The times they are a-changing. A Blairite commentator — über-revisionist blogger and former Labour general secretary, Peter Watt — not only admits that New Labour used to bully people but worries that former perpetrators are about to become the victims. Naturally, he claims that the Brownites were worse (“The real masters though were those who wanted Gordon Brown to be Leader. There work continued apace after he was“), but the admission stands:
There really was a culture of bullying and intimidation in the Labour Party back in the day. Well documented now, at the time it was so much a part of day-day life that we kind of stopped noticing. It was always there though, the fear of what would happen if you were labelled as being outside of the camp. Your chances of political survival or the furthering of your career once that happened were pretty slim. And it emanated from those around Tony and Gordon – neither camp was innocent.
What he’s worried about now is that Blairites will fall victim to “plots to sort out selections and to discredit opponents“, that people who refuse to back Ken Livingstone would be expelled. Without a trace of irony, he argues that “more than ever, the Party needs to become more open, more tolerant and more trusting“.
Quite so. But have these people no shame?