I’m waiting for the ‘constructive’ in his criticism.
Manda Scott
11

Hi Manda, thanks for your reply. It’s beautifully written and internally constructed and I understand your concerns about his timing and whether he’s implicitly opposing Corbyn. I don’t know, because I don’t know Owen Jones and can’t read his mind, but my impression is he is what he says he is, which is someone with a voice who genuinely cares about a socialist agenda.

Meanwhile, though I’m not saying you can’t still be right, here are some points in your response that are just unsupported assertions, at least for now, which seems sadly commonplace in the postings and musings on all sides of the Corbyn/Smith/majority of PLP/never-supportive-of-Corbyn-PLP argument, though in rank order of frequency the unsupported assertions I’ve seen tally in this order

Most: Corbyn supporters

Second: never supportives (possibly more in % terms but fewer assertions)

Third: majority of PLP — resigned but not previously plotting

Last: Smith (also ‘neutral’ voices like Jones)

Anyway, your possibly false assumptions in arguments made…

“9 questions were framed destructively” — depends on perception, he did seem disillusioned, maybe it was just genuine frustration with the paucity of debate and lack of listening.

“made no new observations, simply culled the talking points of the anti-Corbyn press from the last 9 months and drew them all together in the greatest concern troll of this entire, sad campaign” — definitely wasn’t written from a point of view similar to the mainstream anti-Corbyn press. Definitely carried the agenda of a socialist voice. Definitely made his own points about his own experience. At best, partially true. Certainly wasn’t trolling. This is what I mean about people being defensive, you in this case. Many Corbyn supporters are not listening because they don’t want to hear what’s actually being said.

“offered not one sentence of useful guidance as to what we might constructively do” — this isn’t really true. He didn’t get into specifics for the members, though if I remember rightly, and it has been a while, he did say something about turning the large social movement into a politically engaged one that will work to win over the electorate. That might have been in a different blog? He did reiterate what he wanted the Corbyn leadership group to do. I found his comments quite constructive.

“Jeremy Corbyn remains the left’s only hope. It’s a two horse race and I have yet to meet anyone who thinks Owen Smith is anything other than a glove puppet for the right: ‘these are my principles and if you don’t like them, I have others’.” — I’m not an apologist for Smith, I’m sure he’s not a perfect candidate either, but this assertion has not evidential basis. It’s one-eyed baloney. A glove puppet for the right of what, right of UKIP? How right are these people and who are they? I don’t see Smith as being part of the original group that wanted to stop Corbyn succeeding, and I think he ran because he couldn’t see anyone else willing to do it. Corbyn has many strengths but he’s not some sort of messiah, he’s not the left’s only hope (the left’s main hope is actually its broad support base, though it needs to mobilise and draw in support from people beyond its core). Anyway, this sentence is where you really lost me. I’m trying to look at both candidates objectively and make a choice.

“offered his ‘insights’ now, as a gift to those who hate Corbyn — and hate him because he *is* the left’s only hope” — My suspicion is that Jones made these comments now because he wants the Corbyn group to change course in methodology (not really policy, most of us on the left agree on the broad brush strokes of most policy) including consensus building and constructive politicking, and in organisation of strategy, because he sees elements of that as disastrous, and now is the best time to pressure them to listen, or alternatively he wants Smith to get in if they won’t listen. Jones certainly has no truck with the plotters (or the Tories, are they the ones who hate Corbyn?) based on his historical output. I don’t think anyone hates Corbyn because he’s the left’s only hope — though I have come to see Corbyn as often being treated as an avatar for leftists to gather in support of, rather than a political leader in the traditional sense, and I can imagine this alarms and upsets people with more traditional viewpoints — I think most party members, supporters, administrators and politicians who don’t support Corbyn probably don’t because they think he’s going to get them either destroyed in general election or ousted because they don’t share his views by his membership support. Thes two things are what put me off him most. Anyway your assertion in this case includes 4 things I don’t fully agree with in one sentence (whether there’s any insight, reason for timing and it being a gift to enemies, why they hate him, that he is the left’s only hope — all unsupported opinions).

The rest of it I’ll sort of give you. Another Angry Voice and Paul Mason both wrote well in many ways and were more detailed in their constructive ideas if I remember from reading them, but also both had prose littered with unsupported assertions and semi-truths (at best) like your own, where I found nonesuch with Jones, he seemed very balanced in his language.

What all this tells me, I think, is that I’m being put off the Corbyn side message as much by the woolly illogic of a lot of his apologists as by any weaknesses in his leadership, real or perceived…

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