The Left

A pre-Christmas Corbyn roundup

Today’s Telegraph carries an article by Andrew Gilligan about the family connections which link Momentum’s Jon Lansman to a property company whose methods, according to Gilligan’s report, seem at odds with the (New) New Labour philosophy.

“Jon Lansman’s followers are going round trying to undermine decent Labour MPs, like Stella Creasey, who have actually achieved things for the poor,” said one London Labour MP.

“Meanwhile, while preaching hard-Left righteousness, he is tied in with a company that appears to profit from the asset-stripping of community facilities such as pubs and homeless hostels. It is hypocritical, to say the least.”

This news about Momentum follows Nick Cohen’s piece from earlier in the week.  ‘If you are so rich, how come you are so left wing?’ opens with an account of the wealthy connections of another key Momentum figure, James Schneider.

It’s an interesting post, but I wasn’t completely sure about his implication that wealthy Corbyn supporters are (unconsciously?) attracted to a far-left leader because he will help ensure the continuation of a Conservative government whose policies will benefit them.

Their refusal to compromise their principles ensures that they never have to compromise their profits.

Brendan O’Neill, by contrast, directs his irritation at Corbyn’s critics.

I disagree with almost everything he says – but hope the fact he’s having a go at Corbyn’s critics rather than Corbyn might be a promising straw in the wind given that he is in unerringly attracted to the least fashionable side of any debate.

Natalie Nougayrede offers some thoughtful, but rather muted, reflections on the shared attraction of both the far left and the far right to conspiracism.

Muted, because the examples she offers don’t represent the most shocking instances of this toxic intersection, in particular their willingness to circulate mutterings about ‘Rothschilds’ and other such memes.

A recent case in point is @themockneyrebel, who has come under attack for noting, bizarrely, that Tesco and M&S have ‘Jewish blood’.  And there was more:

You can catch up with this story here, where Matilda Murday explains why she thinks this story is significant:

M: A few reasons. Firstly, this tweeter has 21,000 followers, so he’s relatively influential. Secondly, I think that for many he’s an archetype of the new Labour membership: he only joined in 2014, appears dedicated to “Corbynism”, is on the far-left of the party, and he is very vocal.

@themockneyrebel has now apparently been expelled from the party, but plans to appeal the decision.

Returning to Momemtum, the Independent reports that the controversial group may be planning to join Labour as an official affiliate on the same basis as groups such as the Fabian Society

Such evidence of the Corbynistas’ determination to dig in has led to renewed talk of a possible break up of Labour. Here Peter Hyman is reported calling for a new party to bring together all those on the moderate centre left.  In the same Guardian piece there’s a summary of some recent poll findings:

In a new Opinium/Observer poll to mark 100-day milestone since Corbyn was elected leader, shows 56% of all voters believe the Labour leader “sticks to his principles rather than just saying what people want to hear”, compared to 24% who disagree. Only 34% felt the statement was true of David Cameron. Half of all voters say Corbyn is treated unfairly by the media, rising to just over two thirds (68%) among Labour voters.

However, 57% of all voters – including 30% of Labour supporters – believe he will not lead Labour into the next election. When asked to choose between Cameron and Corbyn, 41% said that Cameron would be the best PM, compared to only 20% who opted for Corbyn. Only 54% of Labour voters thought Corbyn would be the best PM compared to the 91% of Tory voters who selected Cameron. Of all voters, 61% do not think that Corbyn’s first 100 days have been a success, as do almost a third of Labour voters.

The highish proportion of people who think Corbyn sticks to his principles maps on to perhaps the most annoying of Brendan O’Neill’s ten points about Corbyn’s critics: ‘They think it’s bad to have principles’.  It’s quite possible to think a good many politicians too opportunistic and too quick to compromise on core values, and still be a critic of Corbyn.  There’s little comfort in being led by someone with principles if those principles aren’t yours.  The honesty and consistency of Haitham al Haddad is often acknowledged by his opponents – but it doesn’t mean we would vote for him

Finally, if you are running out of ideas for Christmas presents …