Relic of worst of Blair era mounts goes for Corbyn’s team in tiresome proxy attack

Former Home Secretary’s record disqualifies him from comment


Blairite relic David Blunkett has waded into the new series of attacks on the Labour Party, taking aim at Jeremy Corbyn’s staff who are working hard to bring their boss’s vision of hope to a nation desperate for change.

Blunkett appears in tomorrow’s Observer calling for the dismissal of Karie Murphy and Seumas Milne, as laughably-named ‘moderates’ attempt to strip Corbyn of his most loyal supporters. It’s a tiresomely familiar tactic.

Blunkett’s record disqualifies him from commenting, let alone being taken seriously.

Blunkett was involved in the founding of anti-Corbyn group Labour Tomorrow (LT), set up even before the referendum that was used as the right’s excuse for the lamentable, failed ‘chicken coup’ – and was funded by a former Blairite spin-doctor:

Not only that, but LT was founded by people with a record of working hand in hand with S*n owner Rupert Murdoch:

Blunkett not only backed the illegal Iraq War, but told the media that he hoped it would give ‘New Labour’ an electoral ‘bounce’:

And of course, Blunkett resigned in disgrace from his position as Blair’s Home Secretary after emails revealed that he had intervened to obtain a visa for his lover’s nanny:

While still a backbench MP, Blunkett joined the advisory board of global wealth consultancy Oracle Capital Group – and piggy-backed on the Tories’ push to privatise education by becoming chair of what was then one of the UK’s largest academy chains, but resigned in 2017 when the chain was mired in a scandal after Ofsted criticised its poor governance.

David Blunkett is a relic of the worst of the Blair era. Instead of trying to whip up another painfully transparent proxy attack on a Labour Party that now genuinely represents real change and hope for millions suffering under the Tories, he should be sitting quietly at the back of the House of Lords, thankful he’s got the opportunity to rake in £300 a day through an unmerited peerage.

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    ‘Right Wing Barbarians.
    Without and within.
    Running from ideas.
    Which is why WE WILL WIN!’

  2. For starters, anyone who wants to know where Blunkett was coming from needs to watch “A very social secretary.”

    Back in 1983 Blunkett was the boss of the “Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire,” I was a militant in the National Campaign Against Social Security Cuts; we held an amazing assembly of unemployed groups, civil service unions and NGOs in Sheffield City Hall, which I chaired, free thanks to David B; he arrived to welcome us and proclaim our chief speaker, the newly elected MP Gordon Brown.

    I later went on to work with Alan Milburn and Steve Byers, but by the time these saviours were elected to power in1997, I was no longer a Labour activist, because, almost without exception, they had morphed into something I no longer recognised . My friend Clare Short was one of the few who kept the faith.

    It was only when JC was nominated as leader that I came alive again. I’m pretty sure this is a story I share with many other comrades.

    I’ve worked alongside and witnessed many Labour comrades move from progressive positions to craven accommodation with the class enemy.

    Amongst many other Labour MPs, three comrades stand out for never having conceded an inch: they are Jeremy Corbyn, Tony Benn and Denis Skinner. One lower middle-class, another from the bourgeois milieu and the third a working class miner.

    What Corbyn and Benn have in common is their dedication to socialism and their recognition that only the working class can lead the people to a better place, rather than attempting to place the relatively petty values of their own classes at the centre of our movement.

    Our hymn says it all: “Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer, we’ll keep the red flag flying here.”

    1. You are, of course, absolutely right about Blunkett – a man who rose without honour into government and the arms of Murdoch.

      But your nostalgic and wishful class-based faux ‘analysis’ departs from the reality into the stratosphere of wishing.

      This 19thC misrepresentation of society and political dynamics was wildly inaccurate by the 1980s – which was part of the reason why the ‘left’ was actually the ‘left behind’ during those darling years of Thatcher that you narrate. It really went well, didn’t it?

      You also try to force this dynamic onto individuals as an indicator of moral/political rectitude – omitting the key fact that Blunkett was actually from the most deprived working class background – whilst Corbyn’s background was solid middle middle (not ‘lower’) and Benn was of the aristocracy with an inherited title. Good old Dennis was, indeed, a miner – but largely an MP.

      This shoe-horning won’t do as a sentimental fiction to get Labour into power i the working class is just ‘the working class’ – a description, not a definition of political leadership or virtue (particularly when applied to individuals) – or the vanguard of revolution.

      And a sizeable number actually choose to vote Tory.

      1. Don’t forget that the “aristocratic” Tony Benn was also solidly middle class. His father was made a peer when there were no life peerages, so his was hereditary. Tony Benn’s elder brother was heir, but he was killed during the 2nd World War, and when dad died in the early 1950s,, Tony had to resign as an MP .He steered the legislation enabling peers to renounce their title during his time as Viscount Stansgate, and without it, Alex Douglas-Hume could not have become Tory PM after Harold McMillan in the early 60s.
        As far as class and capitalist society is concerned, you have a lot to learn about the nature of reality. I would also add the need to develop an understanding of the concept of false consciousness as well.

      2. Indeed, I confess to making a faux-Marxist simplification about Tony Benn. That’s partly the point about shoe-horned definitions.

        ” As far as class and capitalist society is concerned, you have a lot to learn about the nature of reality.”

        I don’t think I’m the only one round here – including yourself.

        I have few illusions about the operation of capital – or about dated frameworks of class analysis that don’t stand up to scrutiny within the ‘nature of reality’. I’m also fascinated how the central factor of land acquisition and inheritance gets neglected in the shoe-horning process of imposing the model.

        As to ‘false consciousness’ – not an entirely useless term,.but actually a get-out clause when the theoretical model doesn’t work.

      3. … ‘though I do admit that the Brexit vote did indeed display the classic characteristics of ‘false consciousness’ as thousands who would gain no benefit supported the far right plutocrat wheeze.

        But … exceptions and rules … it could just be propagandised belief.

    2. Thank you labrebisgalloise for illustrating perfectly that people can and do change.
      Tony Benn , changed for the better and IMO helped our Socialist cause no end , Blunkett on the other hand , well ….. like all Blairites who want a continuation of the status quo and Tory lite neoliberal policies , changed for the worse .
      And to @ RH comment ,
      Those working class who choose to vote Tory do so of their own volition however , they will “repent at leisure” , unfortunately in some cases pig headed stubbornness and pride will not allow them to admit the mistake or change . I know I live next door to one !
      Please do not dismiss Dennis because you think he is largely an MP , he is still an good tough honest socialist unlike Blairites and in this case Blunkett .

      1. No, rob, I’m not dismissing Dennis at all – just disputing the use of simplistic boxes, and the category error of using the concept of ‘class’ descriptions when applied to individuals and loaded with value judgments.

        Much of my irritation is just about over-simplified and indiscriminate reality-denial – which doesn’t help in the process of gaining electoral support – ‘Cowboys and Indians’ syndrome that the left is so prone to … and then resorts to terms such as ‘false consciousness’ when the categorization/prediction doesn’t work.

    3. Anthony Wedgewood Benn was Viscount Stansgate who had to renounce his title b4 he could become a commoner & take his place in the House of Commons……….bourgeois milieu, more aristocracy.

  3. Blunkett was the driving force behind ID cards. That tells you everything you need to know about Mr Blunkett.

    Rotten to the core.

  4. The Blarites and the Tories ,together with the others, are like dysfunctional parents and relations mishandling the care of a precious child …in this sense , the government ! Corbyn and Labour have the correct formula for governance and await the summons of the people !

    Much harm to date has been done and a speedy action is needed over a length of time to bring the governing of the country back to prime health !

  5. I am absolutely disgusted that David Blunkett should target members of staff in this way. How dare he. Ours is a party built on Trade Union principles and for a so called “grandee” to call for the sacking of any member of staff without that person having been given any sort of hearing is disgraceful. Additionally both are senior staff and he has undermined them to junior staff and members thereby potentially making their difficult jobs even harder.
    In any case the conduct of staff is none of his business.If either of these people have done anything wrong it is up to Jennie Formby the General Secretary to deal with it – not him or anybody else.
    Finally like all workers our staff have legal protection in relation to dignity at work and unfair dismissal. I suggest Karie and Seumas get their Union on to this right away. Len McCluskey will soon put David straight on their rights and David’s obligation not to bully undermine or attempt to intimidate ANY employee of the party.

    1. ” members of staff ”

      Oh FFS – they’re privileged politicos (actually more so, since they don’t have to face election) every bit as much as the MPs you want deselected, not victimized workers. Sauce for the goose ….

      1. No RH you are wrong. The Legal position is that they are employees of the party in the person of the General Secretary. They receive a salary paid out of the party’s funds and /or the allocation made to it by parliament. They have a contract of employment covering their terms and conditions of employment – hours, duties, renumeration, disciplinary, grievance, dignity at work procedures etc. They are answerable for their conduct to Jennie Formby who has overall responsibility for staffing matters so as well as undermining Seumas and Karie, Blunkett and Mason have undermined Jennie as well. Not so long ago Tom Watson tried to undermine Jennie. Now these two are at it as well – just a coincidence eh RH?

    2. At some stage we have to hit back and hard, start with Pantomime Dame, suspend her for making vexatious claims of anti semitism and uphold any decision on Campbell
      Message has to be ‘we keep our differences in house’ JC and senior staff have an open door policy,
      The day job comes first, beating Tories at next GE is priority, if you cant do the day job we will find someone who can,
      It’s this bad because we are shit at defending a proud record and a brilliant future, if leadership cant do the dirty work, bring in people who can, it’s an art and it has to be done

  6. The Change UK or Funny Tinge Party does serve one useful purpose it is graveyard to dump all the Blairite relics and grandees, just wish Hodge, Streeting, Campbell and the rest would join them!

    1. I think any MP/grandee who tries to overturn party democracy and who consistently sets out to undermine our leadership team and/or policies should be expelled . Where they go to after that – who cares. WE’ll just be happy to be rid of them.

  7. Why doesn’t Milne take a leave of absence for a bit, the hard right gets one less thing to moan about, and when Labour wins the GE just bring him back?

    It worked for slimy Mandelson….

    1. Absolutely not. It would only encourage the bloodstained Blairite sociopaths and predatory warmongers.

      Best to not to was time on these has beens and attention seekers. Instead, keep pushing Corbyn’s positive policies: regional investment banks and green new deal, defend the NHS, scrap tuition fees, £12 min wage, opposition to imperial wars.

  8. How does this article attack the Tory Party? What is the point exactly of SkwaWkbox, if you very very rarely attack the Tory Party?

    1. Skwawkbox is well able to speak for itself but I feel obliged to point out that the Tory party is finished and there is every liklihood Jeremy Corbyn would lead us to a Socialist government in the event of a General Election.
      Tony Blair has stated that he’d rather lose an election than win it on a socialist platform. There are elements within Labour who are actively working to ensure Jeremy is never PM and there is never a socialist in No10.
      The actions of these people have to be exposed and opposed – that is what Skwawkbox is doing. Keep up the good work Skwawky

    2. Skwawkbox loses integrity if it simply attacks the tories all the time. Better to report fairly and honestly and maintain respect.

  9. We can all quite legitimately dislike Blunkett to varying degrees (he’s an easy target) but Blunkett isn’t our problem he’s very much yesterdays man. Does anyone really give a fuck what Blunkett thinks.

    Our problem is the unpopular strategy emanating from JC’s office. One would presume that JC’s advisors have had a significant influence in formulating the strategy that lost us so many votes in both of the recent elections. It is quite legitimate to question the competence of Corbyn’s advice team.

    1. “Does anyone really give a fuck what Blunkett thinks”

      Precisely – he was a disaster from the time he was allowed to ponce about in the field of education some 20 years ago – and was worth worrying about then because he had power.

      Meanwhile, we are 20 years on, and, as Joe says, spending more time slagging off his like than actually attempting to solve present dangers involving the crash of support and the highly successful black propaganda campaign from the combined right and Israel lobby.

      I mean – I’ve just noticed this concoction of fantasies from Danny :

      “The fundamental, collective, error is the conviction that we can continue to unite pro-capitalism, pro-EU liberal forces (both Blairites-Brownites and fake left Corbynista liberals) with pro-working class interests in the same Party.”

      F. me – paddling around in the shallows of faux-Marxist rectitude, simplification and fictions about class whilst the Party bombs!

      I mean, it’s not difficult to get hold of the idea that there is no such thing as a coherent ‘working class’ political impulse, and that operating under such delusion would be the death of Labour, consigning it to the same irrelevancy as the idea.

      1. P.S I’ve just looked at the latest update of the polling regression line on Wikipaedia. It’s even less of a pretty sight than when I last looked.

      2. ‘…crash of support…’
        If you are so sure of it, why do you think none of the defectors dared resign his/her seat and contest a by-election without Labour support?

        ‘…highly successful black propaganda campaign from the combined right and Israel lobby.’
        Not quite sure if indeed it has been ‘highly successful’. Maybe partly successful. Because, twice they tried and twice they failed to dislodge Corbyn. Yes, definitely without these right-wing fifth columnists in our midst, we would have won the last GE. But come next GE, they will be no more.

        So we are actually ‘attempting to solve present dangers’ by ensuring these fifth columnists are ejected from our midst.

      3. Stewart960130 02/06/2019 at 8:29 pm

        “If you are so sure of it, why do you think none of the defectors dared resign his/her seat and contest a by-election without Labour support?”

        I would have thought that the current ‘popularity’ of ChangeUK may have given you a clue.
        Labour is not losing votes to ChangeUK.

      4. ‘…crash of support…’

        That’s not anything to argue about. It’s just a fact.

        Attacks on Corbyn aren’t the issue – which is, rather, his ability to see them off (admittedly in the face of a massive propaganda campaign). But in the end, he has a job to do. It’s the policies, not the persons that are key.

        The fundamental concern is the credibility of the Labour Party – which is not of the best at present, and hysterically belly-aching about ‘fifth columnists’ won’t compensate for a lack of basic political nous in strategy formation. Currently it’s observably a crap operation. The descent from the Premier League needs a new approach. End of.

  10. I agree that there are mistakes of strategy emanating from the Leader’s office but I don’t agree that they are the ones which David Blunkett identifies, and there seems little to be gained by blaming staff when we are not party to office gatherings.

    The fundamental, collective, error is the conviction that we can continue to unite pro-capitalism, pro-EU liberal forces (both Blairites-Brownites and fake left Corbynista liberals) with pro-working class interests in the same Party. Labour’s recent performance confirms that this is a profound political mistake. May and Corbyn are after all the mum and dad of the Brexit Party which would not exist had Britain left the EU on schedule.

    As Giles Fraser observes in the analysis below, Labour now looks in both directions and cannot make up its mind – and the voters desert us in droves; Brexit disagreements merely reflect how the Left was already broken by Thatcherism.


  11. How can you draw any conclusions from EU elections that have singularly failed to be reflected in following GE since day dot
    Please do not put any money on BP or LD’s your children will never forgive you for squandering their inheritance

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