Charles Bronson and Yul Brynner were immense. Yesterday I watched the polar opposite of all those virtues when 'The Tawdry Seven' walked into a pre-arranged press conference in London full of giggles and self-importance to denounce the very political party they had been elected to represent less than 24 months ago.
Seven individuals who would struggle to be recognised in their own households took it in turn to savage the man under whose leadership every single one of them had been re-elected to Parliament with increased majorities. Jeremy Corbyn stood as the Labour leader in 2015 after Ed Miliband stood down. He won a convincing victory with 59% of the votes cast. He stuck to his election pledges and began to re-position the Labour Party as a genuine socialist party instead of the pale imitation of the Tories it had become under Blair and Brown.
Many of the Labour MP's didn't like Corbyn. He was too left wing for them. He actually stood for redistributing wealth and power away from the billionaires and multi-national corporations. He was serious. It wasn't just rhetoric. Many in Parliament had become accustomed to being the Tories in red, the Tory 2nd team, and were shocked and alarmed at the audacity of this guy actually challenging the consensus and hegemony which meant nothing ever changed election after election. The rich got richer no matter who was in power.
Aided and abetted by the billionaire owned press and media many Labour MP's sought to undermine Corbyn at every turn. He didn't just face Tory enemies in front of him he had to cope with backstabbers behind him as well. Eventually the Parliamentary Labour Group of MP's ganged up on him and forced him to face another leadership contest within a year of winning the first one. Again the billionaire press and their obedient columnists and opinion writers railed against Corbyn to try and convince everyone in the Labour party how unsavoury, unacceptable and unelectable Corbyn was. Such vitriolic attacks on Corbyn worked a treat. He was re-elected Labour leader with a bigger margin of the votes cast in 2016 than in 2015. Instead of 59% of the Labour Party membership backing him now 62% of his party backed him.
Every single one of them should have been called upon to respect the democratic process and resign immediately to offer their constituents the choice of re-electing them or an alternative, and hopefully more loyal and honourable, Labour Party candidate. Instead of the comfortable ride they received yesterday from the anti-Corbyn billionaire press and media they should have been ridiculed and chided as the charlatans they are. They are showing utter contempt for the democratic process and the people they pathetically claim to represent.
Tawdry is described on Google as "showy but cheap and of poor quality".
That defines these seven MP's perfectly, 'showy', 'cheap' and of 'poor quality'.
I use 'cheap' in the political content and lack of integrity sense. They are of course expensive imposters who refuse to stand down and face by-elections for fear of being turfed out on their ears by local electorates who voted for the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn not these individuals that are hardly known or recognised. Legends in their own mirrors they may be but champions of the working class they certainly are not.
Let's look in more detail at the Tawdry Seven.
There is Angela Smith MP. She was previously MP for Sheffield Hillsborough from 2005-2010 before being elected Labour MP for Penistone and Stockbridge in 2010. Incredible as it may seem she was a vociferous opponent in October 2018 of Labour's new commitment under Corbyn to take back the water industry from private hands to rightful public ownership. In Scotland the water and sewage industry is properly run for public good not private profit. Corbyn wanted to do the same in England and Wales. How could any socialist worthy of that description possibly oppose such a move?
Well the Register of Interests for Angela Smith MP shows she and her Senior Parliamentary Researcher husband, on over £40,000 a year, were treated to several free football matches and dinners courtesy of Whitehouse Construction, a subcontractor to private water company Anglican Water. That's integrity for you…
I'm sure her unacceptable racist language would have also featured in that vote of no-confidence had her local party heard her disgraceful comments about race and colour on television yesterday.
Smith had voted in 2009 to keep MP's expense claims secret from the public, alongside 97 others. She lost and it was revealed she had submitted expenses for four beds for a one bedroom flat in London. In 2015 under Milliband she attracted 19,691 votes. In 2017 under Corbyn, the leader she undermined at every opportunity, she attracted 22,807 votes. Her majority rose as did her vote share, from 42% to 45.8%.
Luciana Berger MP for Liverpool Wavertree opened the Tawdry Seven press conference yesterday and was particularly vicious in her attacks on Corbyn and the Labour Party. She said;
"I have become embarrassed and ashamed to remain in the Labour Party… I cannot remain in a party that I have today come to the sickening conclusion is institutionally anti-Semitic. The leadership has wilfully and repeatedly failed to address hatred against Jewish people within its ranks… I am leaving behind today a culture of bullying, bigotry and intimidation".
I am only a law graduate and not a qualified solicitor but I do have some experience of defamation trials here in Scotland, referred to as libel in England and Wales, and I would suggest the Labour Party has a prima facie case, a case at first impression at least, for slander against Luciana Berger MP.
Her comments went way beyond the robust language of everyday political discourse into the ground of specific and extremely damaging allegations. To describe the Labour Party as "institutionally anti-Semitic" in a public forum outside the protection of Parliamentary privilege is slanderous because it is horrendously damaging to the Labour Party and represents a slur of the worst possible kind. Unless it is true. Horrible and damaging statements made or written are not slanderous or libellous if they are true. But if the Labour Party does not take action against Luciana Berger for making that statement yesterday then it de facto admits the heinous claim.
The law is clear here and if Labour as a Party does not act to protect its reputation then it will be forever damaged and labelled "institutionally anti-Semitic". What a horrible label to carry. Surely legal action must be taken:
"WHO CAN SUE FOR DEFAMATION IN THE UK?
In the UK individuals, legally incorporated businesses and associations can sue for slander or libel. Elected authorities cannot sue for defamation over issues relating to their governmental or administrative functions, but they may sue for malicious falsehood. A member of a political party may also sue for libel over defamatory statements about the party which reflect on their personal reputation.
According to the most recent House of Commons Library figures the Labour Party has 540,000 members. Each and every one of those members was yesterday slandered by Luciana Berger's statement that their party is "institutionally anti-Semitic". If that does not constitute a defamatory statement which reflects badly on their personal reputations I don't know what does. The Labour Party leadership have a duty of care and support to their members here. Either they fight this slander legally and clear the name of their party and its members or they fail to act and allow the reputation of the party and its members to be forever tarnished.
Luciana Berger's further comments regarding the "culture of bullying, bigotry and intimidation" she was leaving behind is arguably slanderous and should surely be part of a defamation action but it is the "institutionally anti-Semitic" statement which just cannot be left legally unchallenged.
Berger was elected to Parliament in 2010 under a cloud. She faced allegations of being ‘parachuted' into the constituency of Liverpool with which she had no connection. The Party Head Office in London imposed an all-women shortlist on the Liverpool Wavertree constituency and during the selection process Berger moved into the home of the sitting MP, Jane Kennedy, who was standing down. Jane Kennedy's partner, Peter Dowling, was appointed by Head Office in London to run the selection process. The completed ballot forms were sent to Jane Kennedy's home address, where the aspiring candidate, Luciana Berger, was living. Those locally who felt the whole process was dubious to say the least were told to shut up and sit at the back of the class as there was nothing to see…
Luciana Berger accepted a Shadow Minister role in Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet in September 2015 when the Shadow Minister for Mental Health was created and offered to her. That was a new post that Corbyn was applauded for creating. However Berger resigned in June 2016 and expressed no-confidence in the elected leader who had given her the Shadow Minister portfolio. She displayed not an iota of loyalty and campaigned against Corbyn energetically. In 2015 under former leader Ed Milliband she attracted 28,401 votes, a 69.3% share of the vote. Under Corbyn in 2017 her vote rose to 34,717 and 79.6% of all the votes cast. Her majority rose from 24,000 to 29,466 representing a 10.2% increase in vote share.
Mike Gapes MP has been in Parliament since 1992 representing Ilford South constituency. He was an enthusiastic Blairite and apologist for the illegal and immoral Iraq war. On July 6th 2016 as the Chilcot Enquiry was published exposing how much Blair had misled Parliament in his desire to join George Bush in a criminally irresponsible war crime that cost the lives of over one million Iraqi citizens and created chaos throughout the Middle-East Mr Gapes was quoted in the local Ilford Recorder as saying he "did not regret voting to bomb Iraq";
"Mike Gapes on Chilcot: I will not apologise for voting for Iraq war".
Under Milliband in 2015 Gapes received 33,232 votes representing 64% of the votes cast. His majority was 19,777. Under Corbyn in 2017 his votes rose to 43,724 and his vote share to 75.8%, an 11.8% increase. His majority rose to 31,647.
Then there is Ann Coffey MP. Born in Nairn, Scotland, and first elected to Parliament for the constituency of Stockport in 1992. A huge fan of Tony Blair she became his Private Parliamentary Secretary in 1997 before moving to the office of Alistair Darling. She obediently backed every Blairite right wing policy from the Private Finance Initiative (PFI)/Public Private Partnership (PPP) robbery of public funds to ending free education and the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq based on a prospectus of lies.
In the 2009 expenses scandal she was exposed for claiming £1,000 a month for mortgage interest on her home and £160 a month to employ a cleaner to clean her home. She was obviously too busy supporting Tony and Alistair to be able to carry out such mundane tasks as cleaning her house so she charged it to us. She and her friend in Corbyn bashing, Margaret Hodge MP, submitted the letter to the Parliamentary Labour Party in June 2016 which demanded the no-confidence vote in Corbyn and led to him having to fight a second leadership campaign.
In 2015 under Milliband she attracted 19,771 votes representing 49.9% of the votes cast. Under Corbyn, the man she had no-confidence in, her number of votes increased to 26,282, representing 63.3% of the votes cast. Under Corbyn her vote share increased by 13.4%.
Chuka Umunna MP could never be accused of being the shy and humble type. The confidence secured in his fee paying private school oozes from his pores. His former law firm was implicated in a series of favourable updates to his own Wikipedia page including a reference to him being tipped as the "British Barack Obama".
The bold Chuka is never off our screens bumping his gums about how useless Jeremy Corbyn is and how wonderful he is that it was only a matter of time before he jumped ship and lectured everyone else about ‘broken politics' and how he was the ‘new Messiah'. His ego is even bigger than mine, and that's saying something…
Under Milliband in 2015 Chuka's obvious charisma attracted 26,474 votes, a 53% share of all the votes cast. His majority was 13,934. Then along came bungling Jeremy and Chuka's vote rose to 38,212, a 68.5% share of the votes cast and a whopping increase in vote share of 15.5%. His majority almost doubled to 26,285.
Chris Leslie MP represented Shipley from 1997 to 2005 and was another Blairite enthusiast who voted to obliterate Iraq and her people on the basis of lies. He was selected to fight Nottingham East constituency in 2010 and has served in Parliament for that area since then. He has consistently opposed Jeremy Corbyn and was adamant he should stand down after losing a vote of no-confidence from within the Parliamentary Labour Party in 2016.
Yet in September last year he faced his own vote of no-confidence in his own CLP and lost convincingly as his local party members found him guilty of "disloyalty and deceit". Surprisingly he didn't step down but instead joined the Tawdry Seven. His 19,208 votes under Milliband in 2015 were turned into 28,102 votes under Corbyn in 2017. His vote share rose by 16.9% from 54.6% of the votes cast 4 years ago to 71.5% of the votes cast less than 2 years ago. His majority rose from 11,894 to 19,540.
Then finally there is the Gavin Shuker MP story. This is the guy elected to represent Luton South in 2010 with a Christian background and promoted to the Shadow Front bench by Ed Milliband. His belief in equality is clearly only a qualified belief as he threatened to resign under Milliband if he whipped the party to support equal marriage in 2012.
On 6th September last year his local constituency debated a motion of no-confidence in their MP, Gavin Shuker. Thirty three voted to express no-confidence in him as their local Labour MP. Five members abstained in the vote. Only three voted to express confidence in Gavin Shuker. Three!!!
Come on does he not even have family or friends in excess of three? More members chose to abstain than support him in that vote. Yet Gavin Shuker's 18,660 votes under Milliband in 2015 were increased to 28,804 under Corbyn in 2017. A massive 18.2% increase in vote share from 44.2% to 62.4%. An increased majority from 5,711 to 13,925 under Corbyn's watch.
Every single one of the Tawdry Seven have Jeremy Corbyn and his more socialist manifesto to thank for increased majorities and votes shares. Every one of them stood under the Labour Party banner as Labour Party candidates with Jeremy Corbyn as leader and the radical manifesto as the programme for government. What they hoped for was a Jeremy Corbyn meltdown the likes of which all the pollsters and mealy-mothed out of touch pundits had predicted.
Instead Corbyn recorded a remarkable 10% increase in Labour's vote share across England and Wales despite the absolute Niagara Falls of lies and distortions about him and his policies. That was the biggest swing to Labour since Clement Atlee away back in 1945. And that is what disgusts the Tawdry Seven and the other Blairite red Tories who will inevitably follow them out of the Labour Party in the coming days and weeks.
Corbyn has made socialism electorally popular and for that he must be punished and undermined by the British Establishment and they will use whatever useful idiots they can to assist with that campaign of distortion and vilification.
Jeremy Corbyn is wrong on the question of Scottish independence and that will prevent him from ever re-connecting with the progressive mass of the working class in Scotland. While he refuses to accept our inalienable right to self-determination his party will remain also-rans in electoral terms. However in England and Wales the radical manifesto for real change and wealth re-distribution will continue to attract support and that is what frightens the ruling establishment.
Instead of allowing these Labour quitters to pose and pontificate they should be compelled to stand down and face their respective electorates as independents or red Tories. If they win then fair play they will have earned the right to pose and pontificate until their hearts content. But until then they should be exposed as hypocrites and democratic charlatans. They are the Tawdry Seven not the Magnificent Seven.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.