Posts Tagged ‘entryists’

Respect: the case against allowing extremists into the Labour party

19/09/2012, 07:00:31 AM

by Rob Marchant

Last week there was much speculation about whether or not Salma Yaqoob, the former leader of Respect who understandably resigned rather than share a party with George Galloway, might join the Labour Party, should she so desire. Indeed, local Labour MP Richard Burden on Thursday extended the hand of friendship, saying she would “be an asset”.

Yaqoob is a young, articulate politician about whom we know relatively little, given that she is, in terms of real administrative power, an ex-backbench Birmingham councillor and has had few years of exposure to the national media.

But as a former party leader she still has political weight and, unlike her erstwhile colleague Galloway, she has not had time to make many serious gaffes or enemies although, as Dan Hodges pointed out, describing 7/7 as a “reprisal attack” came pretty close.

On a brief examination of her party and her politics though, the vast majority of us, if we bothered to do so, would probably find that our gut reaction would be that we didn’t care very much for either.

But that is not the point. Everyone has rather been asking the wrong question: instead of asking, do we want this person in Labour, we should be asking, is it in any party’s interest to invite people in from the extremes of national politics?

In other words, a grown-up political party should not be in the business of opining on specific cases, but have a robust, general policy; some universal principles about why it would or would not want to engage with another political group’s cast-offs. Not to do this makes us look at best subjective and, at worst, cronyish – arbitrarily picking and choosing only our mates for our party, and throwing out anyone who dissents. Not a good look for a democratic party.


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Good home offered to custard pie throwing entryists

13/09/2011, 09:08:25 AM

by Dan Hodges

Recall the name of  the leader of the Militant Tendancy? Me neither.

We remember Derek Hatton, of course. All sharp suits and scouse wit. But he wasn’t the leader. Hell, he wasn’t even leader of Liverpool council.

That’s the thing about political entryists. They’re sneaky like that. They don’t hold formal positions, or hold elected office. Wear name badges and carry business cards; “Hi, I’m Derek, I’m here to infiltrate you and divert you from the path of moderate democratic socialism. Please enjoy the canapés”.

In fact, many of them don’t even think of themselves as entryists at all. They’re just honest to goodness “new members”.  A bit of fresh blood and innovative thinking for a battered and beleaguered movement.

I’m a bit of an entryist myself. A “Blairite” or a “Thatcherite”; apparently they’re interchangeable. I know this because people tell me so every time I write something outrageous, like suggesting we should try and get more seats at the next election than the Tory party. (more…)

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