Nutroots Morning Report

Co-conspirators from inside TUC HQ have been reporting back from Netroots UK. Undeniably a good turnout for the event, the subsidised £5 ticket price including lunch and booze clearly worked as an enticement.

The speeches from Sunder Katwala of the Fabians and Clifford Singer of MyDavidCameron fame where well received. Sunder cited polling evidence of the cuts losing popular support as a sign the left are winning, Clifford gave a humorous talk which went down well claiming that the Daily Mail was co-opted into spreading UK Uncut’s message by the nature of their campaign.

Nigel Stanley, Head of Campaigns at the TUC, was surprisingly candid, admitting that the “Coalition’s narratives of bloated public sector and wasteful welfare are strong” and that the “unions are seen as vested producer interests (with gold-plated pensions)” – a backhanded compliment to the success of the Taxpayers’ Alliance campaigning. Does have the strategic campaigning advantage of being true…

Polly Toynbee went down less well, Sunny Hundal in the chair allowed her to ramble on for too long and the audience – judging by the Twitter reaction – was not impressed with her acceptance of the fact of the cuts – the audience wants to fight to stop the cuts, she took comfort from the fact that they will damage the popularity of the government. A realpolitik stance that was far too defeatist for left-wingers in the audience.

Tom Watson went down badly with his “Comrades” opening line which is a bit too old school “scary” for the kids and his plea for everyone to join Labour brought the inevitable left-wing reaction from Maeve Mckeown raging against Labour over Iraq, tuition fees and the usual Blairite crimes. Lefties love ranting against Labour sell-outs…

Guido managed to get a mention from the floor – apparently this blog shaped how the election turned out – Sunder reckoned Guido was too extremist and that left-wing blogs have more “range and depth”. In other words they are more boring.

The New Statesman’s Laurie Penny summarised the morning thus:




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Quote of the Day

Jeremy Corbyn in the Evening Standard

“… we must also face the uncomfortable fact that a small number of our members and supporters hold anti-Semitic views and attitudes, which need to be confronted and dealt with more rapidly and effectively.

The evidence is clear enough. Labour staff have seen examples of Holocaust denial, crude stereotypes of Jewish bankers, conspiracy theories blaming 9/11 on Israel, and even one member who appeared to believe that Hitler had been misunderstood.

So let me be clear. People holding those views have no place in the Labour Party.

… we have not done enough to get to grips with the problem, and the Jewish community and our Jewish members deserve an apology. My party and I are sorry for the hurt and distress caused. … We must strive to understand why anti-Semitism has surfaced in our party…

… when criticism of or opposition to the Israeli government uses anti-Semitic ideas — attributing its injustices to Jewish identity, demanding that Jews in Britain or elsewhere answer for its conduct, or comparing Israel to the Nazis — then a line must be drawn.  Anti-Zionism is not in itself anti-Semitic and many Jews themselves are not Zionists. But there are also a very few who are drawn to the Palestinian question precisely because it affords an opportunity to express hostility to Jewish people in a “respectable” setting. Our movement must not be a home for such individuals.

Second, there are people who have come to see capitalism and imperialism as the product of conspiracy by a small shadowy elite rather than a political, economic, legal and social system. That is only a step from hoary myths about “Jewish bankers” and “sinister global forces”.

These views do no service to the struggle for a just society.”

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