And now they're at it again. The front page legend goes "Hard left plot to infiltrate Labour race", with the subby "Harman urged to halt leadership vote". It reads "140,000 new activists are projected to have joined ... with many signing up to back the hard left candidate". And "The Communist Party of Great Britain has called on supporters to join and back Corbyn as part of its revolutionary "strategy"". Then we we "Labour MPs say" their CLPs are being flooded with lefties (of course, these sources go unattributed). Let's unpack some of this.
First off, taking my very old friends the cpgb as evidence of any movement at all is the thinnest of thin gruels. Here's a 30-strong collective who've spent over three decades peddling their politics to little effect. They've also participated in practically every left regroupment project going, managing to alienate virtually everyone they've ever come into contact with. By far left standards, that's some feat. The Times also goes on to say that some TUSC candidates have also signed up. That may be the case, but some proof would be nice. Furthermore, the two main forces on the far left - the rape cover-uppers in the SWP, and my increasingly stop-the-world-we-want-ti-get-off erstwhile comrades in the Socialist Party are standing aloof from what's going on. Any real political movement of tens of thousands of politicised people is a real risk to their coherence as organisations. There's that and the fact the organised "hard left" outside of Labour would be hard-pressed to muster 6,000-7,000 members and supporters. The numbers we're talking about dwarf that pretty pitiful figure.
On that flood of new members, it says a great deal about the mindset of The Times and the briefers quoted. They cannot grasp that real people have all kinds of views, and that some might be attracted to a party when a menu of different options are unveiled. They cannot conceive how anyone would join Labour of their own volition to support a candidate without some plot or shadowy clique behind the scenes manipulating things. I can only speak for my CLP, but since the start of 2015 about 100 people have joined sturdy old Stoke Central and 70 of them signed up after the election. From those that have come to meetings, most are not there just to vote in the leadership contest. They've joined because they want Labour to win nationally against a cruel and stupid government. Some of these are Jeremy Corbyn supporters, but by far and away the most important - and numerous - contingent of that constituency are established members. If the doomsayers want either Andy, Yvette, or even Liz to win they need to shut up and try and understand where the Jez supporters are coming from.
Half-way in we get to John Mann MP, the one "urging" the suspension of the Labour leadership contest. Acting as the party's cut-price Simon Danczuk while he is temporarily indisposed, he says it's "becoming a farce" as long-standing members are getting "trumped" by people who don't care about the Labour Party. Too right, John. We can't let any old any old swamping the members, can we? Except, according to this piece John penned for Progress, he'd go even wider and let anyone choose the party's parliamentary candidates, including - presumably - "people who have opposed the Labour Party and want to break it up". What a tool.
Of course, John - and also-quoted Labour donor/David Miliband groupie Assem Allam and Lord John Hutton - are being useful idiots for Conservative/Murdoch ambitions. They've seen Scotland, they've seen how it is possible to completely rout the party in its traditional core areas. And they want to repeat the same in England and Wales. Their inspiration here is German politics, how the left is split between Die Linke and the SPD. The former contains the radical, anti-austerity elements and the latter the so-called moderates. In practice where national politics are concerned, it has doomed the former to perpetual opposition and the latter to shoring up Angela Merkel. It would suit Murdoch and the Tories if such a scenario could be imposed on British politics as it makes the possibility of the centre left ever forming a government again incredibly unlikely. If Labour MPs and other senior figures want to avoid this, they'd do well to stop fanning hysterical attacks on Corbyn, they'd do well not to give the Murdoch press and its Express, Telegraph, and Mail allies reasons to put the boot in. Because they're not only - yes - scabbing on the party, they're putting their own careers on the line too.