Saturday, 26 May 2007

Why I won't be backing Cruddas.

Jon Cruddas had my vote until Wednesday May 16 at around 8.30pm. That was when John McDonnell had to concede it was "mathematically impossible" to get the 45 nominations required to get on the leadership ballot. One of the major reasons why that just didn't happen was down to the ambivalent and, frankly, shameful attitude of the soft-left MPs in the Compass Group. These are the people who have shared platforms on anti-Trident demonstrations, walked into division lobbies against top-up fees, supported measures like the Trade Union Freeedom Bill and defended council housing. Yet when push came to shove off they marched again - into the lemming-like rush to sign Gordon Brown's nomination papers. In Cruddas's case, this particular signature might well be his political death warrant.
Read this week's Tribune. Cruddas says the Deputy Leadership election is " an unrivalled opportunity to refresh and renew our Party structures and our policy direction." Yes, the reason it is "unrivalled" is that the PLP, Cruddas included, has just performed the most undemocratic act in the Labour Party's history - and denied the membership a vote on the leadership.
And here he is again:""We have to examine why it is that half our members have left in the past 10 years and what we can do to build the party again as an active, community-based and campaigning organisation." Yes, Jon, a leadership contest would have been a start, wouldn't it? Just take a gander at the John4Leader website and read the posts from distraught members thinking of tearing up their cards.
In the past seven days I have thought about this long and hard. And others on the left will take a different view.But I'm still not falling into line with the Morning Star, which today said we should put aside "hurt feelings and ruffled feathers" and vote for Jon Cruddas.
This is not a trivial spat, nor the Schadenfreude of factional in-fighting . The fact is that Jon Cruddas based almost his entire campaign around grassroots involvement and Party democracy. He has helped deny us both. I think that is dishonourable. And the non-event of the Deputy Leadership just doesn't make up for that. Sorry


Anonymous said...


I have re-tagged the post, I hope that's OK!

Whilst I will accept individual posts criticising this or that Deputy Leadership candidate, the agreed "line" was not to endorse any DL contenders.



Owen said...

I don't want to sound a note of dissent here, but surely this blog has to work as a collective where everyone has equal rights to express their point of view?

Anonymous said...

Yes, that's what is stated along the "publishing guidelines" (it's worth for you to take a look at them, if you haven't already), but since I, as the administrator, have to assume full responsibility for what is posted, I would like members to avoid "endorsing" or "condemning" any of the Deputy Leadership candidates to the extent that it would become an issue.

As you know, I disapprove of Cruddas' bid, given that, as far as I am concerned, his credibility is, and always has been, at rock bottom level; I don't back anyone in particular, actually.

Having said that, the only aspect of the post with which I had a problem was its title. It - and nothing but it - has been modified. I didn't think that having "why I am not voting for Cruddas" appearing as the first post was appropriate for this forum. However, I would never take a post - I hope you're not suggesting! I simply felt that such a title, given that iot appeared on top of the page, could have "turned off" a number of "Lefties" who still harbour illusions in Cruddas. The post was balanced and fine; the title, in my opinion, wasn't. That's all there is to say really.



P.S. You will notice that I haven't linked to any "soft-Left" group (appart from Tribune - which "endorsed" John), and intend for this site to be, primarily, a resource for the LRC Labour Left".
Having said that, anyone who considers himself to be on the Labour Left is welcome to join and comment.

grimupnorth said...

Just making it clear the post is entirely MY point of view.No doubt there are many on the hard left who will be voting for Cruddas.

Anonymous said...

That's fine, Susan!

Curlew said...

I too was dismayed at the lack of PLP support. But it doesn't surprise me that a candidate for a job that involves CLOSE working with the new leader nominated such leader. There would be no point in his standing otherwise as his fellow MPs would wonder why he wants to work with someone he wouldn't nominate?

I expressed the view elsewhere that I would be very happy for any left candidate to LOSE the DL election as we need them to have enough independence to stand with John McD in the NO lobby when the time comes.

As Hezza said - this role is purely supportive of the leadership - anyone who takes that role on :- is a lost rebel vote.

Anonymous said...

Very good point, Curlew.

The role of the DL is purely supportive, indeed. I therefore don't see how a DL could possibly "revive" the Party's support among core voters. Surely, the only way in which such "revival" could be achieved is by breaking with the current Leadership. That would not be within Cruddas limited powers should he become DL. What was in his power, however, was nominating John, but he let that ship sail.

el Tom said...

"You will notice that I haven't linked to any "soft-Left" group (appart from Tribune - which "endorsed" John), and intend for this site to be, primarily, a resource for the LRC Labour Left"."

It would be good etiquette to link beyond your own views and interests. I even link tories, despite my utter rejection of all they stand for. There's no need to become self-concentrated and cut off.

Regarding Tribune, are you saying that you will only link to soft left organisations which conduct their politics in a hard left fashion? Like backing hard left candidates or supporting hard left policy and campaigns?

You will only like to the soft left... provided that they behave like the hard left. Makes sense. ?

On your original point, if you think that there is little to gain from backing Cruddas, fair enough. You're call. is there more to gain from backing someone else?

Would you reject gains you regard as trivial in order to have none at all? It's not like there's a preferable alternative...

el Tom said...

In the future, I vow to spell 'your' correctly, in context.

Anonymous said...

"You will only like to the soft left... provided that they behave like the hard left"

Not quite true, but you've got a point. I will only link to MPs who nominated John McDonnell, yes. I won't link Compass, no - because, at the end of the day, I think it's nothing but a springboard for the careers of hypocrites like Neal Lawson and Jon Cruddas. Then again, "you're" (sic) pal Cruddas behaved much like a Hard Lefty until it no longer suited him. Like many other Soft-Lefts he sacrificed his principles on the altar of his career.

When you say there's no "preferable", I agree. So, admit that you would have found something else to to rant about had the exact title been maintained!

John Gray said...

so public school boy you have just deleted everying and pretended it never happened!

Mikael - this is just pathetic, why do people such as you have such a problem with cocking things up? No wonder the middle classes sleep comfortably in their beds.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Gray - thanks for that.

At least you didn't have to leave through the death and agony of going to French-speaking Public schools - trust me, I could have done without the beatings.

I can still re-post it, but it wasn't a good start. You know what, people can always link to you if they want the juicy details.

Anyhow, old boy, a small thing turned into a mountain of undesirable crap. I used to like posting on your blog, after all we agree on many things. I think you promote the right methods for fighting the BNP and I appreciate your stress on the importance of Trade Unionism.

I altered the title of the post to avoid squabbling - there had already been discussion over the Cruddas "issue" along other comment boxes on the blog. Was it a mistake? I don't think so, but, hey, nobody is perfect!

My dear Gray, a comradely good night,


John Gray said...

Hmmm, if you want to talk about beatings and violence you obviously never went to a working class secondary high school.

I use to think that the answer to this question is - come the day of the revolution boyo - you know who we will have in our sights.

But now I think it is rather silly.

Anonymous said...

I started off in a working-class school - took, and most certainly distributed, a good number of hits there too.

The difference was where the hits came from. In the working-class school, it came both from pupils and masters; in the public school, the masters were pretty happy to watch the pupils beat each other.

Anonymous said...

Gray, if I may be so bold as to enquire, why did you prevent one of my posts from getting though back on your blog?

John Gray said...

Sorry Mikael, things have been a bit confusing tonight, but I am not aware that I have not published any of your comments? Apologises if so - please resend.

Anonymous said...

It worked out, the comments have appeared on your blog.

Thank you, Gray.



Mike Baldock said...

Well, this got a bit messy didn't it!
Whilst I don't agree with this forum being seen as a 'faction' or having any 'line' I do agree with the attitude that wasting time discussing a puerile non-entity election isn't really very productive in acheiving what I thought was the point of this forum - to discuss ways and ideas of reinvigorating the left and planning for the future.

The deputy leadership fiasco will only run for another 4 weeks, and then it will be even more irrelevant than it is now. Meanwhile, we will have lost 4 weeks of planning and ideas whilst we waffle about what to do in a pointless exercise.

As I've said elsewhere - there are plenty of places to diss or promote one or other DL candidate - let's use this place to rebuild!

But there shouldn't be any editorial control apart from what's stated in the guidelines - ie no righties trying to stir up shit!

Doctor Dunc said...

Hi Mikael. I think for a forum for the whole of Labour left to work, then all individuals' posts must be just that, and people can then be free to comment on them as they see fit. Therefore, if somebody wants to write a post on why they think people SHOULD vote for Cruddas then they should go for it: that would be the ultimate idea of not having a 'line', I would have thought.

There shouldn't really be any 'editorial' aspect to this, other than ensuring that the forum works (logistically, rather than politically).

Anonymous said...

I agree, I simply didn't want the "why I am not etc." to appear as the first post on the page as it could have turned people off. Furthermore, I didn't want it to seem as if the "forum" was explicitly calling for a vote AGAINST Cruddas. Especially in light of the fact that, I fear, no-one (and certainly not I) will write a more, say, "positively inclined" post on Cruddas.
I also feared that the discussion about the DL race would degenerate into a slagging-match, as it has on many other blogs and forums - not LabourHome and Dave's Part.

In all honest, I did write to one of Cruddas supporter asking him to publish a "pro-Cruddas" article to counter-balance Susan's post. He declined the offer (his loss, I guess).

Other than that, I agree, there should be (and is no) political line - nothing in the post was changed, however.



Doctor Dunc said...

Hi - seems there was a bit of a barney while I was out watching Peregrine falcons... Ah well. I note that on Labourhome, an article I wrote entitled 'A Bennite for Benn' was moved up as one of their front-page headline articles, and quickly the title was changed to: "Doctordunc: A Bennite for Benn"; presumably because they didn't want to be associated with the 'Bennite' bit..

However, as this is a 'forum' it is quite clear that everybody's contributions are theirs alone, and people can comment as they see fit below. So I don't think this need be an issue.



Anonymous said...




P.S. "Doctordunc: A Bennite for Benn", that was more or less the type of "modification" that I was trying to make to the post in question here, as you said, it shouldn't/doesn't need to be an issue.

ian said...

Look comrades, lets just move on and have constructive debate.

There might be vultures lurking to pick over the bones of the Labour left (especially after the john4leader campaign) but we all know the reasons why they want to pour water over any new blog initiative.

Mikael, dont take Comrade Grays criticism to heart.He is already boasting about it on his blog as if to show that the left cant unite.....blah,blah,blah, same old ,same old!!

A mistake was made lets move on.


Anonymous said...

Hopefully, this will settle the matter:

Mike Baldock said...

why the fk are we bothering debating or responding to posts by right wing stirrers?
By responding to them in any way shape or form, we simply pander to their mischief and self-egos.

It would be better, imho, to simply ignore their comments - even when directly aimed at us - unless they have anything concrete to say. Then we should simply respond to their ideas and ignore any personal or sectarian jibes they make.

Let's not cluck around like brooding hens worrying about how they might present us, and allowing them to prolong their original posts with responses to our responses!

It's a waste of our time and efforts, and distracts from the positive business of progressing the left platform.

Commissar said...

Are there any pro-Cruddas authors on this blog who would like to write a 'Why I will be backing Cruddas' piece?

Ive wrote something similar on my blog but would welcome something similar on here from you lot

Mike Baldock said...

commisar, I've read your blog, and your opinion is as valid as anyones on the subject, so I think you should copy it on this thread.

I'm really not interested in the DL debate now at all, and will probably spoil my ballot paper, but I think it is more important that everyone feels able to say their piece and that we don't waste too much effort on the whole charade, and certainly don't let the poxy thing actually cause us to fall out with each other - that would be just the icing on the right wings cake!
Personally I'd like to see a massive spoilt ballot campaign to show our disgust at the lack of democracy, and that we're not willing to play ball in a pathetic second rate crumbs feast.
But I have no beef with anyone who wants to vote for any of the candidates tbh - it really is too irrelevant an issue to fall out over.