Analysis

Guest article: why the ‘anyone but’ argument in the Unite election will lead to failure – former LOTO staffer Dr Phil Bevin

Unite member and former Corbyn staffer Phil Bevin has seen the left and its workings up close. He writes that putting forward only the least offensive and most accommodating candidate will lead to the defeat that its advocates say they fear most

By Dr Phil Bevin

Before I found myself in a minor role within Jeremy Corbyn’s LOTO, I worked my way through a PhD, specialising in narrative and rhetoric, so I like to think I know how to spot good (and bad) arguments.

There has been a lot of pressure on some ‘left’ candidates in the Unite General Secretary Election to stand down and fall behind a unified ‘anyone but Coyne’ campaign. I decided to write this piece because I believe the ‘anyone but Coyne’ argument will lead to failure because it is an uninspiring message that will do nothing to motivate people to turn out and vote.

A ‘self-fulfilling story of reaction and defeat’

I am also concerned that parts of the left have become trapped in their own self-fulfilling story of reaction and defeat; the idea that the left can’t advance, so it must retrench and defend what it still has by appeasing the right; this is a narrative that accepts right wing dominance and left wing decline.

Finally, and most importantly, I think it’s important to stand up for the principle that people should vote for their favoured candidate, which is essential in any democracy.

The rationale for the united “anyone but Coyne” candidate is thisin Unite’s previous General Secretary election – which was a three way fight between Coyne, McCluskey and  Allinson – Coyne ran McCluskey close on a low 12% turnout. I think the argument that having three left candidates on the ballot risks splitting the left wing vote and letting Coyne in is a valid one. But it isn’t the only valid argument and to me politics is more the art of rhetoric and persuasion than a science; there is no mathematical formula for predicting election results, which is why, however hard they try to be accurate, opinion polls get it wrong so regularly.

When it comes to analysing the race to succeed Len McCluskey, precedents can be found to evidence a range of possible outcomes, including [Cornish Damo] Damian Willey’s view that having three “left candidates” may make for an engaging, more democratic contest that favours the left, a position I tend to agree with.

Having three candidates from the ‘left’ on the ballot will only let Coyne win if the circumstances play out as they did last time around. But there’s no guarantee of this because every election is unique, influenced by the specific context in which it occurs. That there are four candidates in this contest is already a massive shift that will change the dynamics of the race and the defensive, ‘ABC’ strategy also carries its own set of considerable risks.

When candidates don’t have positive stories to tell through their candidacy, they can become too reliant on attacking opponents. This sometimes ends up with a disastrous ‘project fear’ type of campaign that served the Labour right so poorly during the Labour leadership elections of 2015 and 2016. Or the risk is that a candidate on the defensive becomes too scared to say much at all, which arguably served the left badly in the 2020 Labour leadership election and appears to be playing out among a couple of candidates now.

The other major risk for the ‘ABC’ strategy is that it rests on the assumption that there is a single candidate entitled to left wing votes, even if they haven’t actually won them themselves. I plan to vote for Beckett and I will not be transferring my vote to any other candidate because I can’t bring myself to support anyone who is even rumoured to be considering collaborating with Starmer, who I believe to be the most reactionary of right-wingers. There are probably many more like me.

‘Elections don’t have to mean a choice between the bad and the even worse’

If we choose to believe that we can’t change our circumstances and just accept the ‘lesser of two evils’ argument, then we might as well all just give up and leave the neoliberals to bicker over how many crumbs they’ll hand down to us from the top table. The whole reason we are here is surely because we believe that right wing policies don’t have to dominate forever; and one thing that Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of Labour showed us is that elections don’t have to mean a choice between the bad and the even worse.

From my own personal point of view, the only candidate who has shown themselves to be willing to shake up the status quo and challenge the establishment is Howard Beckett. To be honest, I haven’t heard much from the others. Beckett’s campaign is based on the idea that Unite’s membership can be increased, and the union’s reach expanded.

It is an exciting prospect.

Unite is my union. I don’t want it to be an organisation that stays quiet on the existential issues we face for fear of upsetting Johnson and Starmer’s establishment; I want to be part of a union that reaches out to new people, welcomes them in and which fights for our rights, while building the infrastructure that will allow us to transform our country into a far better place. Change won’t happen unless we fight for it.

Phil Bevin’s article ends here.

As Skwawkbox was editing this article for publication, the comment below happened to come in from Seán Mac Eachaidh, another Unite member, echoing Phil Bevin’s thoughts – either a huge coincidence or an indication that such thinking and intent is widespread:

Beckett is the one man the British establishment, the polite cosy comfortable and cosy labour right who are in the wrong party, do not want. Steve I won’t be voting for anybody else under any circumstances. Howard Beckett facing down the dark forces and standing his ground is how it was, how it was supposed to stay and how it ought to be with all unions. F*ck Blair, Kinnock, Watson, et al. I’m sticking with the Irish Ragged Trousered Philanthropists like Howard Beckett and [Ragged Trouser author] Bob Noonan.

Skwawkbox view:

The timorous assumption by supporters of other candidates that ‘there can be only one’ is already gifting the right-winger – the most reactionary and establishment-friendly candidate imaginable – an opportunity to pitch himself as the insurgent in this contest, a blunder that is inexcusable.

We’ve already seen in the Keir Starmer disaster that offering voters a lacklustre candidate on the assumption that they will choose him over an appalling right-winger leads to catastrophe. People are looking for courage, real vision and fire – and on those criteria there really is only one candidate in this contest. Trying to rule out the one left candidate with those qualities is a road to the disaster its advocates claim to want to avoid.

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70 comments

  1. Phil Bevin gets it. Why do some SEEM not to get it after FORTY years and the last FOUR plus that
    “putting forward only the least offensive and most accommodating candidate will lead to the defeat that its advocates say they fear most”

    ❔❓❔❓❔❓

    1. Skwawkbox.org – “People are looking for courage, real vision and fire – and on those criteria there really is only one candidate in this contest. Trying to rule out the one left candidate with those qualities is a road to the disaster its advocates claim to want to avoid.”

      Great to see i’m in excellent company AHEAD of the curve, rather than tagging on after the battle.

      🌹🎊🌹🎊🌹🎊

    2. As i guaranteed a few times, including recently, Jeremy Corbyn just had a super interview with Iain Dale on LBC 97.3 today Monday 14th June.
      He got a decent hearing as i predicted here. One Zac just sent a message saying it was BRILLIANT RADIO✅✅✅

      I predict – exactly as as a few weeks ago when Jeremy at last accepted Iain Dale’s MULTIPLE invitations to return, after six years… SIX YEARS ofvrefusals… I predict the response will be universally superlative.

      NB every time John McDonnell appeared on Iain Dale’s program, he asked McDonnell to convey the SEVERAL invitations to Jeremy. McDonnell said he did.

      Better late than never. In substance, Jeremy was as ever head and shoulders above ALL other UK politicians i have heard during the last twenty years at least. And that includes Tony Benn and George Galloway. George in my opinion needs light and shade. Way too much unrelenting volume. Excessive bombast. Substance always significantly valuable but let down by tiresome declamation… inappropriately stentorian.

      In all areas of life we should learn positive things from each other. George needs a bit more Jeremy. Yet Jeremy desperately needs much more George to cut the laid back delivery by 97%. AND to be present, visible and heard OFTEN by the GENERAL public.

      The voice should NOT be underpowered ESPECIALLY at low volume. That’s precisely when he should be more energised. The breath is also ALWAYS shallow, which it should never be. Remarkable that his team failed him on that. We can neither hear nor see ourselves as others hear and see us. We need others to be our mirrors.

      As ever, only meant to say overall Jeremy was excellent.
      🌹📻🎊🌹📻🎊🌹📻🎊

    1. You are thinking correctly timfrom, as i think you almost always do 🏆🏆🏆

      Robert Tressell (pen name) is indeed the author of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

      Real surname is Croker and / or Noonan.

      p.s. … 30 minutes ago i thought anyone cottoned on to those who argue FULL of energy with the most ridiculously threadbare easily shredded rags flapping BY Right Wing wind… how come those SAME individuals always… ALWAYS campaign for the SAME creatures Luke Akehurst supports, Labour First supports, Mandelson, Toynbee, Owen Smith, Straw, Blair, Hodge, Campbell, Cooper, Watson, Phillips Numbers one and Number two i.e. “knife Jeremy in the front” Phillips, Sir Rodney Keith Starmer, Owen Jones, Blair’s ex flatmate… name slips, Coyle, Ashworth, Ellman, Theresa May, Iain Duncan Smitthy man, Evans, et al the CABAL support OR don’t attack as they attacked Jeremy and now attack Howard Beckett ⚠️❓⚠️❓⚠️❓

      Quite a pattern if you ask me. No ? ? ?

      1. Ah, right. Didn’t know Tressell was a pen name. Thanks for the info spnwc!

  2. I’d bet a majority of Unite members don’t follow social media and many have not been told there is an election. Starmer sent out a postal mailshot. Just an idea.

    1. Excellent idea Jed Bland! Howard Beckett must reach out of his familiar circle and not even only to Unite members. He and our leaders MUST strive to speak to the ENTIRE public. Almost every voter has a mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son, uncle, aunt, grandma, grandpa, friend, partner, teammate, lover, person servicing the boiler, bus driver, we are ALL connected and influence each other. We must stop being parochial. Not you obviously. In general we must appreciate those connections and DEMONSTRATE that we value them in ALL our communications.
      🔴📣🟥🔊

    2. Jed – Surely the ballot papers dropping through their letter boxes will ensure that every member has been informed about the election. Apathy is a bigger problem than awareness.

      1. SH it’s you up to your tricks again.
        Jed’s excellent suggestion is: Howard Beckett should send “a postal mailshot”
        BEFORE the ballots, to increase awareness
        AHEAD of the vote.

        You know that. You show again how you Right Wing lot not only attempt to deceive, and badger the best “Left” candidate to pull out TWO plus months before the vote, but you go extra kilometres to misinterpret Jed’s advice. You are DESPERATE for as many as possible to not be energised by Howard Beckett’s campaign.

        Some are indeed unaware because of other concerns, duties, jobs, children to parent, unwell people to make better … the list is long. You appear not to have any of those.

        But, what better way to combat the dire twins “apathy” AND “awareness” than by an inspiring and energising person like Howard Beckett fighting with dynamism to win⁉️
        Tell us SteveH, davidH, SH❓

        Your desperation proves yet again that Howard Beckett is THE LEADER you Tories poorly masked in red fear.
        🎭🎯 🎭🎯 🎭🎯

      2. windchime – Why do you keep insisting that the vote is in 2mths+ when the ballot papers go out in less than 3 weeks (05/07).

      3. SH three days ago – “• Deadline for voting papers to be returned to the Independent Scrutineer: 23 August 2021 at noon”.

        Of course all should ensure their votes for Howard Beckett are sent in time.
        ⏰⏳⏱⏰⏳⏱⏰⏳⏱

      4. windchime – Oddly you forgot to copy and paste that the ballot papers go out in less than 3 weeks. I wonder why?
        My point is that they need to decide before the ballot papers are printed and distributed whether they are going to split the vote. If you want to argue against that then please feel free to do so.

      5. SH it is your usual determination to pretend that u don’t see the obvious facts.
        Graham, Turner & Coyne can pull out any time BEFORE the ballots are printed.
        Then if genuine supporters of “the many”, they would give FULL support to
        Howard Beckett.
        ⏰🌹⏰🌹⏰🌹⏰

      6. windchime – Howard’s came third behind both Turner and Graham in the nominations, why isn’t he on your list.

      7. SH SteveH davidH, just as Jeremy defeated those with bin fulls of Right Wing nominations, Howard Beckett i predict will do the same.

        Remember the brick finder Angela Eagle? Smith? … were Thornberry and Harman dumped too? unmemorable …

        Howard Beckett like Jeremy will demolish Luke Akehurst’s Turner and Graham. And as u may very well know, word is Mandelson’s cabal latest desperate instructions to Sir Rodney is to order your Coyne & Graham to be dismissed. SH do you think they will obey?
        What fun 😊😊😊

      8. windchimes – You are welcome to come back and tell me how another of your famous predictions has come true when the results are in.

      9. SH will tell u č same unalloyed delight as i felt when
        Jeremy binned
        your Tory parasites
        thrice!!!
        😊😊😊

      10. windchime – If you are expecting a reply could you please clarify your above comment, currently it is unintelligible

      11. windchimes – Where would Beckett get the mailing list from to facilitate his mailshot.

      12. SH, my advice was radio radio radio to reach a wide audience OUTSIDE Howard Beckett’s familiar audience.

        The substance of Jed’s suggestion is sound.
        🌹🥁🌹🥁🌹🥁

      13. windchime – “The substance of Jed’s suggestion is sound.”

        On the contrary without access to a mailing list his comment lacks any substance

      14. Jed’s thoughts concern reaching out. That’s the point. INCREASE communicating to members BEFORE the deadline for votes to be received 23 August.
        The collective approach is to take all that’s positively constructive from any source … even from you.
        ⏰📣⏰📣⏰📣

      15. SH SteveH davidH almost everyone gets tons of leaflets for pizzas, window cleaning, other cleaning services, Estate agents, private tuition, taxi services etc almost EVERY DAY. You fake ignorance again. They often not addressed to a named person. I often see people with tabards hand delivering them through my letter box. The post-person too as they did yesterday!

        If independent pizza sellers and other businesses can, why can’t Howard Beckett❔
        U pretend to know everything when u please. Eection leaflets are delivered, even by independent candidates. They too are unaddressed.
        The “Left” should speak to the widest audience OUTSIDE the usual. That’s one way to increase “awareness”.
        Naturally your Sir Rodney Starmer’s ratings sink the more the public discovers.
        However Howard Beckett, because he does have positive aims and values to offer and inspire, he should think ahead.

        Not if he defies the doom-mongers as Jeremy Corbyn did so emphatically THREE times. No matter what, Howard Beckett should think beyond that victory.
        🌹🔊🌹🔊🌹🔊

      16. windchime – Sounds like a brilliant idea, it makes one wonder why nobody thought of doing this before. 🙄

    3. Jed – It was wrong of me to assume that you would know that Howard doesn’t have access to a full mailing list of members. Please accept my apologies for being so dismissive of your comment.

    4. Jed, as a long standing Unite member I can confirm the only communication I’ve had from my branch was when they told me they had nominated Turner. I’ve had no communication from HQ about the election either. They want it to be a stitch up. Same happened at the last election. No wonder the turn out was pathetic and Coyne nearly squeaked in.

    5. Jed Bland, i should have praised your sound thinking –

      ” I’d bet a majority of Unite members don’t follow social media”.

      I fully agree with you on that.
      You could see, i’v been giving that warning for years here, including this very week.
      In my opinion and yours, social media reaches only to those already ENGAGED in their familiar groups.
      For politics, those hoping to END the status quo, have failed, are failing and will continue to fail thinking transformative ideas can be explained in a few characters.
      ⭕️🧮⭕️🧮⭕️🧮

  3. Phil Bevin article’s is worth reading he writes
    “When candidates don’t have positive stories to tell through their candidacy, they can become too reliant on attacking opponents”.
    Who are the ones doing the attacks on the opponents? Beckett’s supporters.
    Then their is the fundamental flaw that Phil Bevin believes this election would be run on STV and not FPTP.
    I am afraid Bevin article hasn’t change my mind at all while I am sure it would haven’t chance the minds of Beckett’s supporters either.
    .As I say many times before, I can live with either Turner, Beckett or Graham been the newest Unite General Secretary. However, it appears that for Beckett’s supporters is all or nothing.
    For all our shakes including theirs I hope that when they get nothing is in the form or either Graham or Turner wining the position of GS because, if the “nothing” delivers Coyne as a General Secretary, Unite Community branches would be gone, done and dusted.
    We all need to prepare for a four way battle straight ahead and Beckett isn’t going to win it, despite all the support of Phil Bevin that doesn’t even bother to research under which electoral system the election is going to be fought. What can I say shabby.

    1. Maria Vazquez, i’m asking you again since you failed to answer.

      1- Did you support Jeremy from the get go❓ 2- Did you campaign for him as you are doing now for Luke Akehurst’s choice Turner❓

      3- Did you support Jeremy when he was struggling to get nominations❓
      4- Did you then support him DURING his FIRST Leadership contest❓
      5- Whom did you support during Sir Starmer’s first coup to unseat Jeremy within his first TWELVE months❓
      6- Whom did you support in Sir Starmer’s second coup❓
      7- Did you post at any time that you doubt Jeremy would win at ANY of those stages❓

      Many readers of Skwawkbox.org may be grateful to hear EACH of your answers to these SPECIFIC clear questions.

      Thanks in advance.

      👁‍🗨❔👁‍🗨❔👁‍🗨❔

      1. Your diversionary , arrogant, questions to Maria are pure diversionary irrelevance, windchimes. Maria is simply correctly pointing out that with a three way split Left vote the rabid Right Winger, Coyne, will win. Your irrelevant interrogation questions (simply hoping to somehow smear Maria – and avoid the key question yourself) fail to tackle that – the only issue that matters here. If I was Maria I too would simply ignore your stupid juvenile attempt to avoid the core problem of a split Left vote – and the fact that it is only Turner who has the UNITE Left and branch nominations mandate to be that single Left candidate.

      2. jpenney your arrogant response as always, tells us all we need to know about you. ⚠️🔴⚠️🔴⚠️🔴

      3. Maria is afraid to answer because if answered truthfully and clearly, a pattern would be there for all to see. No ???
        💡🔦💡🔦💡🔦

    2. Yes indeed Maria Vazquez , quite right. The sophist, Phil Bevin (sorry , almost forgot that vital ‘Dr’ title !) . as you say – doesn’t even know the vital fact that this contest is being run under FPTP, NOT the STV system he ignorantly imagines it is ! With that level of fundamental ignorance , who can take (Dr) Phil Bevin seriously ! He also completely wrongly states that in the last UNITE Leadership contest it was a straight head-to-head between McCluskey and Coyne ! Totally incorrect. In reality the radical socialist ,non-insider, candidate , Ian Allinson, from a standing start, secured 17,143 votes, 13.2% of the total , so McCluskey scraped in against Coyne by only 59,067 to 53,544 votes .Yep, a dangerously split Left vote then too, Dr Bevin ! In a union with over a million members the tiny 12% turnout also illustrates the disconnect between the candidates and the mass of the rank and File – particularly the established full timer bureaucrats like McCluskey and Coyne.

      And yes again, Maria, it IS ONLY the Beckett camp, and shameful Skwawkbox in particular who have been doing all the slanderous smearing of Turner , not Turner of Beckett.

      Why Skwawkbox couldn’t find a more capable advocate for the electorally suicidal, ‘Let all the Left candidates stand and split the vote’ ‘strategy’ is a mystery. As things stand the most likely outcome now is a three-way-split Left vote – and a victory for the most right wing new General Secretary of a major union in a generation ! Well done Skwawkbox and the totally sectarian Beckett camp ! Skwawkbox’s reputation is already in tatters over this – for all but the Beckett fanboys (most of whom are not UNITE members, have never been in the union, and are just posturing as usual) who populate the Skwawkbox comments.

      1. Not quite right jpenney when you say “it IS ONLY the Beckett camp, and shameful Skwawkbox in particular who have been doing all the slanderous smearing of Turner , not Turner of Beckett.”

        The Beckett camp (not Beckett) is crticising its two left wing oppoenents for not disapproving of the current leader and his behaviour, and their failure to resist and cricise the awful leadership of Sir Keir Rodney Starmer.

        Anti-democratic authoritarians Starmer, friend of the billionaires and their neoliberal corruption, need to be opposed and obstructed.

        Howard Beckett has no need to slander or smear his opponents, their actions solicit annoyance and exasperation from those of us who see Beckett as a welcome candidate for GS.

  4. “Unite’s previous General Secretary election – which was a one-to-one fight between him [Coyne] and McCluskey “

    Really?
    Perhaps the above would have more credibility if the guest writer had managed to get the basics right.
    Len McCluskey 59,067 45.5%
    Gerard Coyne 53,544 41.3%
    Ian Allinson 17,143 13.2%
    Invalid votes 317
    Turnout 130,071 12.2%

    “Finally, and most importantly, I think it’s important to stand up for the principle that people should vote for their favoured candidate, which is essential in any democracy.”

    Agreed but It is also worth noting that Beckett was bragging earlier this year about keeping Coyne off the ballot paper

  5. 100% endorse those statements, from both men!

    Time we got off our knees and dispensed with Blairism, for good and all. This would be a good place to start.

    Tony Blair should never have been a Member of The Labour Party, in the first place, and he should not be a Member, now!

    1. And not a mention of the G7fiasco,and the enemys of the working class.We all paid for the pigs at the trough and with a Labour party asleep 😴 nobodys home?

  6. Good piece, vote for what u believe in, and in my case it’s for the ideas of Howard Beckett. Keep the dream alive. Solidarity!

  7. Regarding differences with this ballot. I think conditions are very different this time and each candidate deserves their say before the membership decides. Last time round Coyne had the support of every member who disliked McCluskey (and by definition Corbyn). So he had the Tory vote plus the Labour right vote plus his own supporters. This time the Labour right vote is split while Coyne, Turner and Graham are standing, that’s why Coyne is calling stitch up and Turner supporters are desperate for Beckett and Graham to stand down. Turner would walk it in a straight shoot out with Coyne. But everyone deserves their say. The union is best represented by fair and open selection.

    1. bazz2001 – Really?

      Have you not read the comments above pointing out how ill-informed the author is.

      1. “bazz2001 – Really?

        I suspect that, like me, he has read them an disagrees with them. Like Corbyn before him, Beckett is attracting nw members to his organisation and will increase participation in elections (the opposite of Sir Keir Rodney Starmer).

      2. qwertboi – “I suspect that, like me, he has read them an disagrees with them.”

        Really?
        The main criticisms of the guest author are his failures to realise that this is a FPTP election and that there were three contestants in the last Unite GenSec election. There are no ifs or buts, it is an undeniable fact that the author was wrong on both theses very basic and fundamental points.

        How on earth can you dispute these facts and still expect to be taken seriously

      3. Steve, Go argue in your vacuum pipe. You can wind other folk up but you won’t do it with me mate.

      4. baz2001 – Thanks for reassuring us all that you are not wound up.

  8. SB has got really dirty hands in all of this although I think we all know why.

    In this case, the members of Unite, who rely on it for protection and representation in the workplace, will likely vote for the person most able to preserve and strengthen it’s core union functions rather than chase political rainbows with Union funds.

    I’m not convinced Rachael and Damo are doing much good here other than show the incredibly partisan nature of the Beckett campaign.

  9. Yup, the same sad shit repeats oh we should unite behind a bland candidate that won’t upset the sodding Cult of new Labour 2.0 Like WTF! Can we not vote for who you like?

    Nope, you have to vote for someone who refuses to talk about important issues refuses to slap down this cult well if that’s the case? Then we might as well just give up…

    1. Beckett and McCluskey have issues with members being able to vote for the candidate of their choice

  10. If we make a comment on these threads, and SteveH doesn’t read it, does that mean we’re still wrong?

    1. George – In your case it is more likely than not that you will found to be in the wrong again.

  11. Howard Beckett on ‘Not the Andrew Marr Show’ – Sunday the 13th of June 2021 :

    1. George – Parr for the course for Beckett. Plenty of ‘oh so earnest’ waffle around choosing a single candidate but not a hint of a solution.

  12. The idea that you will not vote for any other candidate is pure Tooting Popular Front
    If your not voting for the left candidate then your a Tory and in the wrong party
    Stop pleasuring yourselves over the candidates and put up your Red lines and Clear Red Water
    Then it went matter which one goes forward and you can be inspired if that’s your thing
    Frankly I dont give a fuck as long as we win

  13. JC was a spiritual leader and the kind of person we all should try to be more like
    But
    We are not for a reason, survival and security
    JC was practically useless and with John Mc calling it wrong on all the big issues
    Result
    We let the Red Tories screw us again
    Now can we find out more about what turned it around at Unison

  14. “Howard Beckett has this evening confirmed his place on the ballot of Unite members to choose the next general secretary of the giant Unite union.”

    Has he really?
    As for transparency, I am all in favour of that.
    I can’t think of one good reason why all the details of their respective nominations shouldn’t be published.
    The details should include the nominating branch details, the number of votes each candidate received in each branch and the turnout figures.

  15. Brilliant video by Howard. So ignore the right wing social democrats like SH and bourgeois socialists like Left Unity philosopher King JP. Haven’t felt so positive and hopeful by supporting Beckett since I attended a Jeremy Corbyn rally in 2017. As a working class left wing democratic socialist I dedicate one of my poems to the Beckett Campaign: ‘INTERREGNUM. The older order Neo-Liberalism is dying. But the new cannot yet be born. Perhaps we are all being tested. And only the stars will ride the storm.’ Solidarity!

  16. Anyone, still, wondering how The Labour Party got taken over by an ‘Asylum of Cuckoos’, may find an answer in this article, by Helen Pidd, in The Guardian.

    ‘Keir Hardie’s cycling club jettisons socialism.

    A majority of National Clarion Club members vote to remove ‘divisive’ word from its constitution.’

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/jun/14/keir-hardies-cycling-club-jettisons-socialism

    It’s so easy. Instead of setting up their own organisation, the ‘cuckoos’ join an established organisation, which, being socialist – and bearing in mind socialism isn’t politics, it’s a way of life – welcomes them in, as members.

    Eventually, the ‘cuckoos’ gaining strength and ‘power’, decide they want to change the rules. None of this socialist malarkey. It’s divisive – or so they say, forgetting how they, themselves, were able to join the organisation, in the first place, and not having the first idea what socialism, actually, is.

    No more socialism(Clause IV). The organisation(Party) splinters and the ethos of the original organisation is weakened.

    The parallels and similarities between what’s happening in the National Clarion Cycling Club, now, and what has already happened to The Labour Party, from the noughties up to the present time, are obvious.

    Both sets of ‘cuckoos’ set themselves up on the cheap, using the admin and assets of an existing organisation.

    The social democrats set themselves up, as a political party, using the admin and assets of a democratic socialist party.

    It’s that simple. We see it in action, on these threads, every day.

    1. Nice theory, George Peel, but as a matter of actual historical fact – entirely bogus ! Sorry, George, but the Labour Party was always a pro British imperialism, capitalist status-quo supporting , non socialist, political organisation – based on a Right Wing trades union bureaucracy and a professional Parliamentary elite always dominated by very right wing politicians. The socialist Left , in membership and PLP terms, has always been in a minority – certainly in power terms. Even when there have been periodic Left surges in the membership, the solid hold of the right wing bureaucracy over the trades unions, and their bloc votes, and the domintion of the PLP Right, has never allowed Labour to be really anti capitalist, anti Imperialist, or generally progressive. The Right never ‘infiltrated’ or ‘took over’ the Labour Partty. They were there, dominant, from the very beginning, and have never lost control for long. As per the easy crushing of ‘Corbynism’.

      It is a common delusion on the Labourist Left that the Right; ‘infiltrated and stole the Party’. The Right didn’t – it was always their Party, from day one , backed by the trade union bureaucracy – and the Labour Left socialists have simply provided a facade of empty radicalism that attracted lots of socialists to work their guts out for a Right wing Party majority, and attracted the voters of Left-leaning workers, but seldom worked its way into actual policy implemented by the stream of right wing Labour Leaders (and occasional prime ministers) . one after another.

      1. Yeah, you say it’s ‘actual historical fact’. I say that’s BS.

        Gaitskell and Wilson left Attlee’s government because they thought him – too – socialist. Perhaps, he was a right-wing socialist – whatever that is? I’m sure someone will be along in a moment to enlighten us all.

        No matter what, none of them, ever, thought of dispensing with Clause IV, as Blair obviously did.

        The present Labour Party is a social democratic party, although – as we all know – it says Democratic Socialist on the back of the Membership Card.

        What kind of person joins an organisation, knowing they have a socialist ethos, and then tries to change it? There is no logic to that, at all, unless that was the intention, all along.

        If a political party was what they were after, or a cycling club, why didn’t they form their own?

        So many questions, coupled with so much BS, from you.

        By the way – read the article.

      2. Reality check. You are a historical ignoramus, George Peel. Attlee was on the pro imperialist Right of the party . Only if you define ‘being a socialist’ as so meaningless as to include Blair, Cherie Blair, Starmer, Kinnock, and the rest of the capitalist status quo-supporting gang as ‘socialists, can Attlee be categorised as one. As Churchill’s coalition deputy PM , then PM, Attlee was totally on board with crushing the Greek Left Resistance (with Greek fascist released militia help) , and recovering as much of the fast-disintegrating old British empire as they could post war, and sent troops in to break strikes. He was helping to SAVE British capitalism with his nationalisation measures , in the ruins of postWW2 devastation, not trying to replace it with socialism. Creating the NHS was a measure forced on the entire ruling class , and Labour, by the threat of millions of militarily trained returning demobbed soldiers, and the ideological threat of Soviet communism.

        You are just another dupe who has bought into the cynical , undoubtedly socialist, Claus 4 statement of 1918 that Blair then watered down out of existence. Clause 4 was never actually Labour policy in reality – just a cynical PR response to the revolutionary threat of ‘Bolshevism’ during the huge European post WW1 ‘Red Wave’ of revolutions. The Labour Party’s real purpose always was, and is, to capture the working class voter and militant, and , along with the trades union bureaucracy, make sure working class anti capitalist anger and activism never actually threatens the capitalist status quo. To that end, the empty posturing radicalism of the tame PLP and Labour Left is just part of the stage scenery of the Labour Party to keep any opposition to the overall status quo safely contained – as those of us who lived through the cynical suppression of the great wave of worker radicalism during the 1970’s by the Wilson government of 1974 to 1979, well remember !

        Still, who cares about historical facts, eh, George. Better to just suck up the mythology spouted by Labour since its creation ! Keep on wasting your time trying to turn an always pro capitalist , deeply corrupt, pro monarchy, pro- establishment Party into a socialist party !

    1. Forget Keir Hardy, George . He didn’t define the fundamental nature of the Labour Party – the reactionary status quo-supporting pro Imperialist Trades Union bureaucracy (with their bloc votes) did – and the likes of the middle class, eugenicist, racist, haters of working class self activism,. Fabien Society types. These scum ALWAYS dominated the Labour Party, and still do. One socialist Leftie leader does not define a Party’s real function – as Jeremy’s pathetically craven term in office demonstrated so recently.

      Labour always was, as Lenin said, a ‘Bourgeois workers party’ – specifically created by the trades union bureaucracy and right wing social democrats, who had previously coexisted happily within the Parliamentary Liberal Party, to CONTAIN a then ever-growing threat of the organised industrial working class seeking worker self emancipation via revolutionary action. Labour’s mission was always to contain this potential worker radical self activism within the parliamentary limits of a continuing, imperialist , capitalist system, not to assist it to overthrow capitalism.

      1. You’re leaving so much out of that, I’m, still, going to call BS.

        The PLP, the MSM – broadcast and print. Labour HQ staff. It was all a concentrated coup, over an extended period.

        To counter that, there were half a million new Members who worked their socks off, for a Democratic Socialist Party and a Democratic Socialist Leader.

        That they were all betrayed by treacherous ‘cuckoos’, who should never have been in The Party in the first place.

        As for ‘Jeremy’s pathetically craven term in office’, the only mistake he made was trusting those in HQ. Trusting – not – ‘craven’. Those people who should never have been there in the first place.

        But it’s alright. We’ll know the next time and the McNicols, Oldknows et al. had better watch out. They could end up in prison.

        Perhaps, when The Forde Inquiry Report, finally, gets published, all will become clearer.

        One last point, this present Labour Party will never be in a position to form a government. They have, neither the personnel, nor, the votes.

  17. Dearie me, George. No answers then to my accurate history-based, explanation of the real nature and function of the Labour Party – from its very foundation. Have a read of that seminal 1960’s book, Ralph Miliband’s ‘Parliamentary Socialism’ for a much more detailed analysis. Too much trouble ? Not interested in a counter to your fantasy belief that the Labour Party is some sort of socialist party – just infiltrated and driven off its socialist course by sneaky right wingers ! Shouting ‘BS’ isn’t a reply, George – just the winge of a defeated debater.

    The Labour Party will never form another government because , after many decades of crony corruption by the dominant Right Wingers in the Scottish Party, it has permanently lost the vital Scottish circa 48 to 50 seats worth of left votes to the left fakers of the SNP. and in England it’s Labour Councils have lost the support of local voters by implementing Tory Austerity for a decade – and , with the active collaboration of most of the Labour Left membership and PLP Lefties, Labour lost millions of its working class Leave-supporting Heartland voters in 2019 (and forever more) by supporting Remain and 2nd Referendum.

    And lastly , not only has Labour NEVER been a socialist party , TODAY its mainly middle class membership are mostly merely identity politics obsessed Left Liberals , NOT socialists either. So Labour has already reached its ‘PASOK Moment’ of electoral irrelevance – and will eventually re-amalgamate with the Lib Dems, as history goes full circle.

    1. Bad Penny
      The SNP are a single issue party, kept alive by broken Tory promises, call their bluff and their bubble will burst
      Cheap and nasties are so corrupt its like watching a Ponzi Scheme in action, we have no idea why people invest we just know instinctively it will end in tears
      LibDums, will join Red Tories and One Nation Tories to form the long awaited Centrist party and will last as long as it takes to face the electorate, snowballs in hell spring to mind
      JC’s legacy is alive and well and has the demographics on their side, he proved this country is screaming out for clear Red Water
      Covid19 Brexit and Independence
      Whatever the question a Socialist Labour government is the answer
      Huzzah

    2. Keep going, jp, you’re almost there. You’ll come round to my way of thinking, eventually.

      1. No George, you are again confused, I am on record as knowing the neo Blairite Starmerite Labour is now permanently fucked electorally, on many posts, for a long time now . So I don’t get your gnomic “Almost there”, comment, George ? To your delusional way of thinking, ? You really ARE a fantasist who just believes what he wants to believe. Meanwhile, in the real world, still no answers or fact-based ripostes from you to my detailed analysis then , George ? I really think you’d benefit from reading that renowned, and still relevant, Ralph Miliband book, ‘Parliamentary Socialism’ . It really isn’t enough to construct an analysis of the Labour Party based on a trivial article by a Guardian journalist about a middle class cycling club !

        As long as Lefties fantasise that the always pro capitalist status quo supporting Labour Party has a genuine socialist past – but has recently been ‘infiltrated by Right Wingers’, they will remain trapped in the endless swamp of Labourism – wasting their time in that Sisyphus task of ‘turning Labour Left’ – again – and again – to defeat after defeat by a totally dominant Right and their right wing trade union bureaucrat allies.

        And yes, Doug, a socialist government Is indeed the ‘answer’ – but is the , from its inception, always Right Wing dominated Labour Party the route to that ‘answer’ ? No it ain’t, Doug . The ‘Corbyn insurgency’ of 2015 to 2019 was utterly crushed by the Right , with the same ease as the Bennite wave of the 1980’s , and every other past Left insurgency since the Party’s formation. That should tell Lefties something – but they just keep on ploughing the same fruitless furrow !

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