Friday, April 18, 2008

Bye Bye Battleaxe


So, farewell then, Gwyneth Dunwoody, who in recent years came to be known as "fiercely independent" and "a thorn in the side of the government". How things changed during her long career. Back in the 1980s, Labour dynast, Dunwoody (she was the daughter of one time Labour Party Gen Sec, Morgan Phillips) was on the party's rightwing. Together with Ken Cure - Dennis Skinner dubbed the pair the "terrible twins" - she was a sworn opponent of the party's left, who she termed "clowns" and known for her hostility to the miners. She was also none too keen on Labour Party Black Sections. She was once overheard at Labour Party Conference loudly complaining that in her day, it wasn't the done thing to have Black people (she was quoted as using a less palatable term) speaking from the platform. Very charming.

9 Comments:

Blogger David Lindsay said...

She fought the Trots and was rewarded with exclusion from office once they had declared themselves "New Labour" and taken over.

It was her father who said that Labour owed "more to Methodism than to Marx". If you still want a party like that, then you now need to look elsewhere. See my blog.

4/18/2008 9:02 AM  
Blogger Red Maria said...

Well I still believe in the dear ol' Labour Party, David, though it would be as well for her to realise that she owes as much to Manning as she does to Methodism and Marx. And she had better realise that pretty damn quick before she alienates all Labour left footers.

4/18/2008 5:20 PM  
Blogger David Lindsay said...

Damage done, Maria. The question is what we now do in response.

4/19/2008 4:10 AM  
Blogger Red Maria said...

Yes, the damage is done, David but the question is whether it's irreperable and that all depends on our individual tolerance levels. I don't think it is irreperable - yet. Either that or my tribal loyalty to the Labour Party simply outweighs my commonsense.
But what do we sound like already? A pair of Trots arguing about the point of entrism in the Labour Party. Indeed, the obsequies for Mama Dunwoody are elsewhere serving as a proxy for that very involved and protracted debate.
What do we deduce from this? The triumph of Marxists in the party? I do not.
Rather, I see it as an attempt by the forces of mushy political centrism to finish off the ideological anchor of Catholic Labour just as its rival, Marxist Labour, was culled in the 1980s. Then the enemy within was the Militant Tendency, now it's the Catholic Tendency. The end result - if it finally happens - would be a party without roots, principles, philosophy or values. But I don't think it's happened yet. We saw in the recent deputy leadership election, a candidate in Jon Cruddas, who could imaginatively fuse an appeal to both traditional poles - Marx and Manning - of the party. And Cruddas was critical of the hounding of Catholic Labour.

4/19/2008 6:19 PM  
Blogger David Lindsay said...

But he didn't win. If anything, his defeat was ours finally definitively.

The Marxist Tendency wasn't part of the Old Labour that it destroyed, and the Catholic Tendency isn't part of the New Labour that the Marxist tendency has created.

We could have 12 Strasbourg seats next year if we made the effort.

4/20/2008 3:37 PM  
Blogger voltaires said...

Twelve Strasbourg seats for what kind of party precisely? "The Catholic Party"? "Catholic Labour"? An "old" LP grouping that doesn't take a stance on womens' right to choose? Not much chance of that.

4/21/2008 11:44 AM  
Blogger voltaires said...

O/T - how come you haven't joined the campaign to defend that fine Cliffite atheist, JohnG?!

We are all JohnG!

4/21/2008 12:15 PM  
Blogger David Lindsay said...

The SWP? Give me a break!

Yes, 12 seats for pro-life, pro-family, pro-worker and anti-war candidates giving a voice to economically social democratic, morally and socially conservative British and Commonwealth patriots. One per region. Guaranteed.

All we need are the candidates themselves. And that progresses well.

4/21/2008 5:22 PM  
Blogger Red Maria said...

The Labour Party doesn't take a stance on abortion, Veep, wisely leaving this contentious issue to the consciences of individual MPs. Well, officially, it does, at least. Unofficially it's a different story. The many examples of bullying meted out to Catholic and Pro-Life Labour MPs tell a different, more discreditable tale.
This is unsatisfactory since it threatens the traditional pluralism of the Labour Party, potentially depriving progressive Catholics (in the authentic meaning of the term) and progressive pro-lifers of a political choice, thereby delivering a cheap gift to the political right.

4/21/2008 7:32 PM  

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