Despite now being out of Parliament, Alan Johnson doesn’t seem to want to stay out of politics. This weekend he made a typically unastute intervention into Labour’s post-election debate, saying, “Momentum, by now, should have disbanded. Jeremy Corbyn by now is very safe”, and that, “I don’t see the point of a separate organisation which is just a fan club for the leader.”
Not only has Johnson completely overlooked the tremendous role that Momentum played in the General Election – but he speaks as a supporter of Progress, an internal party organisation that, like Momentum, was founded immediately following a leadership election. Yet in the case of Progress, the organisation has outlasted the leader who founded it – Tony Blair – by ten years. Why then is Johnson calling for Momentum to go? Continue reading
Where does political radicalism come from? There are many sources, but I would humbly suggest one of them is being blocked from participating in/being integrated into established political processes. And that brings us onto the minor farrago over Alan Johnson’s polemic against the “madness” of a Labour leadership contest dominated by Jeremy Corbyn. Alan is particularly concerned about the comments of CWU General Secretary, Dave Ward, who at the weekend likened Blairism to a “virus” in the Labour Party. While he might find such language “drivel“, there’s little sign he was similarly concerned about John McTernan’s moron comments, or John Mann’s desperate attempt to smear Jeremy as a paedophile enabler.
Now, of course, Alan is an intelligent man. Yet he cannot fathom why such rhetoric “should come from trade union leaders whose members benefited so much under the last Labour government.” After wheeling off the pig iron production figures and endorsing Yvette Cooper’s tepid campaign along the way, the only reasonable inference that can be drawn is that leading trade unionists haven’t got the foggiest. As he says of Dave, “I’ve known Ward for 25 years, during which he has never been a political activist. His interest was always firmly on the industrial side of the CWU.” Ouch.
Alan Johnson begins his pitch for the support of Yvette Cooper (Guardian, 4th August) with a reference to Keir Hardie. The problem is that his reference is wholly misleading. He claims that Hardie “believed in achieving power through the ballot box, eschewing class warfare …”. Johnson continues “He forged a Labour party rooted in the decency and moderation of working-class communities who wanted nothing to do with intolerant ideology. Inspired by Methodism more than Marxism“. Unlike Johnson, Hardie had no problem understanding that class struggle and the electoral battles are not mutually exclusive. As he put it: Continue reading
Labour MPs are their own worst enemies. Many of them are panicked about losing their seats, and are sufficiently stupid and disloyal to blame Ed Miliband and brief the press accordingly. Deputy chief whip, Alan Campbell, rather than feeding reports of discontent to his leader, is whipping it up.
And yet, if Labour MPs keep their cool, there will be no Labour melt down in England or Wales in 2015. UKIP may take a seat or two from us, and prevent us winning a few marginals. But we shall still win others from the Tories and Lib Dems, whose problems are worse than ours. And no short-coming of Ed Miliband is responsible for the rise of UKIP.
Scotland is a different story. Labour could face meltdown there in 2015 and 2016. And it will be worse if Jim Murphy and Kezia Dugdale win the current leadership contests. But that too has nothing to do with Ed Miliband, though a second leadership contest in the UK party would make matters even worse. Continue reading
There is no doubt that the Blairites have had a rough few years.
As they see it, Brown, the Pretender who hated the Great Leader, undermined him and forced him out. No sooner had the usurper stolen the Great Leader’s job, than he demonstrated that he wasn’t capable of doing it himself, didn’t really believe in ‘reforming’ public services, and was against modernisation. Then he very nearly managed to hang on in government when he deserved not only to lose but to be humiliated, in preparation for the great revival.
The Brown years never dented the Blairites’ sense of entitlement to run the Labour Party as the Great Leader would wish. They never doubted that the Great Successor would win the leadership, seeing off the treacherous brother who had learnt his perfidious ways in the court of the Pretender. Continue reading