Statement on the Labour leadership contest

As ever we’d love your input, thoughts and reflections and we encourage you to comment below.

The Labour leadership contest forces Compass to think really hard about its political strategy. What do we want from this and what do we expect from it? The situation is complex, so if you want simple answers then look away now.

We start with a bit of history – our history. In the twelve years of our existence there have been two Labour leadership votes. In 2007 the Compass Management Committee backed the only candidate on the ballot, Gordon Brown. Then in 2010, based on a ballot of all members, the decisive choice was Ed Miliband. They were the only and then the best choices to be made, but neither worked out well. Change is about much more than which ‘leader’, but about understanding the context and crucially it is about us and what we as citizens do.

Then in 2011 the Compass membership voted to take the huge cultural and political step of changing our constitution to open up membership beyond just Labour to welcome in party members from the Greens, Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru and anyone who supported our good society goals of much greater equality, sustainability, democracy and pluralism. We had to practice what we preached. That step meant our relationship with Labour changed for good.

Fast forward to today. As Compass stands there would be little legitimacy or integrity to a vote on an internal Labour contest of Compass members, given the welcome influx of people from other parties.

Our commitment is to building a progressive alliance across all parties, social movements and intellectual currents who want the same things that we do and want to behave in the same caring, open, inquiring and empathetic way. As soon as we decided that the strategic objective was to operate across all progressive spaces we forfeited an exclusive relation with any one space. 

At the same time we have a real interest and analysis of what’s going on in Labour. It is still a big and important tent in the progressive campsite. While our ‘first past the post’ electoral system remains and distorts our politics, it is in everyone’s interest for Labour to do well. Right now the Labour tent is looking weak and worn as highlighted by the dispiriting fiasco of the party’s response to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill.

Compass saw the crisis of Labour coming. Both the New Labour years and Miliband’s leadership papered over deep cultural and structural cracks in social democracy. Downfall identified them more fully. Other Compass initiatives and publications like the Open Tribe, Reclaim Modernity and New Times have set out the culture and purpose of a modern and progressive politics. As the 21st century really starts to kick in, Labour feels very far from any of this.

So we pose the question, not who should lead Labour, but how and in what direction? What should we expect from any party political leader in the 21st century to help build a good society, whether they are Labour, Green, SNP, Plaid Cymru or any party with progressive potential?

  • The first point to reiterate is that party leadership doesn’t matter anywhere near as much as Westminster and the media think. Politics is about big cultural change – without the wave the surfer is nothing. Leaders need to understand the times they live in and how they can bend modernity to our values.
  • Just as important as any leader wanting a much more equal, democratic and sustainable world is having a vision for how we achieve it. They must understand that no single party or movement is capable of making the transformation alone, and that the complexity of the world we want to help shape must be at least matched by an equal level of political complexity. So they must be pluralists with open and inquiring minds. Support for proportional representation is just the base camp of a new politics of radical democracy in a future that will negotiated not imposed.
  • They must know that a leader in a networked society cannot deploy the old methods of command and control but must instead be a facilitator, coach and space creator for others. Lasting change happens because people make it happen. New leaders are platform builders and sense makers for the rest of us. They know that there are no short cuts to political success and that deep intellectual, organisational and cultural foundations have to be built.
  • New leaders use their party to prefigure a good society – to practice kindness and to let go, to have the confidence to experiment and fail so that we can all learn and develop.

There is of course more – they must possess the kind of personality that will help attract new voters, have existing networks of intellectual and organisational support and the ability to craft narratives and programmes to help build a better economy and society.

This is a tall order we know. But when so many in the country are crying out for something different and better, and when so many examples and ideas exist which show how to make this happen, a much better politics is fast becoming possible.

The surge of interest around the Jeremy Corbyn leadership campaign clearly gives many a glimpse of what is possible. Even if you don’t share all of his politics, or even worry about much of them, it is exciting to hear someone provide a confident and calm alternative to austerity and privatisation. And to do so with authenticity and it seems, without ego. It’s little wonder so many young people are enthused and active in his campaign.

The Corbyn campaign shows just how quickly things now change in politics. No one saw this coming, not even Jeremy. We have seen the surge of UKIP, the SNP the Greens and the fall of Labour. Politics is now fluid and complex. More than anything, we need a way to make sense of it and build coherence out of complexity. As we said at the start – there are no simple answers. Certainly not answers that mean leaders will sort it all out for us. We are always the people we have been waiting for.

Compass will always work constructively, but without illusions, with whoever wins the Labour leadership, just as we will with the leaders of the Greens, the SNP, the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru. Compass will also help create new political spaces – in towns and cities and around issues like a new Europe, a new economy and a new democracy.

These really are the best of times and the worst. The Tories may have narrowly won the election but the old politics is dying before us and the vacuum is creating the space and the energy for something new to emerge. We can all feel it, even though we don’t yet know how it will materialise. But we should also be mindful that change doesn’t necessarily mean change for the better.

The role of Compass is help make sense of these new and fast changing times, to build the ideas, policies and networks across all progressive forces for a good society – a world we would all choose to live in.

As ever we’d love your input, thoughts and reflections and we encourage you to comment below.

141 thoughts on “Statement on the Labour leadership contest

  1. I agree economically with Corbyn but ideologically he worries he on social issues – he seemed very unwilling to allow that local culture and religion had any role to play in the creation of IS on Question Time recently (it was of course massively facilitated by the disastrous Iraq invasion but let’s not let Islamofacism of the hook), or that free movement of labour was in any negative (wages at the lowest end have been proven to have been driven down despite overall economic gain) in a way which struck me as disingenuous, out-of-touch or deluded.

    This kind of self-indulgent, inauthentic knee-jerkery and holier-than-thou Lord Longfordism will not win back working-class votes lost to UKIP in the North.

    If he sorts this out, then bring on the Corbyn!

  2. I want to see a government that implements socialist policies. I don’t care which party achieves that, but at the moment Jeremy Corbyn is the best candidate for the job by a long shot. Let’s get rid of Tory / New Labour privatisation and have a system that works for society as a whole, not the ever greedy ultra rich.

  3. We need global co-operation to curb corporate power. They are acting as cartels and are the antithesis of ‘free trade ‘. I believe that TTIP is a threat to democracy & the sovereignty of nations.

  4. The Labour Party’s general response to the surge in popularity of Corbyn highlights a major problem that has pushed me away from the party and towards the Greens – that is that the Labour Party still operates with a strong hierarchy, which means that if you’re not a career politician and are the kind of person who wants to speak truth to power, you are sidelined and ignored. I gave up on Labour as a result. I think Corbyn sees this. I hope he wins as it presents the only opportunity for the people to speak louder than the party.

  5. I’m not a labour party supporter specifically, dislike any kind of tribalism. However Corbyn seems to be articulating what should be the vision of the progressive left better than any of the other candidates. The time seems right to me for the labour party to reclaim its founding principles.

  6. I would have thought Jeremy was the only candidate who has made it part of their message to encourage a flowering of input by members and indeed co-operation with progressives in other parties. Crucially for me the outlines of his policy statements provide the framework for a progressive way forward. Quite how it is fleshed out depends on the input of us all.

  7. An important test of the Labour Party’s future, beyond this leadership election, is it’s internal democracy and accountability. Writing as a Green Party member, where the members’ conference makes rule and policy decisions, I was not attracted to the Labour Party’s loss of accountability to its members – whether individual or affiliate. I’d like to see the apparent disconnection between the parliamentary party – and the SPADS – and the members addressed by commitment to organisational & decision-making structures.

  8. You certainly shouldn’t support Corbyn, although I understand why people are attracted to him. Some of his policy positions are good, though I can’t overlook his friendliness to reactionary groups such as Hamas and Hizbollah. More importantly, he’s clearly not qualified to be the leader, and would be an electoral disaster. We saw this move before in the 1980s, and don’t want the sequel.

    The other candidates are pretty uninspiring, so I’d suggest you just keep out if it!

  9. Congratulations to Compass for making a mature and reasoned statement free of any innuendoes so evident in many of the utterances of some of the candidates and sectors of the media.

  10. It’s obvious that the ‘old politics’ are on the cusp of change and that Corbyn has captured voters’ hopeful reponse to Labour’s defeat in the general election.

    It doesn’t matter if his proposals are ‘electable’ or not. What’s important is that the party should now demonstrate to the electorate it’s the party of the post-capitalist future, not the New Labour past.

  11. The crucial thing is to interpret the Corbyn surge correctly. Whilst some support inevitably comes from the old left, the surge must be seen as forward-facing, by people who want change, a fair society I which to engage.

  12. In favour of broad alliance but needs to have focus on Labour providing a PM – so inevitably a trade-off between policy (preferred vs acceptable across the constituent ‘Left’ parties) and electability under a Labour-led banner. Otherwise just a tent for protesting/venting/ ‘always in the future’ idealism…First conclusion from this POV, is Corbyn/ his policies would not lead this ‘alliance’ to electoral victory…who of other 3 might is an open question…Maybe voices like Dan Hodges correct to say Labour / the Left need to see full folly of ‘Green/ Corbyn’ policy position manifested in electoral failure over long period to wake up to reality…
    Lifelong Labour voter braced for long period of Tory rule…

  13. I think the article is very much to the point. Until the Iraq invasion, I had voted Labour all my (rather long) life but after that voting Labour became unthinkable until such time as the party acknowledged its mistake — and the many other mistakes it made which opened the way for the Tories to wreck our society. None of the Labour leadership candidates begin to fulfill the criteria suggested by the Compass article, but at least Corbyn promises better than the tired positions adopted by the others.

  14. The fiasco of Harmon’s “no comment” budget reply COULD mean 20 years before another Labour government.
    The party, overrun as it is with solid middle class MP’s, has disconnected from it’s natural support, we don’t bother about if we can hunt foxes, the value of the stock market or the highest rate of tax! We do concern oursleves with jobs, wages, the NHS and the affect that immigration can have on all of those. We don’t want war, we don’t want nuclear weapons and the EU as it’s currently instituted does little for the man in the street.
    All this points to a more left wing leaning party, along the lines of the Greens, Plaid Cymru and the SNP, four paties linked by a common goal. But to get there not only does the leader need to be different, come in Corbyn. Yes he’s a long way from ideal but he is the best on offer.
    Get him and then seek to bring about real change within the Labour party to take it back to where it should be, not a Tory party mark 2.

  15. Given the professed values of Compass and of Jeremy Corbyn it seems clear to me that Compass should encourage all its supporters to vote for him. Andy Burnham is the only other candidate displaying any vestiges of social democracy; if people wish to have additional preferences, he’s the obvious second choice.

  16. If Jeremy Corbyn were elected it would be an even greater disaster for Labour than Michael Foot. How the Tories would gloat! First of all, Corbyn is an old man and would look ridiculous alongside the Tory, even if it were not Cameron. Secondly, he is a well-known hater of Israel and would like to see it destroyed. The Jews did not vote for Milliband as they did not trust him on Israel, but he is a saint compared to Corbyn who is in love with “Palestine” and its terrorist organisations such as Hamas whom he has praised many times. The rest of the world would see him as a terrorist supporter and fellow-traveller. Who are all these “young people” who are so enthusiastic about Corbyn? They are the same idiots who voted for Hugo Chavez and for Alexis Tsipras who have less understanding of economics than a three-yer-old child. They led their countries into the mess they are in currently and now Tsipras has had to agree to more stringent economic measures than even his right-wing rivals would have imposed! I am not afraid that Corbyn will lead Britain to similar ruin because he is simply unelectable.

  17. People have been crying out for a movement of the left, caring for the underdogs while encouraging productive, wealth-creating enterprises. For some time this area was occupied by the Lib-Dems while Labour became tory-lite. Those wanting less of Thatcherism got Tony Blair who while changing direction, did not veer far enough.
    Tories don’t have a majority of votes. Why pretend that they do?
    They no more speak for the country, or the majority, than any other political party, especially given that a lot of their “support” is merely
    people frightened by prospects of a Labour/SNP Government, and other nonsensical claims of what Labour might do in power! Perhaps the time has come for a true leader of the left?

  18. I will be voting for Jeremy Corbyn. He is the only candidate who has grasped that people do not want more austerity – and it is not needed! If you look at the last election results, then the majority of people who voted, voted against austerity. Labour put forward a programme of less austerity, but austerity nevertheless.
    As Jeremy Corbyn said on last Sunday’s Andrew Marr show, the amount of tax avoidance and evasion is more than enough to pay off the deficit.

  19. I’m voting Corbyn because we need an effective opposition for the next few years and he’s the only one of the bunch that seems brave enough to deliver it. I’m not sure if he’s the best surfer, as you put it, but I think he’ll keep his head above water as he rides the wave. I don’t think the others will even catch the wave.

  20. Henry obviously isn’t bright enough to advise any of us if he believes Corbyn has shown friendliness to terrorists. It’s sickening that someone who is willing to TRY with such people should be pilloried for it. This is reactionary propaganda from Tory , UKIP and worried plastic Labourites.

  21. I agree with Compass that what Labour stands for is more important than who leads it. I now have no idea what Labour stands for and I’m a wannabe Labour voter, but I voted Green Party at the last election because the Labour message was so so dilute and incoherent that I couldn’t make sense of it. Labour has become Torylite and seems to have swallow the Tory spin about the need for austerity, which many economists are saying isn’t working.

    The moral vacuum at the heart of New Labour, stemming from the moral vacuum at the heart of Tony Blair, needs to be filled by real ideals and core principles, clearly articulated. Labour is terrified of being labelled ‘left wing’ by the Tory press. It should be confident and proud to be so labelled and be able to articulate why in a way that will re-engage with the millions of supporters it has lost. If it doesn’t re-discover it’s old values, and how to excite people with them, I fear the Labour party will fizzle out as a major force in British politics. The fizzling out is already under way but it’s not too late.

  22. I wholeheartedly support the Compass statement on the Labour leadership. I joined the Greens in 79 and rejoined labour in 92-97 (when I was chairperson for Milton Keynes SW constituency) then rejoined the Greens on realising New Labour was simply neo-liberal lite.Whoever becomes Labour’s new leader must work to unite all ‘progressive’ elements in our society, and must address the crucial environmental issues the world confronts, which can’t be achieved through the neo-liberal ideology.

  23. The Labour Party and the left in general blundered badly in the last election by not supporting ordinary working people in their struggle against cheap labour from Eastern Europe. You can’t have a Labour Party not supporting labour – or any left -wing party hoping to get elected , for that matter. We don’t blame the immigrants and minimum or living wage is NOT the answer as many workers earn more that that – but we have mortgages to pay and families to feed but our wage rates are being driven down , IF we can get a job. Why should we have to compete with cheap labour from abroa?. The left seems to have bought the politically correct adage that all immigration is good immigration – and the bosses love it

  24. Joining forces with other progressives makes sense in this era but I’m not sure whether there’s the wholesale appetite to do this. I know that Greens (esp. Caroline Lucas) & LibDems have recently proposed this engagement though.

  25. For the most part, I endorse the Compass statement and, had I remained even a supporter of the Labour Party, I would have voted for Jeremy Corbyn as leader. His articulation of an anti-austerity position so confidently is a hugely significant voice.

    Pragmatically, those reading this comment probably have to careful not to make too many immediate demands of Jeremy Corbyn and require him to takeup positions which we may endorse but which may undermine his support within the bizarre LP leadership electorate.

    That said, I do think it be really good if he could find a way to reflect one of the key issues in the Compass statement – namely the absolute necessity to engage actively in building progressive alliances across a range of political parties, campaigning groups, etc in order to create the sorts of coalitions and alliances which will be inherent in the re-creation of any new popular movement. The LP can no longer ‘do it all alone’. This would not be easy because: a) Corbyn is an LP socialist through-and-through and probably still carries all that stuff about the role of the LP in building socialism, and b) because it would open up all the really problematic issues associated with the future relationship between the LP and the SNP.

    Another emerging issue which Corbyn has side-stepped by recently swearing allegiance to the EU, is the real problem of the EU which, for those on the left, has become a serious concern in the light of the EU’s wilful destruction / appropriation of the Greek economy. For socialists, this is going to be a tough one in the forthcoming referendum debates. How does one advance a position which does not end up appearing to endorse a UKIP-type regressive patriotism? (That tricky territory which Cruddas and Glasman have, inter alia, been alluding to in recent years.)

    So tactically a bit of restraint may be called for over the summer. Thereafter, once the LP has voted and a leader has been chosen, then Compass really does need to go full out on cross-party alliances and coalitions. This is not the same as trying to open a somewhat sterile (and losing) argument about proportional representation. It is essentially and fundamentally about building alliances and movements outside the deadening hand of the electoral system; without those alliances and movements in place to provide any sort of real pressure for change, focussing political energies on electoral politics would have little purchase. The LP needs to spend the coming years being a ferocious and principled opposition in parliament, but only as a backdrop to the more important business of resurrecting its historic role in generating political education and arguments around the countries and carrying forward the engagement momentum which was seen in Scotland.

  26. To quote the Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset: “The situation is hopeless; we must take the next step.”
    I strongly agree that electoral reform is necessary and that proportional representation is the only genuinely democratic system “First-past-the-post” is brainless and broken if it delivers a government that won under 37% of the national vote and a House of Commons in which most MPs did not achieve a majority in their respective constituencies.
    I support Corbyn’s call for the abolition of the House of Lords, and I support the federalisation of England with develoved powers to regions represented in a House of Regions to replace the Lords. I also support his readiness to think the ‘unthinkable’ : namley that England could once again become a republic with a democratically elected Head of State instead of one that is merely a combination of tourist attraction (e.g. the Drooping of the Colour!) and subject for gossip among brainless tabloid pseudo-journalists and the feather-brained editors of women’s magazines.
    I strongly support a British LIberation Movement to free Britain from its degrading subservience to the United States and its corrupt actions in the Ukraine, Iraq, Libya, etc. and its attempts to subvert the will of the people in Venezuela and elsewhere.
    I would strongly support any candidtae who was willing to promote and legislate for new forms of employee ownership : not only the extension of cooperatives into every sector of the economy, but also shared cooperative ownership (through a trust) of at least 10% of the equity in every company employing 20 people or more.
    While all of this may imply that I support Jeremy Corbyn, I have to say that I still have deep reservations about some of his social policies — at least some of the policies of some of those who may come out of the woodwork to support him in the belief that they can achieve through him what they could never gain enough electoral support in their own right. Every political party is in effect a coalition of groups and interests, and of course each group is entitled to push its own agenda.
    My personal dilemma is that I support Corbyn’s plotical policies, I have deep reservations about a man who attended a Grammar School himself but who pigheadedly refused to allow his own son to do so. I do not believe that the interests of working-class children are served by depriving them or their parents of choice. Parents are the primary educators of their children, not the State, and the freedom to choose a selective school or a faith-based school should be both respected and supported.
    I think that Corbyn is extremely naive in thinking that Britain can or should simply open its borders to anyone who turns up in Calais and wants to come here. No country in the world operates that way, and there is no moral reason for Britain to do so : morality is about the responsible choice of good ends in accordance with the common good and rational principles; it is not about emotional responses to particular crises based on political correctness without regard to the overall consequences. It is emphatically not racist to say that people have a right to maintain their culture, just as it is not racist to say that mass immigration has led to many problems in Britain, not the least of which is lack of integration.
    I fear that some of Corbyn’s supporters would also want the decriminalisation of certain drugs — in wilful disregard to the hard scientific evidence of the harm they do. Irrational and subjective ‘views’ are no basis for sound las and public policy.
    While I hope that the person chosen to be the next Labour leader will take the Party and the country forward politically, I am not prepared to vote for someone who may hold in contempt, or not vigorously defend, the moral principles and the common good on which any sane, healthy and cohesive society depends.
    Where does all this leave me? With a problem! But also with some careful weighing up of pros and cons. If only Andy Burnham would show greater passion for electoral reform, industrial democracy, cooperatives and employee ownership schemes, my problem would be solved.
    Andy and Jeremy, if you read this, I hope that the public commitments you make in the next few weeks will give me a better idea of what I can expect of you; this will determine how I vote. I think you are both good men; if only we could combine you into one!

  27. Now that Jeremy Corbyn is a candidate for Party Leader we have a real debate. Perhaps the parliamentary party will be in better contact with membership; they have not appreciated how the whip has often imposed voting in support of Conservative policies. The rebels better reflect party opinion better.
    We can also question Labour acceptance of economic policies that curb public expenditure and uphold austerity measures. It can be argued that equalising the wealth of citizens stimulates the economy. In other words neo-liberal economics has failed. None of the other candidates address this possibility.

  28. I have more in sympathy with Corbyn as he does at least address the problems the sick disabled & vulnerable are in. Many others talk of compromise & not wanting to seem soft on benefit claimants which shows a complete lack of reality. I think the party generally is looking backwards either to Blair’s time in Govt or even further. Neither are looking at what is happening worldwide & how UK might fit into that. Cameron’s government is quite possibly the worst government ever regards diplomacy and its relationship within the EU. Internationally there is a wide movement re social entrepreneurship and community led initiatives. (By another name cooperatives) Given the problems caused by major cuts this is the community’s response. Shouldn’t Labour be looking more into this movement and also more into the Green initiatives and looking at bringing out policies that fit with these new movements? A more positive and forward looking policy that leaves the Conservatives looking old fashioned and isolated which is what they actually are. Free movement of Labour and closer links with EU is actually a forward policy in that an EU policy on the young unemployed could be helpful to our own young unemployed. Nowhere are we getting these sort of policies as Labour is still letting Conservatives lead the agenda and not looking at ways the Greens and the Libdems might also find policies they would support. Labour is looking too much inwards.

  29. It is noted that no contributor to this blog has anything positive to say about Kendall, Cooper or Burnham – except the latter and thye obvious second choice.
    Jeremy Corbyn has set out sensible economic policy in relation to welfare savings through rent controls, house building and the reduction in housing benefit; reductions in subsidy to business and he can clearly build upon the minimum wage increases proposed by Osborne.
    The problem of course is in getting this across given our media control. He needs to keep emphasising the 34% who didn’t vote and recapturing them for Labour and the old labour working class who voted UKIP. Kendall appears to believes that Labour has to move further to the right to capture Tory votes. These are the two extremes and clearly I prefer the former.
    In power Corbyn has to attack the Tories for a lack of a real mandate – 36.7% of those who voted. In doing so he must stasnd up and defend trade unions. This was Miliband’s greatest mistake. He allowed Cameron to attack him too many times on Unite support. This is where the Tories will try and split Labour and attempt to ridicule Corbyn at PMQs.

  30. I want to see a Labour Party that stands up for the most vulnerable in society, that recognises the huge significance of climate change and of the geopolitical complexity that this leads to, as well as one that looks to work to deal with the causes and not the symptoms of religious fundamentalism. As far as I can see, Jeremy Corbyn is the only candidate talking seriously about all of these elements–and in an informed, sensible and ethically acceptable manner, and one that is accessible and intelligible.

  31. We don’t want a repeat of the Thatcher tears where opposition was scattered and gave them a free hand. The opposition parties should endeavour to stop the Tory steamroller by working together to protect our democracy.

  32. I agree we need to remould the old political formations. The Labour Party as the largest of the more radical parties is very wedded (in the social mind at leaast) with class, and as merely 30% or less of the population can be regarded as working class, inevitably it is a fluke if whenever Labour were to win ! Added to that class politics reinforces and constantly supports identification with one or other clases and reduces the fading away of the big barrier.
    A new formation is required that is fundamentally committed to less inequality rather than more. Though ideal equalness will never of course be achieved, we have choices about moving towards more equality or towards more inequality. Thomas Pikkitty might be a bible?
    You could be right that the new technology of social media may get us out of the trap, that more inequality means more wealth to rich peple such as newspaper proprietors, which miens more right-wing influence in thr newspapers, thus supporting more inequality and more influence of the old media.

  33. Right up to the exit polls in May everyone seemed convinced that the days of single-party government were over. Well, everyone was probably right in this, and the Tory majority should be seen as no more than a hiccup in this trajectory. The question now is how the democratic left can best align itself with this huge historical shift? The idea of a retreat to a “comfort zone” has become a Blairite cliché in the attack on the “morons” that support Corbyn. In reality, though, the real insidious comfort zone in this leadership campaign is probably the nineties and noughties – the mythical golden age when New Labour could win big majorities against a directionless and demoralised Tory party in elections fought on centre-right, neo-liberal territory. This isn’t going to happen again. Things have moved on – as they have from the self-inflicted shambles of the 1980s. To try to beat the Tories on their own ground now just isn’t going to work. The attempt would end with a Labour Party looking ever more pathetic as it bobbed, weaved, trimmed and apologised for its history and past achievements. Alternatively, a Corbyn victory could position the party to harness and direct support from a new, young radical constituency (much of which either didn’t vote or didn’t vote Labour in the election). It would also allow it to re-engage the energies and support of the older traditional left which decamped at and around the Iraq war. Labour would then be ready to take its place in whatever coalition emerges after 2020. (It might also win back some seats for the party in Scotland where, frankly, a victory for any of the other three candidates would probably spell the final end for Labour north of the border.)

  34. The real issues are how do we cope with a society which is now post-industrial and subject to global regulation in relation to consolidation of debt – with the EU playing the local policeman here. Actually the key factor behind all this is the way in which capital through globalization of production AND politicians including of course Blair after Thatcher combined to weaken so substantially what Raymond Williams called the culture of feeling of an organized working class. This was by no means just a UK phenomenon but it was most developed here. The Scottish votes for the SNP were not about nationalism but about a reassertion of that cultural commitment. How the SNP can cope with it given its history of relationship with business and the class and business allegiances of some (although very much not all) of those elected under its label is another matter. So what is needed is some serious class analysis (there is an old term) of the current situation which pays attention to both base and superstructure AND to social consciousness.

  35. I agree whole-heartedly with your analysis. It is comforting and inspiring to read words of sense and vision. Thank you.

  36. In favour of broad alliance but need to focus on Labour providing a PM – which I believe to be unreal with the present candidates so inevitably a trade-off policy (preferred vs acceptable across the constituent parties) and respectability under a Labour-led banner. I am in fear of the left just becoming a tent for protesting/venting/ ‘always in the future’ idealism. My conclusion from this is Corbyns policies would not lead to electoral victory but a lot of voters are going his way and who of the other’s stand a chance of winning is open to debate. Maybe voices like Dan Hodges on ‘Green/ Corbyn’ policy’s would manifested in electoral failure which could over the long term allow voters to awake to reality.
    As a lifelong Labour voter I am braced for another 80’s style long period of Tory rule which is not what the country voted for but first past the post resulted in.
    I believe it is time to hang up our Empire ways are dissolve the military as we more into a more peaceful world. I understand that units like the SAS would still be needed to protect our embassies and help police the nation but we could put the money into a better police force and ensure that the European army survives any cuts. I would therefore like to see a brave Labour leadership put these plans in action.

  37. If you want the Labour Party to be a glorified pressure group ignored where it counts vote for Corbyn. If you want the Labour Party to be a party of government which is able to do something for the most vulnerable in our society and which would be open to more progressive inputs from both within the party and outside vote for the most progressive candidate amongst the rest of an admittedly poor bunch. In my opinion this is Andy Burnham.(

  38. I shall be voting for Jeremy Corbyn for Leader and Caroline Flint for
    Deputy. I think that like me they are true socialists.

  39. I live in Scotland and have always voted labour until the last election when I voted for a socialist party the SNP, not for independence but for the many policies I would like to see implemented.

    Tony Blair was spectacular in gaining power but who now feels that the power he succeeded in gaining was worth the sacrifice of basic socialist principles.

  40. I was talking about Labour and Jeremy earlier this afternoon. I agree with what you have written and think an alliance of progressive people/parties makes sense. However, if Jeremy wins as I think is likely I do not think that the Labour establishment will allow him to move in the direction you propose. The problem is that people are suffering and need hope to build a better future which is sustainable and fair to all and they need to be lead to such a vision. The ideology of neoliberalism will be difficult to dislodge as it is now so embedded within the global infrastructure.

  41. Yesterday afternoon (i.e. on 28 July) Left Foot Forward published a piece on TTIP by Caroline Lucas. I appended a forthright comment on it, not saying much about TTIP (which I consider to be one of the curses on the world being promoted by the adherents of neoliberalism), but commenting on the status of the Labour Party leadership election and the party itself. I think my comment leads on from this Compass article – it suggests that Labour, Greens, SNP and PC should get together. Whatever one thinks of Varoufakis and his Game Theory, my understanding of that subject is that people combining have a better chance of winning, which, I believe, is a pre-requisite of establishing a Good Society.

  42. Corbyn has my vote and support. Don’t let the press and Tory central office fool you that they are not seriously worried about the groundswell of popular support that JC is amassing , they look north of the border and are worried that that could happen here . There are massive political changes afoot with many, including me, who are finished with the apology for socialism ( which is not a dirty word as many would have you believe) that the Labour Party has become. JC may never make it to PM but he could offer a new path for the Labour Party and finally get it back on track with popular support. Take a look at the things that JC stands for, and then ask yourself if you disagree ?

  43. I left the Labour Party and even the LRC somes years back . I am returning because I see this as an opportunity to reclaim Socialist Labour if this makes any sense and fundamentally to exercise a democratic right of vote for Socialism by supporting Jeremy Corbyn.

  44. There has been a huge and widespread, co-ordinated attack carried out by MSM to discredit Jeremy Corbyn.

    That a newspaper which employs an alleged supporter of your organisation(Polly Toynbee) is prepared to put into print an article so hate filled and full of vilification that she loses all semblance of credulity in vilifying the credentials of the campaign of Jeremy Corbyn explains the demise of ‘New Labour’.

    (This is, incidentally the same Polly Toynbee who proclaimed Blair to be man of the decade; therein lies a whole host of ‘skeletons in cupboards.

    The electorate saw the sham that was ‘New Labour’ in 2010-albeit, far too late: they refused to vote for the charlatans that stood for candidacy in 2015 and whilst a minority voted Conservative; fewer were prepared to vote for ‘New Labour’ hence, after five years of austerity the majority of those who chose to vote, elected a Conservative Government.

    In Scotland, ‘New Labour’ led by an arch Blairite Jim Murphy were reduced to a single M.P.

    Still the message does not prevail.

    In Wales, where I live, of the 25 Labour M.P.’s elected to office following the May 2015 election, all but 5 were happy to go along with Harriet Harman and abstain on the horribly punitive measures suggested by this most right wing government.

    Therein lies the problem: in Jeremy Corbyn we have a decent and honest politician who is prepared to upset the comfy ‘status quo’ that prevails within Westminster.

    MSM meanwhile prefers to arraign him as being some kind unelectable neanderthal, despite his being in concert with the general populace in more than 9 key sectors of policy.

    But of course, for the majority of M.P.’s the view of the electorate is wholly inconsequential. Far, far better to ensure that ‘we’ pass a measure so as to enrich ourselves rather than listen to those who actually took the time and trouble to vote us into this place. To think we now have the effrontery to refer to “rotten boroughs” when, under the present system, every constituency has the proclivity to be described as “rotten” by virtue of the methodology in returning the elected M.P.

    We have now an opportunity for change for the better: an intellectual, far superior to the reptilian Osborne and far, far superior to the obsequious and self serving other candidates standing for leadership of the Labour party.

    I support him: I despise those Labour M.P.’s who failed to vote against the Child Benefits cuts.

    Traitors all and a sham: each and every one of them.


    Patrick G. Rafferty

  45. There has been no debate on policy, shifts or philosophical stances. What we’ve had is a whole sale assault on one candidate that is not even being backed by the MP’s who nominated them. Shame on Beckett, Blair and Ummunna. How dare people say they will not vote for him so openly and disgracefully? Labour will lose their youthful gains if they persist in ignoring their own grass roots. Blair has gone. His dead hand must not be allowed to shut people up. He created over 2000 ways of shutting people up and one way of opening up discussion amongst young people- Citizenship. Shut up Blair! Let there be a citizens debate, an honest and open debate and let’s work to get rid of this chameleon government with no heart and no soul.

  46. As a Green Party member I agree with the comments about and feel strongly that a central issue for a new Labour leader is to be able to work with other progressive forces across political boundaries. There are clear necessities for electoral reform, improving local democracy, tackling climate change, and re-balancing the inequalities in society which will require more than the Labour party to bring about. We also need to hear about how an economy will work which does not require continual growth. Presently there is only one candidate leader fulfilling these ideas and that is Jeremy Corbyn. Changing his party to reflect this orientation will require great tenacity of purpose.

  47. Are you saying that Labour Party members should vote Corbyn? If so, I think that’s bonkers. Whatever Labour’s faults, for the next 5 years at least it will remain the main party of opposition and if Corbyn is elected we shall be back in the 80s and ” The longest suicide note in history ” which I am old enough to remember and when Labour ward meetings were simply platforms for Trotskyite rants. Please let us not go back to that

  48. A lot of good sense in this statement but I would have preferred Compass to come out with an unequivocal endorsement of Jeremy Corbyn. At this point the ‘soft left’/’hard left’ distinction is hopelessly old hat – the left, of whatever stripe, needs to club together to prosper. The Labour leadership candidate pits 3 candidates who only disagree about how fast to surrender to the Tories against 1 candidate who is prepared to take the Tories on and is harvesting mass popular support for the kind of widescreen anti-austerity politics which Compass has dreamed about for the past 7 years. It’s got to be Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader all the way!!

  49. Left the Labour Party in sheer disgust over the Iraq War and Tory Tony’s destructive effect on the party’s socialist stance.
    Corbyn has actually got me considering joining again.
    The other 3 candidates I have no interest in whatsoever…party grubs in it for themselves and God forbid you ever get a straight answer from them. Corbyn .has no fear over expressing his real opinions and I like an honest answer when I ask.

  50. The burgeoning frustration at socialims sidelining has meant Jeremy benefits.
    So many problems can be dealt with through socialism .
    The attempts to dilute it have caused the frustration and problems.

  51. I agree with many of the comments here (Keith Segal, Katy Layton-Jones, Cheryl Lloyd, Martin Willis…). Jeremy Corbyn’s intervention has shown up the tired, predictable (and for the young, utterly useless) Tory-Lite offered by the other 3 candidates. I’m sure they are all good people but they appear to have accepted that a slightly watered down neoliberalism that doesn’t offend the Daily Mail too much is the best we can do. Where’s the hope, the future in that? Where’s the discussion about TTIP? Where’s the rationale for not being able to afford a decent HE system without financially disadvantaging the young when just about every other European state thinks it’s important enough not to do that? No wonder people have seized on JC’s suggestion of an alternative. Personally, I’m pleased that he is shaking things up. Even if the usual suspects at the top of the party manage to manipulate his defeat, surely they’ll get the message that their formula, based on unrelated half-arsed policies and a total absence of vision, ambition or values, is dying fast.

  52. Blairist Cameronism or Cameronist Blairism, it’s all the same thing. Labour must have core values that are clearly seen to be different to Tory ones. Jeremy Corbyn is certainly the person for this moment. If true proportional representation can also emerge sometime soon that would also help to move things forward. Plutocracy continues to grow. Inequality continues to grow. Voters felt Cameron does Blair better than Blair did. End Blairism. End first past the post. Vote Corbyn.

  53. I like the Compass statement, despite its vagueness on the specifics. Can someone tell me what Corbyn has to say about PR? It seems to me that without PR there is little hope of breaking this crazy two more-or-less centrist party process we are subjected to. Thus little room for the Compass vision to take off. That’s because, like it or not, there has to be a real battle in parliament, as well as a real battle in workplaces and neighbourhoods. We need social movements and trade unions with a parliamentary wing committed to the Good Society. Our success requires PR. Who has a strategy for persuading the two big parties that they must (against their own interests) introduce PR? (I was alarmed to hear he has praised Hamas and Hizbollah — is that true?)

  54. I will support Jeremy Corbyn – precisely because his beliefs are genuine, because he argues for the principle of taxation as one of collective responsibility, something which these days is a rarity. Also because I support his concrete policies on Trident, on tuition fees, on education, equality, nationalizing the railways, and because, as a middle income earner, I would have absolutely no problem paying more tax to see those policies resourced and implemented, with scope for debate, not about the principle of funding service through taxation, but about how best to set up structures to implement these ends.

  55. I will be voting for Corbyn because I think that he will help the shadow cabinet become a proper opposition in government now. If he is elected it would be because of the new, young members who feel that he is someone who has the policies and talk that reflect their despair about the Tories/New Labour policies of privatisation/kowtow to the huge corporations and their lobbyists/ don’t’t tax the rich or make the global companies like Amazon, the pharamaceuticals, tobacco and arms industries pay their taxes.
    New labour in 1997 had a mandate to reverse and renationalise, utilities, railways etc but didn’t. They continued Tory policy on academies, sectarian schools, student fees, NHS privatisation, the disasterous Right-to-Buy, subsidy through housing benefit of private landlords and generally created greater inequalitity.
    Now is our chance to put all these policies back on the agenda and a challenge to the vile, arrogance of the Tory ethos through Corbyn gaining the leadership.
    I don’t know if he a future PM. I don’t think that is is so I mportant? He would need to get a sense of humour and a belief in himself to grasp the unexpected turn of fate in his old age.
    My constituency party selected Yvette and Stella which also pleased me and I think has the same potential to deliver change and a different way to challenge the Toiries and the rest of a very white,grey male patriarchal institution. The Bullingdon bullies wouldn’t know how to cope with people with a different anatomy.

    I just hope that Kendall and bland Burnham don’t’ win and that we have some chance of being a proper, energised opposition.

  56. The Compass statement speaks well of the need for a Labour leader to operate from within a broad-based progressive movement. A movement that draws on the ideas and energies of such as the Greens, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, etc. Yes. But crucially, also, and this is something that you worryingly shy away from, it must draw on SOCIALIST ideas and energies and analyses. There are many excellent socialist clubs, alliances, TU and independent thinkers who have much to contribute to the analysis and approach to solutions to the many problems we face. Jeremy Corbyn is a good socialist; one who would operate well from within such a progressive groundswell. He is open to fresh leftist input, and has the selflessness, as well as the solid grasp of the issues, and the communication skills necessary to convey the message to the wider public and win them over.

  57. If this economic ruin goes on much longer, amplified by Tory policies of austerity, a major risk is of the emergence of an authoritarian right wing movement, probably based around UKIP, attaining power. This is certainly a more likely outcome than any popular resistance to neoliberalism from the left, as things stand. It is, then, urgent that left leaning organisations group together in a Progressive Alliance to put forward a positive agenda based in greater equality, democracy and sustainability, leading to a more prosperous, secure society. There needs to be, at least for the next election, a common platform on which to stand, rather than a common party. The top priority must be to get rid of the first past the post electoral system which so inhibits political discourse and over rewards those parties with broad, shallow, support, but just deep enough to win on the support of 25% of the electorate. Arriving at this common platform will not be easy. Choosing candidates from amongst the competing partners in the Alliance will be even harder. But it must be done in the interest of the common good. The various partners must be willing to set aside their egos and differences in order for the ground to be reset and genuine political diversity to flourish thereafter – once we have a fair voting system, and not until then, a more fluid, creative politics will follow. We shall not have to cloak our diversity for fear of letting the other lot in!

  58. After witnessing the response of the other candidates to Corbyn, I am even more convinced I have to vote for him. Their minds appeared to be so closed whilst saying with their lips that they were listening! If New Labour cannot comprehend that we want a different kind of politics and continue to offer the same old sound bites, then they must be left behind.

  59. Just to add a note to my last comment. Left leaning parties need to set aside their differences and collaborate around electoral reform just for the next election. Until we have this, we shall destroy each othe and let the right in. After reform, we can fight each other once again, but not to the benefit of the Tories!

  60. Just a short comment. I joined Compass as a Green supporter and have voted for them in the last 3 elections. I would almost certainly vote Labour next time if Jeremy Corbyn became leader.

  61. Politicians ‘should’ have a set of values that is a clear basis for their actions, although they may not be able to successfully develop all of them.
    For me there are four basic political values: the development of a meritocratic society; the prevention of the exploitation of people: open democracy supported by a knowledgeable electorate and the ideas of justice, fairness, compassion and integrity.
    As human nature can act in a selfish way then there needs to be intervention by the state to try ensure that we have a civilised country.
    The first step for any leader is to begin with a statement of their values and we can check how they have behaved and voted in the past to see how genuine these beliefs are. After this there can be a discussion about what The British people see as important but the starting point is an individual’s personal beliefs!
    A born Romantic eh?

  62. I agree with the sentiments of the article. I was born and grew up in the constituency now represented by Ed Miliband. Back in the day, the MPs in Doncaster were all male and had a background in local government or local trades unions. Imperfect though the arrangement was, at least they were locals with roots in the Labour movement. Now what have we got? Ed Miliband parachuted in. Rosie Winterton, local but privately educated and a war criminal. Caroline Flint, parachuted in from Twickenham and a war criminal.
    Where there were Labour clubs and active trades unions forming a grassroots movement, engagement and argument, now there is nothing. The clubs have closed, the jobs and unions have gone and membership has been hollowed out. This is referred to by some as the “Pasokification” of the British Labour Party; the replacement of a working class movement by a class of privately educated SPADs who often treat those who traditionally have voted Labour with thinly veiled contempt.
    In fairness, Miliband did recognise the fundamental weakness of Labour on the ground, but his attempts to revive it were stymied by the Pretorian Guard of Blairites surrounding him, particularly Ed Balls and Douglas Alexander. Well, they have now gone and an opportunity to rebuild once again presents itself.
    It does not matter if you agree with everything Jeremy Corbyn says (I am personally – at the moment at least – in favour of pulling out of Europe because of the troika’s treatment of Greece). What matters is that he alone has what it takes to reconnect Labour with its constituency, those of us on low and middle incomes. He alone offers the possibility of pulling us together into a genuinely popular force for progressive change.

  63. I find this a strange ‘comment on the Labour leadership election.’ It was largely a review of Compass, but there was a bit about the Labour election at the end. Taking the advice points in turn:

    # … party leadership doesn’t matter [that much]. … Leaders need to understand the times they live in and how they can bend modernity to our values.
    Party leaders matter a great deal as we saw with Thatcher and Blair.
    I’ve seen analysis of how between 49% and 60% of the public wants these major things – full, mandatory living wage – renationalising the railways – an international convention on banning nuclear weapons – rent controls on private rents – a 75% top tax rate on incomes over a million.- cut or abolish tuition fees.
    Corbyn is backing all that(except he’s not advocating top tax goes as high as 75%). So he does seem to grasp what people want.

    # … having a vision for how we achieve it. … pluralism … Support for proportional representation … [policies] negotiated not imposed.
    Corbyn is quintessentially about openness, negotiation, meeting with opponents to discuss and build bridges. He’s been criticised for it.
    He works entirely cooperatively. Even his bid for leadership was a cooperative decision within his faction.

    #… a facilitator, coach and space creator for others. … deep intellectual, organisational and cultural foundations have to be built.
    Almost the same as the previous point’s response except I would direct to Corbyn’s economic plan (especially) his position on tuition fees, and women. These are solid statements coming out of his supporters.

    # to prefigure a good society … to model …
    Here is a man of vision, with integrity, who works cooperatively with all around him, towards creating a society of equality and hope. He listens to what he is told and asked, and responds respectfully to it. He doesn’t use his MP expense account, and lives a simple healthy, active life. He never becomes spiteful about his competitors or anyone. He simply puts forward solid policies to move us forward.

    Now Compass may think it irrelevant whether we get a good Labour leader or not. I do NOT agree. A strong reforming Labour party, renewing the wave of 1945 in modern terms will transform current politics.
    Especially this is a stand against the austerity policies which haven’t worked, as they didn’t work in the 1930s. Investment will, as it worked in the 1940s against a deficit more than twice the size of this one. Corbyn’s National Investment Bank, funded by stricter collection of taxes at the top, plus a higher tax rate at the top, and fewer tax allowances at the top – a National Investment Bank is the single greatest strategy to relaunch the economy. That’s the key to change – the attitudes and vision is all there.

    Compass I am shocked and disgusted. You should be helping members see what an enormous unit of change this is. Instead you have “abstained” as much as the other candidates did on the Welfare Bill. You have bottled it, and shown you do not have the courage of your convictions.

  64. Let me guess:
    more identity politics, more immigration, more multiculturalism?
    I.e. more individualism, less democracy, less democracy.

  65. I should have added that I am glad that Jeremy voted against violence in Iraq but supported it in Ireland, Israel and Colombia.

  66. If the Lib-Dems are identifying themselves as ‘centre-left’, then the Labour Party has to be left of them. I like most of what Jeremy Corbyn is saying, and the way he says it. He seems to truly want to put the people first and tackle the fundamental problems of inequality and poverty. Tony Blair won three elections, and his governments did some good – but he also caused many people to leave the Labour Party. JC is enthusing young people – and they are the future.

  67. I will vote for Corbyn. I don’t agree with everything he says and even when I do agree I often feel that his analyses are pretty thin. Even so he is the only candidate of any substance. He speaks as he believes and is honest and straightforward. That may be true of Liz Kendal to but she is so far to the right that she has fallen off the scale and I hope she get a derisory vote. At the very least it is important that she is knocked out in the first round. Burnham and Cooper are in that Labour tradition that believe that that political ideas must always be circumscribed by electoral calculations. And even that is not a genuine position since they also belong to the tradition that is prepared to reject policies (such as rail nationalisation) even when it is known that it has majority public support. It is difficult not to conclude that their political framework is built on uncritical acceptance of the domination of society by private interests.

    The support for Corbyn is an expression of frustration with such class compliant politics and a wish to reject all the bullshit that has become common speak in the Labour Party. Compared to all that he is a breath of fresh air.

    If the price of a Labour government is an inability to resist the Tory destruction of the public sphere other than by a few sticking plaster jobs then it is better not to have one. Traditional social democracy has reached an impasse (not only here but all over Europe). Now we live in an era of a robust capitalist offensive. That needs to be recognised as the basis for alternative policies (something Compass is strangely reluctant to do). Corbyn comes near to doing that, by a long chalk, that the other candidates. Labour has got to change if it is not to be sidelined as soon as a viable alternative appears (as in Scotland). Now we need to revive and develop specifically socialist ideas as drawing the limits to capitalist power. Only Corbyn sees the necessity that.

  68. Fully support JC – the recent 2 decades have seen the formation of a nomenclature elite and party oligarchy that represses the embedded blairite and well funded presence. Representation of elites and network silo’s and connection with ordinary citizens has been lost.Secularization and an end to the cfailedcult of self-serving cultural group ownership of the individual (Taylor, 1984) needs abandoning and secular equality as well as positive liberty to redress the annually increasing economic inequality which under the coalitkion and current govt. means social group exclusion and further divisiveness targeted for scapegoated poor and working poor, disabled and vulnerable.
    The party is fundamentally about principle and humanist universalist values – the adopted us style negative liberty neo-liberalism means deregulation and parallel social iressponsibility for short term realist economic and directional gain. this despite the obvious theory and practice of the elite ‘consensus’ vested interest liberalist model that fails Solow, on sunset/sunrise industry and raised skilled labour re-adjustment after initial ‘dip’ as notable n-s and w-e in eu – the UK has become a microcosm of these wider tensions.

  69. Jeremy Corbyn is not a progressive politician. He is stuck in the politics of the eighties. Liz Kendall is the best candidate to deliver a progressive agenda in British society, through a Labour victory in 2020.

  70. In an effort to become electable Labour over the years have lurched too far to the Right and abandoned all its principals so much so that they offer no alternative to this extreme right Tory Party , I have supported Labour for over 50 years but as 3 of the candidates want to move even further to the right I could not support theparty any more if any of those candidatesare elected as leader , Jeremy Corbyn might be seen as extreme left Judging by todays exteme right standards , but his policies are mild and refreshing compared to the left of yester year , the labour party was founded to defend the rights of the underprivelaged and only Jeremy Corbyn seems capable of doing that , bring back TrueLabour the one that was stolen from us by the Blairites.

  71. Hello Compass
    The challenge for us on the left after the Labour leadership ballot is to keep this new anti-austerity movement going if Jeremy wins or not.As a Green party member I find that Jeremy shares many of our policies and I wish him well

  72. I supported Tony Blair and his efforts to reform the Labour Party to incorporate big business into the fold, believing that to do so would invalidate the Tories’ claims as the upholders of free market enterprise and therefore remove the requirement for a Tory party at all. Of course we can now see with the enlightenment of hindsight that the conservative mindset viewed the whole New Labour episode with wry amusement and have since weaponised the relaxing of attitudes towards the rich and powerful elites by Blair’s vision for a one-size-fits-all society that at least allowed room to address the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable amongst us.
    The vicious retaliation witnessed over the last five years by the Liberal Democrat enabled Tory administration only highlights the fundamental nature of humankind’s capacity for unbridled greed. Cameron and co. took New Labour’s right-leaning stance as a serious weakness and have been mercilessly and mirthfully taking every opportunity to pull the political pendulum ever more to the right since deluding the electorate for the last six years.
    It is now my firm view that the Blair experiment to woo the established World Order has been exposed by the ruling classes as a hopeless failure and any attempt to continue along those lines by the middle ground pussyfooters like Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and to a lesser degree Andy Burnham will result in a complete disconnect with our natural electorate. What the Labour Party needs to do is to show that they are different from the mainstream, that they can offer an alternative to austerity for the masses while the fat cats feed at the trough of entitlement, and that being said, there is no doubt in my mind that Jeremy Corbyn is the man to fill the role as leader,
    Before the last general election I was having a serious discussion with myself about whether to stay in the Labour Party or switch to the Greens as they seem to embrace the political ideology closest to my own. In the end my decision was to stay inside Labour with the hope of pulling it back to left from within and hoping for chances of reforms in favour of ordinary people that I could act upon and make a difference.
    I have 3 letters that I look to when considering the plight of any group of human beings. They are J.E.F. and they stand for Justice, Equality and Fairness, none of which I detect in the neoliberal policies of today’s skewed right wing establishment that is the New World Order. Jeremy Corbyn represents the best chance of pulling back the pendulum to regain a decent balance in society between the haves and have-nots and also the ability to re-engage with the other parts of the so-called “United Kingdom” that in reality is no such thing. Both Scotland and Wales have successfully thrown off the yoke of unfettered capitalist ideology in favour of a social order that is structured more in line with meeting the needs of the majority of people, not just the elite few at the top of their self engineered food chain. It’s time we in England joined hands with our Celtic brothers and sisters to bring about the same change here. We should start by electing Jeremy Corbyn as our champion.

  73. Only Jeremy Corbyn seems not to be fashioning his opinions to fit in with what the ‘Daily Mail’ tells the candidates what the electorate want. The job of a party and its leader is to lead by explaining to the public what is really happening in UK today such as the privatisation of NHS and highlight the threats posed by TTIP. The Labour party did not do this before the last election: I think a lot of the SNP’s appeal lay in the fact that they were overtly socialist and not afraid to say that the welfare state was a very good thing. Caroline Lucas’s bill if implemented by government would have saved our NHS, but Labour did not come out in support by explaining that very few families could afford private health care if struck by cancer or long term health problems.
    There is no point in the Labour party adopting Tory policies because they think they are popular- people will just vote Tory. Most young people face a more difficult future as regards working pay and conditions, and housing than their parents; their parents and grandparents are concerned about them. Most us are unhappy to see the homeless on our streets and I am still ashamed see food banks needed in my country- a return to the grim London of Dickens is not pleasant, unless you can successfully ignore it in your gated community and have a trust fund so that your private health insurance will not run out. Labour need to start telling the truth and how they can prevent the UK becoming a more unpleasant place rather than putting all their effort into getting elected by embracing Tory policies.

  74. I think you are spot on, but I think the problem for society is far greater than you think. Just read the conclusion of Naomi Klein’s ” This changes everything” and you will see that our task is enormous.

  75. I see Compass has sunk into its usual role of Job’s comforter, wittering on about existential angst.
    You have just had a clear demonstration that “the old politics”, in the hands of George Osborne and Lynton Crosby, is alive and kicking, but you argue for Labour to become as soppy, all things to all faintly nice people as the near-defunct Lib-Dems or as ineffectual as the Greens.
    Labour needs most of all to rediscover how to put together a political programme that connects with 51+% of voters and the determination to make it happen. It’s called political will-power.

  76. What I don’t understand, with all this talk about openness, and a pox on tribalism, and working with all manner of parties, is why Compass continues to draw the line at including the Tories in its big tent.

  77. While I applaud what Compass does – and welcome the surge for Jeremy Corbyn – I think Labour needs to wake up to some electoral realities that are largely self-inflicted.
    The pompously dismissive way in which the Ed Miller Band responded to radical Scottish Nationalism means that, effectively, without a clear cooperative deal with the SNP, we will have a corporacratic government in the UK ad nauseam. But if Scotland secedes, Labour will have to start not just engaging with people like me, but actively convincing me that a force with good intentions is open-minded about how the goals can be achieved.
    I reject Left v Right trashing contests as utterly irrelevant to the multivariate changes that lie ahead. I am for a restoration of decency in personal values and public life, and a communitarian mutualist who believe in the protection of small creative business with a responsible culture.
    I am not for an NHS that hasn’t been ‘our NHS’ since the early 1960s – I am for a protection of the NHS from both Government and Bourse capitalism insurance models of health provision.
    When Labour opinion leaders use the word ‘progressive’, I worry about this assumption of ethical monopoly: without a reappraisal of what is good and ill-conceived about soi-disant progressive policies, Labour is never going to attract anyone who is (for example) anti-corporate State but not Socialist in most senses of the term.
    I have banished myself from the UK to carry on harassing Camerlot from a safer distance; getting me into a Syriza-style rainbow ought to be a doddle, but it isn’t going to happen if the majority of the Labour Party is still either Blairite sellout media-trained on the one hand, or left-left-&-more-left on the other.
    I didn’t vote last time because I knew what was coming. But I would vote for an inclusive Alliance that didn’t call itself Labour. The mass-Labour collectivist solidarity age is dead: the task now is to protect small, vulnerable and mutual.
    Ditch the polemic syntax, and move ahead to a future of local self-help as the real answer to heartless globalised fiscal Bourse capitalism.
    And very sincerely, good luck.

  78. I am in full accord with the statement.

    Personally, I am supporting and will be voting for Jeremy Corbyn – not least because the he is the leadership candidate most likely to promote the way of ‘doing politics’ that Compass favours. He has already started to do so in his campaign by promoting a real debate about a real alternative to the politics of austerity, and that is a debate that needs to be had.

  79. I must assume that anyone in the highest level of government must know of the huge corruption in banking and other corporations, theirfore they must be part of it. the present mode of government is rotten to the core, alas to take back any significant power from the corporations is incredibly unlikely. The forthcoming robbery called the TTIP is almost the last nail in the coffin of democracy.

  80. My despair is confirmed: the ‘Green left’ convinces itself that the General Election was an ‘anti-austerity’ vote, despite the biggest 4 parties – Cons,Labour, Ukip, and L Dems – all having ‘austerity’ (ie need to cut deficit) in their manifestos…59% of the vote is for parties to the right of Labour, 10% for parties to the left (half of those anti-UK Nationalist votes) – but the solution is to move left towards the minority – the clear preference in this forum is to occupy the ineffectual higher moral ground rather than Downing Street – so, all you enumerate JC supporters – do enjoy the Tory governments during your decades in the wilderness…

  81. At last, one prominent (now!) English politician putting forward left wing policies and at last a coherent narrative to counter the Tories. Corbyn is articulating ideas that the other candidates seem too terrified to even think, such as a national education service free of charge. These seem to be attracting a great deal of support and not only from the young. It is urgent to counter the rapid move to the right and away from public provision of services. The Tories have no compunction in proposing and implementing the most drastic policies clearly aimed at abolishing the state as far as possible. Reduction of funding for justice is deeply concerning. Would it be indulgent to support left wing policies because the public will never vote for them? Seems to me there is no alternative.

  82. Now is the time for all good Men and Women to come to the aid of the Party

    The Labour Party contrary to popular belief belongs to “US”, the Working Class, we only lone it to the Party leadership to manage it on our behalf and so far they have made a fairly crap job of it. Whatever else Ed Miliband did, with or without thinking, he gave “US” the opportunity to select the leader of our party.

    Since we, the Working Class created the Labour Party it has been steadily taken over by self seeking professional Careerists, many of whom do not have an ounce of class conscience or understanding. The opportunity is now before us to take back the party and its leadership and send it in the direction that we created it for, to protect and defend us the Working Class, not collaborate and try to win over a load of disaffected Tories.

    Every Trade Unionist has the right to cast a vote in the Election for the Leadership, by registering to vote at this site giving your name and address and membership number. Take this opportunity because if the right- wing retain control, it may not be there next time.

    Despite all expectations Jeremy Corbyn now has the lead in the election. What we will now see is those Politicians and Political pundits who fear a Working Class Party, try to discredit his worthiness to lead. It’s started with Blair, Mandelson and Progress Labour all trying to discredit him.

    In the last General Election seven million people failed to register to vote, and in every constituency over thirty five percent did not vote. These are the people we need to win back to have faith in the party as they are the disaffected Working Class.

    Terry Stevens

  83. The tories won with 25 % of the electorate. The disillusioned who did not vote account for more. Trying to take 2% from the Tories is Blairite bankruptcy. We should be giving people a real choice and bringing hope and enthusiasm for socialist (no, it is not a 4 letter word ) principles.

  84. The statement is poor.
    The key challenge for any party is to connect with its grassroots. The Labour Party should lead a campaign against zero hours contracts, bedroom tax, for free bus passes for young people and support for their housing.
    It should highlighting these campaigns and bringing people together to make the issues that affect people the most important and in so doing develop its own information systems.
    Westminster does matter and all the MP’s and candidates should be out there leading the campaigns against us being beaten back to Victoriana.

  85. “While our ‘first past the post’ electoral system remains and distorts our politics”
    Compass should build an alliance of all progressive parties to reform both Westminster and the electorial system that denies the British people their democratic rights. The current Government does not have a mandate and does not represent the views of the British people. Everything possible should be done to make Labour lead the campaign for PR

  86. I thoroughly agree with the points made; in particular, electoral reform (pr) is urgent and necessary. and yes, less talk about leaders and more talk about policy – what Blair dismissed as ‘ideology’.

  87. Collectively we seem to have forgotten our humanity and compassion in the insane pursuit of individual wealth. Living in a closed system, our planet, we have forgotten that the fate of one person is connected to all of us, that our actions have consequences, which we must take responsibility for, as can be seen from the ecological, political and economic breakdown of our existence. We need to return to social co-operation and responsibility if we, as a species, are to have any possibility of a future.

  88. My attendance at Jeremy Corbyn’s Q & A evening in Luton on Tuesday confirmed my growing admiration and relief at his vision and political philosophy.
    I believe the reason Labour lost the last election was not because the British people supported the austerity narrative, but rather that Labour has for a long time been reactive, and vote-chasing, and has competed with the Conservatives to occupy the middle ground, and even the ‘not so middle’ ground. In doing so, the party has tried to incorporate opposing positions, and has ceased to speak for a vast number of former supporters, who have sought representation elsewhere.
    It is my belief that Jeremy Corbyn’s unashamed statement of a pure socialist philosophy that demonstrates care and support for the poorer or more vulnerable members of our society, as well as recognition of economic realities, will attract huge numbers of voters back to Labour, and that the Tories suspect this: hence their mockery and game-playing. Importantly, I believe Jeremy would reawaken support for Labour in Scotland, where his political stance would be a real challenge to the SNP.
    If we go on as we have, we will always have a Tory government in Britain. Labour will not regain power by being ‘Tory-Lite’, but by presenting a morally-based, clearly fair and socialist philosophy to voters. Jeremy’s obvious sincerity, his refusal to engage in mud-slinging, his engaging modesty and intellect, and his humanity is a breath of fresh air, and I regard him as our only hope for a Labour party I am proud to vote for.

  89. I would have thought the only rational choice was Corbyn?

    That would ensure that none at all of the “wrong people” voted Labour.

    Eh, Neal?

  90. An appropriate and insightful summary of the current political situation in the UK helpful to anyone whether a member of the Labour Party or not.

  91. The Labour leadership election is about choosing someone to be leader of the Opposition for the next 4 and 1/2 years, give David Cameron a hard time at PMQs every Wednesday, and lead the Labour Party into the next General Election in 2020. The Leader should be someone who is ready to win the 2020 election and become Prime Minister of the UK, and then stand for re-election and win again in 2025. Frankly, Jeremy Corbyn is not the person I would choose for this role. He should be thinking about retiring in 2020, not becoming Prime Minister!

    There will be plenty of time over the next 4 and 1/2 years for the Labour Party to develop its manifesto for the 2020 General Election. In the meantime, Yvette Cooper is pushing forward her ideas on raising the top rate of income tax, increasing childcare provision, building more affordable homes, enforcing the minimum wage and protecting British workers against unfair competition.

    Since the political Labour movement was born (in 1893), Labour candidates have stood in 31 General Elections. At every single one of those elections, the Party was led by a man (from Kier Hardie to Ed Miliband). I think it’s only fair to raise the question: “how much longer will we have to wait before a woman is allowed to lead the Labour Party into a General Election?”

    On the basis of what I know about the 4 candidates, I think that either Andy Burnham or Yvette Cooper could do the job. I have serious doubts about the other two (neither has any Ministerial experience). Yvette has served as a successful constituency MP for 18 years. She is a capable Commons performer and is used to dealing with difficult interviewers (Andrew Neil, John Humphreys, et al.)

    I also happen to believe it’s about time that we let a woman have a go at leading the Labour Party into a General Election, and therefore I will be voting for Yvette Cooper (and Ben Bradshaw for Deputy). I have even re-joined the Labour Party in order to do so!

  92. It’s clear that Labour cannot win the 2020 GE without regaining many Scots seats and those, I believe, can only be regained if the SNP does several very stupid things. With the SNP on a roll no-one should expect that. So Labour’s only hope of power post-2020 is some kind of alliance with the SNP. The arithmetic requires it.

    So the key question for Corbyn is how he wants Labour to work with the other opposition parties in the next five years.

  93. Labour worrying about how to get elected in five years is really a waste of time. What the country’s political needs will be in 2020 will be completely different to what they are now. Jeremy Corbyn may not be electable if there was a General election next week, but after 5 years of Osborne’s vindictiveness and Cameron’s intransigence the electorate will be begging Labour to be Labour again.

  94. Two things which occur to me of prime importance for Labour – 1. it must. withdraw from the so-called neo liberal/conservative economic model of supply side economics. and 2, must join the campaign for electoral reform. That’d be a good start!

  95. I am and will continue to be a Labour Party member (unless Liz Kendall become leader!!)
    I was very disappointed by Ed Milliband’s reaction at the Opposition Leader’s debate when asked if he would work with the Greens and SNP. Why could he not say he’d much rather win seats for Labour but, in principle, of course!?
    Is SNP control of Scotland and Labour’s loss of 50 seats a problem? Well not if SNP continue to be as anti-austerity and progressive as they are. Surely the best way to keep Scotland in the Union is to work with them and to secure voting reform.
    Labour needs a new agenda which includes a set of principles on which their policies can rest, not a set of policies through which one can just about discern principles. Policy of welfare, Trident, TTIP, Europe, tax, economic development etc should all fall naturally from these proinciples. I believe Corbyn win could enable this to happen: I hope it still could with Burnham or Cooper but I’m not sure it will.
    Creating a progressive alliance with Greens, SNP, Left Unity, Plaid Cymru makes a lot of sense and Compass could facilitate this. The problem is that a progressive split, with our present electoral system, means letting the united right win everywhere. So it has to be combined with political reform.
    More complicatedly cooperating parties will need to be clear where their differences lie and to agree with each other what these are so that voters have a good handle on why to vote Labour rather than Green or Plaid or vice versa. Or better, there is a full scale pact or alliance until voting reform is implemented: tough to achieve!

  96. As a Compass member I was delighted to read your piece on leadership and politics. I would agree that Jeremy Corbyn is the man to take the country forward and for me there will be no second option.

  97. Perhaps we should worry whether the TU bill and the BBC measures are the early steps by the Tory government to do away with political opposition:

  98. Having read through most of the pro-Corbyn comments here I must say that the dominant thought that springs to mind is wilful self-indulgence.

    The Corbynites seem to want a leader who will simply represent their wish to moan about what is being done to the worst off in our society rather than one who might be in a position to do something about it.

    Whether we like it or not elections are won in the leafy marginals and there is no scenario at the end of this parliamentary term in which the voters in these constiituencies will choose a far out left wing candidate with no ministerial experience. The worse the crisis the more they will cling to the devils they know who might at least deliver some level of competence.

    The extreme left are fond of using the word betrayal in relation to the centre and right of the party.

    As the bête noir of the Corbynites, Polly Toynbee, has so eloquently and succinctly put it

    “Choosing an unelectable leader would betray all who desperately need a Labour government”.

  99. Self-indulgence and self-deception – the majority on this forum sound like the political equivalent of Jehovah’s Witnesses, compulsively repeating their Gospel of opposing ‘austerity’ (ie making some attempt to live within the nation’s means), and ‘neo-liberalism’ (ie accepting private businesses need to make a profit to pay for public services). Labour government IN GENERAL is preferable to Tory because it delivers a fairer version of ‘neo-liberalism’ (ie modern democratic capitalism – you know, the stuff they don’t have in Africa, Middle East, Russia, China etc etc etc), including a more protected NHS, a more progressive tax/credit/ welfare regime, and a much less benighted education system – those are just a few reasons why Labour needs an electable leader and policy platform. Not JC and his self-righteous but misguided fantasists…

  100. There seems to be a conspiracy against Corbyn on the part of the ‘established’ left. So for example, we have seen the Fabains, the New Statesman and Observer come out strongly against Corbyn and his supporters. On the other side we have the unions, left-activists, anti-austerity campaigners, young people etc. This seems to be a fundamental argument between those that accept the neo-conservative premise of austerity (while proclaiming themselves social-democratic) and those that don’t. I know which side I am on!

  101. I don’t think you give Jeremy Corbyn and his campaign enough credit – you don’t mention him till 7/8 way through the statement. No matter what you say about leadership not mattering so much, it is the leadership contest, with so many young people and unexpected numbers backing Jeremy, that has changed the face of politics and at last given us all some HOPE! I think this should be acknowledged. You seem rather begrudging in your praise of Jeremy, yet, with the ideals you claim to hold, what more do you want? Jeremy cannot be faulted on any of his views and policies, he is absolutely right there with equality, fairness, democracy, human rights, the economy, education, housing, health, transport, the environment, taxation…you name it…

  102. I glad corbyn is doing well and if,as a union member, I get a vote , I will vote for him because the labour party does need to shift leftwards. having said that, NONE of the leadership candidates are against immigration and this is the most important issue. a labour government should not be subsidising business with cheap labour, that is what the tory party is for, the labour party should be on the side of the labour force it was originally set up to represent. i joined the labour party in 89 to try and get rid of thatcherism…i resigned my labour party membership in disgust after blair invaded iraq in 2003.blair’s government was the worst tory government we have ever had , they pushed up the price of houses so the working man could not afford to buy, instead of scrapping the tory council tax he doubled it, he let the water companies free to raise bills . he let in millions of immigrants which caused the value of the british working mans labour to plummet. without a garauntee to stop immigration I simply cannot vote labour and will probably stick with ukip next time. the only other thing that might sway me would be if labour offered to put back down the retirement age.

  103. Like many ex Labour voters, the Blair years drove me away. The UK already has a Tory party which has a neo liberal philosophy, we don’t need another party with the same philosophy. If I want neo liberal then I would vote Tory. Labour has lost its way. Jeremy Corbyn has a philosophy, and it is not neo liberal. He has consulted that great anti tax avoidance campaigner Richard Murphy, and has a tax policy, none of the other labour candidates have any policies, just wooly sound bites about being business friendly. I believe that we are seeing a shift that regonises austerity and neo liberal policies ( crash anyone, bit more deregulation) do not deliver for the many, and only to the few. Ken Loach said that we have 90,000 homeless children in this country ( before Osborne’s latest cuts) – the market doesn’t work for these kids.
    Neo liberal economics doesn’t work. I have become a Green voter because they oppose this bankrupt philosophy, and will not vote Labour unless JC or someone like him leads the party.
    There are many positive campaigners, 38 degrees, Richard Murphy, Jolyon Maughan, Caroline Lucas, John McConnell, Michael Meacher, Compass and many more. Electing Jeremy Corbyn will add to the growing groundswell of people looking to achieve a major political shift away from the neo liberal hegemony, and back to democracy. Democracy must trump finance.

  104. I am not surprised at the move towards Jeremy Corbyn. He comes across as a person of transparent honesty and principle after some years of Labour appearing to be run by focus groups.
    The world has moved on since the Blair years and Labour needs to sort out what it stands for. It is no good eternally opposing things you have to actually be in favour of something. Whilst Labour talks about cuts it is implicitly saying that things should be left as they were. The Conservatives have embraced a small State solution what is Labours answer? Should we have a big State and if so why and what should it do? Clearly Health will stay a state provided service but in the run up to the election Labour went on and on about privatisation which they when in office pioneered. They also confused the electorate who believe privatisation means that goods are sold off and you have to get services from private providers. Yet the NHS remained free at the point of use and little visibly changed. The electorate did not understand the Labour line. The demise of the NHS has been predicted by Labour at every election since 1955 yet it is still there.
    As for this leadership election it really does not matter who wins. Labour will not get back into power until it excites people as they were in 1945, 1964 and 1997. At the moment the only hope is Jeremy Corbyn the rest are just dismal. Burnham will always be remembered for his feeble handling of Stafford hospital scandal and Liz Kendall would fit nicely into the centre of the Conservative Party. As for Cooper well as my granny used to say least said soonest mended.

  105. The challenge is not as difficult as it seems. Firstly there is a massive realisation, now, after the Tory victory that anything approaching fairness and together country for the better is nigh impossible.
    The right wing prescription has been accepted through the vote the Tories got. This is now realisation with many who were and have sleep walked into a nightmare of unfairness and harsh right wing policy. That fact, at long last is beginning to register with many who did not quite get it before May.
    The message has to be that the many cannot be made the fall guys for recovery. The old ways of top down business first the country second cannot continue. The old ways cannot continue and new inspiring and rewarding paths to people actually sharing in the wealth of the country as to be number one priority and number one slogan and policy for a revitalised Labour Party.
    Many more policies that are offered by the Cooperative movement have to be offered to the man and woman in the street as a way of directly getting more of what is made, into their pockets. The boost to the country in growth by introducing cooperative working will be massive, another selling point.
    The setting up of a state owned investment Bank is vital for long term investment in industry and business
    Big business cannot be allowed to continue to cheat the country out of possibly £70 billion a year through tax avoidance. That must be a top priority for any Labour government and the introduction of country by country reporting is essential.
    Investment in a green revolution through new green house building and solar, tidal and off-shore wind development.
    A revolution in how we teach our children through the technology of the screen is vitally needed so teaching can be of the highest quality provided by inspirational teachers and inspirational ideas powered directly into class rooms across the country.
    The move away from short termism and quick returns will produce sustained growth and confidence.
    Eventually the railways will come back into public ownership .
    A Robin Hood tax will be introduced.
    The theme and message has to be that the government will change the game so help and opportunity and support will be given to people to create wealth that they can really share in.

  106. As a Compass member from Manchester who went to the post-election meeting in London I’m feeling uncertain. I don’t think Jeremy Corbyn is the Radical Hope we were discussing.

    I think there’s a lot of media hype and projection of unrealistic expectations onto Jeremy Corbyn. At the Warrington hustings he was asked about PR but only talked about votes for 16year olds and reform of the Lords. He didn’t mention sustainability at all, only growth. At our constituency nomination meeting Jeremy’s representative said “he doesn’t want to be leader or PM, but wants an annual leadership review”. It would be disastrous for the Labour Party to be focussing internally instead of being an opposition. I don’t think Jeremy Corbyn is a leader but a rebel and protester.

    I think the Labour Party is necessary but not sufficient. We need a leader to oppose the Tories and work towards winning the next election, as well as action outside parliament. I’m supporting Yvette Cooper and Stella Creasy.

  107. Spot on. We’re looking for someone who can create the conditions for a progressive majority in 2020. None of the candidates for leader shows that capacity but Jeremy Corbyn is introducing millions to a reasonable alternative to the politics of austerity. I don’t know if this is rooted in a grasp that the strategic challenge is how to get to the post-capitalism that Paul Mason describes in his new book but it’s better than the mindless chatter about aspiration coming from the other candidates.

  108. Given the choice before us supporting Corbyn is a no brainer as he is the only candidate with a coherent alternative to the pursuit of austerity, promotes most clearly a vison of a caring society based on principles of solidarity and a concommitant defence of public services. I hope he will say more about the double need to enhance the democratic life of the Labour Party and for it to reach out and build popular support for a progressive agenda.

  109. This statement lacks any reference to the politics of cruelty that we now have. Those in power, Labour and now Tory, have got into the habit of thinking in terms of numbers and of such large aggregates of people – often translated into disparaging labels and money terms – that individuals and the small groups in which we mostly live are invisible. Policies are then decided on that have a grievous impact on people’s lives. But these lives have no place in the mental frames of politicians. Amongst the pernicious accompaniments of this blindness are the handing over of much of what the state used to do to private interests, and the placing of responsibility for actual enforcement in the hands of people from the same social strata as the victims. Thus governments can detach themselves from the cruelty of their decisions and those who apply this are only obeying orders, doing what shareholders interests demand and so on.
    Any new politics could start from saying this way of doing things has no place in a decent society.

  110. Still waiting for a response to the points made against Corbyn, essentially that it doesn’t help those in need of a Labour government to select an unelectable leader.

    Come on, let’s have a debate about it.

  111. I was very impressed with the way Corbyn talked about re-nationalising utilities in a social ownership model that involved employees, customers, and the state rather than the old top-down model of yore. I think the Tory mania for privatisation and outsourcing might just present Labour with an opportunity to present the case for a “balanced economy” where public services and goods are publicly owned and things that are not essential to life are left to the private sector. Laying claim to the rational idea of a balanced economy run in the interests of the many, if done consistently and clearly, could make the Tories look like the irrational defenders of an unbalanced economy that is run in the interests of the few. It’s all about framing and narrative and Corbyn, the so-called Marxist dinosaur, appears to understand this better than most so far (how embarrassing for the Blairite masters of spin!). His relatively uncomplicated, short, direct answers to questions coupled with his obvious sincerity seems to be what is breaking through. All power to his elbow…

  112. I totally agree with and welcome your widening of your membership. It is the logical thing to do and should have been done some time ago.
    With regard to Jeremy Corbyn, I don’t agree with many of his policies but he is the nearest thing to a genuine honest-to-goodness leader we have seen for some time. I suspect that if we don’t get more of this type if leadership we are destined to see the rise of populist movements as seen in other European countries.

  113. As, at root, an old Labour person (I detested New Labour and thus became disenfranchised for a while). Miliband offered a (timid) step in the right direction so he got my vote. The situation now is that it is more important to me to have a party that I can get behind than whether it might ‘get in’ or not. On that basis Corbyn has my vote

  114. I hope that Jeremy Corbyn is the new Labour Party leader. However, he has to carry the vast majority of Labour MP`S behind him. Pulling out of Nato is a stupid concept. He has to keep the USA on side for certain issues if Labour win the 2020 general election. The drive behind Jeremy Corbyn is perhaps the younger generation which is a good thing. and public sector workers, including what once would have been considered middle class people, teachers, university lecturers, police officers, even doctors.

  115. I think Compass is making at least two false assumptions. Past elections have clearly shown that, unfortunately, the surfer IS more important than the wave. Personalities, as defined by the right wing media, have won and lost elections: Foot wearing a donkey jacket on Rememberance Day, Kinnock as a Welsh windbag falling over on the beach, Miliband eating a bacon sandwich, versus Thatcher as the Iron Lady and Blair as the golden boy.

    The same applies to your assumption that command and control leadership won’t work in a networked society. The political leaders who exercise the most command and control in the past (Thatcher, Blair) have been the most successful in terms of staying in power, especially when they are backed by powerful vested interests (eg, Murdoch). Big business has already permeated our networked society, through methods like nudging and soft power.

    Sorry I don’t have an answer. I’ll probably back Corbyn but will expect the media to do their usual hatchet job.

  116. The ubiquitous assertion that the next leader of the Labour party must be ready to take the keys to no. 10 is far from self-evident.

    Here’s a possible scenario: Corbyn leads the party for the next 3 years – his campaigning experience will make him a constructive adversary at PMQs; his preference for leadership based on facilitation rather than command and control will allow a space for credible and coherent policies to be developed in opposition. Within two years of the next election there would – ideally – be sufficient consensus (about a new post-conservative direction for the country) for leadership of the Party to be not about political ideology but about statesmanship.

    JC would be the first to understand and acknowledge whether he had the authority and skill-set to lead the country – if not, he could open the door to a younger colleague, ideally with a sound grasp of the mechanics of government and handling the media.

    The risk of the above is that Labour would not provide coherent opposition while it’s finding its feet as the new vanguard of post neoliberal ideology and that, with the best will in the world, a powerful collective vision for the country would not have established itself by the time the Labour Party needed to elect a potential PM – with the result that the next leadership election would be as factional as this one. . .

    Incidentally, I very much like Bill Kerry’s comments about a rational balanced economy.

  117. As you can see, I don’t live in Britain and am not directly affected by British politics. I have been following Compass for a few years, on a link from the Social Europe website. If contributions from the outside are welcome, here it is mine:
    Compass has been doing a great job of discussing the issues, organizing events, etc., in working to enlighten the citizenry about the issues of our time. All in trying to find ways to build a better society, as is said the Statement above. It reminds anyone old enough to remember, of the pains and tribulations affecting the parties on the Left during the Neo-Liberal days of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. How to defeat them and return to our progressive course interrupted by the two of them? Was Neal Kinnock wrong is his policies and proposals? On the other side of the Atlantic, the Democrats were making the same search: New Ideas.
    Well, it was not new ideas that we needed. The reason why we apparently had lost the Battle of Ideas was communication. The Right had worked hard to find – and actually did – a way to sell us, as the prevailing thought, the idea that business solutions worked for everything and everyone. Then Government, which exists to work for the interests of Nation and the common good, should be emasculated so as to clear the way for businesses to make the economy prosper. The corporate press slowly joined in, by selectively informing us of those things that helped the Right’s cause: showing preferably news that denigrated Labor Unions and genuine labor issues, praising businesses, slightly favoring Right Wing political parties as the solution to the problems of the day. Thus, without another source of information to counter that mis/dis-information, the citizenry was led to believe it and would trust the politicians leaning in that direction.
    Flexible and business friendly Blair and Clinton looked enough like one of us and could actually win an election, but who they were really reliable to was the business community who could see them as friendly to the cause. They governed accordingly, making all those concessions we didn’t know would turn out to be so damaging while apparently championing our cause and interests. Other European politicians on the Left would get elected following the same pattern.
    To make it short, let us say that, as long as we don’t have a keenly informed citizenry we cannot counter the prevailing thought and belief that make majorities waist their vote on Right or Center Right politicians. We thus need to do the thinking, the shaping of civic-minded information, and the leg-work to reach everyone with it. In the process we will probably find out that we need to change a lot of things, like community oriented sources of public information and a more citizen-empowering, short-leash mode of political representation to counter the current one which has mostly, in some countries more than others, fallen under the control of big-money interests.

  118. There are in this statement, for my taste, too many common place, possibly misleading and abusable (already abused) wishy-washy code words begging for precision from a truly social democratic stance (e.g. “progressive”, “good society”, “big cultural change”, “kindness”, “something different and better”). The values to be pursued are vague (“a more equal, democratic and sustainable world” or “against austerity and privatisation”). What exactly is not to share or even to worry about Corbyns positions? True, it is not about who will win the leadership contest but what his or her positions and goals are. But why then declare in advance that Compass with whoever wins the contest?
    More “bite” would be better.
    None of my business but social democracy is in trouble all over Europe.

  119. We need a clear vision, based on the principles of justice, equality, liberty and opportunity for all. To achieve this vision we need a detailed strategy that considers every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life in Britain. We need a framework of action that facilitates delivery of the strategy, one that reflects and represents wide debate and consultation. And it all needs to be done within a stated timescale.

  120. This comment thread has essentially been a parade of virtual virtue when the leadership debate is crying out for virtual reality.

  121. Agree wholeheartedly. Labour has lost its way and in its current state is in my view unelectable in the dysfunctional political system which the Conservatives have manipulated so successfully ( and luckily). But 75% of the electorate did NOT vote for them, and Corbyn has shown that there is much to play for in attracting support from the disaffected, the disadvantaged, and those who seek a fairer and more sustainable society. But this will call for collaborative effort rather than tribal tactics.

  122. Corbyn proposes an end to austerity and a much more generous settlement for working people, as well as for those on welfare. This is absolutely right. But we need to do more than have generous intentions. We need to create the means to implement them. At the centre of policy needs to be a commitment to massive public investment in our infrastructure and in green industry, together with the retraining programmes which would need to accompany them. Austerity has not worked well: it has generated first stagnation, then bogus economic growth which reproduces and reinforces all the old weaknesses of the British economy, including a low rate of productivity. Only investment in the creation of new wealth will enable us both to reduce the deficit and to provide a better life for our people.

  123. Thank you – that is very impressive writing. I am a keen supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. The Gandhi Foundation, of which I am a Trustee, gave him our Peace Award last year. He told me that he would be very interested in being informed about Lord Parekh and my project to demonstrate the benefits of different forms of employee ownership from the neo-capitalist models. Anybody at Compass interested in this?

  124. Corbyn is really the perfect choice if Labour really wants to be out of power for the next ten years. Simples.

  125. Silence continues on the crucial question of electability. The same kind of denial that you get on climate change. I voted for Michael Foot in my younger days swept away by the enthusiasm of my radical left colleagues. I then lived to regret it after the Tories carried on imposing their Thatcherite policies on the most vulnerable in our society. If you REALLY care about them vote for an electable candidate or at least tell us why you think Corbyn is electable in the middle class constituencies that swing elections.

  126. I agree absolutely with Corbyn and understand that whoever leads the party will be monstered by the Tories and most of the media. We don’t need another Tory-lite as proposed by the old guard of New Labour. If they (Blunkett, Reid, Straw etc) hadn’t been so stupidly blinkered and had agreed to talk to the Lib Dems who were well to their left, we might not have had the coalition. (Before anyone says the numbers didn’t add up, they didn’t, but there could have been a supporting agreement.)
    What I hope will happen now – and I think is already happening with Burnham, who when I heard him speak in Alton a week or so ago was far more human and less automaton that the leaflet his campaigners were still handing out – is that his popularity will pull the rest of politics in his direction, as the rise of UKIP influenced everyone else’s policies. So the Corbyn effect will be felt whoever leads the party, and we might have a decent opposition that is able to call the Tories on the traps they lay so deliberately (as in the welfare bill) for Labour.

  127. Re previous comment, pulling the party some way towards Corbyn is one thing; pulling it all the way towards him and into an electoral black hole from which it can never again have an influence on actually changing society is quite another.

  128. Thanks for clarifying your position . It is one I thoroughly agree with. Didn’t the Scotland situation reveal to the Labour Party why it was leeching support? It allowed the Tories to use the nationalism issue to disguise the political landslide there – the same one that underlies Britain, and other parts of Europe, not just Scotland. Labour will never win again if it continues to subscribe to the big business agenda. Where is Labour’s protest at the trade agreement that is being foisted onto us?

  129. All the candidates need testing on their visions of a non tribal Laabour future as envisaged by Compass

  130. I have no idea what you are actually saying in this rather timid statement. Without leadership from the UK Labour Party there is no serious ‘progressive politics’ in Britain not least because of the first fast past the post electoral system which you may decry but exists. The SNP wishes to destroy the UK so it’s a bit difficult to describe either them or Plaid Cymru as progressive in the most fundamental issue of whether they wish to improve or abolish our state. And with the leadership of Labour in peril at the moment that means the most important issue for you to take a position on is the Labour leadership. But you don’t.

    So I will. Corbyn is at best a symptom of the crisis not an answer to it. The centre left core of the Labour Party was left shattered by Iraq and then the global financial crisis followed by weak leadership from the wrong Miliband. I used to work for the right Miliband though it’s quite hard to describe me as a Blairite – except in the sense of wanting to win elections – as I also once worked for Yvette who was definitely in the Brown camp. My view now? Burnham is an empty vessel , a kind of Blair ‘mini me’ with even less ideological content or direction. Corbyn is spiritually an oppositionist (which doesn’t mean he is any good at being one) with no interest in preparing Labour for power. Yvette is way better than either. Tough as nails. Intellectually first class – and the one frankly the Tories don’t want to see us elect. They would be thrilled if we opt for Corbyn and content if we go for Burnham. I agree Yvette has only belatedly shown some of the fire in her belly but I can tell you she is fearless and would stick it to the Tories in Parliament and on the media. The best you can say about Corbyn really , other than ‘we get it : you are a reaction to the vapidity and dishonesty of the Blairite era’ is that he has forgotten that even Aneurin Bevan , who was sometimes an infantile leftist, once had to remind Labour members that the Party is not a debating society.

    Last point. Many of us spent a few years stopping people like Corbyn taking over the Labour Party to kill its prospects of government. They were objectively anti working class. They remain so. Compass needs to stop temporising and support a Labour leadership under Yvette Cooper. Or there will be no serious ‘progressive’ party in UK politics – certainly nt one capable of governing the state we live in.

  131. With the surge of UKIP, arguably pushing the centre-right further right, it should come as no surprise that people want to see a traditional left. What choice was there before? To many, it felt like the only real choice you had was the colour, not the politics; so similar in nature were the ‘big two’.

    Whoever inherits the Labour leadership has a lot of ‘cleaning up’ to do. Somehow the party needs to demonstrate political intent that satisfies the varied audience of the British people. After the 2008 financial crisis, Labour were caught ‘holding the batton’, regardless of circumstance. That’s the truth – plain and simple. Labour need to find ways to move beyond the past and show that they present a brighter future.

    My real fear however is that the party fail to rally around the democratically elected leader and the knives start coming out. What message would that send to the electorate if Labour can’t even support themselves?

  132. @tim Williams

    If Burnham is an “empty vessel” I would prefer emptiness that can unite the party by taking in the best from the left and the right rather than a full vessel that ditches one wing of the party.

  133. I like this statement on the Labour Leadership contest and Compass’s non-partisan approach. I believe we may be at a profound turning point in our history, not just in UK but all over Europe and elsewhere.

    The old politics is thoroughly discredited. People are fed up with an adversarial approach that leads to constant changes that destroy the work of previous governments and the hard work of dedicated ordinary people.

    Old politics is also abusive too- we are not amused. People are seeking a different approach that is about collaboration and consensus building. Fine to have ideas but we need to go into a discussion with an open mind and be prepared to come out thinking differently. That is the difference between debate and dialogue.
    To discover ways forward that are likely to work we need to get the whole system into the room. By that I mean a wide representation of the diversity of people and the diversity of views.

    People are fed up with ideological approaches such as Neoliberalism which has done immense harm; there is no rational justification for Austerity. Indeed it is the opposite of what is needed in a recession. Imposing austerity and cuts in a recession is economic illiteracy.

    So-called majority government that gives power to an administration for five years, supported by only 37% of voters and 24% of the population, is an outrage. So is a parliament that does not have 50; 50 women and men and excludes 16-17 year olds.

    We need a complete, comprehensive reform of our democracy and a corresponding change in behaviour (see the proposals of the Electoral Reform Society!.

    We may not agree with all of Jeremy Corbyn’s policies. But he is a magnificent disruptive force at the very time when disruption is most needed and it is hardly surprising that the young are supporting him in their thousands and the establishment are scared stiff! They should be!
    Bruce Nixon

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