Parliament is putting itself in isolation by not meeting for another month and so yesterday was Jeremy Corbyn’s last PMQs in the House of Commons. He spoke about the corona virus and it started up a spat on twitter which led me to think about Wilson, the Referendum on the EEC (1977) and how he managed the Party. He put the issue to bed in the Party for 39 years.

Was it because the SDP, whose politics on this issue had won left the Labour Party or that the Left in the Party granted loser’s consent? Also on the Left, many of those that could not compromise with the Party consensus left and joined the extra Parliamentary left.

However the divisive nature of referendums and the idea that MPs could campaign against the Party on referendum issues bedded down and  was shown by Labour’s divisions over the Alternative Vote Referendum in 2011.

But Corbyn will be remembered as an almost man; he saw off two Tory Prime Ministers, but we failed to jump the 2017 hurdle. The 2016 coup against his leadership will be seen as an act of treachery against the Party on the same scale as the SDP split and there are some who will see the mismanagement of Labour’s 2017 campaign as an act of sabotage; in my view it’s a charge to be answered.

Meanwhile, Corbyn’s legacy will be a programme that seeks to create an economy that works in the interests of the majority and not just a plutocratic minority and their servile minions, rejecting Britain’s imperial legacy and its role as America’s Gurkhas will take a little longer. …

Moving to Mars

Moving to Mars

I went to this exhibition, amazingly there are projects in place that are thinking about this despite the horrendous difficulties this would entail. Getting there might not be the problem, but there is no oxygen and very limited water. It’d have to be taken with and recyled well. There are four exhibits that caught my eye.  A film from the Curiosity rover showing the Martian landscape, an exhibit/poster showing the world’s investment in space flight, in which the UK does not appear, an exhibit on what human houses might look like and an exhibit on a multi ten thousand year terraforming project using plants.

The Martian landscape is bleak and subject to, for humans, lethal dust storms. People and their homes would need to be protected from these, once the problems of oxygen and water, there is none, were solved.

Once the brexit transition period is complete, we’ll be out of the European Space Agency, so much for a high-tech, high wage economy. One of the exhibits on the geo-politics of space travel included a panel with Interkosmos suit patches from the Soviet Union, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cuba and others, a reminder that space travel does not belong to the USA.

They seem to be suggesting that people will live in kevlar tents, buried underground by robot builders. …

Blair’s Shadow

Blair’s Shadow

We in the Labour Party need to get to grips with Blair’s legacy. His shadow and that of his government still hangs over even this leadership election and it seems I am not the only one to thinks so. Andrew Fisher wrote something similar to this in the Independent. Coming to a consensus and coming to terms with its legacy will be difficult. I feel that it’s best viewed by considering the two full parliamentary terms as separate entities but for many of course the decision to go to war in Iraq will over shadow everything else he did. I have thought this about its record for a while but at least one speech by Zarah Sultana MP, and the adverse reaction to it and Jeremy Gilbert at Open Democracy who wrote Labour should have argued against the last 40 years of economic policy, not just the last ten have made me revisit New Labour’s record. This article reflects my views on the New Labour governments, together with my view that we i.e. Labour have been losing votes for 30 years and that 2017 was the anomaly. In the rest of this article, see below/overleaf, I look at the positive achievements of the first term, the evolution of the 2001 manifesto and the privatisations and war decisions of the second term. I look at the destruction of the Party’s checks and balances, the areas of failure (Trade Union law reform and housing), the power of Government and the seemingly inexorable loss of votes since 1997 aided by doomed and flawed New Labour’s electoral strategy of assuming the working class had nowhere else to go. … …

RLB at the Rivoli

I went to Rebecca Long-Bailey’s meeting in Brockley, earlier tonight. I made some notes which I have polished and reproduced here. Her speaking style is not that of Ian Hodson, nor of Matt Wrack who was her warm up act as were two local Momentum supporting councillors. Maybe we’ve had enough of ranty demagogues and interestingly even when I drifted off, she regained my attention; much of her content is good. Her words were reported elsewhere but this is based on the notes I took and two videos taken by a friend and posted on my Youtube channel.


She spoke of groups, unity and competence. She spoke about winning those who are “just managing”, educational access and with some new ideas on constitutional reform inc. solid promises on devolution. She also spoke about a her views on a member led party and I conclude by looking at the theory that she is setting up some of her supporters and maybe even Unite for a reality check. I conclude the blog by looking at two of the questions asked, one on state racism and the other on the promise for a second referendum. For more, see overleaf/below. … …

What Labour said in 2001

I have been researching an as yet unpublished blog article on New Labour’s governments and looked for and found Labour’s 2001 Manifesto, which was published and given a mandate between Blair’s first and second terms. I used diigo to capture my notes, but a single entry cannot be linked to (or I don’t know how to do it). So this, below/overleaf is what I captured. …   …