Slapped down: How long can Tom Watson carry on as Labour’s deputy leader after this drubbing?

Tom Watson: hammering the Left; soft on the Right? [Image: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images].

Let’s get the facts sorted quickly, shall we?

Over the weekend a leaked recording of Jon Lansman, the Momentum founder, emerged of him addressing supporters at a meeting in Richmond, South London, on March 1. On the tape, obtained by the Observer, Mr Lansman said Unite would formally affiliate with Momentum, if Len McCluskey secured re-election as general secretary later this month.

Mr Watson then pleaded with Mr Corbyn to “deal with” Momentum and its founder in a series of radio and television interviews on Monday.

Source: Jeremy Corbyn endures ‘explosive’ PLP meeting over anonymous briefing against deputy leader Tom Watson

Unite quickly issued a very sternly-worded rebuke against Mr Watson, who the union’s executive claimed should concentrate on democracy within the Labour Party (which has suffered serious criticism lately, due to alleged attempts to ‘rig’ the leadership election last summer) rather than interfering with the union’s structures:

Jeremy Corbyn, together with Mr Watson, issued a call for unity after a “robust” shadow cabinet discussion:

The shadow cabinet met today to discuss Labour’s policy and election plans and had a robust and constructive discussion about the challenges and opportunities ahead.

The shadow cabinet agreed on the need to strengthen party unity. It recognised the right of groups across the spectrum of Labour’s broad church to discuss their views and try to influence the party so long as they operate within the rules.

The leadership represents the whole party and not any one strand within it. No one speaks for the leadership except the leadership themselves and their spokespeople.

And Mr Corbyn released a video statement as well:

But none of this, it seems, will be enough to save Tom Watson from the wrath of Labour members and supporters across the UK.

What follows is just a taste of the response to Mr Watson’s intervention. How long can he remain in post, having alienated the party membership so thoroughly?

Emily Thornberry’s remarks, in the clip above, are perhaps the most pertinent: In-fighting in any political organisation, if publicised, is bad for it – and Tom Watson knows that. Therefore we can conclude that he has deliberately created the current issue in order to harm the Labour Party’s popularity with the public.

And he has succeeded – according to a recent opinion poll (admittedly, run by a Tory-supporting organisation), Labour is trailing the Tories by 19 points.

For that reason alone, This Site agrees with so many of the Labour supporters quoted above and elsewhere: Tom Watson has to go.

How long can he hold on?

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10 thoughts on “Slapped down: How long can Tom Watson carry on as Labour’s deputy leader after this drubbing?

  1. Rose

    I’m afraid that Labour is becoming a party of protest rather than a party of government. I don’t know if Tom Watson is right or not but something is wrong with Labour to remain so unpopular mid-term of a Conservative government with everything falling to pieces in the way that it is. I am beginning to wonder if Labour’s fate will be to continue to shrink in political power but become a very active pressure group for a certain section of its members, with its leader, whoever he or she might be, standing up once a week to pooh-pooh the government as a token, bemoaning the awful things that might be going on but never have the power or influence to try to make things better.

    Perhaps political parties, like old soldiers, never die they just fade away.

    As is Labour is in the doldrums and isn’t getting anywhere.

    Whatever it’s selling the public isn’t buying.

      1. Rose

        Not really. Or no more than most ordinary people. Labour’s policies seem pretty vague, general and mutable – broad brush stroke let’s say – poorly explained and largely uncosted. But worse. because policies can be adopted, changed or abandoned, people just don’t trust Messrs Corbyn and McDonnell to bring home the bacon – just can’t find it in themselves to trust two such individuals with the future of their families or that of the country.

        I know you won’t agree, Mike, and when Labour ends up with even fewer MPs in 2020 than it has now will blame the disaster on people like Tom Watson and the “Labour right”, biased media like the BBC, weather discouraging getting the vote out, position of the planets, whatever, and not the current crop of individuals manning Labour’s upper echelons. But it won’t matter by then because we will have lost and have been cut down further and diminished despite having a devoted, enthusiastic and febrile membership.

        Perhaps, one day, a new party will eclipse Labour and become the opposition the country deserves just as Labour formerly eclipsed the Liberal party. Who knows? But politically, it seems to me, unless there is a sea change and a better leadership comes forward (which doesn’t seem to exist, even potentially, currently) Labou seems doomed to slow managed decline with a falling membership, eventually, when repeated failure becomes the party’s new normal.

        It’s very, very sad, but there you go.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Labour’s policies are concrete and costed. Please don’t try to misinform my readers.
        If you want vague, general and mutable – or indeed, reversible at a moment’s notice – look at the Conservative Party.
        When you say “we” will have lost – who’s “we”? You don’t seem particularly Labour to me. Perhaps you mean the British public? That would ring true.
        Best thing would be for the right-whingers currently infesting Labour to get out before they’re chased out. Perhaps they can form a pressure-group party with the Liberal Democrats, like the ‘Gang of Four’ back in the 1980s.
        How many of the members currently leaving the party joined to support Owen Smith’s leadership candidacy?

  2. wildswimmerpete

    Appears to me that Labour was infiltrated by fifth columnists during Brown’s watch, who engineered the failure of Miliband’s campaign in 2010 and are now openly attacking Corbyn. Problem is, the only interest of the general public is the trashy garbage like EastEnders, Big Brother, X Factor etc together with corporate/government propaganda that pours from the idiot box that has pride of place in most living rooms. Bear in mind that Rodney Reasonable and his family generally have the attention spans of a goldfish. RR and family believe what they are told in Tory rags like the Heil, S*n and Excess.

    1. Zippi

      I have said this many times; we have become a nation of sleepwalkers but the people do not realise that they are being fed sleeping pills.

  3. Zippi

    So many M.P.s were spouting their vitriol in public, last year and the previous one (’tis 2017 already!) and this was deeply damaging. How nobody seems to think that odd, I don’t know. One would think it obvious that there has been an organised effort to unseat Mr. Corbyn, even to prevent him every being elected, however, we only have media reports to go by so, people start to believe what they hear, regarding Mr. Corbyn. If you tell a lie often enough, it becomes the “truth.” We must make sure that people are aware of the truth, not the version of reality that those who wish us and our party harm don’t want to be told. You want fake news, Donald Trump? Come here, you’ll learn a thing, or two!

  4. chris sayudo

    Watson will continue as long as he is allowed to, Corbyns peace strategy will continue to fail, the free marketeers will campaign against Corbyn until election day 2020, they need to be chalanged head on

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