Wednesday 12 August 2015


I am getting flashbacks to the days of 'reader's meetings' back in  80s with red-scare stories popping up about 'entrism' in the Labour Party. 

But let's be clear what is currently happening with the Corbyn campaign is nothing to do with the kind of tactics that some of us pursued in the days of Militant. It's very simple - the effect that we are seeing with people signing up as supporters is the result of a massive mis-calculation by the New Labour leadership that confirms how out of touch they have been for some time with public opinion.

Those who have signed up as supporters in order to vote for Corbyn are in the main people who have decided to get involved for the very time - or been re-vitalised - because they finally see an alternative to the austerity agenda. A very small number of these people might already be members of other organisations who have no intention of joining the Labour party, , but nonetheless support Corbyn's campaign. I am one of these people and I see no problem with this either constitutionally or ethically.

Constitutionally, New Labour adopted a US-style primary system because it mistakenly believed that this would build in a permanent in-built majority for the 'mythical centre'. Supposedly because most people are naturally repelled by radical ideas. Hmmm. This has now clearly come back and bit Labour in the arse,  but it is entirely legitimate within a primary system where alliances and special interest groups will ebb and flow.

And ethically - well Labour has always been an ideological and tactical battleground from the days when it was first founded. As a federal party with affiliated union membership policy has always been shaped by people who aren't actually members. And when it comes to accepting the broad values of Labour (whatever those are these days) I am pretty sure that I am a damn sight closer than Tory entrists like Liz Kendall.

Ironically there is a very sensible piece on this by Michael Crick - the man who wrote the hatchet job about 'real' entrism back in the 80's.

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