"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Reprimanding Nick Cohen

A facebook friend alerted me [and others] to a piece in The Spectator by Nick Cohen entitled Why you shouldn’t vote for Jeremy Corbyn This piece purports to be a letter from a Labour Party member 'Chris'.

I don't share my facebook friend, 'Chris' nor Nick Cohen's anti - Jeremy Corbyn views. So I thought I would publish here my slightly edited facebook reply. Feel free to disagree. I am hoping that Nick Cohen or 'Chris' might too.

"Dear Facebook Friend
I am very sad that you felt it necessary to promote this load of twaddle. Publicising your choice for whom you are voting in the Labour Leadership contest is fine and if you feel it necessary to explain why you are supporting that choice, that is also your privilege. But to give publicity to a hatchet job, inaccurate piece like this is, sadly, inexcusable. Within the first few pargraphs 'Chris' uses those incendiary words when describing JC and his friends 'his fellow travelers'. Having described himself ['Chris'] as a 'political anorak' he surely knows the impact and connotation of these words to REAL long time Socialists who have worked for and supported the Labour Party for very many years [in my case I have been a member for over 50 years. Unbelievable isn't it because I don't possibly look old enough] But this also means that I remember a lot of the events that the author describes and is quoting too often incorrectly and or out of context.

I also take issue with 'Chris' describing himself as a 'passionate leftist and liberal'. Apart from this statement being an Oxymoron: 'liberal' suggesting sympathies to the left of the centre ground [ie conservative with a small 'c'] and 'leftist' - according to the Collins dictionary online -"Socialists and Communists are sometimes referred to as leftists", but it is more often used to describe left wing groups abroad. However the term 'leftist' here also smacks of a semi-illiterate description of anyone with Socialist sympathies of views
, along with one of what could be described as a favourite bete noire; 'labourite'. Note: Mr Cohen, having studied PPE will probably argue with me on this but I am discussing the ordinary man on the Clapham omnibus connotations not those student discussions on words in a degree seminar.

To those who know little about Nick Cohen one can find out more about him quickly at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Cohen
However when one looks at just a few of his biographical details the fact that he 'He was an advocate of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and a critic of the Stop the War Coalition' explains why he would most probably be on opposite sides to Corbyn [and me!] on lots of occasions. If 'Chris' exists I hope that if he feels impelled to write something like this again he will check his facts a little better, maybe talk to others who can give him more rounded views. And also remember that although I and like thinking party members are now described as being 'on the hard left', 40 years ago I was classified as a moderate. My views haven't changed but the party I love has.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Replying to Owen Jones

Owen Jones has blogged at https://medium.com/@OwenJones84/questions-all-jeremy-corbyn-supporters-need-to-answer-b3e82ace7ed3#.bydsyel8q  He is not happy with the leadership by Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party and has decided to "Go Public"  in this blog. I am using the medium of my blog to reply.

I find this all incredibly sad. Owen Jones knows Jeremy Corbyn very well and I first met Owen when they were both working on the John McDonnell for leader campaign the first time around. I had wondered why he had been so silent whilst all this furore has been building. When Jeremy said after his election to leadership of the Labour Party he wanted to give a new, kinder form of politics [http://www.managers.org.uk/insights/news/2015/october/whats-new-about-jeremy-corbyns-leadership-style] Owen should have expected how it would be and not have been surprised/disappointed with the new leadership style.

Some of Owen's specific 'allegations' against Jeremy I find surprising: eg " he infamously failed to sing the national anthem at a Battle of Britain event" . I can imagine the media uproar if Jeremy had been pictured singing away lustily the word's of what I call The Queen's Song as it doesn't glorify us as a nation which a National Anthem sure should [just think of those memorable words "Thy choicest gifts in store/On her be pleased to pour"] Personally I never sing the National Anthem but  quietly stand by whilst others do. Not a problem. But when Jeremy does the same thing as leader of the party - well we all know the result. Should he have been a hypocrite and sang along? I think not, others must decide for themselves.

I still want Jeremy as our leader. Maybe a bit of "tweaking" in leadership methods could help - but don't those who are to be "led" also need a bit of tweaking and should agree to be led? In retrospect some may think maybe John McDonnell would have made a better leader in terms of "media presentation". He is another Labour politician whom I admire immenseley. But do we want to choose our leader in terms of who will appeal most to the media? Both John and Jeremy are tremendously sincere and I do not think an honest politician would or should compromise his/her stated beliefs just to get a good media screen shot for  a day. And do you not all remember what the media did to Neil Kinnock - there was a concentrated campaign to  'talk him down' - and he was successfully demonised by the media. Michael Foot is remembered for his "donkey jacket" which was not in fact a donkey jacket but an expensive Burberry type wool coat. But of course if the fourth estate says it, it must be true ......

I have been bewildered when listening to some media reports of Jeremy's "performance" at specific PMQs which the media have rated as " a disaster". Somehow this has borne no relation to the same PMQ to which I have just listened. But the general public hear the media reports and not the real thing and think that Jeremy is a disaster because that is what they are told. Victory to the Fourth Estate yet again.

Please don't let the "victors" in all this be [1] those who declared before Jeremy was elected that they would refuse to serve in the Shadow Cabinet under him and [2] the - mostly Murdoch - media who want to decide who should not only lead the country but also every political party.

This debate will carry on, in the media and up and down the country until the leadership vote is declared.  Feel free to disagree. I do love a good debate! I also love democracy and as always will serve under which ever leader gets the majority vote. It is a pity other Party members do not feel the same way.

Please think again Owen. I know how much you care about the  Party but think about some of us out here in the sticks struggling to make our feelings felt and heard. We are bewildered by those who don't seem to want to listen.

Worth reading: By Paul Mason    https://medium.com/mosquito-ridge/labour-the-way-ahead-78d49d513a9f#.xvggg5z2o