Wednesday, September 21, 2016

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Owen Smith ~ Big Pharma's Man

Writing in Organized Rage on the British Labour Party leadership contest Mick Hall writes:

If Labour's rebel MP's continue to refuse to accept the democratic choice of the membership a reckoning is unavoidable.

Saving labour was launched under a veil of secrecy its supporters include Blairites like Alastair Campbell and supporters of Owen Smith.
Owen Smith's campaign by all accounts is going badly, hence the black arts and legal challenges going on behind the scenes. The latest wheeze of his campaign team is for Owen to all but claim credit for the good things which Gordon Brown nodded through when he was chancellor. A national minimum wage, ban on fox hunting, more teachers, doctors and nurses, sure start etc. The above is an example of this type of sleight of hand campaigning

Never mind Owen Smith played no role in the Labour Governments of Blair and Brown, only becoming an MP in 2010. In the years before he was elected to parliament he worked in the pharmaceuticals industry, becoming Head of Policy and Government Relations in 2005 for US multinational Pfizer. After leaving Pfizer in September 2008, he joined Amgen, another pharmaceutical corporation.

He has denied being a PR man for big Pharma but his job description when working for Pfizer speaks otherwise. Government relations in PR speak means lobbying government departments for product placement and tax breaks. He was employed by Pfizer because he new the corridors of Whitehall and Westminster intimately, having previously worked as a special adviser for Paul Murphy, when the MP was the Secretary of State for Wales and later at the Northern Ireland Office.

During last week's debate with Corbyn in Gateshead, Owen Smith said he will return to the backbenches rather than serve in Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet, should he lose the Labour leadership contest.

Mr Smith said he did not want to engage in futile work as Mr Corbyn could not win power, which is hardly a pledge of loyalty. A refusal to support a party leader in this manner is almost unique in LP history. In commerce and business and sport it's unknown. What does he think a shadow cabinet is there for? It's not a government in waiting, its duty is to hold the government of the day to account.

Imagine how Alex Ferguson would have reacted if David Beckham had refused to play the week after he had an argy bargy with him. Well we don't have to imagine we know what happened because Alex told us in his book;

David Beckham had to leave Manchester United because the former England captain thought he was bigger than the manager and the club. Loyalty is all for a leader and as a team player it is essential all from manager down give their all. Whether one likes or respects the boss simply is not part of the equation.

As von Clausewitz, a Prussian general and military theorist once said, war is not merely an act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse carried on with other means. Thus it follows that discipline and loyalty to a democratically elected leader is an essential element for any MP who gives loyalty to a political party. If they feel unable to do this they have two options, choose another leader and if this fails leave the field of battle to those who are willing to do their duty.

It is fine to differ over policies, one agues your corner and the democratic vote is taken and then it's next business, but that is not what the Smith camp has been engaged in. Owen himself has said apart from Trident, which Jeremy allowed a free vote on, he hasn't challenged any of Corbyns main policies. In fact he has gone on record as supporting almost all of them.

The current crop of Labour rebels have behaved despicably, plotted and schemed against the party leader, gone to law, colluded with the anti labour media.

If Owen Smith thinks it's futile to fight for a Corbyn Labour Government he should resign his seat and return to the corporate world from whence he came.


larry hughes said...

I have all fingers and toes tightly crossed until Saturday when I hope Corbyn gets an increased majority in the result and then send the PLP packing.