Progress, Phillips so eager to stop Brexit but still holding conference during EU election campaign

‘Centrist’ pressure group loud about new referendum and cancelling Article 50 – but conference going ahead during short campaign
Progress Chair Alison McGovern, left, and conference speaker Jess Phillips

With the EU elections just over a fortnight away, most people might be excused for thinking that those with a particular agenda for the outcome would be pushing hard on the campaign front, out knocking doors or phonebanking, or amplifying their preferred message on social media.

Labour has cancelled all non-campaign meetings until after the elections, with an email from Jennie Formby to that effect sent to all members.

Progress, the right-wing or ‘centrist’ pressure group, is going ahead with its conference:


Progress is not an official Labour organisation – it has no formal standing with the party and many have argued for membership in it to be ‘proscribed’ – and is not bound by Jennie Formby’s cancellation order.

However, made up as it is of some of the most vocal anti-Brexit and/or pro-referendum MPs, you might expect it would postpone its ‘fightback’ – i.e. factional – conference until after the election. It seems its factional agenda is more important than the Brexit outcome Progress makes so much noise about.

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  1. Phillips is one of the “MP Power” set who think Labour should ignore conference decidions and change policy to suit her agenda.
    But more seriously, they just want to steal the headlines during the campaign to undermine the party’s message.
    Not really news, alas. That’s what they always do.

  2. The Big Lie is that keeping within the EU Treaties – a written constitution which entrenches capitalism, privatisation, marketization and a neoliberal veto over state intervention in the economy – not to mention the outsourced concentration camps for non-white refugees – is “progressive politics”.

    1. In fairness, in those respects, the EU is no different to the UK, so it’s neither here nor there.

      1. Actually, the whole trading globe is no different, either.

        The case for ‘Remain’ isn’t based on the perfection of the EU. It’s based on what is the most viable overall option of the two on offer. Never was.

    2. It’s like everything Danny. There is a huge global neo-liberal, pseudo-left movement which encompasses everything from American democrats, Labour/LibDems/Greens/Change UK, social media giants, organisations like Avaaz https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Document:Avaaz:_Clicktivist_heroes_or_Soros_wolf_in_woolly_disguise
      and their backers like George Soros organise signing petitions, funding media campaigns and direct actions, emailing, calling and lobbying governments, and organizing “offline” protests and events — to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people inform the decisions that affect us all, including helping to fund the White Helmets and Greta Thunberg….along with oil companies. European politics is ridden with them, lobbying for this that and the other and what they’re selling is being bought by the bucket load. I have no idea how to counter it all, I can’t even access Wikispooks without using Tor.
      At least with the right you get what it says on the tin, but with the left, 90% of it is fake.

      1. Are you saying Thunberg was created by the Soros axis or adopted by them when the Extinction Rebellion bandwagon got rolling?

        Those articles you directed me to the other day about ER basically being Astro-Turf seemed to me to be be wild conspiracy-theorising, for which I’ve yet to see any corroberation. The implicit lack of faith in humanity to be able to fight back when the chips are down was disheartening and the whole adolescent impulse to treat everything as a conspiracy theory – like the claim some people made that Macron ordered the fire at Notre Dame – is a real pain in the arse and discredits real conspiracy theories, 9/11 being the prime recent example.

        I’m with you on the White Helmets, but reserving judgement on Extinction Rebellion…

      2. As far as I know, Thunberg joined ER of her own, or her PR team’s accord. The two issues are separate.
        1. Is Thunberg being managed and paid, undoubtedly yes.
        2. Does ER have links to corporates and liberal political organisations, undoubtedly yes.
        Anything else is up in the air. Most of those who support them will be genuine. Personally, I shy away from organisations like Avaaz who come across as genuine left of centre pressure group but in fact they supported/lobbied for American global foreign policy outcomes. If they’re in bed together, that’s enough for me.

      3. @Tim

        Firstly, as you should already be aware of, the revolution will _not_ be televised. Yet here it was…

        The site will lock my comment if I post too many links, so start by searching for xrbusiness org

        You will note that the site is “currently down”. This is due to backlash.

        Then, try https://winteroak.org.uk/2019/05/02/the-x-agenda-what-does-xr-actually-stand-for/

        Finally, take a gander at Volans com.

        If you can still “believe” then kudos to you!

      4. NVLA

        Thanks for those tips. My dreams of an organic eco-rebel movement unsullied by The Man bite the dust. Which is a shame because we’re going to need one PDQ!


        I don’t trust Avaaz, either. I unsubscribed the moment they asked for my signature on a petition calling for a no-fly zone in Syria. I could feel Hillary’s presence lurking…

  3. Given the size of Phillip’s gob and those ready to give her unlimited column inches, she’s been relatively coy over Brexit, she could have a column every week in the Guardian if she wanted. She’s fighting for her political life now. I don’t see Anyone giving her another parachute. I reckon she’s made too many enemies and Change UK don’t have a spare safe seat for her.

    1. Any idea why she didn’t jump ship with the Tiggers? I see no difference between her agenda and theirs.

      1. Jess didn’t jump ship with the Tiggers ( or Funny Tingers as they are sometimes called ) because she is more astute than that. She knows that come the next General election they will be out of their jobs. She wants to keep hers and her husband’s, her generous expenses and her fees for TV slots and newspaper articles. Jess and her family have a very nice life thanks to the Labour party and she is not going to jeopardise that if she can help it.
        She has toned it down quite a bit since her CLP AGM when a left wing executive was elected – no more threats to resign or violent and abusive language towards Jeremy Corbyn and no more boasting about effing and blinding at Diane Abbott the most abused woman in parliament.
        Jess knows which side her bread is buttered and her only aim now is not to be deselected. Whether she succeeds or not is anybody’s guess but personally I don’t fancy her chances.

  4. Doesn’t Ms Phillips consider herself to be a shoo-in for whenever Jeremy Corbyn is deposed? Why would she go unless pushed?

    1. I seem to recall, the Guardian or the Indy said as much a while ago. Even Phillips herself couldn’t be as stupid as to believe it, could she?

      1. That’s the problem with these mouthpiece MP’s – they believe the bullshit written about them by toadying, lazy hacks who can only get a write-up by massaging their egos and coaxing them into spewing their usual bollocks.

  5. Are you reading this, jess?

    If so, F**K OFF. (And take ‘whingey-hole’ mcgovern with ya)

  6. I am not surprised the many have argued for membership in Progress to be ‘proscribed’.

    A few days ago Progress were asking for donations to meet a target of £35,000.
    What was interesting was a statement that if all their members donated £10 each that target would be met immediately.
    This implies only up to 3500 members or 0.7% of the party membership are involved in this “fightback” to take control of the party from the 99% of the membership.
    Yet this minority faction are often seen publicly undermining the Party in their attempts to “take back control”. Also there is the plotting that goes on in secretive meetings in many CLPs, to “game” local LP procedures and meetings. ( “Cunning Plan” recommended by a Progress supporter at a fringe meeting I attended a couple of years back.)

    IMO This sort of behaviour only serves to damage the party.

    1. Do people have to prove party membership to join ‘Regress’? If not, how do we know it isn’t a bunch of off-the-shelf-Labour-haters?
      After all, I can name at least one other group that actually has ‘Labour’ in their title, but recruits from all over. And still pretends to know more about Labour than the NEC.

  7. Phillips irritates the f. out of me. And I disagree with most of her pontificating.

    But the column inches here devoted to the ritual slagging of – as opposed to arguing against – people that are disagreed with is phenomenal.

    Similarly, the rehearsal of conspiracy explanations and bad faith for everything doesn’t fit the template isn’t going to win any converts ‘out there’..

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