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LABOUR | Valet av Corbyn har totalt förändrat de politiska förutsättningarna i landet. Ingen verkar tro att Labour kan vinna ett val längre.

The Spectator 19 September 2015

Detta i kombination med de konservativas överraskande seger i senaste valet, och liberalernas omfattande tillbakagång, har fullständigt demoraliserat många som har röstat på de brittiska socialdemokraterna i många år.

Lägg sedan till att skotska nationalisterna i SNP har fullständigt underminerat Labour för lång tid i Storbritannien.

En som har gett upp när det gäller partiet är debattören Nick Cohen som skriver för bl.a. The Observer och The Spectator. Här är en dräpande uppgörelse med Labour under Corbyn:

‘Tory, Tory, Tory. You’re a Tory.’ The level of hatred directed by the Corbyn left at Labour people who have fought Tories all their lives is as menacing as it is ridiculous. If you are a woman, you face misogyny. Kate Godfrey, the centrist Labour candidate in Stafford, told the Times she had received death threats and pornographic hate mail after challenging her local left. If you are a man, you are condemned in language not heard since the fall of Marxist Leninism. ‘This pathetic small-minded jealousy of the anti-democratic bourgeois shows them up for the reactionary neocons they really are,’ a Guardian commenter told its columnist Rafael Behr after he had criticised Corbyn.

[…]

Jeremy Corbyn did not become Labour leader because his friends in the Socialist Workers party organised a Leninist coup. Nor did the £3 click-activist day-trippers hand him victory. He won with the hearty and freely given support of ‘decent’ Labour members.

And yes, thank you, I know all about the feebleness of Corbyn’s opponents. But the fact remains that the Labour party has just endorsed an apologist for Putin’s imperial aggression; a man who did not just appear on the propaganda channel of Russia, which invades its neighbours and persecutes gays, but also of Iran, whose hangmen actually execute gays. Labour’s new leader sees a moral equivalence between 9/11 and the assassination of bin Laden, and associates with every variety of women-hating, queer-bashing, Jew-baiting jihadi, holocaust denier and 9/11 truther. His supporters know it, but they don’t care.

They don’t put it like that, naturally. Their first response is to cry ‘smear’. When I show that it is nothing of the sort, they say that he was ‘engaging in dialogue’, even though Corbyn only ever has a ‘dialogue’ with one side and his ‘engagement’ never involves anything so principled as robust criticism.

A few on the British left are beginning to realise what they have done. Feminists were the first to stir from their slumber. They were outraged this week when Corbyn gave all his top jobs to men. I have every sympathy. But really, what did they expect from a man who never challenged the oppression of women in Iran when he was a guest on the state propaganda channel? You cannot promote equality at home while defending subjugation abroad and it was naive to imagine that Corbyn would try.

The women’s issue nicely illustrates the damage he can do, even if he never becomes prime minister. When Labour shows by its actions that it doesn’t believe in women’s equality, the pressure on other institutions diminishes. Secularists and liberal Muslims will feel a different kind of prejudice. They will no longer get a hearing for their campaigns against forced marriage and sharia law from a Labour party that counts the Muslim Brotherhood among his allies.

Läs mer: ”How Jeremy Corbyn’s coup hijacked Labour” av Nick Cohen i Standpoint.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator, 19 september 2015.

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IMAGE Inom Labour är Tony Blair numera näst intill hatad. Det är lite märkligt med tanke på att han är partiets mest framgångsrika premiärminister.

William Hague and Tony Blair

Han står idag i bjärt kontrast till sina efterföljare på partiledarposten. Vare sig Gordon Brown eller Ed Miliband lyckades leva upp till förväntningarna.

William Hague, tidigare partiledare (1997-2001) för Conservative Party, förklarar i The Telegraph hur det var att ha honom som huvudmotståndare och vad det var som gjorde Blair så framgångsrik.

Det är svårt att se den nyvalde partiledaren Jeremy Corbyn kommer att ta någon notis om Hagues lärdomar.

In late 1997, having rather rashly taken on the job of Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, I discussed with the new prime minister, Tony Blair, which of us had the most difficult job. “You have,” he said, without a moment’s doubt.

Blair was right. And that job was doubly more difficult because it was one pitched every day against him, the most formidable electoral opponent the Conservative Party has faced in its entire history. Before him, Labour had only twice since its foundation won a decisive majority; with him it did so three times in a row.

Although he is despised in Labour’s current leadership election, Blair was a Tory leader’s worst nightmare: appealing to the swing voter and reassuring to the Right-leaning, it was hard to find a square on the political chessboard on which he did not already sit. When people told me I did well at Prime Minister’s Questions, I knew I had to, since I had very little else going for me at all – I had to raise the morale of Conservatives each Wednesday to get them through the frustration and impotence of every other day of the week.

Blair courted business leaders and Right-wing newspapers, often to great effect. He was a Labour leader who loved being thought to be a secret Tory, a pro-European who was fanatical in support for the United States, a big spender who kept income taxes down, an Anglican who let it be known he wanted to be a Catholic and regularly read the Koran. He could be tough or soft or determined or flexible as necessary and shed tears if needed, seemingly at will. To the political law that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time he added Blair’s law – that you can make a very serious attempt at it.

This was the human election-winning machine against which some of us dashed ourselves, making the Charge of the Light Brigade look like a promising manoeuvre by comparison. Yet now, only eight years after he left the scene he dominated, his party’s election is conducted with scorn for the most successful leader they ever had.

Bild: Utrikesminister William Hague och Tony Blair 2010.  Foto från The Office of Tony Blair

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VÄGVAL | Många utanför Labour förvånades över att en person som Jeremy Corbyn kunde väljas till partiledare i Stobritanniens näst största parti.

The Economist September 19th-25th 2015

Personer som inte ville att de traditionella partierna skulle ge exempelvis UKIP politisk legitimitet genom debattera med dem är ofta samma personer som nu tyckte det var bra att Labour nominerade en av de mest vänstervridna politiker partiet upplevt under sin historia.

”Det är alltid bra om olika åsikter får komma till uttryck.” Så hette det när flera av partiets parlamentariker nominerade Corbyn så att han kunde delta i partiledarvalet. Få trodde att han hade en chans att vinna.

Frågan många nu ställer sig är om det är bra att så lättvindigt släppa fram extremister i den politiska debatten. På The Economist är man tveksam.

Så här skriver tidskriften i en av sina ledare:

A 66-year-old socialist, Mr Corbyn has spent 32 years as one of the hardest of hardline left-wingers in the House of Commons and a serial rebel on the Labour backbenches. On September 12th he flattened three moderate rivals (see article) to become leader of Britain’s main opposition party. Labour MPs are stunned—and perhaps none more so than Mr Corbyn himself.

Two views are emerging of Labour’s new leader. The more sympathetic is that, whatever you think of his ideology, Mr Corbyn will at least enrich Britain by injecting fresh ideas into a stale debate. […] The other is that Mr Corbyn does not matter because he is unelectable and he cannot last. His significance will be to usher in a second successive Conservative government in the election of 2020—and perhaps a third in 2025.

[…]

To see where Mr Corbyn’s heart lies, you have only to look at the company he has kept. He admires the late Hugo Chávez for his legacy in Venezuela. No matter that chavismo has wrecked the economy and hollowed out democracy. He indulges Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian kleptocracy in Russia and blames NATO for provoking its invasion of Ukraine. He entertains Hamas, which has repeatedly used violence against Israel and admires Syriza, the radical left party that has governed Greece with almost unmatched incompetence. Yet he is stridently anti-American, anti-Israel and anti-NATO and quietly anti-European Union (apparently, it’s a free-market conspiracy—see article). He even scolded China’s Communist Party for its free-market excesses.

To argue that Mr Corbyn’s ideas will improve the quality of political discourse in Britain just because they are different is about as wise as Mr Corbyn’s refusal this week to sing the national anthem at a service to commemorate the Battle of Britain. Policies this flawed will crowd out debate, not enrich it.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Economist den 19-25 september 2015.

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INTRIGER | Hur lång tid kommer det att ta innan förlorarna efter partiledarvalet har byggt upp en organisation som kan avsätta partiledaren?

The Spectator 5 september 2015

På rekordtid har spekulationer börjat cirkulera om planer på att försöka bli av med Jeremy Corbyn, en av de mest vänsterradikala partiledare som Labour har sett.

Den nyvalda partiledaren är inte populär bland alla de partimedlemmar och aktiva som inte tror man kan avlägsna sig för långt ifrån mitten om man vill vinna ett nationellt val.

Många tippar redan att Labour kommer att göra ett katastrofval i maj 2016 när det är dags för lokala val.

En av dessa skeptiker är Dan Hodges. Han har tidigare varit partitjänsteman i Labour och aktiv i både partiet och inom fackföreningsrörelsen i Storbritannien.

I The Spectator har han skrivit om de funderingar som finns i partiet om det nu överhuvudtaget går att rädda Labour.

How long does it take to rebuild a political machine? Twelve months? Two years? Three years? Maybe it can’t be done at all.

[…]

For all the brave talk of resistance and immediate fightbacks, Labour’s modernisers and pragmatists are simply not going to be ready to mount a serious challenge to Corbyn for many months, if not years, after his election. Among other members of the shadow cabinet, there is a growing consensus that it may take up to three years.

First, they will have to build up a base within the constituencies. ‘The reality is there are too many of the New Labour MPs who simply have no connection with their constituencies. It’s going to take time to build up those links again,’ said one senior backbencher. Another shadow cabinet figure agrees. ‘For years, all Labour party members were asked to do was turn up to pack out Ed’s speeches. That’s going to have to change.’

Another problem is that the opposition to Corbyn is fragmented, and needs to be pulled together. Some MPs plan on refusing to serve under him and retreating to the back benches to regroup. Others prefer a strategy of accepting shadow cabinet positions and fighting from within.

[…]

Then comes the need to assemble a coherent alternative vision: should Labour’s pragmatists set out a radical alternative prospectus? Or move towards Corbyn to win credibility with an activist base that has lurched dramatically to the left?

All this will have to be done at a time of a purge, with anti-Corbyn MPs fighting for their very survival. ‘There’s no doubt in my mind we are going to see a move toward deselections on quite a large scale,’ says one shadow cabinet minister.

[…]

The ranks of the rebels will be further diminished next May, when elections are held for 126 English local authorities. ‘We’re looking at the potential loss of hundreds of councillors,’ says one MP, ‘but Corbyn’s circle aren’t worried by that. They think it will clear out a raft of people loyal to the “old party” and opposed to Jeremy.’

How long does it take to build a political machine? A long time. Possibly more time than the Labour party has.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator den 5 september 2015.

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James Forsyth, Dan Hodges, Fraser Nelson, Isabel Hardman och Sebastian Payne, alla på The Spectator, diskuterar vad Jeremy Corbyns seger innebär för Labour och Conservative Party.

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VAL | Labour har valt Jeremy Corbyn till ny partiledare. Politiskt kan detta liknas vid att Socialdemokraterna valt en H. C. Hermansson till partiledare.

Labourval till partiledare 2015

Många gör sig lustiga över den freak show som brukar utspela sig hos republikanerna i USA innan man äntligen valt sin presidentkandidat.

Men medan Donald Trump fortfarande förväntas förlora mot någon mer seriös kandidat lyckades Corbyn vinna partiledarskapet i Labour.

Labour i Storbritannien har plötsligt blivit ett parti långt ut på vänsterkanten. Corbyn har mer gemensamt med Syriza i Grekland än med Tony Blair i New Labour.

Det är bara en tidsfråga innan Jonas Sjöstedt och Vänsterpartiet börjar referera till Corbyns politik för att kunna legitimera sin egen.

Det är uppenbart att Corbyn lyckas entusiasmera många, speciellt unga, vänsterväljare under sin kampanj.

Övriga kandidater framstod som ganska bleka i jämförelse. Dessutom föll övriga på eget grepp eftersom ingen ville hoppa av och öka chanserna för någon i mitten av den ideologiska vänsterskalan..

Corbyn var en tydlig vänsterkandidat medan Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper och Liz Kendall var bleka alternativ till höger om Corbyn.

Ingen av dessa tre kandidater lyckades någon gång under valkampanjen ta ledningen i någon opinionsmätning.

Och när ingen av dessa kandidater ville lämna fältet fritt för någon av de andra till höger om Corbyn kom medlemmarnas röster att fördelas på fyra istället på två. Vilket gynnade Corbyn.

Corbyn vann en övertygande seger med 60 procent av rösterna vilket tyder på att han kanske hade vunnit oavsett vad övriga kandidater gjort.

Gladast vid sidan om Corbyns anhängare är nog de konservativa som nu ser en stor möjlighet att vinna även nästa val.

Kanske t.o.m. det nästan utplånade Liberal Democrats har en chans att nu börja plocka hem en del mittenväljare från Labour.

Även om strategerna inom Conservative Party firar Corbyns seger med champagne är det många som oroar sig över att partiet riskerar att falla på eget grepp om man nu tar chansen att driva politiken alltför mycket åt höger.

En konservativ ledarsida i Storbritannien skrev redan i juli så här:

Jeremy Corbyn […]produced a brief economic pamphlet that breezily suggested the Government should raise another £120 billion a year in tax, increasing the overall tax burden by almost a fifth. The document aroused no obvious controversy in Labour circles, and Mr Corbyn’s bandwagon rolled on. Such is the current state of the Labour Party.

Instead, it fell to Tony Blair to warn against a return to the Left-wing tax-and-spend agenda that made Labour an unelectable anathema to British business for a generation. Whatever his numerous other flaws and failings, he was right.

The most striking thing about Mr Blair’s warning is that it falls to him to issue it. More than ten years since he last contested an election, he remains the party’s most eloquent advocate of a more sensible approach to business and wealth. Labour’s leftward drift began when he left office in 2007, and continues still.

Consider the conduct of the putative front-runners in the leadership race, Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper. Both owe their careers to Mr Blair’s election victories, and are surely astute enough to see the sense in his words. Yet neither acts on it, each preferring to limp along in Mr Corbyn’s wake in the hope of being the second choice of his supporters. This is unedifying, to say the least.

At the general election, this newspaper recommended a Conservative government, since that was, and is, in the national interest. But Britain also needs a grown-up opposition prepared to debate the issues of the day, not a populist rabble interested only in echoing the wealth-hating delusions of the disaffected Left. It is quite possible to wish for a better Labour Party without wishing that party to be in power.

Instead of pandering to Mr Corbyn and his misguided supporters, those who aspire to be serious leaders of the Labour Party should confront him, reject his half-baked ideas and explain to those supporters that his path would lead the party to ruin. If that means some candidates dropping out of the race to offer Labour a single Stop Corbyn candidate, so be it.

If Mr Burnham and Ms Cooper are not prepared to take on Mr Corbyn, they do not deserve to lead their party, let alone the country. And if Labour does not resist the temptation to indulge in Mr Corbyn’s fantasy politics, it will deservedly pay a heavy price. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

Läs mer: The five pillars of Jeremy Corbyn’s bid to run Britain” kartlägger bl.a. Jeremy Corbyns allierade. 

Bild: The Telegraph.

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Cartoon by Heath - The Spectator 15 August 2015

Bild: Teckning av Heath. Från The Spectator den 15 augusti 2015.

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Election 2015

The country went to the polls. David Cameron, the Conservative leader, prepared by going around with his sleeves rolled up. Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, said that his pledges had been cut into an eight-foot slab of limestone. Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, took a bus for John O’Groats.

The Spectator sammanfattar veckan när Storbritannien gick till val.

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Cartoon from The Spectator 30 May 2015 issue

Bild: Teckning från The Spectator den 30 maj 2015.

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VAL 2015 | The Economist gav premiärminister David Cameron sitt stöd inför valet. Men det var inte ett helt självklart.

The Economist May 2nd-8th 2015

Även om det inte blev ett val mellan pest och kolera så var det åtminstone en fråga om ett val mellan två långtifrån perfekta alternativ.

Åtminstone när det gäller två frågor som den över etthundra år gamla tidskriften anser som centrala inför framtiden. Frågor där David Camerons Conservative Party och Ed Milibands Labour skiljer sig åt.

På omslaget hade man kokat ner alternativen till följande: ”Risk the economy or risk Europe”. I ledaren förklarar man sitt ställningstagande:

If the stakes are high, the trade-offs are uncomfortable, at least for this newspaper. Our fealty is not to a political tribe, but to the liberal values that have guided us for 172 years. We believe in the radical centre: free markets, a limited state and an open, meritocratic society. These values led us to support Labour’s Tony Blair in 2001 and 2005. In 2010 we endorsed David Cameron, the Tory leader, seeing in him a willingness to tackle a yawning budget deficit and an ever-expanding state.

Five years on, the choice has become harder. The Tories’ Europhobia, which we regretted last time, could now do grave damage. A British exit from the EU would be a disaster, for both Britain and Europe. Labour and the Liberal Democrats are better on this score. But such is the suspicion many Britons feel towards Brussels that a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU is probably inevitable at some point. And we believe that the argument can be won on its merits.

The Lib Dems share our welcoming attitude towards immigrants and are keen to reform the voting system. But they can at most hope to be the junior partner in a coalition. The electorate, and this newspaper, therefore face a choice between a Conservative-dominated government and a Labour-dominated one. Despite the risk on Europe, the better choice is Mr Cameron’s Conservatives.

[…]

Mr Miliband is fond of comparing his progressivism to that of Teddy Roosevelt, America’s trustbusting president. But the comparison is false. Rather than using the state to boost competition, Mr Miliband wants a heavier state hand in markets—which betrays an ill-founded faith in the ingenuity and wisdom of government. Even a brief, limited intervention can cast a lasting pall over investment and enterprise—witness the 75% income-tax rate of France’s president, François Hollande. The danger is all the greater because a Labour government looks fated to depend on the SNP, which leans strongly to the left.

On May 7th voters must weigh the certainty of economic damage under Labour against the possibility of a costly EU exit under the Tories. With Labour, the likely partnership with the SNP increases the risk. For the Tories, a coalition with the Lib Dems would reduce it. On that calculus, the best hope for Britain is with a continuation of a Conservative-led coalition. That’s why our vote is for Mr Cameron.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Economist, 2-8 maj 2015.

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