Thursday 4 February 2016

The Corbyn Carnival. What A Shower.

In the context of the febrile politics of the decade, the fate of the Corbyn experiment is, I think, of genuine interest.  As are all manner of contributory details - like who actually flocks to this implausible banner?  Will they get nasty?  Will a putative 'officer-class' of nihilistic, unemployed graduates whip the Momentum sheeple** into a proper extra-parliamentary political force as they'd really, really like to do?  (And in saying 'they' I am indeed asserting they exist.)  Will the unions eventually pull the plug?  Will it all go the way of 'Occupy' and a myriad other 'false red dawns' of the last five years?

All inputs to this inquiry are welcome.  It's actually intended seriously because these are serious times with weighty matters at stake, however farcical Corbyn's operation may be (operating as it does, I am reliably informed, on two men and a non-house-trained dog) right now.

Anyhow, getting to our first question yesterday the Inde named some names.  Clowns, mostly, and what a bunch. 
"There is a fantastic range of talented people who will perform or speak for Jeremy, including Charlotte Church, Michael Rosen, Brian Eno, Ken Loach, Billy Bragg, Mark Steel, Jeremy Hardy, Francesca Martinez, Mark Serwotka, Shappi Khorsandi, Arthur Smith, Patrick Monahan, Janey Godley and many more. Some big names have said they are happy to perform but they are booked up for the dates we have already planned. So there are even more surprises to come."
Can't wait.  Charlotte Church, eh?  Your guesses in the comments, please, as to which celebs will surprise us by joining the Corbyn Conga ...


**I particularly like this sample from the #iamMomentum thread on their website:
"I come from a coal mining family who, by the time Thatcher came in, had won half decent wages, better working conditions, for a life outside of work and decent, secure housing. Privatisation in some instances has eroded all this. In many industries the job you thought was secure, no longer even offers you the kind of guarantee that lets you be sure about how much money you will make that week...  For the first time in a long time, the Labour Party has a leadership who offer a real opposition to the Tories and is anti-austerity and anti-war policies..."
Oh, the scripting, the craft of it!  (and what a nice-looking lass she is, too).  How many hours in committee does it take to insert those nuanced words - in some instances ?  What are they carefully hedging there ??  Which privatisations do they actually applaud, or don't wish to offend?  Gah, these bloody unemployed graduates ...


James Higham said...

Who actually flocks to this implausible banner? Will they get nasty? Will a putative 'officer-class' of nihilistic, unemployed graduates whip the Momentum sheeple** into a proper extra-parliamentary political force as they'd really, really like to do? (And in saying 'they' I am indeed asserting they exist.) Will the unions eventually pull the plug? Will it all go the way of 'Occupy' and a myriad other 'false red dawns' of the last five years?

Fascinating questions to wile away the hours with.

MyBigPictureName said...

I, as ever, will bite.

On the constant ragging of my 'officer class' depiction some months ago, I can tell you that I know of Mathematics and Hard science grads in their early 20s earning under £20k in the finance industry (outside London) who have debts from University exceeding £30k. I also know of PhDs in computing earning less than £40k; again outside London.
These kids are hugely cynical and very bitter about the bullshit announcements like 'triple lock' pension protections being made by government. They know they'll be living at home into their 30s and have no hope of owning a house. What must be the position of the non-science grads working for the last 7 years in call centres as a stop-gap measure?
These kids are alive to the fact that they are being mugged so that pensioners, banks and property owners can profit from the financial repression they endure. One I know of handles the purchase of property for BTL investors and while annoyed that she cannot afford a home is enraged by the fact that neither can she buy a BTL investment because you have to be a homeowner to do so. She noted too that the government offered Pensioner Bonds a few years back to over-65s only.

These people will move - either slowly over a generation or rapidly in a social protest movement - to overthrow this economic situation. When they do the field will be utterly changed and for a long, long time. The demographics alone ensure it will happen within 10 years.

As for Corbyn, I'm always puzzled by how many on the Right (ie CU readers) oppose him, while expressing - at the least - admiration for Farage. The one thing they have in common is a professional regard for Vladimir Putin. Perhaps we should be directing our attention to the broader picture?

After all, exploiting internal differences has been a Russian forté since the Czar was a Dauphin ;)

John in Cheshire said...

What on earth is an Arthur Smith? I listen to radio 4 extra or rather I'd like to but two things have happened since it transformed from radio 7. Firstly they have turned it into a socialist propaganda machine with something called comedy at its core but it's not comedy. Arthur Smith fronts this affront to entertainment and for the life of me I can't fathom why he is employed by the bbc. The station sells itself as providing comedy, drama and entertainment but it should be prosecuted under the trades description act, for in the main part it's none of those things. Secondly, the station is the epitome of feminisation. I challenge everyone to tune in aft random and see if I'm wrong be because all you'll hear if either a woman whinging about a man or some deracinated man angsting about something. When it was radio 7 we were given unending entertainment for a few years. Lots of good old stories of spies and murders and stuff, minus the girly emotional crap. Now, for me in the main, it's unlistenable especially when we're force fed non-English stuff. If Indian sub-continent listeners want entertainment then they have their own station; I don't want to hear it.I want drama that is written by Englishmen, about Englishmen for Englishmen. I've taken to listening to American drama stations because the bbc is just crap.

Raedwald said...

Loks like the entire light entertainment output of radio 4 has lined up behind Corbyn; no doubt Sandi Toksvig, the Rev'd Richard Cole, the dwarfy chap with the beard and the others will come out of the closet soon.

Just shows that there's a big difference between being funny and being clever.

Sackerson said...

Of course, we have to remember that leaders who really showed that you didn't need unions once ran countries like Germany and Russia. Anyone here for Combat 18 and Red Mole?

Anonymous said...

9 million voted for Red ED, Daves social democrats will lose millions of votes next time round........

Corbyn is nicely currying great favour with the block vote - the southern Asian postal vote.
If enough kids are interested in his nihilistic bollox then fair enough, with another two or three million client state voters - he's in next time.

That's when the fun really begins.

Nick Drew said...

the constant ragging of my 'officer class' depiction some months ago

No ragging, MbpN - I was immediately taken by the notion and have been pondering it ever since, because the picture you painted is clear enough and menacing enough

since you floated it, there has been Paul Mason's entire book on the subject (into a 2nd edition:

additionally, like yourself I know some of these very people and, somewhat unxpectedly, I now have a rather good window into Camp Corbyn

what interests me right now is: having bought into the existence of the threat, where are the first signs of this actually happening? Mason's book is full of global sightings of these red-green shoots, only to find they wither and die in a trice

if Momentum is the red-green shoot of the "officer class" here, will it be any different? That's my angle and i'm just laughing at the early-doors nonsense, not ragging the threat-concept

have a nice weekend!

Anonymous said...

I don't expect Corbynism to get anywhere, but the current bunch are quite adept at shooting their own feet and so gives them a foot in the door.

MyBigPictureName isn't far off with the amount of umbrage being generated at the current state of the UK, and whilst a number of fingers can be pointed at the Blair Years neither the Coalition or the Tories have done much to deal with the increasing irritation.

The Trots never gained much ground with the public, mainly as enough was done to keep enough happy. That's not the case any more, so as the older generation dies off the new ones are going to be much more open to socialist policies, especially as they've been drop-fed poison about the 80's, back when Thatcher was so hated she was voted in repeatedly, but y'know, only because the left was split, oh woe to the revolution... *yawn*

So, unlikely that we'll see any Red shoots blossoming in the current or next Parliament, but after that?

As for the Officer Class? They'll be leveraging their position for new roles, maybe a tasty column in a national newspaper (*cough*owenjones*cough*), maybe a padded position in a left-wing think tank, maybe appearing in BBC panel shows if they're funny, or at last the BBC think they're funny. The stupid ones will go back to supping cheap beer in a Wetherspoons and bitching about the ones who did something as traitors.

Demetrius said...

In my ninth decade and strictly corporal class, it is my purely personal view that nearly all or perhaps all of our politicians, pundits and celebrities are utterly clueless about the nature and rapidity of the extensive changes now under way.

dearieme said...

I come from a shipbuilding family whose whole way of life was destroyed by the ruthless, heartless swine who introduced iron ships. Bet they were Tories. Or Whigs. The bastards.

Jan said...

MBPN has it about right. Have a look at if you want to see how people of my children's generation feel about the economy in general and the housing situation in particular. There are some clever people on there.

Peter Hitchens has it right when he says Cameron is the "heir to Blair". There's a huge gap for a more left wing opposition to fill. Blair/Mandelson et al were definitely not socialist and used their positions to line their own pockets.

hovis said...

I would agree with MBPN at the disatisfaction, and Demetrius at the lack of clue most have. (We could include ourselves in that as we don't have the benefit of hindsight.)

Nick is correct in that Corbyn will not mould this into a structure shattering political force.

I personally think that Corbyn gains from several types not all left wing at all:
(1) Those who are genuinely left wing beleivers
(2) Those who are disatisfied and belive the Corbyn line as an alternative not having seen similar schemes in action.
(3) Those just so fucked off with what they see as intrinsic corruption and strucural system rigging, they don't care too much what replaces it at the moment and just want the rotten edifice down.

We have got to this point as the individual is increasingly crushed by the assumed power over the individual (public or corporate doesnt matter). The only people escaping/ignoring are those with £££ - as lower and increasingly middle classes are crushed, the ability to ignore things becomes harder and harder. This is not due to a single party /govt but the collective policy direction of the last 60 years.

So big trouble brewing yes - but when the lid comes off - who knows.

Dan said...

To my mind what is going on is that the rag-tag army of trots, commies, lefties, luvvies and assorted opinionated plonkers that form the Labour Party of today have yet to fully internalise the lessons that Tony Blair's time in power ought to have taught them, but which they have yet to absorb.

In his own way, Tony Blair was a genius. His brightest moment of clarity was to realise that the bulk of the Labour Party's policies are not actually very popular at all with swing voters, and it is these voters on whom an election is won or lost. Labour faithful voters will vote for a dysfunctional pig as long as it is wearing a red rosette (see also John Prescott), irrespective of the policies espoused by the Party.

Since Labour policies are not popular, Tony championed views and policies that were centre-right in the main, and never implemented hard-left policies at all. This is the salient fact that Corbyn and his manky mates have yet to internalise: hard left policies aren't popular with the bulk of the population.

Such is the echo chamber effect of social media that it is possible to espouse almost any policy and receive repeated standing ovations from a noisy but relatively small coterie of idiots. The thing is this: appealing to noisy idiots doesn't get you elected; appealing to huge numbers of voters gets you elected. The average voter is mildly Socialist, mildly Capitalist and extremely fair-minded; they do not like being robbed to give the lazy, feckless or undeserving a free ride, and they really do not like freeloaders of any stripe.

Until the Corbynistas realise this, they are doomed.

Electro-Kevin said...

Peter Mandelson is advising David Cameron on the EU Out campaign.

New Labour already has the leader it wants.

Electro-Kevin said...

MBPN is absolutely right. The future in Britain is socialist.

We can't expect a generation denied property ownership to vote Conservative. I think George Osborne has wisened up to this regards BTL.

As for mass migration - Peter Mandelson admitted that the whole reason for opening our borders was to create a new socialist class.

dustybloke said...

I think you'll find the dog is rather well trained in comparison to the two men...

MyBigReasoningName said...

I have concerns about this because I dont want the future to be socialist.

However I have great antipathy toward the current arrangement which purports to be capitalist but supports broken markets and bust investors. Those who cannot survive without govt intervention are welfare recipients, no matter what their business cards say and any capitalist understands that we cannot have more welfare than earnings.

As mentioned before I see great parallels between the current situation - where the government actively discriminate against a minority because the beneficiaries of the policy have a (temporary) majority - and the situation in Northern Ireland in the 1960s. A more contemporary analogy might be Iraq, where a minority (Sunni) were actively repressed by the majority govt (Shia).

For those who dont know, my 'officer-class' comments allude to a huge band of disaffected but highly educated graduates working for peanuts, in jobs way below their abilities, massive debts weighing on them and no hope of ever having a stake in society; exactly what happened 20 years after higher education was introduced in NI; an officer class appeared and began to shape and direct the gunmen, or 'activists'. These kids are engineers, computer grads, history students, economists, chemists..... if they get organised there'll be real trouble.

In the age of hyper-capitalism and instant communications you should speed the Provo campaign up 5x so that it begins and 'matures' in 8 years rather than 40 years. Unfortunately I think Iraq has already claimed that one so a UK/European situation should it arise, would begin, grow and become prevalent in an even shorter period - 4 years?

Any student of society/ dissent/ governance/ repression/ economy should carefully consider this scenario. While it my not be perfectly correct, I genuinely do not believe it to be impossible. I only wish those in power would realise this before we put ourselves through the mincer of civil disruption.

andrew said...

There are a number of 'stress points' outlined by the article.

We need to be clear that a highly educated person is not necessarily a highly able person in every domain.
This mistake is made when comedians are assumed to have valid views on politics.
It does not follow that because they are funny their view is any more valid than any other random person.
In the same way, just because there appear to be a number of underemployed graduates it does not mean that
- they could do some other job so much better
- they will go and lead the proles into acts of mass unrest

- overestimates their abilities, the smart competent capable grads are mostly off doing something that is two of fulfilling, interesting and well paid
- underestimates the proles, who are as able to spot an ass as anyone.

Not to say that the residue of smart, capable malcontents will go quiet, but neither will they suddenly significantly grow in size.

My guess is that the next new front will be the industrial application of legal activism in an asymmetric manner

Consider endless judicial reviews of every benefit cut.
Like terrorist attacks, defending against each costs a lot.
It only takes one success and the legislation or rules need to be amended and then you can start on the judicial reviews all over again.
The major upside is that being involved in this does not carry the risk of destroying your future career

Not that the govt should just settle behind its barricades.

There is a plainly unfair distribution of assets between the generations.
Old people have better houses, better jobs and better pensions than the young.
The education system is biased towards the old (I got a grant)
The tax system is biased towards the old
The benefits system is biased towards the old
The housing system is biased towards the old

The govt can do something about these things
If they dont, after a few years, there will be a different govt.

Due to the way the global economy is changing the jobs market looks less rosy than it used to.

Electro-Kevin said...

Andrew - It's simply a case that those who have no stake in property (and no prospect or desire of it) will likely opt for those who offer redistributive politics.

Mrs Thatcher knew this very well.

There doesn't need to be a paramilitary revolt to end a country, merely a fading out of it. Where there is nothing to conserve - where nothing is ALLOWED to be conserved - then there is no need of a Conserative Party and of this David Cameron knows only too well, except he's not told those who voted for him his true beliefs.

They're finding it out now though !

estwdjhn said...


All the while only the old vote, why will any of that change?

A lot of these issues are very London-centric too - house prices in particular.

MyThirdName said...

1 - I'm not suggesting there'll be a military uprising. There could be of course, but I'd imagine it'll take a different or at least parallel form. (I'm not a PIRA supporter, just a student)

2- As Andrew implies, while not every graduate is capable, a few dedicated administrators can cause plenty of chaos.

Andrews point about "industrial application of legal activism in an asymmetric manner " sounds an awful lot like the Freemen type movements that are popping up all over the place. We've already seen a push to the Radical Left (Corbyn) and Right (UKIP). I saw a really interesting graph about how Parliament woul dlook if the UK had PR voting; UKIP would be 3rd largest party. (I'll post link here later if I find it)

Interesting times.

If I were to place my money, I'd bet on the government doing nothing, Tories hemorrhaging support as their base dies and all sorts of radical parties/characters/policies appearing.

I remember when the future was something you cold look forward to......

Anonymous said...

Heres the link from above

andrew said...


All the while only the old vote, why will any of that change?

1 - it seems to be a bit of a trend that capital is being increasingly concentrated so there are families that grow portfolios of btls. If one family has 10 btls then there are by elimination 9 who rent. and an increasing number of those will be old

2 - market forces - if there is an unexploited pool of votes, someone will work out how to appeal to that pool

3 - it is not fair and the old are people who tend to have older children who may get their parents to understand that

A lot of these issues are very London-centric too - house prices in particular.

and Bristol and Cardiff and Exeter and the whole of the south east and probably the rest of the uk outside some small pockets in the north of england where the reason houses are cheap is that there are no jobs within commuting distance that pay large amounts of money, but i would expect them to be vaccumed up as cheap btls.

hovis said...

MyThirdName intersting point about the Freeman type movements.

What I know of it the Freeman stuff is an combination of interesting political legitimacy questions (think Rousseau), attempts at assertion/empowerment, some mixed and unconventional reading of law (some of it US based), a pinch of wrong conclusions, with added leftfield thinking (conspiracy for some). However to my eye ultimately a questions of consent (political), of why the law is not followed especially when govt/quasi govt/large Corps involved, as well as assertion of the right of the individual.

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