The sad death of ‘Father of the House’, Labour MP Gerald Kaufman has triggered yet another by-election. The previous two by-elections, in Stoke Central and Copeland, were the subject of sabotage attempts by Labour relics and even a current MP, as the party’s right attempted to manufacture twin defeats in order to bring down Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr Kaufman died after a months-long illness and is likely to have known the prognosis. As the BBC reported in July last year, he was widely expected to step down in any case – and the Labour party suspended his CLP (constituency Labour party):
It’s not clear whether Labour’s national or regional HQ knew at this point about the likely outcome of Mr Kaufman’s illness, but even the BBC recognised at the time that the issue of his successor was at the heart of the issue.
Now it’s looking like the right wing of the party was playing the same unprincipled trick that they did with Wallasey and Brighton and Hove – confecting spurious allegations to ensure that local members were deprived of a say on the MP who represents them.
The suspension of the CLP was eventually lifted in November last year – at which point Labour must have known Gerald Kaufman’s prognosis – but only with Labour’s regional retaining tight control of meetings and processes:
The final highlighted point is crucial, as it means that Labour’s north-west HQ will have full control of the selection of Kaufman’s successor.
And it looks like arch-blairite David Miliband will be the beneficiary. Rumours are circulating in abundance that Miliband – the darling of the anti-Corbyn faction in the Labour Party – is set to be the candidate in the forthcoming by-election:
It’s not clear whether the right-wingers’ plan back in November was already aiming to lever Miliband in as the candidate for Gorton, most of whose members would certainly not wish for him, but it would be unsurprising – and disgustingly cynical. At the very least, it’s an opportunist exploitation of an already-undemocratic but entirely typical blairite tactic.
And one that needs to be prevented before it becomes a fait accompli.
Labour’s ‘right-whingers’ think the Blair-tainted, deeply uninspiring David Miliband would be a viable replacement for Jeremy Corbyn as party leader, but for that ‘dream’ (nightmare) to become a reality requires Miliband to be an MP. We have far too many right-wing Establishment drones in the Labour Party already.
The red-Tory factions think ‘Mr Bean’, who left the party in a sulk after losing the leadership election to his brother to take a hugely-paid job in New York, would appeal to voters disillusioned with ‘more of the same’.
That tells you all you need to know about the delusions of Progress, Labour First and the other faux-Labour groups that are relentlessly trying to bring down Corbyn.
And any right-thinking Labour member or supporter needs to make such a stink about Miliband’s candidacy that it is stifled before it begins.
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