It’s been a fantastic year for Left Futures – more visitors than ever, many new contributors, and a lively debate in the comment section. But as a grassroots community, we are only as strong as our readers – so thanks for returning to the site again and again!
So, a Happy New Year to all on the left, and here’s what we’re hoping for in 2013, if we’re to win in the elections ahead.
If you’re interested in writing for us, just let us know using the form here. Meanwhile, here’s a selection of our most insightful and most popular articles from the past year on Labour politics. Tomorrow, we’ll do a round-up of everything else that the site has featured – we tried putting it all in one place but there was too much!
The article that received the most hits in 2012 was Jon Lansman’s report on an anonymous dossier circulated to CLP secretaries detailing the shady activity of David Sainsbury’s wealthy party faction – party-within-a-party Progress. Our contributor Andy Newman moved a motion at the GMB union’s annual congress that received unanimous backing in calling for an investigation into the activities of Progress – he elaborates here. That other David, brother of the leader, was also in for some criticism – for his own factional activity – from Ruari Lynch.
A significant event of 2012 was the defeat of incumbent national executive member Luke Akehurst. We can’t claim all the credit, but several months before the election we collated his shocking views on everything from party fixing to Iraq via Harriet Harman. Some said it was negative campaigning and it would backfire, but it was all in his own words, and every quote was fully cited! We wish him well as he pursues new challenges.
Enough of damned Labour internal politics! One of the biggest moments of 2012 was – and still is – the crisis that hit the BBC after the horrific activities of Jimmy Savile were revealed. Here, Jon Lansman says it is symptomatic of the untouchability of those in power. Meanwhile, Lucy Reese worries that the whole saga is being used by the Tories’ to help dismantle the BBC.
With the succession of Ed Miliband and Iain McNicol to the leadership and general secretary’s office, we hoped that the days of fixing were coming to a close. But only last month we saw one of the most blatant examples of the old parachute, with local members walking out of a selection meeting in protest at being presented with a short-list of two, as Conrad Landin reported. Michael Meacher and Jon Lansman later added more context and juice to the story, while the Guardian recommended Landin’s election day follow-up as “some of the best reaction on the web”.
2012, should we ever forget, was also the year “One Nation Labour” was born. Associate editors Conrad Landin and Dominic Curran gave their separate responses shortly after, while David Osler picked up on a worrying connotation.
Evening Standard – the Boris Johnson free sheet – a sad moment for the left was the re-election of Boris Johnson as Mayor of London. Here, “Rainsborough” explores the paper’s shady relationship with the Tory mayor – and Tower Hamlets councillor Rabina Khan elaborated. Meanwhile, Jon Lansman’s tribute to Ken also received a lot of hits. The “Evening Boris” was in for further criticism from Keith Wright, who exclusively revealed that the paper’s journalists were at loggerheads over its pro-Johnson reporting.
We’ve probably missed some great pieces – so please use the comments if you think there are glaring omissions from this list! We’ll be back tomorrow with our recommendations for 2012’s top Left Futures articles on everything from the economy to the Olympics (and not just the fantastic BBC series Twenty Twelve featured in the title picture!) and books about Chile.
For auld lang syne, my jo, / for auld lang syne, / we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet, / for auld lang syne.
And for Labour victories in the 2013 county elections across rural England!