The first few days of the Labour Party conference were a right-wing shitshow to say the least – with former Tory MPs, private healthcare companies, and right-wing think tanks as headliners. Oh, and GB News. Meanwhile, the party was removing left-wingers from the stage, and trying to block democracy at a local level.
Buy now, pay later sponsoring Labour: an apt metaphor?
First, it emerged that a London Labour Party regional event at the conference was sponsored by ‘buy now, pay later’ firm Zilch:
Shocked to have just got a message that the London regional party happening now at #LabourPartyConference is sponsored by a buy now pay later lender, and its founder was given a platform to argue against the planned regulation.
Have these firms bought influence with every UK…
— Martin Lewis (@MartinSLewis) October 7, 2023
— Kam Sandhu (@_kayayem) October 8, 2023
As journalist Solomon Hughes pointed out, Zilch threw money at both the Tory and Labour conferences – presumably to buy influence within whichever one forms the next government:
(1)Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) firm Zilch paid for Tory delegates to party with Ministers in Manchester. Zilch will now pay for an official Labour Party "Reception" with "leading Labour Figures" in Liverpool- as Govt & Opposition look at regulating BNPL, they are paying for access pic.twitter.com/8rPqnkffR5
— Solomon Hughes (@SolHughesWriter) October 6, 2023
This is because the Tories have brought forward draft legislation to regulate the buy now, pay later sector. However, the Treasury has reportedly “stalled” that regulation. Funny that – when Zilch pays for a party at the Tory conference.
Meanwhile, Labour had pledged just in September that it would bring in “consumer protection regulation” if it was elected – saying “millions [were] at risk” from “bad actors” in the buy now, pay later sector. Now, the party has exposed itself as not really caring that much – as it lets Zilch sponsor it.
Even former Channel 4 News journalist Michael Crick spotted the problem:
This is big story of Labour conference: the sell-out to dubious businesses. The lobbyists; fringe meeting sponsors paying to make speeches; cash for access. And sod the unions. If only I still had a mic, a great cameraman, & an outlet. Please do it someone in TV or radio. https://t.co/AyEM2OfX0W
— Michael Crick (@MichaelLCrick) October 7, 2023
Oh well – maybe if Crick hadn’t spent the majority of 2016-2019 bad-mouthing Jeremy Corbyn he wouldn’t need to point things like this out now. Of course, the former Channel 4 News hack is a corporate journalist – so we’d expect nothing less. Speaking of corporate journalists, there were plenty of those at conference, too.
Courting the far-right corporate media
Labour had allowed GB News a stand:
So not only does Starmer support the Sun newspaper he also thinks it's acceptable to let GB news have a stall at conference 🤢 pic.twitter.com/6pcFhnIhuJ
— #McStrike (@SocialistLew) October 8, 2023
The alleged ‘broadcaster’ is currently under multiple investigations by regulator Ofcom – essentially for being a party political broadcaster for the Tories, and allowing hosts to spout hate speech. Of course, this is now Labour’s target audience. Why would it try and give hope to the near-third of people who didn’t vote in 2019 when it can dogwhistle at far-right voters instead?
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, after charlatan Starmer came out recently saying he’d happily “work with”, “write for”, and “do interviews for” the Sun. What also shouldn’t come as a surprise is that elsewhere at the Labour conference, party honchos were shutting up members who were speaking left-wing views.
Labour remove an NHS campaigner from their conference hall because he made a speech calling for an end to privatisation. pic.twitter.com/8ipyppIvKo
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) October 8, 2023
Admittedly, it appears the guy hadn’t been listed to speak. He’d just taken the opportunity to grab the mic. However, it’s hardly a shining example of Labour values when one of the party’s delegates is not allowed to do an impromptu speech and is removed. Ring any bells?
So much for #CPC2023 standing up for free speech🙈🇬🇧, Police huckle a leading Tory, Chair of the London Assembly @AndrewBoff kicking him out of the party conference hall for ‘gently’ heckling home secretary @SuellaBraverman during her speech 🌈 pic.twitter.com/DHmiKE6xAg
— Aamer Anwar✊🏾🏳️🌈#BlackLivesMatter (@AamerAnwar) October 4, 2023
All a bit Tory-esque
The Labour conference was ringing more than just a few Tory-sounding bells. Former grim reaper at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Iain Duncan Smith’s think tank the Centre for Social Justice was hosting fringe events on Monday 9 October:
Fixing educational disparities: we're hearing from @Susannah_AT of @ActionTutoring, @sarahjwaite of @get_further and Ed Marsh of @TheTutorTrust. Key points: we must focus tutoring on pupil premium students, stick to the evidence of what works, and help schools afford it #Lab23 pic.twitter.com/xwTk3j5mDw
— Fair Education Alliance (@_TheFEA) October 9, 2023
This is the think tank that created the terrible Universal Credit, on the basis that poverty was poor people’s fault, and that to stop them being poor you should cut their benefits to force them to get a job. Given Labour’s current welfare policies, having a right-wing think tank which hates chronically ill, disabled, and non-working people is completely on brand.
Speaking about her personal experience of her father's illness @Jessphillips MP, Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding, said that "the bureaucratic nature and size of the NHS" doesn’t allow it to tailor genuinely individual care pathways. #HCF23 #Lab23 #Health pic.twitter.com/MpXY6jkyuZ
— Total Politics (@TotalPolitics) October 9, 2023
Just to complete the Tory-esque shenanigans, there was even a former Conservative MP hosting a fringe event:
First fringe session of the day with @ThePurposeGrp and Greenwich University. Chaired by former Ed Sec @JustineGreening it's an interesting discussion asking how can the UK provide professional & technical education that is fit for the future? #Lab23 pic.twitter.com/GNHmj2jxr9
— Fi 🐢 (@Fiona_Bard) October 9, 2023
Just give it up already
Amid all this, mainstream charities like the Trussell Trust were paying for billboards to call out Labour’s lack of plans on things like poverty:
— Helen Barnard (@Helen_Barnard) October 8, 2023
And the party machinery is trying to remove the voting rights of minoritised officers in constituency parties:
The Labour leadership is trying to remove the voting rights of various officers at CLPs, including the disability, BAME & LGBT+ officers.
— Saul Staniforth (@SaulStaniforth) October 8, 2023
So, it seems the right wing’s recapture of the Labour Party is complete. Anyone at conference who is of a left-wing persuasion should think carefully about why they’re there. If they seriously believe they can change Labour from within, then carry on – because that went so well under Corbyn. Otherwise, the last remaining socialists should evacuate the party at the earliest possible opportunity – and put their time and energy into something that might actually achieve something.
Featured image via the Labour Party – YouTube
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