Sunday, September 13, 2015


British Labor Party successful in making itself irrelevant

The British Labor Party, in a fit of pique, has elected as leader the most unelectable party activist in its history. Jeremy Corbyn, an avowed socialist, a supporter of Hamas and Hebz'allah, a 9/11 truther, a man who consorts with Holocaust deniers, won his party's leadership position in an overwhelming landslide.
To give you a small idea of how radically loony this guy is, here are a few of his more "moderate" positions:
The BBC has an excellent rundown of Corbyn’s actual policy platform. It includes, among other things, renationalizing Britain’s railroad system and energy companies, abolishing tuition for British universities, and imposing rent controls to deal with Britain’s affordable housing problem. He’s even open to reopening the coal mines that used to be a big part of Britain’s economy. It’s essentially a throwback to the unreconstructed socialism — the real thing, way beyond Bernie Sanders — of the old-school British Labour Party, which used to be way more into the idea of the government controlling huge sectors of the economy.
Some of Corbyn’s ideas are more appealing than others. Most importantly, he wants to end Britain’s austerity spending cuts, which damaged the UK’s recovery from the Great Recession. He also proposes something called “people’s quantitative easing,” in which the Bank of England would print money to invest in infrastructure projects. This won him praise from the Financial Times‘s Matthew Klein, who described it as a good way to get money into the hands of ordinary Brits and thus stimulate the economy.
Corbyn’s positions on foreign policy are more extreme. He wants to withdraw from NATO, abolish the UK’s nuclear arsenal, and has suggested that Blair could face a war crimes trial for his role in the Iraq War. His position on Ukraine echoes the Kremlin’s:He’s written that Russian expansionism “is not unprovoked” and that “the obsession with cold war politics that exercises the Nato and EU leaderships is fueling the crisis.”
Notoriously, Corbyn once referred to members of Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends,” and invited Hamas representatives to speak in Parliament. Here are the comments, from a 2009 speech he gave as a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign:
It will be my pleasure and honor to host an event in Parliament where our friends from Hezbollah will be speaking. I’ve also invited our friends from Hamas to come and speak as well. … So far as I’m concerned, that is absolutely the right function of using Parliamentary facilities.

Amazingly, the less radical members of his own party are denouncing him. More importantly, anyone with any political heft in Labor are refusing to serve in his shadow government. His shadow cabinet will be made up of members even more radical than he is.
The bottom line, as Dan Hodges points out in the Telegraph, is that Labor isn't even an opposition party any more.
Jeremy Corbyn’s opponents can’t begin to picture Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister. Jeremy Corbyn’s own cheerleaders can’t begin to picture Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister. Even Jeremy Corbyn can’t begin to picture Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister. How in God’s name are the voters supposed to picture it?
They aren’t, of course. The voters were the last people under consideration when Labour’s new army of £3 activists pumped out their fusillade of electronic ballots.
Labour has not just relinquished any prospect of being a party of government. It has just relinquished any prospect of being a party of opposition. Earlier in the week David Cameron called his ministers together for their political cabinet. It opened with some concerned analysis about the potential political consequences of a Corbyn victory. One minister pointed to the size of Labour’s potential activist base. Another noted how the enthusiasm for Corbyn amongst Labour supporters reminded him of the first stirrings of the SNP surge in Scotland. Then there was a pause. And then everyone started laughing. It was, they all agreed, a result beyond their wildest dreams.
This is what the Labour Party has become. Literally, a laughing stock.
"There is only one way an official opposition can put pressure on a government, writes Hodges. "That is by making itself a potential government." One look at the loons, the cranks, the crackpots, and the wild eyed radicals who have seized control of the Labor Party, and the British voter will run in terror directly into the arms of the Tories.
Does this really mean the death of Labor? Hodges offers this:
But in the end it all boils down to this. Political parties die because they want to die. None of this had to happen. Labour could have elected a solid but unremarkable interim leader. Yvette Cooper’s steel. Liz Kendall’s courage. Whatever it is that’s left of Andy Burnham after three months of remorseless self-abasement. They would not have enthused or energised anyone. But at least they would have kept the flame alive.
But that’s not what Labour Party members wanted. They wanted to see their party go out in a final blaze of uncompromising glory.
Something similar will be written here if Bernie Sanders wins the Democratic nomination for president.

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