the apathetic nation


By Paul Halas

They partied and broke their own rules; they’ve been rumbled but will there now be a reckoning? The whitewash is already underway, Allegra Stratton is the blood sacrifice and an inquiry, of sorts, is to be held – led by someone who allegedly attended one of the parties in question.

Social media is buzzing with tweets by disaffected lifelong Tory supporters swearing they’ll never vote for the Conservatives again, the Fib Dems even stand to win a by-election or two. The political landscape is shifting, the penny is at last dropping that the current shower in charge make the scammers trying to con your gran out of her life’s savings look like Mother Teresa. Or is it?


Never has the nation been saddled with such a mendacious, morally bankrupt ruling party. The only area in which they excel is funnelling vast sums of public money into the private sector, most specifically the very richest corporations and individuals. The majority of the Cabinet have the excuse that they’re of very limited ability (how the *%~# did Raab, Williamson and Truss ever gain responsible posts, let alone make it up to big school?), but to achieve all the mayhem they’ve wrought they have to have some brains behind the scenes making sure they don’t inadvertently achieve anything beneficial.

There is something grim and sinister driving the Tory Party. Their policies are designed to make the less well off poorer, to deny the young a route to meaningful work, to suppress lower-end wages, to erode working conditions, to make education unaffordable, to make housing unaffordable, to drive inequality ever upwards, and, when people decide to express their anger at all the ordure they’re expected to swallow, to criminalise dissent – with absurdly Draconian penalties. By any marker, we’re several furlongs down the track to fascism. Many of the prerequisites are already in place: a rocky economy, a government that has realised it can get away with rule by edict, a widespread willingness to attack designated scapegoats, and a general air of helplessness and apathy.


close up photo of skull
There is something grim and sinister driving the Tory Party. Photo by Mitja Juraja on

Public trust in politics has been lost. People have always complained that politicians are all the same, and it doesn’t matter who you vote for. But mostly such sentiments were simply venting. Whatever your political allegiance, there was a feeling that governments and opposition were expected to conduct themselves with a certain degree of decorum. It’s not that skulduggery and dishonesty in high places was unheard of, but at the very least, when you were found out, you fell on your sword.

That no longer happens. British party politics has lost any semblance of shame. Johnson and his cronies are constantly being rumbled. They defraud the public, lie, cheat, shag, snort, boogie and blunder without a care in the world. Sometimes an acquiescent media actually reports on their shenanigans, but it makes no difference. A mild slap on the wrist here and there, but nothing that means a damn. And the public has grown completely blasé with it. That’s just how it is. Let them get on with it. Screw politics anyway. People just don’t care any more (apart from a small minority whose voices are increasingly being silenced). Politics more than ever has become a happy hunting ground for the very worst people in public life and their backers.


I’m not alone in seething with rage, but I recognise my rage is impotent – emasculated. How to affect matters, effect change, is beyond my ken. Of course, if the country had an effective opposition, a serious alternative to the toxic status quo that’s been in charge for the past generation or three, there would be a shard of hope to cling to – but there isn’t.

Much as I despise Johnson and his ilk, they are what they are and one wouldn’t expect anything different from them. They’re the enemy, always have been. But my real venom is reserved for Sir Keir Starmer. He has done more than anyone to destroy whatever hope I once clung to.

Sure, for most of its existence the Labour Party has been fronted by centrists, self-seekers and establishment stooges, but there was always a healthy leftist faction within it that frequently managed to make its voice heard. The Atlee government achieved great things, the Wilson governments had their moments, and even Tory Blair and his gang failed to silence all the left wing voices – but Starmer… oh boy!

Sir Keir has been the death of Labour as a serious political alternative, and for that I can never forgive him

The only real alternative to the ever right-ward march of the nation was Labour under Corbyn – even if the PLP and the majority of the party apparatchiks conspired with the establishment and media to bring the party leader down – and with him the chance of a Labour government.

Corbyn has gone, but had the policies he put before the nation been retained by the Labour Party people would’ve had the possibility of a real alternative – something to inspire some real hope. The Tories have become such a rank cesspit that sooner or later people would opt for genuine, radical change. That option has been denied to us. Starmer has broken all his promises on policy and is conducting a witch hunt of the left, which must have Tony Blair purring with a mixture of admiration and envy. Sir Keir has been the death of Labour as a serious political alternative, and for that I can never forgive him.


The country is sinking deeper and deeper into a pained but apathetic morass. Many of those worst affected by the Tories’ evil policies are either too immersed in the day to day to bother with politics or have been suckered into taking their frustration out on the sanctioned scapegoats. Those somewhere in the middle strata, those who are just about getting by but are keenly aware that things are getting progressively tougher, just don’t see how anything will change. And those doing rather well just close their eyes and hope that things won’t change because they’re Thatcher’s children and they’re all right, Jack. We’ve become the apathetic nation. “If voting changed anything they’d ban it.” Hell. I’m starting to agree with that. How do we prevent what is effectively an elected dictatorship from lurching into full-on fascism?

Maybe I’ll be proved wrong about Johnson and maybe he’s toast. Maybe the Tories are. (Though I doubt it.) Maybe Starmer will become our next prime minister because people finally tire of Tory sleaze and maybe we’ll avoid the final descent into fascism. The trouble is, I can’t see how Starmer’s Labour would dramatically improve many people’s lives. The sleaze would probably be a little less in your face, but the oligarchs, hedge funders and magnates would still sleep soundly in their beds, the money launderers would still launder, the gig economy workers would still be exploited, the utility companies would still favour shareholders over customers, the NHS would still be fragmented and flogged off and the homeless would still be homeless…The current neoliberal system breeds inequality, and that won’t be challenged under New New Labour.


On a personal level, I’m afraid I’ve fallen into the national malaise. Not through acceptance of the status quo, but because I can no longer see an effective way for me to challenge it. In the Corbyn era I could, with bells on. My activism of the past six years, which had been pretty full-on, has dissipated, my energy drained. And I don’t blame Johnson and company for that. Kier Starmer, J’accuse.

Paul Halas’s escape from 1970s hippidom was the discovery that he could invent stories. He spent forty years contributing to various Disney magazines and books, as well as a variety of non-Disney comics, books and animated films. His retirement from commercial writing coincided with Jeremy Corbyn becoming the Labour Party leader, which led to five years’ political activism. He left the party two years ago with a heavy heart.

Capitalism relies on people like Keir Starmer and Neil Kinnock

Strategic betrayals are always rewarded

By Phil Hall

In the Middle Ages in 1381 the mayor of London, William Walworth, killed Wat Tyler at a parlay with a knife by stabbing him in the stomach and then cutting off his head. The mayor’s coat of arms then became the Saint George’s cross with a dagger drawn in one corner. This should be the coat of arms for all traitors to progressive causes.

From the Anonimalle Chronicle cited by John Simkin of Spartacus Educational:

When the king reached St. John’s Fields he was joined by a fine company of well-armed men. And they kept the commons like sheep within a pen. Meanwhile, the mayor went to kill Wat Tyler. When he came to Smithfield he asked what had become of the traitor. He was told that Wat Tyler had been carried by a group of the commons to the hospital for the poor near St. Bartholomew’s and put to bed. The mayor went there and found him, and had him carried out to the middle of Smithfield and had him beheaded. The mayor had his head on a pole and carried before him to the king at St. John’s Fields.

When the commons saw their chieftain, Wat Tyler, was dead, they fell to the ground like beaten men, imploring the king for mercy for their misdeeds. The king kindly granted them mercy, and then they went home. The king knighted William Walworth. The same day he made three other citizens of London knights for the same reason. These are their names – John Philipot, Nicholas Brymber and Robert Launde. The king gave Sir William Walworth £100 in land, and each of the others £40 in land.

Of course, to some extent, we are all sell outs. So, when we say someone sells out what exactly do we mean? We mean they have a choice. What choices do you have in China? Stand in front of a tank?

There are good professionals of all sorts, often well paid, who contribute plenty to society: doctors, engineers, pilots, architects, researchers, chemists. Do their politics really matter? We need these people. The wealth of a country can be measured by the quality and number of useful, highly educated people it has.

Many honourable liberals fought colonialism the Nazis and apartheid and all forms of injustice, too. They didn’t sell out socialist dreams because they were never socialists in the first place. Liberals have fought for democracy in many places in the world at different times. In contrast, there are quite a few toxic, dogmatic and tyrannically minded people calling themselves socialists who couldn’t give a damn about democracy. Does it matter if they sell out or not?

Ralph Allen

The Bath entrepreneur Ralph Allen is an example of how strategic betrayals are always rewarded. At the age of 24 in 1716, the nosey parker opened a letter from James Paynter and betrayed the Cornish Jacobites. After this, he was awarded contracts to run post offices across England.

In British politics the ‘left wing’ Labour MP, Neil Kinnock convinced Joan Lestor to vote against Tony Benn in the key deputy leadership contest. He helped turned the tide against Benn in 1981 and so Denis Healey got into the Deputy Leadership. Kinnock received a lot of support from the media and won the Labour Leadership after his strategic betrayal. Even the Financial Times can make a clear analogy between the betrayal of Benn by Kinnock and the betrayal of Corbyn by Starmer. ‘Starmer faces his Kinnock moment.’ reads the FT.

Christopher Hitchens is a good example of a successful strategic betrayal. There are intellectuals who play the enfant terrible for a long time, but turncoat at exactly the right moment in order to get maximum advantage. Hitchens was lionised and well rewarded when he supported the Gulf War, praising George Bush and Tony Blair.

Even the Financial Times can make a clear analogy between the betrayal of Benn by Kinnock and the betrayal of Corbyn by Starmer.

The key to a successful strategic betrayal is that you are consequential enough to be in a position to betray trust in the first place. What most of these people are doing is clawing their way into visibility through socialist organisations in order to sell their souls at a profit. It’s important to show your willingness to stab a close left associate from the front or the back. Throw Jeremy Corbyn out of the party. Accuse him of antisemitism despite his reputation for being against all forms of racism. If you want to signal your willingness, demonstrate that you are utterly ruthless.

Once the sell outs have been noticed, they start signaling to the establishment. A For Sale sign lights up. We see this with Labour MPs: they make a little remark defending Israel here. They refuse to criticise US bombing raid there. They make a harsh remark about the current enemy of choice here: Russia, Libya, Syria, The Serbs

Michael White at the Guardian claimed that the explanation is quite the reverse. Benn was not betrayed in 1981, you see, Benn was a purist, an uncompromising ideologue. Benn was not a realist. For Michael White, Benn was a case of the self-styled perfect being an enemy of the good. Michael White, by the way, was the person the Guardian chose to put the pin into Benn after he died.

What the argument for compromise really stands for is the willingness to betray fundamental principles. Anyone arguing for real social justice and redistribution must be sidelined. The sellout, from the days of the abolitionists and before, always labels the reformer and revolutionary as a fantasist and Don Quixote and attacks them for being unrealistic.

Many of the enfant terrible in the left-wing alternative media in 2021 are just people looking for decent, well-paid, secure jobs in journalism.

When the teenager says: ‘I hate you, Mum’ she doesn’t hate her Mum. Not really. We know. The BBC knows, too. Novara Media was careful to be onside when it came to the antisemitism hoopla. Novara Media were signalling.

Novara insults people who deserve to be insulted, like Laura Kuenssberg. In private, many people in British journalism must have the same view of Laura Kuenssberg as Novara. Laura Kuenssberg’s over enthusiastic hatchet jobs on Jeremy Corbyn were not exemplary or balanced, though she was rewarded with the silver chaff of a journalism prize to throw people off.

Ultimately, Kuenssberg’s bias made her useless as a political editor. The BBC held on to her only long enough to save face. She is the equivalent of the manager sent out to fire everyone who is then, herself fired. Novara wasn’t being brave in criticizing Kuenssberg. It was merely boxing clever.

The real function of these seemingly strange and contradictory invitations is to help generate an intellectual immune response to socialist and revolutionary ideas.

A lot of intellectuals are invited to work in US universities despite their left-wing politics. They go, but we all know why. They are hired as a sort of vaccine. They vaccinate the US body politic against radical political analysis and activism. The real function of these seemingly strange and contradictory invitations is to help generate an intellectual immune response to socialist and revolutionary ideas. Slavoj Žižek and others are the political equivalent of the Pfizer vaccine.

But to betray successfully and get rewarded you have to be willing to go the whole hog. If you are merely tricked into changing sides rather than making a full-on strategic betrayal, you won’t be trusted or rewarded.

A good example of this was Clare Short, who was against the war in Iraq. She was the minister for foreign aid in the New Labour government (DFID).

Tony Blair did his best smiling impression of Mephistopheles and offered the good-hearted Clare Short an increased aid budget to help the poor of the world – in return for support for the Iraq War. Short agreed, but almost immediately regretted it.

Short at a rally in Birmingham in January 2009, in support of the people of Gaza, photo Faizan Bhat

Too late! She was then disappeared from media view almost immediately. Instead of the opponents of Blair, like Short, the BBC still constantly serves us up with his supporters, people like the hateful Alister Campbell, that dysfunctional crocodile.

If capitalism could buy everyone out, there would be no contradictions in capitalism. But that’s not the way it works. Capitalism needs to extract labour surplus. It lives for exploitation. It thrives on greater and greater levels of inequality. Corporations are not going to suddenly hire everyone and pay them a decent wage. Forget that. If you think that then you are either a disingenuous fool, or a liar.

Isn’t encouraging systematic strategic treachery the key to the political-philosophical contribution of John Rawls? Wasn’t Thatcher’s shareholder, house owning democracy just that? If you can give just enough people a stake in the continuance of the status quo, the status quo survives. It’s a balancing act. You don’t want to be too generous, but neither do you want to provoke an insurrection.

If capitalism could buy everyone out, there would be no contradictions in capitalism.

An act of strategic betrayal can soon disappear from view and get washed away out of thought and memory, because its result is only the destruction of what might have been. We, the supporters of Jeremy Corbyn and the reforming left in the Labour party are well aware of who betrayed our shared vision of a more equitable society in Britain.

Who knows what might have been?

The Blairs, Catholicism, and New Labour

by Garry O’Connor

The word ‘religion’ comes from the Latin religare, meaning ‘to bind back’, and in the present climate, in a society awash with an ‘all-pervasive claim to victimhood’, and the escalating fear and often reality of violence, a ‘binding back’ in multiple ways, not least culturally, is needed. While the No. 10 press aides and the protagonists themselves have strenuously tried to keep religion out of politics, and in spite of the notorious British reticence in such matters, it both demands and needs a central place in the new twenty-first-century world picture or disorder. As for the recent growth of proselytising atheism, who would not rather listen to Albert Einstein, perhaps the greatest scientific mind in history, than diehard secularists such as Richard Dawkins? Einstein wrote in his diary, ‘What separates me from most so-called atheists is a feeling of utter humility towards the unattainable secrets of the harmony of the universe…. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds.’ In declaring his personal creed he states, ‘The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is as stranger…is as good as dead.’ More mundanely, Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State, in her timely book The Mighty and the Almighty (2006) defined the way her own country ill-advisedly tiptoedround the subject of religion.

Religious arrogance, or identifying oneself with the Messiah, could hardly be excused in Tony Blair, as it was by Dominic Lawson, as ‘unwittingly’ expressed. Cherie’s religious presumption has been of a more complicated and pervasive kind. Because she is a woman, and also an influential role model to other women, her beliefs have been both more invasive and convincing for other women, in particular those who put their gender first and their religion second.

Her revolutionary tenet, not exactly uncommon, and worthy of Lenin, which she holds with undiminished fervour, is that if you want to change an institution you join it and change it from within. In Why I Am Still a Catholic, published in June 2006, she averred:

‘Of course, like many Catholics in this country, I have doubts about some of the positions taken by the Church as an institution – for example, on contraception, or the role of women. But I am not one of those who believe that the only response is to walk away because you have a different viewpoint. I have been taught that you should stay and try and change things.

‘It’s like the Labour Party in the early 1980s. I wasn’t happy with the way it was going so I tried to help change it from within. Thankfully, we won that battle. And though the pace of change in the Catholic Church can seem slow, I believe that there are many people in this country – and not just in the laity – who are convinced of the need for it. That message, however, is not yet fully accepted by the Vatican. But, then, the Church isn’t just the Vatican. It is about all of us, the people of God as the Second Vatican Council put it.’

Father Beaufort, a priest from York, commented:

‘It would be terribly arrogant for any of us to suggest that we were somehow doing the Catholic Church a favour by gracing her with our membership. The idea that the Church is basically a human institution that has to be allowed to evolve to adapt itself to the spirit of the age owes more to Protestantism and to the modernist heresy condemned by Pope Pius X than it does to true Catholicism.

‘Ms Booth says she has some problems with certain positions taken by the Church ‘as an institution’, like the ban on contraception. But for Catholics, the Church is an institution unlike any other – a supernatural institution, founded by Christ. As the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church is the extension of His Incarnate Presence on earth, invested with divine authority to teach on matters of faith and morals. Catholics believe that the Pope, as successor of St Peter, is invested with the charism of infallibility. This means that no Pope, however sinful he is, can ever err when he teaches ex cathedra on matters of faith and morals.

‘As a moral issue, contraception is a good example of something that clearly falls under the Church’s teaching remit. To reject the Church’s clear, consistent and authoritative teaching on such an issue is to really deny the teaching authority of the Church altogether, and to cease to be Catholic.

‘Ms Booth also admits to difficulties accepting the Church’s position on the role of women. She doesn’t specify, but could she mean the Church’s restriction of the Sacrament of Holy Order to men? John Paul II made it quite clear that not even a Pope has the authority to alter the Church’s constant teaching on this matter.

‘To compare the Catholic Church with the Labour Party seems to miss the point that the Church is a divine institution. Yes, we all have a part to play in building up the Mystical Body of Christ on earth. Certain disciplines can and do change. But as far as doctrine goes, and the basic hierarchical structure of (male) bishops, priests and deacons, the Church’s role is simply to hand on what was given by Christ to the Apostles. In this sense, the Church is really defined by tradition. As for reform, we are always called to reform ourselves, by conforming ourselves to the Gospel of Christ, as handed on in the teaching of the Church.

‘The Church’s teaching on contraception and the priesthood will be substantially the same in 2,000 years’ time as it is today. It would be foolhardy to make such a claim for any other institution; but we can say it confidently about the Church because of our faith that she is not just any institution, but a divine one.


‘Ms Booth says that the Church is “all about us, the people of God, as Vatican II put it”. Yes, Christ founded His Church for our salvation. But the role of the “people of God” is primarily to listen and to learn, so that we can extend the sovereignty of Christ into every level of human activity. Vatican II didn’t change the constant doctrine that the teaching Church, or Ecclesia docens, is made up of the bishops in union with St Peter’s successor, the Pope. As the “people of God”, we have to be open to conversion from our preconceptions.’

The election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Benedict XVI was a blow, not only to the left-wing liberal establishment of the English and Welsh bishops. Benedict sees the Catholic Church as a continuous organic whole, enlivened and united by the constant presence of the Holy Spirit, dismissing the view of the Church before Vatican II (1965) as bad and after as good, and calling such ‘ecclesiastical schizophrenia’ the ‘hermeneutic of discontinuity’.

On sin, Tony had pronounced that the concept of believing in it was ‘simple and important’, and that ‘this is an area that will become of increasing importance in politics’. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor agreed: ‘You cannot’, he said, ‘divorce religion and life.’ But through legislation, instead of listening and learning, and by this bringing ‘the sovereignty of Christ into every level of human activity’, New Labour provided and widened the opportunity for ‘sin’, in Christian and Catholic terms (if you believe in them) in many aspects of social and personal life.

A longer opportunity for abortions, longer drinking hours, liberalising of cannabis, growth of casinos, wider and more useless sex education of the wrong kind (meaning one thing and one thing only, greater use of contraception and greater numbers of teenage pregnancies). Under the aegis of Tony’s espousal of population control the government funded international agencies which supported China’s population policies, in particular its cruel and inhuman treatment of women who are forced to abort or become sterilised if they want to breed more than one child. Gordon Brown, before he had children of his own, voted sixteen times in favour of abortion, including three times for abortion up to birth, and for disabled babies; for abortion on demand in early pregnancy; and to suppress information about abortions on disabled babies. He cut the VAT on morning-after pills from 17.5 per cent to 5 per cent. He also in 1990 voted for destructive embryo experimentation.

At the same time, New Labour created secular sins for its atheist followers to feel comfortable in denouncing and outlawing, such as fox-hunting, smoking, the right of Catholic adoption agencies to differentiate foster parents on the basis of belief, and even, some would claim, normal married life. A mass of new laws criminalising what had been seen as ordinary if not entirely appropriate behaviour filled the statute book, while a controlling and bureaucratic surveillance state came into being, in many ways similar to that of the former Communist countries of eastern Europe.

Cherie’s views on contraception and women priests did not stop her scurrying off to Rome at the first available opportunity to seek an audience with Pope Benedict XVI. The visit, as Father Seed says, ‘has to be seen as a perk of the job’. While Cherie had followed form at the funeral of John Paul II in April 2005 by wearing a black dress and mantilla, in her short audience with Benedict she flouted protocol and wore white. The correct dress code was black: only Queen Sofia of Spain, Queen Paola of Belgium and Josephine Charlotte, the wife of Grand Duke Jean of Luxemburg, as consorts of Catholic royalty, are entitled to wear white. This was deliberate. She would have known what to wear. Would she appear in court as a recorder in jeans and sweatshirt? Even Elizabeth II wore black when she and Prince Philip met John Paul. There is a kind of very English snobbishness, all too prevalent, that the Pope in Rome or anyone else shouldn’t presume to tell sophisticated lawyers like Cherie Booth what to believe and how to behave. Graham Greene, who would flout the rules even to the point of taking his mistress out to lunch with Father Philip Caraman, his father confessor (who was most upset), had something of the same attitude. It reinforces the notion that Cherie has a very grand idea of herself, but also that Tony supports and sustains her in her delusion. Ann Widdecombe commented, ‘She obviously thinks she is the First Lady. My message to her is that you are not a Catholic queen, my dear, and you never will be.’

It was a long way from those stalwart Catholic women of her Waterloo childhood, gathering in their living room rosary circles to pray together. But Cherie has been determined to keep her Catholic options open, like George Bush, who wooed the seventy-seven million Catholics in the United States by visiting the Pope three times during his first term. But she has kept in too with pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood, and posed before their stand at a Labour conference brandishing a condom. In spring 2006 she delivered a paper at the Vatican Political Academy of Social Sciences, speaking about how children ‘are forced to grow up so quickly…having to take on the responsibilities of adults’ because they were neglected by older people. True in some cases for sure, although the trend in her own country was in rather the opposite direction, with children lamentably slowed down in their educational and maturing process, so that, as a head of department at a major public school observes, pupils of fourteen are five years behind the educational standard of those at a similar age ten years ago. In 2006 Cherie joined the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences as an adviser on social and legal issues.

Tony expressed one of his religious beliefs in the foreword to a pamphlet written by John Smith:

‘Christianity is a very tough religion. It may not always be practised as such. But it is…. It is not utilitarian – though socialism can be explained in those terms. It is judgemental. There is right and wrong. There is good and bad. We all know this, of course, but it has become fashionable to be uncomfortable about such language. But when we look at our world today and how much needs to be done, we should not hesitate to make such judgements. And then follow them with determined action. That would be Christian socialism.’

Latterly, though, it had become hard to know what he thought. He would seem to waver, disappointing those who hoped he would respect the Church authority, especially over contraception. Falling in line with Cherie, in 2006 he attacked the Church over what he called a ‘blanket ban’ on condoms and committed money to spread their use in Africa. The Catholic view is that condoms encourage promiscuity and have therefore only a limited value. To promote condom use is, according to Catholic doctrine, only one degree away from promoting the use of prostitutes, or in other words, using sex as a commodity. Condom use is, however, the soul of the sex industry, which expanded enormously in the UK during Tony’s premiership, and now he endorsed this wholeheartedly. Red-light districts had proliferated in every town centre, with brothels their inner citadels of degradation for prostitutes. A recent example is the town of Ipswich, where in 2006 five such poor women were murdered. Some say the condom culture, or commodity sex, is leading to wholesale population decline: one extreme and even absurd prediction is that by 2900 there will not be a single European left in Europe, but there is truth in the trend. After ten years of the Blairs the UK was judged in a United Nations study to be bottom in the moral league of the twenty-one economically most advanced nations.

Cherie invited Pope Benedict XVI to visit Great Britain in May 2007, twenty-five years after John Paul II visited in 1982. He didn’t of course come, but if he had it could have proved a final example of Tony and Cherie’s ecclesiastical topsy-turvyism. Would they have taken His Holiness to visit Ipswich? In the event, and as a final theatrical flourish in his world tour before departure on 27 June 2007, Tony took Cherie with him to Rome for an audience with Pope Benedict. But this time there would be no Berlusconi to write in the sky with £20,000 worth of fireworks: ‘Viva Tony!’

Garry O’Connor has worked as daily theatre critic for the Financial Times, and as a director for the RSC, before he became a fulltime writer. As novelist, biographer and playwright Garry has published many books on actors, literary figures, religious and political leaders, including Pope John Paul II and the Blairs. He has had plays performed at Edinburgh, Oxford, Ipswich, London and on Radio 4, and contributed dramatised documentaries to Radio 3, scripts and interviews for BBC 1, as well as having his work adapted for a three-part mini-series. The Darlings of Downing Street, from which the above excerpt is taken, is an incisive probe into the Blairs’ tenure of 10 Downing Street and the New Labour project. The Darlings of Downing Street, published by CentreHouse Press, is available on Amazon Kindle and most other ebook platforms.

The Labour Party – sifting through the wreckage

Will activism become a cottage industry?

By Paul Halas

The news that the selection process for prospective Labour candidates is to be changed to allow yet more Tories to represent the party will surprise no one. It is only the latest increment in Keir Starmer’s drive to make the party a safe place for venture capitalists, oligarchs, tax-dodging corporations and those who deliberately confuse the distinction between criticism of Israeli apartheid with prejudice against Jews. If anyone reading this article actually believes Starmer is doing a good job stop now: you’re either complicit in his charade or terminally gullible.

The idea of Labour as a force to bring about democratic socialism is a wonderful fantasy, an illusion, albeit one that many of us dared to believe in between 2015 and 2019. But in spite of saying democratic socialism on the tin, it ain’t in the contents. The party of the working person has always been infiltrated and occupied by the right, even although there have been a few glorious examples of socialist advances being forced through – despite all the obstacles. The post-war Atlee government gave us a wonderful legacy (that the neoliberals have diligently destroyed over the past forty years), but following him was Hugh Gaitskill and a sharp swing back towards the centre. Harold Wilson’s centre leftism was always under attack from right wingers in the party, as well as the establishment, and he ended up sidelined by Sunny Jim and Bushy Healey. Michael Foot fought a constant battle against his own party plus the weight of the media (Private Eye’s nickname for him, Worzel Gummidge, certainly caught the public imagination), while Neil Kinnock declared open warfare against the left.

There was a national sigh of relief in 1997 when the tired old Tories were swept away by Tony Blair, whose dynamic platform of not being a Tory produced a sense of national euphoria… until of course the penny dropped that actually he was a Tory. Okay – one could argue that he was at least a One Nation Tory, that we got Sure Start centres and some more dosh went into health and education, but creeping privatisation continued unabated, cronyism was almost as rife then as it is now, we were lumbered with PFIs here, there and everywhere, and inequality, which had been rising since 1979, just carried on rising. We all know the quote, Tony Blair was Margaret Thatcher’s proudest achievement. He was, and is, a Tory.

As is Keir Starmer. Surely any illusions about him have now been swept away: he represents the establishment 100% and is making absolutely sure that the Labour Party is a socialism-free zone – even at the expense of bankrupting and sinking the party out of sight. The sorry mob at the helm now resemble a low budget caper movie, getting the old gang of bastards back together: Blair, Mandelson, David Miliband, Campbell, and given the chance I’ll bet they’d dig up Margaret Thatcher too. Add to that many of the kindly apparatchiks who helped scuttle two general elections and you have to conclude that the dark side has won. Good friends of mine are still saying stay and fight. Sorry. It’s over.

A great many activists and former members, especially those like me who joined the party because of Jeremy Corbyn, now find themselves disenfranchised, rudderless and quite frankly depressed. From having no faith in party politics, to becoming highly energised, card-carrying party workers, to losing that faith again, all in a few short years, is a hulluva trip. For a while we believed a mainstream political party could and would usher in a fairer, more sustainable society. But it turns out that was just a dream some of us had (to quote Joni Mitchell).

For many like me becoming a party member was something of a culture shock. I’d never been part of any sort of organisation, having led the sheltered life of a freelance story-writer, and entering a hierarchical, structured set-up like the Labour Party was a strange experience. But I quickly got with the espirit de corps, did my best to be a team player, was happy cannon-fodder. What always struck me as odd, though, was that in amongst all the fund-raising, leafleting, arranging lifts, meetings, getting stuff printed, all the activities part and parcel of belonging to a CLP, nobody seemed to be talking about politics. Yes, politics in terms of personalities, myriad rues and regulations and various snippets of gossip and personality clashes, but not political ideas – not the big issues. The only times we were officially sanctioned to talk politics was when we were out canvassing or running stalls – a wonderful and eye-opening experience. It’s as if that stuff was above our pay grade. Sure, those of us on the left socialised and discussed these matters (and boy, so did those on the right), however, such talk never seemed to be an integral part of CLP life. Bureaucracy rex. But still, we were buoyed by the idea that as members our voices counted, and collectively we could steer the party towards our goal of a more equitable society. Ha! Now look where we are.

So, sifting through the wreckage, what are we left with? The ideas Jeremy Corbyn represented are still in our hearts and minds. I’m a bit mistrustful of the sainthood that’s been conferred on him by some on the left, as I’m sure he is, however, in spite of his flaws I’m still very much a Corbynista. But no longer having a national, mass membership political party to fall in with, we have to look at other ways of achieving change. The Peace and Justice Movement is a very positive step in the right direction.

Belatedly I’m bringing up the subject of climate change, as it certainly should be the first item on any agenda (even if I’m 900 words into this piece). It’s such a major deal that many people – and governments it appears – react by throwing up their hands, emitting an existential scream and then carrying on doing exactly what they were doing before. Yesterday the media was screaming we’re all going to die; today it’s back to who’s shagging who on Love Island. It’s as if it’s too much to take in… except it’s really happening. Nationally, the Tory government grunts and makes vague noises about sustainability (while slyly trying to open new coal mines and investing yet more billions in fossil fuels), while Starmer’s alternative Tory Party rounds on the government for its inactivity with all the ferocity of a comatose teddy bear. Internationally we wait for action by India, China, the USA, Brazil and others with great interest. A benevolent world dictatorship could maybe bring about some meaningful changes, but we don’t have that luxury. China could perhaps implement the right kind of draconian measures, but they’d have to drop their “it’s good to be rich” mantra first.

The big elephant in the room, climate wise, is capitalism. A cynic might say that unless going green becomes a bigger revenue source than continuing to screw up the environment the outlook is not kosher. Technology will no doubt play a big role in any solution to the climate change problem, but my faith in this is tempered by the fact that most R&D is now largely funded by the corporate sector, and those people by and large aren’t motivated by a love of humanity. Add to that the fact that we’ve already passed a number of tipping points, and millions of lives are already in jeopardy from the ravages of climate catastrophe, it’s all very, very scary.

Where do we go from here? Governments can and should do far better than they’ve managed thus far. Some are better than others. The EU member states tend to be a bit less crap than we are, Brazil and India are worse (though not on a per capita basis). The question is how much worse do things have to get before meaningful (and I mean serious) action is taken? How many more millions will perish? Will Bangladesh slip beneath the waves? Will the grain-belts turn into dust-bowls? Will melting permafrost unleash billions of tons of methane? Will the Gulf Stream seize up and deep-freeze northern Europe? Will Parliament be any less complacent when the Thames barrier is overwhelmed? I don’t see the end of humanity on the horizon, but I do think we’re going to see a succession of seismic changes – not the least for all the other life-forms that inhabit the planet. People have been warning about this for more than 100 years. We can be awfully slow on the uptake.

Normally doom and gloom articles try to end on a positive note. We don’t want people jumping off cliffs or becoming troglodyte survivalists up in the Boondocks. Many people are becoming more aware that actions have consequences and there are better ways of running societies. Cooperation is growing within communities, and we’re becoming more conscious about how wasteful we are as people and as a society. Green new deals are at last on people’s lips, and at some point it is to be hoped that the great and the good are coerced or shamed into more responsible behaviour. Of course those with a few horses, multiple gas-guzzlers and a darling hideaway in Dorset, who think of themselves as vastly over-taxed and on the verge of penury, will take some convincing, but they’ll have to be made to toe the line.

With the demise of the Labour Party many are taking direct action to improve people’s lives. Community schemes proliferate, (some) unions battle for progress, collectivism is on the rise. Some of the smaller political parties, such as the Socialists and Communists, less tainted by corporate corruption, have powerful voices. We cannot control what takes place in governments worldwide but we can do better on the ground, here. As Candide said, at the end of Voltaire’s classic fable, “…but we must go and work in the garden.”

It would be wonderful to have a Labour Party that battles with the people, for the people and for the environment. That has a grasp of the issues at stake and will take on the might of big business. For the many, not the few. But we don’t – that party flickered brightly and was then extinguished. So we just have to do the best we can. Maybe for now cottage industry activism is our best choice.

Paul Halas’s escape from 1970s hippidom was the discovery that he could invent stories. He spent forty years contributing to various Disney magazines and books, as well as a variety of non-Disney comics, books and animated films. His retirement from commercial writing coincided with Jeremy Corbyn becoming the Labour Party leader, which led to five years’ political activism. He left the party two years ago with a heavy heart.

Tick tock, tick tock . . .

. . . says the Doomsday clock

Zombie Apocalypse, 25 th July 2021

By Gordon Liddle

It looks as though the scientists who run the Doomsday Clock will be shaving another second off it sometime soon. The world is slowly going mad. Après Moi, Le Deluge. So, Parliament has broken up for the summer recess. I have no doubt many on the Tory benches and probably quite a few on the Labour side, will now be off on expenses paid jollies to their donor’s villas and yachts, or else spending a little time with their families instead of the secretary or staffer (we all know who you are!), setting aside the heavy weight of office and chilling. Because, after all, we aren’t in the middle of the Zombie Apocalypse, the NHS isn’t creaking, and the supermarkets aren’t suffering shortages. Nothing to see here, go home and chillax. Oh, and just before leaving, Williamson the fireplace salesman announced funding cuts of up to 50% for art and design courses because of course, we don’t want people wasting their time on these trivialities when they could be training to become a cog in the capitalist treadmill. Cultural suicide. So, ‘we are off on our hols, toodle pip, fend for yourselves till we get back!’

Tick tock, tick tock!

The Media have at last noticed supply chains and deliveries have slowed since Brexit and, due to a combination of reasons; the supermarkets are running out of ‘stuff’ in their aisles. The government have invented a new word to cover the embarrassment of Brexit losses and have given it the cosy name ‘pingdemic’, partly to cover their incompetence and partly because the British public are gullible idiots, used to a diet of simple buzz words and short slogans. It’s really weird that the rest of Europe, who have the same virus (brewed in the UK, cheers Spaffer) and who are not running low in their supermarkets, don’t have the same problem. That’s because it has nothing to do with the virus and everything to do with Brexit and wages.

All the excitement and enthusiasm generated by Corbyn has been allowed to run into the dry ground.

Even before this crisis hit, lorry drivers were leaving due to time away from home and crap wages. Our EU migrants filled the void, as they do with short-term farm labour and fruit picking etc. but now, they have all gone home, leaving our fruit and veg rotting in the fields as it can’t be picked and, even if it could there is no-one to transport it for processing or delivery. What a result. So, faced with this crisis what does the government do? They ‘allow’ lorry drivers to work longer hours. Not more pay, or better conditions? Oh no, they have to sit in that forty-tonne juggernaut for longer, making them more tired and frankly putting their lives and the public at risk. Now we have to sit and wait for the first sleep induced, child crushing pile up and the inevitable crucifying of the unfortunate driver. You know it’s coming.

Tick tock, tick tock.

Meanwhile, Sir Rodney Woodentop has busied himself by proscribing more and more left wingers (socialists) and left-wing groups from Labour, whilst meantime bankrupting the Party into the bargain. While Labour wallows well below the Tory Party in the polls, despite the Tories laying waste to the economy, allowing grannie to die in her own fluids and pursuing herd immunity by allowing all our children to catch it, Rodney doesn’t seem capable of putting two ideas together to take the fight to the Tories. As members leave Labour in their thousands and now some Unions are looking to break from Labour, he seems to have locked himself in that Blairite Westmonster bubble, content with sitting in the corner with his hands over his ears chanting ‘La, La, La!’ It’s embarrassing how feeble the Labour Party is now. All the excitement and enthusiasm generated by Corbyn has been allowed to run into the dry ground.

A brief period when the Party was fertile with ideas and youthful energy has become a moribund, desperate B Team for the Tories. No-one can convince me Rodney wasn’t a plant. He has broken the Party and spaffed the money away. Imaging how the electorate will judge him if the Tory press ever turn on him.

‘How are you going to run the economy when you couldn’t even look after the finances of your own Party?’

This week he took to sacking a load of staff from Party HQ and replacing some with temps from an agency. When did fire and rehire become policy? He then did a puff piece for Newsnight with Laura K in which the ‘guest’ hand-picked normal ‘working class voters’ at and asked him a few mild questioned. One hadn’t even heard of him. Big impact there Rodney, really making a name for yourself. Big smiles from Laura K who could barely hide her contempt when interviewing Corbyn, and he ended the interview with something about not wanting to sit in a warm bath. It was excruciating to watch. His days are numbered, it can’t come soon enough.

Tick tock, tick tock.

Yesterday we had the Freedumb demo in London, as well as a coordinated echo in afew other cities across Europe and the US. All the usual suspects were there, David Icke,Piers Corbyn, Kate Semirami, Mike Steele (with an e) and others, etc. Also there was KatieHopkins, fresh from her expulsion from Australia (I mean, how bad do you have to be to getexpelled by the Aussies?) although large parts of the crowd had to turn their backs and look back at her through a mirror to stop themselves from turning to stone. And yes, there was a large crowd, Trump flags here and there. They have slipped from protesting about lockdown (which barely existed) to now protesting about the vaccines as well as 5G and LED’s. I kid you not.

I mean, how bad do you have to be to get
expelled by the Aussies?

Mark Steele ranted on about 5G and LEDs as being so dangerous your streetlamp outside your house is going to kill you, whist simultaneously standing in front of a giant LED screen which could be seen from space. Batshit crazy. Big applause from the crowd, dying to hear the main act. Next was the Covidiot Barbie, Kate Semirani, whose own son came on BBC radio4 this morning to say she was in fact, batshit crazy. Kate ranted on and on about how the vaccine was going to kill thousands of us and we should be having a Nuremberg style trial after which we would be hanging doctors and nurses, none of whom heard this condemnation firsthand, as most were ether exhausted resting at home or manning the pumps in the busy ICU’s up and down the country.

Kate, who was an actual nurse until she was struck off last year for being batshit crazy, has built up quite a following and seems tobe at every demo and public opportunity of late. I’m sure she’ll make an appearance on GBnews soon, probably interviewed by Farage if he takes time off from boat spotting in Kent. Idon’t understand how she gets so worked up about the vaccine, as, judging by the pictures on her social media pages, she’s obviously no stranger to the needle as she looks as if she’s had enough Botox to stop the oncoming plague of rats.

David Icke, who came on stage to a hero’s welcome and left them all singing Karaoke, with lizards.

Then came Piers of course, listing the great dangers that face humanity, the great climate change lie, the vaccine danger, the fact the virus is only a mild flue, a hoax propagated by Bill Gates and George Soros, and of course 5G. Which lead up to the rock star himself, David Icke, who came on stage to a hero’s welcome and left them all singing Karaoke, with lizards. Great entertainment but with the added potential for violence.

Now it is all very well to laugh at these people, but it would be a mistake. Fake news is the ocean the lies and disinformation swim within, slithering like eels in the Sargasso Sea. Too slippy and elegantly pulsating to grab and identify. The MSM amplify and codify the message to suit those in power who own them and Facebook and other social media platforms spread it like a mycelium. These people are channelled funds from well-heeled and dangerous disaster capitalists, such as Charles Koch and others, to ferment disorder and distraction to hide their real agenda, which is rampant resource extraction and accumulating wealth.

The virus sweeping the planet and doing the real damage is not the Saars/covid one, it is Capitalism.

They will stop at nothing, even the destruction of the planet in their quest for more wealth and assets. They are psychopaths and some how, they have to be stopped. The virus sweeping the planet and doing the real damage is not the Saars/covid one, it is Capitalism. Eventually the current virus will be brought to heel, despite the best efforts of the idiots in governments, but the real virus is still at large, destroying ecosystems, toppling mountains for new mines, poisoning the oceans and depleting the stocks of insects and micro creatures that feed whole ecosystems, including humanity.

The problem is, as Frederick Jameson said, ‘it is easier to imaging the end of the world than the end of capitalism!’ The people who run our systems and who feel born to rule, entitled to power, they actually believe this is the end point of history, that all roads lead to where we are now and that Capitalism is the destination of humanity, the culmination of all our previous history and cultures. It may be viewed as slightly imperfect by liberal critics, but it is the best we have and there is no alternative. There is an omerta code among our elites that will not let business as usual be disrupted at any cost, even at the cost of the earth itself. Any alternatives are quickly stamped out.

Greta Thunberg keeps reminding us to ‘mind the gap’ between the words and actions of our
political class. The gap is widening.

Biden himself, an alleged liberal, will keep that punishing blockade on Cuba, keep bombing Somalis, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, will let his CIA format coups in any Latin American country which does not toe the line, which does not allow US corporations to go in and plunder the commons, will support Bolsonaro to extract the last log from the last tree in the Amazon and turn it into wasteland. They do not see the point of any dialectic with Nature. Any understanding that does not square with their inalienable belief that Nature is a free resource to be used and dumped as garbage and pollution cannot be contemplated.

But they are wrong. Whilst we could have a dialectic with the natural world, we are choosing to treat it like a slave, to be used freely until it dies. But Nature is not our slave, and it certainly does not need us. The bear will shit in the woods whether we are there to see it or not. Greta Thunberg keeps reminding us to ‘mind the gap’ between the words and actions of our political class. The gap is widening. As the floods continue across the EU and India, and the wildfires consume huge areas of Siberia and the North West of the United States and Canada, we will have to brace for what is still to come as we miss every chance to slow down or stop the destruction.

The demo’s are just one example to show the depth of the poison that is being drip fed into our civilisation. It will inevitably lead to violence as a somnabulant population is suddenly awakened by the jolt of catastrophic events heading our way very soon. Hopefully the disappearance of a Twix and a pot noodle from our supermarket shelves will open a few more eyes but the depth of ignorance in society is deeply distressing. It isn’t going to end well. We need those in power turfed out as soon as possible. Those who purport to govern are not fit for purpose, they never were. Quite how we do it I am not sure, but the tinderbox is getting dryer and could ignite at any time. We will be losing a few more seconds off that clock very soon.

Tick tock, tick tock…………….

Gordon Liddle, artist and poet

Gordon Liddle was born 1956, Horden, County Durham, United Kingdom Married, lives and works at his Derbyshire studio. BA Hons, Sheffield Psalter Lane Art College Gordon has had numerous positions and travelled extensively through the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Yemen, Lebanon, Bahrain, Africa and Europe, with particular interests in religion, democracy, politics, economics, MMT, and culture. The results of these studies form the basis of the series of works now under way. Numerous works bought by private collectors #Madonna Victorian Mood Bought by Andrew Cavendish the 11th Duke of Devonshire is owned by the Chatsworth Collection. ‘Celestial Teapot’ was exhibited at La Galleria Pall Mall in London for one week in 2013, 4 days at Art Basel in 2014. Currently working on Gaia, The Sixth Extinction Series, of paintings, woodcuts and hopefully etchings soon. Also writing two books and a book of poems and rants. Gordon is on Twitter @sutongirotcip and his website is 

Keir Starmer: The Decline of the Dork Knight

Sir Keith’s Funda-Centralist Martyrdom Op Flop

By James Tweedie

In this article, Lexiteer, communist and former International Editor of the Morning Star takes a jaundiced view of the Labour Party in opposition lead by Britain’s former top lawyer, Keir Starmer.

In religious fundamentalist parlance, a suicide mission is called a ‘martyrdom operation’ – promising the hapless volunteer low-grade sainthood in return for their ultimate self-sacrifice.But the chimeric modern ‘Left’ revels in its own martyrdom ops, choosing lonely political hills to die on — like opposition to Brexit — and obscure crosses to be nailed to — like the mess made by the European Medicines Agency of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Starmer cunningly combines smarmy yet stultifying lawyering — amid the school-yard rough-and-tumble of Parliament — with a set of noble-sounding extreme centralist principles that no voters actually support, and an ever-expanding list of instantly-forgettable slogans.

A recent poll found that Labour voters overwhelmingly want Starmer to go before the next election, but most have no idea who will replace him.

Since, incredibly, losing Hartlepool to the Tories, Starmer has been engaged in a balletic act of shadow-boxing against a leadership challenger who doesn’t exist. A recent poll found that Labour voters overwhelmingly want Starmer to go before the next election, but most have no idea who will replace him. In other words, they’re so keen to be rid of him hat they don’t care that there’s no obvious successor.

It’s no use pointing to Andy Burnham, the runner-up in the poll after ‘Don’t Know’, or Sadiq Khan. Neither of them can be Labour leader because neither of them is an MP. It could take both of them until the next general election to engineer a return to Parliament. In any case, neither is a match for the double-jabbed, triple-wed BoJo Mojo.

It’s no use pointing to Andy Burnham, the runner-up in the poll after ‘Don’t Know’, or Sadiq Khan. Neither of them can be Labour leader because neither of them is an MP.

Meanwhile, calls for a ‘Grand Progressive Alliance’ of not-the-Tories parties are becoming increasingly strident in the Guardian-reading dining rooms of Hampstead and Islington. But such a Labour/Liberal Democrat/Green hybrid — the ‘Lab-Deens’ if you like — would be a losers’ coalition.

The Lib Dems’ pound of flesh for entering into that marriage made in hell would be a neo-liberal economic policy and a commitment to reverse Brexit and rejoin the European Union. The Greens, also bitter Remoaners, would demand job-massacring environmentalist policies.

The Lib Dem vote might look on paper as though it could tip the balance in an election, but in fact it is concentrated in those few areas of the country where the ancient Whig party still wins seats: Lancashire and Cumbria, Parts of Scotland, Bristol and south-west London.

Meanwhile the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru would scoop up even more of the disillusioned core Labour vote, while the Tories would continue to enjoy the support of most of those who actually work for a living.

Labour’s rot runs deep, right to the core. It has been systematically turning its back on the working class for more than 20-years

In fact it is Labour’s failure to stop the extremely right wing SNP and the discordant choir of Plaid from blatantly stealing its clothes since 1997 that has created the current situation: where the Tories have gone from having no MPs north of the border to now being the second-biggest parties in both devolved regions of Britain.

Labour can’t win a general election without the 45 Scottish Commons seats now squatted on by the SNP. But neither can it afford to appeal to nationalists, because ‘independence’ for Scotland and/or Wales would similarly guarantee a Tory majority for decades.

Labour’s rot runs deep, right to the core. It has been systematically turning its back on the working class for more than 20-years — actually, since it backed the human slaughterhouse of the First World War in 1914 — and the working class has finally turn its back on Labour.

The party is increasingly retreating into its last strongholds in the inner districts of maybe a dozen cities. It is turning away from what meagre class politics it ever had, to identity politics as it desperately panders to its last voter bases: metropolitan middle-class liberals, the chronically-unemployed and ethnic minorities. Even there the Tories are making inroads into the Asian vote, with three of the top cabinet jobs held by Afro-Indians.

Another Hartlepool-style upset for Labour in the July 1 Batley and Spen by-election could be the nail in Starmer’s coffin — and his lifetime meal ticket as a Law Lord. But will whoever draws the short straw of leadership the from the increasingly-hopeless pool of Labour MPs be able to turn the doomed ship around?

James Tweedie was born in Hammersmith, West London, in 1975. He grew up in the shadow of the mushroom cloud in the time of colonial liberation, being taken to Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament  and Anti-Apartheid Movement events by his mother and father respectfully.

James has lived and worked in South Africa and Spain. He has worked as a reporter and the international editor of the Morning Star newspaper, a foreign reporter for the Mail Online, an online journalist for He has appeared as a commentator on BBC Radio 4, RT’s Crosstalk, Turkey’s TRT World and Iran’s Press TV. He currently works for Sputnik.

James maintains an occasional blog (, describing himself as “one of the most deplorable purveyors of fake news about populist strongmen (and women) around the post-truth world.”

The case for a coalition of the progressive left

The dust has settled after the recent electoral battles. While local elections should be about choosing local people to deal with local issues, pretty well the world and its brother looks on them as a barometer for showing which political parties are ascendant or otherwise.

For Labour it has not been a joyous occasion – decent results in Wales and many of the mayoral elections not withstanding. The obvious lesson to be learned is that for the most part the more left wing candidates have done better and the centrists, notably including Keir Starmer’s parachuted-in choices, have fallen flat on their faces. So how has the nation’s media responded?

The more extreme right wing press has rejoiced in “Boris’s” triumph, while the “liberal” newspapers have echoed the response of the centrist Labour grandees in blaming the Labour’s shellacking on the left. The BBC even repeated the nonsense about the “long Corbyn effect” – without the inverted commas!

There’s no need for me to repeat all the statistics demonstrating Labour’s decline since the 1997 landslide – and of course the Corbyn phenomenon bucking that trend – if you’re reading this piece it’s a sure bet you know all that. For all Alastair Campbell, Peter Mandelson and Margaret Hodge’s bleating that Labour cannot thrive as a left wing party, it’s pretty damn obvious that the public has no interest in a “middle of the road”, “neither one thing nor the other” party either. That way oblivion lies. The SDP breakaway party quickly withered and died. The TIGGERS evaporated even faster. Yet Keir Starmer and a majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party (but a distinct minority of the party membership I’d be willing to wager) appear hell bent on the party following that self-destructive course.


For maybe the first time in my life I’m going to agree with something Tony Blair has said. “The Labour Party needs total deconstruction and reconstruction to revive.”

Hear hear!


The party faces a paradox. In order to bring about change it needs to win power, but it cannot win power while it’s riven by division. The obvious elephant in the room is that it isn’t the much quoted “broad church” so many politicians blather on about, it’s two separate parties sharing little more than a name.

I jumped ship after Keir Starmer sacked Rebecca Long Bailey. That was the final straw for me, though in truth I feel rather ashamed for not leaving when the party’s duplicity about the anti-Semitism issue came to light. I know so many good people who have remained members to fight the good fight and reclaim the party for the progressive left – but for me, I believe the party’s fortunes have to get a lot worse before they can get better again.


Like so many, I joined the Labour Party almost as soon as Jeremy Corbyn became leader. There were all sorts of reasons why, as a distinctly left-leaning person, I had never been a party member before that. Why? Well, you could reel off a long list of Labour Party leaders going all the way back to Harold Wilson (who actually had my grudging respect). Not being political party-savvy, I didn’t realise quite what a phenomenon Corbyn becoming leader was. What an utterly freakish alignment of heavenly bodies brought that about. And I also didn’t quite grasp that in spite of Corbyn becoming leader that actual party was very much the same as it had always been. Same rules and regs, same control freakery, same apparatchiks.

Organisations cannot function without a certain level of bureaucracy, but from what I could see that was frequently being used to thwart change rather than enable it. Maybe factionalism and personality clashes are endemic in any political organisation, but having successfully avoided working in organisations all my life I wasn’t prepared for what I’d stepped into – albeit on a very low rung.

To all those doing great work in different tiers of councils, and keeping CLPs ticking along, great respect, but to all those determined to maintain the status quo, fie upon you. Things must change.


But first things will continue to deteriorate. It’s monstrous that the Tories are able carry on their orgy of destruction with the assent of a large portion of the public, but Starmer and his associates are doing precious little to oppose them. Meanwhile, eyes on the ball, Campbell, Mandelson and Hodge… and all their cheerleaders in the PLP, are urging a continuing shift to the right. I don’t think they can be stopped and maybe they shouldn’t. Maybe Labour has to slide into irrelevance before a credible left wing political force can rise from the ashes.

One thing that a few commentators are belatedly pointing out is that Labour needs to reconnect with its voters. Duh. Which is why Angela Rayner is being mentioned in dispatches all of a sudden: a bona fide Red Wall person! Well, she’s blotted her copybook as far as the left is concerned, but there’s a lesson to be learned. Make politics relevant to communities, don’t talk down to people, and don’t take voters for granted by head-office beaming down completely unsuitable candidates from the other end of the country.

(Labour’s tenuous connection with working class people – however one wishes to define that – must be rebuilt. I come from a bohemian middle class background, that’s obvious as soon as I open my mouth, so it sometimes felt odd my canvassing in traditional working lass areas – such as Newport West a couple of years ago. The only time is was mentioned was when I was given the nickname “Champagne Sherpa” (a posh-sounding old man willing to climb steep hills to knock on doors) by my fellow canvassers; it isn’t that Labour needs fewer people like me, but it needs more people not like me.)


I see Labour sinking, the powers that be are all colluding with that, but what happens when it reaches ground zero? When the centrists have good and properly ****ed it? That should give the left, and I mean the broad left, the opportunity to regroup.

Rebuild with a coalition of progressive voices. The good parts of what had been Labour, minus the likes of Jess Phillips, Stephen Kinnock, Andrew Adonis… plus Socialists, Greens, Communists… anyone willing to support a grand coalition of the left in order to get the Tories out of power and bring about a complete realignment in British politics. Tribal loyalties put aside. Change politics and change the voting system. Make votes count.

That would naturally be in the face of a media onslaught, but what if all the activists the left has lost were reanimated, plus more inspired to joint their ranks? Jeremy Corbyn has the right idea with the Peace and Justice Project, but bring it to people’s streets and doorsteps, about issues that affect their day to day lives. People going out in their neighbourhoods to talk about what’s important to people in their own communities? I know various groups are doing that now, but maximise it. Coordinate it. Multiply it.

Some people are completely lost to the left: many of those who bought their council houses, started their own businesses, or learned to play the stocks and shares embrace the neoliberal economy. They’re all right, Jack. Some remain content to blame minorities for their poor living standards, and some will always be susceptible to stories about square fruit and red buses and actually believe the advent of food banks is a great achievement.

But communities helping themselves, breaking free from corporate tyranny, building sustainable, more localised economies, getting representatives who actually represent them rather than vested interests – now that should be one hell of a draw.

A coalition of the left might achieve that. But if Labour is ever to be reborn, it will have to shed the centrist dead wood and learn to live with like-minded progressive groups. Ditch first past the post. Cooperate.

“Though cowards flinch…”

If not Labour, then who?

In football you write off teams that miss open goal after open goal, and that is precisely what Keir Starmer’s Labour Party has done for the past year. Remember the centrists’ mantra during the Corbyn years, “with the Tories making such a mess of things Labour should be at least twenty-five points ahead in the polls.”?

Just consider the Tory shenanigans over the past twelve months: botched Covid response, multi-billion PPE scandal, Dominic Cummings scandal, record-breaking inequality, Carrie Symonds’ Marie-Antoinette impersonation, below inflation wage rise for nurses, Robert Jenrick property scandal, Brexit bungling, Priti Patel, Gavin Williamson, Liz Truss, Dido Harding, Matt Hancock… The list of disasters could go off the bottom of the page, yet Labour has failed to make any capital from them.

Leave aside the fact that Starmer has by and large supported most Tory measures over the past year (or otherwise abstained), one would think that just not being the Conservatives would be enough to gain support after the pigs’ breakfast Johnson and his chums have made of running the country. But a look at current polling shows that Labour are slipping further and further behind the Tories, and Sir Keir’s personal rating is also in free-fall.

Whether Starmer is setting out to destroy the Labour Party on purpose or whether his poor showing is down to a mixture of misguided personal ambition and muddled vision I don’t know, but the party’s lurch to the right clearly isn’t having the desired effect. My own opinion is that Starmer is probably simply power-hungry and morally bankrupt rather than a deep state plant (in spite of belonging to the Trilateral Commission), but his leadership has only exacerbated a trend that was set in motion in 1979.

A recent poll has shown that among working class voters over fifty percent back the Tories while only twenty-seven percent are for Labour. Among middle class voters the split is nearly even, with a majority of Labour supporters being graduate level city-dwellers. Even taking Brexit into account, this is a shocking reversal of the demographic that existed prior to the 1980s.

Created to further the cause of democratic socialism, and borne of the trades unions’ struggles, the Labour Party oscillated over the decades of the Twentieth Century between democratic socialism and social democracy, carrying the working class with it. Its mandate was to serve the interests of the working class and promote greater equality. As a rule one’s politics were determined by one’s class. Of course there were always exceptions: working class Tories in the Alf Garnett mould, and upper class socialists such as Tony Benn (not to mention my father). But if you were working class you probably voted Labour.

So what changed all that? I would suggest the influence of neoliberalism is the chief factor, with Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair as its figureheads. Wrecker Thatcher destroyed industries, blitzkrieged unions and devastated working-class communities. At the same time she dangled the carrot of a stakeholder society (a word she detested) in front of anyone with two brazoos to rub together in the form of shares in the public utilities that were being flogged off. She also began the selling off of council houses. The grand plan was to create a nation of shareholding homeowners, each clamouring for their little portion of crumbs from the proceeds of Great Britain plc. The exponential expansion of Little Britain. And if you couldn’t afford take part in the clambake, tough – you didn’t matter anyway.

Traditionally the Labour Party had always (supposedly) represented the interests of working class people. Thatcher said you too can aspire to more – believe in better – and plenty did. Many of the old communities either no longer existed or became neglected backwaters of no consequence. While still considerable, Labour’s working class base was shrinking. And while Thatcherism created victims – by the million – it succeeding in creating a more aspirational, materialistic Britain. The price of everything and the value of nothing.

With the shrinking of traditional working class support, Tony Blair and the New Labour architects rumbled that in order to take power Labour needed to woo a new demographic. The nation had tired of the Conservatives, the wheels had eventually fallen off a party that had run out of ideas. With shiny teeth and slick publicity Tony Blair, and his seductive brand of social democracy, wooed the middle classes. The message was: we’ll create a better society, and what’s more we’ll do it without redistributing your wealth or upsetting the City oligarchy. For all those who found voting Tory a bit of an embarrassment, New Labour was a godsend.

We all know Thatcher regarded Tony Blair as one of her proudest achievements. Under New Labour inequality continued its relentless rise, and the shift from manufacturing to service and high-tech industries continued unabated. And in the process Labour became the servant of Capital and continuously ignored the needs and aspirations of working-class people. In the areas where industry had once flourished and provided real jobs, there was a shameful and myopic lack of investment and regeneration. No longer could it be said that Labour was the party of the working class.

As stated at the beginning of this piece, polling shows that 27% of working-class voters are still loyal to Labour. In recent years I’ve canvassed for Labour in three very different constituencies – Stroud, Swindon, and Newport West – and that statistic is borne out by my personal experience at least. Brexit had an effect on voting intentions in 2019, but the number of people who stated that they no longer voted Labour because they felt it was a middle class party was startling. I often met real hostility, only slightly tempered by the fact that I’m an old man with glasses. And although there was always a core of working class socialists, most of the Labour supporters I met were middle class.

(Mea culpa. While canvassing in Newport West I earned the nickname Champagne Sherpa. Sherpa because I was happy to ascend the steepest hills to knock on doors, and Champagne because as soon as I open my gob it’s very easy to place me. I’m an idealistic Corbynista – shoot me.)

The wheels should have fallen off the Conservative Party bus by now (not the least because of that big red bus), but this time it isn’t happening. Keir Starmer is making his pitch at the middle classes because one thing he has got right is that working class support for Labour is poor. But it isn’t working a second time. His more Tory than the Tories strategy has gone belly-up. His boast that he’d unite the party is deader than a kipper. His purge on the left has been so toxic that floods of members have torn up their cards – including me.

See the source image
Steve Bell nails it.

Those of us in our various political bubbles are frequently out of touch with what the rest of society is thinking. That’s why canvassing and running street stalls is such a valuable insight into what people really feel. Again, Starmer has half understood problem, insofar as he appears to rely very heavily on focus groups. The trouble is, his apparatchiks only seem to draw the most crass conclusions from the results. What his focus groups won’t tell him is that what people are missing is vision, the prospect of a society that doesn’t just meet their aspirations, but which is fairer too.

The Tories hold sway by appealing to people’s more selfish instincts. It has worked for forty years, and Starmer’s instinct to buy into the same mindset offers little cause for optimism. If that’s the best our two main political parties can offer us then we’re in deep trouble. The Project for Peace and Justice understands the problems we face and offers a range of non party-political solutions. But surely Labour should be better than it is now, surely we should have a major political party that actually offers some hope. Under Corbyn the party was blitzed by a hostile media and subverted by many of its own MPs and party workers. The cunning plan to lead it back into the “safe” centre ground is failing miserably, and probably condemning it to many more wilderness years.

I’d be interested to know more about the idealogical make-up of the party membership, ie, what is the proportion of genuine left-wingers? It’s easy to lose perspective when one’s in one’s own bubble, and to complicate matters further some people have a distressing habit of telling fibs. Is a member-led revolt remotely possible (not me any more, sorry), or would it be stillborn in the face of lumpen party machinery control-freakery?

The country is in the hands of the most morally corrupt brigands to have ruled since Henry VIII and it appears there is no real party political opposition. Labour in its present incarnation is impotent, but if not Labour then who?

Paul Halas’s escape from 1970s hippidom was the discovery that he could invent stories. He spent forty years contributing to various Disney magazines and books, as well as a variety of non-Disney comics, books and animated films. His retirement from commercial writing coincided with Jeremy Corbyn becoming the Labour Party leader, which led to five years’ political activism. He left the party two years ago with a heavy heart.

Labour – The end of the affair

Or, “I really think we need to take a break”.

By Paul Halas

After several months of running on empty I’ve finally decided to leave the Labour Party. It’s a wrench, to put it mildly. For the past few years the party has been very central to my life, occupying much of my time and providing a circle of friends and comrades I value greatly and who’ve broadened my horizon immensely. So leaving the organisation, even if it doesn’t automatically entail losing contact with a host of great people, doesn’t come very easily.

I was one of the Corbyn influx. Up until his accession as party leader I’d never been part of any political organisation, always finding some reason or other not to engage with the process. In the 1970s the true left was too fragmented (and in truth I was probably too stoned much of the time), in the 1980s I couldn’t see beyond my visceral hatred for Margaret Thatcher, in the 1990s none of the Labour leaders ignited any sort of enthusiasm in me and in the Noughties New Labour fulfilled its remit of slyly continuing Thatcher’s neoliberal (a word not in general circulation back then) crusade… God, for a while even Charles Kennedy’s Lib Dems advocated a more radical platform than Blair and co. Fast forward another five years and the advent of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader coincided with my being found surplus to my publisher’s needs as a comic strip writer (in fairness I’d had a pretty good, forty year innings), meaning that not just was there a political leader I truly believed in, I now had the time to devote myself to the cause. Of course I rushed to join.

Image result for photo jeremy corbyn

Corbyn arouses mixed reactions, to say the least. But for me and thousands like me he represented a storm-force blast of fresh air in politics. He had his flaws but he was sincere, he cared, he stood up to the Establishment, he convinced us that even within our tired old parliamentary system we could actually achieve something better – something far better. Until the media concocted an evil narrative against the man he was derisively known at “Saint Jeremy”. Within my local party the influx of Corbynistas received a mixed reception.

Here a tip of the hat to all those who’ve worked for years – decades – within the Labour Party to keep the wheels of society turning and strive for the betterment of all. Leaders have come and gone, but indefatigable Labour councillors and activists have put their all into their roles and we’re far better off for it. I have no doubt the vast majority of them have done far more for their fellow humans than I ever have. Locally, some of them welcomed the newcomers with open arms, others took a dimmer view of all the “entryists”.

I had no experience whatsoever of functioning within any sort of organisation, and had no expectation of “upward mobility” within the local party. Having been a scriptwriter I was useful as a “messager”, writing a stream of press letters and leaflets, and I took to activism like a duck to water. But those newcomers with far greater political and organisational ability than me, who could have made a real contribution in more executive posts in the party, frequently encountered a high degree of resistance. In the local party things were done a certain way and by certain people. The newcomers were useful as activists, fetchers and carriers, but to go any further than that they had to adhere to a very well established template – one that pre-existed the Corbyn phenomenon. And that, in microcosm, appears to encapsulate most of the Labour Party machinery.

While the Labour Party can and frequently does work to improve matters at local level – even under a kamikaze Tory government – the evolution and ethos of the party at national level is of paramount importance, but how often that appears to be ignored at CLP and branch level. For over two decades, and some would say far longer, the Labour Party has adhered to the neoliberal consensus that underpins the economies of much of the developed world. A system that’s been shown to be increasingly dysfunctional, unless you’re a hedge fund manager or oligarch. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour rejected that path (well, not the PLP and a whole bunch of party workers, as we now know) – and that’s why so many of us loved him… or certainly what he stood for. In a world where everything and everyone is viewed as a commodity, he wanted to put human beings before the sacred market.

He had to go, and he was dealt with.

In the run up to the 2019 general election we campaigned with feverish intensity. For nearly six weeks I helped run a high street Labour stall in all sorts of beastly weather, fielding all sorts beastly comments from a public versed in beastly anti-Corbyn invective by a beastly media. Perhaps our intensity was fuelled by a subconscious foreboding that we were dead men walking, or maybe that’s just hindsight speaking. Certainly we can now look on that time as Corbyn’s last stand, because we knew that if he lost he’d inevitably stand down, and there was no natural successor. The feeling of numbness from that defeat has stayed with me ever since.

In the Labour leadership ballot my vote was unsurprisingly for Rebecca Long Bailey – by default really. For me the other candidates were unthinkable. At the CLP meeting in which our membership chose Keir Starmer by a two thirds majority my post election gloom grew several degrees darker. I didn’t trust Starmer and I didn’t like him. Maybe I could’ve given him the benefit of the doubt – many did and many are now having second thoughts – but I didn’t want to give him the time of day and for once I was right. For all his “forensic” intelligence, I saw him as completely untrustworthy, as often on the dark side as on that of the angels. That probably marked the death knell of my party membership, the intervening time just an agonisingly long farewell.

Going into yet another bout of Starmer-bashing is probably pretty boring by now, so I won’t go too much to town on it. I think anyone still believing he’ll stick to the Labour Party’s ten core pledges is living in Narnia – his “direction of travel” is crystal clear and he has another four years to dilute them further. His conduct over the whole antisemitism issue is deeply dishonest and shameful. The loss of freedom of speech within the party is shameful. The party’s purge of the left isn’t going to stop until the notion of democratic socialism is a whimsical memory. And as if all that ain’t enough, he is deeply and completely enmeshed in “the Establishment”. You don’t have to be a conspiracy nut to realise that no member of the Trilateral Commission – an international neoliberal “think tank” founded by David Rockefeller in 1973 – could ever hold socialist views… and Starmer belongs to that very elite group.

Neoliberalism hasn’t provided any answers for society, but then that was never its aim. Rampant disillusionment with the status quo along with an increasingly meagre trickle of trickle-down is what helped fuel right-wing populism in a host of countries, and a swing back to centrism – underpinned by a continuing adherence to the same old tried and failed economic framework – is only a recipe for more of the same, and in all probability still worse, in the future.

Starmer is desperate to occupy the “centre” ground to boost his much vaunted electability, and he sees ditching the left as his means of achieving that. Quite possibly he’ll win the next general election, although the proposed boundary changes may well jam a spoke in his wheel. But if he wins I don’t believe his new New Labour will provide any answers. The corporate elite will still hold sway, inequality with continue to grow, the environment will continue to be ravaged and resentment will continue to fester – ripe for the unscrupulous with their gruesome easy answers. That’s how fascism takes root.

Plenty of friends and comrades – most – have urged me to stay in the party and fight, but for me the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn was the final straw. Except of course for Starmer that was just another step along the way. My feeling at the moment is that staying and fighting for the soul of the Labour Party while Keir Starmer is leader is like trying to bail out the Titanic with a teaspoon. It’s a painful decision, and I’m aware that for many the idea of leaving the party is unthinkable – like a Catholic choosing excommunication. It’s just a matter of how much one can bear to see the party one has loved move away from its core ideals. George Monbiot recently said the best hope for the left is a populist movement harnessing the same degree of passion and simple messaging that so invigorated the right. It nearly happened in 2017. But I don’t see how that’s going to be repeated while Starmer and the current PLP are in charge (whatever the make-up of the NEC); the powers that be are absolutely determined that no such thing should reoccur. Maybe a mass rebirth of the left will have to take place outside the Labour Party, at least initially. However, if I’m completely wrong and the party veers back to the left I’ll recant my apostasy and happily beg to be re-admitted, pretty please. In the meanwhile, I remain an ardent Corbynista. I’ll be happy to help out with volunteering for this and that (such as leafleting), but I really cannot continue my membership while Keir Starmer leads the party.

A last thought. Would I want to join the Labour Party as it is now? The answer is a definite no.

Paul Halas’s escape from 1970s hippidom was the discovery that he could invent stories. He spent forty years contributing to various Disney magazines and books, as well as a variety of non-Disney comics, books and animated films. His retirement from commercial writing coincided with Jeremy Corbyn becoming the Labour Party leader, which led to five years’ political activism. He left the party two years ago with a heavy heart.

Suspending Jeremy Corbyn is a Declaration of Civil War

Keir Starmer has now alienated the best and the most idealistic people in the Labour Party

By Phil Hall

My daughter has a heart of gold and though she is young she has already worked as the manager of a women’s refuge and in a legal advice centre. She’s about to train as a housing lawyer. I am very proud of her and her brother and sister and I want the best for them. She was inspired by Jeremy Corbyn’s vision of a social democratic Britain, a more socialist Britain, but when Corbyn lost in 2019, despite manning the phones for the Labour Party and going on the stump, she was willing to accept Keir Starmer as a compromise. She convinced me, too:

‘Have you seen McLibel, Starmer gave his time as a young lawyer for free. He saw the case through to the end. He had grey hairs by the time the two litigants lost their case against McDonalds. You know, he had a paralegal working with him who was poor and bought him a suit and books. Starmer is OK. He’s a brilliant lawyer.’

‘I am deeply shocked. I can no longer defend Keir Starmer.’

Yesterday, after Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from the Labour Party she contacted me and said: ‘I am deeply shocked. I can no longer defend Keir Starmer.’ Keir Starmer has alienated the best and the most idealistic people in the Labour Party, the ones who, had he really being trying to unify the Labour Party and reach a unity compromise, would have supported him.

In January 2020, Labour had 580,000 registered members, the largest membership of any party in Europe. After the near win in 2017 the membership dipped a bit, down to 475,000, but then it rose again. The Labour membership seemed to have accepted Starmer, perhaps for a trial period only. That trial period is over and he should not be hired.

After Jeremy Corbyn’s election the excitement in the Labour Party grew. Hope grew. This enthusiasm was powered by the energy and idealism of a disenfranchised generation of millennials

Let’s look closer at that. Under Blair the membership of the Labour Party was around 200,000. It was a membership that the technocratic, autocratic, right of centre leadership of New Labour did its best to circumvent using the rules of the Party machinery. These rules favoured the votes of MPs and cabinet policy was rubber stamped by an NEC that was neutered, balanced in the favour of the Blairites.

After Jeremy Corbyn’s election the excitement in the Labour Party grew. Hope grew. The membership rose to over 500,000. This enthusiasm was powered by the energy and idealism of a disenfranchised generation of millennials – and enriched and tempered by embittered old lefties like me working mainly in education and public service, who saw a glimmer of light in the darkness.  

The Labour membership seemed to have accepted Starmer, perhaps for a trial period only. That trial period is over and he should not be hired.

Jeremy Corbyn, an upstanding human being, an important representative of the British Labour left and a lifelong socialist, got enough votes from MPs to stand for the leadership – despite the party mechanisms designed to disempower the membership. The MPs who voted for him wanted a balanced choice for leader, including someone to represent the ‘dinosaurs’ on the left. To their surprise and regret, Corbyn won. He won and he won and he won, despite three attempts to oust him.

We hold the centre-right of the Labour party responsible for joining in with the USA’s oil wars and for safeguarding Thatcher’s legacy.

At every turn Jeremy Corbyn won about two thirds of the membership vote. In a time of deepening climate change, a housing crisis, zero hour contracts, disillusion over New Labour’s support for oil wars, tuition fees at all time high it was obvious that a Corbyn premiership would go some way to redressing the imbalance in British society and  that it would allow us to get along peacefully with each other for a little while longer.

And Corbyn won. He won and he won and he won, despite three attempts to oust him.

Historians once praised the British establishment for knowing when to retreat, when to concede. After killing the demonstrators at Peterloo in Manchester it quietly retreated improving conditions and suffrage. After locking up the suffragettes and force feeding them and torturing them it waited a little and then gave women the vote. After huge mobilisations in India it finally understood that it was time to leave. The last British soldier didn’t leave India like the US left Vietnam: with an embassy operative dangling from a helicopter punching a Vietnamese collaborator who tried to get on board. No, the British left India with ceremony.

Historians once praised the British establishment for knowing when to retreat.

But this admiration doesn’t wash for the current buffoons running the British establishment. The current British establishment has shown itself to be less than silver service, less than aware of the pressing need for a rebalancing and for social justice. The establishment’s butler, its Jeeves, is now Keir Starmer.

Starmer is doing his best to please Boris Wooster and his pals, to diffuse the situation and return us to the ‘normality’ of neoliberalism. The British establishment has used the pretext of antisemitism (a deeply hurtful irony) to actually expel the man who caused membership to rise by hundreds of thousands of people making Britain’s Labour Party the largest party in Europe. The centrists and right wingers in the Labour Party like Jess Phillips have ‘stabbed Jeremy from the front’ just as they said they would and in doing so, they have stabbed us all right in the heart.

Starmer is doing his best to please Boris Wooster and his pals, to diffuse the situation and return us to the ‘normality’ of neo-liberalism.

Does the centre right in the Labour Party – who we hold historically responsible for joining in with the USA’s oil wars and for safeguarding Thatcher’s legacy – imagine that all the people who joined Labour to vote for a proper social democracy under Jeremy Corbyn will accept the decision to suspend him?

Does the centre-right imagine that we will say or do nothing and be happy going back to Blairism?

Does the centre-right think the unions that supported Corbyn will accept this action?

Does the centre-right think they can pour oil on the waters and everyone will carry on as normal?

Strangely, Keir Starmer’s Labour decided to suspend Corbyn precisely on the eve of the elections to the NEC. The voting closes on the 12th of November. This is how I voted.

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