Thursday, 17 September 2015


 and how his victory could spell disaster for the trade unions.


There are some people who will vote for the same party at every general election regardless of who leads it and what it's policies are.

For example, an ex work colleague of mine, a lifelong Labour supporter and activist has been voting Labour since the 1960's. This means that in 1983, she voted Labour to show her support for Michael Foot and his manifesto which included withdrawal from the European Union and the unilateral removal of nuclear weapons. In 2005, she voted Labour again to show her support for an enlarged role for the UK in the European Union and it's commitment to retaining an independent nuclear deterrent.

In other words, it didn't matter what the party stood for, she was going to vote for them anyway. Lots of people are like this, Tory and Labour alike.

Your typical Labour supporter either votes Labour whatever it's policies, votes for the BNP or doesn't bother to vote at all. Either way, it will have little effect on the fortunes of the Conservative party.

There are some people however who, despite having a natural tendency towards conservatism, still have some social conscience and can therefore be persuaded to vote in favour of a moderate Labour government.

The Conservative leadership are aware of this and so when faced with just such a threat, tend to try and reign in the more extreme elements within their own party so as not to drive Tory moderates towards Labour come election time.

However, no-one in their right mind is going to vote for a Labour party with Jeremy Corbyn leading it and this gives much more freedom to the crackpots on the far right of the Tory party. The moderates will vote Conservative in spite of it's extreme policies as the alternative is too horrible to consider, i.e. Jeremy Corbyn in Number 10.

A perfect example of this process in action can be seen in the politics of the late 1970's. Left wing militant loonies like Arthur Scargill of the NUM and Derek Hatton, Leader of Liverpool Council managed to bring down the Labour government of Jim Callaghan and installed Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister to head a fanatical, right wing, anti-union Tory party.  

Despite being the most unpopular Prime Minister of all time, she still managed to stay in power for an entire generation, kept there by moderate Tories, terrified by the prospect of a Labour government. This enabled her to create a whole raft of anti-union legislation, force local authorities to sell off all it's housing stock, and who else could have introduced the Poll Tax?

Once Labour had managed to rid itself of it's militant wing and make itself more electable, the Conservative party ditched Thatcher and her cronies and elected John Major as leader. This strategy worked as history shows.

It may well be that the unions support of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour party leader has been a spectacular own goal.

We are already seeing the proposed toughening up of trade union laws making it more difficult to hold strike action and allowing employers to use agency workers to replace striking workers. These proposals, already described as "not fit for purpose" by the government's own regulatory policy committee might well have been watered down over the coming months as they were debated in parliament.

This is unlikely now. The more likely outcome is that a confident Tory right wing may well demand even more stringent restrictions on trade union activity, weakening the labour movement to such an extent that it becomes almost totally ineffective.

Of course, only time will tell what effect Jeremy Corbyn being elected as Labour party leader actually has on voters. I hope they don't come to regret it.

For what it's worth, I quite admire the man. I don't share many of his priciples but at least he has some, and sticks to them even at the expense of his own political career. I will watch his progress with interest.


Image from SIR Facebook page
As this seems to be a Jeremy Corbyn special, I thought I would revisit an issue I raised a few months ago.

Poor Jeremy is in trouble with the media almost straight away with his refusal to sing along to the national anthem at the Battle of Britain memorial service on Tuesday. It's actually good to see that the papers didn't allow the halving of tax credits to the poorest families in our society on the same day allow them to be distracted from what was this far more important story.

In June, I commented on the fact that ours is (as far as I know) the only national anthem in the world that makes no mention of the country it is the anthem of. This means that in order to fulfill your patriotic duty, you have to invoke the protection of a God you may or may not believe in for the head of a monarchy you you might well disagree with.

It's like being asked to paint your shed green to make the pixies happy. Declining to do so hardly makes you unpatriotic, it just means you don't believe in pixies and you don't want a green shed. (You may have to think about this for a bit).

At least, here in England, we still play the national anthem. In Scotland and Wales, they not only don't sing the words, they don't even play the tune.


What the Earth looks like presently
According to some people, the Earth is currently experiencing 15 days of darkness which began on 15th September.

No, this was nothing to do with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour party but rather an ongoing internet hoax that's been doing the rounds in one form or another for years.

This years version began at the website Newswatch33 which is one of those spoof news jobbies that publishes fake stories as a sort of prank; they mostly catch out the conspiracy and dodgy medical advice type nuts. These are the people who brought you the "Mars will appear as large as the Moon" story earlier in the year.

This turns up every year at around this time although the number of actual days of darkness predicted changes as does the exact date. I suppose it's a bit like internet flu where each year it mutates into a new form where it catches out the same people every time no matter how many times they have been caught before.

There will actually be around 179 days of darkness this winter but you will have to be at the North Pole to experience it.

Personally, I'm looking forward to "zero gravity day day" again.


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