Former deputy general secretary David Evans looks set to be Labour’s next general secretary, according to party insiders. Right-wing factions in the party have reportedly been lobbying for his appointment and Starmer appears to have bowed to the pressure.
The appointment is likely to be controversial, as Evans was the author of a report that recommended a “radical overhaul” and a ‘”New Labour” solution’ under Tony Blair to isolate the “Old Labour” left, doing so in derisory terms – and in the language of branding and marketing so typical of Blairism:
We have a strong, positive branding at national level. But we are badly let down by a very poor high street presence. Indeed, the majority of local Labour parties are more like Trotters Independent Traders than Marks & Spencer … We are a ramshackle confederation of market traders.
When Evans left Labour he founded The Campaign Company, which specialises in surveys, research and ‘focus groups’ – another term that will sit ill with the large part of the Labour membership that becomes nauseous at Blair’s heavily focus-grouped and triangulated politics.
Evans is being described within the party as Starmer’s ‘chosen one’; the only potential spanners in the works are possible resistance by the now-minority left on Labour’s National Executive Committee – and push-back from Labour women at the idea of replacing a woman as general secretary with a man when Starmer’s office is already overwhelmingly male and pale.
If Evans is appointed, Labour’s switch from being run by a left-wing, working-class union activist to a company director keen on branding and focus groups will be an ominous sign of the party’s direction under Keir Starmer, especially with the issue of the leaked Labour report still unresolved.
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