There are two Labour parties now. The small controlling party of Blair, and the party of the membership.

The Great Ron Rafferty says*:

A brief history of the world …. From the time of Kinnock, there was an ever-increasing vetting procedure of new Labour candidates.  That started off from a relatively weak administrative point from the Central Office perspective, but it quickly became more and more controlling over the past 30 years, and what better cover than deciding that only people from certain groups could stand as candidates.  So we ended up with a massive percentage of “on-message” MPs.

Now fast forward to last summer, and the sudden realisation by the on-message ones, that they were no longer on message with the people they claimed to represent.  Their own manifesto demonstrated this.  As the media had tried to paint Ed Miliband as Red Ed, the Labour Party machine moved forever towards the right until in several aspects it WAS to the right of the Tories!  This is the “being in power” bollocks that is constantly uttered.  Being in power …. for what?  If being in power is to be worse than the Tories, then it IS actually better having the Tories FFS!

The election of Corbyn, who, despite efforts to paint him almost as a communist (the new Red Ed) was centre-left, saw a whole cadre of the Labour machine rejecting him, and rejecting their membership.

He was never ever given a chance to be a leader.  Sniping from the Coup-ers** NEVER stopped.  They used social media to keep in contact with the mainstream media (oh, how hollow their protests now sound about others using social media …..), placed anti-Corbyn stories, and the continuing line that only the coup-ers were true Labour, not their leader, and certainly not their membership!

Planning for a coup for 10 months.  No principles.  But the membership – now there’s a bit of a problem!

The coup, which was intended to psychologically attack the leader failed, because he stood up to the outrageous deceit and bullying.  (In any other context on earth, the Guardian would have railed against the bullies, and quite rightly!).  But Corbyn wasn’t broken.  Did the coup members bother that this was anti-democratic?  Did they bother that it was against their memberships expressed wishes?  Did they bother that it was against the wishes of most CLPs?

As that didn’t work …. over to the NEC, and the same coup-ers not quite in charge of things.  Sob stories about representatives being threatened (a bizarre bit of histrionics compared to what they had attempted on Corbyn!).  No sticking to the normal rules of committees, and what is the solution to the membership “problem?”  Cut off as many members as possible!  Stop the membership meeting in the CLPs!

This is NOT a group of people trying to “save” the Labour Party.  This is a group of people who believe they OWN the Labour Party, and will do precisely what they want.  It is a right-wing takeover.  And the people hark back to the days of Blair where they say one thing, and mean another, where war is good, where the class from which their members are taken is good as cannon fodder without equipment, where a useless and expensive piece of nuclear gear is more important than ships that work, and where those same poor folk will continue to pay for the errors of the rich.

But, there again, time after time, it is the rich who pay for their coup “friends.”  A few millions promised here, a few hundreds of thousands there, a “helpful” but restricted legal challenge (that’ll do nicely).

There are TWO Labour parties now.  The small controlling party of Blair, and the party of the membership.

Whose side are you on?

 

*Comments thread https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/15/labour-death-spite-bullying-working-class-base

**coup plotters

NB This is important

Wise words – ‘Keep Calm and Support Corbyn’

‘The last thing anyone on the Left must do in response to these outrages is to be outraged however. There will be more to come.

More members will be suspended. Applicants for registered supporter status will be excluded – even in some cases if they have been accepted as Labour Party members (after the January cut off date). Other local parties will face unjustified administrative sanctions.

All of this has a dual purpose. First – and vitally – to diminish Corbyn’s support in the election. Secondly – and this is not unimportant – in the hope of provoking an angry response which can feed the narrative that the left are vile bullies.’

jonrogers1963.blogspot.co.uk/…/keep-calm-and-support-corbyn…

5 thoughts on “There are two Labour parties now. The small controlling party of Blair, and the party of the membership.

  1. I recently returned from ten years in New Zealand where I was an active member of the NZLP. You may know that the NZLP had its neoliberal moment in the 1980s. The previous National Party government of Robert Muldoon had virtually bankrupted the country, it was on the verge of defaulting on international debts. The new Labour government had to make some massive cuts. Some of these were necessary, like an end to the feather bedding of farmers, but this was used as an excuse to slash social spending too. The programme was called Rogernomics after the Finance Minister Roger Douglas. The left was caught on the hop for various reasons: concentrating on the nuclear free policy and financial illiteracy were just two. When the inevitable split came, Douglas and co had control of the caucus (as they call the PLP) but had neglected to gain full control of the party machine. The situation was complicated by the fact that much of the left split and formed a party called New Labour which later allied with Greens. Despite the introduction of PR in the 1990s, the alliance split and died. But the fact that the neoliberals had not seized full control of the party machine meant that eventually they had to split and they became the core of an extreme neoliberal party called ACT (currently with only one MP) while the NZLP reverted to being a soft social Democratic Party. The NZLP is still well to the left of the U.K. PLP but that is not difficult. It is also much more organisationally democratic possibly a function of its smaller size. Sorry to go on at length but I think the lesson is that control of the party machinery is even more important than control of the parliamentary party.

    Sent from my iPad

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    • Thank you – that is a very useful example substantiating my own belief that this coup is about the struggle for the name, the party machinery and the data bases. My criticism of Jeremy et al has always been that he should not have renewed the contacts of the LP staffers last September when they came up for renewal. Ed Miliband was also subject to constant undermining and briefing against for the previous 5y and it was well known that overwhelmingly the LP admin was dominated by Liz Kendall supporters. It is clear that the ‘tricks’ that occurred over the recent NEC meeting could not have been achieved without the participation of the LP staff acting against the democratically elected leader. In my opinion, heads should roll…. and if there is to be a split, it is imperative that the left stays put.

  2. Seeing the Labour Party in its current state of disarray is heartbreaking to anyone who believes in what it stands for. Yet this demise became inevitable when Neil Kinnock, and then Tony Blair, began the process they called ‘modernisation’. In the dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-fittest environment that became the background of life in the UK of Margaret Thatcher’s eighties and nineties, the Labour Party, built upon the principles of democratic socialism, became embarrassed to be associated with those words. Bit by bit, Kinnock and Blair trimmed away all the things that made the party distinctive, embracing the tenets of Thatcherism at the same time as the people of the country were becoming tired of them. Those of us to whom the core values of the Labour Party were the reason we supported it, felt distinctly uneasy as we saw those values being distorted or abandoned in the name of the new god ‘Electability’. Apparently, it was more important to have a party called ‘Labour’ in office, than it was for that party to actually stand for the values upon which it was built. Blair even changed the name of ‘his’ party – it became ‘New Labour’.

    When Thatcher was ousted, and a general election arrived, the nation was eager for a change from her brand of Conservatism, and New Labour was swept into power. Blair’s ‘modernisation’ was apparently vindicated. But what New Labour gave us was was more of the same, a Labour Party that was just as Tory as the Tories.

    Blair was, of course, aware of the unease among the ranks of traditional Labour MPs – including such stalwarts as Dennis Skinner, Tony Benn and young Jeremy Corbyn – and he set about making sure that they could not undo the work he had done. He changed the rule-book (including the famous Clause IV) and filled the NEC with his supporters.

    Blair handed over leadership of the party to Gordon Brown just in time for the financial crash of 2009, and Brown’s short term as leader ended with a general election in 2010 that saw the Conservatives form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

    Five years of idealogical ‘austerity’ ensued, and by the time of the next general election in 2015, the conservatives fully expected to lose. So lacklustre was Labour’s performance under Ed Miliband, however, that the Tories swept back in with a clear majority. Miliband resigned as leader, and in the ensuing leadership election, the party mandarins somehow allowed Jeremy Corbyn’s name onto the ballot paper. It is safe to say that the result shocked the complacency of the right-wing establishment in the party. What they failed to recognise was that the party members, who had stood quietly by while their party drifted away from them, had decided to take it back. Suddenly, they had a spokesman.

    Blair’s followers tried to blame Ed Miliband for the party’s failure, saying that he was too ‘left-wing’, but the members saw it differently. They said that the party lost because there was no difference between New Labour and the Conservatives.

    From that moment on, today’s rift in the party became inevitable. It was the reformists against the membership, and everyone in New Labour (both serving MPs and retired leaders) began a relentless onslaught on the new leader’s authority. We cannot know what has been happening behind closed doors over the last nine months, but we can see some of the outcomes, and we are under no illusion that more is to come.

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