Who do Compass think they are?
I try to avoid looking too obsessed by Compass, honestly I do.
But today Compass has been singularly unhelpful to the Labour Party, which it purports to support, by reopening the question of the Party Leadership, as reported in today's Guardian.
Their timing could not be more destructive – on the day of the final Queen’s Speech before a General Election, and just as the first tentative steps towards a Labour recovery have started with a thumping by-election win in Glasgow North East and a 4% boost in this week’s ICM poll.
Who do the Compass “Management Committee” think they are to sit around plotting to undermine a Labour Prime Minister? And more to the point what do the Guardian think Compass is, publicising the self-aggrandising sectarian scheming of a small group as though it was major news?
The Guardian consistently calls Compass a think-tank. This is insulting to real think-tanks that work objectively to generate new policy ideas. Compass is a political faction, the only policies it publishes stem from its own prejudices, not objective research.
The Compass claim to have 4,000 members and 30,000 supporters is repeated without scrutiny, yet the membership list includes people who swear they have resigned from it or never joined, and generated a paltry 237 voters when Compass held internal elections; and the 30,000 “supporters” is a mass-spamming exercise sending emails to anyone unlucky enough to have their address fall into Compass’ hands. I get two emails to different addresses from Compass yet I’ve never indicated support for them.
At their AGM last weekend Compass "General Secretary" Gavin Hayes (winner, most pompous title of the year award 2009) compared himself to the General Secretary of the Labour Party, saying:
"And on the Labour Party I have to say I think my counterpart Ray Collins could learn a thing or two from Compass, and let me tell you if you’d wanted a robot for a General Secretary then you might have picked him. It gives me no pleasure to say that over this last year, as a long-serving loyal Labour activist myself, I’ve stood back and watched in utter aghast at some of the goings on in Labour’s Ivory Towers. Whilst this week may mark 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, increasingly the New Labour machine looks a bit like a clapped out Trabant, feels a bit like the dog days of an Eastern European Communist Party – an ossified party state welded to a dogmatic ideology, entrenched elites, dormant party organisations and a stagnant economy."
Not only is it hubris on a massive scale for the head bureaucrat of a staff of four to compare himself to the General Secretary of the Party in government; it's unfair to personally attack a paid member of party staff who is prohibited by their contract from responding to these kind of attacks, and massively insulting to the hard-pressed and hard-working staff who are working their socks off to try to win the General Election.
This confused grouplet, who advocate a lurch to the left for Labour but are reported to favour Blairite candidates Alan Johnson and David Miliband for Party Leader; and who claim to back Labour but give platforms to the Green Party’s candidate in a seat they hope to take of us, gets far more publicity than it deserves.
Labour Party members should concentrate on trying to prevent a Tory General Election victory and reject the sort of sectarian plotting and undermining of Party unity that Compass is indulging in.