Analysis comment

As govt postpones local elections and Labour cancels meetings, it’s time to call off leader election until COVID-19 crisis passes

Campaigns look crass when people are dying and fearful – and the country needs an opposition focused on exposing Tory folly, not internal contests

Emails from the Labour Party to members have announced the abandonment of all campaign activities and meetings in response to the coronavirus crisis, including the special conference in April to announce the results of the party’s leadership and deputy leadership contests.

One email, sent out today by Jeremy Corbyn, encourages members to get involved in community assistance activities while political campaigns are suspended:

But the party needs to go further and abandon its leadership elections until the crisis passes. Campaign emails that are still going out to members to ask for their votes unavoidably appear crass at a time when people are suffering fear and uncertainty and the death toll is mounting:

And a country ravaged by a pandemic and the worries, upheaval and grief that come with it needs stability – especially when the government is run by fools who are recklessly experimenting with the lives of the people they are sworn to protect as their most important duty.

Now is not the time for upheaval and transition in the Labour Party – one that should be holding the Tories to account and trumpeting Boris Johnson’s folly, not distracted by campaigns and the uncertainty of change.

Jeremy Corbyn, his front bench team and Labour’s National Executive Committee need to act immediately – and call off the elections until the COVID-19 crisis is well and truly behind us.

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  1. It would seem to be a perfect time to experiment with online parliament and online democracy in general including elections – assuming enough of the people who make the internet work survive to keep it going.

    1. It’s a good time to ‘experiment’ in a number of areas eg How to speed up the internet investment to go for 97% fibre coverage, as Labour would be doing if they’d won. Or how about releasing prisoners STILL serving Indeterminate Sentences? Iran has released 75,000 already. Even Bulldog ‘ Throw away the key’ Johnson could get away with it in the context of a prison riot or two and suffer No Loss of Face, the determinate of his policies. But the whole prison system could be shaken up and boiled down to a relatively small number of professional crooks, sociopaths and those who ought to be in secure medical facilities. Do away with Victorian slum prisons altogether. The Tories have been tempted before in relation to the big LONDON prisons that not only cost so much but sit on prime development sites. Again they can do it with No Loss of Face – ; it’s The Crisis and you’re all going to die anyway. (HMP Pentonville has a lovely open SW aspect), it’s an opportunity! But Government – the Ruling Party, Civil Service, Opposition, Pundits and the rest of the elite – seem totally devoid of any ideas at all, frozen, stupefied. It’s not just the virus, it’s the ‘real’ end of Empire – which would be another very welcome offshoot of the panic.

    2. This leadership & deputy election should be paused. We already have our party leader who has been effectively elected three times. IE Election + 2 coups. Indirectly his position was vindicated by the electorate at the referendum , the EU elections and tragically at the General Election. when they rejected the misguided out of touch, obsession of Starmer, Swinson, Campbell, Smeeth, Berger, Ummuna, Blair, Straw, the Benns (polar opposite to the eminent Tony Benn).

      As the visionless disdainful noise of Starmer, Gina Miller & co, has been soundly rejected by the electorate, this is an opportunity for Jeremy Corbyn to resume inspiring the many and increasing our membership to beyond One Million, with the proper support of a proper deputy. Sadly a proper deputy dedicated to supporting the leader, was disgracefully absent since Jeremy was elected. One candidate stands out way above all the others. In fact after the last four years, that one candidate, Richard Burgon, exceeds my expectations. So, Richard Burgon should be appointed interim Deputy Leader until the election process can be resumed

      Special circumstances demand special measures. All campaigning and the election should be halted at once. Decisiveness is vital. This is an opportunity to employ decisiveness. Drop the drift. Drop the trepidation. Drop the wet drips. Let the wet wet drips take their damp despondency elsewhere.

      1. “Special circumstances demand special measures.”

        Do you mean ‘special circumstances’ like the polls indicating your prefered candidates won’t win.

      2. It’s never going to happen signpost, and YOU know it!

        And what ‘trepidation’ are you referring to exactly? And WHO are you saying should ‘drop it’? And who did you have in mind when you spoke about ‘jellied weakness’ in a post a few days ago?

        And who were you referring to when you said the following several days ago? Jeremy?:

        ‘That is what’s lacking too often in those with noble aims. Their niceness snuffs out the drive to win. Me thinks it best to take no prisoners. Excessive caution and misdirected “kindness”, are actually derelictions of duty and responsibility to those who pin their hopes for change in one. It is a detached interpretation of “kindness”. It is a blind cruelty to those most in need of change. It unwittingly treats an unconsidered drifting foggy stagnant misconception of what it means to be gentle way over and above the real, immediate, tangible urgent needs of the most vulnerable.’

      3. SH, you will find five or six posts of mine, aprx 3 or 4 weeks ago weeks ago, stating that the contest should be abandoned. The present COVID-19 situation re the Johnson & Cummings eugenicist horror approach, under the guise of heard immunity, is the reason for my reiteration. NB have not posted for these last few days.

        AH, know one knows what will “happen”. But it is wise to express what we wish to happen. Telepathy is yet to be perfected.

        RE: our 2nd question, supported by a substantial and welcome quote, I was and am referring to my own CLP. But i feel the cultural malaise may affect all other CLPs and the NEC… in fact the whole party. Not so much which is a place of some dynamism and robustness. We sometimes don’t agree, and we say so. That is great. We don’t have the vibrant exchange of ideas in my Jeremy supporting groups. The right wing get away with murder. My lot are full of “nice” people…. very nice some of them. Super educated and super well read but with no grip on the non metropolitan realities in a connected down to earth tangible way.

        CONFESSION: I am unsure of what possesses me to say the following, but it has much been in mind since the election. It may have been near impossible to sustain an effective government if we had won. The snakes within would have ramped up their hissing, strangulation and venom. The appeasement in the NEC would have continued re vile accusations without sound evidence.

        Also i could tell from the absence of SUFFICIENT the response to the Tory fellow giving a weak version of our budget. Plus the virus justifying the benefit of reliable broadband as examples. There is much more. When the 4 day week was put forward, a trial had just been concluded which should increased productivity. It was not cited even once to bolster our policy. These are only a few observations which indicate that throughout the party, there is almost no understanding of how much concentration, focus … presence is necessary to make new ideas take root, THROUGHOUT the land.

        The right wing sane old same old brigade, have no need for this focus. We do. But we, are too often adrift from his necessity. I diagnose that many amongst us THROUGHOUT the party have given up… and do not know it. They forgot when they did. They forgot their purpose and another sprouted like a slow growing mould. The mould makes those afflicted by it, only talk amongst themselves, comfort themselves with nice sophisticated middle class chat, crave ever more PhDs on political theory. Yet the purpose of politics … to me becoming the government and changing things, THAT does not seem at all to be the priority in my Jeremy supporting groups. It would be a huge surprise if my observations are not widespread. But a surprise would be better than great.

      4. And what has ‘niceness’ and ‘kindness’ got to do with anything signpost? Was Jeremy being ‘nice’ when he voted against invading Iraq? Did he do it out of ‘kindness’? Or did he do it because he knew that hundreds of thousands of people would end up being killed and hundreds of thousands of others maimed and crippled and millions more devastated at the loss of loved ones etc, etc AND because he knew the WMD threat was a super massive black propaganda lie.

        Was it ‘jellied weakness’ that led him to vote against the party line hundreds of times during the Blair and Brown years, or was it because he is a man of great integrity with high principles.

      5. Signpost said (in response to my initial post) that: ‘ no one knows what will “happen”. But it is wise to express what we wish to happen.’

        Only someone who is completely divorced from reality – OR spouting B/S – could possibly entertain the possibility that JC is going to suddenly declare that he is going to stay on as leader. Apart from the fact that Labour have been defeated in two general elections with Jeremy at the helm, and despite the fact that he announced in the early hours of the 13th December that he will be standing down, and despite the fact that a leadership contest is in full swing, you think it’s wise to express what you wish to happen, even though you know there’s not a chance in hell that it will.

        It’s not just totally asinine to spout such garbage, it’s actually completely fraudulent. Oh right, and signpost would have Jeremy go through MORE months or years of being vilified and demonised and smeared. Have some respect for the man you complete and utter phony!

  2. What a silly idea. Most people have already voted anyway and leaving the Labour Party without effective leadership for an extended period would be counter productive.

    This looks more like a case of wanting a re-run because the polls are against your favoured candidates

    1. I don’t know, Steve – Jeremy, having no leadership axe to grind, can speak truth to Johnson without fear or favour – I think that’s exactly what Labour and the country needs.
      Leadership contenders’ public statements on this crisis might be telling when the outcome of the virus is known.
      Any who haven’t loudly ripped Johnson’s plan apart will be seen to be as incompetent as the toad himself.

      1. I still think this call for a cancellation of the leadership election is more to do with the polling indicating that Starmer has already won than owt else.

      2. Yep you are correct there, I David, I in my view if woukd be the best solution provided JC is prepared to continue.

    2. Calm down AH. There is no reason why Jeremy should not pause the contest and act in the excellent ways you record eg Iraq etc, were he was directed not just by “niceness” nor “kindness”, but by what was insightful and wise. An insight and wisdom that we in the “Left” have in spades, plus the courage to stick to it. So the courage is there. A strange thing happened though after the victories. The focus seemed to be appeasing the defeated ie those with the odour of Starmer ie Blair.

      Now we have the proof that the electorate rejected the Blair type stuff… or Jo Swinson would be PM & Ummuna the Chancellor and Berger the Downing St mouser, the leadership comp should be paused in these special COVID circumstances.

      Richard should be interim Dep and Jeremy continue as leader. Or Richard as interim leader with Jeremy as interim deputy. We would also need an interim NEC panel as clearly some may wish to step down. Quite straightforward. It just needs to be done.

      Oh and ps, neither Jeremy nor our policies lost the election. It was Starmer pushing Blair’s regurgitated EU fetish on the party, that gave Johnson the victory. So Starmer should go play with Blair and Jo Swinson….do you want to go with them? Are you distressed at the thought of Starmer departing for Limp Dim dom?

      1. It was RLB who clearly stated in her recent LBC interview that she would be consulting with Tony Blair.

        RLB has also clearly stated that she would welcome both Luciana Berger and Louise Ellman back into the party.

        RLB also said that we (the party) should pay compensation to the ex party staff who appeared in the Panorama ‘documentary’ for all the stress they’ve suffered..

  3. Just came across the following article:

    The response of the ruling elite to the coronavirus pandemic: Malign neglect

    There is no doubt that at least some members of the ruling class see coronavirus fatalities as desirable. British Telegraph columnist Jeremy Warner stated openly what is being discussed within ruling circles when he wrote, “the COVID-19 might even prove mildly beneficial in the long term by disproportionately culling elderly dependents.”

    1. AH, i believe that is their underlying drive. The core belief of Cummings & Johnson are driving their approach. Group thinks sets in. Same as with Blair’s Iraq invasion. The “experts” who disagree are excluded from the “sofa government. With previous epidemics, we lacked the ability to develop a vaccine swiftly as now. Yet Johnson/Cummings are taking a culling approach that pays scant regard to life. They see old people and poor people as expendable. Possibly the longest phase re a new vaccine is human testing. So there is no need, in my opinion to go down the route of let thousands of elderly and poor to die. Interesting that China has not taken that approach.

      Further the rational of the health service being unable to cope illustrates that the managed decline of the NHS is a false economy. Like deciding that life boats may be so unlikely to be needed so totally unnecessary. The Tory philosophy has no value for resilience re the common good. The value resilience only for the 1%.

      1. Running down the NHS and starving it of funding is NOT a false economy if your goal is to sell it off to your buddies and make £billions each and every year in profits from people being sick and ill for yourselves and your shareholders, which is precisely what they are in the process of doing of course.

        By the way, you never DID tell me who these commentators were who you claimed were surprised that Jeremy hadn’t sued any of the people who said he was an anti-semite. Needless to say, you were lying through your teeth of course, and THAT’s why you didn’t come up with the names – or programs – of anyone, despite me asking you on a number of occasions over a period of several weeks. As I said signpost, you’re a phony and a fraud, so don’t bother engaging with me playing your ‘innocent little me’ game!

        Oh right, and when you said in a post a few days ago that:

        ‘The IHRA definition is NOT universally accepted. That is another lie that was allowed to take root all because of timidity and jellied weakness.’

        you were referring to your CLP regarding the ‘timidity’ and ‘jellied weakness’, were you? Yeah, sure you were! Shills like yourself think they’re so clever they can pull the wool over peoples’ eyes and talk their way out of anything!

        Jellied weakness FFS, give it a rest man! And STOP pushing in at the top of the comments section as you’ve done dozens and dozens of times with long meandering psycho-babble type posts. Anyone would think you are trying to deter people coming across skwawkbox for the first time and put them off from signing up to get notifications. Are you incapable of talking in plain English and keeping your posts relatively brief and not rambling on and on and on, essentially saying the same thing in practically every post, and most of it just negative B/S.

      2. Bit rich you complaining about the length of other people’s comments Allan – you make Melville, Tolkien and Tolstoy look concise.
        Getting wound up over someone constantly beating you to the first comment – jeezus, man, that’s even more obsessive than complaining that the likes are being manipulated to make you look unpopular.
        Get help.

  4. BBC reporter in Italy and the doctor she was just interviewing were both wearing masks with exhale valves.
    Such masks are virtually useless at preventing the wearer infecting others.
    Masks, whether with or without valves aren’t as effective at preventing virus spread as some people apparently think.

    1. David – If you were in that situation would you rather have a mask that offers you some level of protection or no mask at all. Given the shortage of supplies people are unfortunately having to do the best they can to protect themselves and others.

      1. SteveH. Please stop and think. Those masks offer NO protection to the wearer or anyone in proximity unless they have anti-viral filters
        They are not air-tight when breathing in and an exhale valve without a filter allows the virus to pass out. They would be better with NO exhale valve.

      2. Jack – In a perfect they would all be wearing full bio-hazard PPE but unfortunately we are where we are and I still contend that something is better than nothing.

      3. Steve, in that situation I would first explain to every viewer the need to seal the valve shut with butyl tape/plasticene/putty/car body filler etc.
        Cigarette smoke blown out through the valve and around the edges of the mask would be an effective demonstration of its shortcomings.
        Yes, it will protect the wearer to some degree – but it also gives people nearby who don’t notice or understand the valve a false, possibly lethal sense of security.

      4. David – Face masks of this type are designed to protect the wearer and any incidental protection that they offer to those around the wearer is just that, incidental. Ask yourself though would you rather someone standing nearby who sneezed was or was not wearing a mask.

  5. Steve, I’d rather we were both wearing masks without valves, to protect ourselves as effectively as possible.
    This is not a case where the best is the enemy of the good – those valves can easily be sealed, at least doubling their efficacy.
    It only takes a few seconds and there is absolutely no reason not to do so.
    Even gaffer tape would be better than nothing.
    I’m simply trying to pass on what should by now be common knowledge in an emergency like this.
    I have no way other than posting the information online to spread the word.
    It’d be nice if some smoker with a following reading this would make a YouTube video of the cigarette smoke demonstration with valved and unvalved type masks to prove the point.

  6. I am afraid that too many of our older people still rely on the BBC for reporting the plain facts without bias and accurate.My Brother in a , “care home” near Preston told me Johnsons doing the best they can.My elderly sister a life long Labour voter parroted the same line..I havnt been intouch with my brothers and sisters since xmass so I telephoned them from Cambodia(3cents a minute).I am quickly recovering with the rest of my family,but that phone call almost gave me a relapse.They the public are being lied to by the trusted BBC and the older generation like many dont use the net and rely on the BBC..No wonder Johnson and the torys won if the ordinary people who know about the lies of the mail the sun and all,but are hoodwinked by the poison of our State broadcaster.Too think that my own brothers and sisters are hoodwinked by the jovial clown and are liking what they here glued to the BBC.God help them,they walk smiling 😃into the arms of pure evil.The Conservative and unionist party.

  7. ” a country ravaged by a pandemic”

    No it’s not, Corporal Jones. Although it is going to get worse and it’s necessary to take measures, I can’t see any point at jumping on chairs and screaming pointlessly. (And I’m in the more vulnerable group)

    The leadership election is already underway, and doesn’t involve mass gatherings of people, whilst the Labour Party scarcely registers in the news, the media having successfully disposed of Corbyn to the sidelines.

    There is a lot that isn’t known about this virus, but latest good information (as opposed to social media ramblings) is moire positive rather than negative – it’s evidently more infective than seasonal influenza, but not much different in terms of severity and the impact on different population groups.

    Which isn’t complacent – anyone who’s actually had a bad dose of ‘flu knows how nasty it can be.

    In the meantime, the advice about hygiene is crucial – rather than pointless hysteria. Transmission from hard surfaces remains the main vector of spread – not airborne transmission.

  8. I’m not in favour of halting the leadership election. A load of votes have already been cast.

    And keeping Corbyn at the helm gives the toerags & media a get-out. You KNOW who’s to blame anyway, right?

    Well you can’t blame Corbyn if he’s just back to being an everyday MP.

    Nope, let starmer cop for the shit instead. We’ll get to see what sort of ‘man’ he is.

    It looks like the party want him. Gotta give the people what they want, eh, steve, dicky, jack?

  9. RH. I didn’t realise that being so wrong about the European Union made you a part of a vulnerable group………but you may have a point about conspiracy theories, I’m starting to believe that ‘the establishment’ will do anything to stop Liverpool from winning the Premier League.

    1. Nah, Steve – Brexit *was* the infection, and I didn’t catch it.

      At the moment, it does seem that conspiracy theories are the main new virus, with the key symptom being a reflex of repetitively shouting into the void that is social media. 🙂

      1. Says dicky, repeatedly shouting into the void that is social media…

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