28 February 2019
Diary of a Corbynista
by Don Urquhart
The Tories stand to benefit massively from the formation of The Independent Group (TINGE). Come a General Election TINGE will take many more votes from Labour than from the Tories. And there is another factor- Labour-inclined voters will look at their candidates and assess whether they are really Labour or, in reality TINGE. I speak as someone who voted Green for many years until Corbyn became the leader of the Labour Party. If I think my Labour candidate is really TINGE I shall vote Green again. I will not be alone, particularly at a time when the Climate Change agenda is getting some traction.
Jeremy Corbyn’s meetings in Brussels yesterday received scant media coverage, but the message that his Brexit proposals have gone down well with the EU comes through loud and clear.
Theresa May stands at the Dispatch Box and quotes statistics which appear to support her assertion that the economy is doing well.
In reality for the poor and vulnerable things are going from bad to worse. No wonder the Tories would rather talk about Brexit.
The Resolution Foundation has just published its report “The Living Standards Outlook 2019”.
Here’s how The Guardian reports it:
Adam Corlett, senior economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “UK households have already taken a £1,500-a-year hit to their incomes. There’s now a huge risk that their incomes stagnate over the next few years as the economy’s pay performance struggles to get out of first gear.”
“The outlook for low and middle-income families is particularly tough,” said Corlett, citing welfare cuts as a major factor.
He added: “The UK’s current economic outlook is highly uncertain, and will hopefully surprise on the upside. But whatever direction the economy takes, the government must reassess the continuation of working-age welfare cuts. Otherwise, its non-Brexit record risks being stained by a return to record levels of child poverty.”
Louisa McGeehan, the Child Poverty Action Group charity’s director of policy, said the report was a wake-up call. “After years of deep social security cuts we are on the cusp of a child poverty crisis which will damage both the life chances of a generation and the wider economy.
“In the UK we have been very successful at reducing poverty among pensioners but we have allowed child poverty to rise. That is unjustifiable in a country that is compassionate and believes that every child matters,” she said.
The report, The Living Standards Outlook 2019, combines data, the Office of Budgetary Responsibility’s economic projections and the impact of current government policy to reach its findings.
The report warns that by the end of parliament the majority of children in single-parent families or in larger families, with more than two children, could be living in relative poverty.
On Sophy Ridge, Chukka Umunna reeled off the Corbyn anti-Semitism mantra – mural, sense of irony, wreath-laying, done nothing to stop it. I don’t see any of this as evidence that Corbyn is anti-Semitic but I can see why people who do not want a Labour government try to use it to convince people that he is.
Chukka topped it off with the institutional anti-Semitism statement.
I heard this from a friend the other day and asked him where the evidence is. He referred me to the Jewish Chronicle, than which there is no more ardent anti-Corbyn publication.
In a Guardian article, Frances Ryan reports on the carnage being wrought by the Tories’ benefits policies. She quotes two examples:
One was the case of 52-year-old Jeff Hayward, who won his “fit for work” appeal – seven months after his death. Hayward, who struggled to walk due to a debilitating skin condition, had to spend the last 18 months of his life fighting to get his benefits back. He died of a heart attack.
A few days earlier, the Department for Work and Pensions was forced to apologise after telling 64-year-old Stephen Smith to find work, despite the fact that he can barely walk, struggles to breathe and uses a colostomy bag to go to the toilet. At one point, Smith weighed only 38kg (6st), with the Liverpool Echo publishing a now viral photo of him emaciated in a hospital bed.
The Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) last night agreed a two step approach to Brexit which is totally in line with last September’s conference resolution. Firstly they will propose an amendment which would have the government negotiating a customs arrangement. They expect this to fail. Then they will submit a further amendment proposing a second referendum.
Corbyn’s opponents on all sides are scrambling for a narrative. In particular it is worth remembering the PLP 172-40 vote of no confidence in 2016. His detractors then are largely still Labour MPs. It is a miracle that he is still in place and, I believe, still has the grass roots, who would much rather see a new PLP than a new leader.
On LBC Luciana Berger MP was interviewed by her friend Ayesha Hazarika:
When asked about the 6 people who had been convicted of abusing her, she reported that 4 were from the far right, 1 had once been a Labour Party member and she did not know about the 6th.
She has called on the Labour Party to expel Chris Williamson MP for organising the showing of a film called Witch Hunt, a theme of which is that there is an establishment conspiracy against Corbyn supported by elements of the media, using allegations of anti-Semitism as a weapon.