John declared the Jezerendum was his finest conversion.

My mind wandered as I read ten minutes of inspired paranoia and vitriol pick ‘n’ mix that is Labour Twitter… I fantasized that we had a Jezerendum and that the country voted overwhelmingly in favour of giving Mr Corbyn one of our small islands. I don’t know which one it was, only that it required a ferry to access the mainland and that it was big enough for all his personal staff and every adventurous, ardent believer. The offer was extended to the rest of the Labour Party but all sides were affronted so that was quickly settled.

Through an excruciating but often hilarious week of hotly tweeted debate about whether this result was down to the magnanimity of a democratic, reason-minded nation, or another covert neoliberal plot by the Blairite BBC (peak purge, Matt noted, wryly), much of the grassroots came to the conclusion that it didn’t actually matter: the momentum was with them.

Jeremy called a rally. He told his congregation that he accepted the result as proof of faith in his will and a definitive mandate for his kinda politics. John declared the Jezerendum was his finest conversion. Jeremy waved his hat: “Jam for all! And bread-making academies! Come, comrades: we shall build ourselves a socialist allotment. Our momentum has just begun! From now on, you are in charge. Our rallies shall be our news, your placards our policies. Everyone has a right to Utopia!” He looked up from his notes, to drink of the rapturous crowd… “Seumas, I’m not sure this is a great idea…” The country held her breath and crossed her fingers.

And then, suddenly, they were off, the haunting sound of ‘The Reg Flag’ fading into the watery mist.

A collective wow… was exhaled throughout the mainland..: Maybe Brexit would fit on the Isle of Wight..?

Labour Twitter is right: Mr Corbyn does inspire. Or, at least, his grassroots do.

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Hubris is a halo

Hubris is a halo
Sacrifice is gloss
Faith is a misquote
Hopium, a cross

Truth is a footnote
Measurement is loss
Context is a sideshow
Principle is floss

Binary Labour

Going long on shares in a mirrored box
Got bullies, got smears, got ghosts, got sneers
Got tone-deaf choirs rocking has-been stock

Got champagne flutes, got red jackboots
And pumped up loyalists in romper suits

Got banners, got spanners, got sickles and hammers
Self-righteous manners and parochial planners

Got intolerance to chart with equality of snark
Got capacity to park and incompetence to mark

Got a telling dark inflection in the malice of projection
And perpetual reflection of foul-smelling misdirection

Got a creaky leaky PLP self-sabotaged by sneakery
That hubris did assist and gift so horribly predictably

Got groupies’ faith and blowhard fogeys,
Tin foil hats and lost apostles claimed as bogeys
Corporate shills and established wizards
With machine-made skills serving diehard lizards

Got facile and sage; got clinical and vague
Got statements of the obvious and hopium made.

Got progress rot and momentum BOGOF
Cracked pots self-kettled in a Gordian knot

Got wave and clap and wring your hands
Got loving like a menace and fearing like a lamb

Got reason on a ration, got hysteria for passion
Got rallies for revivals like it’s going out of fashion

Got entitlement to churn and enlightenment to burn
Got impunity for duty, got excuses under scrutiny
Disunity refracting semiotics symbiotically returned.

digital Jesus

digital Jesus
guarded en suite
echoes in chambers
nailed fast to his keep

fishes for martyrdom
passionless preached
to passionate impotence
sought in the streets

Media sidestepping
sacredly walks
and double messiahs
at challenges brought

bets hubris in talks
via phone to the bloc
outsources protection
resentment and shock
sells magic and miracle
films for his flock
that grows as it spins
from the yarns he allots

marrow fat mockery
seeds in his rock as he
feeds an addiction to hope
with despair
making progress a symbol
of going nowhere

makes jam for Jerusalem
hearting all visions
reducing to black and white
relativism

the lamb in his prison
the grass at his feet
one prism of schism
is all he will treat
with a vestal revision
ensuring repeat
of a bring-your-own-bread
no JC has yet beat

still, he washes the crosses
and bears it so sweet
as he pardons the hardened
and blesses by tweet
the position his mission
momentously craves
resurrecting the Way
by immovable feast

The baby is Labour, not Corbyn

I’m not as convinced as Corbynites that New Labour is what is lurking in the Party’s shadow, or even that it still exists with much strength. It certainly isn’t accurate to say Labour is full of Blairites and even what remains of the Blair years does not advocate Thatcheresque views with anywhere near the same force and conviction. Some of this is down to the influence of Corbyn’s and McDonnell’s economic policies and a lot is down to the fact that the flaws in political economic thought are now so abundant that they are speaking for themselves.

The Labour Party’s recent record on many issues, first as a government and now as Opposition, should make many of its MPs feel ashamed, yet I’d prefer for those MPs to be asked if they have now changed heart, mind and direction, rather than just lazily assuming they haven’t, when the whole country is beginning to call out the consequences of Conservative recklessness. Merely projecting history and ignoring any capacity for renewed insight does little to enlighten the present and is not an inevitable blueprint for the future. The Party is full of fresh blood and progressed thought. One might well say that Corbyn has made a difference but, so, too, has mainstream comprehension, even if it took Brexit’s fallout for the News to begin voicing it. It is a timely marriage of opportunity. Sadly, I can’t see how Corbyn is strategically poised to effectively capitalise on this opportunity, short of continually firming up his existing support and saying ‘’told you so’ in front of a camera, now and then.

Corbyn’s most ardent supporters behave as though he were the only light and way. They have elevated a messenger above the message and, by persisting in doing so, risk making sure the message never manifests as any government’s policies. They appear not to have noticed the change in perception and acceptance of sensible economic philosophy across their party and they do not seem to take into account how the Media and Public are finally acknowledging the nonsense that passed for Conservative competence, these past six years. Corbyn’s social justice policies risk coming to nothing if he can’t manage his party or be taken seriously and then fails to beat the buccaneering Conservative and UK Independence Parties. When you are the Opposition, you are a de facto party of protest but you have to be united, competent, informed and well-organised. That is not just so you can hold the government to account and influence change. It is also one of the ways you persuade the electorate to give you a go, next time. The electorate needs an available and viable alternative and Labour is failing, dismally, to be it.

The country doesn’t need an evasive and elusive leader who resents even perfectly valid scrutiny by the Media, cannot organise with any semblance of professionalism and cannot manage the small but immensely strong tail that wags him. Of course I understand that if the Party machinery had assisted him from the very beginning, he may have come to be seen as a sustainably fresh breath of air. Instead, they wrung their hands and left him to invest his reputation in a superfluous ‘movement’ and a God-awful staff of naivety and ulterior motives. He has been helped, mostly, to make schoolboy error after error. And the Parliamentary Party still wrings its hands. They are responsible for a good deal of the present mess, to be sure and they should have seen it coming: that to resent him and petulantly leave him floundering would compound matters and bite them all on the arse. But there is no time machine. And time, however inconvenient, is of the essence.

I don’t know how this is reconciled: whether the Party prevails or splits or dies. I’m not sure if there is a credible and workable compromise to be had that can serve the members and work for the wider electorate; how much either side really believes it can find one – or wants to. I’m not in either of their bubbles. The Party seems to have the most impractical and ill-thought-out constitution imaginable and the PLP is at an understandable loss as to the safest, best course of action, considering the consequential risks. All I have to go on, to make a judgement, are the Media and my own experience as a citizen witness and wannabe Labour voter. The whole thing reminds me of the Judgement of Solomon: I want the baby to be saved but, then, I think the baby is Labour, not Corbyn and the Corbynites seem to think their first “duty of care” is to Jeremy. It is a terrible thing to see him being chewed up and spat out by all sides; yes, even by his own. The paranoia and myopic insistence begins to feel like a lead weight on the very progress I want to see and had thought they most desired. It’s awful.

I think it’s too late to try to give Corbyn the kind of makeover required to appeal to a whole electorate but it is vital that his general narrative and intentions do not die with his demise – be it now or later. I suppose he could stay on as part of the shadow cabinet, either in an advisory role that honours his mandate, or as a minister of something, if either side would wear it. Or, if he is so confident in the breadth and depth of his support, he could go off and lead Momentum as a new party. It seems to have made a pretty good start, already. [Why the doubling up/outsourcing of a role that Labour should be able to do, for itself, through its constituency offices, anyway?] If Corbyn is determined to stay, though, maybe the first best thing he should do is to sack the carrion and clueless among his personal staff and ask the PLP to help him. If, really, he wants to go, of his own accord, he could seek to negotiate a way out, based on assurances from the PLP that he could give to his grassroots: that Labour seriously understands, wishes and sincerely intends to take forward the most sensible of his policies and visions and that he has done the job he set out to do. Gods, it’s depressing.

Corbyn isn’t working for Labour

The two main political parties are in meltdown and I feel like we’re just visiting different chapters of ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’. Each day I wonder which crazy land we are going to visit. Britain is on a full-on chaos trip and we must take care to not encourage or advance it. That does not mean, however that all radical and courageous options should be refuted or neglected: there is still useful chaos to be had.

First, I’m not a labour member. I’m just an ordinary voter who wants a credible, competent, pro-EU, not-Tory government. I welcomed Corbyn’s election and the opportunity to give oxygen to anti-TINA economics and a platform for socio-economic justice. I recognised and called out the sabotaging acts of his party’s right-wing and Media’s eagerness to scrutinise and sensationalise everything except his ideas. I voiced apprehension that he would be chewed up and spat out in our political climate. I mused over why he stuck with Labour and didn’t join the Green Party. And I wondered and worried about whether Jeremy would have the capacity, temperament and level of sophistication required to be a credible, long-term prospect. I wrote to those effects, several times, on this site and on social media. I did give him a chance. Chances, actually. In the end, the face palms I performed were over his own doing or failure to do and I saw that a glimmer of timely semi-eloquence, here and there, his constant need to maintain a difficult relationship with journalism, his inability to manage and command authority over his MPs and his preference for preaching to echo chambers was just not going to cut it.

But it was never actually about Jeremy Corbyn, for me; it was only ever about promoting the socio-economic narrative into mainstream discourse with a hope that Labour would recognise its mislaid purpose again.

It doesn’t mean I don’t sincerely wish that things were different. But they are not and now, the EU referendum result has produced special circumstances. Undoubtedly, Corbyn could have done more to better put the remain case for Labour but, how much he is responsible for the result is best left for in-party squabbles and psephologists: I was struggling to see him as a viable party leader, let alone a prime minister, way before that. We are in extraordinary times and now have a sudden opportunity for a General Election that may void Brexit, altogether and avert an utter catastrophe. I need a credible Labour Party to vote for but it has a shed load of work to do and time is of the essence.

The referendum campaign was a farce of outrageous proportions and yet Corbyn’s first public response, after the result was declared, was to announce that he’d respect the democratic will of the electorate. This is supposed to be how it works, except, this was a democratic will to irreversibly leave the EU, expressed by an indecently narrow majority, based on a campaign of incompetence, deception and outright lies. And there he was, the next day, calling for the government to get going on our exit negotiations immediately. This does not square with a self-declared Remainer who could be seizing the opportunity to void the referendum he has reduced to ‘a rejection of the status quo’. The rejection of the status quo is why people chose him, in the first place and he would put it in jeopardy.

At PMQs, Cameron’s evident concern for what he, himself, has recklessly unleashed was clear in his emotionally sincere and frustrated plea, to Corbyn of “for Heaven’s sake man, go!”. On previous days, Cameron’s response to Corbyn’s clumsy, accusatory validation of protest as motivation, I would have put down to his typical Flashman expedience. But Cameron knows, whatever he insists, publicly, that the referendum was a disaster and he was suggesting that Corbyn’s intransigence is now just adding to what stands in the way of a return to effective political sense. That sense being to hold a disreputable Conservative government to account, play smart, limit the damage and rescue Britain – as was already clear in his answers to the House, on Monday, when he quietly and quite cleverly hung Brexit out to dry.

Even if he could win a general election, it seems Corbyn would take us out of the EU, irrespective of current events, options and changing mood. The waves of resignation are from across Labour’s spectrum. They are not just from the opportunists who were always looking for this chance: many are from those who support his politics and have tried hard to promote them and yet his voting base focuses on conspiracy theories. There might well be a bit of two-birds-one-stone truth in them but there are also many, way better reasons for this ‘coup’ than Chilcot opportunism and/or deflection and ‘Red Tory’ framing.

Equally, I can’t blame people for being anxious at the idea of losing Corbyn, since no replacement can necessarily be guaranteed not to swing back to the right. What do his most ardent supporters want most, though? That Jeremy stay as a leader of a cult and lose the general election or perhaps win and be so Brexity or authoritatively hamstrung that the crises continue with more years squandered? Do he and his supporters not realise that the movement towards social justice would come to nothing if he cannot be taken seriously, once PM or if he lets the Tory/UKIP hands of the deregulating-market-is-God, bread and circus (bring your own bread) Brexiteers have their way? The first best chance for the country to achieve his socio-economic vision is by not leaving the EU and, right now, his lovely socio-economic visions count for little if he can’t even acknowledge that Brexit and increasingly he, himself, risks them all.

He says, rightly, that the Government is in disarray. He acknowledges that two thirds of his own party’s voters chose ‘remain’. And yet he only listens to his followers. And yet he wants to start exit plans now. It really doesn’t compute. Jeremy claims he is not resigning because he must represent his own voting base and, of course he must and I respect that. Nevertheless, he has to weigh the blind faith of his fans against the best interests of the country’s whole electorate.

If the Labour leadership election sees Jeremy Corbyn ousted, what I want to know, now, is: 1) will the candidate(s) who stands against Corbyn be actively concerned with trying to void the EU referendum and 2) can the Labour Party give reassurance that they have shifted left and that his replacement now shares his anti-neoliberal, pro social justice mindset. If the answer to either is no, then Labour dooms us all, anyway.

Maybe the first thing Labour has to figure out is which side gets to keep the name

Hope suffered a serious heart attack in May’s General Election. Confronted by another five years of callous and casual incompetence from the Government and an all-too acquiescent Official Opposition, when an unexpected gap offered a real choice, Jeremy Corbyn was seized upon and made a sudden and, I think, somewhat reluctant hero. His purpose, for me, however, was always in the need to shake up the Establishment and dispel the myths of TINA; to provide a platform for overdue challenges to the status quo. It was never about loyalty and love for the Labour Party or Corbyn, himself: he was just the only anti-TINA in his party to put his head on the block. Still, the collective relief was palpable after he won the leadership contest and I cheered the fresh air.

The abundant sycophancy for Corbyn, the man, though, is relief made ridiculous. So, too, is the equally abundant carping and vitriol of his opponents. A lot of people like to imagine that if you support Corbyn’s general narrative then you must be a devotee and that if you say anything anti-Corbyn, you must be a ‘Blairite’ or in another party, altogether. This is the nonsense of media mischief and tribal baggage. As a voter, left-leaning is about as near to a default position as I’ve observed in myself. Before plugging into the Twittersphere I just thought I was a humanitarian who believes in democracy. It is only by participation in public discourse that I have had to wrestle with a landfill of labels that are, simultaneously, convenient shorthands and poisonous straitjackets.

The concerns I’ve expressed about Corbyn’s desire and capacity to lead and his lack of willing support from the most experienced MPs are proving depressingly material. I’m sorry to see this decent man chewed up and spat out by the political establishment and shabby journalism. I’m upset by their deliberate undermining of an alternative narrative that Corbyn is trying to facilitate and I’m impatient with his own seeming inability and reluctance to at least play the game to more beneficial ends. It’s all very well saying he shouldn’t have to but that’s naive. The game is a highly popular and historically engrained fixture that won’t disappear by minority wish but is, at least, faster and smarter changed by an appearing to observe its rules. No, I don’t much like it, either.

I don’t think Corbyn is a great orator or effective manager and I do a wits’-end expression every time there’s a seeming bungle or re-interpretation for the Press to milk but I also realise that he is having to learn on the job in a very hostile environment and that this makes it difficult to gauge how much he is being hindered and how much he is hindering himself. Nevertheless, when he – or McDonnell – are interviewed and I hear them speak for themselves, they mostly sound calm, informed and reasonable.

And if not Corbyn, then who, right now? Like so many, I shared much of his general analysis on the state of domestic and foreign policy before I’d heard of him and he was given the oxygen. And condemnation of the exploitation of people and resources for exoteric global dominance and personal gain, by people who have the will, the influence and the power to do so, is what we were waiting for, after all.

What gets constantly overlooked by the journalists and the usual Labourites is that the value perspective Corbyn wants to give space to is the very space that these same MPs refuse to countenance beyond lip service and that a multitude of voters desperately wants and deserves to hear. If those Bubble-wrapped MPs had expressed sincere opposition to this thoroughly destructive socio-economic status quo, their party would have a more can-do-Politics leader. Well, they didn’t. And if genuine acceptance of and support for Corbyn’s position was there, now, there would be a cohesive and coherent message and a more efficient method; if their spinning was genuinely positive, the Conservatives would be not merely shaking in small doses but wobbling magnificently and visibly on their perch.

I don’t know what is really going on. I’d have to be in the Bubble to know, for sure. All I have to go on is what I see for myself and the media commentariat, paid and voluntary. It is hard to watch. We all know how desperately the country needs the Government to face opposition, scrutiny and redirection. I understand and buy the merits of having wide-ranging debates so as to discover consensus and develop a party line but the two sides seem diametrically opposed over too many issues that are fundamental to cohesion.

It looks like Labour is really two parties fighting for what they believe is its soul. Or maybe all that Labour is fighting over is the empty husk where its soul once dwelled. They can’t keep telling us that they are united in their values when their record and the dirty laundry they are now washing says otherwise to the public. Both sides are in each other’s way and that means Labour is not credible or electable, whichever side is preferred.

Maybe the first thing Labour has to figure out is which side gets to keep the name; the name that speaks to the notion of making tedious hard work of everything. Personally, I think I’d let the ‘Blairites’ have it.

I find that I resonate with many of the parties to varying degrees, even if only on a fragment but not one of them represents me enough to wish to become a member, let alone vote for one. The political solutions I could vote for are not available in a party that commands national electoral viability, including the part of Labour that I prefer. I have nowhere to go.