Jeremy corbyn

Labour’s radicals need to grow up

As the well-worn cliché has it: if you’re not a socialist at 16, you don’t have a heart; if you’re still one at 60, you don’t have a head. The Labour party is on the brink of extinction. To survive, its members must use their heads. At 16, I was a fanatical socialist, reading Lenin, wearing a Chairman Mao hat and marching against the Iraq war. At 19, I went to Cuba. I learned about the revolution and planted crops with farmers, working with Amnesty workers and middle-aged Trots. The year I left university, David Cameron was elected prime minister and, for the first time since I was in primary

Corbyn’s aggressive pessimism was on display again at PMQS

Climate change dogged PMQs today. ‘We are at the eleventh hour to save the planet,’ announced Jeremy Corbyn grimly. The experts who warn of disaster have clearly caught the Labour leader’s ear. ‘Coastal flooding and crop failures could threaten political chaos,’ said Noel Brown, director of the UN Environment Programme. He added that a polar thaw could lift sea-levels by three feet within ten years. Mind you, he was speaking in 1989 so today’s crisis may not be as serious as some like to claim. Corbyn moaned about the upcoming climate change conference in Glasgow which is suddenly leaderless. Ex-minister, Claire Perry, has stepped aside from her role as conference

PMQs: Boris relishes his new-found power

Jeremy Corbyn has stopped asking questions at PMQs. The lecture-circuit now looms for the Labour leader, so he uses the Wednesday sessions to practise the Grand Orations he will soon be making to drowsy socialists in overheated conference-halls around the world. He’s unlikely to match the fees commanded by the world’s top lecture-stars, Tony Blair and Barack Obama. His performance lacks bounce or crackle. He’s incapable channelling either passion or excitement and he simply recites his bullet-points like a sleep-deprived Bingo-caller. And his jokes misfire. Today he opened with a gag about the presenter of Just A Minute who died yesterday, aged 96. ‘Mr Speaker,’ said Corbyn, ‘can we take

Boris Johnson’s conciliatory approach takes the sting out of PMQs

Boris Johnson has been Prime Minister since July, but he has done PMQs relatively few times. This means that he is still developing his style. What was striking about his appearance today was just how conciliatory his tone was with everyone but Jeremy Corbyn and Ian Blackford. When Wera Hobhouse asked about the difficulties facing a Kurdish refugee in her constituency, Johnson replied that she should send the details of the case to him personally. Teesside Labour MP Alex Cunningham pushed him on a campaign to prevent nuclear waste being dumped in the region. The PM expressed sympathy and asked him to send the campaign to him. SNP MP Dave

Corbyn’s Stop the War protest speech was his worst yet

About a hundred Stop the War activists gathered outside BBC Broadcasting House on Saturday to protest against a possible conflict with Iran. They were the usual ragbag of idlers, dreamers, misfits and malcontents. Many of these people are unable to grasp the illogicality of their political positions. A chap selling the Socialist declined to give me a copy for free. ‘In future everything will be shared,’ I said, ‘so start with this paper.’ ‘I’ll share it with you,’ he smiled, ‘after you’ve shared your pound with me.’ I paid up and pointed out that the transaction had merely strengthened capitalism. ‘No, it’s building a system that will overthrow capitalism.’ A

Letters: Roger Scruton and the meaning of life

Wonder and gratitude Sir: Roger Scruton, in a very personal and moving portrait of his year (‘My Strange Year’, 21 December), reminds us that crisis is opportunity; and concludes that the meaning of life is gratitude — something we may only realise when, as Virgil put it, ‘mentem mortalia tangunt’. I think that language may betray us a bit on this great question and that there is no meaning of life. Rather, the meaning is life. Our response to this is-ness — this amazing, often painful gift — may be to turn aside into the ressentiment which Nietzsche warns against; or — as Roger Scruton does — to feel wonder

What does Jess Phillips actually believe in?

Jess Phillips is expected to launch her bid for Labour leader this evening, having only said up to this point that she is seriously considering a bid to take over from Jeremy Corbyn. She is both the candidate most identified with the ‘moderate’ side of the party and the most high-profile, but that doesn’t mean she is launching with a particularly well-formulated policy platform. In fact, while Phillips is well-known for her dislike of Corbyn and her altercation with Diane Abbott pretty early on as an MP, it’s not quite as easy to work out what she thinks. Phillips has largely exerted her influence in Parliament in two ways. The

‘Smile Jeremy, it won’t kill you!’

The Conservative MP Tracey Crouch was invited to make the so-called ‘loyal address’, a parliamentary procedure used to formally open the debate on the Queen’s Speech. During her submissions to the Commons, Ms Crouch jokingly referred to a number of A Christmas Carol characters, comparing them (with various degrees of favourability) to past and former politicians. Both the ex-Chancellor Philip Hammond and former Speaker John Bercow were compared to Dickens’ Mr Scrooge, while the PM himself was likened to the Ghost of Christmas Present, all to much hilarity. The chuckles on the opposition benches quickly subsided, however, when the outgoing Labour leader was compared to Jacob Marley, the chained and tormented ghost of

Steerpike

New Corbynite MP’s car-crash interview

The newly-elected MP for Leicester East and loyal Corbynite Claudia Webbe spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme earlier this morning. Webbe was asked why her party failed so badly at the general election but appeared unable to answer Nick Robinson’s simple line of questioning. Rather than responding to questions about the popularity of the policies, Ms Webbe instead started arguing about why the policies were needed in the first place. When Robinson attempted to steer her back to the question at hand, the MP began blaming ‘newspaper corporations that speak to the electorate’. Mr S thinks it might be a good idea if Webbe is stopped from speaking to the

Corbyn’s problem was not that the media hated him – but that he hated the media

On the morning of the election, we buried my lovely mum. I write this 24 hours later, now on a flight to the States, with the mud from her graveside still all over my shoes. This was just the ashes, because we had the funeral six weeks ago, but it was oddly fitting. The 1970 election was called a week before she married my father, who would go on to spend the bulk of his working life as a Tory MP, which meant they had to postpone their honeymoon and spend it canvassing the streets of Edinburgh instead. Four years later, the sudden second 1974 poll was held two days

Ghosts of Labour’s past and future gather in Commons as MPs return

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn have just faced one another in the Commons for the first time in this new Parliament, though it is highly unlikely to be the last. The pair were responding to the election of the new Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, and both chose to use their statements to make a few remarks about the election itself. Naturally, Johnson was greeted with a huge cheer from his MPs when he rose, and told the Speaker that ‘I mean absolutely no disrespect to those who are no longer with us – but I think this Parliament is a vast improvement on its predecessor’. He then promised that ‘this Parliament

Did Greta do a Corbyn?

Has Greta Thunberg been caught out repeating the same trick as Jeremy Corbyn? Thunberg tweeted an image of herself sitting on the floor of what she described as an ‘overcrowded’ train on her way back to Sweden: However, the tweet quickly sparked controversy with German train operator Deutsche Bahn appearing to derail Greta’s suggestion that she had been forced to sit on the floor, claiming she had a ‘seat in first class’: Greta quickly hit back, claiming that ‘overcrowded trains’ are a ‘great sign’: Back in 2016, Jeremy Corbyn found himself in a similar situation after he published a video of him sitting on the floor of a supposedly overcrowded

Steerpike

Listen: Labour MP claims BBC ‘consciously’ undermined Corbyn

The last few days have seen a rapidly coarsening Labour debate over who is ultimately responsible for the party’s historic election loss. Corbyn-sceptics have criticised the leadership’s perceived failures while supporters have been flailing around in a desperate attempt to blame anyone but the leader himself. One such Corbyn cheerleader is Andy McDonald, who spoke to the BBC’s Today programme this morning. During the interview, Mr McDonald poured scorn on the ‘alleged toxic position of Jeremy Corbyn’ before engaging in a full-scale assault on the perceived anti-Labour bias of the corporation. He told Justin Webb: Don’t get me started on the media Justin, I’m very worried about our public service broadcaster…

Can Labour’s moderates learn from all their mistakes?

Labour’s defeat is so terrible that it provides the kind of creative destruction that could save the party. It will be extremely difficult for the Corbynites to argue with much authority that one more push or slightly nicer newspapers would have got them over the line when the party hasn’t had a result this bad since 1935. But does the failure of Jeremy Corbyn necessarily mean that the ‘moderates’ in the party are going to be able to rescue it? In 2015, centre-left Labour MPs were confident that the members were so bruised by what they’d heard on the doorstep that they would happily elect a leader who took the

Steerpike

It was Corbyn wot lost it

At 10:10pm last night, the shadow chancellor began the inevitable firefight against claims that it was Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour leadership itself that lost the party this election. John McDonnell told Andrew Neil: ‘We knew it would be tough because Brexit has dominated this election… As I say, I think this was a Brexit election… I hate to use this expression but I think [the voters] most probably did want to “get it done” and that will be it.’ This has set the tone for the fierce debate that has followed. While prominent pro-Corbyn figures have blamed the media, tactical voters and even global political forces, it is Brexit

Jewish activists abused outside Corbyn’s eve of poll rally

Jeremy Corbyn held a small rally last night in east London, telling supporters to go and spread the message of ‘socialism, which is about hope’. Many British Jews will have woken up this morning feeling anything but hope. They have seen a Labour party led by a man who many consider to be a harbinger of left-wing anti-Semitism. A man who has found it hard to accept that there is even a problem within his own party. This is why almost half of British Jews have said they would consider leaving this country if Jeremy Corbyn becomes prime minister on Friday. A truly appalling statistic. So how, then, might one expect some of the supporters of

Katy Balls

Labour prepares for life after Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn’s election night speech did little to address the fact he led Labour to its worst result since 1935. However, he did at least acknowledge that he probably wasn’t the best person to lead the party into the next election. Many Labour MPs were quick to take to the airwaves to play the blame game – and in some cases position themselves for a bid for the top job. Succession has been a main topic of conversation within the Labour party for some time now. In the days before the election, senior party figures were discussing how to replace Jeremy Corbyn should the party fail to win enough seats

Like, actually: Labour’s social media lead should terrify the Tories

As Brits head to the polls for the fourth general election this decade—a frequency of voting matched only in the 1920s and 1970s—there is a tendency amongst some commentators to underestimate how radically the democratic process has changed in the space of a century. Between Bonar Law and Boris Johnson, however, the public sphere has been revolutionised. In the 1920s, newspapers still dominated. In the 1970s, it was television. In the 2010s, it has been the Internet and, most recently, the network platforms we call “social media.” Most British political pundits act as if this latest change has not happened. They pore over opinion polls and scrutinise television interviews much

Matthew Lynn

Five places to flee to if Jeremy Corbyn becomes PM

It is still too close to call. And the odds are still on a Tory victory. Even so, with the polls narrowing, with lots of constituencies likely to change hands and with plenty of voters still to make up their minds, there is still a real chance that by Friday morning Jeremy Corbyn could be moving into Number 10. For anyone with money and worst of all anyone who owns a company, a reign of terror will be about to begin. The Labour party has come up with so many different ways to harass and intimidate business it is hard for even the nerviest plutocrat to keep track of them

Labour’s succession battle is well underway

John McDonnell was insisting this morning that Labour was going to win a majority, but just in case, insiders are suggesting that the Shadow Chancellor is planning to take over as interim leader if Jeremy Corbyn resigns after a general election defeat. McDonnell has long championed Rebecca Long-Bailey as a future leader, and there is speculation that he could install her as his shadow chancellor in order to boost her credentials. This explains why those around Corbyn were so keen to try to abolish Tom Watson as deputy leader in September. They tried to force a rule change at the party’s ruling National Executive Committee meeting which would scrap the