Oh dear. Since Labour’s surprisingly good defeat in the snap election, the hard left has managed to tighten its grip on the party. As last month’s conference proved, Jeremy Corbyn’s party is intent on socialism for the 21st century. But behind the scenes there are still battles being fought between the moderates and the Corbynistas.
On Wednesday night, elections took place for the Labour Party Irish Society executive. Ahead of the event, Corbynistas plotted to try and elect some true believers to the executive in order to return it to ‘its radical roots’, with Squawkbox – the Corbynista website – running an article urging like-minded activists to help transform the society into ‘a genuine grassroots left movement which actively campaigns and builds links with the wider community’. They pointed out that ‘you don’t need to be of Irish heritage – just to have an interest in Irish affairs’.
And why the sudden interest in ‘Irish affairs’?
‘Affiliated socialist societies are a vital component of Labour democracy and can play a decisive role in constituency Labour parties (CLPs) – including at the selection of council and parliamentary candidates.’
With concerns among the moderates that this was part of a Momentum plot to increase control and eventually bring in trigger ballots, there was a concentrated effort among moderates and moderate MPs to turn up in force to defend the society from infiltration by the hard left.
However, while the Corbynistas may have been happy to organise online, they took a less kind view to Parliamentarians daring to have the audacity to attend an event in Parliament. When it became clear that the moderates had the numbers, one speaker grew particularly angry. She claimed the grassroots would be outraged that the moderates had packed the room full of Parliamentarians – before turning to the likes of Ian Austin, Alison McGovern and Pat McFadden and warning them they would soon be out on their ear!
Only not just yet. As expected, the moderate votes were plentiful and the plot failed to land. To add insult to injury, the turnout was so high that the Grimond Room in Parliament packed up early on, meaning the majority of Corbynistas had to watch from the neighbouring Thatcher room…