Saturday, July 06, 2013

Corruption in the Labour party

On the front page of the Guardian, in an article about corruption in the Labour party, is the astonishing news that "one member of the shadow cabinet worked with a trade union leader to try to unseat another frontbencher".  What on earth is going on here?  Who were the individuals concerned? 

As three members of the shadow cabinet are paid public salaries (in addition to their salaries as MPs) this surely must warrant an enquiry to ascertain whether employment law has been broken in this "very unpleasant" episode.

If the Labour party had been in government this "unseating" attempt would have had serious implications for democracy.

Independent writer Owen Jones has just appeared on BBC News 24 (apparently wearing a vest under his shirt on what must be the hottest day of the year) and effectively thrown petrol on the flames of the Falkirk controversy by telling us one of the candidates in that benighted Constituency Labour Party was signing up new members "with a single cheque". 

And what are we to make of the Labour Uncut website publishing an article that hints at corruption in the Paisley Constituency Labour Party then withdrawing that article?  Do the police need to look at these allegations?  Is the Labour Uncut website suppressing evidence?

The Labour Party is a great institution, and Conservatives must surely take no pleasure in seeing it seething with scandal in this way.  We all suffer when there is not an effective Opposition in Parliament (and they cannot claim to be effective if their attention is distracted in this internal civil war).  To borrow a phrase from Winston Churchill, we are seeing a great ship sinking in a calm sea.

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