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Labour MP vs Owen Jones: Would Corbyn have supported a government led by Attlee?

24 May 2018

10:35 AM

24 May 2018

10:35 AM

It’s safe to say that the uneasy peace formed in the Labour party after the snap election is coming to an end. Labour MP Ian Austin has today penned an article for PoliticsHome which is titled: ‘The current Labour leadership is completely outside Labour’s mainstream tradition’. And he doesn’t mean that as a compliment.

In the article, the MP for Dudley North takes issue with both his leader and his leader’s chief cheerleader Owen Jones, the Guardian columnist. Austin says Corbyn and the hard left have ‘taken over the Labour Party and want to turn it from a mainstream social democratic party into something very different’. The Labour MP says it is ‘ludicrous’ to pretend that Corbyn and McDonnell are part of Labour’s great tradition and ‘would have supported a government led by Attlee and Bevin’:

‘One of the great ironies of the Jeremy Corbyn leadership is that his supporters want to claim he both represents a “return to Labour’s socialist tradition” and a radical departure from Labour’s past.

Take Owen Jones. When John McDonnell recently spoke at the Marx 200 conference on “Marxism as a force for change today”, I said I couldn’t imagine any previous Labour Chancellor or Shadow Chancellor doing the same thing.

Owen accused me of ignorance, told me to read up on history and said “Clement Attlee’s Labour Party issued a special centenary edition of The Communist Manifesto in 1948.’

Austin says it is ‘ludicrous’ to pretend Jeremy Corbyn or John McDonnell would have supported a government led by Clement Attlee, the Labour Prime Minister who created the NHS:

‘If Owen actually knew his history, he would never claim that Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell stand in the tradition of the great Labour government of 1945.

Led by Clement Attlee, it was avowedly anti-communist, at the forefront of opposing the Soviet Union and even expelled members of the hard left.

Its great foreign secretary Ernest Bevin was the driving force behind NATO who insisted Britain would have an independent nuclear deterrent.

Attlee secured full employment and the welfare state by building on the ideas of economists John Maynard Keynes and William Beveridge, not on the Communism of Marx or Lenin.’

Unsurprisingly the article has gone down like a lead balloon with Jones:

The next meeting of the PLP should be fun…

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