Tom Watson speech:
 Delegates plan protests

Share

There have been some interesting ramifications since the Labour Party’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, briefly faced the prospect of his job disappearing from under him. The threat to Watson’s livelihood came in the form of a motion from Momentum’s number one, Jon Lansman, to abolish the post of deputy altogether (precisely the type of bold ‘revolutionary’ method that Corbyn should be deploying in the inner-party war).

Comrades who read us yesterday will be aware that we were profoundly sceptical about the real motivations of this rather strange move by Lansman. The specific issue of the disappearing deputy leader quickly vanished. However, we are left with some interesting developments in the aftermath of the original spat.

First, we have the response of Corbyn himself. In yesterday’s bulletin, we characterised his general approach to the concrete question of the post of deputy and the threat to Watson as “supine” and Ghandi-like. Sadly, but predictably, this dismally timid method was carried over into the ‘positive’ solutions that he proposed for the structure of the leadership henceforth: ie, two deputy leaders … with the stipulation that one must be a woman. ‘Underwhelming’ would be an overstatement.

In contrast, Tom Watson pin-pointed precisely the key issue that political life in our organisation revolves around – there is a “battle for the future of the Labour Party”, he stated, in which members must “resist the destructive, corrosive impulse of factionalism”. (For ‘factionalism’ read ‘fighting for principled working class politics’.)
Thus far in this crisis in Labour, the members have been passive observers. So it is very encouraging that word reaches us of provisional plans for some sort of protest against Watson when he rises to his feet on Tuesday to address conference. Even better, there are reports that this may include not simply individual delegates, but also CLP and union blocks. Much like the reaction to the original Lansman/deputy leader incident, these provisional plans have caused dissent and divisions on the left.

The essential lines of demarcation were delineated in an exchange between two comrades online. First a member expressed the worry that the walkers would “look like those Brexit MEPs turning their backs at the EU”. No, came back the answer – “there’s a civil war going on and one side is doing all the attacking!”

The world view of our readers will probably not shatter if we tell you that we support the fighting stance of the latter, rather than the timid approach of the former. However, we do understand that comrades are sensitive to the danger of providing the venal media with more ammunition with which to smear our party and thus are wary of scenes of division and conflict on conference floor.

Understandable, but wrong. In fact, we should think of the battle within Labour as being over a project of political hygiene rather than some self-indulgent “factionalism”, as the deputy leader puts it. We urge comrades to support any protest that may be organised against the treacherous Tom Watson – a man who has been intricately involved in the witch-hunt against members of the party and attempts to undermine the leader. He is a disgrace and should be shamed not simply out of the Labour Party, but the wider workers’ movement too. He should be given the heave-ho, pronto!

We urge comrades to support any protest that may be organised against the treacherous Tom Watson – a man who has been intricately involved in the witch-hunt against members of the party and attempts to undermine the leader. He is a disgrace and should be shamed not simply out of the Labour Party, but the wider workers’ movement too. He should be given the heave-ho, pronto!

Understandable, but wrong. In fact, we should think of the battle within Labour as being over a project of political hygiene rather than some self-indulgent “factionalism”, as the deputy leader puts it.

We urge comrades to support any protest that may be organised against the treacherous Tom Watson – a man who has been intricately involved in the witch-hunt against members of the party and attempts to undermine the leader. He is a disgrace and should be shamed not simply out of the Labour Party, but the wider workers’ movement too. He should be given the heave-ho, pronto!