Labour Party centrist think tank the Fabian Society caused quite a commotion on Twitter on Sunday 18 April. It might have been best if the group hadn’t bothered.
Keir Starmer: help needed
The Fabians are “crowdsourcing” ideas. The group wants to know what people think “Keir Starmer & the Labour party should do over the next 12 months”:
We're crowd-sourcing ideas for what Keir Starmer & the Labour party should do over the next 12 months. So far we've had policy suggestions of UBI, electoral reform & the green new deal. What do you want to see?
— The Fabian Society (@thefabians) April 17, 2021
You can take the Fabians’ survey here. But needless to say, the tweet didn’t go down very well.
Resign and take his shadow cabinet with him https://t.co/JCUjLZdA3g
— James williams 🚩 (freeassange) (@welshlefty2004) April 18, 2021
Others gave some actual policy ideas:
Increase minimum wage and introduce a 4 day working week…
Also repeal all anti-union laws. 🌹 https://t.co/d15ApCWSDI
— #McStrike 🏳️🌈 (@SocialistLew) April 18, 2021
— Brian Wernham 🔶 💚😷#StayHomeSaveLives (@BrianUkulele) April 18, 2021
But many people weren’t impressed. Not least because they thought there was already a document that had plenty of good ideas in it:
Try this. It got 40% of the vote. Turns out reversing neoliberalism is a popular idea. pic.twitter.com/EykIkEAd5Q
— RedHerring (@CoastKerry) April 18, 2021
Restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn, reinstate unfairly suspended members, publish the Forde report. I joined Labour after the 2019 election but will not vote Labour again until democracy is restored. Starmer broke his election pledges, is untrustworthy, unelectable & needs to go
— Sparky (@Sparkyxxx) April 18, 2021
But the bigger picture with the Fabians’ plan was this. As The Canary‘s editor-at-large Kerry-Anne Mendoza tweeted:
No. You’re on your own.
Why would you want the suggestions of “rabble, trots and thugs” anyway? https://t.co/Q0o5XPZlar
— Kerry-Anne Mendoza 🏳️🌈 (@TheMendozaWoman) April 18, 2021
Yes, of course the Fabians have a history with a distinct whiff of anti-Corbynism.
For example, Socialist Appeal wrote about a report the Fabians produced in early 2017. In short, it argued that at the next election, Corbyn’s Labour could have been reduced to 150 MPs. As Daniel Morley wrote at the time:
Another week, another terrible headline for Corbyn in the Guardian, this time courtesy of their friends in the Fabian Society. Announcing the findings of a highly superficial and subjective report from the anti-Corbyn faction as if they weren’t biased, the Guardian website’s main headline shouted “Labour Could Slump to Below 150 MPs, Fabian Society Warns”. Anyone actually reading the article, however, quickly discovers this claim to be so superficial as to be meaningless.
We all know how that ended.
Undermining the leader
Corbyn ended up denying the Tories a majority at the 2017 general election, gaining more MPs, and seeing the biggest vote share increase since 1945. Even the Guardian itself had to admit that Corbyn did this:
amid decidedly mixed opinion polls and an often thunderously hostile media.
Yet the Fabians remained hostile. At times, the think tank pushed a pro-EU narrative (aided by Starmer) in the party which would eventually help annihilate Labour in the 2019 election. And after that, it gleefully shouted that “the Corbyn experiment must end”.
So, as Kay Ballard summed up:
Bit optimistic thinking he will still be leader in 12 months?
Don't recall the same support for previous leader. https://t.co/2rwFvh7Wf1
— Kay Ballard (@KayBall77922912) April 17, 2021
Yet now the Fabians want help from the public? Too little, too late may be many people’s response.
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