A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

People's Liberation Front of Judea to merge with Judean People's Liberation Front

In an event of almost as much political magnitude as the Lib Dems deciding what level of higher rate tax they not will set after they do not win the next General Election, obscure faction-let Labour Reform is to merge with the modestly named and slightly less obscure faction-let Save The Labour Party.

All is revealed here: http://www.savethelabourparty.org/Sept_Oct.pdf

Save The Labour Party are not kidding when they say "Labour Reform is having difficulty in continuing as a large and active body" - a quick look at its website shows it has not been updated since September 2003.

Other ruritanian micro-organisations and 1980s re-enactment societies squabbling for the franchise to represent the 5% of Labour Party members who think John McDonnell should be leader include the Grass Roots Umberella Network, the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (sic), the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance (sic), the Socialist Campaign Group, Labour Left Briefing, the Labour Representation Committee etc. etc. Oh and don't forget Compass. Or Socialist Action.

Either they all hate each other more than they hate people like me, or, even sadder, the same people are going to 20 different meetings (most of them at the Lucas Arms, Gray's Inn Road; ASLEF HQ Hampstead; or the Conway Hall, Red Lion Square - there must be something in the water in Camden).

My good comrade STLP founder Peter Kenyon will be glad to know Hackney North CLP has voted against his model contemporary resolution calling for a leadership contest to be triggered at Conference.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Andrea said...

"Either they all hate each other more than they hate people like me, or, even sadder, the same people are going to 20 different meetings"

I loved a definition of the Campaign Group I once read: "they're 24 MPs and they've 25 different opinions about the same issue" (or something of that sort).

"My good comrade STLP founder Peter Kenyon will be glad to know Hackney North CLP has voted against his model contemporary resolution calling for a leadership contest to be triggered at Conference"

was it a close vote or a large majority?

Btw, the StLP proposed model resolution is not very up to date considering it was drafted before Blair's announcement that it was his last TUC. The SLPD original model called for the conference to vote to have a leadership election before 2007 conference. But now we all know there'll be one.

2:57 pm, September 19, 2006

 
Anonymous David Floyd said...

"Other ruritanian micro-organisations and 1980s re-enactment societies squabbling for the franchise to represent the 5% of Labour Party members who think John McDonnell should be leader include the Grass Roots Umberella Network, the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (sic), the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance (sic), the Socialist Campaign Group, Labour Left Briefing, the Labour Representation Committee etc. etc. Oh and don't forget Compass. Or Socialist Action."

I'm personally not a supporter of any of these groups (other than Compass, who I assume are included ironically) but I should point out the Grassroots Alliance candidates did take four out of six seats in the recent NEC elections.

Even with the ridiculously low turnout the GRA's Ann Black got more votes than the 5% predicted for McDonnell.

5:42 pm, September 19, 2006

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

That's because Ann Black is significantly nearer the centre of gravity in the Party than McDonnell.

6:06 pm, September 19, 2006

 
Anonymous Andrea said...

"That's because Ann Black is significantly nearer the centre of gravity in the Party than McDonnell"

Even Shawcroft got more than 5% (she got around 10% of the eligible membership).
But in NEC elections, the Left was up against people like Lorna Fitzsimons, while McDonnell should fight Brown/Johnson/...
The profile of Brown is much higher than Fitzsimons' one, whilst McDonnell's national profile isn't probably so much higher than Shawcroft's one.

6:27 pm, September 19, 2006

 
Anonymous David Floyd said...

Well, yeah, of course Ann Black closer to the centre then John McDonnell but she was on the Grassroots Alliance list which suggests - for all their crustyness - that the GRA might have a bit more of the centre in their centre-left that you give them credit for.

The point is that the likes of Labour Reform and STLP - though I've never shared their fascination with forming organisations and debating internal structures and have never been a member of either organisation - do represent a strand of moderate social democracy that is significantly different from that offered by McDonnell and co.

There are plenty of old Labour people who opposed Bennism just as strongly as they now oppose Blairism.

7:19 pm, September 19, 2006

 
Anonymous Duncan said...

Well there is a huge overlap between the Socialist Campaign Group (insofar as it exists outside parliament - the supporters' network) and the Labour Representation Committee (not surprising as John McDonnell chairs both) - they perform significantly different roles in the movement. Also, it has to be said, that neither are to be reasonably described as 'micro-organisations'. Labour Reform has clearly had its day (it primarily existed - like the Alliance of Democratic Labour Clubs! - to pretend there is a signifcant centre-left for the left to have a grassroots alliance with!) Some of the other 'groups' you mention aren't really groups at all. Some are, of course. I'm going to have to read your other article about Compass before I pass further comment on them, but they'll have to ditch Lawson before I have any time for them. Socialist Action have always intrigued me. I've known lots of their members and have been reasonably close friends with several - but their close support for Livingstone despite disagreeing with him on most substantial issues (while AWL despise Livingstone while agreeing with him on most substantial issues) is just one of the many things about the sectarian left which will always remain a mystery to me!

8:22 pm, September 19, 2006

 
Blogger Hughes Views said...

Lorks - I do miss living in North West London!

10:54 pm, September 19, 2006

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

David - you are correct to distinguish between Compass and the groups on the hard left. The ones on the hard left are wrong but politically honest and consistent. Some of the leading people in Compass were in contrast amongst the silliest Blairite ultra-montaines of the mid/late-90s, preaching what I would describe as a party liquidationist agenda (abolishing GCs, breaking the union link) until they suddenly realised this was no longer fashionable and reverted to the role the LCC had played in the early '80s Rank & File Mobilising Committee - providing soft left credibility for the hard left's attacks on the leader.

9:33 am, September 20, 2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke, the LCC saved the party when your co-thinkers pissed off to the SDP :)

10:37 pm, September 21, 2006

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Anonymous -
a) I was on the LCC national executive for several years in the '90s so by definition I have no problem with the role they played AFTER the realignment of the soft left
b) read Diane Hayter's excellent book "Fightback" and you will see that most of the actual groundwork saving the party was done by the predecessor organisations of Labour First - people like George Robertson, John Golding, John Spellar, even Roger Godsiff.

The people in Labour First who were around in the early 80s were the people that did NOT defect to the SDP. In contrast certain people close to Compass like Polly Toynbee were very public defectors.

10:21 am, September 23, 2006

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

 
Free Hit Counters
OfficeDepot Discount