Seven Blairites have (thankfully) ditched the Labour Party. But it is a political tragedy that the members of their local CLP’s were not able to replace them with socialist fighters before they were able to further sabotage Labour’s future electoral chances.
If mandatory reselection had been reintroduced to the Labour Party’s structures at any point in the past few years, then ordinary socialist members of the party would have been able to select parliamentary representatives who were socialists.
It is worth restating that the seven have only ever been supporters of democracy when it suits their own Blairite self-interest. This is why they vehemently opposed mandatory reselection processes (or even votes of no-confidence for that matter), and this is why they have no intention of allowing by-elections to take place in the wake of their departure from the Labour Party.
Of course, the seven were only supporters of “more democracy” when it came to democratic votes that didn’t go their way. Here I am thinking about the relentless demands of these same Blairites for a so-called People’s Vote.
Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite, was quick to (correctly) point out “that the real aim of the new ‘independent group’ of MPs” is really “about stopping Labour winning the next election, as Chris Leslie more or less admitted.”
Dave Prentis, the general secretary of Britain’s other largest union, UNISON, however, was quick to side with the seven MPs. He did this by pointing the finger, not at the pro-austerity politics of the seven, but at the socialist leadership of the Labour Party. Prentis said that now: “Labour’s overriding concern must be to look long and hard at the reasons why the MPs feel they are no longer able to stay in the party.”
But surely the answer to this question is obvious: the seven (and there are many more beside them) never believed in the socialist and democratic values that are a mainstay of the labour movement.