The GMB and Progress – what happened, and what might happen next?

11th June, 2012 3:44 pm

There has been lots of chatter today about the GMB and Progress, but perhaps due to the relative lack of journalists here in person (whither the industrial correspondent?) with the creditable exception of the Guardian amongst others it seems like there’s some confusion about what actually happened.

One motion today did discuss Progress. You can read the whole motion here. But it didn’t resolve to seek the “outlawing” of Progress (although as Sunny Hundal rightly notes, it did compare Progress to Militant). What it resolved to do was:

“work to maintain unity within the Labour Party, but that the Labour Party can only succeed when we promote policies that benefit working people”


“that the national political officer should monitor the factional activity of Progress, and report to the CEC with recommendations.”

However in a speech summing up the debate, GMB General Secretary Paul Kenny said:

“On Progress let me say this. I know that at this very moment a resolution is written and will be delivered to the Labour Party shortly. It is a rule amendment which will go before this year’s Conference for next year which, effectively, will outlaw Progress as part of the Labour Party, and long overdue it is.”

So GMB didn’t pass a motion to outlaw Progress, but it seems that a resolution coming to this year’s party conference in Manchester will seek to do just that. And although the GMB didn’t vote on such a motion today, the support for it from the union seemed clear both from what Kenny said, and the applause for the sentiment in the room.

The question is – will other unions follow suit?

And who, if not the GMB, who is bringing the Labour Party resolution to try and “outlaw” Progress?

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  • treborc1

    About time to

    • aracataca

      Hang on a second. You want Labour to lose the next election Progress want them to win. 
      Mmmmm. Who should we side with?

      • Dave Postles

        I’ll support the unions – the only organizations which have anything like a policy of protecting the poor, indigent and oppressed, in work or out of work.  The current position of the Labour Party does not seem to meet that remit.

      • treborc1

        Which one many of many names, which labour.

  • Kokopops

    I’m not a Progress person but what exactly are they guilty of?  I did briefly glance thru the report of them Sunny Hundal had but am a little confused.  I know that their views are to the right of the party but why are they described as a “party within a party”?

    • AlanGiles

      Perhaps banning them is rather extreme (though if I had to vote yes or no I would vote yes), but I think that the organisation should not be so “influential”, in short people like Jonathan Reynolds and Tristram Hunt will not be fast tracked to office just because they are in it.

      If “Progress” member feel they cannot tolerate other wings of the party I think they should consider their position and join a party more in tune with their right-wing sentiments – and as we have seen on LL they are intolerant of any views which do not accord to their own.

      In any event, a quotation from long ago applies to “Progress”: – “a decent period of silence would not come amiss”

      • Connaire Demain

        Or maybe people like Jonathan Reynolds get fast tracked because they do a good job… I know which one is true, it’s the fact they do a good job.

        • AlanGiles

          No, they tend to know the right people. Doesn’t hurt to have Mandelson on your side, even today, Connaire, and of course “progress” was (is) one of the favourite organisations of Blair and his pals.

          • Gibbon

            Sorry, I don’t follow. There are members of Progress who have been fast-tracked, but you decide to pick on the only hyped-up ‘class of 2010’ still on the backbenches and someone who is PPS to Ed Miliband, whom, as you know, Progress hardly backed. 

            If you’re still going on about their initial selection then you need to see the bigger picture. Stitching up of selections and internal selections is a plague affecting all houses, a pestilence that has corrupted the all part. The trade union movement and the left have just as much responsibility for that as Progress and the right. It’s endemic by all. 

          • AlanGiles

            We are all entitled to our opinions. The Class of 2010 being groomed by Blair may be hyped up, but sticking to the old principle of not what you know but who you know, you can be sure they will succeed further up the ladder than those Labour MPs who don’t wish to join Progress.

            I know everyone has to have a hobby, but surely Lord Sainsbury could give money to worthier causes than “Progress”.

            As an organisation I frankly find it very iffy – I am sure others do, and of course there will be those who will regard it as a monument to peace and charity and almost as holy as St paul’s Cathedral. Everyone must make up their own minds on this.

          • treborc1

             Look at Blair and brown deciding which one would rule and who would rule when the other one left, democracy at it’s best

          • Duncan

            I don’t actually think that’s true of the left.  If it is, we are frankly remarkably inept at it!

            But on the general point I would say:

            There are purely organisational issues relating to Progress which I think they need to sort out – but I think they should do it without any need for coercion (this is to do with their funding and transparency and nothing to do with their politics).

            I completely disagree with the idea of monitoring Progress and as for any sort of expulsion or witch-hunt: absolutely not.  I 100% disagree with Progress on pretty much everything; I do think some of their more “ultra” members are probably alien to the labour movement and its traditions.  But the Labour Party is a broad church or its nothing.  It’s never been a conservative party, but it’s always had conservatives in it, to mangle a phrase…  As such, I respect Progress’ right to exist and organise in the Labour Party and to try and win the arguments (which they will fail to do, because they are wrong).  This is despite the fact that they have afforded no such respect to the left over the years.

          • Connaire Demain

            I don’t care *who* they have on their side, be it Mandelson, Blair, or even Kinnock. What I do care about is are they doing a good job for the people who elected them, which both of the people you used do…

          • treborc1

             Best to ask the five million voters who walked away, I suspect if labour cannot get them back on side it’s going to be a long hard  cold couple of terms out of power.

          • AlanGiles

            You know them both personally, do you, Mr Demain?

      • “If Progress member feel they cannot tolerate other wings of the party I think they should consider their position”

        Er, it’s not Progress who are trying to get a different part of the Party expelled.

        • AlanGiles

          Rob, Have you not seen some of the remarks made, for example, by “Purple Booker” on LL?.

          We are jointly and severally “Marxists” or “Trots” or “Communists”  “Respect members” or even, when he hasn’t taken his pills “nutcases” interlarded with lavatory langauge. Quite often we are all these things at once.

          PB is not an isolated example, and I am quite sure the real hardline “progress” types WOULD like to see traditional Labour supporters removed from the party so they could join the old expenses cheat Jacqui Smith with her “celeric” whatnots. I feel they envisage a future where you have to be “one of us” as Mrs thatcher would have put it, to be welcome.

          Well if they ever do gain the upper hand entirely they will get their wish, I am sure. The only thing is they will fragment the vote and ensure Labour” or their vrsion of it, never attains power again.

          • treborc1

             Do not worry John, Doe, and Pb are all home on Progress attacking the people who comment on that site, you will not believe it Does has just called people moaning about Welfare reforms and I quote Looney, says it all really.

          • I haven’t seen the comments of “Purple Booker” and if they’re as you describe then, frankly, they’re ludicrous. But one internet commenter does not an organisation make; and as someone who I suppose would qualify as a “hardline Progress type” – I joined the Party when I went to university and was inspired to do so by Tony Blair’s leadership (I was 16 in 1997), there’s no way that I would want to see anyone from the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy to Progress expelled. Progress seeks to press for policies that it thinks will win Labour general elections; groups on the left of the Party do the same. To start talking in this kind of way is insanely anti-democratic, profoundly self-defeating when it comes to healthy debate within our movement, and a surefire way to ensure that we keep our cannons turned on ourselves, not the Tories. It’s not worthy of the GMB.

          • AlanGiles

            Rob, with all due respect if “Progress” prevail then you can kiss goodbye to the next election, because their policy ideas are too close to those of the coalition. The old “trickle down” theory of economics is demonstrably  not working.

            You will have three parties virtually all vying for the attention of the increasingly small band of people who bother to go out to vote – another hung parliament probably.

          • aracataca

            Rob Newman has advocated trickle down economics has he Alan? Love to know where.

          • Bob

            Alan ‘Stalinist’ Giles taking to himself again?

            Alan, you represent everything that’s wrong with the party. I was never a fan of Progress but I might just start supporting them if it shuts people like you up.

          • treborc1

            And you have just joined or have you….sound like a Dore or a William to me.

          • AlanGiles

            There are getting too many of theses spoof names popping up (“Bob” sounds remarkably like the poster with three names – or i that 4 now?

            It is time LL instituted a better system to prevent people opening an account under multiple names

      • aracataca

        Of course you’re completely tolerant of  views that don’t accord with your own aren’t you Alan?
        What a hypocrite!!

        • treborc1

          1 like, bet that was William.

        • treborc1

           This from you the man or what ever of many names, you change your name in the hope nobody will recognize  your back.

          And your calling people Hypocrites, Jez want a dip stick

      • Alexwilliamz

        You trot!


    • It is their attitude, of ‘being above’ the Party. It’s clique raises money for themselves & their Neo Labour ideals, whilst ignoring everyone else, then moaning about felling not wanted.

      The Ironic thing about ‘Progress’ a name which is completely at odds with their beliefs, is that, whilst in their Neo Labour Days, they argued that the Party has to change with the times, and not be stuck in the past being a Dinosaur, which is ironically exactly what they are doing now! 

      I do have problems of expelling them from the party though, as that is the type of  Machiavellian Politburo style purgers, the I thought we had left in the past. 

  • Derekjs

    Then also have a Motion to Labour Conference proposing to rename the Party as Tory Tendency as from what I read about Progress they maintain the left wing conscience which is much needed in a society where workers are under attack and business owners are in the ascendancy. The march towards “the middle ground” has gone too far. If we wish to expel any body from the party let it be the remnants of the Blairite Movement as they are truly damaging to a real socialist party.

    • treborc1

      Progress is that Blairite tendency, the people within that group of course are the people that backed Blair backed David Miliband, just because they mouth off about working class or the left does not mean they believe any of it.

      • treborc1

        Here it is from Frankie the Tory Field, he has just written it.

        says everything I hate about Progress.

        • AlanGiles

          It’s time the old twit retired.

          I always find it amusing that to make Mad Frankie sound more important than he actually is he is always described as “former welfare minister”. They should add to get it into context “for about ten months, fifteen years ago”

          He has a fetish about welfare claimants that is as   worrying as old Gerald Kauffman’s OCD – the terrifying complaint that made hjm buy an £8000 TV set with our money.

          Over the hill MPs of all parties should now make way for younger men and women – but not too young.

          • treborc1

             You should take a lot  then go  look down to the comments, only two are for Frankie , go on have a guess, John Reid and our beloved Doe boy.

          • aracataca

            Like you for example.

          • AlanGiles

            I see we are “aracataca” today – why not use “William” or “BOConnor2” for your more inane remarks?

          • treborc1

            I suspect your also hear many voices hence you have many names.

      • aracataca

        Blairite? Which Blair are we talking about? The Blair who brought peace to Ireland? The Blair who introduced the minimum wage? The Blair who brought in tax credits? The Blair who brought in the ban on Fox Hunting?The Blair who saved the NHS and put billions into education?
        Or the Blair who took us to war in Iraq and advocated a neo-liberal economic agenda? Blairite means nothing because Blair adopted lots of different and often eclectic positions during the time of his Premiership. He also changed from being a social democrat (1997-2002) to being a neo-liberal (2002-2007). In this sense he is not easily definable and the term Blairite is nothing more a term of abuse (an area in which you excel in terms of  hurling it at others).

        • treborc1

          Bit like you then a  man of many faces or names.

  • Or as Arnold J Rimmer Bsc said to the Cat in
    Red Dwarf; “Look, I think we’ve all got something to bring to this conversation, but I think that from now on
    the thing you should bring is silence!”

  • Pretty bored of this, to be honest.

  • Mike Homfray

    I see Progress as a Labour equivalent of a boil on the bum which urgently needs lancing. It’s not only their caution and obsession with winning Tory southern seats not needed for a majority but the fact that their ideas range from indistinguishable from the ConDems to vacuous and worthless. They have very little positive effect. However the issue is how they organise and their underhand funding and methods. I am glad that the unions are fighting back

    • john Reid

      yeah ,winning southern seats is  aterrbile idea, imagine if labour did that ,they might win A general election 

      • Sungei Patani

        I do like all these lefties fighting like rats in a sack.

        • john P Reid

          the reason I argue with other lefties is I think they’re wrong and I want labour to win elections to stop nasty right wingers being mean to those who can’t fight back.

          • AlanGiles

            the reason I argue with other lefties is I think they’re wrong and I want labour to win elections to stop nasty right wingers being mean to those who can’t fight back.”

            “Other lefties”?

            But you are not on the left – everything you have said on LL suggests you are very much on the right of the party, managing to find excuses for Progress, etc.

            Speaking of which  – “nasty right wingers”

            Purnell and Byrne kick-started the Freud welfare reforms Smith and Grayling are merely continuing with them.

            Does it matter if a terminally ill person is deemed fit to work by ATOS working under the aegis of a “Labour” or Conservative government?

          • treborc1

             He use to be a Tory when he was a Police man, you get a lot like this, they loved the freedom Thatcher gave them

          • Your quite right about Purnell and Byrne and Atos, mind you it wasn’t just them, the whole Labour Party backed the Atos discrimination policy plans, it’s disgusting that the Labour party also utilised the corrupt and fraudulent services of American company UNUM, a company which in the USA was branded as “Disability Deniers”, the Labour Party nowadays is as right wing as the torys.

            They sold their souls and forgot where there true roots were, forgot the working classes and the impoverished, they now join in with the coalition demonising the unemployed and branding disabled people as “Workshy and Malingerer’s”

          • treborc1

             John the nasty right wingers seem to have all joined the Labour party mate.

          • John Dore

            How very patronising.

          • John Dore


            Go on you been provoked and your justified, you know you want to…… 

            Call him a Tory, its what he deserves, he brought it on himself, its not your fault. He’s a Tory…. nah nah… nah na Tory.

          • Like the victims of Labours Atos Disability hatred polices?

        • treborc1

           All the way from Tory land for this.

  • This
    is also very irritating frankly. The left and the right of the party at war
    with each other. One side as in tolerant as the other, the sad fact is this
    kind of dialectic should help develop good, broadly policies that appeal to a
    wider pubic; something needed in a time of growing dissolution when the issue
    if not an interest in politics but a total distain for it.

    Instead of using this broad base of option to come to this point of making good
    policy it descends into what is frankly childish name calling and both sides
    are as equality to blame on both sides.

    Its time people learn to accept your not always going to agree and work
    together to find solutions not constantly point out the problems that benefits everyone
    and I stress, everyone.

    • AlanGiles

      Paul, the point is that those of us who are now what “modernisers” and Blairite right-wingers would regard as “hard left” (I have been called this and yet my favourite ever party leader was Harold Wilson). They have a lot of support from young people who frankly know little of the party history and what it was that caused us to adopt the principles we did. Many of tem know of no leader before Mrs Thatcher, so to them, what would have at  one time been regard as “traditional” or mainstream leader is seen as some dangerous aberration!. Incredible.

      The further you take a party to the right (the Tories did it under Mrs Thatcher Labour did it under Blair) the more difficult it becomes to drive it back to where it came from.

      And let’s look at some of the policies Progress espouses: Purnell and the Freud Welfare Reforms is a great favourite with them, even though as Jimbo was dragging the bill through Parliament Freud had come out as a Conservative.

      Byrne makes a great noise that there is a quarter of the current governments welfare reform measures he does not agree with – 3/4 of it is fine in his book.

      Blairites have an appalling record on warmongering, the reduction of civil liberties, and, frankly the expensdes scandal showed that many of the leading lights on the right of Labour were not that much different in habits to the Torfies.

      We now have the absurdity that Progress would like to see Labour set out a manifesto drawn from the late 90s, which includes policies not dissimilar to those of the coalition – welfare is a prime example of this.

      I believe Stephen twigg is a Progress supporter – just listgen to that ridiculous and confused interview he did for BBC TV yesterday. If he and Progress is the future, God help us.

      Progress members always accuse of of wanting to go back to 1983. Not true, bujt they appear to want to tgravel only another 14 years – to 1997. neither approach will work in 2015.

      • I do
        agree with some of your point and there is a strong argument for preventing a
        move to fair to the centre/centre right as there is for a move to the extreme
        left. Indeed I would agree that some of the polices are, well, odd but the same
        can be said for the both sides.


        problem is there is a large group of people like myself who are not in a ‘camp’
        and find value in points from each but are made to feel isolated because we
        wont join the party.

        My point in the main is that though these are all valid points there amore
        productive way to air them and gain value from the debate.

        I see very much a measured argument in your response and that’s health but you
        can not deny that many activists can’t hold back their venom against the ‘other’
        side and that does injustice to what should be an intelligent and productive conversation

        • AlanGiles

          Hi Paul. I don’t blame you for not being a member. I am myself an ex-member because of some of the excesses of the New Labour years, though I still support the party, but I have to say that should the party veer more to the right then a 50 year association would be over.

          Just as an example, although I do not agree with Anthony Painter’s views on many things, I admire the practical work he is doing in Hackney with the new technical college, so I tend to allow my respect for this work to override my feelings on other matters, but under no circumstances could I ever condone Liam Byrne’s bullying of the sick and disabled, nor could I stay quiet  (or do) when people do praise his stance, which in my view is not only wrong but hypocritical since he now professes to oppose measures he has in the past endorsed. 

          • It is
            such a shame that people can’t have the respect and manners as we are doing. It
            would add so much value.

          • aracataca

            Alan Giles respect and manners? Do me a favour.

    •  The GMB on the left of the party? How things have changed!

  • Chilbaldi

    What a waste of time. I have little time for Progress – I feel they espouse Blair’s later beliefs without having regard to the principles from which they originally came, and I don’t think they offer a vision for the future or way forward.

    BUT this petty infighting does us no favours. If we want to spend our time squabbling over non-issues like this then welcome back to the 1980s folks.

    • “infighting does us no favours”

      As happened in the run-up to the London mayoral elections when Progress magazine and Progress supporters attempted to undermine Ken Livingstone and effectively supported Johnson.

      My fear is that if they don’t get their own way in terms of Labour promising a new tranche of Blairite/neo-liberal policies they’ll do the same to Ed in the run-up to the 2015 election – possibly with a new SDP/Gang of Four breakaway. No doubt they’d get all the support they want from the Murdoch press.

      • “Progress magazine and some Progress supporters attempted to undermine Ken Livingstone and effectively supported Johnson.”

        As I’ve said before, Livingstone did all the undermining himself. He was a truly awful candidate. And I don’t think it was just the small circulation, small membership base of Progressionistas who “effectively supported Johnson” – vast swathes of ordinary Labour party members and voters did too.

        “possibly with a new SDP/Gang of Four breakaway”

        Utterly delusional.

        • AlanGiles

          But David the Progress shower were not just typing this up on their own little newsletter and website, they were writing letters and articles for the mainstream press.

          I have often said Livingstone isn’t my favourite politician, and I don’t have much time for the Mayorality, but there is no doubt Livingstone would have been more helpful and sympathetic to poorer Londonerrs, but Progress members obviously knew that by attacking KL there was a very much larger chance of Johnson remaining Mayor – despite that, they went ahead and did it.

          I agree with Dave here: if Progress feel they can influence things in London by writing stuff like that, perhaps not a case of “tomorrow the world” but certainly intereference in national politics.

          • I think that probably overstates the influence of Progress, to be honest.

            Of course it would have been beneficial to go into the election with all segments of the Labour family front and centre behind Livingstone. That it wasn’t so is a cause for regret. But you have to ask yourself why this was so. Livingstone actively alienated vast swathes of the party membership and voter base – from Blairite to Bennite. I would know, I knocked on enough doors to be told by stalwart Labour voters could not bring themselves to vote for him. Progress had little or no influence on this, apart from amongst the commentariat (which don’t decide elections, as much as they like to think they do).

            I just don’t quite understand this near visceral hatred for Progress that some people seemingly share. Compass, in my opinion, come out with some truly batshit ideas from time to time. But I don’t despise them, and certainly would not seek to purge them as the witch-bearers seem to be doing to Progress right now.

            Labour are in the strongest position for an age, and the GMB are intend on fighting factional warfare? Just bizarre.

          • Dave Postles

            GMB represents low-paid workers; so should the Labour Party.  Sadly, the latter policy seems to elude the Labour Party at the moment. 

          • Chilbaldi

            I agree with you on Compass. Compass are infinitely more hostile to the Labour Party, yet don’t attract the same ire.

            I have no axe to grind with Progress or Compass, but certainly no love for either.

          • AlanGiles

            Hello David, My problem with the right-wing and Livingstone is simply this:

            The Livingstone of 2012 was the Livingstone of 2004 and 2008 p- we had already had the unfortuante incident with the Evening Standard reporter (2005) his methods were well known, so why did they not make their objections known back then, or at least at the selection in 2010?. Why wait until the election was actually about to start, and then during it?.

            To be totally frank, I am not fond of Ken Livingstone, but if you consider the very poorest parts of London – would they have fared better under KL than they will under Johnson. To put it bluntly he was the lesser of two evils.

            As regards the distaste for Progress, well from my point of view, they are not that much different from the Coalition. It is interesting Progress types do not really condemn government policy – they take exception to small details rather than the substance (Byrne’s loud disapproval of the a very small part of the Coalition welfare reform bill – the Freud one, which we instigated  which he used to enthusiastically support – he has said himself he still supports three quarters of it). When you read Sue Marsh’s piueces and website how could anyone have anything but the deepest contempt for somebody who seems to want to punish or humiliate the most vulnerable in society – that a (notionally) “Labour” shadow minister can dissemble and support the greater majority of it, tells me all I need to know about that wing of the party.

          • It rather flips the argument on its head though, doesn’t it Alan: ‘We knew he was a bad candidate, you knew he was a bad candidate – so why didn’t you do anything about it?’

            As highlighted previously, the way the campaign was run and its timings meant that the only person with the sufficient personal clout, machine and money to triumph was Livingstone. As the party has since admitted, we have learnt that lesson.

            What would you say to another campaigning body, notionally inside the Labour party – lets call them ‘Compass’ – who actively gave Labour opponents a campaigning platform at the last general election? Including granting the presence of an opposition candidate at Labour conference in Brighton ’09, which the said opposition candidate then went on to win (by defeating Labour)?

          • AlanGiles

            As I understand it, avid, the only other contender was Oona King and plainly those voting felt that Livingstone had a better chance than Lady King.

            She of course, was a great defender of the Blair government – would she have done any better?. We will never know. But FWIW I don’t think the Blair years are as hardly regarded now by the public as his admirers would like to think they were.

            Perhaps a fresh untainted figure would have been the answer?

            My problem is simply the timing of the complaints about Livingstone. orchestrated by the Progress types. Any one of them could have known Ken’s modus operandi by his actions against Andy Macintosh when Labour first won the GLC (if they couldn’t remember themselves any old salt from the London labour scene of 30 years ago could have told them). Now that KL has retired from the scene, it’s possible to be entirely frank without causing him damage politically: I wouldn’t personally want Livingstone as a friend. I didn’t like what he did to Macintosh. I think his behaviour in 2000 is slightly more understandable since Blair was so keen to ensure he couldn’t run in the first Mayoral race that Blair resported to underhand tactics himself. I am only sorry Frank Dobson, a decent man, got dragged into that farce.

            I would never have the affection for KL that many do have (and which I still have for Harold Wilson), I don’t understand it, frankly, KL can be a ruthless man, and he has made great errors of judgement (but then who hasn’t? KL had Lee Jaspar to embarass him, Johnson had Ray Lewis and arguably Brian Coleman, one of the most ill-mannered louts ever to get to the top of London politics)  God knows how many more embarrassments Cameron will have to contend with – Coulson, Hunt, (Peter) Cruddass – now being investigated by the Met according to the weekends “Independent)

            It sound like name-dropping but in the early 2000s I sometimes had to go up to London for meetings first thing in the morning and I often saw and spoke to the late Tony Banks (we had a mutual interest in abolishing fox-hunting) and though Tony was a left-winger, his remarks about KL proved there was no love lost at all – TB had worked with KL on the GLC of course). TB was ol his way to Westminster being MP folr Newham at the time so our paths loften crossed on the Shenfield-Liverpool Street line, so, few people were under any illusion about Ken a decade ago, I just wonder why “Progress” only took up the cause so publically on the eve of the election.

            As regards your question about giving opponents a platform, well, no, frankly I wouldn’t.

          • Rachel Megan Barker

            I think it is important to recognise that Progress, both as an organisation as well as many ndividuals from their membership, put a great deal of time and effort into campaigning for Ken out on the doorstep; even though they did not support him during selection. Whatever the individual views expressed by some members of Progess, it’s simply factually inaccurate to suggest that Progress as a whole did not fight to try and get Ken elected.

          • Royjbailey

            I couldn’t agree more. Like it or like it not, Ken was not very popular among Labour supporters, let alone members. Although a proud GMB member, I fear Paul Kenny’s comments are divisive, unhelpful and damaging to unity within our great party. We are, and always have been, a broad church. We need all strands of the left and centre left to work together or else face another wretched Tory government, the real enemy.

          • john p Reid

            Apart from Glenda jackson’s son Dn Hadges, I odn’t know anyone on the right who baked Jonson, Lord sugar and lord darsi weren’t Blairties all they said was tehy wouldn’t vote for ke, And Look at those progress types, David lammy, Denis Mcshane, Tessa jowell ,Stehpen pound ,all of whom were Livingstones beggest supporters and they said so in progress

        • treborc1

          Then what happened to the near £3 million, collected.

          or is that delusional as well

          • Treborc,

            You’re going to have to help me (us all) and stop the monosyllabic replies. Preferably more than a sentence for a response please, as I have no idea what you are on about.

          • treborc1

            Oh yes you do, where does all of the New labour money go, after all it’s backed by some pretty big ex Tory  backers, it would be interesting to see there books..

          • Which “big ex Tory backers” fund Progress, Treborc?

          • treborc1

             You can find them your self, Progress as a great site for people like your self, sadly not to many on it.

            Lord David Sainsbury

            Lord Michael Montague

            Sir Frank Lowe

            Pfizer Ltd

            Lord Bhattacharyya

            Pharmacia Ltd

            Jon Mendelsohn

            British Retail Consortium

            Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd

            Lord Patrick Carter


          • Answer my question: which one of the above are 
            “big ex Tory backers” ?

          • treborc1

            well that’s the problem with us Lefties we stick together but no I did not get this from left Futures, I took it from the Tories site.

            No your right I did get it from a leaft leaning site, which says a lot more about your politics then mind.

          • Duly noted that you didn’t answer my question.


          • treborc1

             dam tories

      • Tribalist

        “Progress magazine and some Progress supporters attempted to undermine Ken Livingstone and effectively supported Johnson.”

        This is incorrect. 

        Dan Hodges EXPLICITLY supported Johnson.

        • James3010

           yes he did. I am not a party member, of any party but it seems his “crime” was to ummm ahh speak his mind and tell the truth. If Labour or any political party wish to eject a member for disagreeing with the party line then it’s a short road to nowhere. Politics is based on debate, argument not the “one of us” consensus of whatever the current ideal is. nuff said

          • treborc1

             No party or inner party like the word truth, it means they get picked up later  for lying.

        •  If he was going to support an opposing candidate he should have done so in a sneaky and underhand way, like Ken did.

      • Bill Lockhart

         But they were exactly right about Livingstone. The electorate know nothing about Progress or Labour’s internal hissy-fights: they just knew a wrong ‘un when they saw him.

  • Well, I think the article & the comments explain why jounalists couldnt be arsed to turn up. The sight of a communist controlled union calling for the expulsion of  Blairites is funny but utterly irrelevant to the real world. It took a giant meteorite to wipe out the dinosaurs, their equivalents in the labour movement seemed determined to talk themselves to death.

    • treborc1

      That has helped me today I was on a low, but I’ve never laughed so much

    • Duncan

      “Communist controlled”?!  Barking.

    • Brumanuensis

      You’d know all about extinction, wouldn’t you. You’re a Liberal Democrat.

  • Jo Tanner

    I have always considered Labour to be a broad church. It’s something that I’ve always liked about the Party, that we may not always agree on absolutely everything but we respect the rights of others to co-exist. To read that my own union is even contemplating this sort of action is, frankly, ridiculous.

    I know there are those who find opposition the most comfortable place to be, but ask yourself this: how do we champion the rights of workers, those on lower incomes, children in state schools, the NHS, if we sit on the sidelines? The only way to do any of those things is to be in a position of power. If the fact that Progress espouses such ‘ideals’ offends people, then I seriously worry about their reasons for membership of the Labour Party. I also worry about the union of which I have been a member for well over a decade.

    • Mike Homfray

      I don’t think that is what Progress do at all. Having seen through New Labour many years ago, they are still peddling that same old NL snake oil. I don’t think their policies would be particularly appealing. Too similar to those of the coalition.
      But the main concern is with the way Progress are funded and the way they clearly organise as a party within a party. I think they are sinister, frankly, and I wonder what their real agenda is and why the muliti-billionaire Sainsbury is so keen to fund them. Whynot fund the actual Party insead?

  • Let’s be clear, this dispute is not about Left or Right. There are many people on the Right of the party who have no time for Progress. This is about saving the party from a tight knit group of politically motivated men, who are opposed to the principles of the Labour Party. 

    They are funded by millionaires and corporations. They have no democratic structure and their political programme, policies and positions are dictated by an anonymous board of directors.

    The question is, what do their corporate masters get in return for their money? No organisation raises £2.8 million without promising someone something. Do they promote policy in return for cash?

    It’s worth noting that Progress provides “political training” to Labour Party activists (for a fee). They offer courses on dealing with the selection processes. This has been used to manipulate and give an unfair advantage to candidates with a particular affiliation.

    In my opinion, Progress members bear all the characteristics of those in the Militant Tendency. They unquestioningly follow the party line, indifferent to the fact that it is determined by an unelected, anonymous board of directors. Taxis for hire indeed.

    The labour movement has raised their concerns about this divisive, undemocratic factional group. It is high time that the Labour leadership acted on these demands and investigated them.

    • AlanGiles

      Good morning Sandra and Siobhan. I think it is OK for Progress to have it’s own website, since some of their views are so distasteful to real Labour supporters it is probably better not to have the wider party associated with them. I regard their website, rather like “Labour Uncut”, as a place where the kids can hang out (and grandad Field if it amuses him) with their alcopops and dream up really “outrageous” ideas to “shock” us – a bit like schoolkids shouting obscenities on the bus at going home time.

      What concerns me about Progress is that it is far too influential (all those press briefings against Ed Miliband for example, when you consider a Progress leading light, James Purnell, was kind enough to advise News International he was resigning with a few hours of the 2009 EU elections still having the polling booths open), newspaper articles and “open letters” calculated to lose Labour the London Mayorality this year. I am not a great fan of KL or the Mayoral nonsense, but KL would have been better for poorer areas and people in London than Johnson, and Progress well knew this – but it didn’t stop them rocking the boat.

      I will probably get the usual suspects on to me to cyber-duff me up, but joining Progress for young men in a hurry is a calculated career move, like joining Labour Friends of Israel (no Mr Marchant I am NOT being anti-semitic). Blair was a leading light for both organisations and the right wing – we all know – dream of the day when son of Blair David Miliband takes the leadership and Mandelson will be back in his pomp, and some of the other disgraced old relics get a chance to back into the limelight.

      This is another thing that worries me about Progress – look at some of it’s big names (Jacqui Smith, Purnell, David Miliband,  Byrne etc) – they were on the fiddle big time at the centre of the expenses scandal. the public were disgusted and these people, though they have a very high opinion of themselves and each other, are not so well regarded by the voting public at large.

      They are part of the problem, not the solution, and when you see Stephen Twigg being as disingenuous and, frankly, slimy, as he was in the O’Neil interview on Sunday, it just makes you wonder if or how the public would be taken in by these empty vessels.

      Progress’s favourite refrain is “Blair won three elections”, which is true, but, though I am not a betting man, I would bet every penny I have AND my dog, who I love dearly, that were Blair to be standing for PM in 2012 he would be thoroughly thrashed because his time is past (and like all confidence tricksters gets rumbled in the end). A cheap copy of Blair and his ToryLite behaviour post 2003 under  David Miliband or any one of his acolytes  would be no more attractive to the voting public than the damaged original.

      • john Reid

        No one has suggested not joining albour freinds of Israel as being anti semetic, you can b part of Laobur friends of Israel and Labour freinds of Palestine,.

        • AlanGiles

          I might be a sceptic, but it is noticeable, though, the way the first thing many of these young men in a hurry do, when they get to Westminster is join LFOI – it reminds me of those parents (and we have all known some) who have no religious feelings whatsoever but suddenly become very devout when they find out the best school for little Johnny or Gemima is the local C of E or RC school, and attend church for a few weeks to bolsetr their application.

          I find that sort of thing dubious – perhaps there should be more stringent measures to make sure people can’t advance themselves in this way – in the case of the parents who want to get the kids into a Church school should be made to attend Church for a whole year. In the case of the bright young MPs, perhaps a symbolic visit to the Rabbi 8 days after joining LFOI. I bet that would make a few of them think again!

          • john p Reid

            Possibly, but tehy may join Labour friends of palestine as soon as they get to parlaiment too, saying that I know one M.P since 97 who only joined this year

    • Irony

      No organisation raises £2.8 million without promising someone something”

      Oh the irony of someone in a union saying that. Go on do another…

    • Guest

      reading this comment makes me lose all hope for the future of our party. 

  • Sandra

    I find it rather sinister that Progress have their own set of policies and their own website. It gives the impression that they wish to cause a chasm, they are not being inclusive, they are neoliberals with in our party, like the failed third way of the Blair past.
    We must give up neoliberalism – it is a failed model – the Tories will destroy the economy with it, and Progress are following a busted flush for the sake of their paymasters -it will destroy Labour.I am at the moment reading a book called “From financial crisis to Stagnation” by Thomas I Palley, published by Cambridge University Press.It is a clear, brilliant expose of neoliberalism of the past thirty years under both right and left parties. In the book Thomas Palley explains that a great stagnation and unemployment lie ahead if we do not give up neoliberalism. He despairs at the capture of the left parties by a failed paradigm.The
    neoliberal doctrine has many internal contradictions, but one explained in this
    book is the contradiction of suppressing wages, controlling unions, and
    expecting growth when people have less money. He states austerity, which the progress agrees with, is a disaster.

    Thomas Palley explains that a great stagnation and high
    unemployment lie ahead if we do not dislodge neoliberalism.

    He explains why: he
    states that stagnation and unemployment are caused by what he calls the triple
    haemorrage of offshoring jobs and investment, high imports, and collapse of
    manufacturing at home.
    This triple haemorrage plus suppressed wages give stagnation and unemployment.

    He then explains the “flawed neoliberal growth model”
    which took the place of the real productive economy – which was the growing
    massive debt bubble created by the inflated housing market which burst to cause
    the crisis. The only way to get money into the system he explains is by having
    banks create debt, (creating money they do not have) which is a bubble that
    He implys that we need Keysian restructuring, progressive taxes and a return to manufacturing. IE OLD LABOUR.
    We can only get away from a bubble and crash economy by being real Labour.
    Progress could be bad for the economy as well as Labour.
    Parties should be inclusive, not having a separate identity within another party as if they had a cold war.


  • Daniel Speight

    Also from Paul Kenny reported in the Guardian.

    The GMB union, which gives Labour £1.4m a year in affiliation fees, urged the party to reinstate its national conference as the main policy body and ditch its national policy forums.

    • treborc1

      I do know that many of the Union members were fuming over Miliband’s “I think the strike is wrong”  plus then crossing picket lines .

      Labour cannot yet decide if it’s really labour or some middle of the round  progress party.

      • john p Reid

        Luke Akehurst, Joanna Baxter and Ellie reeves Backed Ed miliband and Peter wheeler backed Andy Burnham, regarding the 5million people who walked away from Labour over the last 5 years, what about the 5.6 million people who walked away from Labour over the 60’s and 70’s up to 1983 or the 5.2million people who didn’t vote Labour in 1983 but did by 1997

        • treborc1

          Maybe then John Labour are back to normal then, a long time out of power.

          • john P Reid

            Not really the tories got 3 million less in 2010 than they did in 1979, when the winter fo discontent and Union militatnism ,put Labour out of power for A generation

  • Morning Star industrial correspondent Tony Patey is covering the GMB conference, as the front page story for Tuesday’s paper shows.

  • Is there any reason why my comment making clear that Morning Star industrial correspondent Tony Patey is covering the GMB conference has been removed?

  • My mistake. Sorry!

  • Kiwi

    I start from the cliche that Labour has to be a broad church. Progress like it or loath it represents a range of views within The Party. What does worry me however is that the Party seems to using Progress as a means of furthering policy debate within itself. The 3rd Place First which I was a member of the 90’s and help win large parts of the South for Labour appears to have been taken over by Progress for a conference in Reading on the 23rd of this month. Caroline Flint who is leading Labour campaigning in the region, the General Secretary and the Chairman of the Party are down to attend. Leaving aside the difficulty I have in  equating the views of Lord Adonis and ex Party Secretary Peter Watt to anything resembling social democracy, I am concerned that a campaigning group has taken over a role the Party should be doing itself. Perhaps Ed this is a triangulation too far

    • treborc1

      A campaigning group is a party within a party, it is exactly like Militant, when the campaigning is about getting their people elected.

      • john Reid

        but not putting them up agaisnt the labour candidate or using trotskyite infultraters at meetings to intimidate the sitting candidate out,

  • People get real. If you know the right people you get fast tracked to safe seats; I’ve been around the parliamentary circuit and it happens. The Labour Party is infested with people who have no idea what it is like to struggle on a low wage and not have Mummy and Daddy to help them with a deposit for a mortgage. I have come to the view that Progress has too many questions to answer. Finally, just as it is possible to have a militant tendency from the left, it is equally possible to have the militant tendency from the right. Militant means more than just revolutionary.

    • AlanGiles

      I agree with all you say here, Paul, and the point about would-be Labour MPs not having had to struggle on a low wage, reminds me of Mandelson at the `1997 Conference, when he spoke against a union proposal to fast-track blue collar workers into winnable Labour seats he said “horny-handed sons of toil are not needed”. Not only did I find him unbelievably pompous, but incredibly stupid, because the secret of the Labour party during my lifetime was that you had former miners, factory workers, ordinary working class men and women, who did know about life at the other end of the scale, in addition to lawyers, professionals, and the cabinets and shadow cabinets therefore had people from all walks of life, representing a wide range of views within the party.

  • “In my opinion, Progress members bear all the characteristics of those in the Militant Tendency.”

    Except Militant supporters tended to be working class, and weren’t funded by millionaires and corporations.

    If Militant had £2.8million quid Luke would probably be a full-timer 😀

  • Duncan

    I have posted my broader thoughts on this at Labour Left Forum

  • Pingback: Progress and an interesting idea |

  • AdamDixon

    What is the point in Voting labour, if you just get the same neoliberal policies of Thatcher and the Coalition.

    Take back democracy by purging these corrupt bastards. The time is ripe for a left wing government to push for growth and reducing inequality.

    You’ll get neither in a bank friendly neoliberal government.

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