Watson’s tantrum shows his pain as allies suffer in NEC’s candidate clear-out

Labour deputy leader lashes out as right’s grip loosens in its heartland


Labour deputy leader Tom Watson has been criticised recently by Labour colleagues for ‘foul’ and ‘appalling’ ‘bully’-behaviour.

When disciplinary charges against his allies and opponents were on the agenda for discussion, Watson did not recuse himself because of the obvious conflicts of interest. Instead he disrupted successive NEC (National Executive Committee) meetings with angry tirades and interference in procedure.

However, his apparent tactics backfired when a decision on complaints against one of his close allies then had to be postponed until after the deadline for candidate confirmations and the NEC appointed a BAME, disabled candidate to replace him.

The replacement of his ally – former Sandwell council leader Steve Eling – and a number of others appears to have upset Mr Watson, judging by a rant reported by local West Midlands paper The Express and Star.

Describing the deselections as ‘outrageous’ and ‘brutal factional politics’, Watson told the Star.

This is the hard left wreaking retribution on long serving councillors for no reason whatsoever.

It’s completely anti-democratic and against all normal rules of natural justice.

Of course, if it’s for ‘no reason whatsoever’, it’s not really ‘retribution’ – which by definition is payback for something, but it would be unkind to split hairs.

Former council leader Steve Eling comes out of the closet as a Watson ally, blaming his suspension on a supposed campaign against the MP

It’s also hardly ‘anti-democratic’, since Labour members elected their NEC representatives – in many cases precisely in the hope they would use their democratically-allocated powers to change the party’s disciplinary processes and candidate mix to better reflect the membership and protect the party’s mission of changing society for the better.

But the funniest part of Watson’s tantrum is his claim that the rational and rules-based actions of the NEC and regional officials are “against all normal rules of natural justice“.

When the Labour right controlled the NEC and the party’s administrative machine, left-wing members were routinely targeted – and often suspended or even expelled – on the flimsiest pretext.

Not only that, but Watson has been personally accused of “planning [the] destruction” of a councillor in his home borough of Sandwell, as well as of making the life of a female councillor “a misery” by prolonged bullying – while failing to act when his chief of staff was accused of racially-driven bullying and harassment.

Watson’s sudden sensitivity about ‘natural justice’ and democracy is also an interesting development after years of complaints by Labour members of outrageous abuse of their rights and democracy in the area by the right, carried out apparently with impunity because of the right’s then-stranglehold on the party.

In that light, there can be little sympathy for his newly-discovered outrage.

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  1. We have similar events unfolding on Wirral with outgoing Council leader Phil Davies hitting out at hard left this, hard left that, Frank Field railing against phantom antisemitism and his own acolyte councillors dropping like flies, and turning independent, all to the accompanying cheers of the Tory so-called “opposition”.

    With the council elections only a month away, the time has never been better to clear out the entryist, Blairite ballast and install some leaner, fitter, principled socialists with a passion for fairness and dignified politics.

  2. “When the Labour right controlled the NEC and the party’s administrative machine, left-wing members were routinely targeted – and often suspended or even expelled – on the flimsiest pretext.

    Has this changed?
    The recent expulsion of Jackie Walker and the suspension of Chris Williamson indicates that there is still room for considerable improvements.

    1. Took the words right outa my mouth , indeed Chris Williamson I seem to remember reading somewhere that watson targeted Williamson ( I maybe wrong as my memory ain’t what it used to be ) and helped with his suspension.
      Anyhow agree completely SteveH with your comment on the still to be improved discipline system

  3. One might also ask whether Leon Brittan was entitled to “natural justice” before Watson falsely accused him of vile crimes while Brittan was dying.

  4. ‘Natural justice’ from a man who advocates the use of nuclear weapons that would kill millions of innocent people!

  5. We need a clear out of the Blairite cabal. Unfortunately, they’ll always be some hiding in plain sight.

  6. Nope. A quick check reveals you’ve been posting as usual, yet my email alerts have dried up. I’ve tried re-subscribing but each time am told there was an error and please try again, to no avail.

    What’s going on? Have I been blocked? Has any else out there been having this problem? Help!

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