Posts Tagged ‘Membership’

Labour has reached peak groupthink

26/11/2015, 10:28:35 PM

by Rob Marchant

groupthink, n., [grüp-ˌthiŋk]: a pattern of thought characterized by self-deception, forced manufacture of consent, and conformity to group values and ethics

Merriam-Webster online dictionary

The saddest thing about party conference this year, as commentator Iain Martin remarked, was “otherwise nice/sensible people trying to persuade themselves it will be ok”.

If there were a fortnight to convince the world otherwise, this must surely have been it.

Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of Labour’s position on bombing Isil, the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris and the rebellion on an actual vote for renewal of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, have all been an unmitigated shambles.

Most immediately, there’s Corbyn’s amazing letter outlining his personal position on British involvement in bombing Isil, pre-empting Monday’s shadow cabinet discussion, astounding shadow ministers and MPs alike.

Then there was his refusal to condemn Stop the War Coalition’s toe-curling and hastily-retracted blog post, blaming the Paris attacks on France and her Western allies. Not to mention a subsequent mauling by his own MPs at the regular PLP meeting, over that, Jihadi John and the government’s shoot-to-kill policy. Then the unprecedented event of Labour MPs criticising their own leader in the Commons and his links to the Stoppers.

In the case of the vote to keep Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent, we had centrist MPs in the bizarre (and surely also unprecedented) position of defying the whip to vote for party policy, as Ben Bradshaw MP drily noted.

And let’s not forget (just 24 hours ago although it already seems longer) the unedifying spectacle of attempted political theatre gone badly wrong. John McDonnell MP – for it was he – chose to respond to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement by waving a copy of Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book. Yes, that Mao, the 20th century’s greatest mass-murderer.

And thus did the tragedy of Labour’s last few months descend into farce.


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My good friend Luke Bozier

19/01/2012, 07:30:51 AM

by Peter Watt

Go to the Labour party website. Click on “Join Labour” and it says:

“Do you feel the same way we do about the kind of Britain you want to live in?

A Britain where there is a first-class health service free at the point of use; where education is always a priority; and where you and your family are treated equally and can feel safe and secure.

Join us and be part of our journey. Maybe you already vote Labour at election time? Maybe you have thought about joining but not actually done it? Maybe you think you are too young, too old or too busy? Maybe it’s because nobody has asked you. We’re asking you now.

Join us and help shape our country’s future”.

Stirring stuff and it was just such sentiment that made me re-join the party in 1992. I’ve been a member ever since. Through good times and bad; when I have agreed and when I have disagreed. I even stayed a member when the then party leadership decided to shaft me. And I have got no intention whatsoever of leaving. For me and for many members it is an emotional as well as an intellectual attachment. No, that is wrong; it is much more an emotional attachment than an intellectual one. It is why we can become easily stirred by things that non-believers barely register. (more…)

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Labour primaries: a dash for cash?

02/11/2011, 08:43:54 AM

by Andy Howell

As Labour’s newly elected NEC prepares to settle in for the new year, it appears that one of the issues they will be considering carefully is that of primaries for selections. Primaries are loved by some and hated by others and, perhaps, the controversy over them was why refounding Labour was relatively passive on the subject or, at least, kicked it into the long grass.

Renewed interest in primaries follows the French socialist party’s recent use of a primary system to select their presidential candidates. Here at party HQ, interest in the French experiment seems to lie less with a desire to expand democracy, and more with of a sense that primaries are an opportunity to pull in some quick cash.

The business case following the French primaries is simple. To vote in the French Socialist’s primary voters had to pay a €1 fee. 2,860,157 people voted in the second round which, of course, equates to a lot of dosh — just short of £2.5 million pounds. (more…)

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Refounding labour: reinventing the wheel

28/07/2011, 07:00:13 AM

by Peter Watt

So the refounding Labour consultation is done. According to the Labour party website there were:

•    3,255 individual submissions
•    20,354 hits on refounding Labour websites
•    66 regional events across the country led by our national and region offices
•    184 party submissions
•    36 submissions from groups or affiliates

It seemed a well-run process with much enthusiasm from many members and some great leadership being shown by some of the more active members of the NEC. There has been a strong sense that the party needed change and there was plenty of energy shown by hundreds of members determined to play their part in delivering it. So far so good.

And then last week saw the publication of “refounding Labour to win” the summary report of all of the submissions. There was a brief bit of “excitement”, as some people seemed worried that a document was published so soon after the close of the consultation. This was a clear indication to some of the new generation that not every submission could have been properly reviewed. A rat was smelt and, in order to check if indeed an injustice had been perpetrated, some demanded that Ed Miliband publish all of the submissions. In a dramatic moment (not) during the one of the twitter “ask Ed” sessions, Ed conceded and agreed to publish. (more…)

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Tuesday News Review

28/09/2010, 08:24:32 AM

David’s future

David Miliband was given a hero’s welcome yesterday – as he kept the party sweating about his future. The defeated Labour leadership contender received a prolonged standing ovation as he addressed conference for perhaps the last time. David has still not told his younger brother Ed, who narrowly beat him to the top job, if he will serve in his team to fight the ConDems. One close ally said he was agonising about his future – less than 48 hours ahead of tomorrow evening’s deadline for standing in the shadow cabinet elections. The deciding factor could be the effect on his wife, who was in “floods of tears” yesterday at the way her husband had been treated by the party. – The Mirror

David Miliband pulled out of a series of fringe events at Labour’s conference on Monday night after a bruising 48 hours that fed speculation that he was poised to quit frontline politics rather than serve in his younger brother’s shadow cabinet. The guessing game over David Miliband’s future dominated a day in which he gave his party a glimpse of what could have been – with a concession speech that turned into a bravura display of political theatre. – The FT

Alistair Darling urged David Miliband to remain in frontline politics last night, saying he still had a “huge” contribution to make to the Labour Party. The outgoing shadow chancellor disclosed that he had met Mr Miliband over a drink since he was beaten to the Labour leadership by younger brother Ed at the weekend. Mr Darling declined to say who he was backing to take over as shadow chancellor, but lavished praise on David Miliband. “I hope David remains heavily engaged in the Labour Party in whatever way he thinks appropriate and whatever way Ed thinks appropriate,” he told a conference fringe event. “He’s still young and he has a huge amount to give.” – The Press & Journal


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