In Defence of John McDonnell and the ‘Entryist’ claim.
McDonnell: I joined Labour only as a tactic.
JOHN McDONNELL, the shadow chancellor, told hard-left allies that he had joined the Labour party as a “tactic” because it was a “useful vehicle”.
MPs have seized on the remarks, caught on film four years ago, as evidence that McDonnell is an “entryist Trotskyist” as rebels prepare the ground for a leadership challenge against his close ally Jeremy Corbyn this summer.
Moderates believe they must act before July 19, when supporters of the Labour leader will be able to submit rule changes shoring up his position to the party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC).
Crucially, many MPs, including about half a dozen frontbenchers, are said to have decided that Corbyn must be challenged even if he cannot be kept out of the ensuing contest.
In the article Angela Eagle is cited backing this absurd claim.
As further ‘proof’ poor old Gerry Downing is dragged into the affair.
Let us make a few points clear.
- McDonnell is a European democratic socialist. He has been a member of the Labour Party since the 1970s. Long-term commitment to the labour movement is at odds with…..’tactical’ membership. People join parties because they find them of some use. Presumably the Sunday Times would have been happier if the Labour Party was of no utility whatsoever in furthering the aims of the left.
- The Sunday Times is free to call whomsoever they wish ‘hard left’. But in fact McDonnell has clashed with those claiming to be ‘Trotskyist’ on numerous occasions. Specifically we can note this at the Labour Representation Committee AGM of 2013,
“There was an extraordinary motion by something called Socialist Fight, (that is Gerry Downing) on Syria.
This noted that “Negotiation with Russia and Iran disarm Syria of its chemical weapons and Iran from developing nuclear weapons and so prepare for a future attack against weaker enemies.”
It ended, “The defeat of this utterly bogus ‘revolution’ will defend a relatively secular administration, strengthen the Syrian working class against Assad and dent chauvinism in US, Britain and France.”
This was roundly defeated in favour of a policy of defending democratic movements in Syria against Assad and opposing the Western backed jihadists. “Tendance Coatesy 2013.
- McDonnell is open minded, he has surrounded himself with a variety of informed advisers from the centre left to the radical left. His approach, and good judgement, can be seen from the effort to create an economic policy for Labour based on plans to borrow for public investment programmes. With the development of new ‘reformist’ policies few things further than the behaviour of an ‘entrist’ can be imagined.
Angela Eagle and the like are playing with politics.
As a Leftist Trainspotter I’d say that the behaviour of those cited in the Sunday Times, which runs a hare and then asks those they know will back it to cheer it on, bears a greater resemblance to the worst kind of underhand Trotskyist manipulation than anything McDonnell has ever done.