Labour’s divided soul….
The truth of the matter is that ever since Labour lost power in 2010, it has been a Party-divided. In that sense, the Falkirk controversy is not unexpected, it is merely the bursting forth into public view a process that has been ongoing for some time. On the one side sits the likes of Unite, the trade unions and a gaggle of left groupings ranging the blood red Labour Representation Committee to softer shades of red like Next Generation and Labour Left. On the other, sits the standard-bearer for the parties liberal wing, Progess.
This is the real story that lies behind events in Falkirk. We are seeing an awful lot of hand-wringing and unnecessary and hypocritical moralising. Local Labour Parties, much like any other political party, are usually run by small, self-selecting and often self-serving elites. This is much due to the decline of political activism as it is any Machiavellian plots (that’s not to say such plots dont exist, they do).
In respect of the allegations of Unite rigging the Falkirk selection there is little hard proof on offer of the validity of these claims. We certainly should treat the testimony of Linda Gow with a distinct pinch of salt due to her obvious self-interest. The leaks of a ‘private’ internal Labour report seem to selectively target Unite.
Ed Miliband is widely seen as a weak leader by the electorate and this ‘crisis’ seems suspiciously convenient for him. He gets to ‘hang-tough’ against a trade union ‘bogeyman’ and meanwhile Progress and its close co-thinkers like Jim Murphy get a chance to do the same. Giving the shadowy maneuvers behind the scenes it would be utterly impossible to trust the findings of any Labour Party inquiry. Len McCluskey’s call for a indepedent inquiry is therefore surely the correct one:
If there are any wrongdoings in Falkirk, then let’s have an independent inquiry so that we can have the truth. We have no confidence whatsoever in the so-called investigation that has been carried out by Labour party HQ.
In the interests of openness it is the only right way forward. Anything less will only rub more salt into already gaping wounds.