Why should we believe a member of Labour’s far right on what’s wrong with that party?

Frank Field spoke out as Labour digests criticism of the Beckett report into what went wrong at the last election. [Image: Frank Baron for the Guardian].

Journalism like today’s Guardian piece, in which Frank Field tells us why he thinks Labour is going wrong, should be treated with extreme caution.

Despite being a member of Labour, Field was named the 100th most influential right-wing politician by the Daily Telegraph in 2008.

In May that year, he said that ultra-neoliberal prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who caused many of the problems facing the UK today, “is certainly a hero” and that “I still see Mrs T from time to time – I always call her ‘Mrs T’, when I talk to her.”

It would be churlish to suggest that, with opinions such as those on display in the Guardian piece and on Sky’s Murnaghan show, he should go and see his beloved Mrs T now.

But his views are unacceptable as stated.

He seems a good example of the kind of politician that Tony Benn described as a “weathercock”. As This Blog reiterated in July last year, Mr Benn said some politicians are like signposts. They point in the direction they want to travel and say, “This is the way we must go!” And they are constant. Others are like weathercocks; they lick their fingers, find out which direction the political winds are blowing and follow.

When Mr Field says Labour “is walking off in the opposite direction to where voters are”, he is clearly defining himself as a weathercock.

Labour’s current position – one firmly held by Jeremy Corbyn, the man Mr Field nominated for the leadership despite not sharing his views – is that of the signpost.

Voters may be in a different place right now – but Labour’s position is that this is because they have been misled by Conservative, Liberal Democrats and, yes, the former Labour leadership.

The “swing” Labour voters who didn’t support the party disagreed with Labour because Labour was too close to the Conservatives on too many policies. They wanted to see clear red water between the two parties, that wasn’t there in May 2015.

If people like Mr Field have there way, it never will be and the Tories will continue to beat his own party.

Mr Field needs to understand that Labour cannot win by being a pale imitation of the Tories. The landslide of 1997 happened because the voters thought Tony Blair would be radically different and he lost support at every subsequent election as people realised that he wasn’t, until his successor Gordon Brown was forced into Opposition by the Tory/Liberal Democrat coalition.

Mr Field’s claims are more likely to lead Labour into another “walloping” than away from it.

Field, who nominated Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership in the interest of debate despite not sharing his politics, told Sky’s Murnaghan show that Corbyn was “in tune” with voters on issues such as inequality and the economy.

On other issues, however, such as security and immigration, “the Labour leadership is walking off in the opposite direction to where voters are, and in particular those swing Labour voters who didn’t swing our way and gave the government its unexpected election win last time”, he said.

“Clearly that’s going to have to be sorted out before the next election if we’re not to get a walloping yet again.”

Source: Labour risks another election walloping, Frank Field says | Politics | The Guardian

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9 thoughts on “Why should we believe a member of Labour’s far right on what’s wrong with that party?

  1. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl)

    The main difficulty Labour has and, indeed, Jeremy Corbyn, is the selfish desire to impose personal views by certain members with self-interest at heart rather than getting rid of the existing disastrous Conservative administration; their actions hurt Labour and greatly assist the Conservatives. Everyone is entitled to air their views but should be careful that they don’t cause more damage than if they had kept their mouths shut.

  2. Roland Laycock

    Wonder what he got paid for this its obvious he is not a true Labour Party member this is the great problem the Labour Party has

  3. Jonathan Wilson

    “When Mr Field says Labour “is walking off in the opposite direction to where voters are”, he is clearly defining himself as a weathercock.”

    I think the prefix “weather” is entirely superfluous to the description of Mr Field.

  4. Jeffery Davies

    If jc had listened to the far far up the tories right he would loss the gains labour had from the peasants but untill that day they cross the floor has they aint labour jeff3

  5. Jenny Hambidge

    I think that the Guardian is going to lose membership now it has become a Tory rag. Don’t know how this has happened, or why its playing into Tory plans. Someone rang me from the recruiting section of Guardian last week to demand to know why I had stopped my subscription. I told her why the caller didn’t have a clue- Early last year I took out a membership but haven’t actually cancelled it yet. But its on my list to do today. Who is paying whom? To discredit JC and bring down the Labour Party. There is BIG money in the Tory party and buying off the G and its writers seems a probable way of doing it. If a well known leftie paper is critical of Corbyn and gets the likes of FRank Field to write lies about him….well it must be true what they say, mustn’t it .Ok for the Tories to sell off UK ltd to the rest of the world through Dutch Sandwiches and privatisation, but not so to have Corbyn even speculate what it might be like if we allowed peace and justice a chance.

  6. Suzanne Smith

    It’s Labour who will keep Labour out of power by repeating Tory propaganda, such as keep going on about Blair and Iraq because that’s all the Tories can use against him, while forgetting that the Tories had already committed us to being the 2nd largest force in the region, which is why more Tory MPs voted yes to the 2nd war against Iraq than other parties. Even so called Labour voters go on about Iraq, and forget all the great things Labour did after the after the Conservative years, such as helping to repair all the lives destroyed in communities by the Tories, to help more people than ever go to university. Being the first party to give us the minimum wage, that the Tories tried to vote against. Now the Tories are trying to act as if they’re for a minimum wage, as they know all most remember about politics is the last Tory propaganda headline they read. If even Labour voters forget that, then what influence do they think that makes at election time? Blair was good at arguing against the Tory BS, where they twist and blame everything they do on others. Labour voters don’t seem to want any Labour leaders that could actually win an election because they were close to Blair, when Blair was the only Labour leader the majority of the country wanted to vote for since the 70s
    The reason the Murdoch media is so against Labour is because Murdoch divorced his wife after finding a love note from her to Tony. The only thing they can say against Blair is Iraq, but the Tories had already virtually turned us into a USA state and made everybody else in the world hate us, from Europe on one side after they didn’t like EU directives good for workers like allowing enough breaks and holidays and making companies label GM food so they can’t feed us rubbish we don’t know about. To Ireland on the other side when the Tories made no attempt at a peace plan, dubbing out voices of N Irish politicians on the TV so we couldn’t hear the whole story while putting us all in danger. The Tories had made us so deeply involved with the USA in the region that we couldn’t have left for the 2nd Iraq war if we wanted, and that’s why more Tory MPs voted yes to the 2nd war against Iraq than other MPs.
    Same as how the Murdoch media tried to convince many that Labour were to blame for the banking crisis, when the Conservatives left us with nothing but banking after they stole and sold off everything public owned in the 80s, which already crashed before in the 90s when nobody could pay back the debts they were encouraged to have. The Tories want us to be like the USA where they can’t go for a minimum wage supermarket job without having their credit rating checked, it’s so important over there. If Labour had put too many controls on all the Tories left us with, the Tories would have been the first ones to complain.

  7. plhepworth

    It is clear from the Beckett report that Labour did not lose the election by positioning itself too far to the left. Labour was punished (particularly in Scotland) for its inexplicable failure to counter Osborne’s mantra that Labour ‘overspending’ was responsible for the 2008 financial crisis and its feeble acceptance of Tory austerity measures. But alas, many MPs selected and elected on a socialist platform seem to have been swollen into self-importance and seduced into the bosom of the Establishment by the trappings of power. They contributed to Labour’s defeat in 2015 and are now doing their best to sabotage the Corbynite revival.

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