Labour Lords Resign the Whip (crosspost from Crooked Timber)

I don’t have much to say about this, but I couldn’t resist the multiple absurdities embodied in the title. For those who haven’t heard anything about this, two appointed members of the House of Lords (Warner and Grabiner) have announced that they will no longer follow the direction of the Labour Party on how to vote, and a third (Mandelson) has made noises suggesting he may go the same way. This is a result of the party’s leadership election, in which the members a (nominally, at least) democratic socialist party chose a (nominally at least) democratic socialist leader.

8 thoughts on “Labour Lords Resign the Whip (crosspost from Crooked Timber)

  1. The current Labour UK fiasco/farce reminds me of that old film “The Mouse That Roared” where Peter Sellers played both the Grand Duchess Gloriana and the Blackadder like PM Rupert Mountjoy while our own Leo Mckern played the interchangable loyal opposition leader.

    In modern times Tony Blair entrenched (?revived) this system of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

    And as in the film an innocent/naive hero has arisen almost as though it was a law of nature…with Jeremy Corbyn apparently taking on the Tully Bascombe (also Peter Sellers) role.

    In the end Peter Sellers wins having a 3 way bet, along with the war with America, the Q bomb, and the girl (as only celluloid can deliver), while Grand Fenwick gets hot water….no small thing for the English after the period of rationing.

    Unfortunately the film is not a guide to the real world.

    Still its model of parties being interchangable elites rings true as Warner and Grabiner appear clearly members of the establishment to judge by their alma maters, Oxford and LSE, which they attended in a time when few got tertiary education let alone at their level. Meanwhile Mandelson another Oxford graduate is the grandson of Herbert Morrison. So it strikes me their actions are simply what comes naturally.

    Some people say follow the money if you want to understand a social situation that seems confusing and very complex. To this might be added, follow the family, education and career path and watch (?63 Up) and you will understand how Britain works and has always worked irrespective of the notional color of the party with its hands on the reigns (double entendre?) of power.

  2. There are multiple levels of irony in all this as J.Q. points out. “Labor Lords” is the obvious oxymoron. And we are well aware of the disturbed, kinky Lords who have liked the most un-parliamentary of whips.

    What does this (the first bit, meaning the oxymoron) tell us about the democratic revolution, especially in the West? It tells us, in a nutshell, that the democratic revolution is incomplete. All we have ended up with on the Left, from the workers’ point of view, is the “aristocracy of labor” in both Marxist and non-Marxist senses. All we have ended up with is parliamentary democracy which is in essence bourgeois democracy or in Australia a cross between bourgeois democracy and petty-bourgeois democracy. That the democratic revolution is incomplete can be seen by the powerlessness of the worker in the capitalist enterprise. The company or firm is an autocracy ruled by owners and/or managers acting for owners. The worker is completely un-free in her/his productive life.

    What I find interesting now is this. Just as power historically transferred from monarch to parliament, power is now being transferred from parliament to corporations (in particular their owners and boards). Initiatives like the TPP perfectly exemplify this process. Corporate law and corporate justice seeks to trump and supersede the parliamentary government of nations. The incomplete nature of the democratic revolution has basically allowed this happen. The democratic revolution needs to revived and completed or this process towards corporate dictatorship will continue.

    The question is how to do this peacefully? A first step must be to desert at the ballot box all major parties which are part of the capitalist-corporatist status quo. This situation can never be addressed by flip-flopping, as the electorates of the Anglophone West do these days, between Liberal/Labor, Tory/Labor and Demo/Repub. All of these parties are now parties of and for corporate capital. A vote for them is a vote for ever greater transfer of power to capitalist corporations.

  3. @Ikonoclast

    The obvious point comes to mind.

    Jeremy Corbyn would not be where he is now if he decided:

    to desert … all major parties which are part of the capitalist-corporatist status quo

    It is best to join a major party but operate in a faction. This only becomes clear after years of experience.

  4. @Ikonoclast

    It tells us, in a nutshell, that the democratic revolution is incomplete.

    True but uninformative; the democratic revolution will always be incomplete, because no matter how much democracy is achieved, there will always be still more democracy yet to be achieved — democracy will always be something that it is possible to strive to increase.

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