The most important news yesterday was the announcement by Honda that they were leaving the UK. I don’t know if this could have been stopped short of revoking Article 50, but that’s 3,500 jobs going in Swindon plus those in the UK supply chain. However the noisiest story was the resignation from the Labour Party of 7 MPs. I am disappointed that its come to this, and sad to see those I know go. The story was made more poignant by the re-admission of Derek Hatton to the Labour Party, much to the excitement and condemnation of the right-wing commentariat. He was expelled, or auto-excluded, 34 years ago.

The priority of the Party is to bring on and win, a General Election, to fight poverty and redress the power imbalances that exist in our society. If the seven still want this, then this is not the way to achieve it.

All that’s left is the allegation’s of anti-semitism, and the allegation that Labour is institutionally anti-semitic. Sadly for them all the evidence is that the LP is getting better, and yet only done so as the Left has won leadership of the Party, in the NEC and full time officer cadre. Why was Chakrabarthi’s report not implemented? It was written in 2016 and shelved by McNicol and the Tom Watson manipulated NEC majority. I can’t explain the delay in processing complaints, but Jennie Formby, the General Secretary wrote to the PLP to explain the state of play and the improvements made since the Left took the NEC and she was appointed.

I am not of the view that the Loyalty pledge being circulated helps in anyway, it doesn’t really come from a desire to do ‘kinder, gentler politics’. Much of the complaints about the ‘your mum’ style of social media correspondence is true; I have left a number of forums due to the puerile and hostile comments made by people claiming to be Corbyn supporters; we need to do better but I will not allow the allies of the departed to claim a monopoly of martyrdom. The vitriol placed upon Corbyn supporters from 2015 onwards by very senior members of the party is equally unacceptable, not to mention their unjust exclusion from membership of many good activists.

It’s not a good look, but we should remember that the PLP have already lost seven members, O’Mara, Hopkins, Woodcock, Fields, Onasanya & Lewis. The weaponising of the disciplinary process is a bad thing, and except for Fields, all these people were or are under investigation or found guilty of unacceptable behaviour under Labour’s rules, or in the case of Onasanya breaking the law. Two of these MPs were elected in 2017 where clearly the due diligence placed upon the new candidates was insufficient; it’s another set of lessons to learn, but I am not holding my breath. We should also look and see who was in charge of the candidate selection in 2017.

Woodcock has been an MP for nine years, but of the others, Hopkins & Lewis have served 22 years since 1997, and Frank Field for 40 years. They are not the only MPs to have served for so long, but the Party has changed, several times and has now adopted a new trigger ballot mechanism which will make the decision to hold open selections easier.

History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy the second as farce. … Karl Marx

It’s sort of interesting to look back at the formation of the SDP and its prequel, the struggles around re-selection that occurred in the short period that it was permitted. Dick Taverne was de-selected, resigned from the Labour Party, fought a by-election won it, and won re-election in the first election of 1974, sadly for him there were two general elections in 1974. Eddie Milne was also deselected, and successfully fought to retain his seat in the Feb 74 General Election and also lost it in Oct. Much of what drove the SDP was careerism, a number of MPs were losing the support of their CLPs, the rules were becoming more accepting of reselctions and the deference once offered them was declining but there was some political steel in the SDP, they were mixed economy social democrats who supported membership of the EEC. I am really not sure that the not so magnificent seven have any politics of this scale. Do we really think that like Taverne, they could win their seats against Labour, and it can be of no co-incidence that this has happened only days after Ummuna’s CLP voted to transition to all member’s meetings and both his and Gapes’s CLPs are about to have their AGMs.

Given what they say about Labour, it’s hard to remain merely disappointed and I can’t see them coming back

Those of us who remain need to learn to genuinely undertake a kinder gentler politics and stand by our values of equality and justice.

The Magnificent Seven, not!
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