Teachwell | Principles, What Principles?
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Principles, What Principles?

flickr photo by h de c https://flickr.com/photos/h_de_c/3291979569 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license
flickr photo by h de c https://flickr.com/photos/h_de_c/3291979569 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

A while back I wrote a blog that upset a few people by comparing Corbyn with Moseley, in terms of their style of politics, rather than ideology. Since then, I have read a number of articles which demonstrate that I am not alone in my concerns about the anti-democratic instincts of the Corbyn ‘movement’ – including Nick Cohen’s piece here.


Corbyn is often hailed as being principled? Is he? Or are people mistaking stubbornly held views and being narrow-minded for a moral stance? Being principled is generally seen as acting with integrity and honesty; Corbyn has little of either.


He does not give any of the top shadow cabinet positions to any women. So he then lies when appointing a shadow defence secretary who is pro-Trident, stating that he knows her views, but that he will stand by what the party chooses to decide. Did he heck! As soon as it was clear it wasn’t going his way he chose to make a public statement which made a pro-Trident decision by the party invalid. Oh but he’s the leader! Yes, he is, in which case make the policy and have done with. Don’t put on an act about respecting internal democracy in the Labour party and then override it! Then, if it’s not enough that he refuses to meet her to discuss what is her shadow cabinet portfolio after all, he undermines Eagle by putting Ken Livingstone as co-chair of the party’s defence review. Yes, that’s right the elected shadow cabinet minister is going to share the chair with the unelected ex-Mayor of London. Why is this? Greater knowledge and experience? More understanding of the issues? Insight and links which Eagle does not have? No, he is there to ensure it goes the right way for Jeremy.


That’s not the only dishonesty that has got me riled recently. He reversed his decision on giving MPs a free vote on Syria, which he said he would at the start of his leadership. However, Jeremy’s passive-aggressive tactics begin again. He fails to persuade his shadow cabinet, so undermines them by conducting a poll of party members’ views. He doesn’t even bother the f*** to get the survey results compiled, instead a ‘selection’ of 2000 of the tens of thousands who responded were analysed and which surprise, surprise endorsed Corbyn’s view. Either they went through them even superficially to gauge support and therefore have some credibility saying it was representative OR they could see a lot more responses against Jeremy’s position than expected and came up with this ridiculous face-saving exercise. I would have no problem if 99% of those who responded had had agreed with Jeremy Corbyn’s stance, but at least they should have been counted. Or, here’s a thought, if you want to conduct a poll at short notice, make it a simple one that can be easily analysed by a computer. I’ve taught 7 year olds to conduct this kind of a survey using Survey Monkey. It’s really isn’t that difficult.


And I do believe there was more opposition than 25% in that survey because after all the rigmarole he then decided not to whip the vote after all. Why, if he has such backing did he bother to do that? Yet what a dishonest act it proves to be because in the same sentence where he stated Labour MPs would have a free vote he threatens them. ‘The party membership will be watching’, which is simply an underhand way of saying, ‘it’s not my fault if you vote for the airstrikes and then get de-selected’.


Go to hell, Jeremy! Are your lapdogs watching those MPs who disagree with you and voted for the airstrikes? Are they getting their friends in Militant, SWP and Left Unity to tag along, not to mention Stop the War, who don’t seem as opposed to violence as the name would suggest?


Fine, but bear this in mind – the rest of us are not walking around with blinkers on. The 51% who voted against you in the Labour Party; the Labour electorate, and the electorate in general is watching you too. And what they are seeing is not honesty or integrity.


This post was originally published on the Labour Teachers website.

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