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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Is it back to the 1980s with Labour?

Those of us who cut our political teeth in the 1980s will remember the battles for the heart and soul of the Labour Party as 'moderates' sought to repel a determined effort by the Militant Tendency to take over their party.

This was particularly intense in Swansea West, where I lived in the early years of that decade where there was a concerted attempt to deselect the then-sitting MP, Alan Williams.

The fact that Labour's Deputy Leader, Tom Watson has referenced those struggles in the dossier he has sent to Jeremy Corbyn says a lot about the present struggle for control of the Labour Party. Already this year we have seen a number of Labour Councillors deselected in Swansea, with more in the pipeline.

The Guardian says that Watson has sent the leader’s office a four-page document, based on publicly available information, detailing what he said was evidence that Trotskyists had been attending meetings of grassroots pro-Corbyn Momentum pressure group and seeking to influence the Labour; leadership election.

He claimed some of the individuals involved were members of other parties, including the Socialist party, the successor to Militant, whose members were expelled from the Labour party by Neil Kinnock.

The evidence included reports from the Socialist party’s website of its members addressing Momentum rallies and tweets from an activist expelled from Labour earlier this year who appeared to be running phone banks backing Corbyn in the leadership race.

The fact that the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn is seen to be the catalyst for the resurgence of left-wing infiltration is backed up by the leader of the Socialist Party, Peter Taaffe. He was a founder member of Militant and has continued to be involved since the 1980s. He told the Guardian that he hoped to be readmitted to the Labour party if Corbyn saw off the leadership challenge from Owen Smith:

He said Corbyn was opening Labour up “to all strands of socialist and working class opinion” and rejecting control of the party by a “top-down, centralised elite”. He added: “The lava of this revolution is still hot.”

The stakes are higher than ever for Labour in this leadership contest.
Opportunities for us Peter? Especially with Thatcher Mk2 as Tory leader too.

Interesting times ahead.
De-selections in Cockett saw one of Geraint Davies staff installed. Hardly a militant insurgency. Trots in Llansamlet have stood down. Facts don't really support your fiction.
Viewing this whole mess from afar, though not for long I return home in November, certainly puts me in mind of the 80's. This is one of the reasons I dislike Kinnock so much and I wonder if Corbyn might end up the same route.
I was at a typical Kinnock meeting in Cwmrhydyceirw where he was stumping for the then MP, Donald Anderson. There were Trots in the audience and he encouraged them, as he usually did, to join the Labour Party. He said, his regular pitch, that they would be better fighting for their socialist principles within the working class party. Then, when all was done and the darling of the working class became leader of the party, he set about to expel what had become an embarrassment. Not as violent and bloody but I was always reminded of Hitler's destruction of the Brownshirts.
I could be wrong and if I am wrong I would apologize but I can see Corbyn going down the same road.
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