Labour,  Labour Party

Labour’s “EDL Problem”

Imagine the furore if it turned out that a local Conservative Association had selected, as its candidate for the upcoming General Election, a man who had been an active and senior member of the EDL or BNP. Imagine that this man also had a record of saying outrageous things about various matters of public concern; things that clearly marked him out as a dodgy extremist?

That Tory candidate would be an ex-Tory candidate – and probably also an ex-member of the Tory Party – sooner than you could blink.

This is not so on the Left in general, when it comes to our own lunatic fringe. It is not so in the Labour Party.

The Sun (£) reports:

Stalin was great says Red Ed’s man
LABOUR has picked a rampant Red who admires Soviet dictator Stalin to fight the next election.

Andy Newman, 52, claims Stalin was a “great” leader even though millions died under his rule.

and the Daily Mail adds:

Red Andy, the Labour hopeful who says Stalin improved living standards and the Berlin Wall was ‘a great success’ (but Ed says the party HASN’T lurched to the Left)
Labour is keen to downplay suggestions it is getting more left-wing
But the party selected Andy Newman as candidate for Chippenham in 2015
The trade union official has written of Stalin’s rule in glowing terms
He also attacked the Dalai Lama in ultra-left-wing publications
Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps has called for his deselection

and so on….

This is no surprise. Andy Newman is completely open about his extreme and ridiculous politics. Howies Corner’s crosspost catalogues a summary here, if you want a taster.

These newspapers don’t know the half of it. The Mail, at least, hasn’t apparently picked up on the fact that Newman was formerly on the National Council of the Respect Coalition – a hook-up between the Socialist Workers’ Party, and activists connected to various Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh front organisations. Wannabe Trot genocidaires in bed with those whose Islamist politics actually achieved a genocide in Bangladesh in the 1970s.

I’m sorry – why is this man a member of the Labour Party? Who approved his application? As recently as 2011, he was boosting Respect Coalition’s lies about the Labour opposition in Tower Hamlets, and attacking a Labour councillor who… complained about homophobic abuse in the Tower Hamlets Council chamber!

Look at Socialist Unity’s front page today. First, there’s an article enthusing about some proposed Galloway documentary – outrageously titled “The Killing of Tony Blair”. Then there’s an article by Galloway’s cheeky little sidekick, Kevin Ovenden. This is still a pro-RESPECT blog.

The answer is simple. The Right has just about started to man up to its extremism problem. Even bloody Tommy Robinson – a man who himself spews pretty nasty stuff at the drop of a hat – has acknowledged his EDL’s extremism problem. Whereas the Left , in depressing contrast, thinks of those who idolise Stalin, who go ga-ga over the People’s Republic Of China, and who work for RESPECT as, at best, harmlessly eccentric family members, and at worst, idealistic men of principle.

They’re not. They’re a taint of the traditions of democratic socialism and social democracy. One of the proudest achievements of that tradition is that we stood up to Stalinism, and played our part in the defeat of totalitarianism.

This whole episode has been an open goal for the Tories. Yes, sure. The nasty right wing papers and that wicked cousin of Mick Jones, Grant Shapps get a chance to call Labour’s judgement into question – not something one would want to happen in an election year.

Well, it was an open goal. You can’t blame them for taking the shot.


Educated at a private school and Oxford University, Mr Newman’s CV bears the hallmarks of a modern Labour politician

Which school?