Long Bailey’s choice of a Stalinist is enough to rule her out

From the Times, 21st December:

The frontrunner in the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn has appointed a self-proclaimed Stalinist to organise her campaign for the leadership.

Rebecca Long Bailey, the shadow business secretary, has turned to Alex Halligan, who was instrumental in Mr Corbyn’s successful leadership campaign in 2015.

Her move is understood to have infuriated the shadow chancellor John McDonnell. Mr McDonnell expressed concern, Mr Halligan attempted to confront him. Now the shadow chancellor, who had been expected to back Ms Long Bailey, 40, is understood to have made a “conscious decision to have no involvement in the leadership election” even though she is widely seen as his protégée.

From the Workers Liberty website:

Sample

 

This picture was taken at Durham Miners’ Gala on 8 July. In the picture, (originally posted on Facebook) the person on the left is George Waterhouse, RMT activist and prominent member of the Communist Party of Britain. The person on the right is Alex Halligan, a prominent Salford Labour Party activist.

The badge that Halligan is proudly displaying says “Good night Trotskyite”, and shows someone, presumably a Trotskyist, being icepicked — a reference to the murder of Trotsky by Stalin’s assassin Ramón Mercader. “Good night Trotskyite” is a “play” on “Good night white pride”, a slogan used by left-wing activists in the US clashing with the far-right Ku Klux Klan. Although this is chilling, it will not be entirely surprising to anyone familiar with the way a small but vocal Stalinist scene has developed in the Labour left — and is tolerated and even encouraged by non-Stalinists prominent in Momentum, because it is convenient to have people around who will energetically attack left-wingers.

Sadly we hear of young people who work or volunteer at, or hang around with people from, the Momentum office using 1930s Stalinist jargon attacking Trotskyists — “Vigilance”, “Clear them out” and even “Hitler’s men”! In the middle of the general election campaign, after months of inactivity, a slim majority of the defunct Momentum Youth and Student committee voted in a snap email ballot to expel committee members purged from Labour by the party’s Compliance Unit and to ban members of “democratic centralist”, i.e. Trotskyist, groups from future MYS events.

The Stalinist stuff fits well with a desire to deal with critics and opponents on the left not by political argument and democratic organising but by various degrees of administrative suppression, intimidation — and, it seems, at least threats of violence. Anyone concerned about the health of the labour movement and its left wing should be concerned by this unpleasant development.

Shiraz hasn’t, yet, taken a view on the Labour leadership. But Long-Baiiley’s choice of a Stalinist to run her campaign surely rules her out.

7 thoughts on “Long Bailey’s choice of a Stalinist is enough to rule her out

  1. I would have thought that RLB’s appointment of a Stalinist makes her the Continuity Corbyn Candidate. You do say that Halligan was instrumental in ‘the Old Man’s’ successful election campaign but strangely that didn’t rule Corbyn out for you, did it. The Labour Party has been turned into a playground for puffed up clowns who used to be on the margins.

    Like

  2. I would have thought that RLB’s appointment of a Stalinist makes her the Continuity Corbyn Candidate, wouldn’t you? You do say that Halligan was instrumental in ‘the Old Man’s’ successful election campaign for Leader but strangely that didn’t rule Corbyn out for you, did it. The Labour Party has been turned into a playground for puffed up clowns who used to be on the margins.

    Like

    1. From today’s Sunday Times:

      “Ian Lavery, the former miner and pro-Brexit chairman of the party, has told friends that he is considering a leadership challenge but is waiting for Long Bailey to set out her vision first.

      “His candidacy would split Corbyn’s inner circle and enhance the prospects of a more moderate candidate such as the shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Keir Starmer.

      “Lavery’s viability appeared in doubt last night, however, after a leaked recording revealed that he had joked about physically “grabbing” a female activist.

      “At a meeting in March the Wansbeck MP had complained that a party activist had confronted him forcefully on the issue of Brexit.

      “Lavery quipped that he might have grabbed her but was ‘unlikely’ to do so because of “you know, the situation with harassment and bullying in the party’.

      “A former head of the National Union of Mineworkers, Lavery is controversial because of allegations of impropriety that have dogged his career, including receiving £165,000 in unexplained payments from a union he organised that had only 10 members.

      “Doubt over Long Bailey’s candidacy emerged at a meeting in the parliamentary office of shadow chancellor John McDonnell six days after the general election. A source who was present said he was told: ‘The concern is we just don’t know anything about her.’

      “The attendees, among them leading figures in Momentum, the pro-Corbyn group, also raised doubts over her ability to win and whether she represented too much continuity with Corbyn.”

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s