Wednesday 29 July 2015

Labour Leadership Special - Do Blairites actually believe in Labour Party Democracy

As it starts to look increasingly likely that Jeremy Corbyn will win the Labour Party leadership contest, we seem to hear ever more wild suggestions from those at the right of the party. MP John Mann has suggested that the party suspend the contest. He seems to be saying that the contest has attracted "the wrong sort of Labour supporters" to use the old British Rail phrase. It seems that the Blairites are claiming that the the £3 offer to have a say as a registered supporter has attracted "Tories and Militant Tendency" to join and sway the vote towards Corbyn.

Whilst it is true that some Tory commentators suggested that Tories do such a thing, there is no evidence that this has happened in any sort of numbers to actually affect the campaign. In general it is the one or two jokers in every party, who do it in the vain hope that they will impress their friends. I suspect that the last thing the Tories actually want in reality is Corbyn, so it is only the very stupid who will do this. As to the claim that it is militant tendency, this is complete cobblers. The way militant worked was that it would join associations and over a long period of time engineer changes to constitutions and committees to exclude normal members. As the last poll I saw said that 47% were backing Corbyn, this clearly was not the case. This is not a long campaign of cunning Trotskyite entryists. It is clearly a popular movement. It is also clear that the "entryists" are largely students and formerly loyal Labour members who were sickened by the lack of compassion in the Blair/Brown years.

Another thing which intrigues me is just how silent Gordon Brown is. From what I understand, he is not one to hide his light under a bush. Has he realised that his words, like Blairs are likely to simply inflame matters. Blair claimed that anyone voting for Corbyn should have a heart traansplant. To me this was a staggeringly vain and obnoxious statement. Back during the Blairite pomp from 1997-2002 (pre Iraq), it seemed to all, me included, that Blair had seen off the left for good. Whilst I never was a Blairite, it was easy to be seduced by the landslide victories and the obliteration of the Tories. But Blair squandered his victories. He was always to cosy to big business to care about his own party. Thingshe should have done, such as renationalising railways and regulating banking were simply ignored, to keep rich donors happy. By the time we got to 2010, the grassroots had been alienated.

I don't believe that the Blairite mantra is dead. But I do believe that there are simply no Blairites capable of articulating a coherent manifesto. In fact the only person who has is Corbyn. It is not good enough for Blairites to simply stick their fingers in their ears and shout "La La La". They have to have  a clear, concise program and a leader who can articulate it. They cannot simply say "We are better than the Tories". They have to have a program that demonstrates that and a Leader who can make the case. The same is true of Corbyn. If the Blairites cannot put a program together which has the support of the majority of the Labour Party and a Leadership contender who can articluate it, then they can't expect to win. And if the likes of John Mann cannot stomach that, then he clearly doesn't believe in democracy.

Following the general election defeat, Labour clearly needed fresh ideas and a break from the past. Jeremy Corbyn is the only candidate who has remotely offered that. If the great and the good of the Labour party don't like that, then they simply don't like democracy.

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