Wednesday, 16 September 2015

John McDonnell: The WRP link

Photo: Wikepedia Kolrobie

The national press are digging deep into the past lives of Jeremy Corbyn's henchmen. The Labour MP for Harlington and Hayes has already come under fire for once referring to the IRA as "being brave much to most peoples consternation, but The Times has reminded us of one of McDonnell's other dodgy links, to the Workers Revolutionary Party.

Older readers may recall a rather colourful newspaper, the Labour Herald which was run by Ken Livingstone between 1981 and 1985. Despite it's claims to be "independent", it was standing knowledge on the left that this paper was a front for the Workers Revolutionary Party to get a foothold inside the Labour Party.  Not only was it printed on the WRP presses paid for by Qaddafi, but the Labour Heralds only full time reporter was a member of the WRP's Central Committee.

The paper was very similar to The News Line, the daily paper of the WRP, especially in it's "anti-imperialist" outlook.

The Workers Revolutionary Party was basically a cult run by Gerry Healy who was not only the most sectarian Trotskyist leader imaginable but was notoriously paranoid and always had a car ready at the Party's HQ for a quick get away should the state ever come after him. The WRP fell apart after revelations about the sexual abuse of female cadre by party boss Healy himself.

Gerry Healy: photo:  by Неизвестный автор -

McDonnell says he never met Healy, though as The Times reports:

Mr McDonnell was championed by Gerry Healy, the notorious leaders of the WRP. Healy who had a reputation as a thug, rapist and purveyor of anti-Semitic propaganda intervened to save Mr McDonnell during a row with Ken Livingstone.

Healy's private lobbying was disclosed by Mr Livingstone in his memoirs You Can't Say That, recalling a time when he was leader of the Greater London Council and Mr McDonnell was his deputy.

Odd that.

Why would Ken Livingstone be swayed by the leader of a small and irrelevant cult of Trotskyists that was openly hostile to Labour and stood candidates against the party at general elections?

Livingstone was not the only Labour figure with ties to Healy. There was also Ted Knight, leader of a London Council. Labour Herald was the connection between these men and the far-left WRP.

Of course this all came to an end in 1985 when the scandal about Healy became public. The WRP fell apart and Labour Herald ceased publication, though the WRP's daily newspaper was published for a while by both sides, the standing joke being that the WRP had split just to sell newspapers.

The WRP is long gone (except for a tiny rump that still publishes the daily News Line to this day), both Healy and Knight are dead and buried, but Livingstone and McDonnell remain the far-left activists they have always been.

Previous articles on the WRP:

Last Gasp of the Healyites

Passing of a political gangster (Michael Banda, General Secretary of the WRP)

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