Labour’s living dead….
“The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living” – so said Karl Marx in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon. As it happens Marx wasn’t writing about the continued influence of the Blarites and Blairism in the Labour Party but he could have been. This rag-tag band consists of freelancers like Dan Hodges and John Rentoul at The Independent and it’s organised presence in those grouped around Progress magazine.
Blarisim should have died in the killing fields of Iraq. Certainly, that is where the voters left it, their trust betrayed and irrecoverable – a pathetic 36% of them kept the faith in 2005. If it didn’t die then it certainly should have done as the markets slid into the red and banks sunk under the weight of their own unfettered greed. Yet still, despite its electoral collapse in 2005 (and the subsequent knock-on effect in 2010) it seems some people just can’t face up to the changed political realities we face. Something that is bitterly ironic given it is the right that always accuses the left of being stuck in the past.
Progress claims it is a ‘independent pressure group’ – independent of who precisely? Certainly not of Lord Sainsbury who along with a cartel of business interests bankroll Progress. No doubt they will be ploughing a heavy amount of money into the joint NEC slate that it recently announced with Labour First. I think it is legitimate to question whether they are doing so through altruistic concern for the welfare of the Labour Party or are merely trying to feather their own nest. This is especially true as Sainsbury has stopped his donations to the actual Party as soon as it did something he didn’t like – elect Ed Miliband as leader.
Progress don’t seem that awfully keen on democracy within their own organisation either. It’s own members were totally excluded from the process as detailed here:
I am a Progress member – have been for some years. At no point do I recall being invited to apply for their slate or having a vote on who should go onto it. This lack of democracy, quite frankly, stinks.
They clearly cannot be trusted to run their own organisation democratically so why should we trust them to fight the corner of greater democracy within Labour? Ideologically, they are conservatives and cannot even stomach the relatively timid proposals that the leadership has put forward in opposition to the government. Britain does not need a Labour Party looking backwards and unable to fight for the radical changes necessary following on from the crash – it need’s a bold and radical Labour Party willing to speak truth unto power and undertake the major surgery that is necessary both for our political and economic system.
The NEC elections next year could be a significant watershed moment in the development of our Party. Obviously, Labour First/Progress are making a serious bid to reassert influence lost when David Miliband lost the leadership contest. The left will have to stop them because although the problems with this leadership are manifest and continue to be a serious issue which needs addressing it is equally clear that the Blairites are determined to drag us back in time, a move that would make Labour unelectable for decades.
History doesn’t proceed in a straight-line but in a circle. So it is that it was Labour’s left which made it unelectable in the 80s but in the here and now it is Labour’s right-wing that poses the clearest danger to our electability. When we decide on our new NEC we need to bear that in mind.