Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell writes in the Labour Briefing:
WE HAVE TO ALERT PARTY MEMBERS and supporters that the soft coup is underway. It’s planned, co-ordinated and fully resourced. It is being perpetrated by an alliance between elements in the Labour Party and the Murdoch media empire, both intent on destroying Jeremy Corbyn and all that he stands for.
The coup is not being waged up front in public but strictly behind the scenes.
Having learned the lesson of the last coup attempt - that a direct attack on Jeremy and his policies will provoke a backlash from many party members - the coup perpetrators are this time round pursuing a covert strategy.
The aim of these covert coup plotters is to undermine the support Jeremy has secured among Labour Party members, and also importantly to undermine support from Labour voters. Undermining support for Jeremy from Labour voters is important to the plotters because their objective is to ensure Jeremy trails in the polls and can’t win elections.
In this way they can destroy morale among party members and their confidence in him.
The tactics include daily and constant behind-the-scenes non-attributable briefings against Jeremy and his Shadow Cabinet every time he or his shadow ministers make a statement, intervene in Parliament or launch a policy.
The plotters use every opportunity to chip away at Jeremy’s standing to seek to demean him and undermine support for him in the Labour Party and among Labour supporters.
This constant barrage of negative briefings also crowds out any positive initiatives or narrative from Jeremy and his team. It also feeds and confirms in the public’s mind that the Labour Party is split.
The plotters are effective in distorting the media coverage because they have extensive contacts and allies in the media, many inherited from Mandelson’s days.
The professional planning of interventions in which attacks to undermine Jeremy are framed evidences an exceptionally well resourced ‘dark arts’ operation of the old spin school. The coup plotters are willing to sacrifice the Party at elections just to topple Jeremy and prevent a socialist leading the Party. It is more important to them that they regain control of the Party than it is to win elections.
The irony is that they are willing to go so far in denigrating Jeremy that they endanger their own parliamentary seats and endanger the very existence of the party they want to use to get into power. We saw the methods they use with the leaking of the Party’s internal polling. This was a carefully planned and executed operation.
Let’s use it as a case example.
Both quantitative and qualitative polling is undertaken by the Party regularly under the direction of Jon Trickett, the Party’s National Campaign Co-ordinator. Jon arranged for one focus group to be carried out by the Party’s polling agency in Manchester to assess how our frontbench members appearing on television programmes at the time were being perceived in the north west.
This polling took place back in November and its results were only accessible to a small number of party officials, Jon Trickett and the polling agency.
To this day I have still not seen the results.
The polling was leaked by someone to James Lyons, a Times journalist who has regularly received leaks from within the Labour Party - usually used to attack Jeremy and his team.
The Murdoch media had already run earlier in the week fake news stories in The Times and Sun alleging that Jeremy was planning to stand down as leader of the Party.
No matter how many times it was explained that this story was completely untrue and absolute fiction, the The Times and Sun continued to run it - and the BBC and other broadcast media took it up and reported it extensively. The media then invented the story that the polling on the perception of Shadow Cabinet members in the north west was the Party testing the perceptions of potential successors to Jeremy.
This was a classic negative story framing and transmission exercise. It is just one example of what we confront on a weekly and at times almost daily basis. It is vitally important that our supporters understand and appreciate what we are facing. What we are experiencing is completely predictable and expected. Spreading that understanding of what we are up against enables us all to organise how we can fight back and overcome the soft coup strategy.
We all have an important role to play in explaining what we are facing and how, by standing together, we can defeat the plotters again.
This is the testing time for the Corbyn transformation.
The challenges are great and the times are tough - but we all know that this is the socialist opportunity of a lifetime.
Comrades, I was at the Scottish Labour Party Conference today to listen to the Leader of the Labour Party and to get some sense of where we are after the two by-elections in Copeland and Stoke.
I saw Jeremy as he swept into the Perth Concert Hall this morning with the usual media scrum pushing and pulling at him and behaving like the toerags they are.
Jeremy looked tired as he shook hands at stalls and chatted.
I sat through the morning session but really was there for Jeremy's speech at 1pm. The hall was quite empty in the morning but that all changed in the afternoon for Jeremy's speech.
When Jeremy came onto the stage he got a standing ovation and people chanting his name. There were two more standing ovations during his speech which was statesmanlike and witty. He never missed a beat!
I have watched many of his speeches and this was by far his best. He told us not to accept the status quo but to fight for our values and people responded to his call.
I can tell you that today, for the first time, I felt an optimism and sense of defiance and hope in the Scottish Labour Party and Jeremy did that!
So comrades, we must remain resolute, and fight on, just as our leader is. He needs us now and we must be there for him.
Thanks Cindy Callaghan from your report and excellent images
Wednesday February 8, 2017
Clive Lewis to step down from shadow cabinet
Clive Lewis MP, commenting on stepping down from the shadow cabinet said:
“When I became the MP for Norwich South, I promised my constituents I would be ‘Norwich’s voice in Westminster, not Westminster’s voice in Norwich’. I therefore cannot, in all good conscience, vote for something I believe will ultimately harm the city I have the honour to represent, love and call home.
“It is therefore with a heavy heart that I have decided to resign from the shadow cabinet.
“It has been a privilege to work with Jeremy Corbyn and be part of the shadow cabinet. I will continue to support our party and our leader from the back benches to the very best of my ability.”
Jeremy Corbyn MP, commenting on Clive Lewis standing down from the shadow cabinet, said:
“I would like to thank Clive for his work in the shadow cabinet, which has underlined what an asset he is to the Labour Party and our movement.
“I understand the difficulties MPs representing constituencies which voted Remain have in relation to the European Union Withdrawal Bill. MPs have a duty to represent their constituents as well as their party.
“However, the Labour Party respects the outcome of the EU referendum, so we have asked all Labour MPs to vote for the Bill at its third reading tonight.
“We have been clear from the start that Labour will not frustrate the triggering of Article 50, which represents the start of the process for leaving the EU.
“Labour will use every opportunity to hold the government to account and protect jobs, rights and living standards at every stage of the negotiations.
“I wish Clive well and look forward to working with him in the future.”"
Thursday Mr Corbyn announced the following shadow cabinet appointments;
Jeremy Corbyn leader of the Labour Party and the official government oppposition writes:
"Let no one be in doubt that I will oppose, and the Labour Party will oppose, all those who fan the flames of fear at home and abroad.
I support the demand of millions of British people: Donald Trump should not be welcomed on a State Visit to this country while he continues to propagate his anti-women, anti-Muslim and anti-Mexican policies.
This world defeated segregation, we defeated Apartheid and we will defeat this nasty policy created to sow division and hatred.
His invite should be withdrawn until the executive orders are gone and every element of them repealed.
History judges us by the actions we take in opposing oppression.
I am proud that during the 1980s and 1990s I stood with Labour party members, trade unionists and faith leaders opposing the racist regime of South Africa.
I was there on the day Margaret Thatcher opened her door to P.W. Botha while Nelson Mandela languished in a prison cell.
Margret Thatcher and the Conservative Party were on the wrong side of history then just as Theresa May and her Conservative Party are on the wrong side of history today.
The Labour party stands unequivocally with those demonstrating today and will do so until we are victorious.
I have written to Theresa May to demand that she withdraws her offer to Donald Trump of a State Visit."
The letter follows:
Jennie Formby: Labour's new general secretary