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Who’s really playing factional games?

THE CHORUS of dismay directed at Wirral West delegate Angela Marincowitz-Skillen’s decision to withdraw the proposal for an elected joint deputy leader suggests she was right.

Her fear that Labour’s rump of anti-Corbyn prejudice might use an election to offer up a “People’s Vote” candidate to embarrass the leadership cannot be easily dismissed.

Current deputy leader Tom Watson’s announcement that he was “very disappointed” by Marincowitz-Skillen’s withdrawal of her proposal after speaking in favour of the principle and that he blames “hard left” activists speaks volumes.

His claim that this has “put the cause of gender representation back in the Labour Party” can’t be taken seriously.

Nor can his pledge to continue to campaign for “greater women's representation at all levels in the Labour Party” as though this goal isn’t shared by the entire leadership and hasn’t been implemented in the post-New Labour epoch.

Has Watson cast his eye recently over the diversity of Labour’s front bench, to which Corbyn has been committed in word and deed since his election as party leader?

Similarly, Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips’s outraged tweet that this is “not a factional game for God's sake” deserves an award of some kind.

For the past three years since her “playful” comment that she would be willing to stab Jeremy Corbyn in the front rather than the back, Phillips has been a handy rent-a-quote source for the anti-Labour media.

After admitting in the wake of last year’s general election that some of her doubts about Corbyn’s electability had been wrong and accepting that “he responds well” to honestly offered guidance and advice, she has continued to snipe from the sidelines.

Why hard-right former Hackney councillor Luke Akehurst should assume that the “hard left” fears losing to a “moderate” when Corbyn supporters appear to be in the ascendant, electorally speaking, is difficult to understand.

Perhaps Akehurst could explain. Has his Labour First right-wing faction suddenly found a magic key to persuade an overwhelmingly left-voting electorate to do a political somersault?

Or do his comments confirm the basis for Marincowitz-Skillen’s fears?

The song Remains the same

KEIR STARMER’S insertion of a sentence into his keynote Labour Party speech to the effect that "nobody is ruling out remain as an option" in a further Brexit referendum cheered those who have never reconciled themselves to acceptance of the people’s verdict in June 2016.

It is one thing to say, as the leadership has, that all options remain on the table. It is entirely another to highlight the one favoured by New Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the liberal capitalist media.

Starmer is playing games with Labour’s chances in the next general election.

No fewer than two-thirds of Labour-held constituencies voted Leave in the EU referendum, including blanket support across the South Wales Labour strongholds and much of the West Midlands, the North East and Yorkshire.

Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have concentrated on healing the Leave-Remain divide, calculating that the radical policies outlined and supported at conference would unite Labour voters in fighting to defeat the Tory capitalist austerity agenda.

Both have insisted that the 2016 decision must be respected but have been undermined by Starmer.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner is right to warn that Labour being portrayed as the “party of Remain” would reopen divisions and be an electoral millstone round its neck.

It beggars belief that an experienced shadow minister could show such lack of judgement when all Corbyn’s team should be on guard against political self-indulgence.

 

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