Having their Corbyn cake and eating it

It’s getting insane now. Even those of us who specialise in hyperbole are running out of hyperbolic adjectives and similes to describe just how divorced from the real world British politics and the British state have become.

I’ve given up watching the Labour party conference. It seemed to be being beamed to us directly from an alternate universe in which Labour won the general election and Jeremy Corbyn single-handedly cured cancer. It’s a world in which delegates are gushing over the transformative powers of a socialism that Labour has rediscovered after years of treating it like an embarrassing old relative who had been packed off to a retirement home and never visited, but they’re studiously avoiding the fact that the retirement home is about to be bulldozed. It’s a world in which Jeremy Corbyn is treated with the reverence usually reserved for the other JC, but everyone denies it’s a personality cult.

In the collective deranged mind of the Labour party, the fact that people wear T-shirts with his image, chant his name, and praise him constantly, but it’s not a personality cult must be one of the miracles that Jeremy is responsible for with his superhuman powers. But then they’re also not nationalists, despite being in favour of the maintenance of the British state, vehemently opposed to another Scottish referendum, and Jezza supporting the hardest of Brexits, all of which are quintissentially British nationalist projects. That must be another of those miracles.

All the Labour new-found socialism in the world is going to do bugger all to help the poor, the marginalised, the weak, the oppressed, and the struggling worker after the Tories achieve their dream of a hard Brexit and a bonfire of social protection. Sure, it’s great to talk about all the fantastic new swings, chutes, and roundabouts that we can have in our public playground, but it’s bugger all use planning them when the priority is to resist the Tories who’re hell bent on selling off the playground to a global corporation and then charging us for walking by it. The priority needs to be to resist the Tory Brexit, but Labour doesn’t want to talk about that, because Saint Jeremy believes in a hard Brexit as much as Liam Fox and David Davis do. But the membership believes that at the last minute Saint Jeremy will perform a miracle, and save us all.

The party marches on to the precipice, waving the red banners that they’ve rescued from the attic and chanting Jeremy’s name. It’s every bit as much the politics of nostalgia as the Tory determination to take us back to the Empire loyalism of the 1950s.

What’s so upsetting about the Labour party conference is that it’s a microcosm of the country as a whole. The UK is in a collective state of denial, one which is fully shared by Scotland’s No voters. We don’t want another referendum, they say, because that means that they’ll have to face up to reality. The reality is that Scotland was lied to by the British state, it was taken advantage of, and its people were taken for granted and taken for fools. No one likes to admit that they were conned. We were conned by Better Together and all its fine promises of a Scotland that was an equal partner in a family of nations. We were conned by Brexiteers who promised a bright future outside the EU. And now the reality is dawning, a reality of a Scotland in which the devolution settlement is trashed, and an isolationist and xenophobic Britain in which big business runs riot and tramples democratic and human rights.

It’s only natural that people don’t want to think about it. It’s not happened yet for all that it’s coming down the line. We’re like tenants who are facing eviction from our home and who ignore the brown window envelopes that pile up behind the door warning of financial ruin. It hasn’t happened yet, and if it hasn’t happened yet then it might not happen at all. Don’t mention it. Don’t talk about it. Go away and leave us to our dreams of Corbynism or a glorious Tory Brexit in which everything comes right in the end. It’s more comforting to blame those who try and stop destructive behaviour than it is to blame the destructive behaviour itself.

Back in the real world, we’re facing the biggest threat to our civil liberties and employment rights in decades. It’s not just that the Tories are using Brexit as an excuse to trash the devolution settlement, that would be bad enough, but they’re also using it to neuter the power of the House of Commons to hold the government of the day to account. The priority for any party which seeks to further the interests of the have-nots, or the 99%, or ordinary working people, instead of the rich, the bosses, and the banks, must be to resist the Tory march toward Brexit, to find common cause with the Lib Dems, the SNP, and Plaid and Tory remainers and prevent the country being held hostage by the wild-eyed fantasies of ideological Brexiteers. But Labour won’t do that, because its leaders are also wild-eyed fantasists and ideological Brexiteers.

It’s frankly ludicrous that a party which claims to be building a mass movement, which says that its goal is to empower ordinary people, refuses those ordinary members a say on shaping the party’s policy on the biggest question facing the country. It’s the politics of denial. The hundreds of thousands of young people and remain supports who voted Labour in the General Election because they thought that the party might save us from the Brexit cliff are in for a big disappointment. Fudging the issue got the party through the General Election. It’s not going to get Labour through this parliamentary session. The tragedy is that the Conservatives have never been weaker or more divided, but Labour can’t or won’t press its advantage because it too wants to have its cake and eat it. It’s the inability of both the major British parties to face up to the realities of Brexit which will lead to the undoing and unravelling of the entire British state.


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45 comments on “Having their Corbyn cake and eating it

  1. Dan Huil says:

    Comprehending britnat politics today is like falling through a looking glass, then through a wardrobe in the middle of a tornado only to find yourself choking on a pair of sparkly shoes in front of an audience of Munchkins.

    Sanity depends on Scotland regaining its independence. You know it makes sense.

  2. ewenart says:

    Thanks for such an accurate article… apart from innumerable differences, we are certainly of the same frame of mind… “Saorsa”/’freedom, liberty & redemption!’.

  3. Andy Anderson says:

    Very sad but I regret your article is accurate. A worry indeed

  4. bringiton says:

    People of my age have seen Labour in Scotland through a number of iterations,none of which have been to the benefit of Scotland.
    All that they continue to represent is a career path to London with the £300/day plus expenses at the end of it.
    Plus ca change……….

    • Therapymum says:

      Yup. Many iterations, true. Never seen anything quite like this though. Who would have thought that a Labour Party Conference would not debate the single most important issue facing the population in a lifetime? Who would have thought that the Labour Party whose whole raison d’etre is the improvement, protection and support of the working man would be prepared to trash living standards via Brexit? Indeed, who could ever have imagined that the Labour Party would either abstain on or vote for massive benefit cuts on the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Thank goodness I and many others saw the light.

      Great piece WGD, as usual, and stunningly accurate!

      • Robert Harrison says:

        This is same labour that’s screwed Scotland 3 times over 4 if you factor in thatcher the 40% rule was labour next to no powers on parliaments return to Scotland was Blair then PfI crap which Leonard wants the snp to clean up and the smith commission

  5. AnnieM says:

    With all that’s happening at the moment, how can Labour have a conference where Brexit is not even talked about? Unbelieveable!!

    Independence will not be instant utopia for Scotland, but my goodness it can’t be any worse than the chaos in the UK race to the bottom of the cliff!!

    • Exactly, AnnieM. Those of us whose eyes are still open realise that there will be challenges ahead but are ready, willing and able to face them. The same cannot be said for ANY of the BritNats, of whatever political stripe they profess to be!

    • Robert Harrison says:

      The frist years will be hard work but it won’t be anything like brexit naff up the English torys are doing

    • stewartb says:

      We also got a telling insight into how some in Labour in Scotland view your and my interest in the Brexit issue. At his hustings, Anas Sarwar argued that we in Scotland have “no appetite” to have the opportunity to express a view on our EU future by referendum.

      So, according to Sarwar, it seems that his party members in Scotland will find attractive the contention that we are quite content to wait and have our fate decided by those in power in Westminster. Is that the price worth paying now for ‘solidarity’ by Scottish Labour?

  6. Brilliant, Paul. Absolutely bang on the money. I keep having to pinch myself to check whether it’s the BritNats or me who are living in a fantasy world. The bruises on my arms assure me that it isn’t me! When what’s left of the UK becomes the 51st State of Trumpland, perhaps people will wake up and realise what they’ve allowed to happen … by which time it will be much, much too late. Scotland needs out … and the sooner the better!

    • Bill Purves says:

      Of course, they are Nationalists, English Nationalists.

    • Robert Harrison says:

      Well the English don’t see it that way if last week’s question time was anything to go by and stupid people like khan saying only London voted remain so screw them I say. Scotland is our priority not them

      • Saor Alba says:

        That’s because Khan sees nothing but little England.

      • Alasdair Macdonald. says:

        It was, indeed, an odd claim. If we restrict the argument to England, every large city in England, .ie. the main cities in each of the regions, with the exception of Birmingham, voted REMAIN. In the North East, which had a very strong LEAVE vote, Newcastle-upon Tyne voted REMAIN.

        The other point is that, although LEAVE was highest in what has been described as ‘traditional Labour voting areas’ (in England) the data indicates that those who described themselves as Labour voters, were in a majority for REMAIN.

        It appears, too, that a significant majority of Momentum is in favour of some strong relationship with Europe. The position of Mr Corbyn, along with people like Dennis Skinner and Graham Stringer (old lefties), is one of hostility to the EU because they see it as a ‘capitalist club’. I can recall a Labour Conference in the 1960s when Manny Shinwell received a resounding cheer when he said, “To hell with the Common Market”. It was almost another 10 years before Harold Wilson managed to get a majority of Labour in favour of Europe. His referendum, like that of David Cameron, was primarily to try to sustain party unity. The difference is that Harold Wilson ‘won’.

        Despite Mr Kavanagh’s illuminating insights, I think things, particularly in England, are mightily complicated and confused. There are glimmerings that some within Labour in England are beginning to see that the critiques of Westminster which have come from Scotland are insightful. Let us hope that they begin to get serious about making alliances with SNP, PC, Greens.

  7. Robert Harrison says:

    This is the mentally of those living south of the border that’s everything’s fine British are invincible to any disaster because it won’t happen or someone will save the day and to see the Yoon up here have the same diluded mind frame makes me cringe

  8. m biyd says:

    I think everyone is agreed that Scotland should get out of the UK as soon as…. but can someone please tell Pete Wishart. The flag outside my house has a sell by date of 2018. The more he and the SNP prevaricate the more I look like the village idiot in rural mperthshire.

  9. Tess says:

    An excellent article and unfortunately accurate.

  10. Tess says:

    Reblogged this on campertess.

  11. I wish I didn’t agree with all you have said, but I do. I wish there was some light on the horizon for Britain and for Europe, but there isn’t.

  12. Jason Smoothpiece says:

    Well said, very worrying times.

    Sadly with the Regime controlling the media, print and TV it is difficult to get the message out to people who are not tuned in politically.

    I know many reasonable otherwise clever folk who not only don’t know the house is on fire, but don’t want to be told.

    Doesn’t matter whether it the Red or Blue English Nationalists there is no difference, they are burning the place down and most people don’t want to know.

  13. Personally I (Mark P-I, SNP member) am totally disappointed in Corbyn after twice donating money to get him elected leader of the Labour Party, in my naivety, because I believed he was the answer. Now I think he is misguided, ill informed and out of touch with the people he fought for all his life. C’est la guerre I suppose, the higher you rise in an organisation the less you know what is going on in that organisation….sooo sad!
    Independence NOW!

  14. Macart says:

    ‘A kinder, more honest politics’. ‘For the many not the few’.

    Pretty hollow to say the least. Labour’s conference has set new standards for hypocrisy, cowardice and shear dishonesty. I didn’t think Labour could sink any lower in my estimation, but they managed to find that new level quite easily.

    The past couple of days have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, that in terms of politics as it is practised, Corbyn’s Labour is no different in any way shape or form from Blair’s. From Corbyn’s declaration on the nature of the devolution settlement to Baxter’s bilge on pay equality, from Leonard’s call for the SNP to clear up Labour’s PFI disaster, to McDonnell’s promise that Labour are preparing responses for every contingency in the universe… EVER. They made those statements without turning a hair. As for Mr Kahn’s statement on holding an EU ref2 … what can you say? Wasn’t there meant to have been a ban on saying the ‘B’ word at conference?

    No contrition on their part. No self awareness. No humility. They presided over decades of ruin for their own people. Decades of near uncontested power in Scotland. They picked up the wage packets, the patronage, the peerages and the limelight.

    Their legacy is crippling debt, social injustice and a constitutional omnishambles.

    So much for a kinder, more honest politics. Looks to me like business as usual or same shit, different day. I’ll pass on Mr Corbyn’s practice of politics, thanks.

    • Yes – I am deeply disappointed in Corbyn’s Labour, Sam. I had hoped he would represent change for my family & friends in England but I see now that it will be, as you so eloquently put it, “same shit – different day”. Poor England! At least we in Scotland have a choice ….

      • Macart says:

        Couple things Jezza neatly forgot to take into account:

        HERE and HERE

        • Do not get me STARTED on the Bombardier business, Sam! Ms May should realise that when you suck up to a bully all you do is make a bigger bully. Justin Trudeau is starting to see the light here in Canada – I just hope he’s not too late.

          The reserved powers infographic is excellent and should be posted through every letter-box in Scotland. It’s about to find its way onto my Facebook Timeline in about 30 seconds!

  15. Macart says:

    (Screech of breaks) You really couldn’t make this nonsense up.


    • Andy Anderson says:

      I noticed this in the news feeds also. No change really, today is Tuesday, time to change my mind. Let’s hope that in time her new partner talks some sense into her.

    • Andy Anderson says:

      I knew that EU citizens here were active. Nice to see this activity.

      • Macart says:

        Puts a smile on this grumpy kisser right enough. 🙂

        They’re our own folk Andy. Letting them down is NOT an option in my opinion.

        • Anne Martin says:

          I sometimes think that the EU citizens living in Scotland are more revved up about indy than the Scots!

          • Robert Graham says:

            wouldnt be hard , just look at them in the morning picking up as they have done for years their daily record / mail , Commenting that they would get more information from the beano or dandy dosent usually go down well , A real sour faced bunch these NO voters , maybe its just hit them , how stupid they were , oh well we tried to tell them , but instead they listened to Broon .& Co .

  16. David Agnew says:

    There is also magnanimous way they declared they will buy back everything they sold off. They even had the brass balls to demand that Scotgov save the money they need to buy back Scotlands railways and other pieces of our public services they sold at knock down prices. We even had Corbyn demand we pay ransom to WM to mitigate Westminster austerity.

    How dare they. How fuckin dare they brag about spending public money to buy back what they sold, without an apology or a frank admission that they had done the damage.

    So sorry Scotland for shutting on your carpet. But gies money and we’ll pay to have cleaned. Because that proves were lefties and the SNP are bad.

    Labour can fuck the fuck off.

    I am only sorry for a lot decent people in England who feel they have something to vote for at long last. They really don’t know Labour the way we do.

    • Robert Graham says:

      Listened to the Messiah’s speech , many fine words , and much applause .
      Then i thought of labour in scotland and it was *%”:<*^$ , that bit is well and truly censored .

      Who Pays ? .Jeremy who pays ,

      The Billion Pound PFI – f/up .
      The Billion pound and counting Edinburgh Tram fiasco
      The Massive legal Bill incurred by Labour in glasgow fighting Equal Pay for Women employees.

      This is just a small part of the damage this crowd of crooks have left us with , at least you know how the tories operate this band of snakes , have fooled the unsuspecting public into believing it is the SNPs fault , they can only succeed by a compliant media and our trusty BBC .

  17. grizebard says:

    “The politics of nostalgia” Says is all in very few words, really.

    I also like the image of the reposession envelopes piling up behind the door.

    But for me the picture that springs to mind is of residents who’ve been told repeatedly and clearly that there’s a hurricane on the way and they have to get out ASAP, yet who refuse to listen and are desperately pretending that it somehow won’t happen. Just ‘cos. But all the pretence they can muster won’t protect them one iota if they are still there when their house is being torn apart around them.

    • Robert Graham says:

      Maybe the SNP have been just too efficient , too good at managing this small country , the inhabitants have become complacent , they are being shielded from whats going on elsewhere and so dont notice the hard work behind the scenes.
      I think it was on the anniversary of the parliament , the bbc interviewed various people as to their impression of the work done by the government , blank faces , didn’t have a bloody clue , it just happens , christ are the folk here so bleedn dumb they dont know about , free prescriptions , no bridge tolls , the list is endless and they dont bloody know ,
      Time for our government to mount a quick education programme first by letting the dummies here know about the work done on their behalf , this is not a propaganda exercise on behalf of any party ,But just to let them know what benefits, their vote for devolution have delivered .

  18. Reblogged this on My Little Underground and commented:
    Watching Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour conference speech today was something of a weird experience. Yeah,I liked some of what he said but the whole thing felt, well, wrong. After all the Tories are still in power and Corbyn’s Labour Party supports Brexit at all costs. It seemed odd to see supposed ‘socialists’ celebrate when the Tories still enact their cruelty and a forthcoming Brexit that’ll wreck lives.

    Then it dawned on me that Corbynism is about nostalgia, which brings me to this splendid Wee Ginger Dug article that shows it wasn’t just myself thinking this.

    I’ll follow this up with my own thoughts another time but this should be essential reading.

  19. Dunkie says:

    Just put this comment onto the petition to Jean Claude Junker at https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/JeanClaude_Juncker_President_of_the_European_Commission_Suspend_EU_voting_rights_for_Spain/?alMmumb

    The EU should not tolerate any of its member states using violence against its own people. If you are prepared to accept this behaviour and do nothing about it then the EU itself is hugely diminished as a Democratic organisation and a door is left permanently open for any member state to treat its citizens like this. It is not conceivable that the EU should let this behaviour go unchallenged. Positive European peace values built as a reaction to two world wars should be setting an example to the rest of the world. Europe is supposed to be the most democratic and stable part of the world. What example does failure to act in this case show except that violence is a legitimate way to conduct national affairs. Surely this in defiance of the very peace movement which led to the construction of the EU.

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