Friday 4 June 2021

Margaret Hodge's Attack on Unite

Keir Starmer's Labour Party is uninterested in winning elections because his support base and biggest cheerleaders, the Labour right aren't. This is a statement of fact based on the ample evidence of the last six years. Their primary concern, their sole obsession is neither vote catching nor taking seats. This is everywhere and at all times secondary to their main purpose: the crushing and exclusion of the left.

You never have to wait long for confirmation of this thesis. They simply cannot help themselves. They flatter themselves into thinking they're the professionals and the "grown ups", but they'd much rather bash the left than take the fight to the Tories. Take Margaret Hodge, for example. With a fortune of at least £18 million to her name and major share holdings in a tax dodging steel enterprise, she's been the literal bourgeois in the bourgeois workers' party for decades. With her class interests more closely aligning with the party opposite, is it a wonder she's not in any hurry to see the Tories dumped out of office? And so we find her at the heart of the Labour right's latest vendetta.

Firing off a thread last night, Hodge informed the Twitter-travelling public that she had reported Unite to the police. She wrote,
I have recently seen emails suggesting that Unite top officials have been covertly funding political activities. Keeping this secret from its hardworking members ... In these emails, it appears Unite officials, including Howard Beckett, were deliberately orchestrating the deselection of longstanding Labour MPs ... Both @tom_watson and @spellar were allegedly targeted by this plot meaning they were distracted from representing their constituents and had to fend off underhand deselection attempts. Unite should be focusing on the priorities of its members in the wake of COVID-19. Not the political whims of a few trade union barons.
As per her signature style, she couldn't resist the dishonest flourish at the end. While it's true Unite officials were not supporting members under pressure from Covid-19, that has more to do with the disease, let alone the pandemic not existing at that time. But the rest is the usual bullshit you can expect from this quarter. Tom Watson, readers will recall, was spending more time pursuing his scabby Project Anaconda, subsequently flirting with the LibDems, and attending to his property portfolio than anything resembling opposition to the Tories. And as for John Spellar, when he wasn't ranting incoherently in parliament he held glum Brandhall Labour Club get togethers plotting their take down of Corbyn's leadership. Both men and their following of satraps and temporarily embarrassed right wing Labour MPs had declared war on the membership and would rather the party be a smoking ruin as long as they could be the kings of the ashes.

The real target in all this is Howard Beckett. With Gerard Coyne not looking like he'll get enough nominations to make it onto the ballot (good), their hopes lie in an anyone-but-Beckett winner. Howard Beckett, as readers will know, is pitching for the Len McCluskey continuity vote and has made loud noises about Labour's dismal failures. Most worryingly for Keir Starmer's leadership and a clutch of useless MPs, has pledged to turn off the cash taps unless the party pulls its finger out. He's the candidate to beat with a punchy social media campaign and, as it appears, the momentum. Whether he'll win the general secretary election remains to be seen, but without any political arguments to answer his rise nor any pull in Unite the Labour right can call their own, Hodge has turned to the law in the hope the plod can intervene and derail his candidacy.

There are a couple of things here. We know this is a transparently factional move because she showed no such concern when the misuse of party members' money by right wing party staffers came to light (nor did she have anything to say about their sitting on antisemitism cases for political advantage either). Second, I'm no lawyer but if Unite is utilising money for political purposes, which making cash available for literature aimed at party members is, this is no more unlawful than any other union producing branded material endorsing candidates for selections - or saving sitting MPs from deselection for that matter. Did the unions who idiotically mobilised to save her skin from deselection run it by the members first? The third calculation in play is by making a song and dance about reporting Unite to the police, the right are trying desperately to attach connotations of wrongdoing and possible illegality to his candidature, linking it with the frantic efforts to suggest there was something corrupt about the building of the union's new conference centre.

That Hodge is a party member let alone a sitting MP is nothing short of a disgrace, but it reminds us once again what the Labour Party is. It's not a safe space or a nice place. It's a site of struggle, a stake in and location of class struggle in this country. Someone like Hodge and her fellow rightwingers aren't there to "help people" or win elections to form governments. All they care about is securing their position and protecting their standing, a preoccupation that coincidentally helps keep Labour a party safe for the bourgeois interest, and works to demobilise and break up the collective strength of working people. If this means lying about opponents, and dragging Labour through the mud, they will do it. After all, they're not going to be the ones suffering the consequences of another decade's worth of Tory rule.

Image Credit


Mr Orwell said...

Excellent opinion piece

Anonymous said...

"This is everywhere and at all times secondary to their main purpose: the crushing and exclusion of the left."

At least they have some kind of position, some banner that people can go to, even if it is a tory banner.

But it is all bullshit, New labour care about careers. They expect the left to destroy the career options. This is why they are so hostile.

So your point that New labour do not care about winning elections is utter poppycock, it is the reason New Labour are New labour.

What is actually ture is that you, Phil, do not give a fig what labour stands for, you are simply interested in seeing the red rosette gain power, even if it is blue in all but name.

This chimes in with your Is Labour in Decline post. Labour doesn't fucking exist anymore, let alone be in decline. It has been totally reformed into another Tory party mark 2. You could call Corbyn the last nail in the coffin, because after his pitiful, weak leadership the right will never again make the mistake of having someone like him on the ballot.

Corbyn was a god send for the labour right, a bit like the crook who uncovers all the security flaws in the banks IT infrastructure but doesn't get away with any of the loot.

Daniel dann said...

The hypocrisy on the uncritical platform that these people have been provided essentially overwhelming...

I cannot comprehend why the party that is meant to represent workers labour and a disadvantaged attract individuals who see nothing but content for the very same groups they meant to represent...

Absolutely this centralist right wing agenda has already successfully infiltrated and neutered only labour party as a whole but money of the trade unions the unite is the only one or left...

I just now trying to launch a criminal investigation about a couple of emails from 3 years ago about people talking about using the entrance to encourage mandatory reselection specifically targeting 59 individuals who believe MP ship is a job for life.....

Individual Margaret Hodge be used to privilege to slander her own leader.

Conspire weird right wing news outlets to promote a false narrative and her and her friends 18 aureus for parachuting in to so-called safe seats ... Leadership approved candidates which they seem to have no problem with until Jeremy corbyn proposed doing the exact same thing.

We only have to look at Stoke-on-Trent central to see Tristan hunt and Gareth now too to candidates who should have been representing different parties... Neither of them lived in the constituency need of them had any relationship to the constituency before and both of them seemed to use representing the people of Stoke-on-Trent social as some kind of career advancement opportunity.

Instead of a public service responsibility.

For an individual who is a member of the Democratic socialist party it's quite evident she doesn't not believe in either socialism or democracy

Anonymous said...

"...what the Labour Party is. It's not a safe space or a nice place. It's a site of struggle, a stake in and location of class struggle...."

Aye, and good luck trying to convince people to vote for that; "Vote Labour! In your constituency that might mean an internationalist socialist like Corbyn, or it might mean a war-mongering neo-liberal like Blair. But either way, vote Labour!" Thia is a party that fundamentally does not make sense, and which is held together only by Britain's terrible electoral system.