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UK Labour membership almost doubles under Corbyn


#1

This is very exciting. I joined the party myself, thrilled by what’s happening. I helped campaign at the last election and never once heard anyone say Labour was too left wing on doorsteps. The most common thing I heard was what’s the point? They’re all the same.

Nobody’s saying that now.

MM


#2

He will steal your babies and give your house price cancer!

… er…

Sorry, don’t know what came over me, must have been momentarily virtually possessed by the Daily Mail.


#3

If only his MPs would accept this.


#4

It’s quite incredible what he’s done. The opposition hates him, the media hates him, and even his own MPs hate him. The only people that overwhelming support him are … er … all the voters.

Can somebody explain to me how that makes him “unelectable”? :laughing:


#5

Blairite neoliberalism? Is that a left wing site or does the UK have generally elevated political understanding? Whenever I point out that every U.S. president since Reagan, including Clinton and Obama, have continued pushing the same neoliberal policies to the detriment of the poor and working class, people generally don’t get it because they were “democrats” and Reagan was “republican.”


#6

I wonder if all those Labour career politicians are having a crisis of confidence…


#7

Blair is quite infamous for shifting Labour to a centrist/centre-right base in order to attract marginal Tories and swing voters. The party establishment who hate Corbyn are basically Blair’s old guard, and as a result are going to see someone who represents traditional Labour values as unelectable.


#8

Blair does not enjoy the same sort of fond memories in the UK as the US has for Bill Clinton, does he? Still, I personally feel that much of the catastrophe that GW Bush and Obama had to deal with (especially economically, but in regard to civil rights and terrorism as well) were planted in Clinton’s administration.

Though Reagan is the source of all evil. He was like a living version of Sauron - seriously,

And I say that as a member of the Reagan Presidential Library here in Simi Valley :smiley:


#9

I think aside from his involvement in the War on Terror, Blair is generally seen as a good Prime Minister.


#10

I think Corbyn’s outlook will morph over time and begin representing much more of a middle-ground on many issues, certainly something I would prefer to see on few, others not so much.

The fact is (and will always be), having high ideals and beliefs is one thing but running a country with those is another. Hard choices have to be made and that’s just the nature of the game. Like anything, it’s fine telling people how things should be done, but when you actually get behind wheel, you find out there’s much more than just the accelerator and brake.

You can start to see Corbyn thinking about the actual logistics of his beliefs and how they would work, in-practice, even now. By the time he has to actually contemplate running the country on a day to day basis, his outlook will have shifted rightwards. Hopefully not to much mind you.

Either way, it’s always much better to have a very leftwing leader moving a little to the right than a rightwing leader struggling to somehow fathom leftwing thinking, let alone bring some of that thinking into their politics…


#11

Much as I like him, that isn’t an accurate assessment.

Under Corbyn, some people are returning to/identifying with Labour who presumably felt alienated by the Blair/Brown New Labour project, but those numbers are still small. Membership has gone from roughly 200000 to 400000.

Meanwhile, Corbyn’s personal approval rating with ALL voters is an unprecedented -32. Cameron is on -6 … Nigel Farage is on -18. (In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon is on +27)

Corbyn trails not only Cameron (by a massive 26%) as ‘preferred PM’ but is also 14 percentage points behind Boris and 12 behind Osborne.

In Scotland - where Parliamentary elections are now rapidly approaching - Corbyn has had no positive effect on Labour polls, and his party are currently expected to lose more seats at Holyrood from their current record low.

And the overall polls remain the same with Corbyn’s Labour failing to gain on the most right-wing, reactionary, damaging government of my life time. It’s thoroughly depressing.

I honestly don’t know what the solution to the Labour Party’s problems are. The in-fighting is painful, but I’m not sure either ‘side’ can successfully reinvigorate the party enough. I wish they’d all just unite behind Corbyn and at least give him a fighting chance … but I’m not convinced the overall public would vote for an unfettered Corbyn.

The membership figures, great as they are, don’t represent overwhelming public support for Corbyn; they represent, I think, consolidation of his relatively small natural base within Labour.


#12

Interesting data, that.

But yeah, I do wish the Labour Party would unite behind Corbyn. I think part of why proper left-wing politics have been so unappealing to voters in recent decades is that, well, ever since the 80s of Reagan, Thatcher and Kohl, we have been brainwashed into just accepting that neo-liberalist capitalism is the only possible way forward and that taking on responsibility for anyone but yourself is something for naive idealists. That public services are ineffective and have to be reduced at all costs. That too many regulations for the economy means you’ll be left behind in a competitive marketplace.

These days, I believe a (slight) majority of people have become aware that this approach leads to injustice, instability and is ultimately a cul-de-sac. But they aren’t being offered solutions. The big left-wing parties have become afraid to be anything but a slightly mollified version of the capitalist conservative parties, and people have been turning away from them. I don’t know if there are enough people to support a proper left-wing agenda (not as in communism, but as in believing in the public good and in policies that actively work towards that), but there sure aren’t enough anymore to support a disguised conservative agenda - and I think this is a huge part of a lot of Europe turning to extremist parties, as well. [Interestingly, the US are an exception to this right now, due to the Republicans completely losing their shit and the Democrats sliding a very teensy little bit to the left again under Obama.]

What I’m saying is, basically, come on, UK. I think you can do it. If you manage to get this going, I’m hoping Germany will follow.


#13

The wildcard in all this is the impact of what they’re putting through now that’ll impact over the next 4 years ahead of the election, three of which are:

  • Limited tenancies and lack of supply in housing combined with a big shift to promoting home ownership above all else, despite the massive disparity between wage and house price levels.
  • Universal credit - which will see the end of tax credits by stealth, all those ‘strivers’ who get them will likely get done over. (The poor and disabled? They probably don’t vote Tory, screw 'em.)
  • Attempts to privatise the NHS further after demonising doctors at all levels - it’ll be the consultants that get the full Central Office ‘treatment’ - you know what those consultants are like, right? Forever swanning off to do a quick bit of private treatment and then back to a round of golf?

So far, with a right-wing media and a public willing to buy some truly outrageous porkies and ignore reality - the debt is up, not gown, under Osborne - they’ve got away with everything. Will that continue? I hope not, but part of me suspects having been governing-by-porkie for so long they’ll keep doing it without being questioned. On the other hand, the combined impact of these policies could add up not to what the likes of Hunt believe - a new Miners victory, but rather Poll Tax v2.


#14

The danger is that even if people want to vote against the Tories (and dear god, surely they have to by the time of the next election, cos if not we truly are fucked) if they don’t have clear confidence in Labour as an alternative, that ‘against’ vote is likely to be diluted.

Labour need to positively stand out as a unified clear alternative to the Tories. At the moment they look far too much like they’re spiralling into introspective doom.


#15

MP’s are driven by ideology.

Corbyn didn’t give up when New Labour sidelined his type of Labour politics and now he’s got a chance to lead the way he wants to, New Labour won’t give up either.

What they need to do is accept that they’re not in charge now for a reason.

A lot of people don’t want what New Labour has become; borderline Conservative.


#16

The difference is, Corbyn was always on the fringes and didn’t seem to want it any other way. Whereas the Blairite wing of the Labour party seem to think that it’s perfectly acceptable to be in the shadow cabinet and publicly undermine their leader and then act outraged when they get fired for it.


#17

Because they don’t understand what happened to them yet.

They WERE the Labour Party for almost twenty years. Corbyn happened to them overnight.

They’re trying to correct, what they see as, a mistake.


#18

If Corbyn is actually going to make a go of it, and if all of the new members are people (re)joining the Labour Party because they believe in him and his policies, then he is going to have to be utterly ruthless.

Local parties - seemingly more pro-Corbyn than the party’s MPs - are going to have to deselect Blair/Brown New Labour standing MPs (and just imagine how bitter that fight will become), and replace them with candidates who Corbyn could work with in a shadow Cabinet and in a Government - people with whom every simple thing isn’t going to be a struggle of compromise and barely contained hostility.

The real test would then come at the 2020 polls. Corbyn wins Islington comfortably (and I’m delighted he does, he’s my MP and he’s very good) - but will Corbyn-like MP candidates have any chance at winning new seats for Labour - or even in some constituencies, retaining the party’s current seat?

That’s the gamble I think. The current polling suggests that in the wider electorate, outwith the core of Labour’s membership, Corbyn is absolutely not well received. To have such a negative rating so early in his leadership term is worrying; that he polls less well than bloody Farage is a sad reflection of the state of the country’s politics as a whole. I hope he can turn it around, but I don’t think a Corbyn-like Labour has had a chance of winning in (particularly) England for a very long time now. It’s a huge task.

It would genuinely be all-or-nothing for Corbyn’s vision of the Labour Party. If he does that and wins, then bloody hell, we’re suddenly in brand new territory. If he does that and loses, then he has to go and Labour will need yet another wholesale back to the drawing board reimagination of who they are as a Party and who and what they actually represent.

If he does anything other than that, then Labour seems determined to remain a party riven by disagreements that are absolutely fundamental for the next few years, and I fear that means the Tories will win in 2020 by default.

The collapse of Labour is both sad, but it’s also scary. The prospect of not just another 4 years of Cameron, Boris, Osborne and their poisonous ilk, but another 9 years, is terrifying.


#19

In a way, this is where the German SPD was fifteen years or so ago, and it ultimately led to the creation of Die Linke, a fusion of the left wing of the SPD and the very-left-wi PDS (Which came out of East Germany). Ultimately, that just marginalised the SPD and left us stuck in Merkel he’ll, unfortunately.


#20

How do you think she compares to Cameron?