I joined the Labour Party on the Monday after the European Union referendum vote and the start of the MPs’ revolt against Jeremy Corbyn, so perhaps it’s unwise for me to write this.
No-one is safe, it seems. But I’ve already voted in the leadership election so if the Compliance Unit wants to take issue then let it.
The actions of a small fringe in the Labour Party are horrifying and hypocritical. This group includes not a few MPs, party officials and other figures on the right of the party.
What’s most exasperating for me is the stunning mendacity, although perhaps it shouldn’t be given the period when these people were at the height of their power.
New scandals are dreamt up, exploited with theatrical abandon and forgotten about when people see through them or the wheels fall off because of their internal contradictions (“Corbyn is sexist because most of his shadow cabinet are women”).
Meanwhile entirely different standards are applied to figures on the left and right. Post a couple of tweets critical of certain party rightwingers and you’re out, but donate £2,125,000 to an opposing party and you’re golden.
Sometimes I wonder whether they truly believe what they’re saying. This nonsense about a hundred thousand Trotskyists “twisting arms”, for example. Given Watson’s record it’s liable to just be cynical rubbish, mud thrown in aid of a broader goal, but some people have comprehensively lost the plot.
Then there’s obvious cynicism, like everyone suddenly forgetting what a fringe meeting is. When Momentum plans a fringe it’s a “conference-within-a-conference,” according to the director of right-wing Labour faction Progress.
Not only that, but Momentum’s event is somehow “in association with the Communist Party of Britain” because our paper is involved!
Two of the Star’s three most senior editors are Labour Party members. We have seven Labour-affiliated trade unions on our management committee.
But our use of the Communist Party’s sensible programme, Britain’s Road to Socialism, whose call for the election of a left government seems to chime with my Labour Party card’s declaration that it is “a democratic socialist party”, is clearly too much.
But the fact that Progress — in the words of supportive MP Tristram Hunt, an “unaccountable faction dominated by a secretive billionaire” — gets £260,000 a year from Lord Sainsbury is naturally not problematic. Any accusation that a group funded by a Lib Dem donor is holding a rival to the Labour Party conference is baseless, obviously.
I’m currently reading Chris Mullin’s A Very British Coup, having just finished Seumas Milne’s The Enemy Within — about the attempts to crush the 1984–85 miners’ strike and its leaders. There are uncomfortable echoes of these books in the actions of the Labour right. The lies. The smears. The theatrics. The hypocrisy. It’s horrid. And these people are meant to be our comrades?