Revealed: the secret leader of Labour’s New Entryists

12:16 pm - September 13th 2011

by Don Paskini    

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Over at Labour Uncut, Dan Hodges is concerned that the Labour Party is being taken over by political entryists, ranging from “Flat-earthers. Liberal conspirators. Ivory tower intellectuals. New politicos. Community cultists. Direct action die-hards.”

These entryists are worse than Militant were in the 1980s, because at least Militant believed in something whereas these people just want to march the Labour Party round in circles. But like Militant, we don’t know who their leader is. And their diabolical plans to sideline Labour Party members and trade unionists are already influencing the Labour Party leadership.

Now you might expect that over here at Liberal Conspiracy, we’d deny all of this. But, actually, it’s all true.

We, and our fellow travellers, have done all the terrible things that Dan Hodges accuses us of. And we can now reveal who the secret leader of the New Entryists actually is.,…

Before revealing our leader – the Peter Taaffe to Sunny’s Derek Hatton – let’s briefly consider a few of the possible objections to Dan Hodges’ argument.

Sure – many of the people who he’s concerned about acting as entryists, such as the anarchists or the custard pie throwers, have no interest in the Labour Party and never have done. And that his definition of “flat earthers” would include many of the trade unionists and Labour Party members who the New Entryists are apparently trying to sideline.

Furthermore, it’s worth noting, as Dan does, that involving new people in the Labour Party isn’t entirely destructive. New thinking can be good, and these new activists can help Labour become more effective at campaigning, and thus make it more likely that Labour can win the next election.

Let’s also remember that the key skills of community organising – recruiting volunteers, increasing turnout, listening to people and building their skills – are ones which are also key skills for election organising.

But none of these minor quibbles alters the fundamental point. As Dan puts it:

Make no mistake, they’re in among us. And making their presence felt. Ed Miliband’s flirtation with reducing the influence of the trade unions. The re-writing of clause 1 of the constitution. The rise of blue Labour. The embracing of movement for change. These are all being strongly supported, and in some cases driven, by those who crossed to Labour in the last 16 months.

A substantial charge sheet, with one common theme which leads us directly to the shadowy leader of the New Entryists.

He is:
– The man who was backed by the overwhelming majority of those in the Labour Party who want to reduce the influence of the trade unions.

– The man who planned a “clause 1 moment” as one of his first acts after gaining power.

– The man whose speeches were written by Maurice Glasman, founder of Blue Labour.

– The man who set up the Movement for Change.

– The leader of the New Entryists, Flat-earthers, Liberal conspirators, Ivory tower intellectuals, New politicos, Community cultists, and Direct action die-hards.

David Miliband.

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About the author
Don Paskini is deputy-editor of LC. He also blogs at donpaskini. He is on twitter as @donpaskini
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Humour ,Labour party

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Reader comments

I suspect there would be less of an issue if New Labour, with Blair as its celebrated leader, hadn’t lost 4 million votes between the 1997 and 2005 elections and at least half the membership of the Labour Party by several reports.

Haha! C’mon Don – I think this is cruel.

If you point out how muddled and confused Dan Hodges’ thinking is, then there is a danger (small danger, I grant you) that he’ll actually see some sense and stop writing such complete crap.

Now, I think we can agree we don’t want that. For one, it will surely hurt Hodges’ self-styled reputation as “Labour’s Truthteller” if he ends up having to give some ground to people he always referred to as “flat earthers”. Even if some of those ideas came from the guy he voted for as Labour leader.

Second, the Labour blogosphere would be poorer without someone to ridicule, surely?

I thought that the New Labourites had taken over years ago. They must be the most successful entryist group in the party’s history.

Their true nature was shown when Blairite Hazel Blears was exposed as an expenses diddler two years back and there was a move to deselect her. The Blairites came out in force, packed the meeting, and ensured that their favoured candidate remained the official candidate, in the full knowledge of her behaviour.

Second, the Labour blogosphere would be poorer without someone to ridicule, surely?

I think Amarillo Slim had something apposite to say about this.

“Their true nature was shown when Blairite Hazel Blears was exposed as an expenses diddler two years back and there was a move to deselect her. The Blairites came out in force, packed the meeting, and ensured that their favoured candidate remained the official candidate, in the full knowledge of her behaviour.”

Fiddling expenses is only one of my many complaints about Hazel Blair. The fact that she had Blair’s confidence and was supported by the Blairites in her deselection contest says it all.

Hey – I invited ridicule before it was cool for that. I’m practically a dinosaur around these ends. It’s always good to have fresh blood given a chance…

If all this Blue Labourism has just started to take hold over the last sixteen months then what has been happening over the last decade?

Basically the newer, younger members of the party don’t have that same emotional attachment to the trade union movement as the ‘old Labour’ lot do. As history tells us, strikes don’t pay off in the long run. Capitalism is probably the best economic system, as long as we make it as fair as possible and counter the negatives (massive inequality, poverty).

Call it Blue Labour if you like, but in that case there’s no way that a Red Labour is getting elected. Ed Miliband was right in what he said to the TUC, they must remain relevant. In the 80’s Labour became irrelevant because of a swing to the left, and we don’t want that happening again. We don’t want the Tories fighting the 2015 election unchallenged.

Oddly – wasn’t it Ed Miliband’s agenda to, y’know, make Labour more appealing to a broader range of lefties – including those Lib Dem voters who had kidded themselves that debacle of a party was once “left”.

So these entryists – are they not likely to be people who quite like Ed Miliband’s outlook – while those who voted for David Miliband (most Labour members at the time, and so not entryists as such – though all members entered once) are more likely to be supporting the things in the article?

Nice try, Don.

But it won’t wash. Here’s how Dan H described the real leaders.

You will not find the new entryists selling their magazines at the door of drafty party meetings. But when you log on to the internet, they’ll be there. As you queue to enter party conference later this month they won’t be trying to force a poorly printed leaflet into your hands. But when you check your Twitter feed, their propaganda will be circulating.

Surely he has in mind faces like Jody McIntyre or…… Sunny Hundal.

If the hat fits…….

Erm, surely this is a circular firing squad argument developing? Whether Dan, Don or Sunny is true Labour and followers of other creeds entryists or not is a bit difficult to determine from an external point of view, because there is a gaping hole where Labour’s purpose should be at the moment (which replacing the clause that defines it with something ambiguous and meaningless is not going to help…). Comparisons with the mid-80s don’t help – you don’t have a particularly viable ideology running the country (as opposed to then) so there is less of a clear point of opposition (unless you resort to something as helpfully childish as ‘hating Tories’) which allows more random groups to wander round the party seemingly signed up to its ideals (all parties are broad churches anyway – but they at least are generally agreed in a direction of travel).

Perhaps what is needed is a reassessment of purpose – who do Labour represent (and do policies match this)? What do Labour want to achieve (and how do you bring this about)? What makes Labour worth voting for?

At the moment, I doubt even the shadow cabinet would present much agreement on those questions. And this does make the image of the party (if not the party itself) rather subject to being associated with particularly active, if not representative, groups – because observers want to ascribe some position to Labour, when it often seems only to be defined by negatives – anti-cut, anti-coalition etc.

I was hoping this would be about Progress. Progress’s ideas have shown to have failed economically, they’ve shown to lose elections, and key New Labour figures are all personally unpopular to boot. They’re a party within a party preventing the Labour Party from getting anywhere with their very well funded influence.

Second, the Labour blogosphere would be poorer without someone to ridicule, surely?

Doesn’t Paul “the Thinker” Richards still write stuff from time to time?

> ‘including those Lib Dem voters who had kidded themselves that debacle of a party was once “left”.’

Be fair: it did spend a few years to the left of the Labour Party. It’s just that that wasn’t the Lib Dems’ doing – Labour outflanked them on the right under a crypto-Tory leader. Their own position didn’t substantially change.

Second, the Labour blogosphere would be poorer without someone to ridicule, surely?

Doesn’t Paul “the Thinker” Richards still write stuff from time to time?

Peter “waste of space” Watt certainly does…

I think Dan has a point.

A number of people have joined the Labour Party, thinking it is something it is not. While they aren’t UK Uncut, pie throwers or anarchists (who all have their own organisations) there are a number of people who fallaciously believe that Labour is a social democratic party, or that it subscribes to x y or z centrist or left of centre position. The Labour party would support imprisoning anti-cuts activists who engage in criminal damage or protests, and did compile lists of dissidents (the famed list of domestic extremists, including people like Caroline Lucas MP) who needed to be monitored.

Yes, New Labour were an entryist group, but I think very few Labour MPs nowadays would not say that they admire Thatcher, that she was right about most things, or that the economic model she championed, concentrating wealth in the hands of a small percentage of the population is what really matters.

People keep believing that the Labour party of the 80s still exists, that there is some mainstream alternative to Thatcherism. They’re kidding themselves, especially if they thought joining the Labour Party would make any difference.

Their money is welcome, delivering leaflets is welcome, but they shouldn’t think that their money is more important than that of large donors or that they should have a say in what goes in the leaflets.

The Labour Party will need some activists in the future, but the approach the Tories have frequently taken, paying people to pretend to be volunteers is probably the way forward. The Tories do it because they don’t want supporters they regard as ignorant bigots ending up as the public face of the party, and the Labour party doesn’t want to come across as left wing.

All main political parties are leaning more towards corporate advocacy activities than representing sections of the public. The Tories receive most of their donations from the financial sector, and this is reflected in policy. The financial sector is a core constituency for the mainstream parties, and the Labour party had a very lucrative relationship with them. If they abandoned any talk of increased regulation, and moved their position from supporting 80% of Tory cuts to 100%, or saying that they will cut or privatise even more services than the Tories (while schools, prisons and big chunks of the NHS are being put in private hands by the Tories, Labour could promise to privatise things like policing, the inland revenue or large elements of the armed forces) then the embers of this relationship could be fanned back into life.

Ed’s condemnation of strikes and support for the government in the public sector pensions dispute is a good first step, but imagine how much support he could garner from the financial sector if he said he would privatise public sector and state pensions, which would be worth billions in fees to them? The Tories haven’t dusted that policy off yet, but the example of how lucrative it was when General Pinochet did it is a potent one.

Labour is in business to be in power, and money buys this. Gaining the support of one Lord Ashcroft is better than 500,000 of the little people.

Dan is right, the Labour party doesn’t need numbers, it needs quality.

Dan is right, the Labour party doesn’t need numbers, it needs quality.

Or, as Lenin put it in his final newspaper article, “Better fewer, but better.”

(We should start the process by expelling Denis MacShane and Frank Field from our Party.)

17. Leon Wolfson

@7 – Sure, go Blue Labour. Fight with the Tories for their fringe votes. Lose again, and badly, because the “Red Labour” supporters, the socialists, stay home. Very few of them will ever vote for the LibDems again, so…

Honestly, the best outcome I can think of at this point for a party I will be able to vote for in my *lifetime* is a LibDem split, since I’d almost certainly be able to vote for one side.

Think I’m alone, as someone actually on the left? Er…

Blue Labour is an interesting idea, possibly badly branded. After all, calling something Nationalist Socialism (with no actual socialism going on) and emphasising traditional kitchen based roles for women and looking at including groups like the EDL, who aren’t afraid to use violence in expressing their views regarding minorities, socialists and trade unionists, seems a little like another political philosophies that did particularly well in the 20th century.

Outflanking the Tories from the right can be done, and should be looked at seriously. The average Daily Mail reader now is much like the average Daily Mail reader in the 1930s, paranoid they are losing their position in society and full of loathing for minority groups (it was jews then, it is blacks, gypsies, disabled people now). Labour has already supported these views in their approach to the disabled, and all mainstream parties have put out material that the politically correct would judge as racist, but if it wins elections then it is the result, rather than the means, that are important.

If Labour can promise stability to the super rich and that no-one will attempt to crack down on tax evasion and avoidance, and that the poor will be kept in their place, then it will look like a party of government and the money will flow in. It doesn’t need any sort of commitment to human rights or equality to do this, and Camerons criticism of the ‘chilling’ effect of human rights was well received, as was New Labours support on the war on terror and extraordinary rendition.

The ignorance on here with regard to what ‘Blue Labour’ actually stands for is astounding.

As for Dan Hodges, he is an irrelevance but hasn’t come to terms with it yet, the same goes for Peter Watt and the rest of them. They are like children having pathetic tantrums to get attention.

They deserve pity rather than scorn.

Does Dan regard himself as quality?

“The world is round. It’s a shame, I know. Personally, I’d love a flat world. Think of the excitement of being able to go on “Edge of the World” tours. Sneak up to the boundary; take a peak into infinity.

But alas, it’s not to be. We’re just so mundane. Too damn spherical.”

“In the 80?s Labour became irrelevant because of a swing to the left”

The notion that a swing to the left will always be bad for Labour is pretty dubious. After all, a swing to the right did Thatcher’s Tories no harm and François Mitterrand came to power on a decidedly left-wing platform in 1981, in a country with a history of mostly conservative and liberal governments. It all depends on the circumstances.

22. Leon Wolfson

@18 – That’s either a satire, or you’re on the wrong blog.

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Revealed: the secret leader of Labour's New Entryists

  2. Rooftop Jaxx

    RT @libcon Revealed: the secret leader of Labour's New Entryists << and we were all thinking it was @Sunny_Hundal

  3. sunny hundal

    Damn you @donpaskini – why point out the absurdity of @DPJHodges's articles? They're not meant seriously!

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