Tuesday 16 August 2016

This Blog Could be used as Evidence of Entryism in the Labour Party

James Patterson, a Labour Councillor in Haringey was a Green Party candidate in the same ward

Along with anti-Semitism, sexism, losing the EU referendum, being incapable of compromise and being unelectable as Prime Minister, Jeremy Corbyn is now accused of encouraging ‘entryism’ to the Labour Party.

Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, has said that although not all new members come into this category, ‘old hands are twisting young arms,’ and these Machiavellian types don’t have the best interests of the Labour Party at heart.

I dare say a few ex Labour members who left in despair at what Tony Blair had turned the Labour Party into, have returned to the fold under Corbyn’s leadership. But to claim that they are taking advantage of young, idealistic new members to push their revolutionary agenda is patronising to the newer members, and lacks anything in the way of evidence.

Watson quotes some statements from the Alliance for Workers Liberty (AWL) blogsite, Shiraz Socialist, as evidence of this entryism, but it is pretty flimsy stuff. The AWL has disbanded and urged its members to join the Labour Party, so what? They don’t have many more than a hundred members anyway, and incidentally they argued for Remaining in the European Union at the recent referendum. 

Not a standard ‘Trot’ line to take, judging by other far left groupings stance on the issue. I’m assuming all these people will be denied membership of Labour, under the entryism argument, even if they haven’t stood against Labour at an election in the last five years, which is apparently the rule.

Contrast this with the case of ex Tory MP, Shaun Woodward, who was elected as a Tory MP in 1997, but was allowed to defect to new Labour in 1999, and was given a safe seat in St Helen’s South in 2001. It was said that he employed a butler. Wikipedia says this about him:

‘’He added a seventh property to his property portfolio in January 2010 and now has a £1M apartment in an alpine resort, along with a £1.35M London flat, a £7M property in the Hamptons, a £5M villa in Mustique, a house in the south of France, a £2M townhouse and a modest £85,000 home in his former St. Helens constituency.”

I take it the five year rule did not apply in 1999, or is entryism just allowable for Tories?

Closer to home, in Haringey where I live, James Patterson, who had been a Labour member in Brighton, moved to Haringey and joined the Green Party in 2008. He stood at a council by-election in the same year, for the Green Party, and again at the full council elections in 2010. He was also the campaign manager for our council target ward.

After the 2010 general election, he resigned from the Green Party and re-joined the Labour Party, ‘to vote for Ed Miliband for leader,’ as he told me at the time. In 2014 he was elected as a Labour councillor (in the same ward he had stood as a Green), so no five year rule in 2014 either? Or is this somehow different from the entryism that is apparently plaguing the Labour Party in 2016?

The constituency Labour Party where James Patterson is a member, Hornsey and Wood Green, is one of the few constituency parties who are backing Owen Smith for Labour leader. Patterson was also one of the local Labour councillors who signed an open petition supporting the recent Labour MPs vote of no confidence in Corbyn as Labour leader.

Some Corbyn supporting Labour members have asked me to join Labour, but I last stood against Labour, as a Green, in the 2014 council elections, so I expect they would reject me, and I’ve written dozens of blog posts here which are critical of the Labour Party, especially before Corbyn became leader.

Either way, I’m not minded to try and join Labour anyway, to test my theory. It does seem as though there is good entryism and bad entryism according to the Labour Party. Or maybe if they just suspect people might support Corbyn for leader, they are barred? Answers on a postcard, please.

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