The Guardian has this interesting piece on its web site.
That Labour is ‘suffering’ another period of entryism akin to that it had ‘trouble’ with in the 1980’s (Militant) is a given. But entryism and the radical changing of direction of political parties is nothing new although Labour in particular does seem have periods where what it believed in yesterday is no longer what it believes in today more often than other parties. It’s social democrat and hard left wings seem to be in continual battles to be top dog you might say.
But if you look at the Tories now they are nothing like the political party of Heath or even Major. Often now referred to as ‘Bluekip’ and at times leaning worryingly towards fascism is it not reasonable to look upon all those UKIP supporters and activists joining and voting Tory as entyists too?
And then there was the Clegg period running the Lib Dems. Apart from that period being an utter disaster for the Party there were what seemed to be very genuine fears amongst the party membership and indeed the electorate that what had been a genuine party of the center left under say Kennedy, Grimmond etc. had been hauled over to the right, certainly in economic policy areas. Not quite entryism but a significant and truly unwise experiment which may well take years to ‘wear off’ with left leaning liberal voters.
Momentum gathering Labour
So policy lurches in political parties are nothing new as there are other examples across all the main political parties if you delve into their pasts. However, is what is happening within Labour of far greater significance? I ask as the process within the party under Momentum does seem to be much more far reaching. Not so much Labour gathering Momentum but Momentum gathering Labour.
But is there anything fundamentally wrong with Momentum, if they are the dominant creed within Labour these days (and we assume they are), demanding loyalty to their policy agenda before Labour candidates are selected/reselected to fight elections for the party? There seems to be a logic to that argument to me, although it does significantly change what Labour have often referred to as their ‘broad church’ where once they tolerated and even celebrated a membership with vastly differing views.
Above is a link to the initial assessment of the contents of the Chilcot report from the BBC web site.
So proud that I stood with Charles Kennedy and opposed this unnecessary war where so many lives were lost. Shame on those Labour MP’s who voted for war and a Tory Party which followed Blair’s troops into the lobby to vote for war.
Surely every MP who voted for that appalling war must feel utterly ashamed of themselves today. I still recall Tory MP’s calling Charles Kennedy every rude name under the sun for his anti-war stance. He was a brave man who sadly did not live long enough to see the report which has vindicated his view.
RIP the Iraq war dead, our political leaders let you down badly and created the instability in that region that still haunts us today and will do so for generations to come.
Here’s a link to Lib Dem Leader Tim Farron’s speech in the House of Commons today:-
Tim Farron writes
The publication of the Chilcot Inquiry today will finally expose one of the most shameful moments in our nation’s history.
It is likely that the report will confirm Tony Blair and his Labour government wilfully misled Parliament and the British people on the imminence of the threat from Saddam Hussein and his possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
That deceit led to the disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003 which cost the lives of around 100,000 Iraqis and almost 5,000 coalition forces, including 179 members of the British Armed Forces. With no plan for what would happen next, Blair and President Bush left a power vacuum that enabled the rise of Daesh and caused many more years of bloodshed and instability in the Middle East.
The findings published today will be a vindication for the Liberal Democrats and for everyone else who fought against this illegal war. In particular, Charles Kennedy’s leadership of our party at that time provided a voice for millions of British people who knew that this was the wrong thing to do, as this video shows:
Today the Liberal Democrats are calling for the current British government to pledge that we will never go to war again without an assurance that the action is legal under international law, that we have a clear exit plan, and that the intelligence on which we base our decisions is free from the influence of political spin doctors.
The War in Iraq eroded the public’s trust in politics, damaged Britain’s moral authority on the global stage, and made our country and world less safe. This must never, ever happen again.
Tim Farron MP
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
And watch the late great Charles Kennedy leading the charge against Tony Blair’s war:-
Without having to think too deeply my life heroes will easily trip off my tongue; music – Isaac Hayes, cricket – Derek Randall and 2 Kennedy’s (Ludovic and Charles).
Isaac Hayes introduced me to soul and funk around 1970 and I never tire of listening to his music, especially when driving. To Be Continued must be the best of his albums; strings, brass and his deep southern cotton belt voice.
Derek Randall was the jack in a box Nottinghamshire cricketer who played many test matches for England. Probably the best fielder of his generation world-wide I loved to watch him on TV, although Geoff Boycott broke my heart when he ran Derek out at Trent Bridge!
But what about the 2 Kennedy blokes and no one was not a former President of the USA. My Kennedy chaps are Ludovic and of course Charles. Ludovic’s writings brought home to me two things, that our legal/justice system gets things horribly wrong at times and he opened my eyes (which were already hugely sceptical of religion) to being an atheist.
Charles Kennedy was probably the best left of centre political leader that we have seen in the UK in a very long time and like the former Truro MP David Penhaligon he did not seem to have a genuine enemy in the world. When Charles died earlier this year the world stopped and took notice for a moment. This was not just another party political hack that had died it was Charles Kennedy.
The link at the top of this posting is to a memorial lecture given by former Orkney and Shetland MP Jim Wallace in praise of Charles Kennedy. It is long but if you have the time it is worth the time.
It’s time to welcome the Labour Party back to what it should be, a socialist party. For far too many years it has looked and felt like a Tory Party MK11 otherwise known as the Red Tories.
I am not a socialist and am certainly not in any way a supporter of the Labour Party yet I am strangely pleased that it has seemingly gone back to its roots. In recent years I have seen Labour at a local level opposing every measure of austerity yet at a national level doing the exact opposite as the likes of Rachel Reeves attacked the welfare system in ways I found appalling. So here is an opportunity to make Labour honest as opposed to off to the left locally and off to the right nationally.
The election was an odd affair where Labour seemed hell bent on doing itself as much damage as possible. 3 candidates from Labour’s right wing – all far to far to the right for me – and one of the socialist tradition.
Burnham was the worst of the lot for me as he seemed to put himself forward as a person who stood for whatever voters wanted of him. Would it be unkind to say he looked every inch a popularist? Oddly, I represented Aintree, where Burnham hails from, on Sefton Council for a dozen years.
For all Corbyn’s faults and I suspect there are many he came over as the best available candidate despite Labour’s big guns doing all they could to hole him below the waterline. But the more they attacked him from the right the stronger his support grew from the left.
Of course he is an unlikely Prime Minister but so was Miliband. Will Labour win in 2020? Very, very unlikely but that was always going to be the case no matter who became their Leader. Trouble is Labour’s right wing are seeking to blame Corbyn already for his not winning in 2020 in the hope they can destabelise his leadership sooner rather later.
The big challenge for Labour now though is electoral reform which they have in the many always resisted as it was not in their narrow political interests. Yes, Labour has to embrace PR but that’s a big ask for the old Labour war horses; yet even that old prize fighter John Prescot seems up for it.
We now have a obviously Liberal Lib Dem Party under Tim (a bit of a leftie) Farron as opposed to a party of the middle ground as it had become since Charles Kennedy stepped down as leader. And it seems we have what could turn out to be socialist party in Labour under Corbyn. Yet the Tories remain an odd conundrum. Cameron is firmly a prisoner of the right and UKIP and looks a poor leader these days constantly being blown by the wind. Will the Tories go further right under Osborne or popularist under Boris when Cameron hangs up his hat or is advised to sling his hook?
I have the feeling that Farron and Corbyn may well shape a new way forward for the left but of course we on the left will never agree – we never have – and that’s why the Tories do so well.
The BBC has the story – see link above
And not before time either. The Iraq war was Labour’s darkest day in government. Don’t we all recall going to war with the Tories backing a Labour government whilst only the Lib Dems, of the major political parties, standing against the illegal war.
A Labour apology will be a great epitaph for the late great Charles Kennedy who as Lib Dem Leader stood against Labour’s warmongering and was called just about every name under the sun for his campaigning against the war.