McDonnell vs Brown
My good comrade and sparring partner on the Hackney North Labour Party General Committee, Graham Bash of Labour Left Briefing http://www.labourleftbriefing.org.uk/ agrees with me about one thing - that John McDonnell's candidature for Labour Leader is good news. He thinks it will invigorate the left. I think it will provide the opportunity to drive an extremely large stake through the left's heart.
Graham's touching faith in McDonnell's ability to raise the politically dead is detailed in his guest column in the CPGB's Weekly Worker: http://www.cpgb.org.uk/worker/634/bash.htm
Is it just me or is there something a bit odd about a Labour activist having a column in the in-house publication of another political party? What next - Neal Lawson writing for Liberal Democrat News? (perhaps not so implausible)
Anyway, Graham dismisses the little matter of McDonnell having problems finding 44 MPs to nominate him as "lifeless parliamentary arithmetic" which is a bit like saying a team failing to qualify for the World Cup is a victim of "lifeless football arithmetic". In McDonnell's case it's indicative of the fact that of the 353 colleagues he serves alongside, he is struggling to get an endorsement from even 1 in 10 - including some of his Campaign Group colleagues.
Graham thinks the trade union section will deliver a handsome vote for McDonnell in the electoral college (if he gets nominated). Dream on. The union vote is based on a ballot of ordinary members - not the crazy ultra left adventures of a few General Secretaries but the votes of upwards of a million grassroots trade unionists.
Graham hits the nail on the head by saying that "in any eventual ballot the size of John’s vote could surprise comrades" - but my hunch is the surprise may be how low it is.
Maybe the sane end of the PLP should lend McDonnell a few nominations from MPs to ensure he gets on the ballot paper and the true decline in the left's strength to derisory levels is revealed in a contested election.