Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Cllr. Rowbotham, Big Cyril & Single Issue Politics


by Brian Bamford

ON the 5th, December Carl Faulkner, an independent analyst and investigator concerned about the decline of common decency in local political life, published a video skillfully outlining the attitude of most Rochdale councillors to the importance of democratic procedures in local politics.  The video entitled 'Birds of a feather:  Protecting the Guilty' * and commenting on the Rochdale  full council meeting of Oct. 2018, that  describes in detail how councillors of a Labour complexion gave spirited support to one of their brethren who is a self-confessed fraudster using postal ballots to vote more than once in the last municipal elections in Rochdale.

This artfully designed video superbly captures the depth to which Rochdale politics has sunk with the now disgraced Council leader Allen Brett calling on the Council that the culprit fraudster, councillor Faisal Rana, should be 'allowed to continue his good work'.  Councillor Brett was responding to a formal motion from the Tory leader of the opposition inviting Councillor Rana to 'just reflect on the positon that he's in and the position that he's put the Borough in'.

The Rochdale Labour councillors are by now well immune to controversy and scandal having endured pantomime politics for decades under the tutelage of such tacticians as Simon Danczuk, Richard Farnell, and now Allen Brett.  Perhaps we ought to mention that at the time the tragedy of Cambridge House was in being as a going concern in the 1960s, Cyril Smith was a big noise in the Rochdale Labour Party.

The now disgraced Council leader Allen Brett is merely the ultimate conclusion of a rather bad bunch.  Alongside him Sara Rowbotham cuts a curious figure as his deputy, it was she who rose to fame when Maxine Peak portrayed her in the 'Three Girls' dramatisation on TV.  She is interesting because she has a following among a campaign group called 'Parents Against Grooming' or PAG.**

PAG supporters were out in force at the Council meeting at which Allen Brett defended the self-confessed fraud Faisal Rana.  But they were clearly less interest on electoral swindling than on the exploits of a dead man in the last century at Cambridge House etc.  Historical memory is not to be ignored, as we know that even today that Spaniards are anxious to unearth the bones of victims of General Franco in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39.  If the supporters of PAG want to explore and campaign for what they call the 'survivors' of Cyril Smith they are entitled to do so.

What is worrying is that in doing so, and pursuing a single issue, the PAG campaigners  may be overlooking what is now under their own noses:  that is that they themselves may be being used as 'useful idiots' by an ambitious politician to feather her own nest.  I can't say this for certain, but their own heroine Sara Rowbotham has gone on record of making allegations against other Rochdale councillors, yet at the meeting PAG attended Sara had no qualms about joining the 'Roll of Shame' and backing the electoral fraud, Faisal Rana.

In this respect by getting carried away with the virtue signals and grandstanding of these half-baked ambitious politicians aren't you being a bit myopic?   Before you start to 'Look Back in Anger', just consider that I was one of those folding RAP in the cellar on Spotland Road, when in May 1979 the allegations against Cyril Smith at Cambridge House were first about to be put into the public domain.  Also, this Northern Voices Blog together with John Walker former joint editor of RAP; the Westminster Blogger, Paul Waugh; and the much lamented former Rochdale MP, Simon Danczuk,   created the conditions for PAG to exist after Danczuk made his speech in Parliament in 2012 (see the excerpt from the Northern Voices Blog archive in November 2012 below).***


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*    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFFKrkQaKqw&feature=youtu.be

** See the video link in which Sara Rowbotham denounces Councillor Allen Brett entitled
'3 BOYS , A GIRL AND A GROOMER ROCHDALE COUNCIL PART 5': 
PART 5 OF SURVIVORS MATTERS EXPLANATION AS TO WHY ROCHDALE BOROUGH COUNCIL HAVE REPEATEDLY MADE PROMISES TO THEM ONLY TO LEAD SURVIVORS ON THE ROAD TO NOWHERE , WHILST ROCHDALE COUNCIL TRYING TO PORTRAY ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND CHANGE
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9gXUO6bK0qRQxCqmjKBenQ

***   Monday, 19 November 2012


It Was The Voices That Did It!

Cyril Smith - the Legend Falls

LAST WEEK, Northern Voices was party with others to the opening up of a story that has lied in the shadows for decades.   We cannot claim all the credit as we did not do the original research into Cyril Smith:  that was performed by the editors of the Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP) in May 1979, when they first published the story and were threatened by Cyril Smith's solicitors at the time with a 'gagging writ'Private Eye and the New Statesman followed through with reports but the case against 'Smith the Man' was killed before it reached the mainstream media.  Later attempts to resurrect the story also failed because those giving evidence against Sir Cyril Smith lacked the confidence to put their names in the public domain. 

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Quarter of a million Yellow Vest protesters take to streets


protestor in lost 5 teeth and fractured his jaw when a police flash ball hit his face point blank in the protest.

Quarter of a million Yellow Vest protestors hit streets
Police in the capital used water cannon and tear gas as scuffles broke out at the Arc de Triomphe, on the ninth consecutive weekend of protests.
Some 84,000 demonstrators were recorded nationwide, an increase compared with last week, official figures show.
The nationwide protests were initially triggered by the rising price of fuel.
They have since widened to include anger at the cost of living, with a wide-ranging list of other demands.
Thousands of officers were deployed across Paris, which has previously seen street clashes and vandalism, to tackle the protesters, and parts of the city centre were blocked off by riot police.
Some 8,000 demonstrators were on the streets - more than in the past two weekends, when authorities counted just 3,500 people on 5 January and 800 on 29 December, according to interior ministry figures.
Some 156 protesters were arrested, and as of 21:00 local time (20:00 GMT), 108 remained in custody, police said.
By nightfall, there had not been the looting or burning of cars as seen in previous weeks.
There were also thousands of protesters in the cities of Bordeaux and Toulouse in southern France as well as Strasbourg in the east and the central city of Bourges, the site of another major rally, where more than 6,000 people took to the streets.
Nationwide, 244 people were arrested, of which 201 remained in custody, police said.
Some 80,000 police officers were deployed nationwide to face the protesters.
French President Emmanuel Macron has said a national debate is due to kick off on 15 January in response to weeks of protests by the "gilets jaunes" - so-called because of the high-visibility jackets they wear.
It will be held publicly in town halls across France and on the internet, and will focus on four themes: taxes, green energy, institutional reform and citizenship.
Source: BBC News 12 January 2019

Monday, 14 January 2019

Dodgy Jobs & Precarious Employment

by Brian Bamford
AT the 5th Policy Conference of the Unite union last July, two motions were carried calling for campaigns to 'ensure that all workers employed on temporary, permanent, or fixed term contracts or through agencies should have their rights and protections from the first day of employment...'

These policy changes followed an incident at Bury MBC's waste depot at Bradley Fold last February*, in which an agency worker querying his own rights and status with the manager ended up in a altercation in which the manager got a black eye.  That agency worker had done 8-years on the bins in insecure employment, binman at Rochdale MBC, we learn, had done 15-years in the same situation.

Other workers on the bins at the Bury Depot, believed that there was a cover-up about who struck the first blow.  The matter was reported to the police but later dropped.

Concern a year ago was triggered by the liquidation of Carillion in January, but after the dramatic event at Bradley Fold the Bury Unite Commercial Branch accused the Union of 'being asleep at the wheel'

Since the Bury Unite Branch issued a series of Freedom of Information requests about the goings on in Bury MBC with regard to agency workers, the bosses have started taking on staff on 6-month temporary contracts.   The worry is that the though the permanent staff on the bins in Bury are mainly in the union few, if any, of these temporary workers are.

What is now being demanded by the Unite union now is to establish that if a worker is under the control or direction of a company like Bury MBC, then that worker will be deemed to be an employee and enjoy all the rights that status infers.

Read more:  

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Sunday, 13 January 2019

George Orwell's Politics on libcom: Socialism

by Brian Bamford
A FEW days ago someone put a thread on the anarchist website libcom* entitled 'The Orwell quotes right-wingers never mention'.  It tries to show the breadth of George Orwell's ideas goes beyond his books '1984' and 'Animal Farm', in so far as they are perceived as attacks on state socialism and revolution.  The thread correctly attempts to show that Orwell was in fact a socialist who participated in a revolution in Spain.  There is a mountain of evidence that demonstrates this in his essays and letters, not to mention his book 'Homage to Catalonia', which Noam Chomsky describes as his best book.

In an essay reviewing Charles Dickens book Tale of Two Cities on the French revolution, Orwell chastises him for his exaggerations:

'The apologists of any revolution generally try to minimize its horrors; Dickens's impulse is to exaggerate them — and from a historical point of view he has certainly exaggerated.  Even the Reign of Terror was a much smaller thing than he makes it appear.  Though he quotes no figures, he gives the impression of a frenzied massacre lasting for years, whereas in reality the whole of the Terror, so far as the number of deaths goes, was a joke compared with one of Napoleon's battles. But the bloody knives and the tumbrils rolling to and fro create in his mind a special sinister vision which he has succeeded in passing on to generations of readers.  Thanks to Dickens, the very word ‘tumbril’ has a murderous sound; one forgets that a tumbril is only a sort of farm-cart.  To this day, to the average Englishman, the French Revolution means no more than a pyramid of severed heads.  It is a strange thing that Dickens, much more in sympathy with the ideas of the Revolution than most Englishmen of his time, should have played a part in creating this impression.'

Now the approach of the libcom thread is sound in that it tries to stress the authentic Orwell, who clearly favoured a form of socialism, and who sides with the working class based on his experiences in Spain.

Sitting in the trenches in Aragon in 1937 at the time of what some call the Spanish Revolution, Orwell wrote:
'...those first three or four months that I spent in the line...formed a kind of interregnum in my life, quite different from anything that had gone before and perhaps from anything that is to come, they taught me things that I could not have learned in any other way.

'... I had dropped more or less by chance into the only community of any size in Western Europe where political consciousness and disbelief in capitalism were more normal than their opposites. Up here in Aragon one was among tens of thousands of people, mainly though not entirely of working-class origin, all living at the same level and mingling on terms of equality.  In theory it was perfect equality, and even in practice it was not far from it.  There is a sense in which it would be true to say that one was experiencing a foretaste of Socialism, by which I mean that the the mental atmosphere was one of Socialism.  Many of the normal motives of civilized life - snobbishness, money-grubbing fear of the boss, etc. - had simply ceased to exist. The ordinary class-division of society had disappeared to an extent that is almost unthinkable in the money-tainted air of England; there was no one there except the peasants and ourselves, and no one owned anyone one as his master; ' (Homage to Catalonia; pages 101 and 102 of the Penguin edition)

It seems to me that Orwell's time on the Aragon front brought about a transformation in his thinking that led to him shifting to a belief in the possibility of socialism.  And yet, equally it established in his mind a mental state which also blended with what he had to say in his own critique of Dickens when describes him thus:  ' [as] the face of a man who is always fighting against something, but who fights in the open and is not frightened, the face of a man who is generously angry - in other words, of a nineteenth-century liberal, a free intelligence, a type hated with equal hatred by all the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls.' 

Those who despise Orwell today would have us drop this liberal aspect of both Orwell and Dickens, and have us embrace a form of modern totalitarianism which seeks to stiffle what Orwell calls the free intelligence of the old fashioned 19th century liberal.

Read more:  

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Squaring the Brexit Circle: Whither Corbyn?

by Les May

THERE is a saying that ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there’.   With less than eleven weeks before we are scheduled to leave the European Union (EU) I don’t think that any of the major players, the European Research Group (ERG), Theresa May, those campaigning for a second referendum, the MP(s) trying to rescind the 29 March date or the Labour party, have any clear idea where they want to end up or how they are going to get thereHaving a wish list isn’t the same as knowing how you are going to achieve it.

For the people who take the same line as the ERG leaving the EU is an end in itself.  As if by magic the problem of the Irish border will vanish.  The transition to conducting trade with other countries under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules will be seamless.  Bi-lateral trade deals with other countries will follow as surely as night follows day. We take a tough stance with the EU and the other 27 countries will be begging us to trade with them.  All these things may indeed come to pass, but I would like to see the plan of how they are to be brought about. Until I do I’ll accept the conclusion reached by Tony Blair, Nick Clegg and Michael Heseltine that for those politicians who think that leaving the EU is an end in itself it ‘would provide the pretext they have always wanted for their programme of extensive labour market deregulation and corporation tax cuts.’


For two and a half years Theresa May has parroted her mantra ‘Brexit means Brexit’. At no time has she given any sign that she was willing to listen to anyone who had concerns about where we would end up following our leaving the EU. She’s got deal, but it’s really a fudge so that she can say she ‘delivered Brexit’I don’t think she has any clear idea of where the UK will be in two years time or a plan for getting there.   The Irish border problem is not simply going to vanish.  With a few days to go before the crucial vote in Parliament we hear that she is scurrying round trying to get union leaders to pressure Labour MPs to vote for her deal.  And what has she to offer in return?  A reversal of the traditional Tory policy of ‘union bashing? I think not.

The individuals who seem to have thought least about where they want to end up are those calling for a second referendum.  I have already written that I believe such a move would undermine faith in parliamentary democracy. Parliament voted for the referendum in June 2016 with the result to be decided by a simple majority.  This produced a vote in favour of waving the EU, but not an overwhelming one.   For parliament to use this as a pretext for calling a second referendum with perhaps different rules seems to me improper. I voted to remain in the EU, but I would struggle to square my conscience with even casting a vote in a second referendum.

But just in case I find a way to salve my conscience, I keep reminding myself that I can see absolutely no evidence that the result would be any different than last time. Although there’s a lot of noise coming from politicians it does not seem to figure in everyday conversations. In the absence of evidence either way it’s an evens bet that the result will be the same. Then what? We are back at square one, perhaps with a bolstered and empowered ERG, and facing even more pressure for dropping out of the EU immediately with the consequences noted above. That’s an awful lot to risk on another throw of the dice.

The former Attorney General Dominic Grieve is the MP behind the idea that the 29 March date should be struck from previous legislation if Theresa May’s ‘deal’ fails to be passed by MPs.  As it stands this idea has a lot of merit.  There isn’t time to pass all the legislation which must be passed before we can leave the EU. It would also give time to produce a clear plan of where we want to get to in relations with the EU and the rest of the world, and how to get there.  Where I disagree with Grieve is his call for a second referendum which I think has no merit whatsoever.

Labour’s position on the EU is clearer than many people give credit.  In a long debate on the impact on security of leaving the EU the shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said that in the 2016 referendum Labour campaigned on ‘remain and reform’ and in the 2017 election on honouring the result of the referendum whilst being ‘committed to a jobs-first Brexit that will not harm our economy’. But of course that is a wish list, not a roadmap of how it is to be achieved.


If as is anticipated Theresa May fails to get a majority for her ‘deal’ and Labour tables a vote of ‘No Confidence’ which fails immediately or in the later vote to be held within 14 days, then if Labour really is committed to ‘jobs-first Brexit that will not harm our economy’ it is going to have to come up with concrete proposals about how it is going to get to that desirable situation.  Simply saying it will renegotiate the present deal is to repeat Theresa May’s mistake of not involving MPs representing the wide spectrum of views about the EU which exists in the present Parliament.


Views on the EU, and on leaving it, are so polarised that no way forward is going to satisfy everyone.  There is no perfect solution which will honour the referendum vote, get us out of the Common Fisheries Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy, give us the benefits of the single market, block immigration from the EU, cease payments to the EU and resolve the issue of the Irish border, all in one neat packageIt is time for MPs to tell the public that this is the case and that some compromises will have to be made. I’d like to think that Corbyn is the man to do this, but I’m not holding my breath.

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Saturday, 12 January 2019

Asia Bibi Needs a Smartphone

by Les May

RAHAF Mohammed al-Nun is an 18 years old woman who has renounced Islam, fled Saudi Arabia, claims that if she were returned she would be killed, has been declared a refugee by the United Nations and has been granted asylum in Canada. Asia Bibi is 52 years old Pakistani woman who was on death row for eight years before being declared innocent of blasphemy by the Pakistan Supreme Court.  Since 2 November last year she has been in protective custody to keep her safe from mobs who refuse to accept the verdict of the court and want to hang her.

Whilst Rahaf has been enabled to start a new life Asia is still effectively a prisoner separated from her children and her husband.  So why the difference? Why has Rahaf attracted world wide attention and Asia been largely forgotten?

There’s a clue in a long article by Janet Street-Porter (JSP) in today’s IndependentJSP slants her article so that Rahaf is to be seen as a woman fleeing from a male dominated society.  She even manages to bring in the 120 or so women at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre who, like Asia Bibi are separated from their family, as no doubt the men are too.  Rahefs ‘crime’ is to simply want to make decisions about her own life. Asia Bibi’s is to be a Christian in a predominantly Muslim country.   The option she was given was convert to Islam or be tried for blasphemy. There’s no ‘feminist’ angle here.  It is, or should be, a human rights issue and deserving of our support for that reason.

There are two other reasons why these two women have been treated differently. When Rahaf reached Canada she was greeted by a government minister who went on to praise her countries diplomats.  Giving her asylum will not improve relations between Canada and Saudi Arabia. Pakistan has close ties with the UK, but Asia Bibi is something of an embarrassment to our government.   The Foreign Office has opposed offering her asylum, though it has been unwilling to go on the public record as to why it has taken this stance. Some people have viewed this as a willingness to ‘bend the knee’ to right wing extremists in Pakistan. I’m one of them.

The second reason is the simple fact that Rahaf has a smartphone and Asia Bibi does not. In one day Rahaf acquired 27,000 ‘followers’ on Twitter with her hashtag #SaveRahaf. For the Saudis the plight of one young woman had grown to an international incident overnight.

At present Asia Bibi is an innocent woman being held under what is effectively house arrest.  The president of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has shown himself unwilling to act to make sure she goes free immediately. Governments treat him with kid gloves in the hope of keeping him ‘on side’.  Saudi Arabia pumps money into the country to keep it solvent.   There’s little sign that the Bibi case will ever ‘go viral’ on Twitter. It seems being a Christian is seriously uncool amongst the Twitterati.

No doubt Rahaf’s story will get an outing in the Sunday papers this weekend and probably next week she’ll feature on Woman’s HourAs for Asia Bibi I’m not holding my breath as I wait for the feministas to notice.

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Thursday, 10 January 2019

TINA'S TRANSGRESSIVE TEA-TIME!

by Christopher Draper

I'VE just come back from a fascinating trip to Bury Museum and was particularly amused by my visit to the first floor cafe, or 'TINA'S TEAROOMS' as it is now denominated.  I was initially impressed by the non-gender-binary signage marking the location of "TINA'S TOILETS", regrettably not quite as positive or joyful as the sign illustrated above but nonetheless adequate and appropriately enlightened.  Less enlightened however was Tina's binary-gender-specific afternoon tea menu! (illustrated below)

Whilst GENTLEMEN (for £15) are offered 'Doorstopper Sandwiches' and 'A Big Wedge of Cake', LADIES (£13) get 'Finger Sandwiches' and 'Mini Cakes and Fancies'.  Are us NON-BINARIES expected to starve?
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Tuesday, 8 January 2019

CUMBERBATCH & BREXIT MADE SEXY

Review:  'Brexit: The Uncivil War' on C4
by Brian Bamford

Dominic Cummings

ON Monday the 25th, April 2016, Derek Pattison put a post up on the NV Blog entitled 'Vote Leaves' Campaign Director tells select committee: "Accuracy is for snake-oil pussies".'  It accused Dominic Cummings, the newly appointed to run Vote Leave campaigner, of being the 'Vote Leave silly Ass - Dominic Cummings'.  In last night's Channel 4’s drama Brexit: The Uncivil War, Dominic Cummings, as portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch was presented as a genius.  So much so that this morning I took a closer look at Mr. Cummings's arguments for how he succeeded in his campaign against the EU, Cameron and Osbourne.

When asked Cummings claims that three things helped his Leave campaign:  immigration; the public's anger about the 2008 financial crisis; and the pubic awareness that the Euro was causing problems in other countries like Greece.

Indeed it was these three factors plus the NHS that perhaps did more than the MPs to help Leave win.  According to Cummings, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove came on aboard later after the campaign was in full swing.

Cummings had to keep the politicians, who he does not trust, at a distance from the core management of the operation.  Farage and the speculator Aron Banks are both sidelined, and left to run their own campaign dedicated more to resisting immigration.

Basically Cummings adopts the theme to 'Take Back Control' for the British public, both from Brussels and from the British establishment system itself.: that is the London elite who were perceived as having been responsible for the financial crisis of 2008.

The idea is to engage and energise that fraction of the public who do not normally vote in elections and to discourage those favouring the status quo of Remain.  This involve mathematical targeting based on algorithms and large-scale data analysis.  Then hit them on social media.

'Hit them with £350m and Turkey' proclaims Cummings, addressing his staff from the office table..

Elsewhere, Cummings has argued that the dominant mental model of the Left / Right axis is no longer valid and empirically false.  Particularly among swing voters who he says are both more Left-wing and at the same time more Right wing than most politicians.  Simultaneously they will support more money for the NHS and favour confiscation of property, while favouring harsher action against terrorism or crime than the vast majority of MPs would support.

In last night's Channel Four production Benedict Cumberbatch's Cummings realises that a monster has escaped out of the bottle when Joe Cox was murdered.  Somehow it seems that Humpty Dumpty has fallen off the wall, and British culture is now in pieces.  Cumberbatch's performance was both stunning and sexy.

Meanwhile, Cummings was right to avoid talking about the single market, as no one would understand that because in the end the Brexit vote was sociological rather than economic.  It wasn't a repeat of Clinton's 'It's the economy stupid!'.  It was about seizing control.

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Is the man in this video an Undercover Cop?



In the political world, things aren't always what they seem. 

The Conservative MP, Anna Soubry, has recently hit the headlines demanding that the police take action against pro-Brexit  far-right demonstrators who have been stalking her outside Parliament calling her a liar and a Nazi. Why the pro Remain MP should be labelled a Nazi, isn't quite clear, but it is believed that Soubry a former criminal barrister, is Jewish.

Soubry, the Member of Parliament for Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire, said she would not be silenced nor intimidated and that it was wrong that MPs should "have to accept this as part of the democratic process." She told the BBC News that the police needed to "do their Job" and would contact them about the matter.

Judging from a video that is being circulated on Youtube, it seems that the police may well be on the job, albeit undercover. The video shows a loud mouthed individual inciting a group of people to verbally abuse Soubry, who seems to be taking it all in her stride in spite of her claiming that she feels intimidated. 

Some people have suggested that the individual on the video is an undercover police officer. In part of the video, he can be seen to slip something into the pocket of a person accompanying Soubry, who is believed to be a personal assistant or security man.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Is the Corbyn Project Finished?

by Les May

THE day after Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour party on 12 September 2015 the BBC showed its filmed production of J. B. Priestley’s 1945 play An Inspector Calls which has been seen by some people as a call to British society to take more responsibility for working-class people. Certainly this is how I read the play. It is calling for a shift in attitude, but it’s not a prescription for how it can be achieved.

I grew up in the 1950s, a time when that shift in attitude had to a significant degree been achieved. My dad was in hospital and we lived on National Assistance introduced by the Atlee government in 1949. Unlike today my mum was not made to feel like a scrounger. Many of the scribblers who write the opinion pieces in our newspapers are too young to remember that world. They are ‘Thatcher’s Children’ and since her election in 1979 the centroid of politics has shifted to the Right, so they view any move away from that centroid as Left wing extremism and swallow the myth that the Social Democracy which underpinned those years was a failure. It did not fail. It was ruthlessly destroyed by Thatcher and her followers in pursuit of their own interests.

Whilst older people like me have been attracted to ‘The Corbyn Project’ because they want to see the more caring world I experienced as a child restored, other, younger people have been attracted by what they see as his willingness to break with the Blairite legacy they grew up with and promote an alternative vision of society. Labour’s ranks have been swelled by younger people joining the party and older people rejoining it. These are the people who re-elected him when, in 2016, the win in the EU referendum by the Leave campaign led to the spurious claim that he was to blame for not campaigning hard enough.

In fact he was much more successful in persuading Labour voters of the virtue of staying in the EU (60% voted Remain) than Cameron was in persuading Tory voters (60% voted Leave).

I can see much the same scenario building as we approach 29 March 2019. This is what Andrew Rawnsley had to say in The Observer last Sunday;

The Labour leader is not making any effort to prevent Brexit because he doesn’t want to prevent Brexit. The conclusion for Labour supporters ought to be clear. If they want another referendum, they will have to rebel against him.’

It’s not difficult to spot the non sequitur here. There is absolutely no guarantee that the result of a second referendum would be different from the first. Rawnsley wants Labour supporters who don’t want to leave the EU, and I’m one of them, to think it would. From there it’s only a short step to saying, ‘It’s Corbyn’s fault we left the EU because he did not call for a second referendum’ if we do in fact leave.

Corbyn’s unwillingness, so far at least, to call for a second referendum is a principled stance. As I have written before when I voted to Remain in the EU I assumed that result would be honoured. But I doubt that the people in the Labour party who have tried to get rid of him once will see it that way.

I think Corbyn’s unwillingness to commit Labour prematurely to a definite policy with regard to leaving the EU has been shrewd because it makes it difficult for Labour’s enemies to attack it. At some time it will have to be clarified. Or will it?

As things stand there does not look like a majority of MPs in the House of Commons who will vote to leave. If there isn’t then perhaps Theresa May will feel she has to call a second Referendum. That would let Corbyn of the hook, May would get all the flak and Jeremy would be seen as the man who respected the voters wishes. That certainly would not do him any harm in an election.