Left undermine Labour's staff
Labour's hard left are engaging in one of their oldest tricks - attacking and undermining the Party's hard-working staff.
They choose to do this publicly, with NEC Member Peter Kenyon, the website Grassroots Labour and Tribune magazine all making public accusations against staff who cannot argue back because of the terms of their employment. If you are going to make serious allegations of breach of employment contract against people you do it through their line manager or HR department, not on a blog or in a magazine. Particularly not if you are an NEC member who is technically one of their employers. I assume GMB Labour Organisers branch will be dusting off the law on constructive dismissal.
Labour Party staff work ridiculously hard, often at evenings and weekends, to secure the re-election of a Labour government. They do this for pay that is frankly derisory, because they love the Party.
By the nature of the people they have their own political views - why else would you work in politics? - but have to take a Trappist vow on internal party matters.
Some of them are actually from the left themselves - I can think of a Regional Organiser who was definitely a Bennite when he was a lay activist in my CLP, and former senior staff from my own region who in one case started out close to Labour Briefing and in another is the partner of the main conference organiser of the Bennite CLPD. But whatever their personal politics they put these aside and loyally serve the party as a whole.
The accusations relate to such "crimes" as writing a list of delegates to conference with ratings of their political views against them, asking conference delegates to meet a Minister to discuss how to vote on a motion, and sending someone a text message suggesting who to vote for for the Conference Arrangements Committee.
I have no idea if these alleged "crimes" took place or whether or not they constitute a breach of the code, but it does seem a bit wet for the left to be complaining that this constitutes a 'corrupt and scary regime', particularly for anyone that has ever seen the strong arming that goes on in Labour's affiliated unions, often by left General Secretaries and their paid full-time henchmen, to deliver the votes on positions and policies they want.
Are lefty CLP delegates to conference really so feeble and easy to intimidate that a conversation with a Minister is seen as bullying, or an alleged text message recommending a candidate is enough to reduce them to a quivering wreck, abandoning their deeply held desire to vote for the GRA and instead plumping for the likes of me or Maggie Cosin?
The left are particularly upset that a CLP and NPF delegate called Andy Furlong dared to do well in this year's CAC election against Mick Murphy of the TGWU. Has it crossed their minds that the delegates backed Furlong because he was ideologically closer to them than Murphy was, or because he canvassed them and they liked what they saw? But no, the left can't entertain the concept that thousands of Labour activists are moderates by choice and conviction, they can only explain it with conspiracy theories and smears alleging bullying by party staff. How patronising their view is of the actual grassroots delegates they claim to represent!
The left should back off and stop smearing Labour's hard-working staff.
My complaint is the opposite - the daft code of conduct stops Labour staff doing their job. They should not be neutral referees. They should be able to promote the candidates and policies of the elected leadership of the party against their internal critics. Back in Morgan Phillips' day as General Secretary or Herbert Morrison's as London Regional Secretary there was none of this nonsense about neutrality, the party staff explicitly had a role in giving the left a kicking. Ah, the good old days!