Posts Tagged ‘groupthink’

Labour has reached peak groupthink

26/11/2015, 10:28:35 PM

by Rob Marchant

groupthink, n., [grüp-ˌthiŋk]: a pattern of thought characterized by self-deception, forced manufacture of consent, and conformity to group values and ethics

Merriam-Webster online dictionary

The saddest thing about party conference this year, as commentator Iain Martin remarked, was “otherwise nice/sensible people trying to persuade themselves it will be ok”.

If there were a fortnight to convince the world otherwise, this must surely have been it.

Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of Labour’s position on bombing Isil, the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris and the rebellion on an actual vote for renewal of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, have all been an unmitigated shambles.

Most immediately, there’s Corbyn’s amazing letter outlining his personal position on British involvement in bombing Isil, pre-empting Monday’s shadow cabinet discussion, astounding shadow ministers and MPs alike.

Then there was his refusal to condemn Stop the War Coalition’s toe-curling and hastily-retracted blog post, blaming the Paris attacks on France and her Western allies. Not to mention a subsequent mauling by his own MPs at the regular PLP meeting, over that, Jihadi John and the government’s shoot-to-kill policy. Then the unprecedented event of Labour MPs criticising their own leader in the Commons and his links to the Stoppers.

In the case of the vote to keep Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent, we had centrist MPs in the bizarre (and surely also unprecedented) position of defying the whip to vote for party policy, as Ben Bradshaw MP drily noted.

And let’s not forget (just 24 hours ago although it already seems longer) the unedifying spectacle of attempted political theatre gone badly wrong. John McDonnell MP – for it was he – chose to respond to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement by waving a copy of Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book. Yes, that Mao, the 20th century’s greatest mass-murderer.

And thus did the tragedy of Labour’s last few months descend into farce.


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The good news and the groupthink

31/03/2011, 07:00:02 AM

by Peter Watt

Less than a year after the horrors of securing a derisory 29% in the general election, Labour is competitive again and is rightly optimistic for the first time in many years.

The party is consistently ahead in the polls, and by-election results are stunning at a Parliamentary and local government level. At the same time, the government seems gaffe-prone: just think forests, Andy Coulson or school sport partnerships. And it is doing things which are unpopular and controversial like introducing spending cuts, raising tuition fees and reforming welfare. Economic recovery is slow at best, inflation is a problem and interest rates look like they are on their way up, pushing up mortgage costs.  And all that before the full impact of the cuts are felt and the outcomes of May’s elections and AV referendum impacts the morale and unity of the government. Mutterings in the newspapers about a possible early general election following a coalition ripped apart by its own divisions are nonsense – but they are indicative of unease.  And all this less than a year into the government. (more…)

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