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For me, Angela Eagle is part of the problem for Labour’s electability, not the solution
















I’m not even a Corbynista. I’m not a Trot. I’m not a member of the Socialist Workers Party. I am not a Member of Momentum.

I have merely voted Labour since 1990. I’ve been a member of Progress some time ago. I became bored with their flaccid uncritical superficial meetings. I’ve retained membership of the Fabian Society since about 2010, and I occasionally go to conference.

For the first time in my political life I am tempted (a bit) by the Liberal Democrats.




You have to say all this to pre-empt the huge abuse you get these days, mainly from liberal Guardian readers, who are fully signed members of the clubs above – who seem to have with them a strange sense of entitlement within the Labour Party.

You see –

I think I recently had to block Angela and Maria Eagle MP, who share the same birthday from what I remember from being Facebook friends with them. There had been no uncivil disobedience or even the slightest of interaction. I just felt like changing the locks before I knew we were to go our separate ways.

It was a clean break. I don’t think Angela checked in that much into Facebook. She certainly had never commented on my posts.

If there is one thing that this particular coup has taught me it’s the sheer personal unpleasantness about it. People I like, for example Alastair Campbell and Tom Baldwin, and in fact Neil Kinnock, have driven me up the wall with their comments about the unworkability of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership after merely nine months. Alastair Campbell by his own admission recently in a TV interview said he had little involvement with the Party, but he seems pretty “hands on”, to me anyway.

The coup reeks of Tony Blair and New Labour. It’s obvious that the conception of this, ironically, was 9 months ago, and now the baby is being delivered on time. The fundal height is about 39 cm – except the coup baby has its head pointed in the wrong direction and contractions were slow to start. But started they have. Angela (not Andrea) has announced she will be making an announcement on Monday, whereas Owen Smith works out whether his candidature might split the vote (not a difficult decision to make).

This coup is the Chilcot of coups. It has been done with little regard to the rule book. There has been a lot of ‘will she? won’t she?’ about Angela standing, given the problem of Jeremy having to resign first before ceremonies begin. In the wait for a second UN resolution not forthcoming, Angela has mobilised her tanks onto Jeremy’s lawn, so to speak. There’s absolutely bugger all plan for the world post Jeremy. There will inevitably a bit of a bloodbath, and civil war and anarchy emerging as victors. Possibly the Labour Party will split. Who knows?

The last two weeks, “Waiting for Chilcot” and Godot was it boring, felt like a bit of a phoney war to me. Dan Hodges was tweeting factoids such as this.

Alice Mahon tweet

But it turned out that the truth was considerably more complicated – but in this post fact bullshit era, accelerated by Twitter, a smear is a smear.

This is what Wikipedia had to say about Alice Mahon’s involvement here.


But it turned out that Alice Mahon’s resignation from the Labour Party turned out to be considerably more interesting, which ‘journalist’ Dan Hodges was not keen to alert you to. This, together with her view of Damian McBride, made for interesting reading.


As I said, a smear is a smear. Whilst it is clear that Labour has foci of deep seated issues, I found it impossible doing due diligence on each smear as they came along, such was the volume of them.

So, when Angela finally declared her candidature (again), I was mightily relieved.

Of course, the idea of one leader being ‘to blame’ is a very outdated, if incorrect, concept of how leadership actually works.  This article from the Guardian, a well known Corbynophobic paper, explains some of the nuances.

“Leaders may be in charge but they are not always in control. Those leading complex organisations need a high tolerance of uncertainty and ambiguity; the capacity for reflexivity, enabling them to notice how they and others are being caught up in the game of organisational life; the ability to recognise patterns of activity between them and their colleagues and more broadly in the organisation; and political savvy as well as knowing how to negotiate, persuade and form alliances.”

And furthermore, if Chuka, Liz, Rachel or Liz refuse to serve, to name but a few, your options are limited. And if you’re then victimised to high heaven in your organisation by colleagues, it can be difficult to be an effective leader, one can argue.

Under such a toxic culture, it is clear that the current Labour Party in parliament is not fit for purpose. In the last nine months since Corbyn’s election, I have heard nothing from the Shadow Secretary of State for health on an intention to solve the growing deficit in NHS finances, nor what to do about the private finance initiative, which would have required urgent work early on working with the Shadow Chancellor. I’ve heard nothing about how the Shadow Secretary of State intended to progress on ‘whole person care’, which had been advanced by Andy Burnham MP, a form of person-centred integrated care. I heard nothing about what was to be done about reconfigurations in the NHS, as this issue was outsourced entirely to Simon Stevens’ Five Year Forward View. In other words, Labour became a total waste of space on health. Expectedly, a senior representative from health was unwilling to support the junior doctors on the picket line, and no discussion was uttered about the possible contagion of the problems with the junior doctor contract on consultants or GPs, or indeed other clinical staff.

And maybe it’s time to remind Angela Eagle MP of this small matter – how she was singing a rather different tune in the ‘Left Futures’ last year during the Deputies’ race. The one where Angela came 4th – now reported in various places as “massive grassroots support”.





The text of this is:

“Angela Eagle, candidate for Deputy Leader, weighed in on the leadership debate yesterday attacking those who have said they would not work with Jeremy Corbyn, and calling for the party’s elite to respect the membership’s decision if they elect him.

Writing to members, Eagle said, “I would happily serve under anyone the members choose to be our leader. Why? Because I respect the wisdom of our members, supporters and affiliates and our Party’s process of electing a new leadership team. Every candidate has the right to be heard and put forward a vision for Labour’s future and, whether you agree with Jeremy Corbyn or not, he is in the race and is entitled to participate. So the talk of coups, remarks about not serving in Shadow Cabinets and former Prime Minister’s telling people to get ‘heart transplants’ need to stop now.”
This followed stories in the Independent last week that Labour MPs were plotting a coup to remove Corbyn by triggering an immediate re-election, if he were to win, and comments from Tony Blair that Corbyn supporters needed a ‘heart transplant’.”

I like Tom Watson – I’m friends with him on Facebook, and followed by Tom on Twitter. I don’t subscribe to all the ‘I’ve felt very let down by Tom’ remarks about Tom on Twitter, with words such as ‘sabotage’ unhelpfully used by Len McCluskey in relation to rather dubious negotiations.

And it’s become bloody easy for the social democratic/Liberal journo class to crap on about how Corbyn fans always talk about his ‘democratic mandate’. For all the brilliance of the leadership of Ed Miliband, loyal adult life long Labour members like me had to endure the indignity of the #EdStone from Lucy Powell and a million conversations from somewhere. I remember Ed wanted to have a conversation with me, no doubt as a bloody PR stunt. I don’t blame Tom Baldwin even.

But Ed’s Labour LOST the election.

This means that Labour MPs have to implement Government policy even in their locality – which they seem to be more keen to do than, say, doing something about unconscionable private landlords, or aggressive tax avoidance, or the lack of social housing stock, just because “the leaders’ office made me do it“.

Of course, Labour MPs can rebel against all these highly immoral policies at the NEC, while meanwhile in the real world Andrea Leadsom advances the Am Dram Front.

And – it’s not all to do with “that butty“.

There’s a reason why Ed lost the election for Labour – and the Labour Party machine lost it. Many of us who support Corbyn know why. It’s not actually to do with foundation trusts or PFI, or section 75 Health and Social Care Act (2012). For me, it’s all to do with the full adherence to the austerity agenda, which is a political choice not an economic one as the meme goes. Because Labour did not address its perceived lack of credibility on the economy, not helped by Ed Balls’ personal branding which ensured he himself lost his seat, Labour had to look like the Tories in their embracing of cuts. This went down like a lead balloon with many wondering ‘what on earth is the point of Labour?’ which was symbolised with all of the Labour leadership candidates ABSTAINING on welfare reform apart from Jeremy Corbyn. Rachel Reeves MP had written several offensive articles to the disabled community. I am physically disabled, so when John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn gave their full support to WOW Petition, I loved it. I lost my disability living allowance for no reason from the previous government, which I won back through the law courts. Labour did not speak to me at all on this – apart from Jeremy Corbyn. I am not a Corbynista.

And if you ‘embrace’ austerity, the rest follows. You call NHS hospitals ‘unsustainable’ whereas you actually mean you DON’T WANT to fund them properly. And if hospitals are negotiating PFI loan repayments, and the guidance on safe staffing is lax, with efficiency ‘savings’ expected, there’s a perfect storm compromising quality in the NHS. If you then strip social care to the bone (this budget has not been protected since 2010), it is reasonably foreseeable that patients will be stockpiling in hospital, not being able to be discharged through no fault of their own, disparagingly called ‘bed blockers’ by an incompetent and biased media.

That’s why I continue to support Corbyn.

Angela, despite her ‘vision’, does not do it for me. I think her voting record is somewhat irrelevant given that she will have been whipped according to the crazy parliamentary system (so she would have voted for Tory welfare changes, the Iraq War). For me, though, I can’t envision a future Labour leader having voted for a war that might be perceived as legitimised mass murder. She is meant to be the shadow business secretary, and yet I had no idea about her steer on EU v internationalism during the #Brexit campaign. All of this is ancient history, I suppose – for example, the Parliamentary Labour whips help out with coups now.

It’s got nothing to do with the fact I am according to my detractors in a cult (though if you want lessons in personality cults, I suggest you go to one of the many cliquey meetings of Progress with every excuse for Tony Blair possible laid bare). It’s all to do with the fact that many of us are fed up of being served up essentially the same meat with different gravy.

How do I feel, though, about a split following the Angela Eagle plan? To steal Lord Mandelson’s phrase, and I am sure his pupil Owen Smith MP will too in a Pontypridd way, I’m “intensely relaxed”.

Nick Clegg's promise to be in the Top 40 was a promise too far

I’d like to take this opportunity to set a few things straight. Nick Clegg’s promise to be in the Top 40 was a promise too far. In fact, he didn’t enter the Top 40 at all as exclusively revealed on National Radio 1 yesterday, according to the Official Charts Company. Congratulations, however, to ‘Professor Green’ with ‘Avalon’ at number 38. Professor Green made his feelings known about ‘the Nick Clegg apology’ perfectly clear last night. 15 hours ago (as of the date and time of this post), Professor Green had received 1,933 re-tweets for this comment:

I am further disappointed and angry that Nick Clegg could not keep all his promises, such as to enhance the powers of PCTs in the NHS (in the Coalition Agreement). The PCTs have now been abolished. I am sorry, am sorry, so so sorry, but you are insincere, duplicitous, untrustworthy and a complete liar.

And please add to that ‘hypocrite’. It is easy to underestimate the significance of many students being conned into voting for the Liberal Democrats on the basis of a ‘cast-iron pledge’ not to increase them. Nick Clegg had previously sounded off about ‘broken promises’ in this PPB. Clegg had said categorically, “Now it is time for promises to be kept”, knowing full well that he had made an undeliverable policy.

The fundamental problem is that “Plan A” has failed due to a complex interplay of factors nothing to do with the Eurozone crisis, such as the withdrawal of infrastructure investment which might have kick-started key industries such as the construction industry (“Building Schools of the Future”) and the murder of consumer demand (through the controversial increase in VAT). As a direct consequence of this, Richard Reeves’ plan for the LibDems, Plan A, has been severely derailed. The first half of this parliament was of course to consolidate growth – and this failed as a predictable consequence of the economic incompetence of Coalition policy. The second half of this parliament is supposed to be ‘differentiation’, but there is nothing to distinguish the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, in everything from austerity, to NHS privatisation, to scrapping of the education support allowance, to scrapping of libraries, to imploding GDP figures, demolition of high-street legal aid, and a welfare benefit policy providing a substantial tax cut for the rich, for example. This desperate situation is accurately described as one of ‘despair’, by Linda Jack, Chair of the ‘Liberal Left’, as described on BBC Radio 4’s “Westminster Hour” last night. Nick Clegg is not just a ‘figure of fun’ politically. Actually, politically, he is hated, in as much somebody that you have never met can be hated. There is absolutely no sense that the Coalition reaches a consensus on anything. The idea of a permanent coalition in UK politics, specifically, fills people with utter dread. The ‘pupil premium’ is cited as a LibDem triumph, but independent experts unanimously agree it’s been a damp squib. The Conservatives wished the Health and Social Care Act to be passed, giving a free run for the corporatisation of the NHS. They have succeeded. It is likely that all the key personnel of Monitor will from the big corporates. Even Jeremy Hunt’s new assistant is likely to be the Communications Manager of Circle, it is reported. When Nick Clegg offers to tax the wealthy more, because he feels that the current frontloading of the austerity agenda is unfair to those who are disadvantaged in society, he has to concede briefly, as he did on the Andrew Marr Show yesterday morning, that he does not have a cat in hell’s chance of getting this approved by David Cameron and George Osborne. This is a current example of why the idea that ‘coalition politics’ works is simply outrageous and banal, and insults the intelligence of voters.

In the midst of it, Clegg knows he has no choice but to carry on lying. He lies, lies, and thrice lies about the financial stimulus which was required by the last Government to avert a serious depression. Clegg also had no choice on tuition fees, the abolition of large swathes of legal aid including welfare benefits legal aid advice, or the education support allowances. The ‘Building Schools for the Future’ initiative, which would have assisted in the recovery through stimulation of the construction sector, was also killed by LibDem MPs. Clegg’s career is over, and he has done spectacularly in damaging the future of coalition politics forever. Nobody serious on the left can trust the Liberal Democrats to be a force for the public good, as evidenced by the examples above. He has also failed spectacularly on Lords reform, and the alternative vote, which had been deemed as ‘once in a lifetime opportunities’. People will be terrified to vote for the Liberal Democrats, because their function is toxic and poisonous, and actually worthless apart from supporting a weak government. This Conservative administration actually lost the election, and have been given no mandate to bring into law any of their unpopular or undemocratic policies. Of course, desperate times call for desperate measures, and most Liberal Democrats feel as if they’re trapped are “in the loveless marriage”, where they are better off staying put in the Coalition for fear of going alone. Jon Lansman (@JonLansman) produced a very clever analysis on the blogpost in “Left Futures” this morning, which offers an interesting solution to the mess which is simply dragging the UK down ‘in the national interest’.

People are not stupid, and certainly not stupid enough for vote for him or his party in 2015. They simply would prefer not to take the risk. When he gets angry, he spits bullets at Gordon Brown and Labour in general, and his manner is repulsive. He has embued a visceral hatred by Labour members for the Liberal Democrat party, which are seen as limp, principle-less, direction-less and ineffective. Nick Clegg has proved himself to be willing to lie to the general public, against the advice of Danny Alexander and other members of his party, to win a few extra seats over a promise which he knew he could not deliver. Nick Clegg is treated with contempt for much good reason, and the demise of his political party is certain. The electorate’s frustration will be at tipping point when they finally have an opportunity to deliver a verdict on his MPs, but Clegg must know the ‘writing is on the wall’. He came from nowhere, so it’s only appropriate that he should return to nowhere. The tragedy is that some Liberal Democrat activists have had the “crisis of insight”. Clegg wishes to portray the situation as him needed not bailing out in a ‘difficult climb up the mountain’, but whilst Clegg, Laws and Swinson remain in this political suicide pact and do not comprehend that there is unlikely to be growth in the economy in the near future due to the death of consumer demand as a direct effect of Coalition economic policy, they do not comprehend that half-way up their mountain claim they have become submerged in a near-fatal avalanche.

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