Emilie Oldknow, Labour’s Executive Director – Governance, Membership & Party Services, has announced she is quitting her post. In an email to colleagues, she said that she is leaving in the summer to pursue new opportunities.
Ms Oldknow is an unknown figure to most Labour members – one Twitter wag today compared her to the mythical film character Keyser Soze because of the paucity of mentions of her by ‘blue-ticked’ Labour figures.
After the announcement of Iain McNicol’s resignation recently – which she as his effective second-in-command was also unaware was imminent – Ms Oldknow is said to have run Labour’s admin operation and was briefly mooted as a potential ‘centrist’-preferred candidate to replace him.
For all her status as an unknown, as McNicol’s aide in trying to keep right-wingers in party positions as long as possible – and with her brief for controversial disciplinary processes and suspensions – there is unlikely to be too much grief among left-wing Labour members at her departure.
Centrist sources have already been briefing that Ms Oldknow’s decision is ‘game over’ for the Labour Party – which says more about how out of touch centrist Labour sources have become in just two and a half years than anything else.
The reasons for that departure have not been made explicit, but with McNicol soon to be history and a left-wing candidate expected to replace him and initiate significant changes in both the ethos and practices of Labour’s ‘Southside’ and regional offices, her departure is not surprising.
Neither, in spite of likely MSM attempts to spin it into some kind of bombshell or, knowing the MSM’s modus operandi, a symptom of some ‘misogynist purge’, is it especially significant to the real narrative of Labour’s continuing evolution as a mass movement and genuine, alternative government-in-waiting.
The Spectator’s Isabel Hardman has today pointed out – and fair play to her for it – that Labour’s moderate-run administration has hardly been in the best shape lately:
Labour HQ has long been descending into a mess that extends far beyond the internecine rivalries between moderates and Corbynites. It had a terrible digital strategy in 2015, and then messed up its data projections in 2017. The party’s social media success in the most recent election owed more to Momentum and a collection of websites close to the Leader’s Office than it did to its headquarters. Some departments have totally seized up in recent months.
It’s worth pointing out that the Corbynites are entitled to remake the party in their own image, given they won last year’s argument about whether Labour would be annihilated in the snap election. But though the moderates cannot complain that those leading their party are now winning the internal fights in it too, they do still have to decide whether their own strategy of ‘holding onto positions’ in the parliamentary party still has a point.
Watch this space, then. Onward and upward.
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