Monday, October 31, 2016

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Briefings From The Cosy Club Must Halt

Mick Hall @ Organized Rage calls for:

No More Unattributed Briefings From Labour MPs: Constituency Labour Parties Should Move Resolutions To This Effect


We need to change how the Westminster parliament does business
The Sunday Times published the following comments made by two Labour MPs expressing a desire for Jeremy Corbyn to die, as the only means of removing him from the leadership of the party:

Reading the above, apart for the sheer nastiness of the comments, it shows just how out of touch these Labour MPs have become. To claim those of us who support Jeremy see him as a Christ like figure turns reality on its head. The overwhelming majority of us gave him our support because of the policies he advocated in the leadership contests. Those who had never come across him before quickly realised he stood out from the majority of Westminster MPs in that he actually meant what he said. While in 2015 the other three candidates offered austerity lite with a more human face, Jeremy saw the need to plow a completely different farrow.

Neoliberalism has proven disastrous for not only the LP's core support base but for the nation as a whole. The UK has become a cruel and heartless place where central government targets those least able to defend themselves, while rewarding, and turning a blind eye to the shenanigans of the most wealthy.

Was it any wonder the party was losing support when a majority of its parliamentarians refused to oppose austerity and benefit cuts, instead abstaining or accepting some form of austerity lite as a necessary evil?

They say cometh the hour cometh the man/woman; even Jeremy's most disgruntled critics could not claim he hasn't given the LP a new lease of life. Not once has he wilted under the most ferocious attacks from the mainstream media, our political opponents; and to their ever lasting shame the small coterie of Labour MPs who organised the attempted coup to unseat him earlier this year.

At a time when the leadership should have been united in castigating the Tory government, Jeremy, for the second time in a year had no choice but to criss cross the nation, day in day out to ensure the democratic will of the membership weren't betrayed.

Thankfully he once again prevailed winning thousands of new members in the process. I f that wasn't good leadership I do not understand what is.

Parliamentary Lobby journalists.

Returning to the above comments by the two Labour MP's, how much longer will the public have to put up with lobby journalists publishing gosip and title tackle as fact. Ever since Jeremy became party leader we have seen a flood of unattributed stories emulating from disgruntled MPs, far from diminishing his reputation which has remained solid. They have trashed the LP's overall reputation in the country.

The parliamentary lobby has always had a disreputable reputation, a cosy club which operates by the maxim 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.' It has played no role in exposing any of the parliamentary scandals, if anything it played a role in covering them up as David Hencke reported at the turn of the decade:*

The exposure of MPs' expenses released an unbelievable tide of public anger and will have repercussions beyond the next general election. So why was the story not broken by the parliamentary lobby – the group of 170 journalists, including myself, this year's press gallery chair, who report on Westminster? The lobby still operates in too much of a club atmosphere and many lobby reporters – not alone in editorial specialists – don't want to rock the boat with their contacts.

David pointed out there is a mutual dependency between the lobby journalist and the MP, (or government minister) with the former fully aware that if either is seriously damaged by committing a misdemeanor, or by being revealed as their source, they will lose a key parliamentary contact. He gives the following example:

In the worst-case scenario it can even lead to the hack compromising a story to protect the minister. (There was much suggestion that the first Peter Mandelson scandal, over his secret £373,000 loan, was known in the lobby, with journalists close to him advising him on how to handle it instead of telling their news desks.

The fact remains that so little has been exposed by the lobby is an indictment of the lobby system itself.

In 1986 the Lobby had become so disreputable the newly published Independent announced it would not join the system, forcing the Guardian and the Scotsman to also pull out. Fast forward to this day and it's returned to business as usual, with all three papers having no qualms about operating under the old Lobby rules of secrecy.

Reading the above unattributed comments from the Labour MPs it's easy to see why these two refused to stand over them by attaching their names, if they had, to put it crudely their CLP's would have kicked them out on their arses and rightly so.

It is clear the journalists gain kudos from their bosses for reporting such drivel, and will continue to do so. Thus it's up to the LP to act. The party's MP's must be told unattributed off the record comments to journalists must stop, as they're bringing the party into disrepute which is an offence under party rules.

Local Constituency Labour Parties should move resolutions to this effect.

David Hencke full article is here; Westminster's lobby is too clubby