Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Why I Hate the British Press.

with 4 comments

  Many people might not recall the right-wing columnist, David Aaronovitch, but here he is in full fettle,

They were the most sexy left group on campus – smoking dope, dropping acid, bonking and partying.

WHEN I was first at college, the most romantic and sexy left group on campus was Tariq Ali’s International Marxist Group. They smoked dope, they dropped acid, they bonked, they argued, they partied. When they got militant the blokes all put on denim jackets, tartan scarves and black gloves, and occupied things. And the IMG women were cool, too, divided between free-loving Alexandra Kollontais and Earth Mothers.

Echoes of this past were ringing in my ears when I read the accounts this week of the attempts by Liz Davies, the ousted Labour candidate for Leeds, to get elected to the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party this autumn. She is part of a slate – the “centre-left” slate, no less – which is canvassing for the votes of ordinary Labour Party members, even as I write. She’s had a very good press for, after all, what is she doing, other than trying to debate, in a party that now stifles debate? Poor Liz.

And Poor Liz campaigns more in sorrow than in anger. This is part of her election statement: “During the general election campaign, tens of thousands of Party members worked long hours… because they believed a Labour government would build a fairer, more compassionate and more collective society,” she says. But what happened? “Tragically, the New Labour Government has implemented or proposed measures which will have exactly the opposite effect.” So what can we do, Liz? “This year’s NEC elections are a critical and historic opportunity for party members to express their disappointment with the Government and their alarm over its apparent future direction.”

Liz’s slate is a heterodox one, bringing together various groups. But Liz’s bit of it, Labour Left Briefing, may be slightly less amazed by the failure of Tony Blair to be their kind of guy than is the ordinary disappointed activist in the Clapham smoke-filled room. Because, in fact, they never thought that the PM would usher in “a fairer, more compassionate, more collective society”.

More here. At the time Labour Briefing’s ‘Inner circle’ (about 12 people)  had two former members of the IMG. Leonora Lloyd and me. Oh and by the way we won 2 out of the six seats on the Labour Party National Executive.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 14, 2013 at 12:02 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Do I detect a certain degree of enviousness on Aaronovitch’s part? ‘I would have loved to have joined the IMG, but dad would have killed me.’

    Dr Paul

    October 14, 2013 at 12:44 pm

  2. They were the most sexy left group on campus – smoking dope, dropping acid, bonking and partying. In other words, they were the most busy group doing nothing.

    Kevin Algar

    October 14, 2013 at 1:02 pm

  3. My old lot had too many people who, whatever their background, reminded me of pushy head-girls and bossy prefects from posh schools.

    Dr Paul

    October 14, 2013 at 1:05 pm

  4. I am pretty sure he was thinking of ‘Hayter of the Bourgeoisie’ by Theresa Hayter – she lived in a wonderful cottage house near Oxford (stayed there myself) after the 60’s and fits all the description above.

    David Aaronovitch‎, was of course a member of my Muswell Hill Woodcraft group.

    A pimply little ponce, as I kindly describe him, though Mary Davis (the historian of the Woodcraft folk) reckons he had little role in it.

    That is before his NUS career he was basically politically unknown.

    So he could had an an anti-Coatesite axe to grind.

    It has happened.

    Andrew Coates

    October 14, 2013 at 4:38 pm


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