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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Life under new Labour according to Ken Livingstone

Like any community, a political party has its own culture distinctive from others, so it is always instructive to get an insight into how our opponents interact with each other.

For Ken Livingstone, it seems his party has changed for the better. According to this interview reported by the Independent, the former London Mayor is far more comfortable under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership than he was in New Labour.

Somehow, I already knew this. After all there were plenty of public spats between Ken Livingstone and New Labour. Nevertheless, it is instructive to read his insights, even if you do have to put them into context:

“The Labour Party before Blair was a genuinely open, democratic one. Jeremy’s bringing that back. Exactly how isn’t going to be resolved until the annual conference. But that’s what we want back.

“Jeremy is genuinely a democrat. Unlike the New Labour regime, which was more like North Korea, internally.”

He said the NEC were looking at lots of different options - including a system where a candidate can get on the ballot with the support of just two other MPs - but he expects an attempt to introduce change at the Autumn party conference.

More controversially, Mr Livingstone expressed his support for “automatic reselection all the time”, in contrast to the party leader himself and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.

He said: “Those Labour MPs were there during a Labour regime that never reversed [Margaret]Thatcher’s anti-union laws, never gave people the stronger work rights that we had in the past – yet they demand them for themselves. It’s wrong.”

On that basis it looks like the control-freakery of Tony Blair's New Labour is being replaced by witch hunts under Jeremy Corbyn.  I suspect that many Labour MPs will not be happy with this new regime either.
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