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.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hazel - supported by the Times; AJ - supported by the Mirror and Sun; Cruddas - supported by the Morning Star?

Hat-tip to Harry Barnes for spotting the unusual company Jon Cruddas is keeping this weekend.

Neither he nor his promised video address made it to the soft left Compass conference last weekend.

But he's found time out from the Deputy Leadership campaign this weekend to address the Morning Star's Conference. The Morning Star is a journal whose editorial policy is to support the platform of the Communist Party of Britain, a dwindling cadre of hard-core Leninists - some of them Stalinists - who rejected the EuroCommunism espoused by the official CPGB/Democratic Left.

Other speakers include from the Labour Hard Left Ken Livingstone, John McDonnell and Tony Benn, Salma Yaqoob of Respect, and a whole bunch of people such as Andrew Murray who are the CPB's cadres inside various unions and campaigns.

Imagine the outcry if another Deputy Leadership candidate was to speak at a conference, similarly entitled "Politics After Blair", if it was organised by, say, Lib Dem magazine The Liberator, or Conservative Party News. But apparently lending credibility to Britain's residual cell of hardline Stalinists and their newspaper is an appropriate way to spend the final Saturday of your Deputy Leadership campaign.

As Harry Barnes says:

"Does Jon really want us to believe that he is part of this camp? And will those attracted by the Conference really believe that he has become one of them?"

33 Comments:

Anonymous cruddas voter said...

I'd be more worried by the Murdoch papers supporting Blears and Johnson.

The Morning Star and the Communist Party are not the same, particularly these days. They are not formally linked and the newspaper is owned by its readers, many of them non-Communists. The paper gives space to a range of broad left opinion, as will be represented at the conference. Jon Cruddas is not part of that left but he is legitimately entitled to seek their votes.

The comparison with the Lib Dems/Tories doesn't stand up either. The Communist Party supports Labour candidates at election time. It is not a rival electoral force.

Nobody would criticise Labour candidates for attending a Guardian sponsored conference, despite the way it fudges its endorsement between Labour and the Lib Dems at election times.

2:05 pm, June 14, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

That's not totally true. The CPB runs candidates against Labour in my borough - Hackney - in local elections. Monty Goldman and Ivan Bevis stood in 2006. They only say "vote Labour" where they have no candidates - which is most places seeing as they have so few members.

2:08 pm, June 14, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

PS Jon is "legitimately entitled to seek their votes" and I am legitimately entitled to attack him for it.

A "broad range of left opinion" - er... excluding all Labour opinions to the right of Cruddas.

2:10 pm, June 14, 2007

 
Anonymous Andrea said...

"That's not totally true. The CPB runs candidates against Labour in my borough - Hackney - in local elections. Monty Goldman and Ivan Bevis stood in 2006"

Goldman also runs in 2005 GE against Meg Hillier. Bevis run against Sedgemore in 2001

"A "broad range of left opinion" - er... excluding all Labour opinions to the right of Cruddas. "

ask Hazel Blears to write a piece for the Morning Star and let's see if they publish it!

2:17 pm, June 14, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Or even if the Guardian would!

2:18 pm, June 14, 2007

 
Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

The key point here is the one cruddas voter put.

The Morning Star is no longer simply the CPB paper.

No story here.

2:24 pm, June 14, 2007

 
Anonymous Ian G said...

Indeed. Do you reckon that any of the deputy leadership candidates have ever been to an event run by the Telegraph?

To be honest I'd rather have the Morning Star's endorsement than one from the The Times for 'defending Tony Blair' against the Labour Party. It's not surprising that the Times believes that the Labour Party is wrong and Blair right, but I doubt if that will do Blears much good in this election.

It also confirms a key criticism of her, which is that as party chair she has been telling members what the leadership wants us to think, rather than the other way around.

I'd go so far as to say that if that endorsement was sent out with the ballot papers, it would guarantee first round elimination.

2:36 pm, June 14, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

The technical distinction between being the CPB paper and being a paper CPB rules say its members must read, and which has by its own constitution to reflect "The British Road to Socialism" (CPB platform) is lost on me and I would expect the public.

Both Harry and I were as much pointing to him sharing a platform with Benn Snr, Ken, McDonnell - i.e. the Bennite Hard Left - as the CPB.

2:39 pm, June 14, 2007

 
Anonymous El Rio said...

'Other speakers include from the Labour Hard Left Ken Livingstone'

Is the same Ken Livingstone whose return to the Labour party was endorsed by Tony Blair, whose 2004 election campaign was launched with Tony Blair, who joined Gordon Brown in Lambeth on the eve of the 2006 local elections to boost Labour's campaign there, campaigned in marginal seats during the general election for people like Martin Linton, who the agent for Jules Pipe was happy to see endorse Jules Pipe's election last year, who signed a climate change deal with Bill Clinton last year with Tony Blair on the platform, who people like Nick Cohen regularly denounce as the developers' friend?

I could go on. My point is that you can't boil down Ken Livingstone's politics purely to the hard left. They're broader than that, as successive London elections have shown.

3:26 pm, June 14, 2007

 
Anonymous Ian G said...

"Both Harry and I were as much pointing to him sharing a platform with Benn Snr, Ken, McDonnell - i.e. the Bennite Hard Left - as the CPB"

Well that's it then, Cruddas is clearly beyond the pail!

Going around sharing platforms with Labour Mayors, Labour MPs and former Labour Cabinet Ministers....he'll be sharing a platform with Tony Blair next...

3:46 pm, June 14, 2007

 
Anonymous nowitchhunts said...

This is pathetic.
Cruddas would have been @Compass event but had hustings.Frankly, have no time for him at all but to suggest sharing Morning Star platform is beyond the pale is well.er, stupid.The REALLY inteersting debate is between Livingstone and McDonnell anyway.

5:12 pm, June 14, 2007

 
Blogger Harry Barnes said...

I don't mind honest Hard Lefties, I managed to survive in the Socialist Campaign Group for 17 years. And I have placed Hazel Blears in the last place on my ballot paper. But what interested me was Soft Left Compass fixing a ballot to ensure than Jon Cruddas was their recommended choice, then his rushing off to try to capture Hard Left support.But then perhaps he is just like me, looking for a Goldilock Tendency.

6:34 pm, June 14, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harry Barnes wrote: 'But what interested me was Soft Left Compass fixing a ballot to ensure than Jon Cruddas was their recommended choice, then his rushing off to try to capture Hard Left support.'

Which is not fundamentally different to the campaigns you used to support in support of Labour organising in Nothern Ireland, which tried to build a broad base of support in the party not confined to one section of the party in order to promote your particular views.

Just a shame you were wrong!

6:47 pm, June 14, 2007

 
Blogger Dave Brinson said...

It's true that the CPB has a disproportionalte editorial influence over the Morning Star (editor and many of the management board) but the paper survives because of the advertising support of many mainstream trade unions (including Amicus !) and regular or occasional readers from across the left, because of its coverage of many labour movement issues that aren't picked up by the mainstream media. I wouldn't miss it during the main trade union conferences, as it covers many of the less "newsworthy" motions- albeit you need to read through the CPB-esque angle. I'd be delighted to see the demise of the CPB, but the Morning Star would be missed as a useful, if often biased, resource.

6:49 pm, June 14, 2007

 
Anonymous David Floyd said...

"But what interested me was Soft Left Compass fixing a ballot to ensure than Jon Cruddas was their recommended choice, then his rushing off to try to capture Hard Left support."

Compass didn't fix a ballot. It held a ballot and its members voted for Cruddas.

Don't see anything strange in Cruddas's attempts to get hard left support, as opposed to the alternative strategy of not trying to get hard left support.

As far as I know he's not adopting John McDonnell's policy programme.

7:41 pm, June 14, 2007

 
Blogger E10 Rifle said...

Luke, when WILL people like you stop fighting old battles, get your mindsets out of the old denunciation-athons that both left and right relished in the 80s?

Does the concept of the 'broad church' mean anything at all to you. I mean, I don't object to you being in the Labour party - or your point of view having a place in it - why must you be so shrill and intolerant towards people in the party with another take.

I'm another non-CPer and non-Leninist who reads The Morning Star semi-regular, mainly because, as an active trade unionist, it contains a lot of stories that can't be found in the mainstream papers. I want to keep abreast of those.

This really is pitiful and childish stuff Luke. Give it up

10:53 pm, June 14, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah! Hands off the Morning Star - I read it for the music reviews.

Hey! Is it true that you've done the decent thing at last and offered your resignation?

11:22 pm, June 14, 2007

 
Anonymous Robert Murray said...

"My point is that you can't boil down Ken Livingstone's politics purely to the hard left."

He endorsed John McDonnell for the leadership, what more do you want? Like all of McDonnell's supporters he does not belong in the modern Labour Party, and Cruddas is showing that he doesn't either.

1:01 am, June 15, 2007

 
Anonymous Robert Murray said...

As if to prove the point he is hard left, Cruddas has written an article in the New Statesman saying the railways should be re-nationalised. http://www.newstatesman.com/200706180013 He's a looney.

2:49 am, June 15, 2007

 
Anonymous realhardleft said...

Good to see the right-wing trolls back out in force. Also interested to learn from David Floyd that Cruddas "hasn't adopted John McDonnell's policy programme." Oh, really?
How about his suddently strident stance on Trident, moratorium on PFI, re-nationalising the railways, and troop withdrawal from Iraq. And oh, yes, the Trade Union Freedom Bill ( proposed by John McDonnell)
The difference is that Gordon won't pay a blind bit of notice to what is faux leftism.
Cruddas is, to coin a phrase " a sheep in sheep's clothing." Despite his posturing, his obeisance to Brown will ensure unfortunately this is empty left-wing rhetoric on his part.
Meanwhile John I'm glad to say is back doing real campaigning in the real world against the private equity companies aiming to take over Jaguar and Land Rover.

8:02 am, June 15, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert Murray said...
"My point is that you can't boil down Ken Livingstone's politics purely to the hard left."

Give us the evidence, Robert.

9:01 am, June 15, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry, bit missing, meant to write:

'Robert Murray said...
"My point is that you can't boil down Ken Livingstone's politics purely to the hard left."

He endorsed John McDonnell for the leadership, what more do you want?'

Give us the evidence Robert

9:03 am, June 15, 2007

 
Anonymous Ian G said...

"Like all of McDonnell's supporters he does not belong in the modern Labour Party, and Cruddas is showing that he doesn't either."

You obviously hate the Labour Party, wishing away the thousands of supporters, around 60 CLPs and 51 MPs and our largest affiliated trade union, without whom this party would be bankrupt - all of which are backing Jon.

It's very amusing that Tony Blair and John Prescott can stand up and promise a publicly owned, publicly accountable rail network, as they did before 97 and that's OK. Jon Cruddas says the same thing and he's condemned as a raving lunatic.

Actual polling shows that people aren't adverse to renationalisation of the railways. After all, the current setup is economic idiocy...

9:22 am, June 15, 2007

 
Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

This blog reminded me to buy the Morning Star today.

The fighting fund still needs £13,383, comrades!

9:52 am, June 15, 2007

 
Anonymous chipofftheoldblock said...

Robert Murray says that Ken Livingstone 'endorsed John McDonnell for the leadership, what more do you want?'

Murray is wrong about this, Livingstone never endorsed the McDonnell candidacy.

10:43 am, June 15, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LUKE! You talk about the hard left and communism like it's a bad thing?!?!?

Are you sure you know what party you're in? This is a socialist party and not the Tories. Join them if you want to have a pop at socialists. The Blair era is over . The left are coming !

11:15 am, June 15, 2007

 
Blogger Gregg said...

He endorsed John McDonnell for the leadership, what more do you want?

It's a pedantic point, but since McDonnell didn't get on the ballot, Livingstone never actually officially endorsed him.

Like all of McDonnell's supporters he does not belong in the modern Labour Party, and Cruddas is showing that he doesn't either.

Livingstone is the single most successful Labour politician in the UK today. Winning his support is something both McDonnell and Cruddas should be proud of. None of these three can objectively be described as "hard left" (absolutely anyone who could be was kicked out of the party well over a decade ago) and they belong in the Labour Party a lot more than you do.

As if to prove the point he is hard left, Cruddas has written an article in the New Statesman saying the railways should be re-nationalised.

A proposal Brown's people themselves started floating about six weeks ago, when Brown thought he might face a contest against McDonnell. A proposal that would save tax-payers' money, vastly improve a public service and is overhwlemingly supported by the electorate. A policy that - like most of what's been put forward by Livingstone, Cruddas, McDonnell and all the other people you guys keep branding "hard left" - is popular, sensible and progressive.

12:29 pm, June 15, 2007

 
Anonymous graham said...

You forgot to mention that Jon's being supported by the Mirror.

4:54 pm, June 15, 2007

 
Blogger E10 Rifle said...

"Like all of McDonnell's supporters he does not belong in the modern Labour Party, and Cruddas is showing that he doesn't either."

PURGE! PURGE! DENOUNCE! DENOUNCE!

Those New Labourites who cut their political teeth in bonkers ultra-Left or Tankie organisations in the Seventies or Eighties really didn't need to change too many of their instincts did they?

1:21 am, June 16, 2007

 
Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

So one of the candidates has been endorsed by a paper firmly based in the labour movement (kept afloat by Trade Union advertising and a readership largely made up of Labour Party members) while some of the others were endorsed by newspapers firmly in the bosom of News International.

Watch out Luke, you could make me start to regret that I didn't vote for Cruddas
(I assume he realised, a bit too late, that in a crowded field he wouldn't get in without a solid left vote - wish someone had told his supporters that, then they might have leant a sympathetic ear to disappointed McDonnellites rather than bashing them at every opportunity... Ah, the whirligig of time brings in its revenges).

10:56 am, June 16, 2007

 
Blogger Doctor Dunc said...

I might add that John McDonnell, Tony Benn and Ken Livingstone were all at the Compass conference. By 'eck, 'as the world gone mad, or are we all in the same party or something?!

11:34 am, June 16, 2007

 
Anonymous Neil F said...

You forgot to mention that the maintstream Tribune and the New Statesman magazines have also endorsed Jon Cruddas. But then that doesn't lend itself your pointless and transparent attempt to caricature him as a hard left-winger.

5:31 pm, June 16, 2007

 
Blogger E10 Rifle said...

Basically, as Hazel Blears's impending DL failure will demonstrate, the Blairites are running out of friends. This is because such 'friendships' as they ever had were only ever based on expedience and careerism. It's a sad way to live, really. Unlike 10 years ago, Blairism is incredibly weak now, but people like Luke - and Hazel - are blundering on, Comical Ali style, going "No retreat, no turning back, can't hear you, whoo-ooo."

1:52 am, June 17, 2007

 

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