Galloway won’t be rejoining the Labour Party – but Miliband was still wrong to meet him

21st April, 2013 2:24 pm

There’s been a certain amount of (entirely justifiable) anger and confusion from many Labour supporters today at reports in the Mail on Sunday that Ed Miliband met George Galloway in his Westminster office recently. The spin from the Mail – to the surprise of no-one at all – was that “Red” Ed Miliband was attempting some form of reconciliation with George Galloway, in an attempt to have him rejoin the Labour Party.

Thankfully, this is not the case.

A senior source in Miliband’s office told me this afternoon that this was “certainly not about reconciling with Galloway”, whilst another told me that “there is no possibility, prospect or chance of George Galloway rejoining the Labour Party”. Allowing him to rejoin the party would happen over my dead body – and I suspect a substantial proportion of the party membership feel the same way.

In fact, the meeting was about a rather more prosaic – but crucial – matter, the boundary changes vote that at the time looked like it might come down to just one or two votes. All parties in Parliament (except the Tories) were approached, and it paid dividends as the boundary changes fell. A Labour Party spokesperson confirmed that this afternoon, saying:

“There is no attempt to bring George Galloway back into the Labour Party as many of his views are unacceptable and extreme. Ed met him purely as a courtesy to discuss the recent vote on changing parliamentary boundaries. No communication has taken place since.”

And since their meeting, George Galloway has been attacked by Miliband loudly and publicly, with the Labour leader branding his decision to walk out on a debate with an Israeli student “shameful behaviour”, and saying:

“I was shocked by that. It’s one of a long line of things he has done and that’s the sort of behaviour we should not tolerate. The idea that he would refuse to debate him because he was Israeli is totally wrong and disgraceful.”

Those are not the words of someone who is trying to bring Galloway back into the fold – despite Galloway’s apparent desire to return to the Labour Party – but this kind of behaviour (alongside his recent praise for North Korea’s totalitarian culture as “cohesive, pristine, innocent”) is exactly why he should be considered untouchable for any Labour leader. There are some places you just shouldn’t go – even for something as important as the boundaries vote. If George Galloway’s is the one vote you need to pass legislation then you need to look at getting the votes from elsewhere – or lose.

It’s evident too that this news has been leaked out today as part of an anti-Miliband briefing operation that has been ramping up lately. And whilst it would be easy to rage against those (quite possibility within the Labour Party) who are pushing this stuff, if you invite George Galloway into the Opposition Leader’s office – even if it’s just out of courtesy, and even if it’s for a good reason – you’re creating a hostage to fortune that, once it’s revealed, you can do very little about.

Ed Miliband knew exactly what he was inviting into his office that day. And whilst a small part of me admires his hard-headed pragmatism and determination to win a crucial Commons vote, a larger part of me thinks – it’s Galloway, what were you thinking Ed? That man – after everything he has said and done – doesn’t even deserve your courtesy.

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  • JoeDM

    It does show rather poor judgement on Miliband’s part.

    • reformist lickspittle

      No it doesn’t.

      And why has this just been “revealed” now – MONTHS later??

  • NT86

    Galloway is a scab on humanity and should be treated as such. It’s no good for either the left or right wing media to give this tosser the publicity he very obviously wants.

    What annoys me at the moment is that Labour didn’t place him on their 100+ target seats list. This despite the fact that they’re targeting several Lib Dems with large-ish majorities as well. Be consistent and turf him out too! Moreover, they’re targeting a genuinely hardworking MP in Caroline Lucas who is the exact opposite of everything George Galloway is.

    • aracataca

      Galloway is certainly a demagogue but are you suggesting that we shouldn’t be targeting Caroline Lucas?

      • What? Can you please explain how Caroline Lucas is even remotely like George Galloway? Do you have some secret footage of her sucking up to dictators we haven’t seen? Has she been involved in dodgy charities bankrolled by despots ( Is she a closet bigamist? I could go on and on here …

        • aracataca

          You’ll never find me defending Galloway. However, here’s some things that might cast an unflattering light on St Caroline:

          As someone of Irish extraction who has a sister living in Ireland and other family members who have been impoverished by the crisis it’s kind of personal with me in respect of the Greens. They propped up a right-wing Government in Ireland between 2007-2011. The Fianna Fail/ Green Party coalition government cut pensions and benefits and the unemployment rate reached 14% before they left office in 2011. Emigration from Ireland reached 1,000 per week. The Fianna Fail/ Green Party coalition government put the debts of the main banks (namely The Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Bank) on the government’s balance sheet and bankrupted the country( the debts of the banks were 4-5 times Ireland’s annual GDP) – Hence the EU bailout. The Green Party propped up a government of property speculators and bankers’ friends and voted enthusiastically for cuts to pensions, welfare and health spending in Ireland. In Ireland the Green Party in government were about as far away from social democracy as you can get. They were wiped out in the 2011 general election in Ireland.

          There is a genuine left wing current in the Green Party but Lucas and Bennet are not in its ranks:

    • reformist lickspittle

      I heard that Bradford W being left off the target seats was a cock-up (presumably they were going off a list of constituencies at the last GE, when it was still safe for Labour!) There is absolutely *no* doubt the party will be taking it seriously.

    • This is what I hate about our current political system. I like Caroline Lucas – I much prefer her to a lot of Labour MPs. Brighton has a far more enlightened drugs policy than we ever got under dinosaurs like Alan Johnson. And yet being a Labour party member means I am obliged to try and get her ejected from the Commons.

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        1. Is Brighton’s “drugs policy” a matter for the MP?

        2. Do you know how easy it is to fatally overdose on some Class A drugs? And have you seen how it actually happens? A death from overdose is not pleasant to observe, but one from opiod analgesics is shocking in the effect on the body. Alcohol has a progressive effect, opiod analgesics a sudden, and unpredictable effect.

        Having an “enlightened” drugs policy – which is short-hand speak for choosing to avoid enforcing a law – is no recommendation at all.

        Even if some of the worst Class A drugs were fully legal, so avoiding the “we’ve lost the war on drugs” conversation, are you prepared for a shocking rise in premature deaths through overdose?

        Currently, tobacco and alcohol-caused accidents and conditions make up 40-50% of hospital emergency admissions in inner cities (less in rural areas). Illegal drugs much, much less, but then they are abused by far fewer people. If these drugs become legal, then you can expect that to change. Many more people will consume them. Neither tobacco nor alcohol are as stark in their effects than some Class A drugs.

        • Oh shut up you sanctimonious boor.

        • postageincluded

          I agree with you on that. We’re both sanctimonious bores so it had to happen eventually, I suppose.

        • aracataca

          Well spotted JT. Brighton’s drug policy has nothing whatsoever to do with the local MP.

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          …it seems the original comment has disappeared, making my response a non-sequitur. It may be a fault of the Disqus? To anyone wondering why I make the point, it was in reference to a comment comparing Brighton’s “enlightened” drugs policy with the drugs policy in force when Jack Straw was the Home Office minister.

          Nothing sinister in what I say, I hope. I have been accused below of being sanctimonious – that is fair comment, I am sure, and bothers me not at all. I just would like people to also consider the extreme dangers of addiction to Class A drugs when talking about drug policy.

          • aracataca

            I don’t think your point about Class A drugs is controversial JT.

    • Brumanuensis

      Nancy Platts would have been every bit as good as Lucas, with the added benefit of being a Labour MP. Nothing wrong with trying to get rid of the Greens.

      • AlanGiles

        Brum, I am usually in broad agreement with you, but this comment of yours is what depresses and bores me about party politics these days:

        “Nothing wrong with trying to get rid of the Greens”
        The Greens have one MP – Caroline Lucas, who, unlike countless Labour Conservative and Lib Dem MPs hasn’t exploited the “expenses system”. Many of those who did should have been prosecuted for fraud. Certainly people like Kauffmann and Blears should have been deselected.

        Ms. Lucas had the courage to vote against, rather than abstain from the Governments amendment to the WRB bill, which permitted retrospective law to be enacted.
        I could go on, but I won’t bother.

        Get rid of Ms Lucas, and you could be landed with a deeply unpleasant individual like the MP for Rochdale, Simon Danczuk, a hypocrite of the first stripe, who thinks people in his constituency on JSA are “swinging the lead…and should be in employment”, because that is what some of his constituents think He fails to mention that in his efforts to ingratiate himself, Rochdale has high levels of unemployment: I wonder what those constituents think of Danczuk, who while an MP was the major shareholder in a business that failed, leaving 18 people without jobs and owing their creditors (including IR) thousands of pounds. But never mind, Danczuk wears a red rosette, and despite his right wing demeanour and his questionable business sense and practice, we can let that go.

        I wish everyone would get over this idea that Red rosette equals good and everything and everybody else equals bad. There are some absolute shockers in the PLP (and in the other main parties, David Laws being a good Lib Dem example and Duncan-Smith a Tory)

        In “Labour” (just about) you have Frank Field collaborating with the disgusting Duncan-Smith, and Nicholas Soames, joining with Keith Vaz, another man not entirely squeaky clean when it comes to financial integrity, in attending Mrs Thatcher’s funeral, yet I hear nobody calling for Field and Vaz to be deselected, or any of those MPs caught defrauding the expenses system, but one decent woman, who happens to behave in a more traditionally left of centre way than the bulk of the PLP should be got rid of.

        • aracataca

          ‘you could be landed with a deeply unpleasant individual’

          What as unpleasant as the individual who made these remarks?

          In particular the remark:

          ‘It is very uneconomic to keep people alive with expensive drugs, for,say, cancer. or AIDS’
          ‘we will no doubt get his inseperable friend Byers – they always used to sit together, go everywhere together and almost hold hands on the front bench. Everyone knows about “Liar Byers” and I don’t think he would go down very well. As he sees himself as a future leader, i don’t think little Minibrain would welcome the return of Milburn to the cabinet: there will be tears before bedtime and handbags at dawn.

          What other Blair scum could come back? Bonker Blunkett?, John Do-It-All Reid?. Very popular men I’m sure.

          Just so as not to depress you TOO much Andy I am sure you were relieved to hear a week or so ago that Miliband has been voted the “most fanciable MP” – by gay men! (Lesbians went for Harman), so if more men convert to homosexuality in the next two years and the PLP have the nous to dump Brown for Minibrain, New Labour might just survive. But I wouldn’t hold my breath’.

          Delightful I’m sure.

          • AlanGiles

            I sometimes wonder, Mr O’Connor if you are genuinely thick or if you are perhaps a little unwell.

            You have quoted my remarks out of context once more. My remark about AIDS and Cancer is quoted, as you have done so often before, out of context. THESE WERE NOT MY VIEWS BUT THE LOGICAL OUTCOME OF PRIVATISINBG NHS SERVICES.

            I printed the full conversation a week or two ago when you first stirred this up. Perhaps you were not sober at the time?

            At least, unlike one of your pals on here, I don’t go round calling people “Pedophiles” (sic) which met with your approval when the culprit did it on August 10th last year.

            Do you think that might seep into your littrle brain now you have it in capitals.

            I know you enjoy grovelling to anything in a red rosette, but the truth is if I had the choice of Ms Lucas representing me, or that sanctimonious, self publicising bell-end Danczuk (or you come to that) I would choose Ms Lucas every time.
            You have far too much time on your hands William, and like the old woman you are you just try to stir up trouble. What a pathetic little man you must be –

          • aracataca

            I can’t be held accountable for what somebody else has written.
            I did not and never would approve of anybody being called a pedophile without that person having a criminal conviction for such an offence in a Court of Law.

          • AlanGiles

            You voted the comment with a “like” Mr O’Connor, on the night. That and a few other libellous comments as well. As I remember the reason you had to stop posting as “William” was because you went a bit too far with your slurs.

            Now might I suggest you go off and bother somebody else?. Either that or take Mr Danczuk’s advice and get yourself a job.

            I don’t care a toss about what you “think” about my views(if you do) but don’t keep twisting my words in connection with cancer and AIDS patients, to suit your twisted mind.

            And, by the way – it’s “Paedophile” like your pal obviously you can’t spell either: Odd you both made the same mistake…..

          • aracataca

            ‘You voted the comment with a “like” Mr O’Connor, on the night’.

            Incorrect. I don’t even remember it and I certainly don’t approve of such comments.

          • AlanGiles

            You were home in bed at the time, guv, no doubt, but you certainly did, together with a lot of other purple prose from “ThePurpleBooker”.

            I have no doubt other posters will remember.

          • AlanGiles

            William. As you well know you have quoted me out of context: I merely said that the logical conclusiuon of having a privatised health service, strictly run for profit would mean that AIDS and cancer patients treatment would be deemed to be too expensive. Already we see drugs prescribed on a postcode lottery. That would get worse, which was what I pointed out to Howell 5 years ago. Yet you dig up this same five year old quote again to misrepresent my views. That is beneath contempt

            I have explained this before, but of course yet again you deliberately try to mis-represent me.

            I would far rather you stopped trying to cause trouble, because I don’t want to debate with somebody who deliberately and mendaciously twists quotes to mean what you want them to mean.

            I have virtually no respect for somebody who just wants to make trouble, and keeps using misleading quotes. I am not interested in your views or you in mine so lets ignore each other. I am afraid frankly I find you another very good reason not to vote Labour

  • “his [Milibands’s] hard-headed pragmatism and determination to win a crucial Commons vote”

    That’s the way to do it. If the choice is between having a chat with Galloway and losing the next general election then there should be no hesitation.

    In equally crucial circumstances a previous leadership even stooped to meeting with Murdoch. Though, in return for support, I don’t imagine Galloway will receive a similar payback.

    • AlanGiles

      Morning Dave. Before the true Labourite gets too steamed up about this non-story, they might do well to ponder two things:

      Would George Galloway want to rejoin Labour any more than Labour would want him to rejoin?

      and secondly, and more importantly, why isn’t the hopeless, witless Liam Byrne talking and the rest of the Labour party highlighting shocking affairs like this, rather than leaving it to a tabloid newspaper:

      • Redshift1

        Indeed, although Galloway has made it clear as you can be whilst being an MP for another party that he’d like to rejoin Labour.

        It’s not going to happen. I think trying to convince Salma Yaqoob on the other hand wouldn’t be a bad shout…

        • AlanGiles

          I don’t doubt you Redshift, but I can’t imagine WHY GG would want to rejoin the party (certainly the party would not want him back and only the Mail or Express could even think it remotely possible).

          Perhaps it’s just me, but I’d never go back to anything (unless I could be an 18 year old trumpet player again!).

          It’s a cliche’ but I always say the Labour party left me, rather than me leaving it, and I don’t see any serious signs that the party will return to it’s roots, certainly not by some of the increasingly right-wing posters on LL

      • “why isn’t the hopeless, witless Liam Byrne talking and the rest of the Labour party highlighting shocking affairs like this”

        Probably because: “Some senior party figures want Mr Miliband to accept more of the Coalition’s agenda in order to appeal to voters who previously backed the Conservatives.”*


        • AlanGiles

          I honestly don’t know why people like Watts, and those who think like him don’t just go and join the Conservative party and have done with it: after all Shaun Woodward all those years ago managed to convince people that he was a leopard who had changed his spots – possibly because he sensed years in opposition if he hadn’t, more than anything else.
          This is one of my big problems with Ed Miliband – does he have the strength of character to stand up to unprincipled people like David Watts who will do and say anything, however unprincipled, just to get back “power”.
          Not that I think any of the three main parties are going to be very powerful in 2015 – either a wafer thin majority or another hung parliament I would guess.

          • Alan; Dave Watts is a solid Labour MP. Read what he has said – which is, yes, some people don’t like what Ed has said, but he believes he is right and principled to do so, and he agrees with him.

          • AlanGiles

            Sorry Mike. I apologize. I read the piece and thought that was Watts view, but on re-reading I see it was that of a “former minister” (I wonder if we might guess who that might be?!). That’s what comes of watching snooker and reading a computer screen at the same time.

            Whoever it was, if they feel they should wear Duncan-Smith’s hat I think they should be invited to step down at the next election.

  • Brumanuensis

    I don’t like Galloway, but a vote’s a vote and sometimes, as the Duke of Wellington reportedly said, you have to cut cards with the devil.

    • Fair enough but you need to consider the long game and I think Miliband is particularly poor at this. Galloway’s views are as toxic as Nick Griffin’s – I am not joking when I say this (and if you don’t think it, you can bet most voters do). Can you imagine the outrage if David Cameron tried to get an extreme right-winger on board because he was desperate to win a Commons vote? This is no different.

      • reformist lickspittle

        Actually, that is more or less the complete opposite of the truth.

        Miliband is superb at strategy – just look at the number of “big issues” on which he has been proved right in the last two years (often against the stiff opposition of both dinosaur Blairites and our clueless cynical media)

        It is the short term tactical stuff – such as, arguably, this – he sometimes falls short on. But I for one can live with that…..

      • Only people of your right of centre politics could be this naive. You think Cameron wouldn’t negotiate with UKIP ?

        • First, I don’t have “right-of-centre” politics – I just don’t share your nutty views.

          Second, Cameron may well want to negotiate with Ukip but here is where you and others don’t see the problem. Nigel Farage doesn’t suck up to dictators, hang out with Islamists and other fruitcakes and isn’t a rape apologist. Galloway is on the extreme left (as you also seem to be) and those tend to be as bad as the extreme right. So if Cameron was trying to do deals with the BNP or the EDL then you might have a point. But he isn’t and he wouldn’t and as usual you are talking nonsense.

          • aracataca

            Mike Homfray -extreme left?
            That’s the first I’ve heard of it.

          • aracataca

            Well no- but hang on a second Farage does hang out with fruitcakes.

          • Redshift1

            On the contrary – Farage DOES hang out with people like the True Finns and other dodgy far-right parties in the European parliament and his party is full of fruitcakes and racists.

          • I’d rather have Galloway than Farage any day. Farage’s political views are vile Poujadist prejudice.
            No, I’m not on the extreme left, but I’m not daft enough to think that UKIP are anything other than the BNP in blazers

          • I’d say you’re pretty extreme – can you give me an example of someone who is more left-wing than you?

          • In Labour terms, John McDonnell or anyone in the LRC. They’re to the left of me. Then there’s the ragbag of groups on the left outside the party who advocate not setting a council budget, withdrawal from the EU, etc….

          • I don’t know anyone in the LRC. And the views of Respect sound pretty much like yours (or do you not think they are an extremist group?). I suppose you could have said Kim Jong Il.

          • I have a feeling this may be coming back to my opposition to Zionist expansion again….which is one subject and probably the only thing I agree with Respect about!!

      • i_bid

        Sorry but one only has to look at the last episode of QT with Galloway on and compare it to Griffin to see he is nowhere near as unpopular.

      • Redshift1

        Equating anyone, even George Galloway, with the BNP is a bit mental.

        • You’re right. George Galloway is far more extreme.

          • Redshift1

            I think we just established where your politics lie….

          • aracataca

            Than the BNP Matthew? Come off it?

          • I was joking obviously – I don’t think there’s much between them, they’re both a pair of headbangers.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            “…I am not joking when I say this…”

            “…I was joking obviously…”

            Quite some change of opinion in the space of 3 comments. And not, to me the precision and clarity of thought necessary for any intelligent contribution to the debate on illegal drugs.

            I have an informed opinion, practice and experience on one small part of a wider debate on drug policy. It is only a small part in a multi-variate whole. What do you bring to the debate?

          • Well I’m not self-important and smug for a start. And I haven’t changed my opinion – the sarcastic remark was made in response to someone who thought it outrageous I would compare Griffin with the Arab despot club’s proudest member. I wasn’t joking when I said both have equally toxic views because they do.

            Also, the quotes you took to make it look like I was contradicting myself were from two different contradictions. Pathetic.

  • “Many of his views are unacceptable and extreme”

    I think they’re being deliberately vague because if you give specific examples of him saying/doing uncomfortable things or examples of his ‘unacceptable extreme views’ there’ll be many examples of members and Labour MPs who think and have done the exact same thing.

    I found his comments on rape unfortunate and they don’t rest well with lots of people but he more a less mirrored what the law actually says currently which is why so many rape cases collapse. Lawyers go to court and debate consent and to pretend that it’s a clear cut legal topic is naive. I’d like him to apologise for causing offence and draw a line under them .

    Ed Miliband:
    “The idea that he would refuse to debate him because he was Israeli is totally wrong and disgraceful”.

    This is a silly statement. Why can’t people/ MPs choose to be disrespectful or rude to somebody? Not recognising Israel as a state is a completely legitimate view. There are millions of people and many of our MPs who hold that view and think Israel is a rogue apartheid style state. Many h

    ‘White people love playing divide and rule’ … The person who said that is still a Labour MP and still a shadow minister. Isn’t that ‘Disgraceful’ ?

    • What Diane Abbott said was disgraceful, she’s played fast and loose with language on race and been allowed to get away with it for too long. What is your point?

      • My point is there are plenty of people who say and do disgraceful things and remain Labour members and MPs. Dan Hodges publically encouraged people to vote for Boris Johnson and was not automatically expelled like any other ordinary member, Lord Sugar also.

        Nobody ever gives specifics with George Galloway because if we’re honest there are none. People want to keep him out because he’s a ‘loudmouth’ and would be a liability in terms of PR. I agree he is a loudmouth and he would be a liability we’ve plenty of them still in the Labour Party.

        His views on consent are factual but crude and rightly offensive to many people.

        His window licker comment was offensive to disabled people

        He doesn’t recognise Israel and refuses to debate Israelis . Whilst rude that’s a totally legitimate opinion to have and plenty of MPs think and do the same.

        The only serious thing I can put my finger was him calling for Troops ignore orders and for people to rise up against them. Given the unpopularity of the Iraq War and illegality, there will be plenty of people/MPs who agree with him. Also that was 10 years ago.

        If this man is so beyond the Labour Party why do our voters keep backing him? These our our people who know what he’s like know his views and voted for him.

        I’d like to see a list that says George Galloway can’t be a Labour MP because XYZ and to go through that list and not see any examples that would fit any of our current MPs /members.

        • “calling for Troops ignore orders”

          My understanding is that Galloway called for troops to disobey illegal orders: “The best thing British troops can do is to refuse to obey illegal orders.”* This is a requirement of the Geneva Convention.


          • Well there you go then what has he done apart from say rile people up by saying politically incorrect things? He stood against the Labour Party ok, so did Ken Livingstone. It’s a bit of a nonsense i think.

        • So you think he should be readmitted then?

          • He’s more trouble than he’s worth but i don’t really care either way. I also think we need to debate the economic cost of fighting him at the next election. It will cost us tens of thousands of pounds which in my opinion would be better spent trying to oust a liberal or tory. If there’s a hung parliament he’ll be in a very good position to dictate his own terms.

            I live in Tower Hamlets George used to be my MP. It’s important to remember that Labour didn’t really ‘beat him’ he stood down from the Bethnal Green seat and stood in the neighbouring Poplar and Limehouse one with far less favourable demographics.

  • Doesn’t take away from the fact that he won the Bradford West by election and did so by talking about issues which Labour didn’t.
    I definitely think it wasn’t worth losing the boundaries vote over!

    • John Ruddy

      He also did so by making insinuations about the Labour candidate on his literature…

      • The Bradford voters were tired of being taken for granted by a moribund Labour organisation dominated by couple of families and self appointed leaders. Like it or not there were aspects of Galloway’s campaign which hit home. You can discuss matters with MAps not in your party even if you disagree with some of their beliefs

    • Mike Homfray’s endorsement tells us all we need to know.

      • reformist lickspittle

        I disagree with MH on this – GG is pure poison, not least for gay men such as himself – but such a personal attack is rather more revealing about you, tbh.

  • David Lindsay

    There are those exclaiming that no Labour Leader should ever even speak to
    George Galloway, not even to secure his support in a tight vote when the Coalition might be defeated

    But when it comes to dictators, Galloway has never done anything remotely comparable to this – Nor has ever ever started a war. Tony Blair’s highly lucrative ties to Kazakhstan and elsewhere are not considered grounds for shunning him, although they ought to be.

    Respect had already been riven between supporters and opponents of the Islamist insurrection in and invasion of Syria, with Galloway was in the latter camp. Whereas Labour is now led by the candidate whom the pro-life Catholic, Scottish Unionist, Eurosceptical, and never Hard Left Galloway would have nominated if he had still been a Labour MP.

    Having wiped the floor with everyone in what had been a Labour-held Conservative target seat, the latter part of which is completely ignored; and having topped the poll in every ward, including those which were more than 90 per cent white, while running specifically against the Pakistani braderi machine and therefore appealing to British Pakistani youth; Galloway would presumably see no need to re-join the Labour Party, just as he could do perfectly well without Respect if he needed to.

    But Blairite relics who want to stick to Osbornomics howling anonymously that, “He’ll be let back in over my dead body”? The mainstream Labour figure of Neil Kinnock said that about Ken Livingstone. Livingstone is now back on the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party, at the top of the poll of the fabled “ordinary members”. And Neil Kinnock is still alive.

  • Daniel Speight

    I think the real answer to this created crisis is here.

    It’s evident too that this news has been leaked out today as part of an anti-Miliband briefing operation that has been ramping up lately. And whilst it would be easy to rage against those (quite possibility within the Labour Party) who are pushing this stuff…

    Does the Labour Party have to expect something similar every year as Blair and his cronies, those Blairites left behind in the PLP, Progress and assorted members who no longer believe in social democracy try to unsettle the party.

    We saw what they are capable of in getting Johnson reelected as London’s mayor. Many years ago we saw what they were capable of in guaranteeing Thatcher’s reelection by splitting the party and forming the SDP. Will they be doing the same come 2015? What is the best policy to fight them, stroking or striking them? At the moment stroking doesn’t seem to be working that well.

    • postageincluded

      The odd thing is that the term “social democracy” is now being used by Blair et al to describe themselves – a snide way of tarring the rest of the party with red tar. Personally I reject the appellation. Democratic socialism, as per clause 4, I’m happy with.

      Let’s just remember that Lenin and Stalin, and their party, were Social Democrats. And they believed in having a small secretive highly ideological party in control of the workers’s movement and the state. Reminds me more of Progress and the Blair faction than the current leadership.

      • Daniel Speight

        But then you allow people like Blair, Shirley Williams and even our own Anthony Painter to make words mean what they want them to. Social democracy has a meaning. It has a history. And it doesn’t belong to these people.

        About the best that can be said about their ideology is that they are liberals, and in the last couple of years we have been taught what that word means. There, you see, I can do it too. I can make a word mean something different to its definition.

        We had also better remember that the Leninists made it very clear what they thought about social democrats no matter what the title of the party was.

        • postageincluded

          I know where you’re coming from, Dan, it’s just that I can’t think of myself as a social democrat. It sounds like a democrat who likes pubbing, and it seems to be a way of avoiding the dreaded S-word.

          • Daniel Speight

            They came like thieves in the night to steal away the name of social democracy. Why let them have it? Half of the liberals claim to be social democrats while supporting neo-liberal economics. Blair happily called everyone ‘comrade’ until he got selected. Boris Johnson run as the SDP candidate in the students union. It’s just dishonesty and we have to tell everyone that this is a lie. It’s like a RADA mockney accent, it’s fake.

    • $6215628

      Regarding the SDP split, I never understood this democracy lark, there were those who didn’t like what lap jr stood for and felt they had to stand elsewhere, awful, and lo and behold some of the people who voted SDP, like Andrew hunter, Mark cooper, chris grayling, Danny finklestien,Chris Brocklebank, eric and Geroge brown, or David Owen had they not voted SDP would have voted Tory, so in fact they decreased the Tory vote by voting SDP,

      As for you review that the right of Albour got Boris, back in, one person voted Boris, dan hodges, same as Ken voting for Luftur Rahman, and no n Balirites like Lord paul and Lod sugar abstained, remind me Ken got 880,000 votes on second preferences in2008′ he got 1,020,000 in 2008 and 992,000 in 2012′ he got more support with the new Labour Party machine than when he won,

    • Its almost like their last hurrah now their poster boy has given up the ghost. As if they would rather Labour lose than win with a programme not of their design.
      Which, given their right wing views, is actually the case. Many of those carping could quite happily live with the Coalition, as could Progress, lovers of the bedroom tax and the free school

      • AlanGiles

        You have it totally right there. Indeed Field DOES live happily with the Coalition in Duncan-Smith’s department.
        If the Conservatives did win the next election (a possibility getting as remote as me being picked for the 2015 Olympic Games) I am sure we would see a few “reverse Shaun Woodwards” crossing the floor.

  • postageincluded

    A possible loss of 20 seats or a bit of knocking copy in the Mail? I’d keep the seats. The Mail would have found another anti-Labour story anyway, or made one up.

    I understand the sentiment, but sentimentality is a poor guide in politics.

  • Redshift1

    Sorry Mark, this is daft. It was clearly quite innocent and for a good reason. It was clearly bollocks in the Daily Mail, probably encouraged by some Blairite with a grudge trying to undermine Miliband.

    Certainly I have less of a problem with Miliband meeting Galloway over a boundary changes vote than I do with Frank Field being a coalition advisor…

  • The fact that a clear majority on this thread have such a relaxed attitude to George Galloway is really alarming.

    • driver56

      I don’t see why it is so alarming, when you consider the labour party in Blackburn gave a seat to the ex BNP national organiser. and he now sits on the council as a labour councilor. Jack Straw thinks it is o.k so why not George galloway. are we not a broad enough church?

    • postageincluded

      You’re easily frightened, though I wouldn’t like to meet him in a dark alley…

  • On realpolitik balance probably best to keep him out until after the
    next election but I personally have less problem with Galloway back in Labour
    than the likes of Dan Hodges slagging the leadership off in the Torygraph every week.

    Galloway is a self promoting loud mouth but his political views on core economic views are not especially left wing. And as for for his opposition to Blair’s wars he could get support for that in Whitney.

    • Exactly and publicly backing Boris Johnson for Mayor of London.

  • Here you go, George in all his glory …

  • markfergusonuk

    You say that Galloway has never started a war. That is because – thankfully – he has never run a country

    • But there are plenty of leaders who have delivered on responsibility and refrained from embarking on wars when the opportunity arose – think of Wilson re Vietnam.

      Blair lost the trust of a nation in one single act of betrayal: when he committed UK armed forces to an unnecessary war on a falsified prospectus. It surprises me that Blair, who has left an indelible stain on the lives of many, still seems to be highly regarded within a section of the PLP.

  • To be fair – and I am no Galloway fan ; he is personally OK on gay rights But I wouldn’t say the same for his entourage. I just feel we need to grasp why he made such an impact in Bradford


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