Astonishing thread re Centrist/FBPE Corbyn myths about Corbyn takes Twitter by storm — by SKWAWKBOX

Labour activist and writer Shaun Lawson has responded to the ongoing anti-Labour/anti-Corbyn smear and propaganda campaign with a Twitter thread. Quite simply, it is the best summary of the real situation that you’re ever likely to read – and the responses to it support that assessment.

So please do read – and share – a peerless cutting-through the Establishment misdirection, which is reproduced below with Shaun’s kind permission. This information needs to be out there, because you’ll never hear or see it in the Establishment media.

Shaun Lawson (@shaunjlawson) January 1, 2019

THREAD: I’m seeing a fair few people on my timeline – FBPEers mostly – still spouting the ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS NONSENSE that the only thing stopping a Labour government is Corbyn. So let’s run through this once again, shall we?

1) The morning after the 2015 election, Labour looked in more trouble than at any time since the 1930s. It was hemmed in from all sides: the Tories in the south, the SNP in Scotland, UKIP in the midlands and north. Hopelessly squeezed with no way out.

2) In the aftermath, not only the idiot commentariat but many Labour MPs insisted that the only way forward was to accept austerity, accept welfare cuts, and be Tory lite. Ludicrous. Their big idea was to abandon anything Labour stood for at all. It was a suicide wish.

3) At the leadership election, we had three automatons, petrified of saying anything that sounded like genuine Labour. We had to be tough on welfare! We had to be tough on immigration! We’d lost the economic narrative! And all three were too chickenshit to try and reclaim it.

4) All this was going on at a time Labour was close to bankrupt, its membership had shrivelled away, it had lost countless millions of working class voters, and Cameron wanted to end trade union funding. Labour faced a very real existential crisis.

5) Into this breach stepped Corbyn – with Ed Miliband’s fateful decision to turn leadership elections into US-style primaries changing history. Here was someone with real vision, passion, energy. Here was someone who could inspire millions. So he won: deservedly. It was a rout.

6) Of course he’s an unorthodox leader. No flash or slickness with Jeremy. He’s all about the membership – and much more than that, he’s all about what actually MATTERS. Not Westminster fluff – but people. Millions and millions of them. Their lives, their hardship.

7) Unfortunately, he still had to deal with an astoundingly clueless PLP who made his life a misery and whose continued misreading of 2015 helped bring about Brexit. Which, much more than anything else, was caused by austerity (which much of the PLP had wanted to support).

8) So clueless are many of these MPs that not only do they continue to support such horrors as arming Saudi Arabia or Israel’s treatment of Palestinians – but at last year’s election, they very plainly canvassed the wrong people. Hence their shock at the result on election night.

9) I don’t know what these MPs had been doing with themselves at surgeries and so on – but their obliviousness to hideous, Dickensian levels of Tory wickedness and cruelty mirrored that of the media. It’s remarkable what living in a bubble can do.

10) But I digress. Throughout 2016 and into 2017, we were told – by the same people who didn’t see 2015 coming, didn’t see Brexit coming, and didn’t see Trump coming either – that Corbyn was leading Labour to catastrophe. That it would be wiped out. That the end was nigh.

12) And here’s the thing. That’s still the case now. There’s no-one else in the Labour Party who has anything remotely akin to Corbyn’s broad appeal. And I’m afraid the time for Blairite politics has been and gone. Blairism works in benign times; not savagely divided, unjust ones

13) Blairism, indeed, helped create the situation the UK’s in now. His government broke the trust between politicians and public; massively inflated the housing bubble; ignored inequality; abandoned the working class; and failed to reform our broken electoral system.

14) If people want to hark back to the days of triangulation, that’s their look-out. But nothing could be less appealing now. THAT is why the Lib Dems are at 6%: in a country where capitalism is flat out failing, centrism DOES NOT WORK.

15) Nor, for that matter, does it work anywhere else in Europe. “If only we had a Macron”, cried the same idiot commentariat last year. How’s that working out for you? “If only we had a moderate centre-left option!”, cry those who haven’t noticed Pasokification all over Europe.

16) Labour’s huge resurgence – in members, money, appeal, and votes: thirteen million of them – bucks a global trend. It is colossally to Corbyn’s credit. If the left does not stand for something truly bold and radical, it will lose its core support to the nativist right.

17) That’s the reality in a Europe riven by austerity and neoliberalism. In a Europe where capitalism no longer works because so few people can access capital. In a Europe where a whole generation of young people have been sold down the river, and jobs are ever more insecure.

18) Not only that – but in Britain, no Labour leader except Blair has won a proper majority since, get this, 1966. So give over with your “Labour should be 20 points ahead” nonsense. That it’s polling 40% under a real left wing leader is a remarkable achievement.

19) The battle ahead remains tough. All Britain’s most powerful vested interests are lined up with the Tories – the party of wealth, oligarchies, with most of the media in its pocket. But that battle can and will be won: and with it, the chance to truly remake the UK at last.

20) Most of the smears – and yes, they have mostly been smears – are because the British establishment, so entrenched for so long, so breathtakingly corrupt with it – is petrified. Shit scared of a genuinely fair country which treats all its people with respect and dignity.

21) As for Brexit: well, I’m a Remainer and hope we remain. But Corbyn’s strategy remains correct. This is the Tories’ mess, it’s their Waterloo. And while 70% of Labour voters voted Remain, the other 30% are packed into the seats Labour needs to win. That’s electoral reality.

22) Be in no doubt: Labour will do everything in their power to stop No Deal, which I cannot see Parliament allowing (however complicated not allowing it will be). But at the heart of FBPEers’ fury at Corbyn is a profound misconception.

23) Remainers argue: “How can Labour claim to represent the poor when Brexit is going to make them even poorer?” This whole thesis is based on austerity continuing and the Tories remaining in government. Tory Brexit will be terrible, yes; Labour Brexit won’t.

24) The gap between the two parties is wider now than at any time since the early 1980s. They represent opposing economic orthodoxies: one of which entrenches wealth and inequality and punishes the poor and weak; the other of which is redistributive and utilitarian.

25) If the argument – as it seems to be – is that one of the richest countries on the planet will somehow miraculously not be able to redistribute wealth from rich to poor if its economy is 4% smaller by 2030 than it otherwise would’ve been… well, that is utterly ridiculous.

26) Portugal is a massively smaller economy than the UK. Its socialist government is doing a fantastic job rebuilding it and redistributing wealth. Uruguay is a tiny economy. Its leftist government has done a fantastic job rebuilding it and redistributing wealth since 2004.

27) Not only that – but while you won’t get any argument from me about probable economic shock after Brexit, even the forecasts themselves are based on Tory economic orthodoxy. We’ve got so used to it for the last 40 years that we assume there’s no other way! But there is.

28) Can Labour build a post-Brexit Britain fit for everyone: with fairness and social justice at its core, which ends the housing and homelessness crisis, tackles economic and inter-generational inequality and gives everyone a stake in prosperity and success? OF COURSE IT CAN.

29) Alternatively, what would happen if Corbyn stood down now? CRASH: that would be the sound of his electoral coalition collapsing, members deserting in their droves, working class Leavers reacting in rage, and the Tories making hay in our ridiculous electoral system.

30) Many centrists clearly don’t understand this new zeitgeist. But that’s how it is. And no, Corbyn’s not perfect. He’s very far from it. I have plenty of criticisms of his leadership too. But he’s not only Britain and the left’s best hope. He’s the only hope.

On New Year’s Day, the SKWAWKBOX published a Twitter thread by writer and academic Shaun Lawson in which he dismantled, brick by brick, the perverse misdirections used by the ‘FBPE’/remain-obsessive arm of the Establishment to try to pin the blame for the government’s Brexit chaos on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Lawson has now posted a follow-up thread to fill in a gaps, answer questions posed and, even more crucially, to lay out the realities and prospects of a Labour-led post-Brexit future.

It’s just as much a must-read – and a must-share – as the first one. The Mike Hind thread linked in tweet 14 is well worth a read and share too, while tweet 37 shows why GDP-based scare stories about Brexit don’t mean the vast majority of us would be worse off.

It’s not merely a must-read for now. Both threads are a vital resource to bookmark and return to whenever the false arguments of those who don’t want to see a Corbyn-led government are regurgitated. The new thread is reproduced below with Shaun’s kind permission:

 Shaun Lawson@shaunjlawson

THREAD: Well, yesterday’s thread went unexpectedly viral. Massive thanks to all those who shared it – and for such a positive response. I want to deal with some of the questions it prompted here. Hopefully this won’t prove as long as yesterday’s – but y’know, famous last words…

1) Negative responses more or less broke down into three categories: a) Ad hominem attacks (folks – what do you think you achieve with that? Nothing) b) Those who wanted answers to things the thread already answered c) Questions on things it didn’t fully answer. Fair enough.

2) These questions revolved around both Brexit and Corbyn himself. So that’s what this thread will focus on. To begin with, Brexit.

3) I honestly think Jeremy Corbyn is the first political leader in history to be denounced as a ‘liar’ for… implementing the manifesto he stood on. A manifesto which supported Brexit; just a softer one than the Tory version. A manifesto which respected the referendum result.

4) Since then, Labour have continued to respect the result – but at Party Conference, their position evolved into a) Vote down the deal if it didn’t meet Labour’s tests b) Seek a general election c) If this fails, all options are on the table. That remains the case now.

5) Theresa May’s failure to allow a vote on her deal is what’s led to the current impasse – which happily, won’t last much longer. Once the meaningful vote happens, if it’s lost, Labour will call a confidence vote. If that’s lost, all options are on the table. ALL options.

6) The motion at Party Conference was passed by the membership. Who, sorry folks, are NOT being ignored – and if all options do become open, won’t be ignored then either.

7) Given all this, the argument of the most vociferous Remainers (I don’t want to label them as FBPEers: I erred there yesterday. None of these labels are helpful) seems to be: 1) Ignore the referendum result 2) Ignore Labour’s manifesto 3) Ignore the LPC motion. Extraordinary.

8) I’ve heard of In Place of Strife – but this is In Place of Democracy. Not once, not twice, but THREE times over – and people attack Corbyn for respecting it?! Are you having a laugh?

9) Then there’s the question of Labour’s apparent imminent ‘collapse’ or ‘split’ and ‘doom’ at the next election if Brexit happens. People – there’s a pro-PV party in the UK. It’s called the Liberal Democrats. Why are the Lib Dems not so much waving as drowning in the polls?

10) Hovering around 6, 7, 8, 9% if they’re lucky: well below where they were for the first half of 2017. And MILES below where they were for a good 30 years or so. This is a party which spent much of my life at around 15-20%: peaking, of course, during the 2010 GE campaign.

11) Whereupon it committed political suicide. Put a gun to its own head and pulled the trigger, betraying millions. It has never been forgiven since: including by the young people so many insist will abandon tuition fee-scrapping Corbyn if Brexit happens.

12) So often, the claim is “these people only lent Labour their vote temporarily”. I don’t think so. And why? Because on values, they’re fully aligned with Labour, and with Corbyn. And in British politics in 2018, values count as maybe never before.

13) Which leads me to a broader point. Apparently, all those of us who support Labour are a ‘cult’. That’s a ‘cult’ – with 13 million voters. A ‘cult’ – with the largest party membership in Western Europe. A ‘cult’, which has transformed the prospects of the left. Some ‘cult’.

14) Though on the subject of ‘cults’ – and while I’d never suggest for a moment that this is representative of all or most Remainers – so many stones are being thrown from glasshouses, we’ll all be subject to a great clattering from the sky at any moment. …

15) Remainers do, though, have a question to answer. As well as “why are the Lib Dems doing so badly?”, it’s “why did some of you vote for Cameron in 2015?” Because some/many of you undoubtedly did. And you complain that Labour is a different party nowadays?! What do you expect?

16) Ed Miliband’s defeat was what led Labour to look deep inside itself and Corbyn to emerge. Those of you who helped defeat him (not me: I loved Labour’s 2015 manifesto and campaign) only have yourselves to blame. So own it. Take responsibility. Ditto for Remain’s defeat.

17) Remain’s defeat – which had been decades in the making. Not just because of the right wing media – but because so many of you ignored what was happening to working class people across the UK. Millions upon millions of whom were abandoned. How many of you cared?

18) Well, the shoe’s on the other foot now. “We are politically homeless!”, cry many of those who voted for actual homelessness in 2010 and 2015. “We have no-one representing us!”, wail those happy to leave so many millions totally unrepresented for almost 40 years.

19) And with regard to them: if they’re betrayed YET AGAIN, what will they make of British ‘democracy’? That’s not something which can just be shrugged off – least of all with an attitude of “we know better than you what’s good for you”. Not a good look, folks.

20) Incidentally, I’m perfectly well aware that all sorts of people voted for Brexit: including rich right wing Tories. But the vote broke down more than anything on educational lines – with Britain having so many have-nots that they gave the establishment a well-deserved kicking

21) When a country has so many poor people, so many it’s just left to rot, its system has failed. When there are no prospects for those who don’t enjoy the quality education others (including me) had, its system has failed. Stop sneering at Brexit voters and start empathising.

22) Which, of course, brings us to the crux. The point I made which incurred most criticism was where I suggested a Labour Brexit is infinitely preferable to a Tory one. “He’s deluded! He’s swallowed the kool aid! Magic Grandpa has melted his brain!” Er, no.

23) If there’s a Tory Brexit, Tory austerity will continue apace. The entire project is about shrinking the state and rewarding their super-rich friends. It’s about destroying the welfare state too. But hang on – how was that welfare state built in the first place?

24) After the war, unlike the disgraceful nonsense spouted about us “turning into Greece” in 2010, Britain really WAS bankrupt. Or at least, as close to bankrupt as it’s possible for a sovereign state controlling its own money supply to be. So what did we do?

25) We only went and built the entire welfare state – above all, the NHS. We only went and built homes, homes and more homes too. Despite being almost bankrupt. Remarkable. Thank God for that government; heroes who built a nation fit for their fellow heroes.

26) So what’s the plan now? It’s for some latter day equivalent to that – because by God, does Britain need to be rebuilt from the bottom up. And it CAN be. Even after Brexit.

27) For 40 years, Britain has laboured under a myth. “Running a country is like running a household budget”. Well, it’s not. It couldn’t be less so. For businesses to grow, they borrow to invest. For a family to buy a home, they borrow too. Well: investment is what we must do too

28) We are a rich sovereign state who control our own money supply. For over 300 years, like every other major nation on the planet, our debt has grown. What happened to all those nations? They developed, they progressed, they innovated, they prospered. So can we.

29) “But inflation!”, cry naysayers. Where was that inflation when we printed money like it was going out of fashion for Qualitative Easing? So we can print money for banks – who caused the crash in the first place – but not the people, who’ve been punished ever since? Baloney.

30) For those of you who’ve not heard about Modern Monetary Theory, read up on it. It’ll shock you, I promise. Better still: get thee to @graceblakeley‘s Twitter page and buy her book when it comes out. She knows what she’s talking about; she knows what a scam Tory economics are

31) Everything that’s happened in Britain since 2010 is a result of deliberate government policy. Almost everything that happens after Brexit – assuming it happens – will again be a result of government policy. Tory policy… or Labour policy.

32) Yes, Brexit will leave the economy a bit smaller medium term than it otherwise would’ve been. Thereby leaving us still one of the richest countries on the planet. So all the much smaller, much poorer economies CAN redistribute wealth – but we can’t? Utter nonsense.

33) No Deal will likely be a disaster, I quite agree – but Labour will do everything in their power to prevent No Deal. So will Parliament as a whole. What happens with Brexit beyond that, we’ll just have to see. No-one can predict with confidence events between now and March 29.

34) Then – whether we’ve left or whether we’ve not – what happens under a Labour government, if and when it’s elected? At times of difficulty, smart countries spend themselves back to prosperity. Economy recovers and grows. The tax take rises. The deficit falls. Rinse and repeat.

35) True, we no longer have Breton Woods nowadays – but Keynesian macro-economics still makes plenty of sense, especially when combined with MMT. And debt only becomes a problem if the interest on it can’t be serviced. Interest rates, by way of reminder, remain historically low.

36) Of course I expect some degree of economic shock if we leave. But what happens to the UK depends on the policy its sovereign government pursues. It’s always been that way. And even the forecasts are all based on the same busted neoliberal model in any case.

Income Distribution
Income Distribution

38) As the great Grace Blakeley says, growth has become completely decoupled from living standards. That’s the Tories for you. They’re not only disgusting; they’re rubbish at economics and rubbish at capitalism. Labour can and will change that. …

The problem is not capitalism. It’s that the Tories aren’t much cop at it | Aditya Chakrabortty The party’s still in Thatcher’s shadow – but now the Treasury’s cupboard is bare and voters know it, says Guardian columnist Aditya Chakrabortty

39) Finally – at long last, I know – what of Corbyn himself? ‘Magic Grandpa’, or ‘Uncle Steptoe’, as he’s so charmingly referred to by the members of the How To Lose Friends And Alienate People faction on here? “Unelectable! Loser! You’re all so deluded!”

40) This ‘unelectable loser’ a) Transformed a bankrupt party into a thriving one, with a membership towering over everyone else in Western Europe b) Faced down his mostly clueless Parliamentary Party c) Started 2017 campaign 20 points behind… and ended it with a hung Parliament

41) There is no precedent in British electoral history for a party to do that from 20 points back. There’s very few in Western electoral history. For the crime of increasing Labour’s share of the vote by more than anyone since 1945, and reversing 18-year-decline, he’s a ‘loser’?!

42) How did he do that? The most extraordinary thing about Jeremy Corbyn is how ordinary and modest a human being he is. Unassuming, natural, loves and is at home with people. In an age where voters are thirsting for authenticity, they identify with that. Rightly so.

43) Not only that – but this is an underdog movement. For the weak against the strong. Corbyn embodies it: he’s been an underdog throughout his whole political career. But on the two most important issues of our time – Iraq and austerity – he got it right, while most got it wrong

44) It’s the symbolism he provides which is so compelling. Set-piece performances at PMQs, slogans and soundbites are nothing compared with what he represents. This huge, burgeoning movement which can change millions of lives for the better.

45) Of course I see his flaws. He’s got tons of them. So what? The public are sick to death of slick-haired chancers who’ll sell them down the river first chance they get. Compare May’s response to Grenfell to Corbyn’s. He showed true leadership. That’s who he is.

46) What’s my biggest concern about him? That he’s not getting any younger. Labour need someone to emerge who can build on his legacy when – later rather than sooner, I trust – he steps aside.

47) Not, in any case, that what happened in 2017 was entirely his work. Of course not. Thanks to him, Labour had built such a massive network of members and activists that they made a quite colossal difference. And at the next GE, they’ll do so again.

48) Labour’s brilliant online activists – including so many on this platform – will do so again too. This movement is only going to grow, with or without Brexit. The idiots who ran the 2015 and EU referendum campaigns are long since gone. The new group of tyros really GET IT.

49) “So why is he still behind in the polls?” The answer’s simple. British politics is in a holding pattern until Brexit. Has been ever since June 2017. Everyone’s just waiting for March 29. If the Tories are left holding the baby at/after that point, they’ll never be forgiven.

50) Not only that, but to once again repeat: since 2008, the left has collapsed across Europe. Only in Portugal is it thriving; Portugal and the UK, given the 40% Labour’s been polling for 18 months now. And as a great man once said: it’ll go higher.

51) Apologies: there was one thing I forgot, and am going to cover now. It’s been brought up by plenty of respondents – and fair enough too. Brexit: constitutional implications.

52) First up, Scotland. Where Labour, of course, held a once impregnable position – but blew it through a decade and more of disgusting complacency and disgraceful neglect: economic, social, and political. The ‘branch office’ was a well-deserved title.

53) But even then, I do not believe for a single moment that the independence bandwagon would’ve reached critical mass had it not been for Tory austerity. That was like a red rag to a bull: a scandalous level of democratic deficit. Tories being in suits the SNP, make no mistake.

54) But here’s what’s truly remarkable. Since Brexit, has support for independence risen? Nope. YES can’t break through the same 45% barrier it got stuck at on referendum night. …

55) Scotland voted Remain. Scotland’s being dragged out against its will. Yet NO is still comfortably ahead – and in one recent poll (admittedly with a question which changed YES and NO to Leave and Remain), it was NINETEEN points behind. Stupefying.

56) But maybe the wording of that question provides an important clue. The Scottish public seem to be viewing the trials and tribulations of a country seeking to extricate itself from a long-established economic and political union and concluding: “Not for us thanks”.

57) So fears of Brexit causing Scotland’s departure are probably overblown on all available evidence. But what of Labour? How can it truly re-establish itself there AND ensure the UK stays together well into the future?

58) Remember how above, I mentioned that Remainers, especially the young, won’t abandon Labour because their VALUES are so entwined? That’s the key here. Values. Labour has to prove to the Scottish people that it understands their anger, and it has changed. Completely.

59) That question of Values will also apply if, as the splendid @paulmasonnews argued recently, Labour does ultimately fall in behind a second EU referendum. Because it and Remain would need to prove to left behind working class voters that it gets it; that it truly understands.

60) If Labour does ultimately come out for a 2nd referendum, there must not under any circumstances be euphoria or triumphalism. Its entire approach needs to be “look, we tried – we tried our damndest, but now we’re going to fix things for you. Completely. Join us, and we will”

61) Finally, Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is why a deal MUST happen, or a 2nd referendum happen instead. The border is an intractable question. Do I think Labour could get a better deal? I doubt it – though this was very interesting indeed: …

‘Delay to Brexit’ if UK wants new deal. Any “entirely new” proposal from the UK would lead to a delay to Brexit, says the Irish foreign minister.

62) Those comments from the Irish Foreign Minister – who knows the reality of all this better than more or less anyone – do at least suggest that Labour getting a better deal isn’t impossible. But clearly, Article 50 would have to be extended first.

63) Whether that’s politically feasible, and whether all EU member states would agree to it, I don’t know. Keeping Northern Ireland in ‘a’ or ‘the’ customs union is inevitable though. It MUST happen.

64) No-one knows what will happen between now and March 29. Entire British polity is in flux. I reiterate that on balance, I’d prefer to Remain. But unless there’s No Deal, there’ll be enormous opportunity for Labour in a post-Brexit UK. Its values can become Britain’s values too

65) And that really, truly is it. Thanks to anyone who’s stuck with it all the way through. My message: keep sticking with it, keep fighting, keep campaigning, and dream big. Very big. Because #ChangeIsComing. Sweeping the Tories away like a broom does dust. /FIN

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