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I DON’T normally make a practice of reading blogs on the World Socialist Web Site, published by the International Committee of the Fourth International.
Don’t think I’ve ever seen it before. However, the article by Paul Mitchell last Saturday caught my eye and I have to say, it’s worth reading.
It's a critique of the performance of Labour ‘Momentum’ Councillors at last week's Extraordinary Haringey Council meeting, the meeting for which Opposition LibDems called (only the second time since Baby P, nine years ago).
Essentially, the article argues that Momentum Cllrs made a rotten deal by voting with the Blairite group and ought instead to have voted for the original LibDem motion, that called for a halt to the HDV, rather than a mere delay or postponement:
On this, Mr Mitchell is right.
Just so it's crystal clear: in the named vote that we LibDems insisted on, every single Labour Councillor voted merely to delay the HDV decision, rather than for our Motion that sought the ending of the HDV. And they did this, after having sought—and then been given—a get-out-of-jail-free card by the Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC).
That they did this and may yet have remained fearful of suspension and deselection, speaks volumes about the level of bullying and intimidation that goes on behind the scenes. Alternatively, if they were prepared so easily—and in such numbers—to vote with pro-HDV Cllr. Kober, one wonders why they bothered going to their NEC in the first place.
The Socialist Worker criticised the fabled Labour “left” along similar lines, but unlike the WSWS, they managed to airbrush out any mention of those pesky LibDems! However, they did reproduce the text of the excellent speech of Northumberland Park Estate resident Sam Leggatt. She spoke eloquently at the Council meeting (video). When asked by LibDem Leader Cllr. Gail Engert (video, 10:30) which option she preferred, Sam said,
“the HDV needs to be stopped in its tracks, right now".
I think we were all disappointed that the Momentum Councillors put internal Labour manoeuvring ahead of their principles. The question one has to ask is, how serious are the Momentum Councillors in opposing the HDV and, if they were prepared to vote with Cllr. Kober and her close associates (to preserve it at least until May), can they be trusted regarding the HDV after May?
Here is a link to the original LibDem motion. I've added yellow highlighting to show exactly how New Labour gutted it: and precisely what "rebel" Labour were prepared to go along with. Methinks they have lost momentum. By contrast—and despite the attempts of Cllr. Kober to suggest otherwise—LibDems' opposition to the HDV has been consistent.