Labour conference 2021: the carnage so far
The Labour conference was only on its first full day on Sunday 26 September. But already the event has seen, at best, numerous clusterfucks. And at worst, the conference is showing the awful path Keir Starmer’s party is now on.
Labour conference: the bad…
The Labour conference in Brighton didn’t get off to the best of starts for newly confirmed general secretary David Evans. Firstly, people were protesting his record so far, particularly his and the party’s ongoing purge of left-wing members. And people were using #RejectEvans on social media to call on the party to give him the boot. But as SKWAWKBOX reported, it wasn’t enough. Because despite a campaign to boot Evans out, a vote at the conference saw him keep his job. SKWAWKBOX claimed that:
Labour’s mass gerrymander of conference delegates – attacking and suspending left delegates on any pretext and none – has succeeded in saving David Evans from accountability for his atrocious tenure as ‘acting’ general secretary.
The remaining conference delegate and right-wing unions succeeded in confirming him in the role by a ratio of 59:41 – still unheard-of level of dissent for a Labour general secretary.
The awkwardness continued for Evans though. Because on Saturday 25 September, he asked the conference floor why people joined Labour. Delegates’ responses were predictable, but clearly not to Evans who probably wished he hadn’t asked:
David Evans (acting General Secretary): " Everybody remembers why they joined Labour. What was it for you?". People in the conference shout JEREMY CORBYN. #Lab21 pic.twitter.com/T2KCDja1Dt
— Saul Staniforth (@SaulStaniforth) September 25, 2021
Then, the pre-conference chaos with Young Labour seemed to rear its head again. Several reports from people said that Labour had cancelled the group’s event on the conference app. Nothing to do with Jeremy Corbyn speaking at it, obviously:
Labour marked this event as cancelled on the conference app. It’s not cancelled and never was. This is the level of the people we’re dealing with.
Jeremy Corbyn is speaking. Go if you can. https://t.co/Vl74O8XeyT
— Alex Nunns (@alexnunns) September 25, 2021
The party allowing the Sun to be present at its conference also upset many people. And thanks to Sefton Central Constituency Labour Party (CLP) delegate Emma Whitby, the party knew about it very publicly. She used her conference speech to call the situation out:
Emma Whitby from Sefton Central CLP: "I'd like to know why the CAC has allowed Murdochs lying Tory rag to come to this conference". Well said!✊🏽 #Lab21 pic.twitter.com/UE1M4ujXLB
— Saul Staniforth (@SaulStaniforth) September 25, 2021
Also, Starmer dropped plans which would give more power to MPs to decide future leaders of the party. As the Guardian reported:
Starmer abandoned plans to bring back an electoral college system, which would have given MPs much greater sway over votes on the party’s future leader.
Instead, the party’s ruling national executive endorsed plans to ensure any potential leadership candidate needs a minimum of 20% of MPs to nominate them before they reach a ballot of members
But as Momentum pointed out, this is still nowhere near good enough:
We beat the electoral college, now let's beat 20%! #lab21 pic.twitter.com/VPIL1cIR8Y
— Momentum 🌹 (@PeoplesMomentum) September 25, 2021
And the ugly…
Proscribed group Socialist Appeal had members present. But for one of them, their conference visit didn’t last long. Because as Socialist Appeal tweeted, security guards “dragged” elected delegate Jonathan Lees out. The group says he’s had his pass taken away, and the party gave his name to the police. Apparently, it was all to do with his t-shirt and views on Starmer:
Democratically elected by his CLP; forcibly removed by Starmer!
Watch Jonny explain what happened 👇 pic.twitter.com/GmAxtRLkwj
— Socialist Appeal (@socialist_app) September 25, 2021
Fast forward to the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday 26 September, and Starmer was breaking one of the pledges that led to his election as leader:
On Andrew Marr, Keir Starmer, just now, ruled out bringing energy companies into public ownership.
Below is the promise that got him elected leader last year. pic.twitter.com/SGYDSA1BKq
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) September 26, 2021
He also threw deputy leader Angela Rayner under the bus over her factually accurate Tory “scum” comments on Saturday:
He’s so square, it hurts pic.twitter.com/YEgf8fh1UR
— •𝗟𝗜𝗡𝗔• (@agirlcalledlina) September 26, 2021
And to sum up Starmer’s Labour conference, disgraced New Labour architect and master of the dark political arts Peter Mandelson came out and backed him:
NEW: Peter Mandelson publicly backs Keir Starmer's reforms, saying millions of voters "know what [they] mean" and are "cheering" him on.
Starmer allies confident ahead of vote later.
New Labour grandee tells me: "Millions of Labour voters are cheering and egging Keir on…" 1/2
— Gabriel Pogrund (@Gabriel_Pogrund) September 26, 2021
So, with the conference only a day-and-a-bit old, it’s already chaos. How much worse the next few days will get is anyone’s guess.
Featured image via the Labour Party – YouTube and BBC iPlayer – screengrab
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