The sinister intent behind ‘Saving Labour’

Reg Race is a 'co-ordinator' of the group campaigning against Jeremy Corbyn [Image: BBC].

Reg Race is a ‘co-ordinator’ of the group campaigning against Jeremy Corbyn [Image: BBC].

The report on ‘Saving Labour’ by the BBC’s Ross Hawkins is more notable for the conclusions it doesn’t draw than for those it does.

Just because Reg Race is said to be co-ordinating this project to collect information on Labour members willing to attack Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters, that doesn’t mean he’s the one behind it. No such information is available.

But it looks good, having a former leftist colleague of Jeremy Corbyn and Tony Benn as a figurehead – in the same way that saying he supports left-wing policies was supposed to make Owen Smith more attractive. And did it?


Mr Race says ‘Saving Labour’ is “ruthlessly determined to make sure there is an effective opposition in this country” – presumably, to the Conservative government.

But supporters of the organisation are invariably Labour right-wingers whose own preferences are so close to those of the Tories they’re fighting that you couldn’t get a Diner’s Club card between them.

How are they going to mount an “effective opposition” to policies they support and/or would put forward themselves, albeit in watered-down form?

And how are they going to convince anybody if they aren’t prepared to identify themselves? Oh yes, they’re in “vulnerable positions”. That could mean anything. It could mean they are hiding among supporters of Mr Corbyn, acting as spies or “fifth columnists”.

All in all, it isn’t a very honourable way for these people to behave. Or so it seems to This Writer.

Meanwhile, the organisation has been collecting data on people sympathetic to its cause – which may be used for purposes other than the current leadership election, we’re told.

So this is an attempt by right-wingers to organise and exert power against the larger Labour membership’s wishes – and to subvert the unions to their wishes as well.

It all seems very dubious.

If these people admitted who they were and what they were doing, perhaps their behaviour might be acceptable – but they won’t.

Supporting MPs, donors and trade unionists are all staying anonymous for the time being.

One wonders how these people would react if it was revealed that there was a secretive co-ordinating hub of Corbyn supporters, working to spread their influence across the UK political milieu.

Judging from recent experience, they would complain loudly and frequently, laying accusations of unfairness and abuse left, right and centre.

This is, after all, the side that likes to commit abuses and then accuse its opponents of the same behaviour.

As Emily Robinson stated on Twitter (referring to this and the US election campaign):

“Same MO on both sides of the pond: launch below the belt neoliberal attack, cry when criticised, claim abuse.”

A former MP on Labour’s far left, once active in a socialist pressure group that included Mr Corbyn himself, Reg Race is not the first person you would imagine leading the charge for a more centrist party. But he is deadly serious.

“We are ruthlessly determined to make sure there is an effective opposition in this country,” he says.

He claims Saving Labour has been responsible for recruiting more than 120,000 registered supporters and affiliated union members to vote against Mr Corbyn using online advertising.

The group, he says, has amassed details of 60,000 people on its own database in just two months. There are plenty of numbers, rather fewer names.

In his first broadcast interview, he told Radio 4’s Today programme he has the support of trade unionists but will not say which ones. Nor does he name any MPs. Nor donors; those will be published by the Electoral Commission in time, he says.

Why the secrecy?

“There’s a group of us and lots of us don’t want to be out there in terms of the media because they’re in relatively vulnerable positions,” he says.

“Data is absolutely crucial in these races,” says Tom Flynn, Saving Labour’s full-time digital campaigner. “This was set up as a way of trying to get good data on those Labour people who would like a change of leadership.”

That data – the contact details of sympathisers who have a vote in Labour contests – could have an interesting future.

A Saving Labour supporter, MP Graham Jones, suggests it may even play a part in trying to get rid of Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey.

The data, the money and the intent of those trying to wrestle back control of the Labour Party from Mr Corbyn will not expire at the declaration of the result.

If they fail this year, they will try again.

Source: Saving Labour? The secretive battle to oust Jeremy Corbyn – BBC News


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7 thoughts on “The sinister intent behind ‘Saving Labour’

  1. Jonathan Wilson

    I’m looking forward to it having to provide a list of supporters and funders to the electoral commission… sadly I believe it will be just after the leadership election when it has to provide its first 3 monthly accounts and audits (from what I can tell from a brief read of the EC’s website).

    I’m expecting some big names, some MP’s, and perhaps a familiar “PR” company… wouldn’t it be interesting if some of the backers were also not from within the Labour party ranks but were backers of other parties, now that really would put the fox in the hen house.

    For a company that is supposedly all about “savinglabour” it is trying very hard to hide who is behind it. One would have thought that if it had nothing to hide it would have been open and honest about who was bankrolling it, who runs it, and what its affiliations were… and would have produced its principles of memorandum and rules… strange that is has not done so! Especially when Momentum has had to have had its books audited early after a complaint was raised… my gut is telling me that when it does release its books its going to kick off a sh*tfest. (Although if it were do close its self down after the election prior to the first quarter account being due, would it still have to release its books or would that mean it escaped scrutiny?)

  2. bladeofgrassuk

    This is a survey that they have sent out to all of their supporters today. They are hoping to set up local anti-deselection groups nationwide.

    The goal of these groups will be to protect MPs parachuted into “safe” Labour seats from being democratically removed from office for their role in the right-wing coup.

    It is worth mentioning that these groups have managed to avoid appointing a Data Controller under the Data Protection Act, and so are not subject to the DPA of 1998

    1. Phil Lee

      Whether or not they have appointed a “Data Controller”, if they hold data in a machine processable form, they are subject to the DPA 1998. Not appointing a named individual just makes them jointly and corporately responsible, instead of being able to pass the buck to some scapegoat appointee!
      If you hold anything more than a simple address book (and even that was subject to considerable debate), you are subject to The Act, and all the provisions on legal gathering and use of data imposed by it.

  3. Jess

    Reg Race?

    Could this be the same one?

    ‘Reg Race, the former Labour MP and close ally of socialist firebrands Tony Benn and Ken Livingstone, has been paid millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money as a result of regulations brought in by New Labour ministers. The union man-turned-consultant has also become a substantial Labour Party donor and is one of the biggest backers of Alan Johnson’s bid for the party’s deputy leadership.

    Mr Race’s company, Quality Health, is one of a select band of “approved contractors” that health trusts must hire to conduct patient and staff surveys.’

  4. Notonya Nellie

    I thought it was common knowledge that the well known journalist Alastair Campbell was behind Saving Labour. I certainly had a very brief and polite exchange with him on the subject during day one of its twitter activities.

  5. casalealex




    The objective is to erode your opponents morale. That encourages them to retreat, surrender or defect rather than defeating them in combat….

    This is exactly what ‘they’ want you to do.

    It’s what Corbyn loyalist Richard Burgon was warning against when he wrote the following on June 26, and he was right.

    “Outrageous? Anti-democratic? Offensive to ordinary Party members? That’s exactly the point. I’ve seen quite a few Labour activists on social media declaring that if a ‘coup’ takes place, they will leave the Labour Party in disgust.

    That’s exactly what those plotting to scrub out the Party’s democratic decision last summer want to happen. For some, a much smaller and less active Labour Party is a price worth paying for a return to the status quo that they’re comfortable with – a status quo which lost Labour 5 million votes between 1997 and 2010, saw Labour decimated in Scotltand and saw Labour end up as being viewed as part of a political establishment that’s not to be trusted.

    For some, the plan is to reconfigure the Labour Party’s membership to one at ease with their Blair-inspired politics through the tactic of disrespecting members and the democratic process to such an extent that members resign in droves.

    For the sake of democracy, let’s not give them what they want.

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