Orwell would be gobsmacked

The age of doublespeak:

 ‘The object of my administration is to protect the vulnerable, and that is at the heart of this budget.’

Joe Anderson in announcing cuts in jobs and services and higher taxes to facilitate £90m of cuts which will further rip the heart out of social care and culture in the city.

‘These proposals will improve patient care.’ Tories proposing NHS cuts of £20billion by 2020.

It’s a breath of fresh air to see that the Train drivers in the trade union Aslef have delivered a tremendous answer of working-class solidarity to the corrupt Southern Rail management and the Tory government but also their own union leadership and that of the TUC. Despite the recommendation by Aslef leaders to reject driver only operations drivers have rejected it by 54%-46% after a 72% turnout. When the massive propaganda from the right-wing media is taken into account, as well as the fact that the talks were brokered by the TUC disgracefully excluding the RMT, this is welcome and decisive defiance to driver only operations.

Liverpool’s city council and its Local Authority trade union leaders should emulate the rail workers and mount a serious fight back against the continuing carnage.

Letter to the Guardian


John Harris is mired in a bog of parliamentary cretinism when he levels his shafts of poison at Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on Brexit (Guardian 10/2/17). He decries ‘the awfulness of the party’s current position has been revealed in full’ by what he reads on Twitter. Trumpism appears to be contagious.

He echoes the view that Jeremy will have to consider his position given the apparent chaos in the PLP.

If Corbyn retreats in the face of the jeremiads’ prediction of a Brexit Armageddon and advocated, for instance, another referendum with the hope that the vote would be reversed, critics like John Harris and his twitteratti would be on him like a pack of wolves for ‘ignoring the will of the British people’.

With Corbyn’s critics, they ignore his mass base, and perceive the dischord in the Labour Party through the prism of the Parliamentary Labour Party. As long as the 172 declared enemies of Corbynism remain in position that dischord will continue. They create the chaos and then blame Corbyn for the electoral consequences of that chaos.

Jeremy must realise that all attempts to mollify the Blairites will not succeed. They, and their allies in the media, will not rest until Corbyn and the forces he represents are crushed and remembered as an unfortunate aberration. That’s why an immediate campaign for re-selection must be back on Corbyn’s agenda.


A housing miracle

‘Councils will be ordered to build thousands more homes’ blares the media. I immediately thought I’d missed the election of a Corbyn-led government who was implementing a basic socialist policy. No. It came  from Sajid David, one of the more myopic ministers in a government whose eyes are fixed rigidly on the bottom line and whose hostility to council housing is only outdone by its hostility to trade unions.

I recall the denunciation of the Liverpool 47 in the 1980s: building council houses is ‘irresponsible’ screamed the Liverpool Echo; ‘Impossibilism’ thundered Baron Kinnock, as he grovelled before Murdoch and Maxwell. These were just a couple of the epithets which were hurled at Liverpool’s socialist council in response to our proud programme of, in our short period in office, building 5000 houses and bungalows, plus converting a further 2,000 uninhabitable flats into beautiful apartments. However, not surprisingly, there is no information on how cash-strapped councils would get the finance to translate Sajid’s fine words into reality. In short it’s yet another empty promise from a government committed to enriching its rich friends. If every council would have emulated the example of the Liverpool47 today’s housing crisis would not exist.

Letter to Echo: Corbyn and the EU

Derek Hatton’s criticism of Jeremy Corbyn’s proposed support for May’s Brexit position is off the mark (Echo 31/1/17). Corbyn is reflecting the majority ‘Out’ vote which I supported on the basis that the EU is a pro-capitalist, pro-austerity institution. Derek will remember that we campaigned for a socialist Brexit because EU directives opposed public ownership and enshrined privatisation. I remain implacably opposed to May’s ‘red, white and blue Brexit’ as an attempt to offer more of the same.

Corbyn had the choice of voting against Brexit, thus ignoring the wish of the majority or voting ‘For’ while demanding that the interests of the working class be protected. Correctly, he chose to do this.

Some Labour MPs are justifying their criticism of Corbyn by quoting the majority Remain vote in their own constituencies. It’s a pity they didn’t reflect that wish when poll after poll showed support for the public ownership of rail, energy, and the whole of the NHS.

In or out of the EU the working class will still be faced with facing down the most savage attack on the trade unions and social provision for a hundred years. That’s why I will continue to support Corbyn albeit with the call for him to go further in transforming Labour into a fighting socialist party.