The Guardian is really showing its true, pale-blue, colours now.
Apparently Jon Lansman, founder of Momentum, is at the heart of a “hard-left plot” to “seize permanent control of the Labour Party”, because he wants socialist members of the Labour Party to take key positions, and to join forces with Jeremy Corbyn-supporting union, Unite.
Putting the alleged alliance with Unite to one side for a moment, how are his plans for Labour’s left any different from those outlined by Luke Akehurst of Labour First (Labour First? Sounds too much like Britain First, America First, and so on, to me!) in an email to his members last November?
As I reported back then: “Mr Akehurst is very keen on using party rules to squash any left-wing behaviour out of the party and maintain it as a pale-blue clone of the Conservative Party. Nobody knows quite why he’s so keen on this because it is electoral suicide (as the last two general elections have clearly demonstrated).
“To this end, he wants Labour First supporters to push for large CLPs to switch from all-member meetings to a delegate-based structure, with the delegates being Labour First members and everybody else squeezed out, of course.
“That way, the election of delegates to next years national party conference can also be rigged to ensure that right-wingers are sent, who will oppose measures put forward by Mr Corbyn’s team.”
This includes the measure mentioned by Mr Lansman in his leaked tape (I wonder who leaked it?) to cut the percentage of Labour MPs and MEPs needed to nominate a leadership contender from 15 per cent to five. Labour right-wingers want this killed because they can use the current situation to prevent any future left-wing candidates from getting enough nominations to get their names onto a leadership ballot paper.
Ironically, as Professor Simon Wren-Lewis has suggested on his Mainly Macro economics blog, this is probably exactly what is keeping Mr Corbyn from resigning!
If Mr Corbyn can’t be assured that a left-wing candidate could succeed him in the party as it currently stands, then – knowing that a Labour Party led by the current cadre of right-wing nitwits cannot possibly win a general election – he’ll have to wait until conditions are right to ensure a left-wing succession.
But that is a side-issue. The main point is that the “hard-left” tactics deplored by the Guardian in Toby Helm and Alex Hacillo’s report are exactly the same as those put forward by the “hard-right” Mr Akehurst.
So, are they really awful, underhand, nasty political machinations?
No. Of course not. They are simply evidence of the power struggle in Labour politics at the moment.
Nothing suggested by Mr Lansman is against the rules – nor was anything suggested by Mr Akehurst in November. Labour First hates democracy if it gives left-wingers a chance to succeed, but will happily use it to deprive them of the chance.
It all comes down to which side uses internal party democracy most effectively – and it seems the Guardian is complicit in this game, because the result might be swayed according to which side is seen to be encouraging its members to behave in a certain way – and how that behaviour is portrayed.
Mr Akehurst chose to exhort his members to act via an email – all nice and quiet.
Thanks to the Guardian and its leaked recording, Mr Lansman has been placed in the mass media spotlight.
The Guardian would have you believe he is the villain here.
But in reality, neither he nor Mr Akehurst are any worse than each other – at least as far as their tactics are concerned. Because their tactics are the same.
As for Unite linking up with Momentum – hasn’t that happened already, in fact if not in word? Both support Jeremy Corbyn, as long as Len McCluskey leads Unite, and that is what Mr Lansman was saying.
So the Guardian‘s headline shouldn’t have been ‘Secret tape reveals Momentum plot to seize control of Labour’.
It would have been better-headlined ‘Secret tape reveals the similarities between both sides of Labour Party internal politics’.
But that would never do. It isn’t exciting enough – and it doesn’t attack Jeremy Corbyn or his supporters.
Beware fake news folks – especially when it is peddled by mass media organs like the Graun.
A hard-left plot by supporters of Jeremy Corbyn to seize permanent control of the Labour party and consolidate their power by formally joining forces with the super-union Unite can be revealed by the Observer.
The plans, described on Saturday by Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson as “entryism” and a covert attempt by a leftwing faction to take over the party, were spelled out in detail by Jon Lansman, the founder of the grassroots organisation Momentum, who was secretly recorded addressing supporters at a meeting of a new branch of the organisation in Richmond, south London, on 1 March.
On the tape, obtained by the Observer, Lansman issues a call to arms to Momentum supporters, saying they need to make sure the left is far better represented in key positions at all levels of the party so they have control over the levers of power when Corbyn departs and the succession is decided.
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