model that prevailed in the post-war era. Like a majority of the population and a majority of even Tory voters, I want the railways back in public ownership.

But public control should mean just that, not simply state control: so we should have passengers, rail workers and government too, co-operatively running the railways to ensure they are run in our interests and not for private profit.

This model should replace both the old Labour model of top-down operation by central diktat and Tories favoured model of unaccountable privatised operators running our public services for their own ends.

The public support public ownership, recognise the failure of privatisation of railways and electricity.

East Coast train at Kings Cross

East Coast train at Kings Cross

East Coast Mainline was in public owner, it was well run, returned a billion pounds to the Treasury.

Last year Tories handed East Coast Mainline to Richard Branson and Stagecoach.

Public ownership does not have to be nationalisation of the Big Six, indeed that would be the wrong approach. Far better would be community owned and controlled local grids, into which feed renewables guaranteed a fair price, consumers pay a fair price, surplus generation is fed to other local grids via the National Grid (in public ownership or a owned by the local grids or a mix of the two), any profit ploughed back into the local grid or funds local community projects. The Big Six would not be able to compete with local grids and would go out of business. Money would be available to be spent in and revive the local economy. In Germany there are several hundred local grids. Last year E.ON stated it could not compete with local grids.

Yesterday (Monday) we had Barry Sherman call for suspension of the leadership election because the wrong people were registering as supporters of the Labour Party, ie people who would vote for Jeremy Corbyn.

Barry Sherman is a supporter of Liz Kendall. To her credit, speaking on Wato, Liz Kendall did not call for suspension, she said it was good people were registering an interest.

Barry Sherman claimed Labour MPs were not happy with the new electoral system. This only goes to show how out of touch are Labour MPs and that we need to see a wholesale clear out.

Jermy Corbyn welcomes so many people are taking an interest. And as he says, this goes beyond the Parliamentary Labour Party, beyond the Labour Party. This is real democracy at work, inclusive, involving people, engaging with people.

Harriet Harman has called upon local Labour parties and MPs to weed out people known to them.

Imagine for one moment this happening in Russia or a Third World Country. There would be international outcry at crude attempts to rig the outcome of an election.

Yesterday the odious Alistair Campbell joined in the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn. He described it as madness for the Labour Party to elect Jeremy Corbyn. Well at least we would have someone of integrity, which is more than can be said for Alistair Campbell

Riding on the coattails of Tony Blair, Alistair Campbell helps Blair, for a fee of course, to improve the image of ruthless dictators whose hands are dripping with the blood of innocent victims, peaceful protesters.

In the last few weeks, Jack Straw and Tony Blair have attacked Jeremy Corbyn. Add in Alistair Campbell and that is three war criminals. Are all three worried that if there is the evidence, Jeremy Cobyn would agree to Tony Blair being put on trial for war crimes?

Today, it was the turn of Peter Hain, a man who would sell his grandmother, to attack Jeremy Corbyn, who he claimed lacked credibility, parroted what is now a well worn groove, that it is to take the Labour Party backwards and yet ironically, bemoaned the lack of any radical policies.

Who needs the Murdoch controlled media, when Old Guard Labour will do Murdoch’s dirty business for him.

Jeremy Corby unelectable

Jeremy Corby unelectable

We hear time and time again Jeremy Corbyn cannot win elections. That no doubt explains why he won Islington with an increased majority, when many of the Labour Old Guard could not even hold on to what until then were rock solid safe Labour seats, in Labour strongholds.

packed meetings

packed meetings

And what of the packed meetings? We are told they are deluded.

The Labour Old Guard have demonstrated they cannot win elections, they have lost two elections, with the last election being one of the worst ever results for Labour.

The public are sick of politics businesses as usual, the overwhelming vast majority of politicians self-serving scum, whores for big business and bankers, with rare exceptions such as Caroline Lucas and Jeremy Corbyn.

Jeremy Corbyn is a breath of fresh air, no spin doctors, no advisers, no on message, no looking over the shoulder at what Murdoch and Lord Rothermere may say. A politician of integrity, a politician who understands democracy, real  democracy, participatory democracy, engagement with the people, not the sham democracy we have been palmed off with, tick a box every few years, then keep quiet. People wish to see him elected, as a once in a lifetime opportunity to change the direction of politics.

Austerity has failed, failed that is unless you are one of the 1% who are doing nicely.

We used to have a prosperous working class, now we have minimum wage, zero hours, de-skilled workers, reliant upon tax credits. With no money to spend, our town centres are dying.

Austerity is not an accident, nor is it for the short term. It is part of the neo-liberal agenda to smash workers, smash democracy, drive wages down to the level of India or China. Forget minimum wage, many are working as serfs for apps, where once we had Trade Unions negotiating higher wages, atomised isolated workers are now bidding against each other to drive wages down.

The system is collapsing, but instead of the wealthy bearing the brunt of the cuts, after all it was they who caused the crisis in 2008 not the poor, austerity is being used as a cover for Shock Doctrine, it is the poor who are being hit with welfare cuts, students saddled with a lifetime of debt for wanting a decent education, pensioners facing pension cuts and being forced to work until they drop, libraries closed, art funding cut, hospitals starved of funding, waiting lists growing.

All the conditions that caused the banking crisis of 2008 are in place, banks have ever more toxic instruments in place. Only this time around, there is no money left to bail out the banks.

In Greece we are seeing the social catastrophe of austerity. And a further wave of privatisations, pension cuts, tax hikes is being forced on Greece, because they had the audacity to believe another world to be possible.

Tidjane Thiam, the CEO of Prudential, spelled out the true meaning of austerity at the Davos forum in 2012. Unions are the ‘enemy of young people’ and a minimum wage a ‘machine to destroy jobs’. He want to see more austerity. J P Morgan spelt it out in 2013, for the neo-liberal agenda to succeed, democracy must be destroyed. In other words, democracy must be destroyed for J P Morgan to survive.

As the Greeks have discovered, there is no Geneva Convention to protect us from the banks, from their riot police and tear gas. They will quite happily trigger a run on the banks to bring a democratic country to its knees, as they did in Cyprus in 2013 and Greece this summer.

They own the media, the politicians, but they do not own us. More and more of us are prepared to take to the streets face down the riot cops, the tear gas.

There is the hope, they completely lack public support. Parties like Syriza are prepared to stand up and be counted. They may have been forced into temporary retreat, the Fourth Reich may have occupied Greece, but they will not be there for ever.

In England there was no alternative. Tweedledee v Tweedledum, puppets of the bankers, only too willing to do their bidding. Democracy a sham. Tick a box, which puppet would you like for the next five years.

Enter Jeremy Corbyn. Now there is hope, a chance of real change. And because he is willing to offer change, that is why he is being attacked, and those attacks will only get worse.

In the unlikely event were Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper or Andy Burnham to win the Labour leadership race, it will be more of the same. Labour will be unelectable for the foreseeable future. But even were they to win an election, nothing would change.

Under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, the opportunity for real change, a once in lifetime opportunity. That is why his meetings are packed, why people are registering as Labour Party supporters, they want to see change, they want to be part of that change.

And it is not only Parliament, people will take to the streets.

Jeremy Corbyn addressed the massive anti-austerity protest in London in June, as did Russell Brand, Charlotte Church, Caroline Lucas. Where was the Labour Front Bench?

The deadline to register as a Labour Party supporter is midday Wednesday 12 August 2015.

If you want to vote for Jeremy Corbyn, simply register as a Labour Party Supporter at a one off fee of £3 and you can vote.

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