Watson avoids leadership challenge from Williamson: Now the member’s must act to save the Party
Was it luck, design, or self-preservation form Tom Watson and his centrist in getting Chris Williamson MP re-suspended from the Labour Party in what was an unprecedented and unwarranted move by the NEC or just an outright old fashioned plot to stop a deputy leadership challenge from the Left?
It could be any of the above but one thing is for sure Tom Watson managed to avoid a future deputy leadership challenge from Chris Williamson.
Labour Heartlands was informed by close associates of Chris Williamson that he was seriously considering challenging Tom Watson for the deputy leadership position. Chris Williamson had been a grassroots favourite for the position of deputy leader and more than capable of garnering enough support to win the position.
It was no secret amongst the Labour membership that the unpopular Watson would face a challenge from Williamson, a challenge Watson was more than likely to lose. Chris had been asked so many times by disgruntled Labour Party members to go head to head for the deputy leader position it was almost a foregone conclusion that for the sake of the Party going forward he would do so.
Watson has faced ongoing petitions to have him removed from his position his continued disconnection from the party members is reflected in the open letters published and signed bu thousands of members. Examples of which can be seen here: Open letter to Tom Watson:
The faux outrage at Chris Williamson being readmitted leaves many Labour members reeling there have been lots of social media outcry’s aimed at politicians who have attacked Williamson Momentum members have openly said they support Williamson while some have proclaimed they will no longer be members after Jon Lansman tweeted:
This tweet reveals not one iota of contrition nor any acknowledgement of wrongdoing following a further formal warning from the Labour Party for behaviour grossly detrimental to the party. Such contempt for the Party’s verdict! He has to go! https://t.co/f9E0MelrZK
— Jon Lansman (@jonlansman) June 27, 2019
The outrage at Lansman can be seen as you follow the twitter thread.
Chris did indeed issue a full apology.
Labour MP Chris Williamson has said “I deeply regret, and apologise for, my recent choice of words” after The Yorkshire Post revealed his claim that the party had “given too much ground” in its response to complaints of anti-Semitism. The apology came after a party spokesman said that the Derby North MP – a close ally of leader Jeremy Corbyn – should withdraw his “deeply offensive and inappropriate” remarks, which fell below the standards expected from MPs.
The Labour Party is an anti-racist patty. It is the only party that has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with religious and ethnic minorities in their decades-long fight against racism, discrimination and prejudice In the United Kingdom.
On a personal level, I have been an anti-racist all my life. As a former member of the Anti-Nazi League. I participated in direct action to confront foul anti-Semites In the streets. I reject racism ethically and morally. It has no place in the Labour Party or in our country.
It pains me greatly, therefore, that anyone should believe that it is my intention to minimise the cancerous and pernicious nature of anti-Semitism. I deeply regret, and apologise for, my recent choice of words when speaking about how the Labour Party has responded to the ongoing fight against anti-Semitism inside of our party. I was trying to stress how much the party has done to tackle anti-Semitism.
Our movement can never be “too apologetic” about racism within our ranks. Whilst it Is true that there have been very few cases of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party – something I believe is often forgotten when discussing this Issue – it is also true that those few are too many.
It is precisely because of our party’s historic struggle against racism that we have taken it upon ourselves to strengthen our rules, to Improve our disciplinary procedures and to redouble our efforts to take on anti-Semites. We have held ourselves to a higher standard than any other political party when it comes to anti-racism – and rightly so.
I am therefore sorry for how I chose to express myself on this issue within our party. This Is a fight that I want to be an ally in. In future, I will take it upon myself to be more considered in my remarks. and ensure they reflect the Labour Party’s unswerving and unfaltering commitment to anti-racism and the fight against anti-Semitism.
Again it is worth articulating the exact words that brought about Williamson’s suspension…
“I have got to say I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic…
“We’ve done more to actually address the scourge of anti-semitism than any other political party. Any other political party. And yet we are being traduced.”
A pendulum to shift to the Left
A successful challenge would have created a much-needed step change within the PLP. Chris Williamson becoming deputy leader could have been the salve to cure the disunity within the Labour Party, a bridge between the membership and the out of touch representation from some within the PLP.
Chris Williamson is known to be one of Corbyn’s closest allies within Westminster, having Williamson as deputy leader would have given Corbyn the much-needed breathing space from the constant attacks and attempts to undermine his leadership. Corbyn and the shadow Cabernet would be free to maximise efforts against the Tory opposition instead of constantly staving of these attacks from within our own ranks.
Watson in contrast as done nothing but apply pressure on Corbyn often undermining the Party by openly going against policy or briefing the press wrongly especially at times when it seems the Tory Party are in need of a diversion, again coincidence or design it would be open to interpretation on the matter. His latest spate of calling for the Labour Party to become a Party of remain makes no political sense at this time, especially after Corbyn had conceded to a referendum in all circumstances.
Perhaps if Watson had made the effort on such a scale two or even three years ago then things could well have been very different. you should remember the fact Watson was the man that applied unwarranted pressure on Cameron pushing for a referendum as far back as 2013 However for the Party to declare itself the Party of remain at this time would be the most politically stupid move in recent history. If and only if there was consensus and the circumstances should that ever be considered.
It would be a leap of faith to even consider that Bullingdon Boy Johnson or wooden Hunt would be so stupid to call a second referendum. The circumstances of this Tory leadership race have not come about by a shift to remain but by the fear of not delivering on Brexit that could see the Tory Party brought down.
To even imagine that the next unelected Tory Prime minister whoever it is would ever call a second referendum is not naive its a absolute fabrication. There are no circumstances that a second referendum would be called enabling or in which any Party could justifiably call themselves the Party of remain. For Labour supporters and voters outside ‘Remainia‘ this too could see a nail in Labour’s coffin people do not take to kindly to parties who go back on their promises.
So whats it all about?
Watson along with the other signatories of the Williamson letter all have a clear purpose. That propose is not stopping the Tories or even stopping Brexit but stopping any possibility of a Corbyn government and the hopes of real change in the UK.
The right wing of the Party will never allow the pendulum to shift too far to the Left they have used tactics unheard of in the history of the Labour Party to remove Chris Williamson ‘again‘.
The influence of Lobby groups in UK politics is probably one of the most concerning developments in recent times, Many remember when the Labour Party was the Party of the working class. a terminology some would rather we forget.
If the Labour Party is the Party of the People then the people must act.
The only way the Labour Party can become the party of the working class is to remove the PLP members who are not for the working class these leftovers from when the Labour Party became nothing more than a Tory tribute act named New Labour.
Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of the Party
Craig Murray writes in his blog. The majority of the parliamentary Labour party are the people who brought in academy schools, high student tuition fees, PFI, who introduced more privatisation into the health service than the Tories have, and who brought you the Iraq and Afghan Wars. They abstained on the Tory austerity benefit cuts and on May’s “hostile environment” immigration legislation. They support Trident nuclear missiles. Many hanker after bombing Syria, and most are members of Labour Friends of Israel.
Even before the current disintegration of UK political structures, there was no way that these Labour MPs were ever going to support Corbyn in power in seeking to return the UK towards the mainstream of European social democracy. They have spent the last four years in undermining Corbyn at every turn and attempting to return Labour to the right-wing political Establishment agenda. In the current fluid state of UK politics, with sections of Labour MPs already having split off and others threatening to, it is even more important that the very large majority of Labour MPs are replaced by people who genuinely support the views and principles for which Jeremy Corbyn stands.
Regrettably Labour MPs do not automatically have to run for reselection against other potential party candidates, but under one of those hideous compromises so beloved of Labour Party conferences, they have to notify their intention to again be the party’s candidate for the constituency, and there is then a very brief window of a couple of weeks in which local branches and trade union branches can register a contest and force a challenge.
That process has now been triggered and it is ESSENTIAL that every Labour Party member reading this blog acts NOW to try to get rid of those dreadful Blairite MPs. If you do not act, the historic moment will be missed and the chance to move England and Wales away from neo-liberalism may be permanently surrendered.
The right-wing forces have the massive advantage of inertia.
The local MP is very likely a crony of the chairs of the relevant local branch institutions and of the appropriate local trade union officials (and there is insufficient public understanding of the fact that historically the unions are very much a right-wing force in Labour politics). I am willing to bet that in the vast number of constituencies local officials and MPs are pretty confident of getting through this without the large majority of their members – especially the vast new Corbyn supporting membership – even noticing that anything is happening.
Which is why you need to act. Phone the secretary of your local constituency today and demand that they tell you how to go about forcing a reselection battle. Make sure that they give you the phone numbers for any local branches or institutions you have to go through. If you do not know the phone number for your local constituency chair, phone Labour HQ and get them to tell you. If you are a member of an affiliated trade union or organisation, take action there too
Do not be put off. Do not follow any instruction from anyone, not even Momentum, about MPs who ought not to be challenged. Politics is a dirty game and full of dirty deals. Use your own judgement. Certainly, any of the Labour MPs who abstained on Tory welfare cuts, failed to oppose the “hostile environment” immigration policy or voted to bomb Syria must be subject to challenge. I would recommend that you challenge any Friend of Israel, given that Israel is now openly an apartheid state. Remember, you may be able to influence two constituencies – that where you live, and through your trade union branch that where you work.
Two quotes come to mind by two great socialists:
Every generation must fight the same battles again and again. There’s no final victory and there’s no final defeat ~ Tony Benn
The right wing of the Labour Party would rather see it fall into perpetual decline than abide by its democratic decisions. ~ Nye Bevan
It is time for all good people to act.