Save the Labour Party
Some gems in the latest newsletter from the
- Allegedly Jon Cruddas told their AGM that "he particularly deplored the way in which the Party’s traditional position and values have been subverted in favour of policies designed to attract swing voters in marginal seats." I say allegedly because I'm convinced that Cruddas wouldn't have said anything as dumb as criticising the Labour Party for trying to "attract swing voters in marginal seats" as it's a bit difficult to elect a Labour Government (and thereby do all kinds of good things for his constituents in Dagenham) without their support. I would guess that they've misquoted him (an occupational hazard if you address gatherings of this nature) and what he actually said was "he particularly deplored the way in which the First Past the Post election system meant that the Party’s traditional position and values have been subverted in favour of policies designed to attract swing voters in marginal seats" but that the people who write Save the Labour Party's newsletter are not fans of electoral reform so missed out this rather important qualification. Of course if he did say it as they reported, he might want to ponder the location of the swing voters in marginal seats that Labour has been targeting: 1997 target seats - Basildon, Ilford South; 2001 target seats - Romford, Upminster, Castle Point; 2005 target seats - Ilford North, Hornchurch. Anyone unfamiliar with the electoral geography of Essex should at this point get a map, locate Dagenham and the other seats I've mentioned and then wonder what all the fuss is about.
- Katy Clark MP "criticised the excessive powers of the Whips and the patronage system which keeps many MPs in line with the hope of gaining office" er... shouldn't she be criticising the MPs for being so craven that they'll trade their vote for the chance of "gaining office"?
- The contrast between the declining fortunes of the wider Labour Party and the thriving, dynamic organisation that is "Save the Labour Party" were clearly illustrated by this report on "Save the Labour Party's" internal democracy: "Regrettably, the number of valid self-nominations for the STLP Committee was fewer than the number of places available and there were no nominations of people not already on theCommittee, therefore there will be no ballot." i.e. we preach democracy and regeneration of the party, but our own members are too apathetic to get involved, therefore we don't actually have democratic elections in our own organisation...
- They say "As if there had not been enough destruction of the Party’s once democratic policy-making structures, Blair is now using market research organisations to recruit panels of the public to form focus groups to advise on “cultural change”,“customer services” and “contracts”." How unlike Save the Labour Party's "LabOUR Commission" on internal party democracy which hired market research organisation YouGov to er... do opinion polling and run focus groups (I know because I went to one of them). Do as we say, not as we do.
- Finally "Association of Constituency Labour Parties: Work continues to progress this development." And there was me thinking that the Labour Party was the "Association of Constituency Labour Parties". A quick google reveals that this is not a new idea though, but a resurrection of a Bevanite "Association of Constituency Labour Parties" that existed back in the '50s when the unions dominated conference and were led by leadership loyalists like Sam Watson of the NUM and Arthur Deakin of the TGWU... same kind of retro nomenclature as John McDonnell's "Labour Representation Committee". Anyone out there want to relaunch the Campaign for Democratic Socialism?