Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Andy Newman & Socialist Unity: the politics of a scratch card

The recent selection of Andy Newman as the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Chippenham Labour Party at first caused some mirth as Andrew Coates lampooned the announcement over at Tendance Coatsey, however that was only the beginning. In a short piece here and at Harry's Place the serious side of his selection was examined and finally by Nick Cohen at The Spectator. Eyebrows were clearly being raised.

Such unwelcome publicity did not go down well over at Andy Newman's main political project, the Socialist Unity blog. After an initial moan he panicked and set about not only trying to reinvent himself but the blogs immediate look with a few uncontroversial pieces, a couple of messages of support including Diane Abbot MP (as if that would impress anyone) and produced a soliloquy praising Ed Miliband over at Left Futures in order to ingratiate himself with the Labour Party.

However despite trying to bury his recent (and continuing) involvement with the far-left (including it should be noted a place on Respects National Council until he had a wee bit of a "falling out" with Galloway), it didn't take long for his rabid co-thinkers at Socialist Unity to drop him it with their latest missive on the forthcoming split in the Socialist Workers Party.

Tony "tourettes" Collins writes:

There are good, solid people inside the organisation fighting for it, and our best bet is to give those people solidarity and support rather than just demanding that they do the same thing we all did (leave!) – they’re not stupid, they are conscious of the poor likelihood of winning this fight. In order to win against a CC that has proved it will tell any lie, carry out any level of bullying and intimidation, and lose any politics in order to win, they would have to wage a relentless fight against their own comrades. It’s something they’ve not been able to do, but it doesn’t make them any less worthy of our support.

Why a website that pretends to support the Labour Party should be concerned with "supporting" revolutionary socialists committed to overthrowing democracy not matter what side of their internal divide they rest escapes me. As a Labour supporter I would want to see pernicious outfits like the SWP simply disappear up their own proverbial....

 More to the point is the sheer hypocrisy of Collins when he writes:

There’s been so much wrong with the way the SWP works for so long – the lack of democracy, the bullying of dissidents, the use of full-timers as enforcers, the way oppositionists are tossed out and pushed out of the movement. The way the party leadership reacted to allegations of rape against a leading member have brought all this to a head: it’s one thing for the party to bully and cheat when there are political differences. But when it comes to allegations of rape denial and rape apologism, that’s quite another.

This is actually more illuminating than it might seem. Socialist Unity is renowned not just in the world of blogging, but on the left as a whole for being censorious and banning any opponents or critics from its pages. So much for debate that it claims to promote! Also comrades its not just "one thing" to bully and cheat, its' actually unacceptable to operate in that manner if your organisation is, err..supposed to be about creating a better world.

But then Socialist Unity is renowned for it's bizarre positions on Iran, Tibet, Syria, Islamism and the Chinese Communist Party. Scratch a Socialist Unity card and you'll find a losing symbol underneath. One that signifies oppression, dictatorship and reaction.

The Labour leadership need to review this characters unsuitability for candidature sooner rather than later. They have a "cuckoo in the nest" and in more than just one meaning of the expression.

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