Tristram Hunt is a disgrace

by Kevin Meagher

Those Labour MPs on the Right of the party who stuck to their guns through the 1980s, seeing-off attempts to deselect them and fighting to keep the flame of  British social democracy burning,  eventually paved the way for the party’s renaissance.

They are the unsung heroes of Labour’s long and often turbulent history. Without them, there would, in all likelihood, not even be a party today.

Gerald Kaufman. Ann Taylor. John Smith. Members of the Solidarity Group of Labour MPs.

People of ability who saw their best years wasted during the party’s obsolescence in the 1980s.

But they didn’t give up.

Sensible, pragmatic politicians who stood their ground with dignity and defiance amid the lunacy of the time.

They could have flounced off to join the SDP with those egocentric traitors: Owen, Jenkins and Shirley Williams.

But they didn’t.

They kept their fury and despair inside the Labour family.

Eventually, the party pulled through. Equilibrium was restored. Sooner or later, enough people want to actually win elections.

Where are their successors today?

All of which is an around about way of saying Tristram Hunt is a disgrace.

The MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central (pro tem) and sometime frontbencher is quitting his seat so he can skip off to run the V&A.

Not off to be an aid worker or run a charity for ex-offenders, mind you. To return to the bosom of London’s chattering class from whence he came.

To be fair, Hunt has always given the impression of being a lost soul in the people’s party and a poor fit to represent a seat like Stoke. An imperious dilettante.

In his resignation letter to local members, he speaks of how being an MP can be ‘intensely frustrating’.

A bit like the frustration some of his erstwhile members felt when he was shoe-horned into the seat in 2010, causing long-serving members to quit the party in disgust.

Hunt owes his voters and the party some basic dedication.

Heaven knows MPs have enough spare time to pursue other interests. If being a Labour MP is now such a bore, he could have just quit at the end of the parliament.

Rumours abound of further such departures.

Flapping Labour MPs really need to get a grip.

Just like the 1980s, the party can and will come through its current difficulties.

That process becomes more likely and will happen faster if sensible people of good faith once again stand their ground and don’t run off and hide in grand museums.

If Labour MPs got off their self-pitying backsides and did some work rather than moping around.

Without wishing to sound overly, pious, being a Member of Parliament should be a calling, not a rung on the career ladder.

Not a bullet point on the back of an envelope, as part of some inexorable ascent to greatness, a la Michael Heseltine.

At one time, that was a given.

Labour politicians were committed to their beliefs and the people they represented.

I’m sorry the Labour party hasn’t been able to make Tristram Julian William Hunt prime minister before his 43rd birthday, but that really is no reason to abandon his post.

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Uncut 

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20 Responses to “Tristram Hunt is a disgrace”

  1. Malc says:

    Tory-lite Tristram famously crossed a picket line of striking academics at London’s Queen Mary University, to give a lecture which was, er, somewhat ironically, on Marx! He’s a Tory at heart really.

  2. anosrep says:

    I agree with your assessment of Dr Hunt, but your contempt for the V&A, a valuable museum, is inane – museums aren’t just for the “chattering class”, they’re for everyone. I don’t like Hunt and I disapprove of his decision to stand down in just the same way you do, but his new job will give him the opportunity to do something worthwhile at last (I say “opportunity” – whether he’ll actually be good for the V&A remains to be seen).

    Your view of Labour’s history is also blinkered. The antics of the far left certainly did a lot of damage to the party in the 1980s but the right was just as bad if not worse – I’m not aware of any Labour leftists actively having campaigned for Conservative parliamentary candidates just because the local Labour Party had selected a right-winger, as happened e.g. in Wallasey in 1987 when they selected a left-winger. And let’s not forget that, although the document that eventually became “the longest suicide note in history” was drawn up mainly by the left, it was the right of the party – specifically John Golding MP – that was responsible for it being adopted as a general election manifesto (which was not its original purpose). The Labour right deliberately damaged Labour’s election prospects in order to discredit the Labour left (this isn’t a conspiracy theory, Golding admitted it quite candidly).

  3. TTP says:

    Agreed, Hunt is a self-regarding tit, but I for one think Labour’s better off without him. The by-election will probably be a tough fight but hopefully he’ll be replaced by a hard-working local Labour MP who actually believes in something other than their own brilliance. Carpetbaggers like Hunt have no stomach for the current fight.

  4. Tom says:

    What a load of tripe.

    This is a key role in a national institution. Who in their right mind wouldn’t swap a seat in Parliament for the V&A, particularly when Corbyn routinely turns a blind eye to the abuse of anyone who isn’t in his fan club? The vacancy at the V&A is now, not in 2020, but you also appear to be ruling out any prospect of a general election this year.

    If you can do something for your country, you should. Parliament isn’t the only public service there is.

  5. John P Reid says:

    Gerald Kaufman, Ann Taylor ,on the right of the party?, Gerald voted to leave the aeEc, was very close to Wilson, while shadow Home Secretary, in the 80’s and labour were passing motions calling the police Salmonella, and poison, he wouldn’t condemn them ,that’s why the police federation said they couldn’t see how they could work with a labour government to keep law and order

    Regqrding Williqms and co, those of the libDems who were against Iraq, of course they left and too votes with them, so by that definition, had that wing of the party never joined,we would never hwve got their votes in the first place,and wouldn’t hwve win in 1964 or 1966.

    When honorable left wingers left the party, like Livingstone, because of the stitch up, were you outraged, what about Dan Hodges or Rod Liddle who because they write for Tory tabloids don’t fit in with your luvvies view, of the who’ll that because the working class aren’t educated, it doesn’t matter, trying to communicate, only with the middle class who may vote Tory and if you keep saying what about the NHS and middle class public sector workers ,who’ve had a pay freeze, such as teachers, they’re the people to get us to win alelection
    Because the groups you’re trying to appeal to,will never be enough to win alection, anymore, than Cotbyns mythical, get the green vote, and non voters and it’ll add up to a radical working class left vote that doesn’t really exist

  6. Colin Kerr says:

    Spot on,. Just a career, no reason to pursue politics above odious egotism. We expect that of the tories after all they know that they are boss class and so are born to rule…..
    But the funny thing about Labourites is we don’t think that anyone is born to rule. Not even pretty boys.

  7. Tafia says:

    Labour’s problem is it has two internal civil wars going on at the same time.

    Civil war number one is Jeremy Corbyn. Outside of London and the big metropolitan areas the Labour membership and Labour vote on the whole think he is a knob pure and simple.

    Civil War number two is BREXIT. Again, outside of London and the big metroplitan areas Labour’s core vote – and more crucially it’s party membership, support BREXIT. Tritram Hunt throwing his hand in today has been caused by this (not Corbyn as the MSM insinuate). He is an outspokenly pro-EU MP who has ended up representing a constituency with a massive Leave vote (65-70%) His own CLP have all but disowmed him . Similar is going on in Labour CLPs all over the English Midlands and Northern England and in parts of Wales (cue Labour denials – but it’s true non-the-less). Expect in these areas any by-elections the relevant CLP to pick a pro-BREXIT candidate – and London to kick-off and in some seats attempt to parachute a knob candidate.

    Corbyn supporters seem to think it’s as simple as finding a leave socialist and bam, you win the seat. The problem is that neither side of the Brexit debate trust Labour. Leavers don’t trust Labour because they officially supported remain. Remainers don’t trust them because of Corbyn’s lack of enthusiasm and his words since the vote.

    On top of this, the majority see Corbyn as an ineffectual and irrelevant leader (even those who think he’s a decent person). They wouldn’t trust him to do anything on the Brexit debate.

    The only parties with clear views on Brexit are the Lib Dems and UKIP and the SNP. You could easily see the Lib Dems recovering slightly and UKIP making significant gains in Stoke. This could be enough pressure to squeeze Labour out. Even if it’s only by a few hundred votes. That’s all it takes for UKIP to win.

    And all Labour have to do is listen to the working class and not the middle class tossers that have infested it like lice.

    But they won’t.

    Because they are too weak and belong to yesterday. Politics is about to evolve dramatically over the next 2-3 years far more than it has in the last 50 and any party that cannot react dramatically in a very short space of time will quickly become pointless.

  8. Tafia says:

    When Zak Goldsmith stepped out of his party, he told his electorate, I disagree with my party, I stand down, I will stand again as an independent (I’m glad he lost).

    But Hunt betrayed his Stoke electorate for a high profile career at the V&A.

    Hunt is a coward. Thise Labour MPs in the north and midlands in the same position who ahven’t quit are cowards and also frauds milking the tax payer and thus beneath contempt.

  9. Richard MacKinnon says:

    Kevin Meagher is a funny guy. In Kevin’s world nobody can leave ‘The People’s Party’ (more of that in a minute). When you become a Labour MP you sign your life to the only true god: The Party. Like the Mafia, once your in there is no way out.

    Brilliant. Kevin just does not know how good he is. Kevin can happily trot out terms such as ‘a lost soul in the people’s party’ without knowing how much pleasure he gives to so many people. Kevin, do me a favour, make my day even better, when you say ‘the people’s party’ what people are you refering to?

  10. paul barker says:

    Oh dear, Mr Meagher seems a bit grumpy today, all his prejudices are showing. I would write a response to the serious points in this article if I could find any.

  11. The only disgrace is this nasty bile. Tristram Hunt is not the first person to resign their seat and won’t be the the last, so it’s not clear why he is being singled out for a hatchet job.

  12. What, exactly, qualifies Tristram Hunt to be Director of the V&A?

    He said that he couldn’t see the lot in Waitrose voting for Jeremy Corbyn. There was, and is, no Waitrose in Stoke-on-Trent.

  13. Peter Kenny says:

    Well, I think. It’s just the logical result of the New Labour years – the party becomes a career option, not a calling. ‘Imperious dilletante’ – wow! He’s just what he is, doing what he does.

    The question is what kind of party shoehorns someone like him into a place like Stoke.

  14. Alf says:

    Every Blairite should leave. Now.

  15. madasafish says:

    “They could have flounced off to join the SDP with those egocentric traitors: Owen, Jenkins and Shirley Williams.

    But they didn’t.

    They kept their fury and despair inside the Labour family.

    Eventually, the party pulled through. Equilibrium was restored. Sooner or later, enough people want to actually win elections.”

    Trouble is: that process took 17 years. By then Mr Hunt will be in his 60s.He”ll have been a back bench MP almost all his poltical life. And if history repeats , the next Labour MP to become PM will not be in today’s House of Commons.

    Given that outlook, I expect a lot more ambitious Labour MPs who have some charisma and external competence will have followed him.

    Indeed it is likley no current Labour supporting blog like this one will exxist then.

    And the difference between then and now was in those days, MPs and Unions chose Labour Leaders. Today it’s Labour members who do, and it is likely they will control the every section of the Labour Party within the next 5 years.

    I strongly doubt many of them will change their political views and sell out to the appeal of appeasement with the voters.

  16. Keith Darlington says:

    It is a disgrace that a man who only 18 months ago pledged to serve his constituency for 5 years is leaving because he realises he is not going to fulfil his career aspirations of becoming a senior political figure. If I were a Stoke voter, I would be hopping mad that I am having to vote in another needless election.

  17. I’m curious. Why has Tristram Hunt been singled out for this anger, when Jamie Reed did the exact same thing a few weeks earlier?

  18. NickT says:

    Until Corbyn and his rabble of incompetent, corrupt, anti-Semitic, Stalinist cronies are removed from the Labour party, there is absolutely no reason for any intelligent, honest or patriotic person to vote for that party. Mr. Hunt has done the sensible and honourable thing and chosen to serve Britain and British culture in a role where he may be able to make a difference. I think his decision is thoroughly praiseworthy. I note the irony of the Corbynite hate-peddlers denouncing the resignation of a man whom they obviously longed to destroy via deselection. Clearly he was a smarter and better man than the pathetic jackals of Jeremy “This week I think I shall be Donald Trump” Corbyn.

  19. John P Reid says:

    What Mad as a fish,said

  20. ad says:

    They could have flounced off to join the SDP with those egocentric traitors: Owen, Jenkins and Shirley Williams.

    I daresay they thought the country would benefit from such a party. Indeed, I’m not convinced the country benefits from a major party that blows itself up every generation or so – the Libdems seem to have a much healthier reaction to defeat.

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