What the Blairites are saying (in private)

September 13, 2015 at 7:50 pm (labour party, posted by JD, reformism, Tony Blair)

From Labour First (published in the interests of the labour movement):

Dear ****,

You will have seen the leadership result.

This is probably the biggest reverse that moderates in the Labour Party have ever suffered, and we will need to absorb its full implications and develop a strategy for responding to them.

We should note that although we were defeated heavily in the leadership election, the new Deputy Leader Tom Watson made an excellent speech in the closing days of the campaign setting out clear red lines on a strong defence policy and opposition to attempts to make it easier to deselect MPs: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/elections/2015/09/tom-watson-whatever-happens-next-we-must-all-pull-together

Tactically, we do not have time just to mourn, we need to continue to organise now because the left may seek to capitalise on their victory at the Annual Conference in just two weeks time with rule changes that strengthen their position (such as converting all the £3 supporters into full members who can vote in selections and NEC elections) and policy proposals on contentious issues like Trident.

We have suffered grievous defeats before and come back, because it is our values and policies that are in tune with the British people and can win elections. Absolutely nothing has changed since May about the way ordinary voters, 98% of whom did not participate in this leadership election, view the world.

As Hugh Gaitskell said in the face of defeat on unilateralism in 1960:

“We may lose the vote today, and the result may deal this party a grave blow. It may not be possible to prevent it, but there are some of us, I think many of us, who will not accept that this blow need be mortal: who will not believe that such an end is inevitable. There are some of us who will fight, and fight, and fight again, to save the party we love. We will fight, and fight, and fight again, to bring back sanity and honesty and dignity, so that our party – with its great past – may retain its glory and its greatness.”

Labour First statement

Labour First did not support Jeremy Corbyn and our concerns about the impact of his political positions and even more, those of some of his supporters, on Labour’s electability are profound.

Of course we will work with him and the Shadow Cabinet to oppose the relentless Tory assault on workers’ rights and benefits.

However, one election does not change the position of the party any more than if one party wins the US Presidency the other party does not stop contesting the House, Senate and States.

Accordingly, we will continue to work to maximise the representation of moderate voices at every level in Labour’s structures. We will oppose policy changes where we think these take Labour away from the views held by ordinary voters. We will oppose any constitutional changes that are designed to give a partisan advantage to the Hard Left within the party. We will oppose any moves to deselect moderate MPs or councillors.

What needs to happen next

  1. We need to expand our network round the country. Please ask everyone you know who would share our concerns about the future direction of the party to join our email list using this link: http://eepurl.com/Nzh75
  2. We need a key contact in every CLP – someone who will attend CLP meetings and is able to promote our candidates for internal elections, our model motions etc., and feed back intelligence to us. If you are willing to do that please email me at akehurstluke@googlemail.com with your name, CLP and phone number.
  3. We want to set up local Labour First groups on the model that we already have in the West Midlands, a space where Labour moderates can meet up informally and build networks with like-minded people. If you can help initiate a group in your region, county or city please email me.
  4. We want to see you at Labour Party Annual Conference. Our fringe meeting will be at 1pm on Sunday 27 September at The Mash Tun Pub, 1 Church Street, Brighton, BN1 1UE. We will have a panel of speakers addressing the next steps for moderates in the Labour Party following the leadership election – and the specifics of what will be voted on at conference. Details of who will be speaking will be promoted in future emails but in the mean time please save the date.
  5. We also need  a team of volunteers at Annual Conference to hand out our flyers which will give guidance to delegates on the votes that will be taking place and promote the fringe meeting – the leafleting will take place earlier on the Sunday morning as people go into the first session. If you can help with leafleting (or indeed design and printing) please email me.
  6. If you can donate to help us cover the costs of our leaflets and fringe meeting at conference please send a cheque payable to Labour First to Labour First, c/o 125 Oxford Road, Old Marston, Oxford, OX3 0RB, with a covering note with your full name and address.

Best wishes,

Luke Akehurst
Secretary, Labour First



  1. Southpawpunch (@Southpawpunch) said,

    That’s what they are saying in notes that may get reported – who knows what is being plotted.

    Do you know if anyone, any forum is organising in the same way to push for things like compulsory reselection of MPs – if so, please post details.

    The omens aren’t good – concession after concession in the end days of the Corbyn campaign; a majority of right-wingers in the Cabinet.

    If such a fight is not enjoined soon, such as getting rid of the right MPs, , then Corbyn really is writing a suicide note – his own.

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      When history is written Corbyn could be described as someone who was only interested in Islamic fascists and Irish Republican genocidal maniacs. The welfare of the British people were a side issue.

      • Political tourist said,

        Are you going to go back and see the new Rangers when they get back to the big league?
        Was going to mention politics but obviously your a raving bigot.

    • Paul Canning (@pauloCanning) said,

      Oh you may be right. Hilary Benn in there, who has stuck up for Ukraine. Is he there just cos of who is his paps?

      Meanwhile, Tom Watson repeats that Jez may be right on Ukraine!

      Confused? Join the club.

      Whatevers. Until proved otherwise, Labour has abandoned Ukraine and no mistake http://paulocanning.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/corbyns-election-means-ukraines-stuffed.html

  2. Southpawpunch (@Southpawpunch) said,

    It’s time to get serious and leave all inanity (as demonstrated by the above comment behind). This is one of the best opportunities in about 35 (not 30) years – as long as I have been a Left.

    The best organisers have always been the Trots. I’m not a LP member (in Left Unity) but I will reconsider if Corbyn does fight.

    A co-ordinating committee – a bit like the CLPD (In Benn’s day. Or maybe SCLV) is needed and I hope those Trots in the LP (AWL, Socialist Fight, Workers Power, many individuals) could organise something and that Trots outside (SP, SWP, Socialist Outlook? Scotland, many individuals) reconsider their view on LP membership if a big battle looms.

    The key issue is what fight the Corbinistas will start – if any (the Shadow Cabinet Members are a bad sign – Lord Falconer, for Christ’s sake.).

    I don’t think those from outside the core Corbynistas i.e. revolutionary socialists have the credibility to start such but we can certainly contribute and play a big part when the Right shortly starts the war. My fear is that Corbyn will just try and build bridges over unbridgeable differences which will only mean he gets to be kicked out quietly (and the war is all conducted quietly), in a year or two, rather than either he is removed now or, even, he starts to take real power in Labour e.g. sacking the senior officials. .

    I really hope the Trot orgs, with Labour left reformist types (e,g, Briefing) are working NOW on a campaign /body to secure victory and start the deselections and more. Time is short.

    • dagmar said,

      “The best organisers have always been the Trots.”

      Or – sadly – the ex-trots. Socialist Action is running the show at Corbyn Towers, no?

      • Southpawpunch (@Southpawpunch) said,

        They learnt their organisations skills as Trots. Aged 18/19, I was organising national conferences and I wasn’t the youngest. Hampstead mums don’t yet realise that as well as learning an instrument and work experience in California or Switzerland, time spent as a teenage Trot comes in very useful, life skills wise, after they sell out and are a media commentator, filmmaker or scummy MP. AWL etc should sell internships to raise funds

        Anyway I was going to just be serious. I’ve spend any number of hours trying to find anyone (even reformist LP types) organising to ensure the win through things like deselecting MPs.

        I can;t find anyone doing it. The pure Corbyn types appear to have gone quiet and just be being conciliatary (although they could be doing stuff behind the scenes I suppose). This is an urgent task. Anyone know anyone working on this.

  3. SteveH said,

    In a very small way I guess Shiraz’s apologism for neo liberal ‘humanitarian intervention’ not only gave us ISIS but also gave us a Corbyn led labour party.

    So I guess we should thank you for that (Corbyn, not ISIS)

    Southpaw – join the bloody party, Corbyn cannot fight alone!

    • Jim Denham said,

      “Shiraz’s apologism for neo liberal ‘humanitarian intervention’ not only gave us ISIS…”


    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      You are a fool and do not understand politics. ISIS type variations have been around for centuries.

  4. Howard Fuller said,

    Hardly secret. All you had to do was subscribe to the e-mail list to get this. Whilst I sympathise with Labour First’s sentiments, I have no intention of joining the Labour Party whilst the appeasers and Trots are in ascendency.

    Nor will I vote for a Corbyn led Labour Party starting with Sadiq Khan to whom I was only luke warm towards anyway.

    Makes me disenfranchised as the Liberals have wrecked themselves, but I’m not backing the Islamist/Putin/Assad apologist that we all know he is.

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      If you do not subscribe then you are voiceless and the fanatic activists will ruin a great party.
      They actually want to ruin Labour.

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