Thursday 15 August 2019

Corbyn Makes His Move

You have to feel a bit sorry for Paul Mason: an intelligent, thoughtful & imaginative chap, basically honest, a bit didactic & earnest, much taken with some of Karl Marx's insights, groping around for a 21st C application for them, would like to be consistent ... but the Real World somehow doesn't fall as neatly into his categories as he'd eagerly wish.

So now Corbyn's made his move - well, a move, he had to do something now or be condemned to utter, contemptible irrelevance - and Paul would like to think this immediately confirms everything he's analysed and was hoping for.  "Corbyn has taken a brave step. Now he must rule out any ‘Labour Brexit’".   Hmm.  Let's see how much Little Paul's enjoying it a fortnight from now.

So what to make of Corbyn's roll of the die?  It's clearly reactive, and no great stroke, that's for sure: comfortably within anything Cummings will have considered.  Team Boris is still drawing everyone else onto the battlefield of its own choosing.  (Which, incidentally, makes all the sillier Mason's opening contention that "Corbyn just got inside everyone else’s decision cycles" - a reference to the thinking of the great John Boyd that will be familiar to many readers.)

I think we may assume Team Corbyn, rattled by initiatives coming from elsewhere (Lucas, Kinnock, Hammond etc) felt the urgent need to slap something on the table.  With a couple of blatant attempts to shield their SNP flank as a preparatory step (but weakening their own Scottish legion in the process), their own effort looks very much like an attempt at a low-risk, win-win, no-regrets type of affair.  If it works, and Jezza is wafted into No.10 by this strange backdoor method, well, he's in!  No telling what he might do with executive authority whilst pretending to be arranging a GE and an A50 extension. 

If it fails, well, Boris gets to crash out (as the Leninist / Stalinist faction always wanted) with only his fingerprints on the deed; revolutionary purity is retained; and maybe it brings down Swinson in the process as an added bonus.  Indeed, you'd have to say on balance they are hoping for and expecting the latter, because by insisting on Corbyn being PM, they've actually blown it from the start, as well they know.

Now Swinson: there's an interesting thing.  The Corbyn outriders are busily saying this'll be the end of her, what with rejecting the saintly Jezza overtures out of hand like that.  Now I have no particular insight into the LibDems (does anyone here?): but I'd say her immediate reactions were spot-on, and that she'll be infinitely less discomfitted by this - maybe indeed, not bovvered at all - than Lucas was by her mighty BAME faux pas.  Why would Swinson wish to submerge her position as leader of the largest unequivocally Remain group of MPs in Parliament for a bit-part in a complex Milne-plot?  (The SNP - a group that really can see some win-win possibilities - are clearly banking on No Deal followed by IndyRef2.)  It'll be Lucas, Fish-woman and Grieve who'll be squirming at being told what to do by Labour.

Meanwhile, Team Boris will be barely distracted.  Nobody shows any sign of getting ahead of them, or turning their flanks - still less "getting inside their decision cycle".  The fact that Corbyn has given up his distant reverse-slope position for a brief foray in the open, well, it's no great stroke.  Let him spend a few weeks in the woke version of a smoke-filled room with Lucas et al, and see how clever he feels at the end of that.

CU said yesterday that Sept and Oct could be fun.  August still has some life in it yet!



hovis said...

"August still has some life in it yet!" - and long may the fun continue, highly entertaining.

andrew said...

R4 yesterday or today
Dominic Grieve on stopping Brexit - clearly would do almost anything but drew the line at a Corbyn govt.
Brexit would be a disaster but letting in Corbyn would be a bigger disaster. He is anti semitic and DG could not support such a person. JC has a long history of not supporting britain and is not a unifying force.

When the election comes Lab will reap the rewards of 'constructive ambiguity'. They will be labelled as remainers in the north and leavers in metropolitan areas.

All Boris has to do is not run over a group of children whilst drunk driving or equivalent.

I hope the election holds off until dec - I got 10:1 on that.

Anonymous said...

You do know that this time of the year is known as the "silly season". From Wikipedia

In the United Kingdom and in some other places, the silly season is the period lasting for a few summer months typified by the emergence of frivolous news stories in the media. It is known in many languages as the cucumber time. The term is first attested in 1861,[1] was listed in the second (1894) edition of Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, and remains in use at the start of the 21st century. The fifteenth edition of Brewer's expands on the second, defining the silly season as "the part of the year when Parliament and the Law Courts are not sitting (about August and September)".

Boris is just filling the news before he is forced to eat his words or call a GE. Everyone is betting on a GE.

Might want to install a revolving door in No. 10

Anonymous said...

Lucky that Corbyn insists he must the one to deliver us from No Deal, otherwise this wheeze may pass. And that would be dangerous territory.

I'm really not sure these idiots understand what would be unleashed if they stopped Brexit. Or if they staged a little semi-coup.

I have little time for those who'd promote violence, but there are times when you see someone prodding a tiger, against all sense and advice, and let out an exasperated sigh, think "fuck it", crack open a tinny or two and watch the inevitable with a mild sense of despair at the stupidity of it all.

A Frankie Boyle version of You've Been Framed, if you will.

Hopefully everything will be a bit saner by December. Cooler heads and a slide back towards normality.

As for Labour, yes, next election I can see them getting a drubbing. If Boris is really gearing up for one, Corbyn can have "Be Careful For What You Wish For" as his political epitaph. And should the Tories do well, I very much hope they stick on YouTube them singing "wo-oo-ah-Jeremy-Corbyn" and thanking him. Some people just deserve petty needling.

Anonymous said...

@ reverse-slope position / smoke-filled room

Pick a metaphor and stick to it, man!

Anonymous said...

"Boris is just filling the news before he is forced to eat his words or call a GE."

Boris and May both desperately wanted to get to the top of the greasy pole.

May got there by going with the prevailing wind, not making enemies, being "strong and stable"! When she got there, with a task to do, she could do damn-all.

Boris made loads of enemies, also got there by tying himself to the Brexit mast (despite being imho at least agnostic if not hostile) - and the gamble paid off.

But he's a much smarter and tougher cookie than Lady Jane May, and the one thing I'm convinced of is that he won't want to be a three-month PM. But ... the Tories are recruiting election agents right now...

If he goes up agin UKIP/Brexit Party in a GE, and Lib/Lab do a Brecon and just put up one Remain candidate, the Tories will lose a lorra lorra seats.

If we've left by then, UKIP/Brexit should withdraw/not stand. Of course, in that case a triumphant BoJo might then go back to the EU with WA-lite. It's the risk we take.

I hope Boris has lots of people talking to Farage/Brexit Party, and that everyone involved keeps their mouth shut.

Anonymous said...

everyone involved keeps their mouth shut

Would like to think so too but fat chance these days.

Still they do say Cummings has shown the instruments of torture to the spads, and it seems Team Boris got a flying start in a manner that took most people by surprise.

So maybe on the Cons side there might be discipline. For a bit.

E-K said...

As you said. No-one on the Leave side explained that there would be hardship because of Brexit - "This could be Leave's fatal mistake" to that effect, in not in the exact words.

We have had three years of BBC/Remain hysteria. Still, 85% of The People either stayed at home with Art 50 (and a leave date set) or voted for Leave politicians in the recent EU elections.

So Corbyn is angling for a fraction of 15% ?

If the public wanted a second referendum we would have had one. Parliament knows full well it will lead to the annihilation of any party that delivers it.

Anonymous said...

@EK - the EU elections were a dead rubber, and so meaningless in this.

Corbyn is in the same bind as the Tories, with the voters split on Leave/Remain with a mostly Remain Parliamentary Party.

Only it gets worse, Chekamentum is stuffed with Trustafarian Yoof, pretty much all hard-boiled Remainers shocked than Granpa Spart is a eurosceptic. The Tories haven't got their own version of Marx Youth to contend with - most of the young Tories I encounter are baby Alan Partridges.

He tilts Labour to Leave, and he loses his metropolitan voters (including, potentially, his own seat) and his support framework of Corbynistas. He tilts for Remain, and the northern heartlands shift to the Brexit Party with all those Northern MPs suddenly joining forces with the Blairites.

So he promotes a Labour Brexit, unless there's a Labour government (not a national one), in which case there's a legal documents worth of ifs and buts as desperately tries to satisfy both parts of Labour.

Current polling would indicate a success that could, at best, manage to be indifferent.

So he's not angling for votes, he's angling for power.

What if enough MPs let him get away it? Well...

If Article 50 gets revoked, there's the usual Twitter threats and, well, can't have a GE in these febrile conditions. Security innit? Domestic Brexit Terrorism, no less!

If we leave the EU, and it was Saint Jeremy of Corbyn who delivered! That we would pretty much still be in, in all but name, is meaningless. He claims to have delivered Brexit in Labours northern heartlands. And in the metropolitan he can point and that nothing has changed. Labours %age of the vote share heads upwards.

And of he doesn't get in, he gets to blame the Lib Dems for either a Tory Brexit, or for no Brexit.

John in Cheshire said...

Are we supposed to take any of this seriously; rats running around a maze of their own making and still getting lost?
It is the silly season for politics and news, after all.

Nick Drew said...

Anon -

OK, he gets to blames the LibDems: but what is his manifesto in a Nov GE if we've just left EU?

(a) if there is no outright economic chaos by that stage (notwithstanding woke-twitter meltdown)

He can hardly say - we must rush back to the EU & beg for re-admittance, can he? And he doesn't want to anyway. That'll be the LibDem's slogan. So it's just let me do my marxist stuff, please - with many remainers noisily blaming him for allowing Brexit to happen, even as he blames the LDs. Doesn't look like a clean win for Labour, or even Lab + SNP. In those circs, this surely is Boris Plan A**

(b) if there is serious FX turbulence, Dover blockade etc - which is exactly what Corbyn hopes for

He can certainly say Told You So, wicked Tories, wicked LibDems: but it is a straight fight on Who's Best To Sort This Out, which looks like a straight Boris vs Jezza to me. The LibDems will be screaming quick, back to the negotiating table, on our knees and that will attract some votes - but enough from Tories? The SNP will be saying IndyRef2 tomorrow, which Corbyn may feel the need to promise - but we know how 'Labour in SNP's pocket' plays with voters.

Overall, it looks to me like we just keep coming back to: Jezza vs a highly energised + organised Boris = Jezza just trying to make the best of a bad hand

** I know some conspiracy-theorists reckon Boris Plan A is to engineer a successful vote on the WA real soon - which Kinnock may be offering him quite shortly. But the above discussion is predicated on NoDeal scenarios

Jan said...

Did anyone else notice how miserable Jezza looked? Maybe he was thrust into the spotlight against his will. Anyway compared to up-beat Boris he looked like a dead-man-walking to me.

Anonymous said...

To be fair Jezza is fighting at least a third of his own party - and that proportion gets up to probably 60% in the PLP.

All for reasons which are damn-all to do with Brexit, mind, or indeed domestic politics.

(And Jezza knows that EU rules forbid nationalisation, support for strategic industries etc - so he wants out.)

Makes Ken Clarke, Grieve, even that toad Bercow seem like a little local difficulty.

OT, but great TMS interview with 90 year old Neil Harvey at lunch today. Not many people left who you can ask what it's like batting opposite Bradman.

Anonymous said...

ND - the one worrying thing for us conspiracy theorists is the presence of another toad, Amber Rudd, in his team.

My default position is that if she's comfortable in Team BoJo, we have a lot to worry about.

Nick Drew said...

Not sure Work & Pensions is a great platform for her to interfere

(unlike Hammond's shocking behaviour at Treasury)

Also not sure she's comfortable in Cabinet

What's certain is, she's a very desperate careerist (majority 300 or something)