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Exclusive: panicked Labour tells MPs to attend defensive ‘hold your seat’ training

Despite managing to hold onto the seat in last night’s Erdington by-election, it seems the extremely low turnout and acknowledged lack of enthusiasm for the party encountered by canvassers ‘on the doorstep’ have Labour panicked.

The party has sent a message to all its MPs telling them to attend defensive ‘Hold your Seat’ training to maximise their chances of avoiding being ousted at the next general election – to give them and what remains of their supporters in a party that has lost more than a third of its members since Keir Starmer took over:

the skills [you] need to hold your seat at the next election, whenever it is called.

Interestingly – though unsurprisingly given that the party sacked its community organiser teams soon after Starmer’s leadership win and has offered nothing meaningful in terms of hope and vision, or even substantive policies beyond driving out the left – Labour’s preparations appear to be entirely defensive. There seems to be no equivalent campaign to actually win seats it currently doesn’t hold.

Perhaps in Keir Starmer’s out of touch view of the 50+ working-class seats his second referendum policy drove to the Tories, he thinks merely appearing more racist and eager for war than Boris Johnson will be enough to win them back. But it looks more likely that Labour recognises the unpopularity of a gutted husk of a recently-great party and is devoting what energies it has to merely minimising losses.

After all, the Labour right’s sabotage of the 2017 general election assumed even with policies and popularity that Corbyn was going to lose seats rather than the gains that the party made, so they have plenty of form and a lot more justification now for expecting the worst.

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  1. The sickening hypocrisy of Gordon Brown:

    “By acting in solidarity, we signal our resolve that lawless aggression will not be tolerated anywhere and we must ensure that those who have unleashed the horrors are subject to personal accountability under the criminal law. ”

    Gordon Brown has recently said this. He was not asked about his government’s bombing of Serbia or participation in the invasions of Afghanistan or Iraq by his BBC ‘interviewer’.

    1. One eyed Jack Brown, the guy who sold all our gold. A highly successful Labour Leader who never won a GE and was only made a Leader because Tony promised him the job……

    2. Yes Mr ‘I Care So Much About the Poor in the World’ Brown I voted to bomb them?
      He also did nothing for the left behind areas which eventually bit Labour back.
      When I was in Labour I wrote to him and said if you don’t do something soon you’ll lose, he found a billion but too little, too late.

  2. It’s squeaky bum time in the Labour marginals. That includes my constituency where a 2% swing to an independent or PAL candidtate would mean toast for the MP.

    Fair enough.

      1. timfrom

        I could say which constituency. But after having false allegateions and shit thrown at me since 2017, I am not willing to give information that could, possibly identify me.

        I will say, Skwawks knows me, we have met in person on a couple of occasions, so I feel no need to give out more personal information than I am comfortable with. Skwawks knows of the shit that has been directed against me, what he doesn’t know is the effect it has had on my mental health. I never got the email advising me I could seek comfort with the Samaratans – with the phone number given. I was left to try and figure it out for myself.

        I have no idea who you are. That’s not a slight against you, but just me probably being over cautious. So forgive me if I don’t give the constituency on this forum.

      2. Nemtona
        What happened to you has unfortunately happened to many others- life long labour members persecuted. hounded, maligned and kicked out of the party by Starmers Labour for being Socialists, AntiZionists or independent thinkers
        Don’t let them get to you, they are not worth it. They are totally inadequate people – cowards and bullies -who run in packs and would never dare face any of us one to one.
        Also as my old Nan used to say – if they are picking on you they are leaving somebody else alone so bear that in mind and treat them with the contempt they so richly deserve.

      3. Smartboy @7.06

        Thank you for your support and solidarity. I know you are right in what you say, but you have to have lived this, especially through the early days when nobody knew what was going on, to understand how the false alegations, being kept in the dark, ignored and lied to impacts on individuals. We all deal with these things in our own way.

        There’s a reckoning coming.


      4. I came across many bullies in my working life and in also in my Trade Union career Nemtona. Thankfully I never had to go through what you had to go through but I do have some idea how awful it must have been for you. You survived and always remember that you are by far the better person than those who sought to hurt and undermine you.
        I hope things work out for you ( they will as long as you don’t let them get you down) and I also hope that when the day of reckoning comes the bullies are shown up for the pitiful excuses for human beings that they are.

  3. Tony, the UK intervened against Serbia because of the actions of the Serbian paramilitaries against Bosnia and Kosovo.
    This military intervention had the full backing of the UN and I don’t remember a single Labour MP including members of the SCG speaking against it.
    The military intervention in Iraq and Afganistan didn’t have the backing of the UN, I am sure you remember the whole narrative about the existance of weapons of mass destruction.
    To this day, I believe that the military intervention in Iraq and Afganistan was unjustified. I remember a meeting in Paris with the senior atomic inspector and Jacques Chirac coming out of the meeting that was attended too by Blair, declaring that France would not support the US’s war effort.
    Chirac was never a dove, had it been any glimpse that Iraq was holding weapons of mass destruction, I have not doubts that France will have supported the war efforts. Therefore, I believe that Blair and all Labour MPs knew that they weren’t any weapons of mass destruction. Robin Cook resigned from the front bench over this issue as he couldn’t ignore the truth.
    I don’t believe you do yourself any favours by linking the situation in former Yugoslavia with the situation in Iraq and Afganistan. I believe the situation in Ukraine is very different too, for that of Iraq and Afganistan.
    However, I agree with you that we need to try to find a peaceful solution using diplomacy rather than to talk war. We need to offer Russia and honourable exit from the ward by recognising that the situation in the Donbass region is the reason that has incited Russian’s aggression.
    What does the West expects Russia to do? To seat on its hands while over 14K ethnic Russian speakers had been massacre in the last few years? While Ukraine passes legislation that install Ukranian language as the only official language and in the process ignoring that in the Eas of Ukraine, Russian has been the most spoken language for many Centuries.The US provoked the Russian bear and it reacted.

    1. A great deal in what you say.
      I would make one opposing point though. The post-WWII formulation of international law made it a war crime to make war on another state. It didn’t give the UN carte blanche to vote to ignore international law. It follows that, despite any number of UN resolutions, it was illegal for any country to bomb Serbia. This has been attested to by one of the people who were involved in the drafting of the law. If I can find the link, I’ll post it.

    2. Maria, Agree Serbia is a different case.
      And the elephant in the room in Ukraine is the far right attacks in Donbas on ethnic Russians and there is plenty of evidence concerning this (Tariq Ali,’Natoland’ in NLR blog Sidecar, and ‘War in Europe and Raw Propaganda) but I think Oliver Eagleton on Ukraine on Novara Media (3/3/22) offers at last some clarity.
      Russia believes (because of the above) it is making a “humanitarian intervention” which was the same reasons the US-Led West gave for invading Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, and Eagleton suggests the two super powers “may have more in common in their worldview than they care to admit.”
      The original Russian Revolution (before it all went wrong) did two great services for the world.
      Firstly they leaked secret documents on how Govts really acted (which Julian Assange also did years later and is being cruelly persecuted for by the powerful) and secondly they brought about the notion of self-determination for countries (which tragically they didn’t stick to) and perhaps it is this latter ideal we need to get back to rather than the US and Russia telling countries in their spheres what to do.

      1. Scott Ritter, from a few days.

        Ritter, a former US Marine, was a key Weapons Inspector in Iraq before
        Blair & Bush’s illegal war. He said there were no WMD’s. He was ignored.

        Its only 38 minutes but its become a rarity to find, never mind hear,
        someone from the West with practical, rather than theoretical,
        experience who is totally on top of their game.

      2. One of the few to make an attempt at presenting the other side of the coin now banned in the UK. Well done.

    3. Germany arming Croatia & now Ukraine is history repeating itself; Yugoslavia was a ‘sovereign country’.. There is unfinished business from World War Two.

    4. Some people do think that this example is different.

      However, I do not.

      Tony Benn and Denis Healey opposed it. The SNP and Plaid Cymru opposed it. A few other Labour MPs opposed it.

      “During the war, Lord Gilbert was defence minister of state formally responsible for intelligence. In evidence to the defence select committee published yesterday he claimed that allied forces forced Slobodan Milosevic into a war.
      “I think certain people were spoiling for a fight in NATO at that time. I think the terms put to Milosevic at Rambouillet were absolutely intolerable: how could he possibly accept them? It was quite deliberate.”

      Hope this helps.

  4. Mandatory training! No doubt by a team of consultants who haven’t got a clue how to campaign. I’m also imagining a long serving independent minded Labour MP telling them to do one.

  5. Labour won the bi-election but this victory is deja vu of Linda Forbes by-election victory in Peterborough in the spring of 2019.
    Peterborough held on the bi-election because the LP was able to divert resources. Starmer realises that on a General Election when other seats are competing for resources this seat will fall, like Peterborough did.

  6. Those in the party’s right wing that aren’t bought and paid for by the Establishment, big business or the Zionist lobby are now beginning to realise that with no policies , a boring unappealing leader and given that so many activists have been expelled or alienated, having nobody to campaign for them they are more than likely to be pushed off the gravy train come the next election.
    It might come as a big shock to many of them but trying to out Tory the Tories and attending training course will not save their seats. They are a spent force- new Labour dinosaurs- and the sooner they accept this the better.

  7. FPTP rewards last man standing, most General Election’s are won by the least apathetic supporters, cheap and nasties will stay home in 2024
    Problem is there is no reason to vote for Temporary Embarrassment he has all the charisma of a soggy sausage roll and the policies to match
    Which leaves the field wide open for an insurgent party

  8. Whatever the insurgency party is, it’s clear it needs to be something new and not the cobbled together PAL / TUSC / NIP shambles.

    I’m amazed that nobody has figure out yet, or they are too daft to want to see it, is the reason Labour did so well in 2017 with their radical platform, was Momentum, they had unbeatable organisational tools, generated real excitement among young activists, and communicated well. 2019 and since have been a pale imitation by grey men who were/are never going to make it happen. In my opinion, 2019 was lost the minute Landsman was ejected from the inner circle. There’s a great story there that will hopefully be told one day.

    As it stands, Starmer will be the next PM, as time passes I’m unconvinced that this is a bad thing compared to what we have now.

    1. I was in Momentum and it became top down and some suggest because of this it crushed itself.
      If the Tories get in or Starmer the Neo-Liberal capitalists win – Right Wing Labour in Govt but
      NOT in power.
      The tragedy is with Jeremy we were going to transform society as an example to the world.

      1. It has become obvious that Jeremy was in office, not in power.

      2. Steve H
        What a cheap and nasty comment – it does you no credit whatsoever and undermines the “reasonable” front you usually adopt

      3. Smartboy – Given the catastrophic 19GE results I’m obviously not the only one that thought so.

      4. Smartboy – I note that you haven’t claimed that my comment is inaccurate.

      5. “It has become obvious that Jeremy was in office, not in power.”
        Despite the overfamiliarity of only using Mr Corbyn’s first name, SH is correct here – the exception that proves the rule?
        Mr Corbyn was certainly not “in power”. The power lay with the party machine (most of the senior officers, many middle ranking officers many members of the PLP, “Labour” lords, the media, the JLM, the BoD).
        He was on a hiding to nothing. I’m glad that SH has realised this.

      6. goldbach – It was politically inept of Corbyn not to get rid of McNicoll as soon as he became leader and in the latter half of his tenure it was Corbyn that had a majority on the NEC.
        I was actually referring to those closest to him running amok.

      7. …… and there I was thinking that you’d had an epiphany and put aside viciousness for once.
        Still being an apologist for Fascists and Nazis, though, I guess?

      8. goldbach – Nobody is surprised that you got it all so wrong again

      9. Just take a look in the mirror, my friend, and think.
        It ill becomes an apologist for Fascists and Nazis to accuse anyone of getting things wrong.

      10. goldbach – Don’t be silly, you are making yourself look ridiculous.

      11. Ah, so you do think that the 2014 coup was a disgrace and that the Azov lot should be brought to justice for the murders, and that it was disgraceful that the current government of Ukraine didn’t do so but incorporated the Azov Battalion into the Ukraine army?
        Is that a yes or a no?
        Why can’t you state clearly that these actions were wrong, just as I, and many on this site have stated that the invasion was wrong. You even accused many who have clearly stated their opposition to the invasion of being “apologists for Putin” yet your inability to condemn the coup or the murders makes one wonder just what your political position really is.
        Just try a little introspection and, while you’re at it read Jack Matlock –

  9. Yes Labour candidates:
    Rule 1- don’t be political.
    Rule 2 – avoid the word “Socialist” and even “Democratic Socialist.”
    Rule 3 – avoid mentioning policies.
    Rule 4 – grovel to the rich and powerful, Royalty.
    Rule 5 – when canvassing don’t engage in political discussions, a simple are you voting Labour, yes, no,thank you will do.
    Rule 6 – focus on the candidate being a really hard worker.

  10. “The skills [you] need to hold your seat at the next election, whenever it is called.”

    *Chuckle* That made me laugh.

    1. Aye.

      I’m just surprised it didn’t read: ‘…at the next election, OR WHATEVER it is called’.

  11. The MINIMUM “skills” needed to win the next election – lots
    \of activists door knocking and talking to people.

    However this needs supplementing with continued contact
    with constituents via good Councillors, work in Constituency

    All of the above are achieved by an active local Labour
    Party – exactly the opposite of that envisaged by
    those summarily chucking Labour Party members out.

  12. I hope my 2017-elected MP atends his defensive ‘Hold your Seat’ training ‘event’ and it teaches him how to convince former members who despise and abhor Starmer’s direction of travel to see TINA – there is NO alternative. The 10 Pledges were an imagined (wet) dream and Jeremy Corbyn never was leader of Labour. He’s 20 years into a Life Sentence for AS, apparently he killed someone called Margaret Hodge on the Staircase of the Palace of Westminster.

    Don’t put it past them. The synchronised-MSM can convince you of anythng!

  13. Surely, that’s the smoking gun proving what I’ve been saying for some times now: the Labour Party doesn’t want to win. Which a pure dereliction of duty and makes British democracy a complete sham.

  14. The tragedy is the masses are generally not that political and the Right Wing media and bread and circuses pile in to reinforce this.
    99% on here are left wing democratic socialists but if we are honest we are light years ahead of most working people because we are generally well read and debate issues regularly.
    So I believe we always need to communicate complex issues with citizens in straight forward language.
    As socialists we want to politicise the masses to empower US so the stronger WE all will be but Labour has never been about this, they put out timid leaflets to try to win just enough votes so they can (top down) take the power for themselves.
    So locally as councillors they are the Local Little Big Men and Women who will decide things FOR us with us having little say after voting.
    And as Labour MPs they believe they are the (top down) ‘Great Men and Women of History’ (without an original idea in their heads?)
    So what of the alternatives?
    Sadly I believe the PAL initiative is opportunism by bourgeois socialists – top down, ready made programmes from ‘Vanguardists’ and only their socialism FOR is the answer?
    All they need to do is to deposit into the heads of the working class their programme (the banking concept of political education) and we will have socialism.
    The only group at the moment that I believe has potential is Breakthrough, these decent, mainly young Corbyn supporters, are HONEST and grassroots bottom up, involving members in all decisions – and potentially a socialism FOR.
    With union support they may go far.

  15. As an aside, Talking of Deipaska:
    I have read that Graham Bonham-Carter has had his UK bank accounts frozen because of alleged links to Oleg Deripaska.
    Why is it that, when I hear that name, the words “yacht” and “Mandelson” spring to mind?

  16. The SKILLS you need to HOLD your seat…Ho-ho-fucking-ho. That’s another load of them bollocksed, then.

    Especially when it’s followed by;‘Giving you the skills to help you fundraise’

    Because when the star prize is a phone call from smarmer…Might as well have a raffle. Winner takes all….Of their money back.

    1. “‘Giving you the skills to help you fundraise’” – never?
      So, the national LP are to help the minions by sharing the expertise that has enabled them ………………..
      Oh, hang on.

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