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Saturday, September 01, 2018

Blunkett calls out 'bullying and thuggery' in Corbyn's Labour

The resignation of Frank Field from Labour is starting to have wider repercussions, with a number of Labour figures speaking out about the way their party has changed over the last few years. The highest profile figure to step up to the mark is former Home Secretary, Lord David Blunkett, who has stated that the resignation of Labour’s longest-serving MP over concerns about anti-Semitism must lead to a "rethink of the Corbyn project” or the party risks “decline and irrelevance”.

As the Independent reports, Blunkett believes that the "bullying and thuggery" of the militant left, which he said made the party unelectable during the Eighties, had now returned and posed a “dangerous" threat to both the Labour movement and democracy. And he labelled the ongoing anti-Semitism scandal a “shambles".

Blunkett's analogy seems quite prescient given the story here, which reports that Derek Hatton wants to re-join Labour Party 32 years after his expulsion for belonging to a Trotskyite organisation. Apparently, the former Deputy Leader of Liverpool City Council, and Militant activist, believes that now is the perfect time to officially rejoin the fold.

The Independent says that three more MPs are reported to be considering leaving Labour over Jeremy Corbyn's links to extremists and comments which have been condemned as anti-Semitic by Jewish leaders:

Lord Blunkett said: "Frank Field’s decision, and his concerns over both anti-Semitism and the behaviour of party members indicate a deeper malaise. His actions need to be seen as a catalyst for seismic change and a rethink of the so-called ‘Corbyn project’.

"The commitment to Labour as a 'broad church', which motivated some of those who nominated Jeremy, has been thrown back in their faces and demonstrated that the so-called ‘new style of politics’ is anything but.

"Quite simply, Labour has to put its own house in order as decisively and speedily as possible.

"What matters for the health of our democracy and the continuity of the existence of the Labour party, of which I have been a member for 55 years, are the actions taken and the quality of leadership from Jeremy Corbyn and his colleagues over the next seven days.

"Either Jeremy Corbyn can lead a party into gradual decline and irrelevance, or demonstrate that he can lead a party fit for government. The choice is his."

This appears to be a seminal moment for the Labour leader. The question though is not just whether he can deal with his crisis but whether he recognises it as a crisis at all.
Hatton is now a property developer and after-dinner speaker, the sort of person he would have excoriated in his youth. He might be a bit too conservative for Corbyn's Labour party. :-)
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