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What’s love got to do with it? A brief rejoinder to Peter Hyman

Whats-Love-Got-to-Do-With-ItThe Labour right and the Labour left never was one of the great romances. Ever since the couple plighted their troths on 15 February 1906, theirs has always been the very exemplar of loveless marriage.

Little wonder that both partners have been guilty of flirtation – and sometimes adulterous couplings – at repeated intervals, for more than a century.

The right walked out to shack up with the Tories in 1931, and decided to live on its own in 1981, when I guess it ‘needed some space’, as the saying goes. More recently, it has repeatedly been hitting on the Lib Dems.

The left has enjoyed plenty of meaningful eye contact with the Communist Party of Great Britain, and a succession of knee-tremblers with the Independent Labour Party, the Scottish Labour Party, and the Socialist Labour Party.

But on the whole, the realities of a single member constituency, first past the post, electoral system has seen the two sides abjure illusory happiness in the arms of another, and stick together for the sake of the kids. Britain needs Labour governments, however messy the compromises sometimes get.

Yet once again it looks like time to book an appoint with Relate, after a Dear John letter in the shape of a thinly-veiled call to refound the Social Democratic Party put forward by Blair’s former speechwriter Peter Hyman last weekend.

This was a classic a kite-flying exercise, of course, but it didn’t come out of the blue. The Sunday Times recently reported that rich former donors are ready to make huge sums of money available to MPs ready to launch a British version of Ireland’s now defunct Progressive Democrats.

Frankly, if Blairism were my girlfriend and told me she was leaving me, I’d thank her the good times and insist on getting the record collection. Then I’d ring round the lads to see who was up for a celebratory pint.

But this is politics. As Tina Turner might have put it, what’s love got to do with it? If the Labour right is serious about wanting to avoid protracted Conservative governments and not concerned primarily with the personal advancement of its adherents, it would be rather keener to work things out.

Tellingly, Hyman’s piece is dominated by a celebration of Labour’s track record between 1994 and 2007. The Blairite creed is depicted as “infinitely more revolutionary than anything proposed by Jeremy Corbyn,” given the “breathtaking” scale of its ambition to “shape the country for all time”. The obvious question is that if the Labour left’s offer is really such milquetoast stuff, why should it be hard to sell?

Only blindest true believers still portray matters as Hyman does, especially after Thatcher herself ranked the arrival of Blairism as her ‘greatest achievement. But Blair’s legacy is a far bigger topic than can be encompassed in one short blog post.

The real point of Hyman’s encomium is to set up an unfavourable contrast between what Labour was 20 years ago, and what Labour is now. His open bitterite hatred for Corbyn’s politics, his conviction that Corbynism can never win, are never hidden.

Corbyn’s backers are beyond rational dialogue and don’t give a monkey’s about electoral success anyway, he even asserts, entirely without evidence. That is absurd. Contrary to the stereotype, we are not a bunch of braindead Trots, and we are clearly more serious about wanting Labour governments than those who seek to seek the Labour Party split.

Hyman then encapsulates the situation into a syllogism and concludes that the time has come for a parting of the ways.

There are two strands, two parties if you like, that will never be happy bedfellows even in the broadest of broad church parties. So either the current Corbyn party will at some point need a home outside the Labour party or the mainstream of the Labour party will need to make common cause with others to forge a new party.”

Twas ever thus. Labour has always included Marxists and reformist socialists on the one hand, those with politics more akin to the collectivist liberalism, and even one nation conservatism, on the other. So what’s different now?

The answer is that for the first time since the party’s inception, the left is in the driving seat. But lacking the courage to wage a protracted political argument to win over a majority of the Labour membership, elements of the Blairite hardcore would rather line up some big bucks and flounce out in a blaze of media glory.

Such an initiative could likely count on a fair number of MPs. But as Shirley Williams famously observed shortly before founding a new centre party, the problem with new centre parties is that they have no roots, no principles, no philosophy and no values.

Progressive Democrat UK membership would be tiny. Don’t forget that the Blairite candidate secured just 13,601 votes from Labour Party members when the ballot papers were counted on 12 September.

Moreover, Blairism mark one only gained traction thanks to the sullen acquiescence of the Labour left and the trade unions. Shorn of the union link, Blairism mark two cannot begin to hope for that.

Nor does Hyman  appear to have the slightest idea of what might constitute the ideological basis of his proposed formation. A “sense of moral purpose”, instantiated by a motherhood and apple pie shopping list of mostly desirable things, with no idea about how to achieve them, does not a convincing platform make.

All we get instead is the ritual invocation of the need for “hard choices” and “fresh thinking”. The latter phrase makes an appearance three times, without the slightest concretisation of what form it might take. In other words, Hyman’s project is intellectually bereft.

But were his scheme to be enacted, the consequences would be catastrophic. It will be hard for any Labour leader to win in 2020, given the loss of Scotland, the impending boundary changes and Cameron’s deliberate attacks on Labour funding and his South-of-Mason-Dixon style voter suppression.

An SDP mark II would be enough of a spoiler to make victory all but impossible, without having even a remote chance of success itself. Cynics could be forgiven for thinking that might actually be the Big Idea here.

Labour will survive under Corbyn, whatever Hyman mistakenly believes. But we know the deleterious impact extended periods of Tory rule have on millions of British people.

Let him and those who think like him at least ponder the historical illiteracy of what they are talking up, and its morality from any sane left of centre perspective. After that, they need to get real.

60 Comments

  1. John Penney says:

    The rather significant “elephant in the political room” that the Blairites just can’t get their collective heads around is the harsh reality of a capitalism , in the UK and globally, which has sustained itself for over 30 years now by both asset stripping the public realm and reducing relatively high workers wages (in the advanced economies) ever more towards the minimum necessary for reproduction, via the globalisation of production, but is nevertheless ever more stuck in stagnation and an imminent new financial sector-led meltdown.

    In this situation the previously seductive “personal enrichment/aspirational” individualist neoliberal ideology of Blairism simply has no mass traction for Labour voters. Indeed it is wearing thin for ever larger numbers of Conservative middle class and working class voters as the promises of upward social mobility and personal prosperity derived from individual aspirational effort come up against the reality of a public school toff-run corrupt crony capitalism.

    In this situation , as with the disparate “Left surges ” happening across Europe (and even in the USA with the Bernie Sanders phenomenum), The UK Labour Party is the political vehicle, rightly or wrongly, that has emerged as the conduit for a mass opposition to the entire Austerity con-trick as a starter – and in the longer term, the focus of organised resistance to the UK bit of the now systemically profound world capitalist crisis.

    If Labour is going to continue to be the UK political vehicle for this growing resistance to a capitalism in crisis it can only continue to move Leftwards. There therefore will be no long term place on this leftward rolling political vehicle for the neoliberal Labour Right.

    This shouldn’t be taken, as this article does, as automatically resulting in a Labour Party which can never win enough votes to gain office. Au contraire – the political system, and mass voter loyalties, of the UK, as with Europe, could experience more radical change over the next 10 years of profound economic crisis , than during the entire postwar period – if the earthquake changes already happening in countries further into crisis than the UK, like Greece and Spain and Portugal, are anything to go by. This isn’t by any means guaranteed to be automatically a “good thing”, as in the absence of a dynamic Left the forces of the radical right are always ready to fill the political space a social crisis produces. as the rise of the National Front in France illustrates painfully.

    1. Richard Tiffin says:

      One hundred percent in agreement with this John. The radical responses of populations to the crisis capitalism is wrestling with are self evident as they move to the left and the right.

      Greece and Spain are evidence of the possible consequences, a collapse in support for social democratic or traditional workers parties as they let down their supporters in defence of capital. In my view this is where the Labour Party was heading, toward Pasokification.

      If those on the right of the party attacking Corbyn had a greater loyalty to the party than is their hatred of the left then perhaps they’d recognise that Corbyn might just save the party rather than bring it to an end as the protest group they fear.

      The rights hatred of the left could be their removal from the lives and needs of working people and concessions to the reactionary racist strands epitomised in the rise of UKIP amongst social groups they do not understand. They should be responding to the progressive strands of anti war and anti racism amongst those social groups, but I’m guessing some of them don’t understand the contradictory nature of the classes and its easier to respond to polls and focus groups.

      In others this hatred of the left is based upon ideological liberalism exemplified by Progress and espoused by Blair in the now infamous heartless interview. The rich people prepared to finance this group are prepared, as you point out, to try to divide the Labour vote in the same way the SDP did in the 1980’s, arguably keeping Labour from power back then. However, I think you are right, it will be more difficult now as economics and politics are different after the intervening years of economic liberalism, the changes in social structures and the current economic crisis. There is one caveat to this, the actions of Corbyn.

      Corbyn’s leadership gives the left a much greater chance than it had in the 1980’s. However, should Corbyn continue to concede to the right in his effort to keep the broad church together and to reduce the intensity of the civil war then I think he gets off of the wave that pushed him to power, a wave that I believe to be in wider society as much as it was evident in the selectorate. In short, as you said, he needs to move left not right if he is going to save the party and win power, for the country has moved left and we need to move with it.

  2. jim says:

    Without some form of PR, a left leaning Labour Party is doomed. That’s it, all you need to know. You will never get 35% of people voting for the type of agenda that is wished for. It really does boil down to that.

    1. Robert says:

      Actually a right leaning labour party is doomed we have no need for it, the Tories do that type of politics far better. The Tories went off the Boil by sacking the boss without seeking to have a replacement ready.

      Labour suffered the same once Blair stepped down, got sacked or what ever. Brown demanded he’d be allowed to rule and turned out to be the best laugh this country has had.

      Now of course the left and right are at war one is willing to lose an election to try and regain the leadership, but can it.

      New parties needed urgent..

      1. John P reid says:

        If the Labour Party became irrelevant as. A Far left protest group, it would Mean unlimited Tory governments, or the only real opposition to them in England would be.Ukip so they could swing to the right, and they would certainly then be different to a right wing Labour Party,

        1. Rod says:

          The real problem is the way the LP became irrelevant by offering a Tory-lite, Blairite policy platform in 2010 and 2015.

          A Blair fan club will only lose even more than the 5 million votes already lost and just ain’t going to attract enough votes to win a general election, ever.

          1. Robert says:

            We will see my own feeling is it will be a long time making it back to power..

          2. John P reid says:

            A Blair fan club?
            Ed miliband new labour is over
            I’m moral,unlike New labour
            I’m not Tony Blair,to boo’s to Blair’s name
            We’ve got our party back
            Ed miliband spent the last 5 years denouncing Blair
            So,the 2015 election wasn’t. a blairite parties fault ,it was the left denouncing Blair

            Regarding the 5million votes lost since 1997′ 3.8m of them are dead, how many voted did Labpur increase form when the left had its go in 1983. ,answer 5.2m for the 8.4m in 1983 to the 13.6m in 1997’so yes new labour lost its of votes but they increased it,on when the left had their go in 1983 in the first place,

            As for the idea if we’re in the centre it’ll never get the amount of votes we need, we’ll see,but it worked in 1997

          3. Rod says:

            @John P Reid

            Brown was Blair’s number crunching partner and his disastrous election campaign was managed by arch-Blairite Mandelson.

            Brown supported lunatic military interventions, was an enthusiastic supporter of NHS privatisation and offered Tory-lite austerity.

            Miliband, whose disastrous election campaign was managed by arch-Blairite wee Dougie Alexander achieved a Blairite ambition when he dumped the collective link with the trade unions following the fake Falkirk crisis.

            Miliband supported lunatic military intervention in Libya, was less than transparent over Cameron’s bomb Assad vote, proposed further privatisation of the NHS, wanted to be “tougher than the Tories” on ‘scroungers’ and offered Tory-lite austerity.

            Nuff said.

          4. John P reid says:

            Yes but I didn’t mention brown, I mentioned Ed miliband,as for mandleson When Gordon brown was leader in 2009′ labour was on 20% thanks to mandleson we got 29%

          5. Rod says:

            @John Reid

            ” thanks to mandleson we got 29%” and lost the election with a Blairite leader who placed his trust in a Blairite-managed election campaign.

            Another glorious Blairite defeat. Surpassed only by Jim Murphy’s humiliation in Scotland.

          6. John P reid says:

            Still better than the 27% Foot and Benn got though

  3. Susan O'Neill says:

    The Labour Party under Blair drifted ever further from the base thinking of their voters to the point where many people do not vote because they believe, rightly so, that they are all the same. When the voting public have to choose between the lesser of tow evils and do so without enthusiasm, something has gone very awry. This is the basis for Jeremy Corbyn’s success. I haven’t seen such enthusiasm in the words of any politician in many, many years. Yet still the Blairites have not understood the apathy surrounding their policies and empty promises. Time and again I hear people saying “what difference does it make” they believe the accusations of the Tories that Labour in power means more taxes and a higher uncontrolled spend on public services without the means to craft an injection of capital that will boost the country’s failing ability to compete in world markets. If Hyman wants to entice the Blairites to form a New Democratic party he will have to demonstrate an ability to accept democracy, something we are currently lacking in this two party race every 4-5 years. If he should choose to go down this road, the sooner the better, at least then the socialist elements will have opportunity to show how governance for the people, by the people, can work and more importantly, how it can be achieved fiscally and economically, without relying on the rather silly, all singing all dancing “mansion tax” which would hardly garner enough funding to shore up the NHS let alone find funding for all that the Tories and Blairites have robbed the country of. With the Labour Party stripped of it’s right wing, Blairite baggage, many people will once again look to their options and see a marked alternative to the right wing policies curretnly available under the old system. A concerted effort by all parties for PR in the electoral system must be sought, but should it be won, then neither the Tories nor the Blairite faction of the proposed Democratic Party will be able to rest on their laurels. The split would see membership of Corbyn’s Labour Party surge and present a real threat to both the Labour Right and Tory domination, to the point where neither will be able to catch the 30% they would need. The Green Party must be made to see, that their hopes of the green manifesto would be best realised with Corbyn’s socialist agenda and what is a sensible economic approach to the crisis the Imperialistic and self serving corporatism take over has thus far gained momentum under the last 3 governments.
    It boils down to this, not that “more of the same” scenario.

  4. David Pavett says:

    Peter Hyman is a classically clear exponent of the thinking behind New Labour. Even when he declares the death of New Labour it is really a question of ‘Long live New Labour’.

    While I agree with much that David Osland says I think that he misses a key element of the Hyman argument.

    Successful political projects must do three things: 1) Have a driving purpose underpinned by values and principles. 2) Address the urgent needs of the country. 3) Respond to the desires of the public.

    (1) and (2) is to vague to be meaningful in terms of any specific programme. The core message is in (3). This is the favourite ground for right-wing arguments within the Labour Party. Every effort at radical thinking is countered with second guessing what the electorate are prepared to accept.

    Once having accepted that there is a known barrier to radical change in the form of an alleged propensity of the public to accept anything new the next stage is to rule radical suggestions out at an early stage of debate as non-starters. Finally when the habit is deep-set people learn to self-censor thoughts that might be ruled out in this way.

    What is completely absent from such a second-guessing electoral approach to social analysis is any idea of there being objective truth about the problems of society. Equally missing is the idea that if we can know such truths then maybe it is our job to convince others, who are not yet convinced, about them.

    This is the politics of mental shut-down.

    1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      It is indeed and I have even heard it argued coherently and persuasively that culturally and socially, we are probably no longer capable of the objective deductive reasoning of a Galileo or an Einstein and that what now passes for reasoning is subjective reasoning, more akin to asking ourselves what are the chances of something being true are, and for me the intellectual miasma of Climate science would perfectly illustrate this tendency.

      There is absolutely nothing whatsoever in climate science, (that I am aware of,) that strikes me as being even remotely akin to or as utterly persuasive as Galileo’s observations of the phases of the moons of Jupiter or Einstein’s interpretation of the photoelectric effect, for example, just endless reiterations of same mindless cant.

      Both are well known examples of classic scientific deductions based on experiment and observation that simply kill all the other interpretations, (hypotheses,) stone dead at single stroke.

      And unseasonably warm as it has been this week, (I’ve been romping around in tee shirt,) I can still and quite vividly remember doing exactly the same thing in Northern France one Christmas about 30 years ago.

      by the way, this was intended as much as a bit of Christmas fun, than as an entirely serious comment; but I enjoyed your post and felt you made a serious and potentially extremely valid point.

  5. Peter Rowlands says:

    I broadly agree with David Osland, although let’s not forget that the left ( the ILP 32) walked away as well in the early 30s, while the left were dominant in the early 1980s, and with a system like today’s for electing the leader would undoubtedly have chosen Benn. The 83 manifesto was far more left wing than anything proposed before, or indeed by Corbyn, except for defence and foreign policy. His domestic policies are commonplace pre 1970s social democracy, and only seem radical because of the complete elimination of such thinking by those who led and controlled the LP from 1995 to 2010.It is essentially a form of liberalism, but as the good doctor discovered there isn’t room for two liberal parties in the UK, although I fancy that Hyman and his ilk would find Farron’s Lib Dems rather too left wing! No, a new party is unlikely, and would not work, but our electoral system means that until it is replaced by a form of PR Labour cannot become a Die Linke or Podemos, but it can be a decent, popular social democratic party along the lines sketched out – and there is a lot of filling in to be done- by Corbyn and McDonnell, and win on that basis in 2020.

    1. David Pavett says:

      While I agree with Peter about the barrier presented by FPTP I would be less definitive about what this rules out. The recognition of the democratic nonsense created by FPTP is clear in the case of UKIP winning 12.7% of the vote and getting one MP. This has been widely recognised. Were there to be a party of the left pulling in a similar vote the pressure for a change to the electoral system would be that much greater.

      I am not advocating a split in the Labour Party. I am saying that we should not see FPTP as an absolute barrier to any significant changes to the system of political parties. Politics is too unpredictable for that to be a sensible approach.

      Let’s face it, none of us predicted the success of the left in the Labour leadership campaign. Our abilities to foretell what will or will not happen, what can or cannot happen, are very limited.

      I favour some sort of proportional representation and want Labour to be won to that view (I am told that even the CLPD is having second thoughts on the issue!). But short of that there may be other ways in which the two-party dominance of politics might break down. Let’s not pretend that we have a strong handle on what can or cannot happen in the future.

  6. James Martin says:

    There are some on right-wing who would form an SDP-Mk II if they could, the problem for them is that while they don’t necessarily need large numbers in the Party to go with them (a chunk of the sitting PLP and lots of money – more Sainsbury millions etc. – would get a lot of media space), they have no real anchor in an existing Liberal Party with an organisational base to do it with any more as the Lib-Dems look likely to be completely marginal for some time yet.

    That said there are two issues that could change things, both related to other parties. One is the danger of some of the Danzcuk-right crossing to UKIP. I had it nailed on that Danzcuk would do just that if we had lost Oldham, but the scale of that victory scuppered whatever plans he may have had in that direction for the foreseeable future (or until he is finally deselected). The second issue is if the EU referendum creates much larger Tory splits. Then it is quite possible to see some sort of organisational move between pro-EU Tories and the Blairites. But either way, the Labour left membership and the re-strengthening trade union links with the Party would be boosted. The right for now really are in a bind, although we can never ignore the danger from their wrecking tendencies.

  7. Peter willsman says:

    CLPD is certainly not having second thoughts about PR.PR would mean we would never again have a majority Lab Govt.I joined the LP because I believe only majority Lab Govts can properly challenge the Capltalist System/ruling class.I do not sit in an ivory tower worrying about the rights and wrongs of bourgeois democracy.

    1. James Martin says:

      I don’t disagree with the broad sentiment Peter, although a government with 51% of the seats from only 24% of the popular vote as we have bow strains FPTP to breaking point. A compromise would be to keep FPTP for the commons (and with it important direct local linkage between an MP and their constituency), but to have a much slimmed down second chamber that is 100% elected at the same time as a general election but on PR and from party lists. That way every we still get majority governments, but also every vote is counted twice and therefore every single vote matters even in the safest of seats and we end up with a different make up of a second chamber but one that is completely democratic. I make that at least a win-win-win!

    2. David Pavett says:

      That suggests that you think a majority can never be won for the aim of challenging capitalism and that therefore we need an electoral system which can produce a parliamentary majority without winning the majority of the electorate.

      1. John P reid says:

        Well said

      2. Rod says:

        And of course, if a majority can never be won to the aim of challenging capitalism then capitalism ain’t going to be decisively challenged.

        Peter may not “sit in an ivory tower worrying about the rights and wrongs of bourgeois democracy” but he does sit in an ivory tower dreaming that a Labour elite “can properly challenge the Capltalist System/ruling class.”

  8. John P reid says:

    Apart form Hatton Scargill Martha Osamor’ Rhaman Livingstone Shawcroft,Galloway, Andy Newman,

    By the way the right of the party didn’t need its own space,they were intimidates out by in democratic Socilist ,trots

  9. Peter Rowlands says:

    David is quite right, but defenders of FPTP like Peter do not understand that the logic of the system is to capture the centre, and this involves compromises on the offer, rather than afterwards in a coalition.
    James’s system would not work if the Commons remained dominant, but the constituency link can be maintained through adopting a variant of the AMS system, as used in Germany and here in Scotland and Wales.

    1. David Pavett says:

      Yes, there are many problems to solve if the present Labour leadership is to be successful, including the problem of our ridiculously undemocratic electoral system. The challenge is to sort out our differences on the left as much as we can in order to produce broadly supported and well thought through policies.

      Those who don’t want such a challenge have an alternative: just accuse anyone who says something you don’t agree with of sitting “in an ivory tower” and claim that they are preoccupied with “worrying about the rights and wrongs of bourgeois democracy” or some such stuff.

      This is the two-step get-out for people who want to dismiss views they don’t like without making any effort to engage with them. Just label them as “bourgeois” and “ivory tower”. Job done. Or maybe not.

      1. gerry says:

        David – well that’s told you! You are an”agent of the bourgeoisie” in your ivory tower to boot! Presumably you should now thank Peter Willsman for showing you the error of your ways, plead for mercy, and avoid the Gulag.I love the kinder gentler honest straight talking new inclusive politics you called for: isn’t it great?

        1. David Pavett says:

          Indeed, it would be reassuring if these archaic denunciations were offered as a joke but I am afraid that this is not the case.

          Just imagine someone like Peter W in charge of Party discussion. What chance would us “agents of the bourgeoisie” stand? Judgements like this are handed out by those who “know” and who only see discussion as a way of bringing others into line with what they already “know”.

          One could understand, if not approve, this in the French Revolution. But it was a mentality which contributed to that revolution swallowing its own children. It was less acceptable in the Russian Revolution which ended up doing the same. By the latter 20th century it reached its final and definitively degenerate form in the denunciations of the Pol Pot regime of “enemies of the people”.

          To repeat this absurd rhetoric in the 21st century is only possible for people who have learned nothing and understood nothing about the need for genuinely open, honest and comradely debate.

          1. gerry says:

            David – and to think, these people are Jeremy Corbyn’s inner circle! I get he will be calling you a Red Tory next…..sad sad sad.

  10. John P reid says:

    Livingstone backed the greens for the assembly in 2000 London Mayoral election, didn’t back labour at the 2001 general election, twice backed lufthur rahman,and he won due to Blair trying to rig the 2000 mayor election’s even Tories voted for him to give Blair a bloody nose in 2000 an he got more votes the times he los than the times he won, and gained power in 1981 when he seized power in a coup

  11. Peter Willsmana says:

    The necessary first step is a majority Lab.Govt.This then carries out policies to undermine the grip of unfettered capitalism/the ruling class.Policies that properly benefit a large majority and shifts the balance of wealth and power.Then,on this basis,push on further.It is wishful thinking to suppose that a majority Lab.Govt.is possible under PR.The Lab.Party would split.There would be a range of ineffective Leftie parties that the ruling class would patronise and pat on the head.It is no surprise that several years ago the CBI came out in favour of PR.So,in effect,I regard Leftie supporters of PR to be unwitting agents of the bourgeoisie.Happy C’mas

  12. David Ellis says:

    Capitalism is historically contingent but no system slips into history until it has completely exhausted its potential. If has been a fetter for a century and a half but it is now an absolute fetter. In 2008 it died the death. Globalisation is unravelling rapidly. Power in the labour party at least has fallen into the lap of the left opportunists on the basis of a vague anti-austerity. If these left opportunists do not put some socialist meat on the anti-austerity bones pretty quickly and come forward with some seriously radical policies the pasokification of the party will quickly resume. It is not likely that they will come forward with a programme for working class power and socialism any time soon and so it is up to the revolutionary left to provide such a thing behind which to mobilise the class and offer society as a whole a route out of its potentially fatal malaise.

  13. Billericaydickie says:

    This is a bit off topic but would Jon Lansman like to comment on his family’s alleged tax evasion scams as alleged by Andrew Gilligan?

      1. Karl Stewart says:

        He hasn’t actually defended him, he just said Labour were a bit too quick to suspend him.

        According to the report I read, the police already investigated Danzuck and decided no laws have been broken.

        I hate Danzuck’s politics, but if he hasn’t broken the law?

        1. James Martin says:

          It is more a case of bringing the Party into disrepute, particularly given his position as an MP and that allegedly the conversations where a 49 year old man told a 17 year old girl that he was ‘horny’ and wanted to ‘spank’ her involved a potential offer of work to her which if so would be a clear abuse of his position (regardless of whether it was also a potential honey-trap). Totally correct to suspend the clown in my view.

          1. Karl Stewart says:

            I think there was a case for possible disciplinary action against Danzuck a few months ago for calling for a coup against Corbyn.

            But this episode appears to be no more than two consenting adults flirting.

        2. Robert says:

          I think the rule book say anyone bringing the party into disrepute . If he was still married this maybe the case but he’s not, so really I suspect this will be up to the local party to decide.

          He will do something else he’s a walking time bomb

          1. Karl Stewart says:

            Interesting how this story has confused Labour’s right wing.

            For example, the right’s latest standard bearer, Jess Phillips, initially rushed in with a tweet urging people not to make ‘political capital’ out of it, saying ‘please please no matter what you think of Danzcuk’.

            Then she immediately performed a 180 degree turn and described the woman in the story as ‘prey’.

            And then this darling of the right was quoted by the Sun calling Danzcuk a ‘tosser’.

          2. john says:

            I agree with Karl.

  14. Giles Wynne says:

    Right Wing Labour have always supported and tried to make Capitalism work. Left Wing Labour want a Socialist agenda but have yet to produce the British road there.
    There are tricky questions concerning the Scots Welsh and Irish, north of the border, as it may be an English road to a socialist agenda only.
    Whichever it is the Labour Left need all the support it can get from other Left groups.
    The reform of Parliament tops the list and only with the consent of the people, British Policies for Britain comes next, Control of the Media, including the BBC, comes a close third.
    Once the first Left 10 year plan has been produced, every voter and all secondary schools pupils must not only have a copy but have the opportunity to hear more, and contribute .
    Having gained power, Councils need controlling and measures need putting in place to retain it. That involves the (armed) forces including the police. The question is how to support Jeremy, et al, get there before I expire. You see I have more than a dream !

  15. Peter Willsman says:

    The necessary first step is a majority Lab.Govt.This then carries out policies to undermine the grip of unfettered. Capitalism/the ruling class.Policies that properly benefit a large majority and shift the balance of wealth and power.Then,on this basis,push on further.It is wishful thinking to suppose that a majority Labour Govt.is possible under PR.The Lab.Party would split.There would be a range of ineffective Leftie parties,that the ruling class would patronise and pat on the head.It is no surprise that several years ago the CBI came out in favour of PR.So,in effect,I regard Leftie supporters of PR to be unwitting agents of the bourgeoisie! Happy C’mas.

  16. Peter Willsman says:

    I apologise for posting twice,but it didn’t look as if the first one got through.Anyway,you can’t point the finger at the agents of the bourgeoisie enough times! Happy New Year.

  17. Peter Willsman says:

    Gerry,you are going to need a pacemaker if you carry on getting worked up like this. Happy New Year.

  18. Peter Willsman says:

    David,I understand you were a member of the CP for years.It should have only taken a few minutes of intellectual thought to work out that the CP was a waste of space and in some ways a sick joke.But it appears it took you many years to work out that the CP was not the way forward.Enough said.

    1. David Pavett says:

      Again, instead of dealing with the issues you fall back on abuse. I may or may not be an idiot but either way your inability to debate difference without making ad hominem points is sad.

      1. peter willsman says:

        David,I am waiting for a reply to my points that PR would split the LP(one of the reasons your CP supported PR)and that we would never have a majority Lab.Govt.with PR.
        PS.Please see my reply to your mate, Gerry,or as I call him,Sancho Panza.

        1. David Pavett says:

          Any argument about electoral systems must be about their ability to empower the majority to influence electoral outcomes. This has to be argued in a way that could be expected win the support of the majority in open and informed public debate. Your line that PR should be resisted because it would not favour the LP in its present form is, from that angle, a non-starter.

          Would it lead to a split in the LP? That depends on the circumstances. I cannot imagine any circumstances in which all of those in the LP who have given up on the idea of socialism and who have embraced capitalism as the only show in town, will ever be part of a party which has adopted a programme based on the idea of moving towards a post-capitalist (socialist) society. So let’s not pretend that there is any electoral system that will keep all these people on board if push comes to shove.

          FPTP shores up organisations that have passed their popular peak but remain in existence as the only viable electoral option. This drives parties to the centre and has clearly been behind the right-wing domination of the LP for decades while its membership has been in almost continual decline. (The significance of the ‘Corbyn bounce’ to membership has yet to be seen in terms of direct participation in LP activity.)

          What is needed is proper debate about electoral reform so that everyone can see the best arguments for different options. I have proposed this to Left Futures.

          You have not answered my point that your view that Labour can never obtain a majority with PR means that you think that the majority of the electorate can never be won for the view that you hold and that therefore that majority needs to be obtained by electoral distortion.

          As for comradeship in debate, I am glad if that is the norm with CLPD but you clearly have a way to go in drawing a distinction between robust debate (which consists of meeting points head on and arguing why they are wrong) and name calling (“agents of the bourgeoisie”, “ivorty tower”, “Sancho Panza” etc., etc). Simpy signing off “yours in comradeship” after a load of such abuse really doesn’t pass muster as comradeship and I guess that you understand that.

          1. peter willsman says:

            David,to me it is obvious that the Lab.P would split if we had PR.It is also obvious that it is possible to have majority Lab.Govts.under FPTP,but almost certainly not under PR.I want a radical majority Lab.Govt.asap so that we can begin to build a better society,as we did in 1945.
            Marx used to say that people suffered from ‘commodity fetishism’,you seem to suffer from ‘voting system fetishism’.I do not regard ‘ivory tower’ as insulting,rather it describes a mental attitude.I did suggest you were an unwitting agent of the ruling class.But since I believe that,objectively,PR serves the interests of the r/c,in that it almost certainly rules out majority Lab.Govts.,then it follows that I regard Leftie supporters of PR to be unwittingly(in most cases)helping out the r/c.
            My reference to ‘Sancho Panza’was a rejoinder to the mild insults from your mate,Gerry.I note,by the way,that ‘Sancho’ wasn’t treated to a Pavett haughty ‘lecture’ re his mild insults.
            Happy New Year to you both,PW.

          2. John P reid says:

            Yes but as far back as the early 60’s the hard left may have not tried to infiltrate labour,and by the mid 80’s they would have split knowing they could get a few seats when the game was up ,regarding them keep it holds of the party they seized in 1981

  19. Peter Rowlands says:

    I hope and believe it to be possible that Labour can win in 2020 on the basis of a popular(ist) social democratic ( not socialist) programme that maintains support from the centre and recaptures traditional support. There is a danger of losing centre support to a revived Lib-Dems, but that is unlikely as their credibility has been so reduced it is unlikely to recover by then.
    But the problem with FPTP remains, with the logic being the battle for the centre, with the election determined in only one fifth of seats or less and by the efforts of the right to tell convincing lies about the interests they allegedly represent.The only way to overcome this is through PR, where there is a reasonable prospect of a proper socialist party gaining substantial, and hopefully growing, support, as recent events in Spain and Portugal indicate.

  20. Peter Willsman says:

    Gerry and David.By the way,CLPD is based on openness,honesty,gentleness(within reason)and straight talking.Quite unlike the old CP.Yours in comradeship,Peter W.

    1. gerry says:

      Sorry to disappoint you Peter – I have only ever been a Labour Party member all my life, for some 30 odd years. And I have always broadly supported the aims of CLPD since the early 1980s.

      I think you should respond to comments with respect, no more no less. Just because someone disagrees with you, that doesn’t make them an “agent of the bourgeoisie” or living in an “ivory tower”… all comments like that do is paint you as a sad Dave Spart/Millie Tant type: a silly stuck in the past stalinist in short. Its not a good look Peter…really, its not.

  21. Peter Willsman says:

    Gerry and David,I look forward to lots more debates with you in 2016.I must say that in my 45 years in our party I don’t remember ever debating with such sensitive souls.

    1. gerry says:

      In the words of great British pop group Madness – Peter, you’re an embarrassment!

      1. peter willsman says:

        Gerry,careful you don’t fuse your pacemaker.

  22. Peter Willsman says:

    Gerry and David,I look forward to lots more debates with you in 2016.I must say that in my 45 years in our party I don’t remember ever debating with such sensitive souls.

    1. John P reid says:

      In your 45 years you must recall, Scargill, and Livingstone storming off, backing Lufthur than, and Peter tathell among others, didn’t they tie the fact the party didn’t want their views personally

  23. Bazza says:

    I think Left Wing democratic socialists need to be working on model resolutions for Annual Conference 2016 to ensure Labour continues to get back to being a grassroots, bottom up, participatory and democratic socialist party.
    For example if 51% of members in a CLP feel their MP has fought well for the working class/working people then a shortlist of one could be agreed (why waste people’s time?)
    But where 51% don’t agree this and where there is no Labour MP, in 2017 any member interested in standing in an area should be allowed to register an interest on the CLP website for free plus include a manifesto of their ideas (perhaps we may need a limit on the number of times you can register – say 6?)
    And local members should be encouraged to apply.
    In 2018 (2 years before the next election) the CLP should draw up a shortlist of say 6.
    Of these at least 2 should be from working class backgrounds (Registrar General social scales 3-6 on occupation of parent/s).
    At least 2 should be female.
    And at least 1 should be either BME or LGBT or Disabled.
    Then may the best democratic socialist win.
    I of course would pick the best Left Wing democratic socialist (whatever their background).
    And in by-elections the same as above would apply and the CLP would run the selection process.
    The Left needs to be organised and to plan for the future.
    Having all candidates in place 2 years before the general election will also give them more time to campaign and to get known if we are to win.
    If we have a male leader we could have a female deputy (or vice-versa) or like some Labour Council’s have a male deputy and a female deputy.
    Just food for thought for 2016 and a Happy & Peaceful (and for Labour a successful) New Year to All!

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