Thursday, August 20, 2015

Corbyn threatens to unleash activists on elected Labour MPs

If I was remotely waivering about NOT voting for Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader, the latest pronouncement of the man has clinched it for me. Corbyn is threatening to discipline elected representatives of the people (i.e. MPs) with the pressure of un-elected activists if Labour MPs don't back him as leader. 

If this sounds familiar it is partly what the neo-Blairites thought they could achieve by setting up the registered supporters scheme a couple of years ago. It is absolutely what Benn unleashed in the 1970s and '80s. 


Remember "extra-parliamentary action"? Benn used it, and the force of his acolytes and Troskiyite fellow-travellers in the Party, to try and force his way into the leadership of the party against the wishes of many elected Labour MPs and of the then party leader Jim Callaghan and then Michael Foot (both far greater men than JC could ever dream of being). 


It was Foot who, as leader, told the Party Conference in 1981 that "Labour Party democracy" has to be a marriage of what the members want and what the Parliamentary Labour Party wants. Foot knew his history - Labour history and British democratic history. The semi-Burkean in him didn't believe that MPs were elected by the public to be told what to do by party activists accountable to no one but themselves.

3 comments:

Ian Sinclair said...

Hi Neil

I'm slightly confused by this. Are you referring to the idea of de-selection? Or something else?

Ian Sinclair

Ian Sinclair said...

Sorry, that should be "re-selection".

Neil Partrick said...

I think you had it right the first time, Ian! JC seemed to be implying/threatening this at least. Obviously the politer notion (and arguably practise) of re-selection has been operating since the 80s.