jess phillipsWhat a crew! Steve McCabe writes dismal letters about his leader, Tom Watson gripes about Shami Chakrabarti‘s recognition and today we hear from Yardley MP Jess Phillips. 

Left, ready for lunch with a Spectator journalist: “I swoon as she sashays away to serve it to both sides. That’s Jess Phillips, MP. She’s going to be leader of the Labour party one day!”

We read that Jess Phillips threatens to scream if she hears another Labour member lambasting  leadership contender Owen Smith for having worked in the private sector – “one that lots of people would seize, given the chance”.

But – on the other hand – lots of people would firmly rule out applying to the two companies he worked for.

Smith’s past employers: fraudulent marketing and kickbacks

First, Pfizer which reached a $2.3 billion settlement with the US government in 2009 for fraudulent marketing and kickbacks paid to doctors who prescribed Lyrica and other Pfizer products and $400 million to settle a shareholder lawsuit over this case.

Privatisation (though Ms Phillips says Smith “wants to protect the NHS”)

As head of government affairs for Pfizer, which involved lobbying and public relations for the US drug company, Owen Smith

  • endorsed a Pfizer-backed report offering patients a choice between NHS services and private-sector healthcare providers and
  • helped the drugs company to strike the sort of exclusive distribution agreement which the OFT’s chief executive warned “could cost the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds while reducing standards of service”.

Then to Amgen who had to pay out for its products’ side effects

Mr Smith then decided to move on to work as head of corporate affairs at the biotech company Amgen until 2015, company recovering ground after its anti-anemia blockbusters, Aranesp and Epogen, had been hampered by losses due to concerns about side effects, regulatory issues and insurance trouble.

Jess: how many London-based vegetarians were in this Liverpool crowd?

corbyn2 liverpool 8.16

After a few snide references to vegetarians and ‘purist ideals’ Ms Phillips plays the well-worn ‘out of touch, London-based’ card, disregarding approaching a million demonstrably ‘ordinary’ people who have flocked to hear Corbyn during the last seven days.

She continues: “People do not want to feel guilty for wanting comfort for their families” – but precious little comfort is offered by Conservative and Labour austerity addicts cutting benefits to those who need them most.

Showing little faith in her constituents – or realistically assessing her deserts – she fears:

“If Mr Corbyn wins we will be a party where people like me are hunted out and no longer welcome”. And ends:

“There is no value in basking in the glow of principled opinion. When the Labour leadership and wider party stop believing their own hype . . . we can get this show back on the road”.


Lesley Docksey, on the other hand, speaks as one who recently joined the Labour Party; she is mystified by the fact that none of the mainstream Labour MPs seemed to take on board the fact that Corbyn has never sought power; he seeks power for the people, the poor and helpless, the disenfranchised . . .

What is important are the values and vision that he has connected people to. If it is not too over-the-top, she writes, he has become the hillside down which we are all tumbling towards some kind of unity and people-power.

She has also been puzzled by the inability of so many Labour MPs to understand that the party, which they think they run, is actually made up of members who all have the right to speak and many of whom are following the vision that Corbyn has offered.

She – and others – believe that whatever the outcome of this turmoil, Corbyn’s election has been a beneficial ‘watershed’ moment in British political history.