Sunday, March 12, 2017

Progress magazine on Labour's woes

Progress describes itself as "Labour's progressive magazine" - the word "progressive being used, as is generally the case when it is employed by people anywhere on the left-wing portion of the political spectrum, to mean "for people who think like me."

(In this case, it is code for "modernising" which means the faction whose enemies refer to them as Blairites.)

Jamie Reed, the former Labour MP for Copeland, used to write the "Last Word" column in Progress, and though I suspect that may be an association they are keen to forget for a while, it goes you an idea of the sort of people who write for and read it. (Here is the index page for his articles in Progress.)

I spotted a reference on Twitter to a piece in Progress about possible successors to Jeremy Corbyn if he had a moment of sanity and stepped down as Labour leader. What caught my eye was this cartoon about Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell ...

Interested, I went to the  Progresson magazines website to see if the article was there. It isn't. But among what is available there are a whole series of pieces making much the same points about how disastrous the Copeland and Stoke by-elections were for Labour as had previously been made on this blog - but from a Labour perspective.

Here is their 3rd March Editorial, "Another wake-up call" which argued that

"The Copeland byelection was a rejection of Jeremy Corbyn’s politics"


"... it is time to respect the voters. They know what they are doing. There are various examples of patronising nonsense being circulated about the voters of Copeland – including doubts over their access to cars or ability to go out in harsh weather."

"These claims are not true, and spreading them does not exemplify an effective way of winning back that support. Copeland is a working-class seat that has returned Labour members of parliament for 82 years."

"It is also a highly informed electorate, with more PhDs per head than any other parliamentary constituency in the country.They were not duped by the mainstream media, nor Tory propaganda. They were convinced by it. It is different."

"How Labour talks about the choice the people ofWest Cumbria made will determine if they are prepared to look again at Labour when there is a general election or when the leadership changes."

In the article "No silver lining," Lewis Baston argued that

"The byelection results from Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent Central are a shaming, mortifying embarrassment to the Labour party. There is no gloss that can be applied to excuse these results."

In "Excuses, excuses," Conor Pope shot down the excuses and defences presented by the Labour leadership's few remaining defenders for the Copeland and Stoke results, much as I did here, here, here, and finally here, except this time it was a Labour person doing it.

Best extract from the article is this demolition of the "Fake News" excuse:

"Fake news

Word had got out that Jeremy wasn’t in favour of nuclear power. That isn’t true. That’s what you call fake news’, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry told Sky News on Friday. Corbyn has a longstanding opposition to nuclear (here he is in 2011, saying ‘no to nuclear power, let’s decommission the stations we’ve got’) which was highlighted by the Conservatives during the campaign, and his refusal to say whether he would support the building of a new power plant in the area were certainly big factors on the doorstep in Copeland.

Alternative facts’ do seem to be a problem for Labour at the moment, but only because the discerning voters can see straight through them."


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