Sustainable agriculture is an engine for accelerating growth in Egypt: FAO    Monthly decline in Shell's production from Borollos, Rasheed fields of 10m cubic feet of gas    Egypt considers establishing freight, maritime transport company with Africa    Airstrikes hit Tripoli, Mitiga airport reopened    More than 207 killed, over 400 injured in terror attacks in Sri Lanka    Al-Sisi receives Abbas, voices support for Palestinian legitimate rights    Trade exchange between Egypt, Tunisia to increase to $500m    Boyfriend Champions Minimal, Gender Fluid Basics    7th AMF: Calls for Media Literacy's integration into schools, universities' curriculum    Average spending of tourists in Luxor during current season amounts to $70 per night: Osman    No reports of voter bribery during referendum: Egypt's NEA    Ivorian striker Zaha on target as Palace punish sloppy Arsenal in 3-2 win at the Emirates    Cairo Copts celebrate Palm Sunday    Saudi Arabia says 4 gunmen killed in attempted attack    3 Gulf Arab nations condemn Sri Lanka blasts    Sudan protesters to name civilian council, pressure military    Turkey's president condemns Sri Lanka blasts    Benitez dodges questions over Newcastle future    Ronaldo is '1,000 percent certain' to stay at Juventus    Chess world champion Magnus Carlsen wants to keep winning streak going    Eintracht Frankfurt, a perfectly balanced club    What Egyptians think about constitutional referendum?    A German village goes it alone on climate protection    Low turnout in 2 days of constitutional referendum in Europe, North America    Moderate voter turnout in Dakahlia, Qena in first day of referendum    Cultural tourism in Egypt thrives due to archaeological discoveries: Al-Mashat    NCW chief urges Egyptian women to vote in constitutional referendum    Egypt's Finance Ministry auctions T-bills worth EGP 18.5bn    New attack on Ebola center in Congo; 1 militia member killed    Sleep myths may hinder good sleep and health    Egypt's economy: Reining in inflation    Uber adds new feature for female drivers to drive only women in Saudi Arabia    Made in Germany, heard in Spain: The Leon cathedral organ connection    Reining in inflation    The final draft    Towards the referendum    Sudanese demand ‘legitimate change'    Caught in the middle?    Escaping expenses    ‘I don't want sympathy'    Expected exit    Spectacular scene, favourable draw    Flight prices go sky high    Bundeli Kala Parishad troupe's Indian folk dance show at Al-Gumhouriya Theatre is a must go    Paris' Notre Dame    Screen blues    Vatican willing to offer technical know-how to help restore Notre-Dame    In the company of the philosopher Roshdi Rashed in Paris    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

British Labour Party at a crossroads
Published in Ahram Online on 20 - 02 - 2019

On a day of drama, prominent Labour MPs Chuka Umunna, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Luciana Berger and Ann Coffey announced they are quitting the ranks of the Labour Party in protest at what they said is a culture of “bullying and bigotry” in the party, anti-Semitism, and frustration over the leadership's Brexit policy and reluctance to back another EU referendum.
They declared that they will set up an independent group in parliament and intend to form a new movement.
It is the party's biggest rift in nearly 40 years. But it did not come as a shock.
Moreover, many Labour MPs believe there will be another wave of defections if the party's leadership does not change course and move fast towards a second referendum on Brexit, as well as taking steps to root bullying, bigotry, and anti-Semitism within the party.
The split is the most significant challenge to the party's unity since the “Gang of Four” Labour MPs quit to form the Social Democratic Party in 1981.
The move is a serious blow to Jeremy Corbyn's leadership and at a crucial time. The next five weeks will determine the future of Brexit, and Britain with it. Unrest in the Labour Party is the last thing Corbyn needed at this pivotal time.
Amid accusations against the runaway MPs of disloyalty and damaging the party's reputation, levied by Corbyn loyalists, the defecting MPs arguing it was precisely because of the historic significance of this time they had to resign from the party.
In his speech explaining the reason for his resignation, MP Chuka Umunna, said: “In light of what we have witnessed these past three years, I do not support the Labour leader taking the office of prime minister of the United Kingdom, nor do I have confidence in him and his team to make the right decisions to safeguard our national security.
“The party's collective failure to take a lead and provide sufficiently strong, coherent opposition to Tory government policy on the UK's relationship with Europe, with all the adverse implications this poses for the working people of this constituency, is a betrayal of the Labour interest and Labour's internationalist principles. This started with the leadership's half-hearted effort to campaign for Remain in 2016, followed by its refusal even to commit to the UK staying part of the single market and now its offer to facilitate a Tory Brexit. So many families in my constituency, like me, have relatives from EU countries and feel grossly betrayed by the party,” he added.
He then declared: “Now is the time we dump this country's old-fashioned politics” to create an alternative.
The split has polarised the Labour Party even more.
Labour's deputy leader, Tom Watson, called for Corbyn to change direction or face a bigger Labour split, declaring that he sometimes “no longer recognises” his own party.
He urged Corbyn to ensure Labour remains a broad church and reshuffle his shadow cabinet to reflect a wider balance of MPs.
However, dismayed at their colleagues for harming the party's electoral chances, Corbyn loyalists accused the runaway MPs of being out of touch with the public. John McDonnell, shadow chancellor and a close Corbyn aide, called on the MPs to “do the honourable thing” and resign from parliament to fight byelections.
The harshest criticism came from Momentum movement, the grassroots group of Corbyn supporters, who accused the quitting MPs of being a “fringe minority” who wanted to go back to the “Blair years programme of privatisation, tax cuts for the rich and deregulation of the banks.”
The dramatic irony is that it is because of Momentum that Corbyn is in this predicament. Corbyn is in some way a “creation” of the Momentum movement, which took the party further to the left and called “centrist” a meaningless slogan.
Momentum members idealised Corbyn beyond recognition, harassed anyone who doesn't worship him and made it very difficult for Labour MPs to challenge his policies on Brexit, the economy or anything.
The seven Labour PMs are not launching a new political party but have urged other Labour MPs — and members of other parties — to join them in “building a new politics”. And there is a real possibility that might just happen.
Several Conservatives MPs are considering their futures amid unhappiness over the government's Brexit policy and PM Theresa May's unwillingness to rule out a no-deal Brexit.
Among potential runaway Conservatives MPs are Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston, Nick Boles and Heidi Allen.
Historically the Labour Party was by far the most diverse party in British politics, but not anymore. The Corbyn cult of personality is damaging the Labour Party brand, some observers say. It remains to be seen if Corbyn himself will get the memo.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 21 February, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under the headline: Labour at a crossroads

Clic here to read the story from its source.