Springingtiger's Blog

Angela Eagle and the Death of Democracy.


Angela Eagle has announced that she is going to stand for the Leadership of the Labour Party. In her interview on Robert Peston’s show she was adamant that Jeremy Corbyn would have to seek nominations to get on the ballot paper. When it was put to her that some people believed the Leader where there is no vacancy should automatically be on the paper she responded both that it had never happened before and, more tellingly, that the National Executive Committee would decide the rules of the contest.

It is true that a challenged Labour Party leader has never been on the ballot automatically. However the last time an incumbent Labour Party leader was challenged it was before the Party changed the rules. The Left mounted a challenge, with Tony Benn as their candidate, to Neil Kinnock who was demonstrably incapable of winning elections, he never won a General Election. It was to prevent another such challenge that the rule was changed in such a way to make a challenge more difficult and give the sitting leader an advantage. It was never envisioned that the next time a challenge was mounted it would be from the far right of the Party against a sitting Social Democratic Leader.

Angela Eagle also gave away why she is moving now. At the moment the NEC is finely balanced, particularly after the removal of Ken Livingstone, between the disciples of Tony Blair who will back Eagle and the socialists and Trades Unionists who favour Jeremy Corbyn’s fiercely anti austerity and pro Union stance. The elections for the National Executive will be held within the next few weeks and it is highly likely that the balance will change, thus the Blairite wing of the party need to move now while there is a possibility of the NEC interpreting the rules in their favour.

Jeremy Corbyn has built up the membership of the Labour Party to unprecedented levels building a foundation of committed activists who may well take the party into government should a General Election be called. You only have to look at the reasons people in former Labour heartlands are giving for voting for Brexit to see how much they feel betrayed by a Westminster elite insensitive to the conditions in the country. However in these areas there is a massive amount of support, as seen in the turnout for his rallies, for the anti-establishment stance of Jeremy Corbyn. Eagle on the other hand has helped the Conservative government inflict welfare cuts on the poorest in society and consistently voted to squander money that could improve the lives of ordinary people on expensive and unnecessary wars and nuclear weapons.

Jeremy has built up the Party. Angela Eagle has a proven record of disregarding the democratic wishes of ordinary Labour Members in order to hijack the hard work of activists from the left of the Party. Wallasey used to be a Tory constituency however the former shipyard worker Lol Duffy, Labour’s candidate slashed the Tory majority and was only robbed of the seat in 1987 by the intervention of Frank Field on behalf of the Conservatives. As it was, the Tory majority was slashed from 6,708 to 279. In the Labour candidate selection of 1991 Lol Duffy received over 70% of the nominations, the right wing candidate Angela Eagle managed five, not even the Women’s section supported her. In 1992 faced by the prospect of an imminent General Election which would would see Duffy returned as MP for Wallasey the NEC against the protests of the local party imposed Angela Eagle as their candidate. Just as she benefitted by the NEC’s disregard of the rules to allow her to be elected on the backs of Lol Duffy and local activists who had done the work she is now hoping that the current NEC will twist the rules again to allow her to exploit the work Jeremy Corbyn has done in rebuilding the Labour Party that Tony Blair and his followers had reduced to an impotent shadow of its former self.

Angela Eagle has said she wants to stand to heal the party, it is her actions that have torn the party apart. You only need to look at her record to see that she is one of that breed of professional politicians who are motivated by ambition rather than principle. I watched her talking to a fawning Robert Peston and had the uncomfortable feeling that she was in the wrong contest, she’d be more at home in the company of Teresa May and Andrea Leadsom. She is certainly closer to them in principle than to Jeremy Corbyn.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

[…] the last couple of days I have written a couple of posts about the Labour leadership crisis, about Angela Eagle and Jeremy Corbyn. I would love to make this the last for a […]

Pingback by Bitter Cherry (reflections on Labour) | Springingtiger's Blog

Thanks for explaining a lot of things about Angela Eagle. You might enjoy the videos I have made since she tried to topple Jeremy Corbyn:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlJSPLvYWwo (the serious one)

Comment by Moira Brown

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: