Wednesday, 29 June 2016


I remember the rally on Friday 7th August 2015 well.

'Absolutley Bloody Brilliant'- my initial take on Corbyn 

Scorching hot- and with what seemed like all of Bradford packed into the Karmand Community center.  Hundreds of fists in the air chanting 'JEZ WE CAN'.  I could scarcely believe that there was actually a real life candidate for the Labour Leadership willing to use the 'S' word about himself. I remember scores of people telling me that there was no future in Corbyn's 'Politics of Hope': that he could never win.  I remember being overwhelmed with joy when he did, in fact, win with a staggering 59.5%: resting a celebratory pint of stout on my free Jez beer mat. So yes, you could say I was part of that initial wave of Corbynmania; defecting from the Greens to stump up my £3 to vote for him.

There were the early naysayers, those like Blair, saying "If your heart is with Corbyn you need a transplant". He was easy to dismiss... "Wait till Chilcott you bastard!"  And obviously, the right wing press were never going to back a socialist. He didn't bow low enough. He didn't sing the national anthem. His suits were more 'panama canal' than the corridors of power.
It was to be expected.
Corbyn in his beloved beige suit
Rupert Murdoch was hardly going to become a raging bearded Marxist overnight.
The PLP were also dismayed by Corbyn's victory: many of them embittered old Blairites, fiercely protecting the legacy of 'The Third Way'. They've been plotting a coup ever since he gained office, muttering about antisemitism and handshakes with Hamas.

But then what? Where did all that Momentum go? What has Corbyn actually done, other than publicly  turn up late to several interviews?
Oh wait.... There was a press release some time in August proposing 'women only train carriages'...
(See The Thick of It, Series 2)

Corbyn's success in the first place was accidental. He stood as a paper candidate, intending to attack the other candidates from the left and put his policies on the agenda. When he got on the ballot paper, he allegedly told an ally "Now make sure I don't win".

A Milne Mistake: The shambolic SkyNews conference
last night 
Another mistake was  appointing ex-Guardian journalist Seumas Milne as Press Secretary: a man with no prior experience, known only to most Labour MPs as 'Shameless Bilge'. Recent leaked emails have transpired that Milne was behind the 'watering down' of several of Corbyn's speeches on Europe, urging him to restrain the campaign for Remain. Alan Johnson also reported that Corbyn's office did not even bother to turn up to weekly EU briefings.

This could have been Corbyn's time to shine. All that anti-establishment anger on council estates up and down the country could have been harnessed in Labour's favour. Where were the rallying speeches, telling working class voters that austerity, not immigration is to blame for Britain's current predicament? The photo opportunities in call centers and warehouses up and down the country? Instead we got confusion, with only 55% of voters being able to identify that Labour's official position was Remain.

Corbyn's opposition to the EU is rooted in the politics of the 1980s. Admittedly, the EU does have flaws; it's support of TTIP and imposition of austerity on Greece being the two most glaringly obvious ones. But on the whole, it's not a 'Capitalist Ramp'.  The Social Chapter, The 2003 Working Time Directive and the billions of Euros invested in deprived ex-mining towns across the UK through the regional cohesion funds represent a progressive kind of politics, helping the working classes of Europe. Now that we've voted to leave, it's the British working classes who will suffer the result of economic uncertainty.

The final nail in the coffin for me was his statement last Friday morning in the immediate aftermath of the vote. He said "Article 50 must be invoked now". The county is in a state of turmoil, and what we need is breathing space before official negotiations begin. Hearing Corbyn call for the starting pistol to be fired left me screaming "What planet are you on?!" at my radio.

......Clearly one with no signal if Angela Eagle's claims that "he never answers his phone and is impossible to contact" are to be believed.
Angela Eagle resigns, along with more than half of the shadow cabinet,
citing Corbyn's communication issues as a crucial factor 

The shambolic press conference with Sky News earlier today further demonstrates his inability to confront the press on the most basic of levels.

Anybody else who attended the Bradford rally on Friday 7th August 2015 will also remember it for it's soundtrack. Somebody had hastily hooked an iPod up to a PA system and left it on repeat. Survivor's 'Eye of The Tiger' was looped over, and over and over again for at least an hour. At first, it had the desired effect: striking a triumphal note and pumping up the supporters. It quickly began to grate. After a while, there was booing every time the iPod jerkily paused and restarted the song. It started to feel strangely surreal.
Eventually, it proved that you can't keep repeating the same tired old message over and over again. It's no good being elected leader of the opposition and continuing largely as normal; holding a constituency surgery every Friday then cycling off to the local CND meeting for vegan tea and cake.
Something has to change.
The PLP has voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Motion of No Confidence at 172-40, and the risk of the party imploding completely is very very real. We cannot let the #EdStone read '1900-2016'. With the worrying rise of the Far Right and the possibility of more recession driven austerity, we need a Leader who can actually lead.

Jeremy, you're a wonderful human being and I wish you all the best at the next 'NHS SOS' bake sale, but you've got to go. Stand aside and let someone who will actually challenge the Tories and FIGHT for our NHS using their full force as leader of the opposition take your place.