To ban Progress is an attempt to ban New Labour

19th June, 2012 9:19 am

During the recent Labour Party NEC elections I voted for Ann Black because, although I don’t agree with her political stance I know she is hardworking. I also voted for Lewis Atkinson from the North East. He is a decent person who also works hard and cares about the Party. I doubt very much his politics are the same as Ann Black’s, but I believe they both have the best interests of the Labour Party at heart and deserve a shot at representing the membership on the NEC.

I also voted for candidates promoted by Progress.

In some quarters that makes me a supporter of a dangerous entryist organisation. Unlike the Militant Tendency which played no small part in keeping Labour out of power for 18 years, Progress helped Labour achieve power by working with the leadership and not against it.

And now motions are being passed at trade union conferences condemning Progress. The General Secretary of the GMB believes Progress should be effectively outlawed. Where does that leave the half dozen or so GMB MPs who are on its advisory board or act as its vice chairs, three of who are in the shadow cabinet? I understand the trade union activist who moved the motion at the GMB conference has been a member of the Labour Party for 24 months and stood for Socialist Unity against Labour in Swindon North in 2005. Hardly mainstream. Neil Kinnock said Militant Tendency was ‘pickled in dogma’ I believe organisations like Socialist Unity go beyond that and are simply pickled.

I would hate to see the Labour Party fall into factionalism. Banning an organisation which, on the whole, has done it best to see Labour governments elected is not wise. Labour will become nothing more than a faction itself if it allows organisations to be banned that want to see the Party move onto the centre ground of British politics where elections are won.

Progress is associated with New Labour. To ban Progress is an attempt to ban New Labour. To do that is like banning from our memories the 13 years of Labour between 1997 and 2010. The Party’s policies of 1997 may not be appropriate in 2015. That is a not a criticism of New Labour, but an acknowledgement of New Labour’s main tenet, to change with the times but fight from the centre ground.

New Labour kept the Conservatives out of office for the longest period in time since the Great Reform Act of 1832, and Tony Blair is the only Labour Prime Minister never to have lost an election. These are facts to cheer at Labour Party conference not boo.

The Conservatives want us to keep on booing, because the more distance we put between ourselves and the most successful period of Labour Government the more they like it. We should celebrate our achievements not denegrate them, because if we don’t no one else will.

The people I voted for in the NEC elections were very much representative of a broad church. But to propose the banning of Progress is like wanting to ban success. And to propose doing that is never a wise thing to do.

Phil Wilson is the Labour MP for Sedgefield

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  • AlanGiles

    New Labour is dead, Mr Wilson. It’s not coming back. You can bring Mandelson and Blair back as the Hinge and Brackett of politics, but people will remember “cash for honours” and the Iraq war, and I think you will find they will be as popular as a wickerwork chair in a nudist camp. Also, hasn’t Ed Miliband said that New Labour is dead?.

    The final years of New Labour (like the last years of the Tory administration which proceeded it) are marred by sleaze. 2009 will always be remembered as the year the news of the expenses scandal broke, and we discovered that there was no difference between the avarice of Labour MPs and those of the other 2 parties.

    And was it REALLY necessary to pen article on Progress for LL? Mark must be short of material.

    • treborc1

       Wilson is known for being one of the “Famous Five”, a group of local Labour Party members who selected a young Tony Blair as the Labour candidate for Sedgefield for the 1983 election.[4]

      says all I need to know.

      • Chilbaldi

        an eye for talent?

        and eye for the most successful Labour leader in history?

        Sounds like a guy we should listen to, to be fair.

        • treborc1

          Maybe we will see

    • Chilbaldi

      New Labour is dead, yes. But Alan, get ready for the next incarnation of “electable Labour”. No doubt the party will modernise and move in a new direction in tune with the public. And no doubt this will look nothing like your wet dream of what Labour should be.

      • AlanGiles

        Whatever the outcome of Cruddas’s review, however the party goes and in what direction, if you imagine for a minute the public will accept the old swindlers like Purnell and McNulty back into government – especially in “the age of austerity” – you will be in a for a big disappointment.

        I think the chances of winning in 2015 are still steep, but just about achievable, given the gaffes of the Coalition, but that is not to say the public would be so forgiving as to see some of these troughers returned to power.

        There needs to be a break with the past and the reputations of some of those from the Blair days are beyond salvaging.

    • ThePurpleBooker

      New Labour is not dead in the way you think it is. New Labour is dead because it is not new anymore but the need to control the centre ground and the ‘newsness’ is still there. I know you would dream for a lurch to the left but it is not happening. We should be proud of our achievements under New Labour as well as critical when we got it wrong.

      • AlanGiles

        New Labour IS dead. Labour’s current leader has declared it to be so, and Blair and Mandelson are not likely to be taken very seriously by the electorate after their well publisced excesses of the past.

        You are dreaming if you think the public would swallow all that “purer-than-pure” nonsense a second time.

        • treborc1

          We will know in three years time what the people think, would they vote back a New labour regime, well they did it three times before although losing more and more voters.

          But lets not kid our selves it will not be labour or New labour that wins the next election, it will be the mess Cameron makes and he’s doing a  fine job  of proving himself useless

          we could end up people voting for anything except the Tories, I suspect it’s the only way labour would win

      • Jocelyn

        So not so much “New Labour” as “New Labour with 10% extra”? Like Persil? Or Fairy Liquid? Nice.

        • Dave Postles

           It’s a BOGOF.

    • JoeDM

       Seems to me that the extreme left are infiltrating the Labour Party again as they did in the late 70s and early 80s.

      If Milibean is not careful he will find himself in the same pickle as Kinnock did 30 years ago.

  • UKAzeri

    ….I love how not once centre left was mentioned .. just “centre ground” :)))

    if lefties are so loony and pickled then why not divorce them!!

    ask yourself: “what would Tony do!! ” :)))

  • john p Reid

    the cash for peerages was found to see those accused innocent and As for Iraq, I seem to recall labour won the 2005 election, it’s not whether new labour is dead it’s an attempt to ban that wing of the party form Labour.

    • AlanGiles

      Talking of expenses:

      I know you don’t like embarrassing truths about right-wingers, Mr Reid, so I am afraid this won’t please you at all. However, if the right keep going on about Progress, I’ll keep going on about the expenses scandal

      Mr Wilson himself
      claimed for a first class ticket from Darlington to London at a cost
      to us of £382.50, when he could have got the same journey for
      £106.20 or £87 if he had booked a day in advance.

      Still, I suppose given
      that he is the MP for Blair’s old constituency, they are used to

      • john p Reid

        DISGRACEFULL…… let’s ban progress sthen

        • AlanGiles

          You never cease to amaze me, Mr Reid. You are relentless in your xcondemnation of people on the left – even yesterday blaming Harold Wilson for not being able to predict internal events in Labour in the 1980s, when he left office in 1976. The other evening when we were talking about welfare reform, you suddenly blurted out something about “bogus asylum seekers” even though neither me or any poster had even mentioned asylum seekers, “bogus” or otherwise, but if somebody on the right is extravagent with public money, like Wilson here, or downright fraudsters, you have virtually nothing to say about it.

          This latest sarcastic response of yours: it is bad enough that right wing Labour MPs say in effect to the rest of us – you do as you’re told, and we will do what we like – BUT when there are faithful toadies fready to back them up fregardless, it makes you realise just how far the party has fallen – you are the local party secretary you should show a little more interest in all shades of opinion in the party, not just try to laugh off any wrongdoing or extravagence simply becaused a right-wing MP gets up to it.

          • john p Reid

            Wilon couldn’t have predicited the arguments that put labour rout of pwoer for 18 years in 1976

            greorge Brown may have been An Alcoholic, but He, reg Prentice, Richard Masrh, alfred robbens  and Lord Chalfont , all quit labour in 1976, Shirley willaims entered parlaiment in 1964 and Wislon brought her in the cabinet within 5 and A half years Yet David Owen Laounched the Harold must go campaign, Gaitskell had fought Bevan over unilateralism and Michael foot had the party whip withdrawn ,then in 64 wilson brought him back and foot eventually got unilateralsim, he wouldn’t have rose the ranks Had Gaitskell lived, Shirley Williams and Roy jenkins fought the closed shop in 1975 ,but Wilson was scared of the left of th eparty who’d taken over Wilson got 12.4 M when he won in 1964, 13m in 1966 and 114 and 11.3 in the 2 1974 elections, it must have been A sign the Labour vote was falling since the 14million of 1951, yet the tory vote would constantly go up from 11m to 13.8 million,

            There was a report in 1978 on Militant and the NEC didn’t even bother reading it,  people like Paddy ashdown, Menzies cambell, cecil parkinson Ken clarke ,michael Portillo  had thought of voting labour in the 60’s but the 1974 manifesto with the NEC having ideas like Nationalising the 25 biggest industries or banning the sell of all council homes (as it was technically legal to buy a council home in the 60;s all be it at the right price) And Wilson said of Tony Benn he immatures with age, when they had the EU referndum Callaghan (a sceptic said) the public have decided we are staying in Europe, we must accept this) Benn of course told the party tha the Publics opinion awas wrong and even though he persuaded Wilson that the refendum would close the debate, When It didn’t go his way he went back on his word, Wilson had no time for Benn ,he should have realised that Benn would naver have kept his word,and then there was backing out of in Plac eof strife after he was told he wouldn’t get the numbers.

            When Shirley Willaims resigned her LAobur party membership in Febraury 1981, A month beofre the SDP formed, she had no idea of forming he SDP at that time, Wilson begged her to stay saying he thought she would be a future leader, On retrospect it would have taken Wilson absolute blindness that his turning A blind eye to Militant in 1964 or letting the unions do what they like wouldn’t result in us beign out of pwer for A generation, And I recall Wilson saying in the mid 80’s before his mental problems struck in that “He was A huge thatcher fan”

          • AlanGiles

            Reg Prentice joined the Conservative party of his own accord, I suspect. . 1978 was 2 years AFTER Harold Wilson stepped down.  As he stepped away from Parliament at that time, he was hardly in a position to tell the NEC to read the report 2 years after he had departed. Unlike Blair he was able to let go.

            As for selling council houses – as we now see in Greeater London alone – we can see the folly of that policy.

            I’ve just picked out the bones of what i can make out of this essay of history, Mr Reid.

            We come back again to “If Gaitskill hadn’t died” but he did, Mr Reid, in january 1963.

            You might as well say if John Smioth hadn’t died in 1994 we would never have had Blair and his pal Alistair Campbell cooking up dodgy dossiers.

            Sadly both of them died, but Harold Wilson was a better replacement for Gaitskill than Blair was for   Smith.

            Harold kept us out of Vietnam. That was before you were born, in 1968. I would just have been the right age to have been called up for that, so I will always be grateful to him.

            as for Mrs  Williams not knowing that she was going to help form the SDP the month before she did so – well, perhaps. Or perhaps not. I suspect it was much more calculated than that.

          • john p Reid

            It was reg underwood not Prentice who had the report on militant in 1979 and Prentice left in 77 not 78, yes that was after wilson had resigned ,but the torts who planned his deselection as An M.P were those who joined under Miltatn and organsiation within laobur that formed in 78, Yes John Smith dieing meant that Balri came in with IRAQ ,but read Philip gouls unfinished revelution adn Mandleson’s biographies ,they believed had Smith lived we woulod have lost in 1997, as for wilson replacing gaistkell yes he did die, and Wilson let trots infultrate the party that put laobur out of pwoer for 18 years based on the 74 manifesto biegn so thoroughly rejected by the lectorate in the 80’s A manifesto wilson endorsed, and as for shirley willaims I think she was more enclined to join the liberals ,had the SDP not formed, and as for vitenam, yes wilson kept us out, but do would have giastkell his anger at Eden over Suez was admirable, and my dad was thinking of going to New zealand for a yerar in 68 ,but as A british subject he had call up papers while living in new zealand and came back to dagenham, so it’s wrong to say that the british weren’t called upto vietnam under Wilson.

          • john p Reid

            militant forme din 64 damn typo’s , also recall taht thre was the slogan a tthe March 63 leadership,better george Brown drunkthan Wilson sober, it aslo sdi in spy catcher that the KGB Had gatskell killed as they wanted Wilson to win so labour to be infultrated by communists, I seem to recall that the Soviet gov’t of 1983 said tehy were devestated that LAobur lsot in 1983 and 1987, as Denis Healey sadi the Soviet union wanted labour to win in 1987, and the tories had A pciture of the 83 manifesto next to the communist one ,saying NICE Manifesto Comrade.

          • AlanGiles

            I think your Reds under the bed fantasies reach their nadir at this point.

            I don’t think you can take Spycatcher as gospel – it’s author was prone to embroider a little, to be kind to him.

            Years before (1969 I think) King or Cudlipp of the Daily Mirror had the idea that Lord Mountbatten might instigate a military takeover to get rid of the Labour government. (!) As if – it’s what he possibly MIGHT have liked, but dreaming and doing are two different things.

            It seems “Labour” right-wingers like yourself, just like Tories have some very wild ideas.

            Now if you don’t mind, I think this history lesson and wander down memory lane is at an end. The readers of LL probably don’t want all this. It’s 2012 after all.

          • john p Reid

            the lord mountbaten ousting Wilson in 75 was in Spycatcher too, teh dialy mirror headline in 1969 was that dernis Healey should have been leader, Of course Healey wanted Callaghan to be leader in 1963 same as Crossman and Crossland, I won;t say that had healey been leader in 1964 he would have won that election, but he was anotehr one who disagreed with Wilson turning a blind eye to militant.  I don’t think everything was wilsons fault, I don’t hink that it was Blairs thought that epople were pocketing things on their expences either.

          • AlanGiles

            Blair was avaricious himself, so I don’t suppose it bothered him that his MPs were greedy and lining their own pockets  – he was in no position to condemn, was he?

            One other point: Harold and Mary Wilson used to holiday every year in the Scily Isles – at their own expense, they didn’t cadge free holidays off of Cliff Richard.

            The Blairs were fancy free – that is, if it was free, they fancied it.

          • AlanGiles

            For Christs sake John. You seem to lay the blame for all of Labour’s ills at the doors of Harold Wilson.

            In 1963 the choice of leadership was between HW and George Brown – for reasons now publically known (alcoholism), GB lost.  had GB become leader it is doubtful that we would have won in 1964 or 1966 – or if he had it is very likely he would have been overthrown very early on in his Premiership. Yopu might then have got one of those really terrifying left wingers that you are so frightend of.

            GB was a sick man, not a bad man, alcoholism being an illness. Sadly his illness made him unpredictable moody and unreliable.  Hardly Prime Minister material. Look what happened to Charles Kennedy in the much more tolerant 2000s – as soon as his condition became public he had to resign as leader of the LIbDems – a party at that time unlikely to achieve office.  There is no way that Private Eye amongst other publications wouldn’t have told the public about Mr Brown’s illness back in the 60s, though the press was less intrusive in those days.

            So if Harold Wilson hadn’t been leader we might have lost the two 60s election.

            Harold Wilson said No to Lyndon Baines Johnson’s invitation to take part in Vietnam – that is a matter of historical record. Conscription ended in this country in 1963 the last men having to be  conscripted in 1960 (just managed to miss it), so how your father could have been “Called up” in 1968 is beyond my capability to understand – unless he was in the T.A?.

            Had HW been as stupid as Blair, there is no doubt that conscription could have returned in 1969/70. But it didn’t happen.

            Something else that didn’t happen was the chance to prove the late Gould and Mandy’s notion we wouldn’t have won in 1997. Don’t you remember the tide of sleaze that finished the Mandelson government off?.

            Who can say for surte, but I think the probability is that Smith would have won in 1997 with the final years of the Conservative government.

            I wish you would drop this witch-hunt against a very decent man. You admit yourself Militant came into being AFTER Harold had left the scene.

        • aracataca

          Try not to let it wind you up John. It’s playground ‘Leftism’. These people aren’t really left at all. For most of its history the party has been pragmatic (the 1980s excepted) and I think we can be reasonably confident that this motion at Conference will find itself where it belongs – in the waste paper basket.

        • treborc1


      • Happy in 97

        really, the daily mail is your source…?

        • AlanGiles

          As Jon Roberts (staunch right winger) said to me on another matter yesterday “heed the message, not the messenger”.

        • aracataca

          AG couldn’t care less what the source is, he’d quote National Front News if it ran down the Labour Party

  • I am very much of the ‘better off having them in the tent pissing out than outside pissing in’ persuasion as regards New Labour.

    But as a matter of interest can anyone actually point me to a copy of the Hayward-Hughes Inquiry into Militant from June 1982?

    This put a number a number of questions to Militant and  on the basis of their answers and other evidence found them to be in breach of the constitution.

    I believe the clause that did for Militant (now II, 5 A) still stands:

    Political organisations not affiliated or
    associated under a national agreement with
    the party, having their own programme,
    principles and policy for distinctive and
    separate propaganda, or possessing branches
    in the constituencies, or engaged in the
    promotion of parliamentary or local
    government candidates, or having allegiance
    to any political organisation situated abroad,
    shall be ineligible for affiliation to the party.

    So breaking this clause down:

    a) Progress are not affiliated or associated under a national agreement with the party

    b) Progress do appear to have their own programme, principles and policy

    c) Progress do generate distinctive and separate propaganda

    d) I am not aware of Progress maintaining separate branches in the constituencies

    e) Progress does not engage in the promotion of parliamentary or local government candidates – at least in the narrow sense that applies here.

    f) I also don’t think anyone has accused Progress of allegiance to any foreign political organisation 

    Progress can however resolve all these questions quite easily by becoming a democratic membership organisation and openly seeking affiliation to the party on the same basis as the Fabians (an option which in my opinion should also have been given and taken by Militant).

  • ‘I understand the trade union activist who moved the motion at the GMB
    conference has been a member of the Labour Party for 24 months and stood
    for Socialist Unity against Labour in Swindon North in 2005. Hardly

    While I would normally be the last person to defend Andy Newman he is a member of the party and of an affiliated union and has every right to speak to a motion at a conference to which he has been delegated.

    And New Labour also has many former Trots (Alan Milburn), Stalinists (Peter Mandelson, John Reid), SDPers, Lib Dems and even Tory ex-MPs in its ranks.

    We’ve also warmly accepted back a man who stood against Labour and humiliated it in  a major election.

    This is what being a mass movement as opposed to a mere political party means.

  • PaulHalsall

    I find the red baiting in this article sickening.

    New Labour failed in many areas, although it had some successes.  Its biggest failing was to be unable to resist the financial temptations of the City, and the demands of George W. Bush.

    Its major figures, well at least the Blairites, have since the lost office (led by Blair himself) have made major efforts to enrich themselves to a disgusting extent (at least the Tories came in already rich) by their connections. They did very little to help working and lower middle class people, as can be seen by the stats which show that the rich got richer in the 13 wasted years.  Meanwhile Blairites like Hutton and Frank Field are actively helping the Tories.

    Should Progress be expelled?  No.  I accept the broad church argument.  Even Blair was better than Cameron.  Should they be condemned? Yes – they are lackies to the rich.

    [PS: I did not like Gordon Brown as PM, but he, at least, has not sought to profit from office like the Blairite ministers. I cannot forgive him for appointing James Purnell – who was actually a worse person than IDS – but Brown has shown up the Blairites for the money-grubbers they were and are.

    We need a Labour Party invesitigation into just how Blair became so rich.

    • what’s wrong with being rich?

      • AlanGiles

        Depends in the way you make the money, Jon.

        Running a whorehouse would make you rich, for example, but most of us wouldn;t choose to do that.

        Though it is not “wrong” in the legal sense making speeches at £500,000 a time is a pretty easy racket, provided you have the contacts.

        And if I could only be “rich” by defrauding the expenses system,  lying and making fraudulant claims on legal documents (as Mandy did) then I’d rather not be rich.

      • PaulHalsall

        Almost all (but not all) people who become very rich do so by expropriating  the work and wealth of others. This is true, for example, of all Russian oligarchs.  Others, of course, simply inherit the wealth gain through their ancestors expropriation of wealth.

        I am quite willing to accept highly diverse rates of remuneration – e.g. I have no real objection to the idea that a CEO might earn 20x the rate of basic (non-trainee) workers.
        But that is not what is going on these days.

        The question for you, JR, is WHY ARE YOU NOT A TORY?  I will take all sorts, but your views are mainly Tory.  What exactly do you see in your views that are socialist or Labour?

        I know, and approve, that you are pro-Europe which is not popular in the Tory Party, but I cannot see anything in any post you have made that would distinguish your from an Orange Book Liberal Democrat.

        • I think everyone (and their family) is on a journey that should be a road, gradually, towards prosperity.  My family is traditionally very poor, but my parents stayed in school (first generation to do so), got an education and broke through into what you could say is a lower middle class lifestyle working for the council – that gave me a foundation that, twinned with hard work, allowed me to be the first generation of my family to go to Uni, and subsequently have a more prosperous life earning more money and having a far more comfortable life than my ancestors (I am not ‘rich’, just ‘comfortable’.  If, over the course of your life, you develop skills and experiences that give you a highly paid job, I say ‘good for you’.  Whether you’re a business man or an ex PM.  And part of that success is being able to give your kids a better life.  I want that for me, my kids, and I want every other family to be on that same journey.  My criticism of this Government is that it is holding families back from succeeding in that journey and kids are now having less than their parents.

          About my ‘Labourness’ – put it this way.  The Labour website defines itself thus:

          “The values Labour stands for today are those which have guided it throughout its existence.
          • social justice • strong community and strong values • reward for hard work • decency • rights matched by responsibilities”

          Whilst admittedly these things are vague and open to interpretation (i.e what does social justice actually mean in real terms – many will have a different answer) I believe profoundly in these things.  It is possible within the vagueries of these descriptions that people within the party will differ on how to achieve them, but that’s not to say we don’t all believe in them.

          I was drawn into the party because of these things.  I don’t actually think all Labour people believe in rights matched by responsibilities (some want more of the former than the latter) and judging by relentless personal attacks I’m not sure everyone in the party believes in ‘decency’, especially when it comes to talking about other people.  I am not always successful at that myself but I do try.  Sometimes I question whether people believe in ‘reward for hard work’, as the consequence of hard work is often financial success – something which many loathe.  I don’t.  But I would like more people to have access to better rewards, although I recognise that comes through career progression and education, not just demanding more for doing the same thing.

          Clearly I am to the right of the party. But if that makes me a Tory, there are many people who are much closer to the SWP than the modern Labour Party, so the same rules of ‘you’re in the wrong party’ should apply equally to them. The Labour Party has changed a lot, it has a more diverse range of opinions now and I think that’s a good thing.

          • Bravo

          • AlanGiles

            Jon, if you want “decency” you need a government that can implement it that has some moral authority on insisting on rights and responsbilities.  The Hunt affair has pretty much blown the last of the Coalitions credibility, and the sheer incompetence of the likes of Lansley


            You are not going to get it with hypocrites like Liam Byrne, Hazel Blears  and David Miliband up to their old tricks, and Blair the only PM to be interviewed by the police while in office,  in connection with a criminal invesigation, trying to drum up support for it.

            It seems to me too many MPs – of all parties – are only too aware of their “rights” (Wilson the writer of this article for instance splashing the best part of £400 on a railway ticket, which he could have obtained for c £100). but they don’t act very responsibily. If we are worried about the public purse, just imaginethink – 4 weekly JSA payments could have been made with that 276.30 that the public purse  could have been saved  if Wilson had used his head.

            One small but simple example

          • PaulHalsall

            That is a good reply Jonathan.

          • Dave Postles

             ‘ not just demanding more for doing the same thing.’
            For a large sector of the population, collective bargaining is the only recourse.  For them, there are few opportunities for ‘career progression’.  To maintain or protect their standard of living, they have to engage in collective bargaining.  It might be considered a failure of understanding not to appreciate that situation.

          • When someone disagrees with you Dave, it might be because they don’t understand. Maybe it’s because they just view things differently.

            I have never, once, spoken out against people who want to protect their standard of living. But I have questioned how inflationary (or for that matter, inflation busting) payrises can be afforded.  That is a reasonable question to ask in any climate, but especially this one. “It might be considered a failure of understanding not to appreciate the situation” indeed.

          • Dave Postles

             No, no: your comment obviates collective bargaining for wage increases to protect standard of living.  It looks like the myopia of the middle-class professional. 

            ‘ But I would like more people to have opportunity to access better
            rewards, although I also recognise that comes through career progression
            and education, not just demanding more for doing the same thing.’

          •  Sigh. Yes Dave. Of course.

        • aracataca

          Bit of unreconstructed Marx at the beginning Paul- Nice ( Sorry lost interest in the meaningless debate with JR). But what about the growing Rentier Capitalist Sector eg Buy to let landlords in London. According to David Harvey a lot of rich people are putting their money into assets (not shares) and living off the income they provide rather than actually running an enterprise and ‘expropriating the work of others.’ 
          Hence all the McMansions in Florida.
          Of course this makes capitalism even worse as one could argue that running an enterprise is socially useful (eg employing people, selling things people want, etc)

      • Jocelyn

        What’s right about being poor?

    • AlanGiles

      I agree with all of that Paul except “Blair was better than Cameron”

      I think they are equally as bad:, arrogant, self-important with little talent but loads of ambition, and more interested in their own wellbeing than that of anybody else.

  • Philippa Taylor1

    The Labour Party is a broad church and always has been. I’m a union fan ( until I had my baby last year i was active in both my trade unions), but I don’t always agree with everything they say. There’s a word for banning political ideas which are not your own… what is it again?

  • Mr Chippy

    The attempt to proscribe Progress is an illiberal (if there is such a word) act and this from an old stalinist. The difference between Progress and Militant/RSL is the latter had a central committee and operated on Leninist principles.  I had no problems taking them on at their own game when on the executive of Labour Students.

    Labour is a broad church and the strategy for the left is not to fracture that alliance but move its centre of orientation to the left. I am surprised at Paul Kenny a union leader for whom I have great respect. He certainly gave me 100% support when I faced problems at work.

    Come on Paul you must have confidence in your arguments to beat this group of careerists, has-beens and opportunists.

  • Daniel Speight

    Phil I could well be wrong, but I suspect many in the PLP are being stranded on the right as the centre of public opinion is moving left. This on top of the decline in respect by the public for our political class could damage Labour’s future chances.

    I would urge you to look at the implosion of PASOK in Greece and rethink some of your positions. What worked in 97 will not work now. We are seeing the failure of relying on the markets and the country really needs politicians that are able reject the failed policies on the past.

    • I can’t help but be reminded of Ralph Miliband’s warning, of the “Slow but sure demise of any political party which has ceased to serve a distinct political purpose” when looking at the direction Labour would go under if it was upto Progress and the Labour right. We already have a political party who’s job it is to represent the rich and powerful, it’s called the Conservative party, there isn’t any need for another version of it.

      PASOK learned this the hard way, when the going got rough they abandoned any pretence of democratic socialism and threw themselves into a coalition with the greek Tories to enforce the neo-liberal austerity forced upon them by the Troika. Let their failure be a lesson to you all.

  • You give yourself away Phil, Progress was not the reason the labour Party took power from the tories. It was the hard work of ALL the party members that did it. 
    Progress really needs to buck its ideas up, To quote Claire Short ” even the broadest church has it’s walls” Some of the reasons we have a Tory government now lie directly at the feet of your predecessor in Sedgefield.
    Factions should be won over by argument not expulsion “progress” is the result of factional expulsion of the Left by the Right in the early eighties. 
    If you are so proud of New Labour perhaps starting another party might have been a more ethical route than the entryist tactics of Mandleson,Blair and the rest of the tories in red coats.

    Wake up Labour Party the die miscast what the population want is a different road not more of the same poorly thought out economic policies that got us here and will keep us here. The reasoning is that the economic position of all of the established politicians was learned at the same knee.

  • AlanGiles

    If New Labour is dead and not coming back, it seems also the writer of this article is not coming back.

    As so often one of the delicate little flowers pens a missive for LL but hasn’t got the decency to respond to the replies.

    there is no reciprocity with people like him – it is a common failing of the Mps who write for us. They want to let us know their opinions, but that is the end of it, they don’t want to learn what others think – whether it is for or against them.

    Perhaps Mark ought to make it a rule that if MPs like Wilson want to write for LL, they must be prepared to write a follow up to cover at least some of the points raised,.

  • Francislerouge

    What is the merit of keeping the Tories out of office when New Labour increasingly implemented Tory ideology:  detach Unions from the Party, bring the for-prfit sector into the NHS, promote phoney competition in the NHS,undermine comprehensive education. Why else do the Lords Hunt, Adonis, Turner Digby Jones, Mandelson and Mr Milbourn feel comfortable supporting the government policies?

    • AlanGiles

      This is exactly the point I have been making for the past 3 years. , and the question becomes even more urgent if Cruddas drags his old pal Purnell back into the fold.

  • MonkeyBot5000

    To ban progress is an attempt to ban New Labour.

    Good luck to them.

    I’ve yet to see the difference between being screwed by a guy wearing a blue tie and being screwed by a guy wearing a red tie.

  • Pingback: Ivan Lewis, Ex-Minister Smeared By Damian McBride, Attacks 'Ugly' Labour Politics | IGV News Online()


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