Monday, 18 February 2019

Splitters

"The only people we hate more than the Romans are the fucking Judean People's Front." - Reg



If you ask me - and I completely accept that you didn't - the decision of seven MPs to leave the Labour Party owes far more to thwarted ambition than it does to principle. The only one of them that I have ever met is Chris Leslie, who at one point, when he was MP for Shipley, I knew quite well. He was among the youngest of those elected in the Labour landslide of 1997, and when I first came across him was very humble and overtly conscious of how much he had to learn. However, just a few years later at the time of the Second Iraq War he was to be found holding forth on the geo-political issues of the day as if he was Winston Churchill reincarnated. You will recall that it was self-evident at the time (and indeed has been subsequently proven) that Bush and Blair were lying through their teeth and so Leslie's support for them could only be interpreted in one of two ways: either he was an idiot unable to understand what was happening, or he was happy to go along with the invasion because he thought it would be better for his career. As I knew him and you didn't, please take it from me that it was the latter. With hindsight it is no surprise that there was a spontaneous, completely disorganised, but not insignificant attempt to deselect him in which your bloggist played a prominent role. 

The other noteworthy thing about him - and I ought to say that he is actually an extremely personable and pleasant chap - was that he always described himself as a Social Democrat. Now this is a subject of such an arcane nature that even I don't really give a toss. If pushed I would probably describe myself as a Democratic Socialist, but I'm not so bothered. The thing is that notwithstanding anything that the MPs said this morning, the Labour manifesto at the last election wasn't particularly left wing. Both it and Jeremy Corbyn are pretty much in the mainstream of Western European social democracy. I touched on this subject recently, but it's worth pointing out that it is actually Leslie and his fellow conspirators who hold a Leninist view of the role of political parties. According to them, we the members should bow our heads, touch our forelocks and agree with whatever our leaders tell us. I have never taken that view, and now nor does the wider Labour Party. There is no way back to power for top-down, control freak apparatchiks like Leslie, and that is why they have left.

4 comments:

  1. I wonder how many of them will hold onto their seats in the next election ? (in the summer ?) , sadly nobody in Parliament at the moment seems to be covering themselves in glory , an elderly gentleman of my acquaintance (a ex-National Serviceman) summed it very eloquently by describing them as - "a pack of f*****g idiots not fit to run a Cairo brothel !"

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    1. The problem is of course that none of them have ever had a proper job. Without wishing to personalise all this as being about Chris Leslie, he studied politics at university, got himself a job pretty much literally doing Gordon Brown's photocopying, was a no hope candidate for a safe Tory seat who unexpectedly found himself elected at 24 as part of the 1997 Labour landslide and has been in parliament virtually ever since.

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  2. Quite agree the leadership should be guided by members and voters. I gather the majority of both Labour members and voters are against Brexit , and the mass membership favours a second referendum. So the leadership will doubtless be pressing strongly for that, then... ūüėÄ

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