That Far Left Entryist Takeover of the Labour Party 340

At its height in the 1980’s, Militant claimed 8,000 members. In 2013 its descendant, the Socialist Party, claimed 2,500 members and crowed that it was now bigger than the Socialist Workers Party. The SWP replied, not by claiming to have more than 2,500 members, but by saying that the Socialist Party’s claim of 2,500 was inflated. The various manifestations of the Communist Party are smaller. An umbrella group, the People’s Assembly against Austerity, incorporates more or less all of these disparate elements plus much of the organised left of the Labour Party and trades union supporters. Its mailing list, which includes many Greens and other radicals like me, is 40,000 people. That is probably an exaggeration of the membership of the formal left in the UK and it should be noted that a significant proportion of that 40,000 are long term Labour members. Momentum, the Blairites’ bete noir, has only about 10,000 members.

I have therefore watched with bemusement the claims that the 120,000 new Labour members now banned from voting, and perhaps half of the remaining 400,000 Labour electorate, are entryists from organisations of the “hard left”. Anybody who believes there are over 300,000 members of “hard left” groups in the UK is frankly bonkers.

What we are seeing is rather a spontaneous expression of a genuine popular upsurge against neo-liberalism. Angela Eagle’s car crash interview on the Andrew Marr show this morning was all delectable, but for me the best moment was when Marr asked her if she would resign as an MP if her local party in Wallasey no-confidence her, to which she replied that this could not happen because the national executive had banned all constituency labour party meetings. The attempts of the Labour NEC to play King Canute against a popular tide they cannot begin to comprehend are hilarious.

As these people have come to paid political position through groups of well-connected people pulling the right strings, they assume all politics must work like that. So they are convinced that there must be an entryist cabal who have organised everything, with powerful people pulling the strings. My bet is the Blairites will be defeated, deselected and defenestrated without ever working out it was not a plot. It is just that ordinary people find their vacuous careerism appalling.

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340 thoughts on “That Far Left Entryist Takeover of the Labour Party

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    • David Flynn

      Spot on analysis of them and Eagle in particular ! I am not a trot or commie or SWP but I am a traditional left wing member of the Labour Party! Corbyn is in tune with my wishes for how our nation should be handled and the Labour Party needs to embrace him not try to ostracise him and plot his and ultimately their downfall!
      JEZ YOU CAN!

  • Eric Smiff

    I think you are correct. However, like the American operations in the Middle East, the fundamental idea isn’t to take sides but to rip every country apart.

    It is Corbyn’s leadership that has allowed the Neoliberal media to openly attack the Labour party. I assume it was planned. He didn’t want to be leader and many of those who nominated him now say they wish they hadn’t.

    • Eric Smiff

      Jo Cox and Neil Coyle

      We both nominated Corbyn for leader last year. We have never had cause to doubt his commitment to society’s most disadvantaged and to Labour’s values – a commitment we all share. But we have come to regret that decision.

      We helped put Corbyn on the ballot because we wanted a genuine debate within the Labour party. We didn’t expect to be debating things far from the priorities of most voters: unilateral nuclear disarmament, the Falkland Islands, the monarchy and all the rest. Important issues, perhaps, but not ones that swing elections. Why should we be surprised if people are turning their backs on a party that appears to have stopped talking about the things that are relevant to them?

      • Jane Byrne

        I think this article was disingenuous because neither of them actually supported his leadership campaign so, I assume, regretted nominating him as soon as he was elected.

        • Alan

          ‘I think this article was disingenuous because neither of them actually supported his leadership campaign so, I assume, regretted nominating him as soon as he was elected.’

          But do come on Jane, they have to appear to be inclusive but they got caught out because “We The People” (except RoS) don’t believe their BS any more.

          RoS, poor darling, thinks Nicola Sturgeon is telling him the truth, and she is a genius too, believe it or not.

      • Peter Berry

        Who exactly are these ‘people turning there backs on a Labour Party ‘
        Apart from the rebel Blairites driven MPs. I think you’ll find the actual Party members ( now over 600,000) have a very different opinion of Jeremy Corbyn.

    • Shatnersrug

      I think you read too much junk journalism. Jeremy will win again, with a greater slice of the vote.

  • Ben Monad

    Hmm. The problem is there aren’t enough genuine socialists. When you plant yourself dead-center it’s a gonad-trimming experience which requires a smiling visage for complete self-disrespect. It’s traumatic unless you are accustomed to the ritual.

  • Just Cann

    On 13 July 2016, Labour Party NEC meeting decided that the 130,000 members who joined after 12 January 2016 will not be allowed to vote in the leadership election. This is a breach of legal contract. Those members who joined before the NEC decision on 13 July 2016 did so and paid their membership fees because the labour party website stated in writing that they will be allowed to take part in any leadership elections.

    What ever happens there is likely to be members group action legal challenge to the NEC decision. Also part of the legal challenge is likely to be personally against each of the NEC members who voted on this matter for damages. There is absolutely no excuse to break a legal contract.

    • Strategist

      [ Mod: Caught in spam-filter, timestamp updated ]

      Check this website to see how you can vote in the Labour leadership election
      If you’re not a member of the party, or of an affiliated trade union or socialist society, you need to register as a supporter in a 48 hour window from 5pm Monday to 5pm Wednesday

  • John Spencer-Davis

    I’ve already been accused of being an entryist. I have never in my life belonged to any political party before.

    • Ben Monad

      There’s the problem. You aren’t part of the Established order. Craig understands this…

    • Techno

      Whilst I understand your point, the members of the Cambridge spy ring were told not to join the Communist Party to avoid attracting attention to themselves, so it means nothing that you never been a member of any other political party.

      • John Spencer-Davis

        Funnily enough, I’m not a spy, either. And if I have never been a member of any other political group, which I have not, then I can’t be an entryist. Your remark makes no sense at all.

      • bevin

        The Gould link is even better. He describes, and he should know, what has happened in the decades since 1978.
        Domestic Extremist’s post is very valuable.

    • DomesticExtremist

      Meanwhile Owen Smiff on Trident

      So, in summary: get rid of nuclear weapons by buying more of them, in order to protect jobs by trying to get rid of them, because the world has become more dangerous so we have to give our weapons away.

      h/t Wings Over Scotland

      Makes Labour’s position in the eighties look straightforward.

  • mark cunliffe

    Eagle’s constant argument that those who dislike her politics are a bitter minority of the Hard Left who resigned or were removed from the party in the 90s, is a wonderful display of ignorance that fails to realise that removal can and should be a two way thing. The Blairites removed the old guard in the 90s and now, the Blairites face the chop at last!

    Craig there’s a petition on Change calling for Angela Eagle’s resignation that looks to have been nobbled

  • John orr

    I got told off on the saving labour for using the term careerist, the reckon it’s abusive. Then they didn’t like the term comrades either. No sense of humour

  • Andy Dunn

    I have worked with many different groups to get Angela Eagle elected in Wallasey, I also worked For HIlary Hodge, Lol Duffy and a second occasion for Ms Eagle, as well as numerous council candidates to give Wirral its first labour council as time went on and these people left, I realised It was no longer the Labour Party I worked for, It tolerated the Likes of Frank Field who has threaten to go as an independent if deselected, he is more of a right winger than Kevin Mirrales. I left and became apathetic towards politics I became apathetic towards life, I gave up alcohol and drugs five years ago and have helped people at a local voluntary level fight against the DWP and there draconian decisions on removing benefit from the disabled.
    I have been doing this on my own for some time, becoming more isolated. Last year I heard JC on TV and I felt I am no longer alone I have someone who has the same sense of social justice I have to protect the weak and poor. I have now rejoined the Labour Party I did not do this until JC was elected and I have rejoined the trade union i was in for 26 years many people I have spoken to feel this way we are unaligned to any faction within the Labour party but are left leaning, we now have a leader who is worthy of the title socialist worthy of our work.

    • Alan

      I’m so glad there are still people like you Andy, who care about others, as opposed to the “I’m all right, Jack, tacking care of No 1s” like RoS. It’s people like you who make you realise there is still something worth getting out of bed for.

      • Republicofscotland

        “opposed to the “I’m all right, Jack, tacking care of No 1s” like RoS.”


        An explanation would be good?

        • With you, Whatever (aka Alcyone): Evil is not the opposite of Good

          Your quixotic attitude towards the Economy in Scotland perhaps? And related currency?

          • Republicofscotland

            Not so.

            The Scottish governments White paper in 2014 laid out its plans for a post independence Scottish economy, I recall what they said on the pound and other financial matters, there was nothing flippant about their figures.

            If however you seek flippancy look to Westminster’s handling of the Brexit vote.

    • MBC

      Thanks Andy, keep up the good fight and don’t give up hope. The wheels are coming off the wagons of the old order and a new order will soon emerge.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      Dude SWheatie, if you are reading this could you offer further assistance to this gentleman? Thanks, John

    • Paul

      I wish you well Andy. Your piece chimes exactly with my feelings. If we stick together we can beat them and they know it. There are still very many decent caring people in our country and we can prevail.

  • Tony M

    Can they put their in-fighting aside and bin already antiquated 30 years before they’re likely to be finished, with the sole function of destroying every living thing on earth, nuclear bombs and nuclear-steam-powered submarines, bought on the never never of shrinking future tax receipts -those not already earmarked for future theft by a passing conspiracy of bankers and City wide-boy cronies? Probably not, not with the trojan-horse MPs they’ve got, who should have long before now been sent to some kind of (secure) sanctuary.

    The Blairites don’t need to win, to win, they just have to do as they have always have done, do as the Tories do and cling on for dear life with one hand whilst pocketing whatever they can get their thieving hands on with the other and grooming their successors. Jeremy Corbyn should tell them if they vote for the obscenity that is Trident, they’re expelled they’re on their own as Independents from that point on and de-selected and barred, disowned by their constituencies and an affront to the public and to democracy. At the inevitable election coming as May’s Frankenstein cabinet meets an angry unstoppable, inexhaustible mob of stake wielding proles, and take to their moated-redoubts, Corbyn’s Labour wins, English parliament meets, dissolves the act of union unilaterally, cancels Trident, abolishes the House of Lords on day one. Time enough yet to arraign assorted war-criminals still at large, strip the royals and other mafia organisations, financial crooks, of all but the necessary for their dignity and sustenance, on day two … You don’t have to put up with this.

    • Tony M

      Thinking of how New Labour’s red Tories and the other Tory Tories acting for a despotic elite and for themselves, have treated the sick, the chronically ill and the disabled, and what they have put them through, I wonder if I’m being too kind in allowing them the necessary for their dignity and sustenance.

  • Ben Monad

    Erdoğan’s government has now rounded up approximately 6000 on suspicion of complicity with the so-called coup. President Erdoğan is calling for the return of the death penalty. Application of the death penalty could halt Turkey’s accession to the EU as the death penalty is illegal under EU laws.

    I won’t even get in to the weirdness of Erdoğan’s claims the coup was led by an ex-pat moderate cleric living in Pennsylvania’s Poconos. Or the empty gestures of UK’s new foreign secretary about the events in Turkey.

    When this gets to Uzbekistan I’m sure Craig will pull his Haggis out his arse…

    (Personally, I find it really hard to believe a conspiracy of ~6000 persons would be completely undetectable in advance.)

    It’s nearly 2:00 a.m. local time in Tokyo. The Nikkei 225 opens in seven hours. Watch oil and natural gas prices. Who might benefit from all this volatility?

    • bevin

      “It’s nearly 2:00 a.m. local time in Tokyo. The Nikkei 225 opens in seven hours. Watch oil and natural gas prices. Who might benefit from all this volatility?” Rayne?

  • glenn_uk

    Thanks to Strategist above, for posting the following, to see whether one is entitled to vote:

    Check this website to see how you can vote in the Labour leadership election
    If you’re not a member of the party, or of an affiliated trade union or socialist society, you need to register as a supporter in a 48 hour window from 5pm Monday to 5pm Wednesday

    In addition to this excellent post from CM above, read the following slightly more light hearted view on the this attempted coup:

  • bevin

    It is important to bear in mind the rationale used in the Labour Party to proscribe “Far Left” groups. To be ‘far left’ is simply to be socialist and in a socialist party there can hardly be any objection to that. And, historically, if there was an objection it was left unvoiced. You only had to look at the Membership Card to see that you were a member of a socialist party committed to securing “to the worker, by hand or by brain, the full fruits of his industry. That is socialism and so is the means proposed to secure those fruits “ By taking into public ownership the means of production, distribution and exchange.”
    And that was on Roy Hattersley’s Party Card, Neil Kinnock’s, Frank Field’s and Angela Eagle’s. As well as mine and every other member of the party’s.

    And nobody on the “far left” in IS, the Militant Tendency or any of the other myriad of groupuscules that danced around on the margins of the Labour movement, had any quarrel with the formula written by LSE founders Sidney and Beatrice Webb (Beatrice being the direct descendant of a Manchester industrialist who helped found the Manchester Guardian, whose son, Beatrice’s dad, was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Great Western Railway, not to mention Canada’s Grand Trunk).
    No, the charge against Militant was that it was a ‘party within a party’ which caucused secretly and imposed its will on Party organs by using undemocratic techniques and owing allegiance not to the party membership but to cabals outside the Labour Party, secretly financed and organised.
    Had Kinnock or Hattersley said to the Labour Party Conference “We want to get these people out of the party because they are real socialists who threaten private property and the alliance with the United States” they would have had very little support. So instead they argued that Militant was a tool of the International Committee of the Fourth International which was using it to take over the party. And was linked to foreign powers.
    It was nonsense. It was untrue but it, together with organisational tactics that would have taken Stalin’s breath away and block votes from Unions, they succeeded firstly in expelling Militant and thousands of other left wingers, and secondly in subverting democratic procedures within the party. So that today, under the transparently false cry that they are protecting the membership from thugs and outsiders (how they long for the days when they could blame Moscow gold), they have, essentially, taken upon themselves the power to purge the membership of any opposition.
    Craig is right to say that anyone who thinks that the hundreds of thousands of new members in the Labour Party come from the organised left parties. But it would be wrong not to understand that there are not just hundreds of thousands but millions in the UK who believe in socialism of a kind routinely referred to as “far left.”
    The problem is that none of them own newspapers, run big businesses or tell lies for a living. And those are the people that the Blairites believe should be making the decisions in the Labour Party. And in society, in general. They never did believe in democracy. Now they don’t even pretend to.

    • Resident Dissident

      “ By taking into public ownership the means of production, distribution and exchange.”

      It was actually common ownership – the odour of Marxist Leninism can never be disguised I’m afraid.

    • fedup

      The total failure of the neocon policies that has brought about the near civil war in US* and the total destruction of Industry in UK, as well as delivering the citizens’ wealth ie national assets and nationalised industry and companies into private ownership of the oligarchs. Yet these failures are not noted, and instead there is the yea olde formulae of “hard left”, “communist”, etc. that is being offered on the infotap on demand 24/7/52

      As the Turkey coup failed because the plotters never took account of the social media and the degrees of connectivity of the people, also the neocon have faced difficulties with the very same social media and methods of communication among the wider people. To this problem neocon have resorted to swamping the social media with their idealogical and paid armies of the keyboard warriors, while helping the oligarch owned media and state owned media to generate a seamless echo chamber that delivers the same polices and memes that their keyboard armies inject into the social media. This finely tuned propaganda regimen is the order which Corbyn is threatening to shatter.

      Hence the constant memes of “you are in it to win it” mantra, that is turning the “democracy” brand peddled into a TV version of gladiators, in which winning matters and not the policies, ultimately pronouncing Corbyn an electoral failure. This policy of neocons will further erode the liberties and hard fought for rights of the citizens, and ultimately deliver a totalitarian fascist utopia that the neocon crave to impose.

      Corbyn is the worst nightmare scenario that could befall the regimented neocon approach of; there is only one way and that is the “fascist”/far right/extreme right/etc. way!

      Replacing the competition of the ideas with “wining or losing” and resorting to anticompetitive tactics of gaming the systems available to the detriment of any potential competition through suspension of the CLP meetings, suspension of the voting rights of the membership, etc. effectively imposing the same values of the current national “political ethos” on Labour party and effectively stifling any potential competition of ideas at the national level that obtains the singular political ideology of neocons in perpetuity.

      * Another US marine has been shooting the police in Baton rouge, which is now becoming a regular feature of the US news.

    • Chris Rogers

      Wee Jim,

      At £25.00 a pop, I hope 100,000 Tories sign up to vote for Corbyn over the next 48hrs, their charity will be respected by this old bugger – let me explain:

      Last year the Labour Party ran an election that was informed by the adoption of the Collins Report, which the Party endorsed at its end of 2014 Party Conference – the Collins Report was endorsed by Tony Blair and other Blairites as a wonderful moment that would end completely the Unions dominating the Party via the introduction of One Member One Vote.

      Indeed, the idea of a ‘caucus’ vote was also welcomed and said ‘caucus’ vote was set at £3.00 to encourage many to get involved with the Labour Party. Indeed, such was the success of the £3.00 ‘supporter’ subscription, that many who got involved via this route actually became full members after the election of JC with membership doubling from under 200,000 in May 2015 to more than 400,000 in early January 2016 – a number of anti-Cornyn supporters actually left the Party, estimated at some 10,000 in the same timeline.

      Now, since January 2016 the Party, as of last Tuesday, would have broken through the 550,000 member barrier, with a minimum 130,000 joining after the Brexit vote – the largest growth of any political organisation in UK history – all now denied a vote, as are all those who joined after 12th January 2016.

      So, given how many have been disenfranchised since last weeks NEC gerrymandering, why should we not welcome rich Tories signing up to vote for Corbyn over the next 48 hours, due to the fact their votes actually will make up for the more than 150,000 now unable to get involved.

      I welcome such charity and will not denounce it, it being natural justice after all for the BITTERITES.

  • Leonard Young

    The misreporting in the media has reached staggering proportions:

    1. Brick through Eagle’s office window – her windows were never smashed. It was the communal stairwell window and the building is shared by several other businesses. The Labour poster was put there deliberately by Eagle’s staff to give the impression the stairwell window was Eagle’s office window. See this youtube video:

    2. Interviews with Johanna Baxter who quiveringly and tearfully (no tears actually in evidence) claimed she was intimidated at the NEC meeting, but gave not one single piece of actual evidence that she was, citing a third party (hearsay), a legal letter written not to her but the NEC urging them to follow democratic procedures, and email “abuse” yet days before she boasted of receiving invited views and did not mention any abuse at all. Her personal details were posted online by herself weeks before she then declared that her details had been posted by “bullies”. This woman has a history of histrionics and can be seen here crying even though her scottish referendum campaign won.—7790606 This misreporting, much of it by Channel 4, has not been corrected or retracted.

    3. Media widely reports that the Brighton CLP meeting was disrupted by hard left thugs and intimidation. This has now been utterly debunked by many attendees who report a calm and civilised meeting. Here is a statement by the CLP chairman, now confirmed by many who attended.

    4. Angela Eagle’s statement that Corbyn made a lack-lustre attempt to promote Remain or Labour’s policies in the run up to Brexit was widely reported. What was not reported was a completely contrasting statement made by Eagle just a couple of weeks before when she said that Corbyn was tirelessly touring the country making speeches on behalf of Labour policies. This is indeed true and in fact Corbyn visited ten times more venues than Eagle herself visited.

    5. The press has reported widely on Owen Smith’s candidacy for leadership. NOT ONE mainstream media article about him mentioned his lobbying job for Pfizer and other Big Pharma companies before it was outed in non mainstream blogs, and even then it is still hardly ever mentioned.

    6. Not a single mainstream news organisation has pointed out that Eagle’s leadership campaign was being prepared while she was publicly pretending to support Corbyn.

    7. The Guardian has published hundreds of anti Corbyn smear articles in the past year, while it has published barely 5 articles even vaguely supporting him.

    8. The words “unelectable”, “dangerous”, “extreme”, “hard-left”, “marxist”, “communist” have been used thousands of times regarding Corbyn. In particular “unelectable” has been used relentlessly, and so much so that it is clear that a large part of the electorate has been literally brainwashed into saying the same thing. The sleaziest soap powder advertising exec would have killed for the same kind of brainwashing opportunity.

    9. The disgraceful, unlawful actions of the NEC have never been challenged in the mainstream media, and Eagle just yesterday was allowed to get away with fobbing off a Marr question about her possble deselection, unchallenged.

    10. Every single Blairite MP interviewed on mainstream broadcasts has avoided answering a straight question with a straight answer. When asked about policies they talk about leadership. When asked simple questions, they divert into long, prepared speeches which are irrelevant to the question posed. The media has been utterly complicit in failing to properly extract answers from these slippery individuals.

  • Graham

    Agree with what you say here but why say ‘perhaps half of the remaining 400,000 Labour electorate are “hard left”. Anybody who believes there are over 300,000 members of “hard left” groups in the UK are frankly bonkers’?… (Don’t you mean 200,000…it’s just as far fetched). It kind of negates your argument and seems to fall into the same territory as the PR spin bullshit of Eagle and Smith et al…

  • Sue Murphy

    No one out here in the real world believes there are hundreds of thousands of Trots running around trying to destroy the Labour Party and, more importantly, neither does the PLP, it’s all just spin!

    I’m a long term member of the Labour Party and CND I’ve been on numerous demos stretching back to the miner’s strike of the 80s. At every demo you will find the SWP or SP handing out their papes etc and never once in all these years has anyone tried to convert me, sign me up!

    The truth is the PLP are desperate, they know Corbyn and his policies are popular and getting more popular by the day, people want change, they want a fairer more equal society and only Corbyn is offering this. The PLP really need to get to grips with the facts; we aren’t stupid, Trots or Sheeple, we know your game you’ve been sussed and you can’t put the genie back in the bottle!

    • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)

      “The truth is the PLP are desperate, they know Corbyn and his policies are popular and getting more popular by the day, people want change..”

      I’m puzzled by the above. Given that one of the charges against the Labour Party has been that it wants power at any price (this accusation has, to be fair, levelled against political parties since the year dot), surely if Corbynite policies were really popular and growing in popularity as claimed, the PLP would be rallying behind him? Surely they would be backing a winner?


      • Leonard Young

        Corbyn supporters do not want power at any price which is why they are holding out against the Tory-lites. The PLP does indeed want power at any price but they mistakenly thought that with the media on their side, the unlawful actions of the NEC and smear campaigns they would prevail. But now they have shot their bolt and they have nowhere to go except to bleat the same tune. They can’t suddenly say Corbyn is a great leader now because they’ll look even worse than they already do.

        • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)

          The point of a political party in a democracy (and thank God we are talking about events in a democracy – in Russia, China, Venezuela, etc, this discussion would be otiose) is to gain power in order to put its policies into effect. To that end they have to do what it takes (within the democratic framework of the country).

          To say that Mr Corbyn and his supporters do not wish to obtain power “at any price” is to say that they are politically frivolous.
          They should not be a political party, they should be a ginger group.

          Moreover, they have precedent to guide them; UK voters have rejected hard-left policies in the past but have accepted Blairite labour policies.

          • Leonard Young

            I agree there’s little point and we don’t agree (your comment lower down). But I have to part by saying the notion that Corbyn is “hard left” is a relative construct. It might seem hard left compared to the relentless drift to the right since 1997, but it is rather towards to the centre compared with the last 50 years. Is wanting the banks to pay a tiny transaction tax hard left? Is giving really quite moderate unions (compared with the last millenium) power hard left? Is wanting a proper health service and free university education hard left? Is wanting the railways nationalised (and more than half tory voters want this also) hard left?

            None of the above is remotely more than centre left. Oddly, even Theresa May is now talking of the wealth gap and poverty, and that is undoubtedly because she cannot escape the influence of the left, even if she doesn’t mean what she says. And that is partly why political parties exist, not just to get into power at any cost, but to keep a check on the excesses of a party that is in power.

          • philw

            Haba “To say that Mr Corbyn and his supporters do not wish to obtain power “at any price” is to say that they are politically frivolous.”

            What sort of logic is that? Are you saying that a political party should be prepared to stage a Turkey-type coup? Do you really not see any limits to what a group should do?

          • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)


            Your response has a certain je ne sais quoi (forgive the Latin) which impels me to come back to you, albeit very briefly.

            Of course the examples you give are innocuous and it would be unfair to characterise them as hard or far left; that is, no doubt, why you have selected them, I imagine.

            However, I suspect that behind them lurks a number of other policies (or intentions) to which the etiquette hard or far left could be applied. And even your inucuous examples would require further probing from me if I had the time : renationalisation of the railways (did nationalisation of the railways under the Atlee govt result in an efficient, modern rail service?); low of no university tuition fees (should the middle classes be thus subsidised? more unemployed or under-employed graduates?); a “proper” health service (meaning what? The NHS has had over 60 years to prove itself..); giving moderate unions “power” (meaning what? Why are unions “moderate these days?)…etc.

            Finally, I would like to thank you for your thoughtful and courteous replies; I have suggested to another “commenter” that he might like to take a leaf out of your book.

          • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)


            Of course not – if you re-read what I said you will find a reference to acting within the democratic framework (and institutions) of the country.

            As you well know, “whatever it takes” refers not to coups d’etat but, for example, getting the far left loonies to shut the fuck up and stop alienating the overwhelmingly sensible majority of the electorate. Why do you think Mrs Thatcher (and then John Major) win four elections in a row?

          • glenn_uk

            Why do you think Mrs Thatcher (and then John Major) win four elections in a row?

            Simple – uncritical adoration by the mass media in this country, until their corruption and incompetence had become so bad, that they were past caring.

            How well did Major do, after he’d lost support of the Murdock press?

          • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)


            Oh, come on! It was the Sun wot won it, eh?!

            Your spiel about the press is a tired old excuse trotted out by people in denial.

            “It’s the economy, stupid!”. Do you really believe that people living in the real world with bills to pay and families to bring up would pass on the professed benefits of Labour Party govt just because Mr Murdoch told them to? Three times in a row?? Your thought reveals, in my opinion, a profound contempt for the people and their choices. But that is a hallmark of the far left, isn’t it.

          • glenn_uk

            Of course people are stupid enough to believe propaganda, which is why we’re surrounded by it.

            You try to draw a contrast between “people with bills to pay” and so on (my thanks for not saying “hard working families”, btw) and those who’d want to vote for Labour. That is exactly the contrast which state and press propaganda wishes to pretend exists.

            With the Sun et al banging out the message, page after page, week after week, “Labour Baaaad. Tories Good!!! Labour craaaazy. Tories Good!!”, what message do you imagine low-information voters are liable to soak in, in sufficient numbers at least to swing elections, when they can be bothered to vote at all?

            If the Tories – the natural party of the rich, for the rich – really did have the best interests for everyone at heart, then the monied classes would be putting up a different party to promote only their interests, obviously.

            Oh, and what do the papers owned by the very wealthiest people and groups support – would you hazzard a guess?

            But no – you either refuse to recognise the obvious, or are not admitting it.

      • Dave Price (Servire Deo Regnare Est)

        The answer to your question is that sometimes people are blinkered and behave stupidly, Habbakuk.

        • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)

          Then – as Brecht once said = perhaps it’s time to change the people? 🙂

          Seriously though – that’s a feeble argument, isn’t it?

          If for no other reason than that you have to allow people to make mistakes in a democracy.

    • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)

      Ms Sue Murphy

      Any comment on what I wrote at 08h08 – any views?

      • glenn_uk

        Not really – it doesn’t make much sense. You make a presumption, shoe-horn that into a statement of supposed fact about Corbyn, then go on to assume his policies are welcomed by the rest of the PLP. Not a single reliable assumption, and dubious linkages between them.

        Apart from that, spot on! 😉

        • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)


          Let me help you by talking through my point.

          !/. It is said that the Blairites (aka most of the PLP in this blog’s demonology) want power (by which is meant government, I suppose) at any price.

          2/. At the same time it is said that Mr Corbyn’s ideas have great and growing public support.

          3/. If that is so, then it would be in the interests of the Blairites to run with Mr Corbyn (at least until Labour won power) in order that the Labour Party would win the next election.

          4/. What din’t you understand about that?

          • Dave Price (Floreat Redingensis!)

            Habbakuk, I’ve already tried to tell you, but I’ll try again.

            It’s (3) in your list. The Blairites, unaccountably, believe that Corbyn cannot win. Their actions in accordance with this belief are making it less likely that Corbyn can win. So, given the truth of (1) & (2), they are acting against the best interest of the Labour Party, and therefore indeed against their own interests.

            I hope that clears up the confusion.

          • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)


            That is a different answer and I am also surprised that you ave to answer in behalf of Glenn, to whom my points were addressed.

            Re your latest intervention: if the Blairites sincerely believe that Labour cannot win the next election under Mr Corbyn and his policies then they are in fact acting in the best interests of the party by attempting to remove him, surely?

          • glenn_uk

            1/ Who said this? Surely you’re not trying to imply they’d consider a military coup, or stage some assassinations, if they thought they’d get away with it? So what are the limits – please define the terms, and think about it a bit more next time.

            2/ The numbers appear to bear this out

            3/ No – they are ideologically opposed to Corbyn, and believe everyone else thinks like they do, because they have lost touch with reality (and in particular, with the working class)

            4/ Not “understanding” something which isn’t true is not a failing.

          • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)


            ” 1/. Who said this?..”

            Not me, I’m afraid, but Mr Leonard Young at 08h51 today:

            “The PLP does indeed want power at any price”

            I suggest you ask him what he meant.

          • glenn_uk

            I hope the point is taken – “at any price” is a rather strong statement to make. “Party loyalty, principles and honour be damned” might be more useful, perhaps?

          • Dave Price (Stet Fortuna Domus)

            No Habbakuk it was the same answer: you misread it the first time.

            Turning to your response: “if the Blairites sincerely believe that Labour cannot win the next election under Mr Corbyn and his policies then they are in fact acting in the best interests of the party by attempting to remove him, surely?”

            Of course they believe that they are acting in the best interests of the party, unless you are implying that they are not acting in good faith. I’m not sure what the point is that you are trying to make, or what argument you are trying to refute.

            Where we can agree I think is that Labour losing the two most recent general elections is the strongest evidence there can be that it is the Blairites who cannot win the next election. So whilst the Blairites may believe they are acting in the best interests of the party, it is clear to any rational observer that they are not.

    • Manda

      I feel very gloomy I’m afraid to admit. Corbyn’s thinking I agree with 100% but I have had doubts how effective he can actually be if he got into government. There’s an insight in Richard Murphy’s Tax research blog (don’t wish to link) title “The rise and fall of Corbyn’s economics”. I remember being shocked and dismayed at John McDonnell’s early speech backing Osborne’s fiscal charter so read the criticism with an open mind. If the critique and observation is correct, the Corbyn team really have to step up to the plate on ‘leadership’/management and practical policy if he wins again. The elephant in the room is will have enough support in PLP to form an effective shadow cabinet if/when he is re elected? The possible de-selections etc. will all take time and more acrimony and no doubt many underhand dealings from certain quarters who will not wish to give up the ‘Labour party’ as an already well established name for a ‘marketing tool’. Apologies to be brutal but that’s how I see it. .

      Reading between the lines it looks like Owen Smith has been working with/been inspired by a certain economist. Unfortunately I have zero faith Smith has had a fundamental or lasting change of philosophy but has seized on a way to challenge the Corbyn factor and appear as a unifier and appeal to citizens concerns.

      Hopefully your prediction will play out Craig but I feel things may well get very messy and nasty indeed. It’s all a great distraction from other events at home and abroad which is the last thing UK needs now especially with this new PM and her x team.

  • Techno

    Judaen People’s Front, or People’s Front of Judea? The political left has always been prone to warring factions, as satirised by Monty Python in Life of Brian.

    These are old disputes from the 1970s and 1980s. Labour managed to keep a lid on them during the 1990s because they were so desperate to win a General Election after so many years in the wilderness. But it was all a thin veneer really, the old disputes are just breaking through to the surface again.

    It is a choice between being ideologically pure or winning elections. The “Blairites” realise that you can’t win a General Election with “hard left” policies.

    • Dave Price

      Techno wrote

      It is a choice between being ideologically pure or winning elections. The “Blairites” realise that you can’t win a General Election with “hard left” policies.

      No, that is a false dichotomy.

      You say that the Blairites ‘realise’ that you can’t win a General Election with ‘hard left’ (translation: centre-left) policies. But for that to be a realisation rather than a belief, it would have to have to be backed by facts. You need only consider that for Labour the last two General elections were lost with centre-right policies to confirm that the Blairites are not in the realm of reality. As for ‘ideologically pure’, did you read what Craig wrote? This is not about entryism by ideological nutcases. This is about ordinary people joining Labour inspired by Jeremy Corbyn’s principled espousal of historically quite unremarkable centre-left policies.

  • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)

    The posts so far – in particular those of today – again demonstrate the propensity of the Labour Party and the left in general to tear away at their own entrails.

    As I have pointed out before, this is not new and appears to be part of their DNA.

    That is why (with the exception of the Blair period) the Labour Party finds it so difficult to win power and why the experience of Labour govts has tended to be an unhappy one both for the party and the country in general.

  • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)

    Reading Techno’s post of 07h37 I see he has made more or less the same point.

    Good to see you posting again, Techno.

    To ignore what he has written is to be in denial.

  • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)

    The Labour Party did not win power in 1964, 1966, 1974 and 1997 because of Tony Benn and the far left but despite them. In 1964 and 1966 because he and they were unheard of, in 1974 because they were discounted and in 1997 because they were busted flushes.

    To dispute this is to be in denial.

    • Leonard Young

      @Habbabkuk “To dispute this is to be in denial.”

      Would be a valid point except that since 1997 there have been several invasions and wars based on lies, none of which produced anything but misery, plus the biggest banking meltdown in history (and far greater than 1989). The support for Corbyn among both constituency parties (85 to 15 in favour) and Labour members far exceeds previous support for any other left leader combined. It looks likely now that the 172 broadly Blairite MPs might be persuaded to form a new party or an alliance with the Lib Dems (see today’s independent interview with Farron).

      For the first time in 50 years the rank and file in Labour are parting company with the PLP in massive numbers. This is very different from all previous inter-party squabbling. Social media didn’t exist in the years you quote, and that has revolutionised grass roots support with ordinary people bypassing the mainstream media in droves. They simply do not believe the press and broadcast media any longer. While all that might not mean eventual triumph for Corbyn, it will certainly mean grass roots politics has changed forever.

      • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)


        W should leave the discussion as it stands, I think.

        You and others believe there is an upswing of popular support for Mr Corbyn type policies; I remain sceptical.

        If Mr Corbyn remains leader and succeeds in converting the PLP to his views, the next general election will show who is right.

        • Chris Rogers

          Indeed it will,

          So why the fuck are the Bitterites, yourself included, trying to pervert democracy.

          As ever Habb, the racist in you is openly on display with your utter contempt for democracy and democratic outcomes.

          This old bugger believes in giving the UK electorate a choice, what choice do they have if all three legacy Parties essentially offer the same, old hackneyed neoliberal policies of the past 40 years.

          Zero choice Habb, zero choice, and they you speak of democracy – give it a rest man for you sound like Henry Ford: “You can have whatever colour you want as long as its black.”

          • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)


            I shall not reply except to note that your post is insulting and empty of any substance.

            I advise you to study the comments from Leonard Young – that’s how you should be discussing these questions.

            And now – from a Bitterite racist – fuck off. 🙂

  • conjunction

    Everything you say, Craig, I entirely agree with.

    The problem is I am not sure I could vote for Corbyn either.

    The reason being is that he simply doesn’t engage with what is going on around him. When he disagrees personally with an issue in parliament he simply ducks it, as he has over Trident, the EU etc. He just keeps saying ‘I’m not playing.’

    So what game is he playing? Clearly one which aims for some change to the current political process.

    But even if some constitutional change happened would he be able to engage with that?

    • K Crosby

      So far, I’ve disagreed with his tactics but the breach with the fascist wing of the partei is the watershed, all he has to do to win is not lose. It’s what comes afterwards that matters.

      • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)

        This talk of “the fascist wing of the partei” illustrates that the far left is on another planet and simply not credible.

        It is this sort of thing which ensures that the man in the street, when called upon to vote, will flee Labour.

      • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)

        Even UKIP and the Greens are more credible.

        You may disagree with what they say but at least they have their feet on Planet Earth (just about)

  • Katie Todd

    Brilliant. I accept people don’t like my views but heck I have voted for the Labour party for years. Finally I have something worth voting for. well done Craig

  • K Crosby

    They’re floating an international Bolshevik world conspiracy just like the old days, except for that religious minority being the victims not the perpetrators this time. Just as cynical, just as citimesitna.

    (word reversed to avoid the bowdleriser)

  • mickc

    Your analysis is impeccable, and I hope the outcome is as you suggest.
    The total inability of the Blairites of both parties to grasp the situation is absolutely amazing. The Bourbons were switched on compared to this lot.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    You misunderstand the mentality of the Labour right wing, Craig.

    Anyone who has joined the Labour Party or rejoined the Labour Party because they feel that Jeremy Corbyn and his colleagues represent their views and they want to see such people continue in place is by definition far left, hard left, and an entryist.

  • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)

    I sometimes wonder whether the far left in the Labour Party does not feel free to propagate hard left views, thus taking part in the entrail-feast, precisely because it knows that it has no chance of ever gaining power and thus having its policies put to the test.

    • RobG

      Since you’re so pedantic, I’m sure you’d like to give us your definitions of what ‘far left’ and ‘hard left’ are?

      • Habbabkuk (Floreat Etona!)

        Was I being pedantic, RobG? Is it not a little early in the day for you to be confused?

  • Douglas Macari

    I enjoy your writings very much, Craig. You always manage to give such a well-considered and knowledgeable overview of the political scene. This short blog is no exception to that. Thank you. One small point, however, which jars slightly is that – as is generally the case whenever his theatrics are evoked – poor old King Canute comes in for misrepresentation in your metaphor of the NEC’s pathetic and desperate attempts to “stand against a popular tide…”. Canute, of course, had the decency and humility to know that he had no such powers to defy the tides and wished to demonstrate to the members of his retinue, in as dramatic and concrete way as he could, the mundane limits of his powers. Though the result will be similar, I doubt such noble moral purpose can be attributed to Labour’s current NEC.

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