Tom Watson’s ‘proof of Trotskyist Labour infiltration’ was cribbed from Right-wing think tank Progress

Tom Watson on alleged hard left infiltration of the party: ‘It’s not a conspiracy theory … it’s a fact.’ Except it wasn't. It was a lie [Image: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images].

Tom Watson on alleged hard left infiltration of the party: ‘It’s not a conspiracy theory … it’s a fact.’ Except it wasn’t. It was a lie [Image: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images].

Someone really should have told Tom Watson: If you’re going to try to trick people into believing a lie, try not to be obvious about it.

I know; it probably wouldn’t have done any good. And besides, if this latest display of ineptitude in the so-called ‘Chicken Coup’ being ham-fistedly fumbled by right-wing members of the Labour Party had not been easy to expose, we would all have been deprived of a bit of a giggle.

That’s right, Tom Watson. I’ve been laughing at you.

See, you know that letter you sent Jeremy Corbyn, with evidence on “Trotskyist” infiltration of Labour?

It turns out you cribbed it all from the right-wing think tank Progress.

They, in turn, cribbed it from a book by Michael Crick on 80s Labour infiltrators Militant.

Here’s your letter:

160810 Watson letter

But everyone can see you’ve taken the information from this Progress website. All they have to do is visit the page.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but Militant was an organisation that infiltrated Labour back in – if I remember right – the 1980s.

Mr Corbyn’s opponents have been making claims that he is trying to take Labour back to the way it was in the 1980s, as is well-documented.

Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that you are trying to do that?

Labour’s civil war entered a bitter new phase with Jeremy Corbyn and his deputy Tom Watson locked in a public spat about whether the party risks being taken over by hard left activists driven out in the 1980s.

Watson sent the leader’s office a four-page document, based on publicly available information, detailing what he said was evidence that Trotskyists had been attending meetings of grassroots pro-Corbyn Momentum pressure group and seeking to influence the Labour leadership election.

He claimed some of the individuals involved were members of other parties, including the Socialist party, the successor to Militant, whose members were expelled from the Labour party by Neil Kinnock.

The evidence included reports from the Socialist party’s website of its members addressing Momentum rallies and tweets from an activist expelled from Labour earlier this year who appeared to be running phone banks backing Corbyn in the leadership race.

Watson’s letter was a riposte to the accusation made on Tuesday by Corbyn’s campaign that he was “peddling conspiracy theories” after he said in a Guardian interview that Labour was at risk from “Trotskyist entryists”.

Watson wrote: “It’s not a conspiracy theory to say that members of these organisations are joining Labour. It’s a fact.”

Source: Tom Watson sends Corbyn ‘proof of Trotskyist Labour infiltration’ | Politics | The Guardian


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20 thoughts on “Tom Watson’s ‘proof of Trotskyist Labour infiltration’ was cribbed from Right-wing think tank Progress

  1. mohandeer

    Well our meetings are like any other meetings. Different subject matter, to do with the Tory governments policies and how we can oppose them – call me a moderate if you must, you Trotskyist militant Mike, but I don’t think your cousins did a very good job of exorcising all the boring old farts like me. I was brought up on Eric Arthur Blair and as a consequence I loathed Trotsky, but I don’t suppose that information would get in the way of well rounded(not), (ill)sourced and (in)credible lies, would it?
    Please continue to keep us all up to date with regard the lies being told about us. It’s so entertaining,…. being called a Trot AND “rabble”(who is this group and do they hold a good tune?) is just so nice.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The ‘Trotsky’ label seems wrong to me as it includes an aim to change other countries. I know it’s reforming element was restricted to the Soviet Union (as was) but ‘Leninism’ seems a more appropriate label for Mr Watson’s allegation, which is all it is.
      It seems he can’t even get that right.

  2. A Grumpy_Old_Man (@Hairyloon)

    Leaving aside the question of the Trots, this does illustrate one of the fundamental problems of having the meeting as the principle or sole decision making mechanism.
    I would like to see meetings supplemented by an effective on-line discussion platform.

  3. John

    I posted the following on the guardian web page:-

    In the course of an excruciatingly long article, Watson produced the names of only two people, who are not even in the Labour Party.

    What kind of rubbishy so-called “evidence” is this?

    Watson would be better off explaining just what he did to receive a donation of £200,000 from Max Mosley.

    Until he does – given Mosley’s bizarre history – our minds will continue to boggle at how careerist hack MPs like Watson can take such sums of money from questionable sources.

    Does this not indicate that Watson is not fit to serve as an MP and should stand down?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Some might say that’s a false argument as you are linking two different things.
      Good question, though.

  4. plhepworth

    It must be becoming clear to even the most casual of observers that over the question of Corbyn’s leadership, all the underhand tactics have emanated from one side: the coup attempt; the lack of support at PMQs; the allegations of anti-Semitism, abusive behaviour, window breaking and Trotskyist infiltration; the attempted exclusion of new members from the leadership vote; the £25 voting fee. How can it help the Labour cause for its representatives to be seen blatantly indulging in cynical, scurrilous and manipulative behaviour of the kind the Tories themselves would be proud of?

    1. Gramm

      Regarding the window which was so spitefully broken by Corbyn’s brain-washed, ultra-left rabble of followers.
      As it was paraded across the news it stuck me as very strange that the glass was outside, despite allegedly being broken form the outside. Special anti-physics safety glass maybe?

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        I’m told that some glass was likely to have fallen outside, even if the object breaking it (we don’t even know what that was) went in. But how much? And how much had been swept away by the time the cameras turned up?

      2. concernedkev


  5. Will

    From huffpost article:
    He argues activists have adopted these tactics after learning about them from Channel 4 journalist Michael Crick’s book ‘Militant’, published in 1986.

    Do you not understand what the above sentence means?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Yes. But he found the tactics on the Progress website that is quoted in the article and has absolutely no evidence that left-wingers are currently using them. It’s a very straightforward smear of the Labour Left.
      Do you stop to think before broadcasting ill-considered assumptions?

      1. will

        How the hell do you know he found the tactics on the Progress website, and didn’t instead read the book? Either way, the book contains the details of how Militant managed to infiltrate the Labour Party. Right now we know that people are being or have been banned after being found to be members of far-left groups. Feel free to actually debate the points Watson made – there is clear examples in his letter to Corbyn. They aren’t smears at all – they are factual.

        You won’t though – because you myopic prism of leftism prevents you from being unprejudiced.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Oh, hey, I don’t mind if he got it from Crick’s book because it makes no material difference. The information is still about Militant in the 1980s – not Momentum or any far-left entryists today.
        As for people being banned as far-left entryists, I know of no such incidents.

  6. timbastable

    Would be difficult to make CLP meetings any more boring than they already are. Returning to the Labour Party (after a long absence linked to a war) one of the things that struck me was that new members wouldn’t be impressed – in fact, I almost wondered if there was a deliberate attempt to make meetings boring to deter new members – ironic or what?

  7. Stirling

    I want Watson to be even handed and speak out about the plotting and agitating that’s been happening in Labour through the machinations of the Fabian Society. They had a raft of ideas for destabilising the Labour Party in Parliament and undermining Corbyn. Their ideas were leaked too back in early May but I don’t recall Watson expressing concern whatever. He has made his position quite clear but, like Benn, lacks the integrity and backbone to resign his position. These weasels will be held to account by the Labour membership and voters.

  8. serge

    just saying something is a fact does not make it into one . where is the credible evidence ? and he calls himself a law-maker? he should resign only based on that !

  9. concernedkev

    On the weekend #chickecoup unfolded Tom Watson’s twitter account was constantly cc to Jon Lansman while Watson cavorted at Glastonbury trying to give iimpression he had NO IDEA what was going on.
    He was giving the twos up to Momentum and he tries give impression he had no idea. Which if true as Deputy Leader shows he is not up to job.

Comments are closed.