Posts Tagged ‘TULO’

The far left has gained entry at the top of the Labour party

06/02/2013, 01:24:28 PM

by Rob Marchant

While the latest controversy surrounding the Socialist Workers Party shows that we all still have an odd, vicarious interest in the goings-on of a fringe, far-left party – or as blogger Laurie Penny put it in an unintentional comedy moment, a party which contains “many of the UK’s most important thinkers and writers” –  we might just miss something less obviously scandalous but closer to home.

Three weeks ago, Ken Livingstone’s former chief of staff, Simon Fletcher, was appointed as trade union liaison manager to the leader’s office. A backroom role, it is there to manage the relationship between trade unions and the party and has the ear of the party’s leader and deputy.

While the Mail and the Standard, not really newspapers which understand the running of the Labour party, ran their predictable “Red Ed” headlines and tried to use the appointment, laughably, to attack Miliband for being a Trot in disguise, in the process they made one legitimate point which should concern us on the mainstream left. It relates to the so-called Socialist Action group.

Although most Labourites believe they know Livingstone, it is surprising how many of his supporters are still unaware of Socialist Action. For those requiring a brief refresher, the Trotskyite clique that spawned most of Livingstone’s advisers during his mayoral tenure is documented in an extract from his biography:

“[it is] so discreet and secretive that it does not even admit its own existence and its members will not confirm they have ever belonged to the group.”

The only member of Ken’s coterie listed on the group’s website appears to be Redmond O’Neill – who died in 2009 – although Fletcher’s and others’ associations with it have been documented by other sources, including said biography and former members. With Socialist Action, the emphasis, as the above quote indicates, is on plausible deniability, an old tactic of the far left frequently wielded by the former mayor himself (although, in his case, the word “plausible” may have often been stretched to breaking point).


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Never mind the quality, feel the width

15/06/2010, 10:36:00 PM

Over at the unionstogether blog they are doing a ‘question to the candidates’ every week of the summer.  This week’s is on the living wage, which has become rather a surprise campaign theme.  It is worth a read.

In a campaign in which no candidate is strong on content, Ed Miliband has chosen to put the living wage “as the centre of my campaign for Labour leadership”.  Not “to put it at the centre”, you will note, but “put it as the centre”.  Massive difference in that one letter.  For Ed M, the living wage is the defining issue of his leadership bid “because it sums up both the Labour party’s values and its activism”.

Although a nice piece of policy, it would ordinarily seem like a pretty flimsy thing to be the defining essence of an entire campaign to lead the major force in left-liberal politics in the United Kingdom. (more…)

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