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The principles of Eaglespeak

AngelaEagle1“Eaglespeak was the official language of the Parliamentary Labour Party and had been devised to meet the ideological needs of Ingsoc, or English Socialism. In the year 2016 there was not as yet anyone who used Eaglespeak as his sole means of communication, either in speech or in writing. The leading articles in the Times were written in it, but this was a tour de force which could only be carried out by a specialist.” – With apologies to Orwell

Labour is now gaining members by the tens and even the hundreds of thousands. But like all organisations, unfortunately our party can sometimes speak in internal jargon that is almost impenetrable to newcomers.

As an old hand myself, I feel it incumbent on me to offer recent recruits a handy glossary of some of the buzzwords currently being bandied about. Rest assured, it’s all very easy to understand once you get the hang of it!

Achievements, I recognise Jeremy’s very real: go fuck yourself, Corbyn

Compromise, Tom did his best to broker a: go fuck yourself, Corbyn

Connect with the electorate, Jeremy fails to: go fuck yourself, Corbyn

Decent man, Jeremy is a: go fuck yourself, Corbyn

Deselection threat: mild criticism of anything any Blairite Labour MP ever says or does

Entrism: hundreds of thousands of previously politically uninvolved people joining the Labour Party

Feminist: woman MP who tells black women colleagues to ‘fuck off’, while threatening to knife Jeremy in the front.

Hard-left activist: nice middle-aged Quaker lady who once wrote to Blairite MP asking where she stood on bedroom tax

Heavy heart, it is with a: go fuck yourself, Corbyn

Internationalism: bombing Syria

Intimidation: new recruits attending Labour Party meetings, with expectations of being allowed to speak and vote

Leadership qualities: Look, no-one on our side has got any, but why let that get in the way of another chance to tell Corbyn to go fuck himself?

Iraq War: *sighs* Why are you bringing up irrelevant Twitter memes again?

Members: that minority of members who don’t support Corbyn

Militant: lifelong Labour voter with some criticisms of Tony Blair

Momentum: Virulently anti-semitic semi-clandestine Bakuninite sect intent on exercising invisible dictatorship within Labour, while secretly working to ensure decades of Conservative government

Real socialist: advocate of bombing Syria

Reflect, Jeremy needs to: go fuck yourself, Corbyn

Socialist, Look I am a: No, honestly, I am. Really.

Trot: Labour Party member who wants Corbyn on the ballot paper

Unelectable: not one of our mates

Unity candidate: usually means Angela Eagle, except when it means Owen Smith, Dan Jarvis, Tom Watson, Lisa Nandy or Keir Starmer or maybe Larry the Cat if he’s looking for a job

There. That wasn’t too hard, was it? Should you get to meet Tristram, Jess or Chuka in the time that remains to them as Labour MPs, be sure to sprinkle a few of these phrases into the conversation.


  1. James Martin says:

    At the same time the undemocratic bar on 100,000 or so existing members voting in the leadership election, the NEC/Chair has also ruled that no CLP meetings can take place until the election is finished other than hustings meetings. How can CLP’s now make leadership nominations and recommendations, as is their right in the rule book? How can they now debate and mandate on national conference motions? I am assuming that this sledgehammer ruling (that must be challenged) is designed to stop Eagle’s CLP passing a motion of no confidence in her that was almost certain to pass at the meeting that was due tomorrow?

  2. David Pavett says:

    An analysis of the language of the opposition to any chance of left-wing handle on the levers of power in the LP could be so much more interesting and helpful than this article.

    For example there are a whole series of thoughts and assumptions behind the idea of being “unelectable” which it would be useful to unpack because many good people are still trapped by them. Translating it as “not one of our mates” doesn’t do the unpacking required.

  3. Paul Dias says:

    Angela who?

    1. john P Reid says:

      Eagle ,she took a safe tory seat off them and didn’t win a safe labour seat that only was available because of the SDP split like Corbyn did

      1. Tim Wilkinson says:

        ‘Took a safe Tory seat off them’

        Impressive, but not strictly factual. (In fact she was parachuted into a seat with a Con majority of 279.)

        1. Mark Dixon says:

          And that slim majority had only been reduced to its slim 279 from just under 7000 by the left candidate Lol Duffy, who was subsequently forced out by Frank Field. Sigh.

        2. John P Reid says:

          She worked for it,wasnt parachuted, considering the Tory vote went up by 320,000 votes from 1987 to 1992 so it was a struggle,some seats the Tories had bigger majorities in 1992′ due to ex liberals voting Tory through a fear of a labour victory

      2. Paul Dias says:

        “she took a safe tory seat”

        No, John, she didn’t.

        1. John P Reid says:

          That article is twaddle

          1. Paul Dias says:

            Explain to us again how Wallasey was a safe Tory seat, John!

  4. Susan O'Neill says:

    What happens if: the CLP’s who cannot hold meetings until after the election, then hold the meetings afterwards? If an Angela Eagle election victory were even possible and the CLP’s then hold a vote and deselect the MP’s on the right who betrayed Corbyn? They will have no mandate to represent the Labour Party but will be leading it?
    This could get even more complicated and more embarrassing.
    Why has the Labour Party right wing been allowed to mandate that only a couple who can afford £50 to join the Labour Party be allowed to do so when they know full well that the working class JC represents will not likely be able to. Is this not a form of vote rigging? Do they intend to contact all those members who have joined in support of JC but will not be allowed a vote to offer them a refund? If not, why not, since it is a type of fraud?

  5. Tony says:

    Stephen Kinnock said on yesterday’s ‘Daily Politics’ that she is a ‘persuader’.

    However, she came fourth in last year’s deputy leadership election.

    She failed to persuade her local party to support her leadership bid.

    She failed to persuade Corbyn to stand down.

    She even failed to persuade the Wallasey Labour Party to select her as its candidate in the first place.

  6. Karl Stewart says:

    Does anyone know why the anti-Corbyn MPs are so keen that there’s only one non-Corbyn candidate?

    Seems to be a lot of fuss and bother among them to try to persuade either Eagle or Smith to stand back, but does it make any difference, given that the Labour leadership election isn’t FPTP?

    So there’s no ‘vote-splitting’ is there?

    Just wondered.

    1. Tim Wilkinson says:

      Presumably part of it is that they will inevitably argue against each other to some extent, which must cause some damage to the ABC camp and distract it from attacking Corbyn.

      Relatedly, voters won’t necessarily divide along Corbyn/anti lines – indeed the ABC side can’t possibly win if they do and needs to make a positive appeal. So there may well be a lot of second prefs for Corbyn.

      One may argue that these would have been first prefs had the actual 1st pref candidate not stood, thus it makes no difference, but things do not necessarily work that way. Here’s the breakdown for the 2015 leadership:

      Some members could for example be inclined to vote against Corbyn but be sufficiently ambivalent or rueful about doing so that they feel goving him a second pref is better than going for the full ABC. And there are lots of other unpredictable ways a second candidate might hurt ABC.

      They may not apply in fact, but

      (a) I am only attempting to explain why those who do believe such issues are a problem might do so;

      (b) I think it’s a bit harder to construct quasi-rational models of how a second candidate could actually help the ABC cause. Though it’s certainly not impossible: e.g. a ‘foot in the door’ phenomenon – people persuaded by one of the two chancers might thus have anti-Corbyn sentiment strengthened and be more likey to rank the other one above Corbyn too.

  7. Sacha Ismail says:

    John P Reid,

    This is spectacular nonsense. Between the 1987 and 1992 elections the national Tory percentage of the vote went down and the Labour vote went up.

    It’s true that in Wallasey the Labour increase was greater, but the reason is obvious – the collapse of the Lib Dem vote as against the Social Demcratic vote in 1987 (less than half).

    As for her not being parachuted, let’s abandon that phrase and look at what happened.

    The previous candidate, who had in 1987 had increased the Labour vote both by a larger number and a higher proportion than Eagle did in 1992, was barred, despite having the vast majority of local support.

    When Eagle failed to get a majority of the votes cast, due to blank votes being cast in protest, she was imposed anyway in defiance of the rules.

    What word would you choose?

    What do you mean “she worked for it”?

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