Labour Party

Corbyn Appoints New Campaign Chief to Replace Simon Fletcher

First published on Labour Vision

Jeremy Corbyn has appointed a new campaign chief to replace former Ken Livingstone aide Simon Fletcher. Niall Sookoo who previously worked in Corbyn’s press team returns for another bite of the cherry. He takes on a tough task in the shadow of Labour’s disastrous loss in Copeland.

In Sookoo’s favour he inherits a blank piece of paper. Jon Trickett did so little as the shadow cabinet campaign coordinator that even Corbyn thought his performance was lacklustre. He then sacked him in the middle of two byelections – and nobody noticed. However, poor Sookoo now has two shadow cabinet bosses – and they could not be more different. Andrew Gwynne won the Oldham byeelection for Corbyn last year and ensured a top notch ground game in Copeland. Ian Lavery has never been involved in any kind of byelection, let alone general election, type operation and labours under the bizarre notion that Corbyn is ‘one of the most popular politicians in the country’.

Since Corbyn has put Labour on a ‘war footing’ he has shown a tendency to misfire. Rather than shooting at the government he seems to only be successful at finding his own foot. (more…)

Less Charlie Kennedy And More George Galloway

First published on the Huffington Post

Those of us in the Labour party who have been staunchly sceptical of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership from the beginning often stand accused of not taking him or his supporters seriously enough. At Progress, we are keen to rectify this perception, and apply rigorous intellectual scrutiny to the Corbyn project.

That’s why in this month’s Progress magazine, the main feature – alongside fascinating interviews with shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer and the Labour leader in the House of Lords Angela Smith on holding the government to account over article 50 – is an essay on The Corbynite Ideology.

Rather than the normal ‘it’s all going wrong’ type piece that some have come to expect from Progress – regardless of how fair or true that might be – historian Richard Carr of Anglia Ruskin University looks in depth at the Labour leader’s world view. What Corbyn really believes, who continues to inspire him – spoiler: Tony Benn – and what gets him out of bed in the morning – another spoiler: Stop the War rallies.

(more…)

The McDonnell Amendment: Richard Angell vs. Chris Williamson

First published on Labour Vision

Today on Labour Vision we bring you a debate between Richard Angell, (Director, Progress) and former Labour MP, Chris Williamson. We have asked Richard and Chris to answer the following question:

“Would the McDonnell Amendment help or hinder the Labour Party and the people it seeks to represent?”

Richard and Chris were each given 600 words up-front to answer the question, and a further 400 words each to rebut the arguments of their opposite number. Their thoughts are below.

N.B. The McDonnell Amendment is a proposal to reduce the threshold of MP nominations required to allow a candidate onto the ballot for the Labour leadership election from 15% of the Parliamentary Labour Party to 5%. Several MPs, such as Caroline Flint, are strongly opposed to the proposal.

This proposal is the brainchild of Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, who twice failed to acquire the requisite number of nominations from fellow MPs. It is argued that, if this proposal were passed by Labour Party Conference in September, then it would be to the considerable advantage of the Labour left.

Enjoy! (more…)

Modernising Modernisers

First published on the Huffington Post September 2015; updated 24 September 2016

The result of the Labour leadership election was hurtful – to pretend otherwise would be untrue. I think the candidate that I supported did a brilliant job – tough though her task was. As Jeremy Corbyn said, Liz Kendall ‘absolutely stands up for what she believes in’. Yvette Cooper came out and changed government policy on refugees. Andy Burnham showed he was one of the nicest guys in politics. Congratulations are due to Jeremy Corbyn and his team.

It is horrid losing elections. Internal ones are often more painful. While May’s general election result was hard to take, losing within the party for which you have worked your whole adult life is more personal, especially when your very motive for doing so has been brought so firmly into question. (more…)