People’s Vote: a vehicle for raising Progress profiles?

The largely-Blairite Open Britain organisation, whose directors include Peter Mandelson and his godson –  was behind Saturday’s “People’s Vote” march last Saturday.

It was marked by marchers – who marched alongside Tories and others who have done terrible damage to this country – criticising opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn rather than Theresa May and her government’s dire handling of Brexit negotiations, or Tory ‘rebels’ who don’t actually rebel.

The People’s Vote website offers a ‘news’ page which has one striking characteristic spotted by John Traynor of the ‘Ducksoap’ blog: almost all of the people featured commenting in it are supporters or members of the Progress faction.

Progress and its adherents have relentlessly opposed Corbyn’s leadership, but have ‘progressively’ lost influence as members have voted in representatives to its ruling bodies more in line with the membership. Progress MPs have often been reduced to sniping from the sidelines or tweeting about trash TV.

Of course there is always an appetite on BBC political programmes for faux-Labour voices so the corporation can claim to have offered ‘balance’ – but with Labour members increasingly taking back control of even their local parties, right-wing MPs have become less and less relevant to the politics and vision of the party and its membership.

So the need to lever themselves back into some kind of pertinence must be pressing for many of them –  and so striking is the prevalence of Progress figures on the news page that Traynor considers it little more than a vehicle for raising their profile:

ducksoap pv

Is Traynor’s assessment correct? Certainly most of the names that appear are closely associated with the Blairite Progress faction.


Whether by accident or design, People’s Vote amplifies the voices of many MPs that left Labour members feel have done their best to damage Labour’s electability.

Pro-remain Corbyn supporters – of which there are of course many – should think hard before lending support to its expressed aims or oxygen to its ‘news’.

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  1. I guess that article was aimed at people like me, fervent Corbyn supporters and absolutely pro remain, however it won’t work. You either believe Brexit is good for the country or you don’t and I most certainly don’t.

    Those who think the same have every right to object to the damage that the one third of the electorate is trying to inflict upon the other two thirds as a result of Cameron and May being cowards by refusing to stand up to the far right wreckers in their own Party.

    When we know Jeremy is 100% in favour of remaining, it’s no use trying to use emotional blackmail to try and make out we are being disloyal. Despite some in the LP siding with the far right in the Tory Party because they too believe in Brexit, those of us who support remain will not give up our efforts to remain in the EU.

    As we get closer and closer to the leave date and workers find out that their jobs will be going, the reaction against Tory leave will become stronger and stronger. Labour must be there to offer a genuine alternative to leaving the EU, not some half baked fudge. Anything else will damage us.

    1. Jack T,

      Like most Remainers, you seem to have some confusion with democracy and democratic outcomes, you achieve this charade by stating one third of the UK Electorate are determining economic and political outcomes for two thirds of the UK electorate.

      Can I enquire, do you understand democracy, namely which ever side gains the most votes wins, unless of course you live within Bismarck’s Germany 1871-1914 or the USA under its Federal System, whereby you must win via an electoral college?

      Now, its winner takes all in FPTP democracies such as the UK, all of the UK’s registered voters were allowed to vote and over two thirds actually did elect to use their vote, indeed more than 72% to be precise – do you expect me and others to believe that those who could not give a toss, namely 28% of the registered electorate, should be added to those who could be arsed to vote, be it the Leave camp or Remain camp?

      Further, and at more than 17 million persons/votes, this is the highest vote in real people terms anything has ever achieved here in the UK – alas, it don’t count in your mind, perhaps because all those who could not be arsed to vote, and hence don’t deserve any say whatsoever after the vote, now allegedly belong to the Remain Camp – they belong to no Camp as they don’t give a toss, if they did they’d have voted don’t you think?

      Shall I mention Scotland and its turnout for its Independence referendum – over 80%, so 2016 Referendum turnout not fantastic, but still high by overall UK turnouts over the past 50 years.

      By the way, I’m anti-neoliberal and anti-warmongering, married to a non-European spouse and elected to leave the EU – so your racist/immigration canard is a bit undermined as far as this Lexit leftist is concerned.

      1. Well, on that basis, there was a vote in 1975, after which anti-EU activists spent forty years fighting against the EU. Plenty of folk told them that they should accept the “Will of the People” but they carried on fighting (and happily taking money from rich people – who remembers James Goldsmith and the Referendum Party?!) and refused to give up.

        Are you asking me (and 100,000+ others who actually turned out last Saturday) to just roll over and give up? Isn’t that the very antithesis of democracy?

        I don’t disagree with many of the Lexit arguments about the neoliberal aspects of the EU – I don’t think you’ll find many Remainers who think that the EU is a magnificent institution with no flaws either!

        But I do think that, as Jack T says, to try and employ emotional blackmail to make out that somehow we are being disloyal is starting to feel like the same tactics that the right use to enforce their ideology.

      2. Chris Rogers. Unlike you, I believe democracy is not a static construct and democratic decisions can be democratically challenged.

        The fundamental question is will Britain be better or worse off out of the EU?

        Unlike a GE where we can change our mind if we wish every five years, this is such an important, maybe one in a lifetime event, that we need to get it right for the sake of all of us.

        Those who still believe we will be better off, can stick to their decision. If however, AFTER NEW FACTS HAVE COME TO LIGHT, prior to the leaving date, people should have the democratic right to change their mind, or if they weren’t sure before and thereby didn’t vote, they should have a chance to vote either way.

        As has been said many times, you can’t undermine democracy with democracy. Those who are terrified of another vote because it may take away their precious Brexit are terrified of democracy.

      3. Scurra,

        A few facts, in 1975 we had a referendum on joining the European Economic Community, this all changed in the late 80’s and passage of the SEA and change in the EEC to the European Union, a change the electorate were not asked about!

        Now, my own disillusionment with the EU began from 2009, although the neoliberal economic medication inflicted on the Baltic States caused me great concern – so, I’m afraid I’m hardly someone who buggered about for 40 years trying to overturn the 1975 result.

        However, the Lisbon Treaty should have been endorsed or rejected by the UK Electorate. Alas, i don’t remember a referendum on this issue and did not support David Cameron calling a faux Referendum in my own humble opinion.

        Still, I must be pig ignorant, despite actual Post Grad qualifications specifically focused on the operation of the EU and 12 years experience, up to 2016, of actually working with both the Commission, EU Parliament and ECB!!!!

      4. Jack T,

        I see we must play the Brussels game again, namely all nation State referendums pertaining to the EU and EU Treaties must be ignored until the correct result is achieved – so much for democracy mate!

        Further, and as related to Scurra, my opinion is simple, a Referendum should have been held of adopting the Lisbon Treaty – I remember no such Referendum.

        Still, if you desire a Corporatist, anti-democratic, neoliberal warmongering Institution to belong too, well the EU certainly fits that bill. For some of us though, and that some mainly applies to those on the actual Left, we still put faith in the Nation State, National parliaments and the People.

        As for another referendum, we’ll, it would seem, and regardless of now known facts that any gains the Remain camp would make would be wiped out by gains made by the Leave camp from remain voters sick to death of the neoliberal games many of the PLP and Ruling elite are currently playing.

        Still, if you desire to hang out with Blair, Kinnock, Osborne, Cameron et al, that’s your choice. Alas, I’ll hang out with the People, you know, all those across Europe who have made zero gains under the EU since 1990, rather they have lost a lot.

      5. Chris Rogers. Don’t worry, I get it, it’s not about supporting Jeremy Corbyn. Unlike Jeremy, you are a leaver and democracy means nothing to you. You are in the same camp as Bill Cash and all those who have never accepted our membership of the EU.

        Despite Arron Banks who bankrolled the Leave Campaign, telling you the referendum was not about facts, it was about emotion – and one of the most effective and blatantly emotive triggers was that we were being damaged by immigrants – you are so blinkered you ignore it.

        Because you want Britain to leave the EU, you are prepared to side with the far right no matter what the cost to your fellow workers. But perhaps you are not a worker yourself and do not have any sympathy for those who will lose their livelihoods, just like Farage, and his fellow right wingers, your hatred of the EU overrides everything.

        Enjoy your time camped up with the Little Englanders.

      6. Jack T,

        You are a typical, blinkered Remoaner – you accuse me of not being an actual Socialist, or actual Corbyn supporter.

        Some facts mate, suggest you check your facts on me with the hosts of this particular blog, Steve Topple over at The Canary, George Galloway and numerous other forums, be they UK or overseas-based.

        Apart from that, I’ll call you out for what you are: A BLOODY BLAIRITE!!!

    2. Chris Rogers. I don’t give a jot about your professed credentials, you are one of those on the left who like to shout “I’m more left than you” and can’t get it into your head that many of us on the left don’t share some of your views.

      You hate the EU that’s enough for me and like many fanatical leavers you become abusive when challenged.

      Just like Mandelson and the others, you would rather see your prejudices fulfilled than have a Jeremy Corbyn government.

  2. Like the majority of Labour Party members I am pro Corbyn and also like the majority of members I am pro EU. Everything I have seen since the Brexit vote has confirmed my opinion that both are worth fighting for.

    1. You need to think about the Labour voters rather than the members alone. A good many of whom belong in the LibDems. On the Labour membership card it states that the Labour party is a “democratic Socialist party”. The EU is a neoliberal construct with deep rooted problems around its currency, federalism, neoliberalism written into law, fixed budgets for Euro members and Germany outsourcing its unemployment to poorer southern states. There are loads of predictions about the imminent collapse of the UK if we leave, yet no one seems worried about the real problems facing the EU. I am, and we should leave.

  3. While I’m definitely not staunchly left wing and have some “centralist” but definitely not right wing leanings, I love the way the MSM are headlining the results of the review into Labour Party Democratic processes.

    Labour proposals ‘all-but guarantee left-wing Corbyn successor’

    Surely what the proposals “guarantee” (if anything) is that Corbyn’s successor will be chosen in an open democratic process amongst members and not dictated by the PLP. If sympathies amongst the membership are swayed elsewhere that will be reflected. It doesn’t guarantee a left wing successor.n

  4. Perhaps Labour’s Right Wing Neo-Liberals are desperate.
    Because I read, I saw a wonderful piece in the New Left Review on the development of the EC a few years ago and after the capture of the Tories in the UK by Neo-Liberalism (Thatcherism) and the bonus prize of New Labour it then captured the EC.
    Some on the left seem to still have a romantic image of a social democratic EC that WAS not the current Neo-Liberal EC that IS.
    I voted Remain to try to break EC Neo-Liberalism with partners but we lost and I accept the democratic decision, and we have to make it work.
    With job offers control labour supply, control capital supply, bring back migration adjustment funds for councils, trade unionise migrants.
    Sadly some of the Labour and Left family seem to suspend their critical thinking when it comes to the EC; we can still build international co-operation between independent left wing democratic socialist countries who regain rights they had before the Neo-Liberal Capitalist Straightjacket was imposed. Read, read, read and support JC!

  5. Corbyn is opposed to remain and like all the other party leaders agreed to abide by the peoples decision only the Liberal entrists support betraying the parties support of the peoples decision after they lost

  6. I support Corbyn and the EU and hope we end up staying but appalled at the way it has been made into yet another-anti Corbyn attack. What the hell is the point in slagging off the one person who one day might be in a position to do something about it – if you only let him. Obviously he would oppose a Tory hard Bexit, obviously he would try for either re-entry or re-nogotiation if he ever had power.

    1. I actually believed he would have gone for reform from the neoliberal agenda, but the blairites put pay to that with their constant attacks before and during the election. The Only way forward now is close alignment, which I believe to be his aim. Anyone advocating more of the same is oblivious to the decline the country has suffered. Whether it be consecutive governments neoliberal agenda, the EU has played its part. Not listening to the people, is Tory, blairites and liberals agenda, hence one is for brexit the other two remain, neither trying to accommodate something for both. Corbyn has had the right position and the ones following the centrist blairites position must know its all to attack Corbyn.

  7. The thing I don’t get is that if the EU is so terrible, why aren’t Syriza in Greece leaving the EU, and why aren’t the Socialist/Communist coalition government in Portugal leaving the EU?

    1. Greece can’t leave. They owe so much money to European banks that the economy would face immediate collapse. As it is they can never repay their debt and the only way forward is to outsource everything, maybe sell, in all but name, a couple of islands and hope (in vain) that one day their debt is written off. Portugal is in a similar but not so bad position. They are trapped by fixed budgets.

  8. Like 1000s of others, I became a member of the Labour Party because of Jeremy Corbyn. I’d admired him for years and I felt that with him we had a chance of getting a real socialist government, one that looked after the people and the country, rather than the pockets of the rich. But I do not support Labour’s current wishy-washy approach to Brexit, particularly when nearly 1 in 5 members support staying with the EU. I have very little (if any!) time for Labour right-wingers like Chukka Umunna but I do support his desire to stay in the EU, although my reasons are probably NOT the same as his.
    The People’s Vote Campaign was set up by 9 organisations, not just Open Britain or Progress MPs.
    I was on the march and yes, I heard the chant ‘Where’s Jeremy Corbyn?’ It was started by a very small group of people, I heard it twice, and both times it died very quickly. The rest of the 100,000+ just went on marching. The media can make what they like of it but we were not there for that kind of politics. WE were there because we want to stop Brexit
    Interestingly, when the march got to Parliament Square (I was near the front of the march because we had met up with Labour MEP Claire Moody) I noticed a lot of people peeling off to go home. They were there for the march, not the speeches.
    Pro-EU groups across the country are non-party-political, open to members of all parties and none. And though their egos will find this hard to accept, in a gathering like that march right-wing Labour MPS really are totally irrelevant, and I doubt it will win them any more votes in the next election.

  9. An excellent piece in the New Left Review a few years ago argued what was to become the EC was initially set up in the late 1950s by social democrats (they supported crumbs for working people whilst accepting capitalism) and its initial aims were: to counter the then perceived threat of the USSR, to promote capitalism in Europe, and to give Europe a greater voice on the world stage.
    De Gaule of France was originally against the UK joining because he felt it would act as a Trojan horse for US capital (which eventually happened) and the dollar was soon to dominate (and hence I would argue the desire from some for the Euro).
    So it was originally social democratic but was later captured completely by Neo-Liberalism; the four freedoms of goods, services, people, and capital are Neo-Liberal ‘Freedoms’ to serve capital but I would suggest the historic moment for us to help break free from Neo-Liberalism from within has passed, and now it’s time to turn the page.
    The question for genuine socialists was perhaps never IN or OUT but how can we build a left wing democratic socialist society in the UK (as an example to the world)?
    But am I the only only socialist thinking about the impact migrants from the EC have had and are having on their own countries (the population of Bulgaria for example is expected to have reduced by 50% in 2020) and whilst there may be the PULL of generally better wages, from some countries like Poland there is a PUSH from it’s horrible Right Wing Govt. (after 3 months unemployment there is no dole and desperate people however not too well have to find jobs anywhere).
    Perhaps dear reader you may have never considered these ideas but is there a danger that some are taking a UK centric view – come here, make our rich (and us) richer, and as internationalists shouldn’t we care if you don’t have enough young workers to care for your older citizens, children, the ill, mentally ill, to work the fields, make things, run in your old societies etc.?
    Of course we must but have you ever considered these aspects as true international socialists thinking European wide or more globally?
    I believe we must accept the democratic decision (though I voted Remain as a last throw of the from within the EC dice) and am comfortable with it and argue we should control labour supply (job offers needed by EC and Non-EC migrants – the latter unlike Fortress Europe), control capital supply, bring back migration adjustment funds for local councils, and trade unionise migrant workers (and why not ask refugees and asylum seekers to join?) and collectively if every country does the same then diverse working people internationally by country take back democratic power from capital.
    And we can still forge links and co-operation internationally.
    Read and think critically, you will need it if and when we get JC in!

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