After Jeremy Corbyn’s campaigns chief Simon Fletcher quit his role earlier this month, it was branded a victory for Seumas Milne. Fletcher was known to have clashed with Corbyn’s director of strategy and communications on a range of issues, including the EU. Now, in a sign things are moving further in Milne’s favour, Steve Howell has been appointed as deputy director of strategy and communications.
— Steve Howell (@FromSteveHowell) February 26, 2017
Happily, the pair are unlikely to clash over their political views anytime soon. They are old comrades who were both involved with Straight Left, the monthly journal in the Eighties that became associated with the ‘Stalinist’, pro-Soviet, anti-Eurocommunist faction that eventually split from the Communist Party of Great Britain. Described by Standpoint magazine as ‘a hard-line anti-reformist pro-Soviet faction within the Communist Party’, the Straight Left movement was also where Milne met Andrew Murray, the first chair of the Stop the War campaign who previously called for solidarity with North Korea.
As for Howell’s views on Russia, he has suggested that the UK government withdraw from ‘a needless and dangerous’ confrontation with Russia over Ukraine:
Still, at least Howell may be able to help Team Corbyn mend fences with New Labour. He is an old friend of Peter Mandelson from Mandy’s days as a communist. Back in 1970, Howell and Mandelson set up ‘Hendon Young Socialists’ before joining the ‘Young Communist League’ a year later after growing ‘disillusioned’ with the Young Socialists.
Viva la revolución!