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Should Labour stand against Zac Goldsmith?

GoldsmithLabour is standing in the Richmond Park by-election. But should it? At the 2015 general election, Zac Goldsmith romped home with 58% of the vote. The Liberal Democrat runner up mustered 19% while Labour languished on 12%. The highest proportion we ever managed was at the 1997 high watermark, and then it was a measly twelve-and-a-half per cent. This is a seat in which Labour is doomed to be sidelined as the Tories and LibDems fight it out. Small wonder that with anti-Goldsmith considerations in mind, Clive Lewis, Lisa Nandy, and Jonathan Reynolds have come out and said we should duck the fight and give the LibDems a clear run.

The answer depends on your conception of politics, what you thing is going on now British politics is in a state of flux and, flowing from that, your strategy for progressive politics. If you think the vote is split and your priority is an alliance of angels tying Labour up with the LibDems, Greens, SNP, and Plaid Cymru to get the Tories out and proportional representation in, fine. If you look a bit deeper beneath the surface, then matters look somewhat different.

As I’ve argued before, Labour isn’t a workers’ party with a bourgeois leadership as per the Lenin’s 1920 formulation, but is rather a proletarian party. Put away your images of cloth caps and chimney stacks, I’m using ‘proletariat’ in the old, old sense of people who sell their labour power for a living. That can take diverse forms, and attracts varied remunerative compensation based on region, skill level, availability, costs of reproducing these workers, and so on. As such, contra the depictions of proletarians in popular culture and A-level text books, it is a heterogeneous category of people to which the overwhelming bulk of people in our society will belong, do belong, and have belonged to. This doesn’t and has never precluded status conflicts between different sections of our people, but it does indicate a substantive unity: that income is contingent primarily on one’s ability to labour for an employer, regardless of how small or hefty that wage or salary is. Nevertheless, because material and autonomy privileges afforded by work spin off in lifestyle differences, positions that are privileged vis a vis one another, and the acquisition of different levels of cultural and social capital, certain sections tend to be more wedded to the prevailing system than others and are prepared to defend those advantages at their expense. This noisy, contradictory mess of a class built the Labour Party to ameliorate capitalism, not to overthrow it. It explains why the party has a left/right divide, why the right throughout the party’s history have tended to call the shots and how the party has always accommodated itself to capitalism.

Making matters more complex is that British politics is undergoing realignment, and because the stultifying electoral system locks out new/challenger parties, the process is now working through the Labour Party – having had turns with the LibDems, BNP, UKIP, and the SNP using different classes and strata. To save writing it all out again, the ridiculous numbers of people who’ve joined Labour

… are drawn from the emerging occupations – the knowledge worker, the care worker, the precarious worker, forms of labour that are mostly concerned with the provision of a service in some way, work that has the production of social relations at its heart … This section of people who have to sell their labour power in return for a wage or salary are a rising group. Just as the industrial worker was the “hegemonic” form of work and the left’s preferred political agent of the past, so the networked worker (for want of a better phrase) is the increasingly dominant constituency in all the advanced countries. It’s slowly waking up, therefore it is vital for the future health of our party that we be its party of choice.

Politics isn’t about an irrational, tribal affiliation to a label. It’s about interests, and it’s in our class interest to ensure Labour captures this movement of networked workers by addressing it, mobilising it, and standing up for it in the media, in Parliament, and at the ballot box. We are the progressive party not because it’s a flash word that sounds nice. We are the organised expression of the wave of the future, of the overwhelming majority, of the universal interest. We stand a chance of becoming more than the sum of our parts if we organise everywhere.

This is the main reason why we shouldn’t countenance a deal with the LibDems in any instance but the most exceptional circumstances. Like gestures of respect in the tragic event of a murder of a MP, or where the obvious outcome is uncertainty between the yellow of liberalism and the brown of fascism. Again, this isn’t because they’re uniquely objectionable, but because they’re not a progressive party. Yes, sorry. They might like electoral reform, be (formally) anti-racist, believe in things like climate change, have a better position on the EU than most Trotskyists, and are alright (on paper) on matters of liberty and individual freedom. Dipping beneath the froth into the social substance that makes them up, the LibDems are, ultimately, a party of capital. That isn’t to say they’re primarily made up of business people – that isn’t even true of Theresa May’s Conservatives. Composition-wise, today’s LibDems are a middle class party – a large smattering of the relatively privileged sections of our class, and a smaller sprinkle of the self-employed. Yet the interests it tends to are those of capital and the vanishingly small number of people who live off its unearned proceeds. We have an interest in overcoming our divisions and building a society in which capital is entirely socialised. The LibDems, in contrast, appeal to and reinforce those divisions to pose as better/more rational managers of capital’s interests. The basis of liberalism reifies and fetishises the individual, becoming an abstraction providing the dull conformity and crushing tyranny of the market and the workplace philosophical cover. Any identity of interest between them and us is coincidental and episodic, as the experience of coalition government should remind us.

The choice isn’t one of boneheadedly standing a candidate when the greater good demands a break from the norm. It’s the refusal to subordinate our political project, of standing for the interests of the majority to another who does not, will not, and cannot.

45 Comments

  1. June Knight says:

    DONT GIVE LIBERAL DEMOCRATES ANYTHING!

    LABOUR NEEDS TO BE SEEN AND STAND IN TOWNS WHERE IT DOES NOT THINK IT HAS A SNOWBALL’S CHANCE IN HELL.

    BUT MAKE SURE LABOUR CANDIDATE SUPPORTS AND BACKS ETHICAL WAYS OF LIVING AND BACKS CORBYN

    YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED

      1. Stephen Bellamy says:

        Ignore the privacy settings message. Click on watch on vimeo.
        [The link is now directly to the vimeo site – Moderator]

        1. James Martin says:

          Thanks Stephen. Matt Wrack’s description of Jon Lansman’s latest actions – which has all the appearance of an anti-democratic coup within Momentum against its own members – is horrifying, but after the betrayal of Jackie Walker to the JLM nothing surprises me anymore.

  2. Hazel Malcolm-Walker says:

    No way should we give the Lib/Dems anything that could be used to rehabilitate these yellow Tories in the public perception.
    We are not going to win this seat at the bye election, but that is not a good enough reason not to run.
    We should raffle off the opportunity to run against Goldsmith and counting agents because it is going to be fun watching that racist bastard getting the drubbing he so richly deserves.

  3. Karl Stewart says:

    Of course Labour should stand in this by-election. It’s an election, Labour is an electoral party and this is Labour’s main purpose.

    I’m not surprised by Nandy or Reynolds, but I’m seriously disappointed in Clive Lewis lending his name to this defeatist call.

    If people want to support the LibDems, join them. But please don’t associate Labour with the yellow scumbags.

    Most Labour voters would never back the LibDems in a million years in any case – we hate them more than we hate the Tories.

  4. David Pavett says:

    Phil BC’s article and the comments so far all seem to me to be of a tribal rather than a strategic nature. Given that Labour doesn’t stand a chance of winning the seat the question should surely be about what would contribute most to debate about the current dominant issue of Brexit? Would a Lib Dem win on an anti-hard-Brexit ticket contribute more than a Labour loss which allows an (independent) Tory hard Brexiter through?

    Forget the tribalism and think war of positions. We need to deliver blows to the Tories over Brexit. I am not a big fan if either Lisa Nandy or Clive Lewis but on this I think they are right.

    1. Rob Green says:

      What difference if a Yellow Tory or a Blue Tory is elected?

    2. Karl Stewart says:

      The LibDems tripled tuition fees after promising to “oppose, campaign against and vote against” any increase.

      They pushed through the privatisation of Royal Mail and the disastrous separation of the Post Office.

      They went into coalition with the Tories and they will again, if given the chance.

      And as for their position on ‘Brexit’, they want to ignore the referendum vote and keep the UK in the EU.

      A LibDem win is no better than a Tory win, because the LibDems are no better than the Tories.

      And also, in many local areas, the LibDems are hated more than the Tories.

      I’d never vote LibDem and I doubt if more than a tiny minority of Labour voters would. Voters are not ‘block votes’ that can be moved around at will.

      The result of a Labour abdication in Richmond would make no material difference as to whether the Tory or the LibDem actually wins the seat, but it would deal a serious blow to the credibility of thqe Labour Party in that area – it would have grave negative effects on Labour’s prospects there in local authority elections for example.

      It would also have the political effect of lining Labour up with the ‘remoaner’ tendency, of which the LibDems are the main driving force.

      It’s a ludicrous suggestion. If Labour is to be taken seriously, Labour needs to stand everywhere.

  5. Barry Hearth says:

    Who to back? I back Labour, that’s who I support.
    I see the SNP as a middle of the road party, cloaking itself in leftish things but ultimately right wing in essence. Here in Wales, I know that Plaid Cymru is right of centre, their power base is in the agricultural heartlands, it’s how they backed the culling of badgers.
    And please don’t get me started on the Lib Dems. It was the Liberals who welcomed the SDP ex Labour Mp’s who thought that they could split Labour, and renamed themselves LibDems. It was Nick Clegg who broke the one major promise he made before the election. prior to ensuring that Gordon Brown stand aside before they could think of entering a coalition with Labour. This despite having already made deal with the Tories. Trust the Libdems? Never.
    Labour has to stand and it has done so in seats around the country where it has no chance of winning, to stand aside is to tell the electorate that Labour gives up.
    So that and we may as well.

    1. David Pavett says:

      Explaining why you could never vote for a party by listing a few of the terrible things it has done/supported is likely to end up making it difficult to vote for Labour to. This not a useful way to approach to election strategy and tactics.

      1. Karl Stewart says:

        I’ve listed several policies to substantiate my view that the LibDems are no better than the Tories

        Labour giving up contesting elections where they came third last time is just an abdication.

        What is it, in your opinion, that makes the LibDems preferable to the Tories?

        If you can’t substantiate that, then advocating a LibDem vote makes no more sense than advocating a Tory vote.

        1. David Pavett says:

          Your listings don’t work.

          Suppose I said “party X voted for the Iraq war, party Y opposed it. Party X abolished the 10p tax, party Y opposed this. Party X wanted 90 days detention without trial, party Y opposed it. Party X opposed liberalisation of drug laws, npart Y supported it. Party X supoorts like for like Trident renewal, noarty Y opposes that. Party X abstained on the Tory welfare bill, party Y opposed it. Which one would you vote for?”. I think you get my drift.

          The most important thing in Richmond is that a clear anti hard Brexit message is delivered. That means doing whatever it takes to defeat the hard Brexit candidate.

          1. Karl Stewart says:

            If delivering a strong anti-Brexit message is the most important political message for you, then yes of course you should support, vote for and campaign for the LibDems.

            The LibDems are the most solidly pro-EU party and so, if that’s your top priority, then the logical step to take is to join the LibDems. Indeed, why bother with Labour at all?

            If, on the other hand, one’s most important priority is building a socialist political and economic programme for the UK, then I’d argue that, at this time, the Labour Party is the best prospect for pursuing this option. In every constituency, every one.

          2. C MacMackin says:

            David, would you be able to clarify what you mean by wanting an “anti hard Brexit message”? You have elsewhere been quite critical of the blanket calls for Britain to be in the single market with the four freedoms (or at least that’s how I interpreted your comments). Your stance here seems at odds with this. Whatever one thinks about the question of this by-election, there is no question that there stance on the single market would not be amenable to socialist policies such as capital controls.

          3. David Pavett says:

            @Karl Stewart (October 28, 2016 at 2:18 pm). Yes, I think that working out our relationship with the EU is the current top political issue and one on which there is the most chance to undermine the Tories.

            If you think that we are currently engaged in “building a socialist political and economic programme” then you must be party to information about current LP struggles that have not come my way. I cannot think of a single instance of such building. There has certainly been nothing in Left Futures it about and even nothing from Momentum that could be so described. John McDonnell’s team of illustrious economic advisors all seek capitalist solutions. So where is this building going on?

          4. David Pavett says:

            @C MacMackin (October 28, 2016 at 9:39 pm). I understand your question. Yes I am critical of blanket calls to be in the single market. I am even more critical of those who seem to think that the “four freedoms” exemplify socialist principles.

            At the same time I want to maintain the as close a working relationship with the EU as is possible without agreeing to anything that could get in the way of a future left Labour government.

            I believe also that the situation is fluid with both the Labour and Conservative parties making things up as they go along. Thus we have Corbyn, and some on the right, defending free movement while Keir Starmer talks of “managed” migration (for which he was criticised here on LF) and McDonnell has now started to speak of “balanced” migration. There is a very wide range of possibilities that could emerge from this situation. We need to be prepared and alert as the situation develops. Calling for a second referendum is not on at the moment but I would not rule out the possibility of it becoming a viable option.

            Another possibilty could be staying in the single market but openly flouting its rules in one or more areas (as the Swiss have decided to do). It’s a dynamic situation and we should discuss it as such and not as a clear fixed challenge with known set of possible solutions.

          5. C MacMackin says:

            @David Pavett (October 29, 2016 at 12:56 am)
            Fair response. However, I am dubious that electing a Lib-Dem would be helpful to this. They are such blind Europhiles that I don’t think any message which they’d be able to send would be able to capture the nuances you describe. That’s not to say I’d necessarily be opposed to some sort of pact in this instance–I’m on the fence–but I don’t think the question of Brexit is a good justification for it.

          6. David Pavett says:

            @C MacMackin (Oct 29, 2016 at 3:26 am). The message sent by a Goldsmith defeat would be that a Tory MP with in a seat won with a comfortable majority can be removed. It would be the removal of a man who objections to the EU are basis on opposition to any sort of political framework for European politics, a man who also led a deplorably racist and divisive campaign for London Mayor.

            If he could be removed it would be a signal that Tory fortunes can be dramatically reversed.

            The voters of Richmond have shown their propensity to vote tactically. They were strongly for Remain. It is therefore quite possible that Labour participation in the election will contribute to Goldsmith holding the seat and possibly with a reduced Labour vote. Just what will that have achieved?

            Labour needs to talk about election strategies on the basis of a non-tribalist agenda. We need to ask what will weaken the Tories the most rather than what best serves Labour’s immediate interests. The tribalist mentality won’t even allow that discussion to start.

          7. C MacMackin says:

            @David Pavett (October 29, 2016 at 1:45 pm)

            I agree with all of that and I am not opposed to strategic voting/pacts per se (back home in Canada I have supported it in past elections). In fact, given that the Tories have a slim majority and pealing off even one seat from them could be significant, I think it probably is a good idea in this case (a conclusion I came to after posting my last comment and before reading your response). I just think we should be very clear that this is a negative vote (against Goldsmith) and not a positive one (for the Lib-Dems), even on the basis of Brexit policy.

  6. Malcolm Parker says:

    After the disaster that was the Tory/Lib-Dem alliance which meant the Lib-Dems were clearly rejected in this seat in 2015, surely the question that should be asked is will the Lib-Dems stand down in favour of a progressive Labour candidate? In either case neither Lib-Dem or Labour is likely to score more than a modest percentage, but the eagerness with which Clive Lewis, Lisa Nandy, and Jonathan Reynolds have urged support of a party which lost a huge proportion of it’s vote in this seat the last election rather than their own party which gained significantly is not only remarkably defeatist, it really puts into question where their loyalties lie.

  7. Karl Stewart says:

    If Labour ever decided to stand down for the LibDems, anywhere in the UK, there would be an independent Labour candidate – and the LibDems would still lose the seat.

  8. Bazza says:

    Left wing democratic socialists should stand in every election to get our message over.
    Only the niaive think the Lib Dems are progressive.
    It’s the Right Wing Tory Party pro-capitalists v the Lib Dem capitalist 2nd 11.
    There are working class people and progressive middle class people in Richmond who share our voice – don’t desert them.
    It’s Opportunist Goldsmith v arch Opportunists Lib Dems v Anti-Austerity Labour, Grow the Economy Out of Recession Labour, Build the Homes Labour, and Fight Poverty Labour!
    Labour stands for something – the Tory (independent) and Lib Dems stand for nothing but the rich and powerful!

  9. James Martin says:

    I’d rather drink my own urine than vote for any Lib-Dim. In fact I’d rather drink born again-happy clappy-lets drop bombs called brimstone on brown people-Tim Farron’s urine than vote for that bunch of clowns. At least you know where you are with a Tory, poke any one of them hard enough and they will admit soon enough to being complete barstewards, but you could poke any Lib-Dim for a hundred years and they will still try and pretend that they are ‘nice’ and ‘sensible’ while at the same time shafting the working class. Clive Lewis should know better, but clearly doesn’t. As has been said, if there is no official Labour candidate in this contest then there will be an unofficial one that the Labour left should campaign for.

    1. David Pavett says:

      I wonder how many Tory and Lib Dem friends you have and if you have discussed politics much with them. In my view the first step in serious political thinking is to understand that people can have plausible and decent reasons for supporting the Tories or Lib Dems. The second step is to see the wide range of reasons which may lead to that support with a view to detaching those who are most likely to find that their basic aspirations will not be realised by the parties that they support. All the tribal denunciations of the other parties in this thread gets nowhere near that sort of understanding.

      Perhaps the questions to be answered first is (1) can tactical voting every be the right thing to do and (2) can any sort of alliance ever be appropriate? The tone of most of the contributions to this thread seems to reject any tactical voting and any alliances. I think that is tribal nonsense.

      1. James Martin says:

        Nothing nonsense about being ‘tribal’ David, it is after all a part of my socialist DNA. I’m tribal about my socialism, about trade unions, about the Labour Party, about being working class, about being a northerner, about my football team, about my town of birth, while at the same time being an internationalist. I’m very comfortable with with tribalism and couldn’t imagine not being tribal and couldn’t give a stuff whether or not some people look down on it, just like I couldn’t give a stuff for tactical voting!

        1. David Pavett says:

          The town of your birth is not a matter of your choice but being a member of a political party is. Confusing these different orders of things is the mark of tribalism. It is the same thinking that can lead people to same “my country right or wrong” or to talk of white/black “pride”. If it is to cope with the difficult challenges of our times socialist politics needs to be about careful analysis and rational choices. Tribal loyalty won’t deliver that.

          1. James Martin says:

            Ha, well my political party was never a choice David, and I do wonder sometimes whether you have much understanding about working class communities, because if you don’t you can have as much intellectual analysis as you want but you will still not ever ‘get’ socialism. Tony Benn was loved by us because he came to understand why socialism mattered, but to do so he had to learn very hard from people like Dennis Skinner and Eric Heffer whose socialism was far more organic and didn’t come out of the pages of a book. Personally I think you still have much to learn in that respect.

          2. David Pavett says:

            “My political party was never a choice”. That sounds dangerously like religious fervour.

            You know nothing about my background, the type of community in which I grew up or my life experience. Your speculations on that are therefore, unsurprisingly, wide of the mark.

            But, in any case, all that matters in a debate is the quality of the arguments and not the background of the person putting them. A trawl through the people who have developed the ideas of socialism and been active in leading socialist action soon reveals quite a few who came from a middle class or even upper class backgound, including the leaders of the party about which you feel so tribal.

            The idea that person A’s argument should be judged superior to person B’s argument because A is of working class origin whereas B is not is surely a reductio ad absurdum of the tribal viewpoint.

            Do you not know that many of the leading Labour right-wingers throughout the history of the party have come from the traditional working class? Do you not know that for most of Labour’s history the trade unions have been the main support of right-wing leadership? Do you not know that the surge of support for Corbyn has not come from the tradional working class but from what has tradionally been referred to as the urban middle class.

            Breaking with tribal attitudesis the only way to make the transition from “instinctive” loyalties to political understanding.

  10. Peter Rowlands says:

    Phil BC’s analysis of Labour’s social composition is interesting and I accept much of it, but it doesn’t tell us how to act in situations such as the forthcoming Richmond by-election.To not stand does not mean that Labour is supporting the Lib-Dems, it would mean in this particular instance that Labour calculated that its overall aims in terms of where it stands on Brexit and racism would be best served by a defeat of the hard Brexit and racist Goldsmith. If that is so, then the chances of that happening are significantly enhanced, for obvious reasons, by Labour not standing, and likewise diminished by standing, as it appears will be the case. ( If anyone doesn’t understand why this is I will spell it out in a later post).The danger is of allowing the Lib-Dems another chance, after Witney, to build a lead as the anti hard Brexit party, but I think that the prospect of defeating Goldsmith outweighs that.
    As for the tribalistic tirades against the Lib-Dems, these are largely nonsense. Despite their move to the right and participation in the coalition, which cost them dear, they are much less unacceptable than the Tories, which is why some on the left favour a pact with them.But setting that aside, it is just rather crude politics for a political party never to decide that under certain circumstances it is right not to stand. In this instance I believe it would have been.

  11. Karl Stewart says:

    I fully respect the democratic right of people like DavidP and others to campaign for, support, vote for and even join the LibDems if they want to. That’s your right and I respect that right, however much I disagree with that choice.

    But you guys absolutely do not have the right to deny Labour supporters the opportunity to vote Labour if we want to. That’s our democratic right and you guys need to respect that, however much you might disagree.

    I doubt very much that the official Labour Party will ever agree with this defeatist nonsense proposed by Nandy and her co-thinkers. But if official Labour ever did abdicate withdrawal, then there will definitely be unofficial Labour candidates standing, and the LibDems wil never have a free ride anywhere.

  12. Craig Stephen says:

    For thousands of voters in south-east London they would only vote if they were able to vote for Labour, so standing a candidate provides impetus for people to just do the basic thing, and get out and vote. This is a democracy (allegedly) and people should have a choice on the ballot paper regardless of who the winner is likely to be.

  13. Peter Rowlands says:

    My points have not been addressed.It is ridiculous to argue that under our electoral system there should be no consideration of tactical voting.

    1. David Pavett says:

      Indeed, the first past the post system, more than any other, requires tactical voting when one’s preferred party does not have a clear run. Some people appear not to see the inconsistency between supporting FPTP and opposing the use of tactical considerations.

      1. James Martin says:

        Because there is no contradiction. As a socialist tactical voting has been an issue in the past in this country and when the Communist Party was still an electoral force in some areas (more so as councilors, although of course Willie Gallagher and Phil Piratin were MP’s in the 1950s), and where in my view it was potentially quite sensible to tactically vote for another workers party where their candidate was more popular (and more left wing) than the Labour Party one. But what you are arguing is not a tactical vote between working class left parties but between whether you think that some of the non-socialist capitalist parties are preferable to others, and by doing this you sow illusions in what the likes of the Lib-Dims really are (a right bunch of nasty, anti-trade union, anti-collectivist barstewards), and it is something that no self-respecting socialist should be promoting.

        1. David Pavett says:

          James, you agree that tactical voting cannot be ruled out in general but add that it can only be between “workers’ parties”. You suggest that it cannot involve “non-socialist capitalist parties”. The problem with this argument is that the Labour Party is not a socialist party (in so far as it speaks of socialism it means only a kinder form of capitalism) and is, until it changes direction, completely committed to solving our problems in a capitalist context. So who are you going to vote for?

          P.S. Being prepared to use the words “socialist” and “solidarity” does not transform a party into an anti-capitalist party as the whole history of the LP shows us.

        2. Peter Rowlands says:

          Nonsense. Tactical voting in this instance is designed to achieve a desirable result (Defeating the racist and hard brexit Goldsmith) which is much less likely to be achieved by voting Labour.

          1. Karl Stewart says:

            No-one’s stopping you from voting LibDem, or from campaigning for the LibDem candidate. Go ahead, support your precious LibDems if you want to.

            But you want to prevent Labour supporters from having the opportunity to vote Labour, and this you will not be allowed to do.

  14. prianikoff says:

    Of course Labour should stand!

    But the issue here isn’t tactical voting.
    What’s incredible is that this article doesn’t even mention the main political point in this by-election, which is the third runway at Heathrow.

    The Labour candidate who stands must be clearly opposed to the third runway (as are John McDonnell and Sadiq Khan)
    This is by no means guaranteed, since the official policy of UNITE and the GMB is to support it.

    This means these unions aligned with the private investors who own Heathrow Holdings Ltd.
    Of these, only the University Lecturers’ Pension Fund (which owns 10%) is even based in the UK!

    So, on the narrow basis of “defending members’ jobs”, two of Labour’s major donors are:-

    1) Prepared to forget about the environmental issues which will blight 10,000 West Londoners’ homes and exacerbate global warming

    2) Forget about their demand for Green Jobs

    3) Drop the elementary socialist demand to renationalise the Airports authority!

    Even if Labour doesn’t win this by-election, by challenging Zac Goldsmith in Richmond Park, they will strengthen John McDonnell in Hayes and Harlington & reiterate the policy positions of the Corbyn leadership on these issues.

    1. Peter Rowlands says:

      I think you are somewhat confused.Goldsmith is opposed to a new runway.

      1. prianikoff says:

        You’ve missed the point.
        By “Challenging Zac Goldsmith” I mean standing a candidate who is against the third runway (which is John McDonnell’s position)
        Labour should not let a Tory rebel monopolise that position (either by not standing, or by supporting the third runway)

        1. Peter Rowlands says:

          I doubt whether anyone standing there will be supporting a third runway.
          If we had AV for by-elections this would resolve the difficulty of Labour not standing, as it would be the second votes that would be crucial.

          1. prianikoff says:

            Looks like you were wrong about that.

            The Labour candidate Christian Wolmar, who was selected on Saturday says:-

            “We have three weeks to get the Labour message across – and this is what we all should to focus on. The issues are all there: Heathrow expansion, Brexit, austerity and housing…
            . The Labour message on all these is loud and clear – let’s stop wasting valuable time in fruitless discussions and get on with the job.”

            I can only assume from this statement that he *supports* the third runway at Heathrow.

            If so, former Green voters will vote Lib- Dem (they’ve withdrawn) and so will a lot of former Labour voters.

          2. prianikoff says:

            Correction; he’s just guilty of being ambiguous.

            On November 4th he said.

            “When I campaigned to obtain the Labour candidacy for the 2016 London mayoral, I did so on a very strong environmental manifesto….
            I ..strongly opposed Heathrow expansion”

            I’m assuming he still does!

            (btw, he says he’ll vote against enforcing article 50)

  15. Karl Stewart says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever agreed with this Luke Akehurst guy before, but he’s absolutely spot on in his condemnation of the cowardly and unprincipled call for Labour to fall in behind the LibDems:

    https://labourlist.org/2016/11/luke-akehurst-talk-of-a-progressive-alliance-is-borne-out-of-a-premature-labour-can-ever-win-again-by-itself/

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