Reaction to Alastair Campbell’s expulsion from Labour demonstrates how pathetically easily-led centrists are

May 29, 2019

by Martin Odoni

Stupidity is quite the most abundant commodity in modern Britain. Alastair Campbell, former spin doctor of disgraced ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair, was absolutely correctly expelled from the Labour Party yesterday, after openly boasting that he had voted for the Liberal Democrats in the recent European Union Election.

Before I get to my central point here, let me make clear; Campbell had to be expelled, as it was an open-and-shut case. The Labour Party rules expressly forbid voting for, supporting, campaigning for, or promoting other British political parties. Any Labour member who is found to have done so during their Labour membership cannot remain in the party. Membership Rule Clause I 4B in the official rulebook is absolutely emphatic about that.

Labour Party Rule 2B

Excerpt from the Labour Party Rulebook explicitly banning support for other political parties.

A member of the Party who joins and/ or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party, or supports any candidate who stands against an official Labour candidate… shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a Party member

By putting a cross next to the name of a Liberal Democrat candidate, Campbell supported a candidate standing against an official Labour candidate. It is a textbook example of the rule being violated.

I have no doubt that some members of the National Executive Committee are quietly very happy to get rid of Campbell, given his endless undermining of the current leadership. But even if that were true for none of them, they still plainly had no choice. That Campbell is guilty of violating Clause I 4B is manifestly self-evident, because he himself revealed that he had done it. When the guilty openly declare their crimes, even when no one else is aware a crime has been committed, proving the guilt is very easy, and justice can be swift and summary. One can therefore feel as unsympathetic about Campbell’s brazen stupidity in announcing his transgression, as one can for him over the transgression itself.

Inevitably though, many in the media and the wider public have leapt to Campbell’s defence, trying to claim he is being made a ‘scapegoat’ for Labour’s poor showing in the Election, or even that he is being ‘made an example of’ for being on the right of the party. The former accusation is clearly nonsense, because no one is suggesting he was involved in any way with Labour’s campaign. The latter is downright laughable, simply because Campbell announced his expulsion himself, rather than the NEC ‘perching his head on Traitor’s Gate’ or something.

Those who side with Campbell are generally doing so for reasons quite other than an objective assessment of his conduct. Some defend him just because, like him, they are centrists who want the left removed from the Labour Party. Others because they have a pro-Remain position on Brexit, and know that Campbell does too. Unfortunately for all these people, whether we feel their stances are right on these subjects or otherwise, it makes no difference whatever to Campbell’s transgression, which is still undeniable and inexcusable.

Perhaps most absurd though – and this is my central point – many on social media are pointing to a Tweet that Jeremy Corbyn published in 2012, as they attempt to argue that Labour is exercising double-standards. The Tweet in question, congratulating George Galloway on winning a by-Election in Bradford as a Respect Party candidate, is being interpreted as the current Labour leader somehow ‘supporting’ a rival party in 2012.

The people leaping on this in triumph, thinking they have the ultimate Gotcha! moment, are of course making themselves look like complete cretins. Even LBC Radio, which mysteriously likes to think of itself – in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary – as a ‘professional media outfit’, has leapt onto this bandwagon.

The lamest excuse for attacking Corbyn ever

Centrists and Remain campaigners demand action by the Labour Party against Jeremy Corbyn for a Tweet that is not, and should not be, against party rules

However, there is no comparison at all between voting for an opponent and simply congratulating an opponent after they have already won. This is because congratulating them after the event will have contributed nothing to their achieving the result in the first place, whereas voting for them will have.

Congratulating an opponent on winning a poll is absolutely one of the most standard behaviours there can be during an Election in fact, and is routinely done by beaten candidates when they deliver their speeches after results are announced. It is a simple display of magnanimity – ‘good sportsmanship,’ or ‘gentlemanly conduct,’ you might say. Like shaking hands with an opponent after the full-time whistle at the end of a football match, or after the last ball is bowled in a cricket match.

Harold Wilson and Edward Heath famously detested each other when they were fighting over the keys to 10 Downing Street in the 1960s and 1970s. But even then, the loser in Elections between them, however they might have felt privately, had the good grace to congratulate the other. After losing the 1970 General Election, Wilson, probably untruthfully, even claimed to have ‘always admired’ Heath as an opponent. Did that count as voting for, or campaigning for, or supporting, the Conservative Party?

When John Major became Tory leader in 1990, Neil Kinnock, the then-Labour leader, crossed the floor of the House of Commons to shake hands and congratulate him. Does that mean Kinnock should have been thrown out of the Labour Party?

This is not only stupidity on the part of centrists, who are leaping on it without even thinking, but it is also childish. Like impressionable teenagers, so many people are being drawn into agreeing with the accusation without pausing to think it through. They are too-easily-led into seeing resemblances that are not even there.

And centrists think that the left are too taken in by conspiracy theories and are ‘not living in the real world’?

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8 Responses to “Reaction to Alastair Campbell’s expulsion from Labour demonstrates how pathetically easily-led centrists are”

  1. marijo1951 Says:

    Why has Kate Hoey not been expelled? Okay she had the right to vote for Brexit, but surely her open campaigning alongside Nigel Farage was enough to justify her expulsion?

    • Martin Odoni Says:

      She might be eventually, but the evidence against her isn’t as clear-cut a breach of the rules. They will have to take more time assessing her conduct.

      • marijo1951 Says:

        They’ve had 3 years! I don’t think it’s going to happen. I found it very disturbing to see a Labour MP campaigning along the Thames with that particular person, and have wondered ever since why there was evidently no public censure of her actions.

      • Martin Odoni Says:

        If you’re referring to the Referendum campaign, all MPs were given the freedom to campaign and vote the way they wished. And it wasn’t campaigning for or against any particular parties, so a Party rule breach is not really detectable.

      • marijo1951 Says:

        I accept what you say, so maybe there wasn’t a way to censure her officially, but her behaviour was nevertheless disgraceful, and I hope her colleagues give her the cold shoulder.

  2. A6er Says:

    Reblogged this on Tory Britain!.


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