Analysis comment

Smear backfires as Beckett shows why Unite needs him – dismantles ‘risible’ Labour right and bosses Newsnight (video)

‘You’re in the wrong party’, left’s favourite candidate tells McDonagh and co – and warns them to be careful what they say on TV…

The right’s latest desperate attempt to derail Howard Beckett’s storming campaign to become the next general secretary of the giant Unite union – revealed exclusively on Thursday by Skwawkbox – (predictably) backfired, as Beckett bossed his appearance on the BBC’s Newsnight and dismantled the ‘risible’ posturing of Labour right-wingers.

So barrel-scraping was the attempted hit-job that the likes of Tom Watson, Margaret Hodge and Siobhan McDonagh were reduced to blaming the left for not trying hard enough in the last two general elections – and completely rewriting history to whitewash out the revelations of the right’s sabotage contained in last year’s leaked Labour report.

And McDonagh went further, claiming it was disgraceful that the left, including Unite, dared to target figures from the faction accused in that report of, at best, hoping for Labour to fail or even working against its success.

Beckett described the notion as ‘risible’ and laughably hypocritical – and then made the right embarrass itself even further:

The right’s move – supported of course by their media friends – was driven by panic at the huge success of Beckett’s campaign, which smashed through the 172-nomination threshold with barely half the opening phase gone and on Thursday shattered the 300-mark.

But it backfired – spectacularly.

Beckett was given a perfect showcase to show why his ‘take no sh*t and no prisoners’ approach is exactly what Unite and the whole labour movement need – and the huge response on social media, which trended throughout the evening, not only galvanised Beckett’s already enthusiastic support but also featured Unite members saying that they had not previously intended to vote for Beckett – but would now, such as:

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