Ed Miliband, Lucy Powell…we see you

by Rob Marchant

Tom Watson’s resignation last Thursday as Deputy Leader is not a great blow to the hopes of Labour moderates in the sense that they have lost a great figurehead. The loss at this stage is, sadly, merely symbolic.

In the end, Watson’s Achilles heel – the perennially poor judgement displayed in his former close friendship with Len McCluskey, and his part in such disasters as the Falkirk debacle and the Blair letter – meant a truly wasted opportunity, of galvanising moderates during four years of Corbynite destruction. No, no Denis Healey he.

The moderates’ overall failure to shake off their worst leader ever, or even to stand up to his cabal, is a tragedy tinged with farce which will surely one day be the subject of much debate by historians.

Some, like Watson, have bailed, and who can blame them? Many noble exceptions are protesting every move by the leadership and rightly challenging the party’s continuing slide into a racist swamp, as exemplified by the disgraceful selection of a number of openly anti-Semitic candidates in the coming election.

But if there is something more frustrating than that failure, it is to see MPs we once thought of as decent, mobilising to support a floundering party regime and elect a racist.

It is to be seen in the uncomfortable grin of Caroline Flint, feeling compelled to gush about sharing a stage with Party Chair Ian Lavery, the man who paid for his house with the invalidity payouts of sick miners.

And then there are those who once espoused a quite different political direction. Backbenchers who have no reason to toe the party line, yet who now not only acquiesce to, but fully embrace, the ugly reality of the current party and hope that no-one will remember when this is all over. They will.

Step forward, Lucy Powell, Ed Miliband’s former 2010 campaign manager. Compering a Manchester event for Jeremy Corbyn’s adoring fans from the cult (sorry, let’s please not try and pretend that members of the public turned up). Signing up to the leadership’s ridiculous farrago of a policy programme. Smiling for the selfies with the Shadow Cabinet “stars”.

And, as one Twitter commenter noted, all this from someone who last year spoke at the “Enough is Enough” protest against Labour anti-Semitism. Oh, sorry, Jews, there’s an election to win now; we’ll be back after this short word from our sponsors.

Perhaps predictably, though, this is nothing as to the actions of her former boss, Miliband junior himself.

Let us not forget that it was Miliband who, through his complacency about the rise of the far left on his watch, and his cataclysmic £3 associate membership scheme, held the door open for Corbyn and his recently-joined, far-left acolytes who have done so much to infest the party with anti-Semitism.

The crashing irony is that it was he, the party’s first-ever Jewish leader and fearing being pigeonholed as such, who downplayed the Islamist extremism which fuelled that anti-Semitism, and which was visible almost as soon as he became leader. By the time he left office, he had already lost Britain’s Jewish vote to the Tories.

It would have been sufficient, one imagines, had Miliband shown some kind of contrition. If he had simply said, “I made a terrible mistake and I am sorry”, the party would surely have forgiven him (some contrition over his shameful role in the 2013 Syria vote would not have gone amiss, either, but let’s let that pass).

But that, it seems, is not Miliband’s style. He has boisterously reinvented himself as a media personality, who has appeared at all four editions of The World Transformed, the Momentum conference held in parallel with the annual Party conference.

It is worth thinking about what this conference means for the party staffers – once his employees – who spend months organising the main conference.

It undermines them, acting as a cuckoo in the party nest, sucking attendance, importance and sponsorship out of the main conference.

More importantly for the party at large, perhaps, it detracts from the political importance of the main conference itself. The main conference is about the whole party and all its MPs and representatives; the Momentum conference is about Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. It is a classic far-left move, to infiltrate and take over party bodies and structures, to diminish their importance until only a husk remains.

But Miliband is there every year, with his jokey pub quizzes and game shows. Oh, how we laughed.

Not to put too fine a point on it, to support such a conference at all is to spit in the faces of his former staff, not to mention his colleagues on the moderate wing he once claimed to be part of.

Ed Miliband, if he had a shred of self-awareness, would have at least twigged that the credibility the party he once led has been comprehensively destroyed by his successor. If not, as a man of Jewish heritage, that it has ceased to be a safe space for that community.

But he does not. He continues to suckle lovingly at the Momentum teat, presumably hoping that, in the unlikely event that Corbyn finds himself at the head of a government, he might be short on ministerial experience in his Cabinet and look to his predecessor to provide such.

Ed Miliband, Lucy Powell…we see you.

Rob Marchant is an activist and former Labour party manager who blogs at The Centre Left


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8 Responses to “Ed Miliband, Lucy Powell…we see you”

  1. Alf says:

    Most of the worst Blairites have now left the party. There are still a few left though. Lucy is not one of the wild-eyed cultist sort so she’s able to understand why it remains important for some of the New Labour era throwbacks to stay and add wider appeal to the party. There are a lot of Tory-lite voters out there and they’ve all got votes. Labour can only win big if it appeals to them too!

    Those Blairites who choose to remain are welcome and should stay in the Party.

  2. John P Reid says:

    Where to start
    Moderates!
    What does that even mean, Corbyn has sold out his ill listen to the working class, wants trade union rights, nationalist ane build social housing denounce New labour and neo liberalism,to appease the middle class Paul Mason guardian, metropolitan liberal elite,while dressing it up as some kind of Student angst toy tone revlutionary, nonsense that appeals to Owen Jones and Ash sarkar

    The worst leader ever, I think the tories are gonna win quite dinfortably,and this includes with the high amount of libdem,and SNP MPs Labour will have under 200MPs, but let him hang himself,or the perception will be it’s grumpy old centrists who’ve brought him doen, the real question is id the evidence gonna be someone who can comein and say labour is basically a momentum, student,ex libdem activists who hold the working class on contempt, who assume with identity politics because they run momentum meetings they speak for the electorate and the party,there enough mythical middle class student and they feel they speak for so called minority groups to have enough control, to run the party ans win elections,
    The momentum lot in my area are appalled at the views of the blue labour lot,while their bullying is destroying it,lately we’ve had some young Black and gay members join, momentum have said to them,because you’re “victims” you shouldn’t be on the blue labour side, you should be on our side, want another referendum for remain,and think Trans women are women,” no said rhe yiunger blwck and gay members “we’re in the blue labour side.

    I Voted Andy burnham first, Ed miliband second in 2010 and I stand by that

    A link to the Daily mail,about Anti Semitic candidates ,really,

    The penultimate paragraph about ed miliband lack of Self awareness and how his jokey Christmas pub quiz persona,now seen to validate the fact that it’s his fault we’re in this mess, fair enough

    When labour lose, the idea that the so called moderates or ex Blairites or what you call yourself can win back the working class who’ll be voting Tory for the first time is ridiculous

    I know more than 40 former labour voters who were on the Miners/ Print staff/ Nurses , side during the strikes of the 80’s who’ll be voting Tory for the first time, dome are pensioners some are on invalidity benefit, some never bought their council homes and lost a lot of their pension due to Thatcher, that’s how much they hate the London metropolitan labour, party,and they have good reason too,as the middle clsss liberal elite, hate them too.

  3. Rab says:

    It seems only fair to recommend that the following be read in relation to some intemperate remarks above:

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/can-europe-make-it/when-jews-are-just-fodder-tory-propaganda-machine/

  4. Rob’s back! I thought he must have joined the Liberals and abandoned Uncut. Still when I started to read this bit;

    “In the end, Watson’s Achilles heel – the perennially poor judgement displayed in his former close friendship with…”

    I thought the name was going to be Max Mosley, someone who at one time was openly anti-Semitic, or even the fantasist Carl Beech, but no, Rob finds it is Len McCluskey.

    Still it’s Rob and we know exactly who his vitriol will be aimed at. Isn’t it about time the “Labour” in front of “Uncut” is dropped.

  5. JoHn P reid says:

    I live in one of the Most white Middle-age, Small C conservative, Christian, Brexit, white, Working Class areas in the Country, Harold Hill and Rainham and Hornchurch, ,next Door is Romford who feeling left out, has Had it’s local Labour party taken over by Momentum, they’re mainly ex Lidems, White Middle class young and into Trans rights

    Due to last year getting our First Black female councillor In Harold Hill, we’ve had more younger female Black Members come along, Not necessarily because they’re Pro Corbyn

    well, the Momentum lot have said to 4 of the younger female members ,they should be on the momentum side want another referendum for remain and think Trans are real women, No said the 4 younger black female members we agree with the Working Class, Brexit members in Harold Hill, Hornchurch and Rainham

  6. steve says:

    “a tragedy tinged with farce”

    Superb analysis, as usual, Rob. And I share your concern. Deeply.

    Ben Bradshaw has already suggested Putin’s interference produced the Brexit vote.

    After mobilising 17 million to vote for Brexit, Putin’s mind-warping propaganda would easily accomplish an unwanted general election outcome.

    As you so vividly describe, MPs once thought of as being paragons of Blairite virtue have now succumbed to Putin’s trickery.

    This is what we’re up against, Rob. We are being keenly manipulated by the man who already has an acolyte ensconced in the Whitehouse.

    What should we do? Take a leaf from the Peoples’ Vote playbook and attempt to suspend democracy? Campaign for the saviour from the North: Jo Swinson?

    Any answers, Rob? Time is of the essence – I await further instruction from your clear-thinking self.

    Do not delay!

  7. John P Reid says:

    Steve, lol ,quite.

  8. Landless Peasant says:

    But Labour hasn’t lost the British Jewish vote to the Tories, they were Rightwing Jews who would have voted Conservative anyway, the same people who are disgracefully using false accusations of antisemitism against the Labour party in a blatant smear campaign. It is appalling to see similar unfounded allegations being made in this article. There is no big problem with antisemitism within the Labour party. The Rabbinical Executive wrote a letter of support following Rabbi Mirvis’ emotive and unsubstantiated recent outburst, which was entirely Political propaganda. Here’s another article that might explain to you what is really happening:

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/reopening-auschwitz-conspiracy-stop-corbyn/5696943

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