History shows that the so-called Labour Moderates (in fact, the hard-right of the party, many of whom are hard to distinguish from Conservatives in their attitudes) were the aggressors when the party’s left-wingers began to regain the ascendancy.
When Jeremy Corbyn won the party leadership, and Momentum sprang up as a members’ organisation advocating his policies, the “Moderates” did their utmost best to undermine both him and them, culminating in the failed “chicken coup” of 2016 which resulted in an increased mandate for Mr Corbyn.
Left-wingers have been attacked and undermined at constituency level as well, with false accusations resulting in lengthy suspensions for innocent party members. Perhaps the most well-known happened in Wallasey, where MP Angela Eagle blamed left-wing members for putting a brick through her office window – but no brick was found and the window that was broken in fact opened onto a staircase.
Read the responses to the tweet above and you’ll see that many people seem to have swallowed the false claim unquestioningly.
Others prefer accuracy:
The historical revisionism is strong in this one. The entire nation saw the Labour right-wing anti-Corbyn smear campaign followed by their spectacularly failed coup plot.
Dan Hodges once tried to attack This Writer on Twitter. That didn’t get very far either.
He’s an inconsequential gossip with a salary far beyond his ability. This Zelo Street article nails him:
Dan brought forth his latest Meisterwerk for the MoS, under the title “‘All the hopey, changey stuff can be junked’: Corbyn’s inner circle is now taking aim at Labour moderates”. It is? “‘The Corbynites are really coming for us,’ one Labour MP told me grimly. ‘There’s nothing to stop them”. Sounds serious.
“Another Labour MP put it more graphically. Or cinematically. ‘The White Walkers have arrived,’ he said – a reference to the rapacious undead army from Game Of Thrones”. Dan loves his undead references – who can forget his imploring Labour to “Kill Vampire Jezza”? Not that he’s inciting violence, you understand – only the rotten lefties do that.
But then Hodges gets too far ahead of himself and emerges from the experience with trousers well ablaze, and as so often with his recent outpourings, what trips him up is the claim that Labour has suddenly come over all anti-Semitic. One example from his column today illustrates the willingness to dispense with the facts in order to pull the smear.
“A graphic recent example of [Corbyn supporters’ tactics] occurred in Haringey, where a routine motion sponsored by the UN condemning anti-Semitism became the subject of a stormy protest in which one Jewish councillor was spat on, and others were shouted down and threatened with political retribution”. How many whoppers there?
One, there was no UN sponsored motion. Two, the motion was not condemning anything. Three, no-one, and certainly not a Jewish councillor, was spat on. And four, the claim of others plural being threatened is not true, either.
The important part of this appears to be in the fourth paragraph, where Mr Hodges states a Labour MP has sent him a text.
The word on the social media is that reporters for the mainstream news channels and papers would not have paid any attention to shadow chancellor John McDonnell brandishing Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book – if right-wing members of the Parliamentary Labour Party had not insisted on it.
The claim is that they prompted a huge backlash against McDonnell. If true, it is unforgiveable.
The quotation, “We must learn to do economic work from all who know how, no matter who they are. We must esteem them as teachers, learning from them respectfully and conscientiously. We must not pretend to know when we do not know,” was intended to refer to the Conservative Government’s ‘sell everything to China’ policy and Mr McDonnell said he “thought it would come in handy for the Chancellor in his new relationship”. This relationship:
In that context, there’s nothing wrong with it.
And, to be fair, This Writer hasn’t seen any adverse comments from members of the Parliamentary Labour Party.
But there is the claim by Mr Hodges, as quoted in this article on the Zelo Street blog, which appears to give the game away. The article goes on to point out what the outburst against Mr McDonnell has successfully glossed over.
And on Twitter, Conor Pope helpfully pointed out: “Having sat in the press gallery, can confirm no journos had noticed the Mao bit until Blairite MPs started briefing.” Or was he joking? There’s many a true word spoken (or indeed, written) in jest.
Are Blairite Labour MPs actually helping the Conservative Government?
Most people will not have noticed, but today the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the seventeenth Baronet, stood up in the Commons to give MPs the dubious pleasure of listening to his Autumn Statement, the detail of which has been lost in the clamour to heap disdain on his Labour opposite number John McDonnell by the assembled punditerati.
McDonnell had made a half-decent fist of responding to Osborne, especially given his lack of front bench experience and that this was his first Autumn Statement or Budget response. But referring to Mao Zedong is best avoided, and brandishing his Little Red Book is a no-no, even though McDonnell was using it to make the point that Osborne is happy about nationalisation, so long as the Government is in countries like China.
This cut no ice with the Telegraph’s not at all celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges, who had made his mind up beforehand that Labour were rubbish, and whatever recourse to Phil Space journalism would fill his next column. “Why doesn’t John McDonnell just sit down … This has to be the most embarrassing response to a government statement in the history of parliament” he carped plaintively.
He had the inside track: “Labour MP texts me. ‘I’m in tears in my office’”. Laughing at Dan’s Twitter whinge, perhaps. And then a last, desperate appeal to Look Over There: “Don’t forget, the John McDonnell red book fiasco is all the fault of the Tory press and disloyal Labour MPs”. But Hodges will never get a Labour leader he can back.
Aren’t we missing something?
Tax credit cuts at least re-thought, if not totally backed out. Police cuts – trailed for some days now – abandoned. And while Hodges was having his mardy strop, he seems not to have noticed that the Junior Doctors’ dispute has been taken off Jeremy Hunt and sent to ACAS.
Disrespectful: The laminated messages that were attached to the wreaths. David Cameron was the only political leader allowed to write a personal message by the Conservative-run Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
This is a new low for the Conservative Party.
Leaders of British political organisations laid wreaths at Glasgow’s cenotaph to mark 100 years since the beginning of the First World War – but only David Cameron was allowed to write a personal message.
Former Tory MP Louise Mensch showed exactly why she deserves to be out of Parliament by tweeting: “Really we need to ask where we are as a society, when politicians are so casual as ‘hand me the wreath’ without asking to write on it.”
And Telegraph blogger Dan Hodges brought his paper into disrepute by tweeting, without checking the facts: “Just seen the wreath. Ed Miliband is becoming a parody of Ed Miliband.”
Asked to explain Mr Miliband’s actions, a Labour spokesman told the BBC that his wreath – with a card stating only “From the Leader of the Opposition” – was handed to him by a representative of organisers the Department of Culture, Media and Sport only seconds before it was laid.
“Ed Miliband was not given the opportunity to write a personal message on the wreath,” he said.
Perhaps an even worse indignity was that into which Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was forced. His read “From the Deputy Prime Minister” and a Liberal Democrat source said the gap between Mr Clegg being handed the wreath and laying it had been “a 10-second thing”.
The BBC checked with the manufacturers of the wreaths – Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory in Edinburgh, and was passed on to Poppy Scotland, whose spokeswoman said: “We were asked to send [the cards] to the DCMS and the wreaths were sent through to Glasgow in advance, but the blank cards to London.”
So what happened, in fact, was that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport – which is run by the Conservative Sajid Javid – decided that the Conservative Prime Minister should be the only person allowed to write a personalised tribute. Every other political leader – including those of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland – had to lay wreaths with a laminated description of their job, so they could not even scribble something quickly in the few seconds available to them.
The tell-tale was the fact that all messages other than Cameron’s were written in the same handwriting.
Worse still is the fact that Cameron’s message wasn’t even appropriate. He had written “Your most enduring legacy is our liberty. We must never forget.” Very stirring, but it would be more appropriate to attribute that to those who died in the Second World War, rather than the First.
It was a silly tactic, easily exposed. David Cameron’s only logical move was to apologise for what happened, for the insult to his fellow political leaders and for the upset it has undoubtedly caused to all those who lost loved ones in the war and wanted them commemorated respectfully.
True to form, he showed he had a yellow streak instead. Our gutless Prime Minister had nothing to say.
Struggling to make an impact: Ed Miliband must reject the Tory Party’s narrative about the need for austerity and bring forward a vision for the future that really does make us ‘One Nation’ again, rather than hanging on David Cameron’s neoliberal coat-tails, as many former Labour voters believe.
The political debate is all about the Labour Party again today – as it has been since the Budget.
The newspapers and websites are full of advice for the party, which is now clearly seen to be struggling to gain any kind of a foothold with electors who have become disillusioned at what might best be called the Party of Very Little Opposition.
Labour “must adopt new principles” according to an alliance of thinktanks and party intellectuals who have written to The Guardian; Ed Miliband has been told “don’t play safe” with the party’s manifesto according to an article on the same paper’s site.
We can probably discount the Telegraph article by Dan Hodges, claiming that Labour is “closed for business”. It plays to right-wing readers’ prejudices just a little too much.
Will Ed pay any attention to these pleas? Evidence suggests he will not.
I should clarify from the outset that, as a Labour member, I want the Party to win in 2015 (and also to gain the lion’s share of the vote in May’s European elections).
But Miliband seems to be living in a world of his own, insulated from the rest of the Labour Party – not to mention supporters of Labour ideals who are not members – by a small group of (not-so-special) advisers who, it’s claimed, intercept any decent ideas before they get to the party leader and spin them until they turn to drivel. Whether this is true or not seems immaterial as this is the perception of the general public.
And perception is everything.
As I write this article I have just received a comment stating that “Miliband’s strategy for the next election seems to be a) to accept the Tory frame of reference for any given argument and b) to then concede the field of battle on that issue, whatever it is, without a shot being fired.” This is a common complaint, and Labour has no answer to it.
Why do Miliband, Balls, Tristram Hunt (notably), Rachel Reeves (lamentably) and all the other Labour frontbenchers blithely accept the Coalition’s terms of reference on any issue, against the wishes of their own backbenchers, their party as a whole and the public at large?
Are they really just a gang of greedy moneygrubbers, determined to screw the country for whatever they can get? That in itself would be a betrayal of Labour Party ideals and their constituency parties should deselect them if members believed that to be the case for one moment.
Are they a gang of neoliberals, their political philosophy so close to that of the Conservatives that you can’t get a credit card between them? This rings threateningly true in the cases of Oxford PPE graduats Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper, ex-Bank of England employee Rachel Reeves and Tristram Hunt. But Ed Miliband is (famously) the son of a Marxist. He, above all, should know better.
The trouble is, David Miliband is the son of the same Marxist and he was as much a part of the neoliberal New Labour Red Tory deception as Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Oh look – another comment has just arrived. “More people don’t bother to vote because they feel that we as a people have moved on and all we really want is people who will represent us honestly, by majority and with no hidden agendas, backhanders or lobbyists pulling the strings. I don’t see any evidence that the present government or the Labour Party are capable or willing to do just that… They should have the courage to change and become the voice of the people.”
Become the voice of the people. The meaning is clear – Labour is not currently representing anybody at all.
Is this true? Let’s look at some of the other comments on my (left-leaning, let’s not forget) blog. These are from people who are generally sympathetic to Socialism and who should, therefore, see Labour as the natural home of their vote. What do they say?
“[Is it] any wonder [that] 1. People don’t vote because they are seen as “all the bloody same”? and 2. The perceived differences have become so minuscule?”
“Until Labour wakes up and realises it is the welfare cuts that are a major concern to most of us and to anyone who has a conscience, they will lose the next election due to apathy.”
“Labour have to do something different to what they have up to now but they don’t seem to want to. Are they scared of being in government over a country in the state it is?”
“Labour have had four years to do something – anything – to fight against the welfare cuts, and to help the people they are supposed to be the party for! They’ve really done nothing when all is said and done.”
If Ed Miliband was reading this, I would be asking if he was getting the message yet (are you, Ed?) and what he proposes to do about it. You think not? Let’s have some more comments from people who should be supporting Labour – I’ve got plenty of them!
“There has been absolutely no fight in this opposition and I am ashamed of them.”
“People need a reason to apply their votes to Labour and Miliband-Balls are not providing them with one. They are sleepwalking into another hung Parliament and a very real risk of the Tories teaming up with UKIP. Then we’ll really see Nazism grip this country.”
“The would-be voters demand change and need bold new policies to blunt the Tory cutters. If the Labour Party cannot come up with policies which are radical then they don’t deserve to be in power at the next election, or ever.”
“Ed Balls worries me because he seems intent on copycatting Osborne. For example Osborne says he will run a surplus by the end of the next Parliament and Balls promises the same. Osborne say he will be introducing a Benefit Cap on social security spending on working age benefits (which could have devastating effects and lead to real terms cuts in benefits for years on end) and Balls says that Labour will vote with the Coalition to introduce it.”
“Surely we need some clear red water between Labour and the Tories? Surely Labour needs to differentiate itself more from the policies of the Coalition?”
“I sent an email to the Labour Party asking for its policy on TTIP (the rightly-feared Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that will force employment standards down to third-world levels, or below), amongst other things. They were decidedly equivocal and I felt no reassurance at all. I think it’s about we faced facts, Labour aren’t being coy in a pre-election year to avoid frightening the horses, they really are just another pack of neoliberals.”
This is how left-wing voters (and the squeezed-middle waverers to whom Ed Miliband keeps trying to pander) see the modern Labour Party: Carbon-copy Tories with no fresh ideas who aren’t worth the effort of voting.
If any of Ed’s shadow cabinet is okay with that description, he needs to sack them and bring in someone with a clue. And he needed to do it last year.
If the Conservatives win in 2015, it seems clear that responsibility will lie as much with Labour’s failure to provide any clearly-visible alternative.
We have already seen carnage inflicted on the poor, the sick and disabled, and a Conservative-only government (or in collaboration withUKIP) would increase that bloodshed tenfold (senior citizens take note: the bribe you were given last week was a trick and if you vote Conservative, many of you will not live to rectify your error at another election).
Unless Ed Miliband sorts out his party – pronto – that blood will be on his hands as well, and the people will not forgive him.
Note that I did not say they won’t forgive Labour. I said they won’t forgive Ed Miliband.
Words cannot describe the way people feel at what has been done to them by the Coalition. If Labour reveals even the slightest element of complicity, I wouldn’t give a farthing for Miliband’s safety.
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