The Parliamentary Labour Party has displayed dreadful judgement and the situation could yet get worse

by Trevor Fisher

Despite the legal issues being resolved, Labour’s political options are becoming more sharp-edged and legalistic. This situation is worsened by the antics of the Parliamentary Labour Party, a group whose political judgement and even grasp of political rules is dire.

I agree with Richard MacKinnon in the comments for my last piece questioning, “How can a party be trusted running a country when they can’t even run themselves?” though his call for a purge is unwise. But the key issue is that the MPs can’t get the most basic political issues right. Certainly the Labour rules and those of the British constitution seem to be beyond them.

The MPs were deeply foolish in acting to pass the vote of no confidence, which has had no effect other than to trigger the current leadership contest. That Corbyn simply ignored the vote is a sign the MPs did not understand the nature of the man, and once he called their bluff they had to challenge him… hoping it must be assumed that the NEC would exclude him from the ballot paper or perhaps the courts would.

Even before they made these foolish moves, which risks Corbyn winning a new and stronger mandate, the MPs had made many stupid decisions. Bob Crossley was right in his comment to me that the big mistake was letting JC onto the ballot paper, but it remains the case that the previous mistake was approving the Miliband reforms which only allowed the MPs to have the limited control of nominating. Which they then bungled as fools like Margaret Beckett and Frank Field nominated JC. He can’t be blamed for saying Thanks Very Much.

Subsequently the MPs have made massive errors in taking on the Corbyn machine. The consequences are that they have opened divisions which allow Richard MacKinnon and many others to talk of purges to impose unity by producing a united PLP. But this would be folly on folly given that the MPs would stay in parliament. They would lose control of their limited options as soon as they walked away from Labour. By taking them out of the Labour Party – I assume that we are talking the 172 who backed the vote of no confidence – they then have three and a half years to plot but the rest of parliament would then also maximise the damage to the Labour party.

The threat of deselection or the withdrawal of the whip -the latter more likely this autumn – would give the Speaker a chance to intervene. If the majority of Labour MPs are not taking the whip, they are independents…. and while the SNP would have a good case for becoming the official opposition and making Labour sink even further, the Speaker could approve a new parliamentary group as the official opposition and get the Short money. This is a nightmare scenario, making Labour look like a Punch and Judy show.

But the unknown factor is the effects on the Tory Party. It is suggested that the PLP wanted to challenge Corbyn as they fear a snap autumn election and wanted a better leader to avoid defeat. We will know the result of that gamble in a months time, but its the Tory Party whihc now comes into the frame. Could May call a snap election to exploit the M Ps rebellion?

Up to now it has been unlikely for the reasons Martin Kettle argued in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago. The Fixed Term Parliament Act demands 2/3 of M Ps vote for an election, and that is 2/3 of M Ps, not 2/3 of those present and voting. Unless the government loses a vote of no confidence, which is unlikely as the other parties don’t want an election where the Tories would get another five years. May could repeal the Act, but this probably means that the Lords have to approve, and I have felt until now that May would not take the risks.

However if Labour splits and the Speaker gets involved, then the risks look worth taking. Indeed the pressure in the Tory party for an election would intensify. We have never had a parliament where the Official Opposition had to be cobbled up by the Speaker before. References to 1931 are then relevant, as Ramsay MacDonald split his party, Lloyd George already had split the Liberal Party which had more or less vanished….like 2015…. and the Tories were the only show in town. Baldwin forced an election and the Tories won a landslide.

Today’s new rump party granted the Short money could trigger May asking the country to approve who they want to represent them as the current Labour MP s were not elected in 2015 to walk out of the Labour camp and set up on their own. A recall election would look better and better for May.

The Parliamentary Labour Party has made error after error. If they wanted the leadership election to get a better leader in case of a snap election, one looks at the current contest in disbelief. But the bigger nightmare is of splitting Labour and allowing the Prime Minister to call a snap election to resolve the issues.

There is an increasingly strong case for a parallel with 1931, with Labour in disarray, the Tories should call an election to see who the country wants at Westminster. Of the many ominous possibilities arising from the decision to challenge Corbyn in the way they have done so, the PLP may have given Theresa May the chance to call a General Election and get 5 years of office. Would the leaders of the Parliamentary Labour like to explain how they have behaved since the 2015 general election?

Trevor Fisher was a member of the Labour Coordinating Committee executive 1987-90 and secretary of the Labour Reform Group 1995- 2007


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25 Responses to “The Parliamentary Labour Party has displayed dreadful judgement and the situation could yet get worse”

  1. David Boothroyd says:

    Do you not fall into the fundamental error by treating the PLP as one single unit? It is actually 230 individual people, some of whom work together sometimes. There was no ‘coup’; what there were was a large number of Labour MPs each with their own individual breaking point at which they lost confidence in Jeremy Corbyn. Some never had any; some still do, but the median were made up by those who lost any remaining confidence due to his shambolic performance in the EU referendum.

    When Jeremy Corbyn supporters try to pin all of the difficulty within the party on ‘the PLP’ it is a strategy to minimise the extent of unease, and also to set the membership against the Labour MPs. It’s the duty of everyone else to stop them perpetuating this strategy. So to speak of ‘the Parliamentary Labour Party has made error after error’ is to fall into a trap baited by the Corbyn campaign.

    (PS in 1931 it wasn’t Lloyd George who had split the Liberal Party; it was Sir John Simon)

  2. paul barker says:

    Some of these criticisms are fair but they do ignore the context, that a majority of the Labour membership has decided to abandon mainstream politics. If you read the comment threads on Labour List, The PLP majority are regularly descibed as Tories & told to leave.The new Labour leadership are quite happy to see a split, unsurprisingly, its The PLP majority who are reluctant.
    There are no good options for Labour Centrists, its unsurprising that they arent anxious to choose between Hells.

  3. Mike says:

    Very good article. Labour are in trouble because the Conservatives played a blinder choosing May. She defuses all the Bullingdon, Eton, Flash man and essay crisis criticism directed at Cameron. May is perceived as sensible, competent and if anything slightly dull. All qualities wanted in a Brexit world. Also Conservative MPs are sensible even people like Leadsom dropped out because it was clear what the correct course was for the party and country. Labour MPs are not as sensible. Even if Smith us elected he is not really wanted. Labour MPs would prefer someone like Benn but Smith was their only option at this time. And him trying to out Corbyn Corbyn is laughable.

  4. Tafia says:

    To say the PLP has made error after error is an understatement on a colossal scale.

    Their own arrogance has led them to believe they are important – they have now found out that together, they don’t add up to important in anyway shape or form. They are foinding out that the reality is that all 172 arehave made themselves irrelevant, that they aren’t actually very politically astute at all – amateurish is over-estimating them. For all their delusions of grandeur the reality is that not only has Obi Wan Corbyn shafted all of them up the sphincter at the same time, but they have rather stupidly now gone and put themselves in the position that if they don’t bend the knee and kiss the hand then their own CLPs will execute them and their career in politics will be over.

    And the cretins think the can run a country? They can’t even throw a tantrum properly.

    They will get what they deserve – laughed at, pilloried, pissed on and chucked out with the rubbish. And when the deselections start, it will be very very funny to watch. They can’t even start a new party – they will have no constituency election workers, no union backing, no money, no mebership and less than three years to sort that out. Having watched their comical attempts at a coup I wouldn’t put much faith in their ability to start a new party.

  5. John Kelly says:

    May has a majority (slim, but still a working majority) why would she call an election & risk losing 4 years of power? If she called one before May 17 she would only gain an extra year (fixed term act; new government rules until the May before the five years are up). The Tories are second in six of the eleven seats where UKIP came second a 10% swing to UKIP in those seats and she’s lost her majority. The Libs are beginning to pick up votes, this would put at risk seats the Tories won in the West Country, which is the basis of their majority. It would be a risk for her to go to the country d gamble on picking up enough seats from Labour to off set any losses to the Libs & UKIP. Her predecessor took a gamble & look what happened to him.

  6. Forlornehope says:

    I’m not at all convinced by May’s “Brexit is Brexit” mantra. My suspicion is that she’s waiting for the three Brexiteers to come up with proposals that are not just voted out by Parliament but laughed out. She will then call an election on the “in or out” question leaving it up to the voters to decide if they want a Parliament with a majority to stay or go. You never know, it might end up with a UKIP/Tory Europhobe majority but probably not. Be that as it may, it would mean an election in 2018 or 2019 or it might even drag on until 2020; we shall see.

  7. Mark Livingston says:

    Trevor Fisher is guilty of some pretty predicable Blair-style top-down thinking. The next step in modernising the Labour party will clearly be for the members to start deselecting Tory-lite MPs from the autumn onwards. The party’s current problems will ultimately be resolved from the bottom upwards through increased democratisation.

  8. Eddie Clarke says:

    Of course there will be purges. The hard left are the only organised force in the party, and this is their modus operandi. The MPs have nothing to lose by continuing their opposition to Jeremy. The vote will show they have massive support in the party, but not enough to persuade Jeremy to find a role he is any good at. We have all had bosses like him – un-listening, inconsistent, never available, unimpressive at the job, but good at haranguing – so my sympathy is with the MPs. The many MPs who retain the support of their CLP should try to remain loyal to the Corbyn whip as long as they can, despite the misery, to prepare for future repairs. I don’t envy them their job. Those who are purged or expelled have every right to organise themselves as they see fit. I am sure they will keep the future of revived a progressive Labour Party firmly in mind, but, God, it is going to be a long, miserable road.

  9. Richard MacKinnon says:

    Thanks for the endorsement Trevor, but I still think that, should Corbyn win the leadership election, he has to rid the Labour Party of those MPs that supported the coup.
    I think you worry too much of the consequences. The what if’s have to be irrelevent because the stakes are too high. The very existence of the party are on the table.
    My point is and I will say it again, that after a coup has failed, any coup, there has to be a purge. It is what strong leaders do.
    It is the responsibility of a leader to keep the organsiation he leads strong and united, whether that it is a country, an army, a political party or a mafia family for that matter. That is their first and foremost duty.
    If the coup is successful and Owen Smith wins, he has to do the same with Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters within the PLP.
    I actually think that this can be and should be agreed before hand so as everyone knows what the stakes are and what they have to do individually and collectively after the result is announced. I also think that this period in Labour’s history shows that The Party’s constitution is flawed and has lead to the present debacle arising.
    Maybe this is for another post but briefly the present arrangement whereby unions and members elect the leader regardless of the wishes of the MPs does not make sense. Organisations need a logical structure that every one understands and respects. All those within an organisation need to know who they report to and who they are responsible for. Therefore CLPs should elect candidates, voters should elect MPs, MPs should elect the leader, the leader should elect his cabinet.

  10. John P Reid says:

    Neil could, and dear Jo Cox both said they regretted nominating Jeremy,Dan hinges said at the time he shouldn’t have been allowed on, but why not, I think Jeremy will lead our party to destruction,although, I don’t think there was any one in the CLP who could have stood and saved the party ,in a Neil Kinnock, never be leader,but control the party to the point,we could win again in a generation
    Maybe rashamari Ali, or gulp, Tristan hunt, could have said things that would keep our , middle class liberal vote, while getting back our, a Blue collar working class vote,who now vote Ukip,

    Momentum is taking over CLPs , some people in it,m I’d call brownites, some, are ex Toeies, some feel Ed miliband lost as despite’ spending years denouncing new labour, thought the 35% strategy! and sticking to Tory spending plans, was too close to the Tories, some feel that it’s not they feel Jeremy’s priorities ,actually connect with the electorate,it’s just the 3 other choices for leader,and Owen Smith now ,are rubbish.

    Yes, hundreds of thousands have people have joined, who hadn’t connected with politics before ,some just voted labour in the past, as they had the view what’s the alternative the Tories, some people have joined as they saw a worn out Labour Party, who for years of canvassing, hadn’t spoke to them ,about, their dislike of the status quo, they may not accept,the view that ,labour has to get ex Tories to win, there maybe something, in getting people who haven’t voted in the past to vote now( the referendum, showing that 7% of the electorate) agreed.

    The 2018 council elections ,could be a turning point if Jeremy wins, and labour lose votes to the greens and Ukip,the way the demographics are changing, labour is stacking up votes in its core areas,

    Look at basildon/thurrock, despite Boundary changes, Basildon was the constituency in 92′ that labour lost, when it was announced early that evening, that it became clear labour had list again

    In 2010 we lost the seat by 80 votes in 2015 by 395′ an example of despite labour getting a higher percentage of the vote in 2015 30.4% to the 29% in 2010 we are just stacking up votes in our core areas.

  11. Peter Simpson says:

    Oh the joy of seeing the Tories having massive fun with this. Just think, they could call for a vote of ‘no confidence’, and to avoid a general election where they would be wiped out the Labour mob would have to vote for confidence in the Tory government. As a lifelong Tory I find this farce absolutely hilarious…indeed it could be nominated for a BAFTA. And to cap it all I have been given a vote in the leadership election and will be voting for Jezza. Brilliant…!!!!

  12. Madasafish says:

    Let’s see what May’s choices are:

    1. An early election.
    Upside: Win , maybe an increased majority.
    Downside s : Corbyn resigns and is replaced by someone who is semi competent rather than totally incompetent. Next GE in 2021 – May could lose.
    And Brexit negotiations coupled with a GE make Government overload leading to overwork and errors. (in my view a MAJOR issue)

    2. Do nothing.
    Upside Corbyn retains Leadership, continues to screw up Labour, loses 2020 GE by a landslide and five years of political infighting follow. Labour unlikely to be in Government before 2030.
    Brexit negotiations proceed with minimal interruptions.
    Downsides Smallish majority make introducing major changes more difficult – arguably a good thing.

    So May does nothing – “just” sorts Brexit.. A major job.

    Trevor Fisher needs to learn to view an opponent’s options through an opponent’s viewpoint and not his own.

    As far as the other comments by others on whose fault the current Labour shambles is, the writers who blame the PLP have obviously never heard of “the buck stops here”..i.e at the top.

    Corbyn is clearly utterly useless as a Leader..going off to rallies rather than trying to Oppose the Tories. The hallmark of a muppet..

  13. John P Reid says:

    The no coincidence vote shouldn’t have been secret, from Jon cruddas too afraid to speak out, to Frank field, who at least realizes that SOME of the working class up north who wanted. Brexit, saw Corbyn as the in,y one who was going away from the university graduate politics of the others
    Richard McKinnon is right about, the return of the shadow cabinet elections, but the party agould at least decide what’s its policies are when if someone decided to stand for the shadow cabinet elections, became defense secretary, and inference voted to keep us in NATO, and Jeremy voted in a free vote to leave it, while we’re in opposition, then the shadow defense secretary wouldn’t have to justify why the party doesn’t have a coherent policy

  14. Richard MacKinnon says:

    Peter Simpson,
    Please refrain, it is unseemly to intrude on personal grief.

  15. Tafia says:

    Madas, you are making an assumption that BREXIT won’t happen until after an electiomn – early or otherwise. That is completely and utterly and totally wrong.

    1. There is not going to be an early election. May has no need of one. Do you really think Labour MPs from Northern and Midlands constituencies fancy their chances convincing hostlile Labour voters in their own constituencies that voted on favour of BREXIT that they are against it and intend to stop it? They will be laughed at by their core voters. Across the UK, one third of Labour’s voters voted to leave the EU – they are not going to vote for a Labour Party that intends to try and de-rail that, get that stupid idea out of your head. They would more than happily accept another tory victory if that was the only way to guarentee BREXIT.

    2. Article 50 will be invoked sometime during 2017 – certainly no later than 31 Dec 2017 (my money is it will be announced at the next Queens Speech later this year). We will be out of the EU by no later than 31 Dec 2019. That way the run-up to GE2020 will not be dominated by the EU question as it will no longer be of relevance – it will be done, dusted and over with and a part of history. No Tory MP is going to oppose this, not even pro-EU ones – they will face reselections of their own if they do from their own constituency parties and near two thirds of their membership are anti-EU.

    3. It is not in May’s interests nor the Tory party’s interests to call an early election. They don’t require it and it’s merely a distraction and unnecessary financial expense.. If you all seriously believe that Corbyn is an electoral liability, then you have to believe that the tories will perceive that it’s actually in their best interests to keep him leading the Labour Party for as long as humanly possible. If your beliefs are correct, labour will be utterly destroyed in 2020, be in the grip of the far-Left from top to bottom and thus be unsalvageable for 2025 and probably 2030 and possibly never again. (Personally, I think Labour will start picking up in the polls again quite rapidly come the autumn, which will be a huge problem for the gobby, teddy-chucking PLP)

    Everything has changed – the SNP, BREXIT, UKIP, the rise of Corbyn and the demise of the Eton crowd have seen to that. Cosy, centrist, consensus politics as you knew it in the UK is dying – and good riddance. The PLP have to accept that the electorate no longer want variations of the same thing – they want clear and very wide differences. The tories are now led by a woman from a more humble background than half the bloody Labour MPs who is saying more working-class friendly stuff than the PLP has since Callaghan’s days.

  16. Tafia says:

    Oh. And Corbyn is clearly utterly useless as a Leader..going off to rallies rather than trying to Oppose the Tories. The hallmark of a muppet.. He’s at the rallies because a disloyal pack of vermin have deliberately set about destroying their own party in a fit of pique. He didn’t ask for a leadership election. he didn’t instigate it. The self-indulgent, selfish, suicidal muppets of the PLP did.

  17. Vern says:

    There is a reason why no one outside of the Labour party had heard of Corbyn despite his 40 year career in politics. No one dared to bring him out from the shadows with his hate filled, militant views. The world has evolved and Corbyn and his like have not. He opposes just about everything anyone else suggests without considering the implications or questioning if a middle ground can be sought.
    We need a credible opposition for all our sakes not someone who just likes the idea of a rally, protest or strike!

  18. madasafish says:


    He’s at the rallies because a disloyal pack of vermin have deliberately set about destroying their own party in a fit of pique”.

    You must think the rebellion started the day Corbyn was elected but he started – or rather continued- going to rallies when elected Leader and never stopped.

    Madas, you are making an assumption that BREXIT won’t happen until after an electiomn – early or otherwise. That is completely and utterly and totally wrong”

    No, I am not. What I am saying is that a GE will screw up Brexit negotiations – and bring them to a total halt. Workload for one reason and the second is the EU cannot negotiate with a Government which may lose power in the next 5 -6 months due to calling a GE early.

  19. DJ says:

    10 months ago: Jeremy Corbyn is democratically elected by the party, in part because he resonates with labour supporters and is able to attract new but also because those also in the contest were not particularly strong. Despite not being particularly strong labour now has a selection of faces who have a media presence and can reinforce the truth that elections are about parties rather than leaders. Previous to this Jeremy Corbyn suggests he’ll work with each potential leader and that labour needs to be a broad church.

    9 and a bit months ago: many of those challenging Corbyn take their ball and go home. Of course, one did this before the end of the leader race as it turns out he has a) never stepped foot out of london and b) does not have the character to be a labour leader.

    9 months ago: labour MPs decide now is the time to start saying labour cannot win with JC as leader. This continues till Europe is used as an excuse to outwardly challenge the leader even though those challenging were a) supportive of JC during the Europe campaign and b) planning it before Europe.

    Perhaps what labour can learn most from the tories is that people generally feel a government should not be in the middle of a civil war and that even those on opposite sides of the party should be seen to be able to work together, whether true or not, for greater stability and to secure their shared policies. It seems that one leader 10 months ago realised that and few PLP members since have twigged too as others decided a self-fulfilling prophecy of defeat was far more satisfactory….while saying they want to unify the party and labour policies can only be secured in government. Clearly hypocritical and patronising towards labour voters this brand of labour supporter tries to suggest the problem is with labour membership.

  20. efcdons says:

    ” but it remains the case that the previous mistake was approving the Miliband reforms which only allowed the MPs to have the limited control of nominating”

    That is maybe the funniest part of this whole thing. The people who are trying so hard to get rid of Corbyn changed the rules precisely because they thought they could avoid a new leader to the left of Miliband by diluting the power of the unions. Hoisted by their own petard as it were.

    I don’t know what should be done now, but the ABCs really should have let the hopeless Corbyn make himself look like a bad choice for leader. Instead they’ve made him a martyr and given any regular person starting to doubt whether Corbyn is the right man for the job a reason to check themselves and wonder “Is is Corbyn, or is it the fault of the people who have been against him since day one?”

    It’s almost as if there is some momentum mole in the PLP telling them the exact wrong thing to do at every turn.

  21. John P Reid says:

    DJ 10 fair point but sometimes a leader can be more popular than their party, early Blair Gaistkell and Calalghan for differ t reason, becUase the party was unpopular at that time

    9 some who resigned from he Shad Cab, did so becaUse of the lack of organization from Jeremy’s top team

  22. Anne says:

    I don’t believe that Teresa May will call a general election – she has no need too she is popular (as popular as a politician can be) with the public and probably the best of a bad bunch. If JC does win the leadership election I don’t believe the chaos will resolve in the Labour Party. I like the idea of a party within a party. I will be joining the Co operative party. I hope that those Labour MPs who are also Co op MPs will become more prominent and more will join – perhaps becoming the official opposition.

  23. Tafia says:

    I like the idea of a party within a party. I will be joining the Co operative party.

    The Co-Op is not in the Labour Party – it is allied to and affiliated to it and has been since before WW2, but is legally a totally separate party and registered as such with the Electoral Commission and can break the affiliation anytime it likes. Incidentally, it’s more left wing in beliefs, values and structure than the centre of the Labour Party.

  24. John Wilkes says:

    The piece provides us with a thoughtful analysis about the judgement of the Labour PLP and the subsequent election of the Parties, people’s choice, one Jeremy Corbyn. A man who is often described by his team and supporters as a new kind of politician, principled, with no time for spin and PR stunts. And having read the article by Trevor Fisher, it is hardly surprising that we later find the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, Mr Jeremy Corbyn, himself a member of the Labour PLP, pretending he is unable to find a seat on a Virgin train and providing us with a party political broadcast on the Kings Cross to Newcastle train about his inability to find a seat. Did he leave his glasses at home, or was he blinded by the mean Tory sun, or was he tricked by an arch capitalist? Oh dearie me! No!! What Virgingate or Traingate has shown, is that Mr Corbyn clearly tops the League of piss poor political judgement. His actions on that train make the rest of the Labour PLP look like total amateurs. He was caught bang to rights. And talk about the manipulation of the facts. So what do Mr Corbyn and his team do, when caught out, they then lash out and attack the owner of the train and brand him a tax exile, because he exposes the whole sorry fairy story with hard CCTV evidence. When the issue fails to die down the Corbyn team then threaten Virgin Rail with Nationalization. Surely this is the age of the train! But Comrades, Brothers and Sisters, you need to win elections to achieve such goals. It is often said that the Tories govern and Labour complain. But you don’t even do that very well Mr Corbyn. And nor, clearly, does your team. The sight of the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition Labour squatting in a train corridor, complaining, even though there are seats available further down the carriage, there is surely a metaphor in there somewhere. So yes, occasionally some members of the Labour PLP do act like numpties as the article fairly points out, but this! What can you say? It sadly brings politics to a whole new sorry level. And one final thought, Corbynites want to deselect so called Blairites, we all know why, let’s not pretend otherwise, because you hate them. But what about the charge of bringing this once great Party into disrepute, on the King’ Cross to Newcastle train? There is quite clear unequivocal evidence. But when you invite Mr Corbyn and his team to that meeting, do us all a favour and reserve them seats, to avoid any further unnecessary embarrassment to our great Party.

  25. Its a sign of the times that no one has yet disagreed that the PLP has been deeply inadequate, and what one can say of Jeremy Corbyn and his train journey is not for public consumption. What role was played by the Guardian journalist who seems to have been an active participant is something else, but Corbyn makes his own judgements.

    However while I agree with David Boothroyd that one cannot see the PLP as a unified bloc – and this will be important after the result is announced – 172 of them lined up on a no confidence issue. And we now have a two horse race for leadership. So there is, de facto, two unified blocs, for an against Corbyn. I agree that in 1931 Lloyd George did not split the LIberal Party – both Samuel and Simon led factional groupings – but my reference was to the Lloyd George-Asquith split of 1916, from which the LIberals never recovered.

    Paul Barker is right that there are no good options for Labour centrists, but as Gramsci said, pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the spirit. Options are few and far between, but it is not the case there are NO options.

    On May, I don’t believe she will call an election – the Fixed Term Parliament Act means 2/3 of ALL MPs have to vote for an election unless she changes the law, but the point is that the choice is hers. Labour do not frighten the Tories, the ball has been kicked into her possession.

    And talk of purges and expulsions make the chances of Labour recovering more remote. Apart from the principle that Labour should be a broad church, the basic rule is Unity is Strength. True for parties as well as unions. If those who want purges believe Labour can then win an election, explain how please.

    I had to smile when I read RIchard MacKinnon’s view that organisations need “a logical structure that everyone understands and respects”. Purging people would not contribute to this, but the structure of the Labour Party is a mixture of leader worship (no leader sacked since 1934) and pseudo democracy – when did the National Policy Forum last meet? A rational structure is something I have hoped would emerge since well before 2015, but this is not a party that does rational.

    A case in point is Peter Simpson claiming as a Tory he has a vote in the leadership election. All too believeable. this party has failed to ensure its members are not its opponents. Given the problems, those of the PLP have to be put into context. THey have been appallingly short sighted since allowing Gordon Brown to become leader with no due process, at which point I left the Party for eight years. But they are the product of a party whose culture has no grasp of strategy – or much else that practical, successful politics requires.

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