Our interest in the rising tide of Corbynism is, of course, how it impacts on local politics. And you can say what you like about Jezzamania but it has at least shaken up (or a least slightly stirred) the moribund and complacent cabal at the heart of Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP). Frank Field, having decried the Labour leader at every opportunity prior to this year’s general election, has been awfully quiet on the Corbyn front lately hasn’t he?
However where the impact has been most felt has been in the Wallasey CLP. Ever since Wallasey MP Angela Eagle’s doomed Labour leadership challenge there have been deep divisions within the local CLP…..and it would seem from a leaked email from Cllr Adrian Jones sent to ‘Momentum Comrades’ – which somehow made its way to us – there clearly still are!
We’ll spare you the full text of the email as it’s more Citizen Smith than Councillor Jones. Suffice to say it’s as long-winded and self righteous as his council speeches and sets out his long-standing Corbyn – supporting credentials.
The genesis of all this rift was a bitter CLP meeting on 24th June 2016, when Cllr Bernie Mooney (now Joint Deputy Leader of Wirral Council Labour Group ) was voted out of her position as secretary of Wallasey CLP and replaced by lefty Kathy Miller. Paul Davies was voted in as co-vice Chair ( Cllr Paul Stuart was the other co-Vice Chair.)
The CLP voted to back Corbyn in his leadership bid. Eagle got wind of this and was presumably an ‘Angry Bird’! She hadn’t yet said she was going to run for leader… and didn’t until early July.
Meanwhile the CLP was suspended by the Labour NEC at their London HQ and remains suspended to this day. Indeed the CLP only realised they’d been suspended when they read it in the Liverpool Echo!
This suspension was done on the ‘strength’ of bogus allegations that were lodged with the press (not the police, where they should have gone – but that presumably would have risked counter charges of wasting police time) saying that some members at the above meeting had engaged in bullying of others, intimidation and ‘homophobic acts’ against Eagle, who was not even present.
Reputedly, it was Cllr Stuart who was the ringleader of 17 people alleging bullying, intimidation and homophobia. Angela Eagle christened them “whistleblowers”, sullying the name of genuine, good faith whistleblowers everywhere, and whatdyaknow? the likes of the Liverpool Echo and The Guardian were there, ever eager to fuel the fire.
Throughout all this nothing was heard from Cllr Adrian Jones, the huge “Corbyn fan”, as his hero was pilloried in order to push Eagle’s leadership chances. And whaddyaknow? Both Jones’s Mr and Mrs and Cllr Stuart can be seen in the photos attached to this tweet, supporting Eagle. This was in the run-up to the 2017 election, 9 months after the CLP suspension and #Brickgate.
Ultimately the allegations went nowhere, but the damage inflicted by the media coverage had been done. We understand one CLP member still has a charge hanging over them, whilst those making bogus allegations have been strangely passed over for any disciplinary action. Is it any wonder the rifts persist and that there are plenty of angry left wingers in Wallasey CLP who feel betrayed? After being expected to tramp the streets in support of Angela Eagle during the general election campaign , some are suspecting that deals will now be done behind their backs rather than the embedded enemy within faced head on and challenged.
Meanwhile, Cllr Paul Stuart who’d nailed his colours to the Eagle mast has, since Corbyn’s unexpectedly strong performance in the general election, had a bit of a rethink and now wants the world to know, via the leaked Jones email , that he is supporting Jezza. But the idea that Cllr Stuart would now also be backing Corbyn is outrageous when you can find him on the internet posing for photos outside the smashed window of #Brickgate. Along with Cllr Stuart , Eagle diehards Cllr Mooney, and Merseyside Police & Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy were immediately on hand to be interviewed on TV and press suggesting that Corbyn supporters were behind the brick through the shared stairwell window ….which apparently wasn’t Eagle’s constituency office window anyway! You can get a flavour of the furore here
Moreover, Merseyside plod calmly intoned six months later that the constituency office window was never reported to them as being damaged ! But you wouldn’t know this if you picked up any national or local newspaper because they wouldn’t touch it ! And by that time, the whole sorry circus of MSM dissemblers had left Eagle’s “busy summer of lies” unretracted, and moved onto the next emerging #FakeNews bombshell needing their undivided attention….
Meanwhile only time will tell whether Cllr Stuart proves to be as an effective shape-shifting politico as Cllr Jones,
To quote from the latter’s email…
Comrades, “Now is the time” to stop acting like a “Party within a party” – and even like a “Momentum within Momentum”.
It is time to grasp that the mainstream (often called the “Left”) has won back the heart and soul of the Labour Party. I do not know of a single member of the Seacombe Branch who has not fully supported my own declarations for Corbyn on the two websites or who does not support him now. So why introduce friction where there need be none? Let’s try now to be a single Labour Party in Seacombe Ward.
Some comrades will remember that we also, for a while, held “Songs of the Labour Movement” musical evenings in the Park View Social Club – an opportunity for comrades to perform – or just listen and rub shoulders informally. But, since then, we have had the difficulty of the Party being suspended so long that many of us don’t even know each other.
Under the circumstances can we suggest that any future CLP sing-a-long starts off with a rousing rendition of “Two Tribes” ?