Labour Party

Can Corbyn's Labour grasp the moment?

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The Tories’ Brexit troubles are escalating, with talk of an early general election returning. But can Corbyn’s Labour Party take advantage of the situation? Shaun Doherty investigates.

In any assessment of the Labour Party conference it’s useful to look beyond the headlines, particularly since some of them were quite remarkable.

After Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s closing speech to conference George Osborne’s London Evening Standard ran a front page featuring a caricature of Corbyn wearing a communist hat and carrying a volume of Marx, alongside the headline, “Corbyn: United, We Will Never be Defeated”.

Labour must hold the line against pro-remain centre

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Pressure is building on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party leadership to agree to backing a second referendum on Britain leaving the EU. Several trade unions, including the GMB, are either balloting members over the issue or preparing to take motions to this month’s TUC conference in Manchester calling for Labour to adopt the policy.

In an email sent to GMB members, the general secretary, Tim Roache, wrote: “GMB wants to hear from members about your views on Brexit, and whether you think there should be a public vote when we know what the deal looks like.”

Antisemitism, the witch hunt and the left

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The accusations of antisemitism in the Labour Party have continued unabated. Rob Ferguson unpicks the relationship between real instances of antisemitism and politically motivated attacks.

On 24 April, as Socialist Review went to press, Jeremy Corbyn and the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD) held a much publicised “crunch” meeting. A Labour spokesperson described it as “positive and constructive, serious and good humoured”. The BoD had a different take, describing the meeting as “a disappointing missed opportunity” and demanded “strong actions in order to bring about a deep cultural change in [Corbyn’s] supporters’ attitudes to Jews.”

A Party With Socialists in it

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With the Labour Party’s swelling membership amid continuing tensions between the Labour’s left and right wings, a book that addresses the fortunes of socialists in the party could not be more timely. Simon Hannah has provided a good summary of their rises and falls, going back to the creation of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) in 1893, the formation of the Labour Representation Committee (LRC) seven years later, through to the rise of Jeremy Corbyn and ensuing battles with the party’s right wing.

Tories out before 2022?

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Theresa May’s government is staggering from crisis to crisis, yet no likely replacement for May is apparent. Charlie Kimber assesses the political landscape as Corbyn’s Labour Party waits in the wings.

Theresa May keeps finding new ways to have a worse week than the one before. Don’t think this process will end in 2018. New lows will be reached, regarded as the bottom of the pit — and then even deeper depths discovered.

But it’s a great danger to think this means the inevitable demise of the May regime. No Tory wants to risk Jeremy Corbyn in Number 10 and the spectre of a Labour government promising change is what saves May. There is no unifying alternative to her for the Tories, and she acts as the useful scapegoat who could be replaced later on.

Gordon Brown, bless him

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In his new memoir the former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown seeks to rebrand himself as a cuddly old leftie fit for the Corbyn era. John Newsinger recalls some of the evidence to the contrary.

While there were never any serious policy differences between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, the conflict between the two men and their supporters was not just about personalities, or about who should be prime minister.

1997: The Future That Never Happened

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The 1997 general election saw the hated Tories thrown out, indeed humiliated, and a bright New Labour government take office under an idealistic young leader, Tony Blair. There was widespread hope of change and improvement. It is useful to remember how enthusiastic much of the left was about Blair at this time with one former Communist Party intellectual actually describing New Labour as a “Gramscian project”!

A positive message from Scottish Labour

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Most people on the left in Scotland will welcome the election of Richard Leonard as the new leader of Scottish Labour. Clearly identifying himself as a socialist, though not as a “Corbynista”, his vote represents a major step forward for all those looking to see Labour become a party in Scotland which challenges the Tory agenda of austerity, cuts and the scapegoating of refugees and immigrants.

Seize the time

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The general election result confounded the expectations of the media, the Tories and the right of the Labour Party. Ian Taylor analyses what the Corbyn surge and the Tories’ deepened crisis mean for socialists — and asks how we can turn our side’s boosted confidence into action against Tory rule.

The 8 June general election marked a shift in the balance of class forces in Britain. A Tory government expected to return with a majority of 60 to 100 seats was knocked back on its heels. Even on the morning of the election Theresa May was advised she could expect a majority of 92. And the Labour right, which has held sway in the party since the 1980s and on most key issues is barely distinguishable from the Tories, was also dealt a staggering blow.

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