Frank talking

Readers may be interested in these 2017 quotes from the former head of the Labour Party’s disputes department, Mike Creighton. They are publicly available on his blog (https://chalkhill.digital/post/politics) - as is a picture of his retirement party, which appears to include many of those who appeared on the recent controversial Panorama programme.

Creighton writes:

“I no longer work for the Labour Party. Almost unbelievably, I have retired … But I don’t apologise for having retired. One of my proudest moments was to look at the team I leave behind to deal with the governance and legal issues of the Labour Party.

“And, contrary to popular belief, that’s not just about expelling Trots from the Labour Party - although they will continue to do that. Militant, Socialist Appeal, Alliance for Workers’ Liberty have no more place in the Labour Party than the BNP or the EDL.

“No, the team I leave behind will spend the overwhelming majority of the time, as they always have, making sure that ordinary party members, the hard-working activists who organise the party, run elections, raise the money, have the tools and expertise to do that job within the law and to the best of their ability …”


“The failure of leadership over anti-Semitism - it took five hours and three tortuous phone calls to persuade the leader’s office that Livingstone should be suspended in the first place - means that anti-Semitism has air to breathe in the Labour Party. And the Jew-haters and Jew-baiters pretending that they are merely criticising the actions of the Israeli government have gained ground today. Not only is this an abject failure of justice in this case, but it gives carte blanche to the anti-Semites of the left and right - and mainly the Trotskyite left - to raise their evil standards on the parapets of the Labour Party. Apparently with Jeremy Corbyn’s calm indifference.

“The question was posed today by [Mail journalist] Dan Hodges that ‘It’s now morally indefensible to be a member of the Labour Party.’ I responded, saying it was difficult to disagree.”

I think it is important that these quotes are more widely known, so that people can be more informed about what is going on in the party.

Chris Knight

Traitor or coward

I was amused to read Brian Kugelmann having a swipe at me as an “obvious crank”, because I have taken an ultra-democratic approach to the Brexit crisis destabilising our politics (Letters, July 11). As matters come to a head, the volume of attacks on ‘anti-Semites’ and ‘cranks’ of every type will grow. Like all witch-hunts, don’t expect to find truth, facts or evidence.

Of course, I don’t take it personally, not least because Brian doesn’t know me. I accept he is making a concealed political attack through the well-tested Stalinist method of dismissing an argument rather than enlightening us with concrete criticisms. Already we can learn more about Brian’s politics than that he hates and despises Rex Dunn.

Two things seem obvious to me. Brian is an ultra-remainer and is irritated by the case made for Corbyn’s ‘remain’-democrat stance. It has to be repeated because the Weekly Worker and Labour Party Marxists have gone ‘absent without leave’ on the Europe issue in the face of the onslaught by Tom Watson and his allies.

As reported in the Daily Mail (August 26), Watson was at a party, hosted by Peter Mandelson, planning to overthrow Corbyn by continually attacking him over Europe and anti-Semitism. Watson has been working hard ever since. Corbyn is now under siege, with even his erstwhile allies deserting him.

I have been critically supporting Corbyn’s European policy against the Tories, Watson and his Marxist allies. Corbyn has to be defended on this, not least because it is one of the keys for the Labour right to defeat him. We have to defend him on Europe every day, even if - or especially if - Watson and Kugelmann condemn this as “ultra-repetitive”.

The same is true over the ‘anti-Semitism’ slanders. I congratulate the Weekly Worker for their ultra-repetitive fight against it. We can never say too much against the enemies of the working class or repeat it too often.

While Watson is the right face of the ultra-‘remain’ camp, socialists like Brian are its ultra-left face. Lenin was rightly hostile to infantile leftism as a childish disorder. Hence I see no other conclusion except Watson and Kugelmann are two peas from the same pod - one a traitor and the other a coward.

Steve Freeman

Twins and sneers

Steven Johnston sneers at my efforts to get Edinburgh twinned the Gaza (Letters, July 11). He is preoccupied with socialism, clearly. But I question his sense of history, of honour, or duty. Civic relationships matter. We live in a world where Zionist forces have far more power than their numbers warrant, who spread the narrative that Israel is theirs by right and Mr Johnston thinks that has nothing to do with socialism. A political creed - a nationalist project - takes the right to a decent life away from millions of Arabs, and he thinks we must wait for utopia before we begin to address historic wrongs.

So why does our twinning proposal matter more than waiting for the socialist nirvana? Through twinning, rich, liberal cities like Edinburgh can build bridges with poor, oppressed ones. We have to raise awareness at every level to try and undo the damage our British empire has done.

Mr Johnston claims cities do not belong to the people who live in them - that cities belong to the capitalist class. I wonder, does he know what every city’s municipal authority even is? It collects money - local taxes - from residents to pay for schools, roads, waste collection, etc. This is not some remote capitalist entity, but the body that keeps Mr Johnston going - for surely some civic body is looking after the roads and pavements he travels along, the schools he or his kids went to, the council houses some of the poor people he seeks to liberate live in. He and the other people living around him get to vote in who runs these facilities. And he thinks some rich capitalist class owns all this? Mr Johnston needs to take a look at his council and if they are not his dream lefties then he needs to try and fix that.

But he also needs to heed where the wealth that built his public buildings come from. It came from working people and through local democracy - and that is controlled by working people, not by some rich bankers. The world is more democratic than Johnston thinks and it is our duty as campaigning lefties to get our fellow citizens thinking about how we might use our civic bodies as a force for good.

We have to remember that the UK created Israel. The Balfour Declaration gifted it them and then we deserted the Arabs in 1947, when our Zionist plantation got nasty. Racism in Israel flourishes. A racism which we facilitated. The fight for a just socialist society must embrace the fight against racism if it is to have any meaning. Twinning can help show we care and provides a mechanism for councils to address historical wrongs, rather than wait for Marxists to take over Downing Street.

Mr Johnston asks what twinning would do for the working class in Palestine. Is he aware that 95% of the water in Gaza is undrinkable? That all is polluted by sewage? Our councils in the UK have the know-how and staff to help address that. And there is much we can learn from them - Gazans excel in cuisine and textiles: in embroidery, and weaving. And in pottery, soap-making and carving too. Let’s help their tourist industry - yes, even Gaza still gets tourists. And let’s help them with IT. The sad fact is that most Gazans today, thanks to Israel’s ring of steel, have never been more than 30 miles from their homes. One route out of their isolation is the internet - I know, because over the past two months I have found over 200 friends on Facebook from Gaza. These people are calling for us to help them. Some are starving. IT is one field where physical isolation can be overcome through the internet. Companies such as Gaza Sky Geeks train young Gazans in coding and would be hugely boosted through mentoring with Edinburgh’s IT professionals.

We can all make a difference. We can all help atone for our sins of the past.

Waiting around for a socialist revolution lets lefties like Johnston be complacent about our civic powers. We all need to wake up to the fact that there are many ways we can seek to address the misery we have created around the world. Twinning is one of them - see more reasons why at tinyurl.com/whytwin.

Pete Gregson
Labour Against Zionist Islamophobic Racism

For himself

Many thanks to Eddie Ford for his incisive piece on the UK’s possible constitutional crisis (‘Time to reorient’, July 11).

However, I feel a reminder is needed on Mr Johnson’s equivocal position on the great matter in hand. It is never remarked upon in the main stream media. Johnson, in his own words, “agonised” over his decision to campaign to leave the European Union. The Independent summed up his choice pithily with their headline, ‘Out for himself!’ Johnson’s aim was to shaft his old Etonian chum, Dave Cameron, through the ruse of being a ‘leaver’. As a committed European during his tenure as London mayor, he had no intention of taking the UK out of the EU. He categorically stated that a ‘leave’ majority in the referendum would not mean the UK leaving the EU. Rather it would be a strong bargaining chip to force EU reform - after which the Great British public could “think again”. This political manoeuvring seems to have been struck from the public record - it’s not even mentioned by Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Johnson is a supreme Machiavellian - the slipperiest of slippery characters pursuing power for its own sake. He’s actually worse than that. Machiavelli intended his ‘prince’ to use his supreme power for the common good. Mr Johnson pursues the premiership for no-one other than himself.

Robert Leslie

Turn to youth

In the early 1980s when I joined the Revolutionary Socialist League - better known as the Militant Tendency - its guru, the late Ted Grant, was very fond of quoting Trotsky.

His favourite quote was Trotsky’s call for Marxists to “devote the most attention to the youth” - something Ted’s followers today in Socialist Appeal do very successfully in Marxist student societies in universities. Similarly, Lenin devoted much energy and resources to winning young people to the Bolshevik Party in the years leading up to the October revolution. Not for nothing did Lenin’s opponents accuse his Bolshevik Party of being a party of schoolboys (and girls).

I think there are lessons here for communists in 2019 - a turn to the youth is vital. This is doubly so, as members of the CPGB - especially of its Provisional Central Committee - are not getting any younger. Although - as the Socialist Workers Party often come out with - “we live in exciting times”, we need to pass on the political capital accumulated by the CPGB over the last 30 years to the younger generation.

I think the PCC should take a leaf out of the book of the SWP and Counterfire, who are both carrying out systematic work within Extinction Rebellion across Britain. At the same time, Labour Party Marxists should make a turn to the youth and carry out systematic work within Young Labour and Labour Students.

The Corbyn ‘surge’ of 2015 was made up of those aged 18-25 and those aged 50 and over - the latter being mostly returnees to the Labour Party who had left during the Blair years, especially following the Iraq war debacle. These 18-25-year-olds are now aged 22-29. My experience locally says that these young people are wide open to the ideas of Marxism and communism.

So I say to the PCC - please take note - make a turn to the youth.

John Smithee