The Progress Network – Labours Progressives – The Party Within a Party
The Labour Party in Scotland will be seeking the support of the Scottish electorate in a few weeks time. The party motto “Unity is Strength” will no doubt feature in their propaganda leaflets, biased press, television and speeches. But Scots are not stupid. It is only a few months ago that the party displayed that Unity of purpose joining with Westminster Unionists in and leading the ” Better Together” team that browbeat Scots throughout the course of the referendum campaign.
The programme of fear waged against Scots was brutally and repeatedly targeted against pensioners and other aspects of the Scottish community perceived to be vulnerable by Westminster. And they won the day.
But the 2015 General Election evidenced lies spun by labour to the UK electorate. There is no united party. Indeed there hasn’t been since Labour lost the 2010 General Election. The Progress (Blairite) Network, (President Peter Mandelson) part filled the vacuum created by the strong (left-right) differences of opinion as to the future direction of the party.
The performance of the Labour Party was summarised by : Paul Richards – Labour’s Revival: The Modernisers’ Manifesto.
” The problem was not that millions of people in Britain thought the Labour party was not like them and did not understand them; the problem was that they were right.”
In Scotland the only Labour MP (Ian Murray) remaining is a member of “Progress”. A significant number of MSP’s have moved to the left however and the UK party is led by Jeremy Corbyn a left wing politician of the old school of Labour who is determined to take the party down the road of socialism.
In Scotland Kezia Dugdale expressed strong opposition to Jeremy Corbyn’s bid for the leadership and her appointments to the front bench shadow team of ministers pointedly excluded anyone who might be considered a “Corbynite”. Alex Rowley, (a Corbynite) elected by the party membership in Scotland to the Deputy Leadership role has been sidelined. So the party in Scotland is divided and its controlling party in Westminster is even more divided. Unelectable? I should say so!!!!
Two eminent political persons of the Labour Party Joe Haines and Michael Taylor have spoken out about the on going conflict within the Labour Party. Extracts are added below.
The Micawber Syndrome
Joe Haines, Harold Wilson’s press secretary, argues that the Labour moderates cannot “wait for something to turn up” in their battle against Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
Labour will lose the next general election if Jeremy Corbyn is still its leader, and lose it by a substantial margin. A distrusted and unloved Conservative Party will win something resembling a landslide victory.
No ifs or buts, as David Cameron might say: that is the plain, unpalatable truth. Either he goes or the party itself is a goner. Those who believe otherwise are the Flat Earthers of British politics.
Barring a cataclysmic economic failure or a sexual scandal of unimaginable proportions, Cameron’s successor will have a shoo-in and a near-moribund Liberal Democrat party will get a kiss of life and dream of beating Labour for second place.
Scotland, if it is still in the Union by 2020, wouldn’t offer a hope of returning to the Labour fold; the Scots voters know a wee, sleekit, cow’rin’, tim’rous beastie when they see one and Corbyn would be lucky to keep our only seat.
Either we wake up or we shut up. Too bleak? Too pessimistic? A fantasy scenario and not realistic? No. Things could get worse. The national party could, according to the gloomiest forecast, disappear altogether by next October, reduced to a municipal party with brave bands of councillors flying the flag, rather like the Independent Labour Party in the 1930s.
Actually, I don’t think things are quite that bad. We face disintegration rather than immediate doom. At least at the first stage. But what will follow is a series of electoral defeats that can only be imagined.
The Labour Party Under Corbyn is ideologically bankrupt and organisationally incompetent
Michael Taylor was a Labour Party parliamentary candidate for Manchester in the 2015 General Election. He is a journalist, author, writer and event host amongst other things. He said, I too hold no hope for the Corbyn project. At every step it is politically doomed, ideologically bankrupt and organisationally incompetent. I don’t for a minute believe that Jeremy Corbyn will lead Labour into the 2020 General Election. His mission doesn’t strike me as that of a future prime minister of this country and with a plan to make it a modern socialist republic. He doesn’t think in short parliamentary terms, he thinks in decades. This is a step toward re-casting Labour as a left wing party.
A Podemos, or a Syrizia. He has no interest in power. Triumph is having the debate, or rather changing internal structures to build a party based on policies to fit his own interests and world view. And why wouldn’t he? After all, he was elected as leader by a large margin. The MPs I speak to are in despair. The atmosphere amongst the PLP is described as “toxic”, “awful” and “dysfunctional”. But they are in such a mood of hopelessness because of his “mandate” from the membership. But he doesn’t have a mandate from the electorate. Every single Labour MP was elected on a manifesto and a platform far away from that of the leadership. Few of them share his platform, many of them are either keeping their heads down or appealing for party unity. It’s a position I understand but don’t think is in any way tenable.
I would whole heartedly support a coup in the Parliamentary Labour Party to oust the narrow cabal of Jeremy Corbyn, the awful Diane Abbott and John McDonnell. They have their mandate to lead the party, but not in Parliament. They aren’t up to the job. They are an embarrassment and are unfit to perform their constitutional duty to provide effective opposition to this mediocre Conservative government.
Already the key interventions are at committee stage. The best performances at the despatch box have been from Hilary Benn and Angela Eagle. It has to change. Here’s why. The most common conversation I have with non-Labour friends is this. “Isn’t politics interesting?” they say. “Love him or hate him, doesn’t Jeremy Corbyn represent something new and different? At least you know what he stands for.” My next question back at them is always answered with a big fat no. Well, would you vote Labour with him as leader? “No, no, no and once more for good luck, no, of course not,” and that’s the polite version. They just won’t. In fact they laugh. The opinion polls also show this. The response on the doorstep is the same. Our answer is either to apologise for him, or to plead for a vote despite him, as we successfully achieved in Oldham. http://themarpleleaf.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/how-i-got-my-political-mojo-back.html