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Saturday, December 28, 2019

Watson complains of Labour brutality

I don't have a lot of sympathy for Tom Watson when he says that he left parliament because of the “brutality and hostility” he experienced within Labour.

In the Guardian, the former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party says that even though he was renowned in the party as a savvy organiser and occasionally brutal scrapper, Watson said he left in part because of the aggression he had faced within Labour. He said at one point police told him that a Labour supporter had been arrested for making a death threat via the party that Labour officials did not inform him about:

In a wide-ranging interview, Watson praised Corbyn personally but said conditions within Labour had contributed to making his political career unsustainable. “The point is that the brutality and hostility is real and it’s day to day,” he said. “So I just thought: now’s the time to take a leap, do something different. You’ve had a good innings. You’ve done good stuff. Go now.”

Watson cited the pressures of social media, factionalism and criticism from unions: “On their own, you deal with them and they’re a normal part of life. Combine them, and you’re carrying a very heavy load. And sometimes you’ve got to realise when that balance of life shifts and there are other things that are more rewarding.”

At what turned out to be Watson’s final Labour conference as deputy leader in September he faced a motion from the left of the party seeking to abolish his job. It was eventually withdrawn. Watson said that even amid the wranglings, the move surprised him: “I don’t think you could pre-empt such political idiocy and collective self-harm.”

As important as this insight into internal Labour politics is, Watson himself is a renowned political bruiser who has treated his opponents both within and without the Labour Party with the same sort of ruthlessness that he complains about being directed towards him. You reap what you sew.
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