27 September 2018
Diary of a Corbynista
Labour MP rubbishes Labour Party
by Don Urquhart
Wile E. Coyote was a cartoon character obsessed with the capture of the Road Runner bird. He devised ever more surreal stratagems but was always doomed to failure.
Theresa May is a British politician….
Following an EU summit in Salzburg, Donald Tusk, the Head of the European Council said that the Chequers Proposal will not work.
Responding to Mr Tusk’s remarks, Mrs May said: “Yes, concerns have been raised and I want to know what those concerns are.”
For his part Mr Tusk was equivocal about when, or indeed if, there would be further progress.
Wile E. Coyote was forcibly retired. It was the kindest way.
Three weeks ago the Crossrail project was delayed by 9 months. Chris Grayling and Sadiq Khan played pass the parcel regarding responsibility for the delay.
To find out how this had all come about I used the Freedom of Information act to ask Crossrail for a copy of their Board Meeting Minutes. They told me it was down to TfL. Having delivered nothing so far TfL has asked me to complete a survey so that I could tell them how well my query had been handled.
Watch this space.
A few years ago I took employment as the IT Director of a London bank. There are many stories to be told but this one concerns someone I shall call Sid. He had been at the bank for a long time and had been miffed several times at not being offered the role I now filled. We had a huge computer room in the basement which our auditors had denounced as an accident risk because of the cabling running untrammelled and undisciplined. As he didn’t seem to have much else on I thought this might be a job for Sid so called him in and asked him to come up with a plan. He said:
You can stand on me.
A couple of days later I asked him how the plan was coming on.
You can stand on me.
When I asked to look at the plan and to discuss first steps:
You can stand on me.
Clearly it was never going to happen.
Following her meeting with EU leaders in Salzburg Theresa May held a press conference where one after another reporters pointed out that Chequers had been rejected by the EU. Her response time and again:
No border down the Irish Sea;
No hard border in Ireland;
The EU has to come up with something.
No clue as to how this was to be achieved.
Not her finest hour and the press conference is hard to find on the MSM.
It is here on The Canary.
Tomorrow I am off to Bletchley Park where I will commandeer an Enigma machine and use it to decode the messages coming from Europe.
What did President Macron really mean when accusing a conspiracy of liars of misleading the British people in the referendum, then running away and refusing to take responsibility? Surely he was not referring to Boris Johnson and David Davis.
What was Donald Tusk really thinking when he said that Theresa May’s proposed new economic partnership with the EU “will not work”? He must have been telling us in a heavily camouflaged way that the Chequers Proposal was just the ticket.
I watched some of the Labour Party Conference on TV. They were discussing the proposed changes to promote democracy in the party. It wasn’t a debate. People were called up from the floor to do their 7 minute party pieces. Plenty of Constituency (CLP) delegates keen on reselection of sitting MP’s. Union delegates less enthusiastic. Without a Ph D in Labour Party shenanigans it’s hard to interpret what happened. It seems that at Conference whatever the unions say is what is agreed as they have over 50% of the votes. So some compromise was agreed making it easier to deselect. There will be many CLP people who will say, like me, that they like the unions but do not see why they are determining Labour Party policy.
As someone said at the podium: “Let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the good”. I’m prepared to see how it goes. Let’s see if the ordinary party members are allowed to choose who represents them.
On This Week, Lisa Nandy, sitting MP for Wigan addressed the proposed reforms and as she did so took a cudgel to the Labour Party bureaucracy.
She responded to a report on Open Selection by Labour Party activist Michael Walker.
The problem is what it asks of members. So you’re asking members to put a lot of their own resources, membership fees, their time, because this is expensive, it’s costly. It relies on volunteers who run these processes into going through this process. But I speak to hundreds of members in my constituency and others who’ve flocked into this party over the last couple of years for a lot of the reasons that you’ve described. They’re passionate and they’re energetic and they have so much to contribute but then they hit the Labour Party like a brick wall. They say how do I influence policy? Well you can’t. It’s still written by a small group of men in Westminster. How do I run to be a councillor or an MP? Well you can’t because it’s lengthy and it’s expensive and it’s exclusive and my worry about this is that basically we took the democracy review and said we’re going to be radical, we’re going to become a huge social movement and empower people and we have shrunk it basically to this.
Andrew Neil picked her up on the cost issue:
To say the cost of it is really an issue and I’m not sure why it would cost that much. Isn’t it a situation where you’re an MP and there’s another election coming up. Maybe it’s worth the cost to sit down and decide do we want you to be our MP again? What’s wrong with that?
There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s exactly what we do at the moment. I put myself forward for reselection and my members have to decide do we want this person to be our candidate for the next election and they vote yes or no it opens up to an open selection.
More discussion then:
But they can challenge at the moment. The only question for me about this well twofold. One is that it completely removes trade unions from the equation which have been an essential part of Labour’s history… [usual stuff] but the other problem with this is the cost Andrew and you’ve dismissed it out of hand. You’re wrong to and I’ll tell you why because the Labour party runs selection processes over at least 6 months. It takes a really long time and it requires you to set up a longlisting committee who select candidates, interview them have hustings… [more in this vein].
So for at least one sitting MP challenging her is wrong because it’s too expensive and time-consuming.
Monty Python fans will remember the Four Yorkshiremen Sketch as the one where our heroes compete to claim the most deprived childhood. “Luxury” cries Graham Chapman responding to Michael Palin’s evocation of the septic tank he lived in as a child.
I was reminded of this when I came upon a remarkable article in the Hull Daily Mail horrified to find a perfectly made bed at the roadside. “Luxury” I thought. They want to take a walk down Stroud Green Road to see the filthy habitations lurking under Finsbury Park Railway Bridge or the people huddled in sleeping bags at Charing Cross underground station.
But this is no joke and I fear that what I have described is luxury compared with what many are experiencing all over the country.
The Apprentice is back next week.
My Uncle Ron used to run a garage where he serviced London taxis. He told us of a garrulous chap who came round selling radio aerials. Lord Sugar didn’t make that sale but as we all know he went on to greater things, including The Apprentice where he plays the Donald Trump role. On one level it is immensely enjoyable seeing him burst the bubbles of over-confident young hopefuls. I am nobody’s killjoy but this is a theatre of cruelty, with ill-equipped gladiators gobbled up by hard-eyed business lions. In the same manner part of the fun of the X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent is the dismemberment of gross incompetents lured into believing they are on their way to La La Land.
Coming back to The Apprentice. There is no mileage in questioning the morality of the thing and certainly the noble Lord is a consummate performer.
What I question is the world view of Lord Sugar himself. He appears to believe that he can say and do what he likes as if his utterances carry the authority of holy writ. And of course he is entitled to do so, just as I am entitled to disagree and avoid listening to him.
These days I am as likely to watch a game show hosted by Lord Sugar, as a life coaching session from Anders Brevik or medical fly on the wall courtesy of Harold Shipman.