Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Saturday 2 February 2013

Hodges Falls Out Of Love With Labour

What holds you back in the Labour Party isn’t being female, or poor, or black. It’s not knowing the right person” tells supposed Labour loyalist Dan Hodges in his latest offering to the bear pit that is Telegraph blogs, a subject that appears new to his oeuvre. Why would he be fussed about what one needs to get on in the Labour Party? After all, he’s not exactly enamoured of its current leadership.

Not Dan's favourite Labour leader ...

But he is sure that the Party’s commitment to making its candidate list reflect the country at large means that Mil The Younger would not get through the door. By this singular logic, he concludes that there is more to becoming a candidate than just satisfying the diversity ideal (the thought that any party will also have to take a number of those who are motivated enough to do the job does not enter).

And he is quick to point out that not all of his fellow Labour members are of high enough principle to embrace the concept of equality, claiming that Trade Union leadership is a male preserve. This manages to miss the inconvenient fact that the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has just appointed its first female General Secretary, Frances O’Grady. Ah well, minor omission, eh?

... and the real reason he's going nowhere

But Hodges sticks to his task, describing the kinds of people who will stand for Labour come the next General Election, those who he claims work in the private offices of the current leadership or shadow cabinet, or in the Trade Union movement, or in centre-left think tanks, or in local Government. And he includes journalists and bloggers who are uncritical of that leadership.

So now it starts to come clear what Hodges is driving at. He has been an activist member of the party, but has not worked in any of those favoured positions – at least not recently – and has developed a habit of rubbishing the Miliband leadership. So he is not thus favoured. But why would this concern him – unless he had set his sights on becoming an MP and had been rejected?

Methinks Dan doth protest too much. And he can complain all he likes, but this will get him precisely nowhere. After all, he campaigned very publicly against the Labour candidate in the London Mayoral Election and was snapped embracing Tory campaign chief Lynton Crosby after the result. His clear support for Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was, moreover, utterly devoid of principle.

Voting for Bozza was, as we’ve seen since that election, a vote not against cronyism, but for it. Backing Johnson because of Ken Livingstone’s supposed difficulties with Jewish voters was to support a man who happily employed Taki for years. The idea that a Johnson mayoralty would stop waste ignores all the vanity projects. And then there have been all the broken promises.

It was a most unwise move. And no party will forget that kind of “loyalty”, Dan.


Anonymous said...

A) opening sentence - you call Dan a supposed Labour loyalist. I think you'll find he defines himself as a critic, not a loyalist. You're the only person I've ever heard call Dan Hodges a loyalist.

B) A critic is more useful to society than a party loyalist. What is the purpose of a loyalist to a Party? political parties get things wrong - sometimes very wrong - in which case which is preferable... a loyalist who denies what has been said/done is wrong for the sake of loyalty, or a critic who calls the wrong thing to attention and thereby achieves a change in policy.

C) there's a few words I prefer to describe party loyalists; craven, liars (know something they disagree with happens but deny it in the wider world), and unprincipled.... (because surely if you're principled you can critique policy of any party whether you're a member of it or not, as and when it changes... e.g. many principled members of the Lib Dems will vote labour at the next election because Lib Dems have abandoned many leftwing policies - surely that's preferable than them simply being 'loyal'?).

D) Are you sure that he's missed a big point in saying Unions are a male preserve? They have existed for more than a hundred years. That ONE of them has now appointed a female leader is surely not enough for anyone to claim they are now open and equal organisations? They have a long way to go, and calling them male preserves feels about right.

E) Given we know Dan isn't a loyalist - as is obvious from his writings (he writes for the Telegraph!) - has written scathing reports on Miliband's leadership for years and since Miliband's very nomination for Leader - it seems to me those aren't the actions of someone deploying the kind of behaviour Dan writes about week in week out, of those who are craven and seeking a seat.

In summary, the premise of this comment is incorrect. It is blindingly obvious that Dan isn't seeking to be an MP. He loathes the current leadership and the set-up, is principled enough to say so, rather than suck-up to those in command and do as he's told, which is why he blogs for the Telegraph and left the New Statesman (now back doing the odd article). If he was the loyalist you espouse him to be in your opening sentence, then he wouldn't write like he does, but would presumably vent his frustration at the methods of selection internally, not externally, which would clearly never have the intended effect.

Perhaps years ago, under a different leadership, or had it been David, he would have gone for Parliament, but that is evidently not what he's doing now.

Tim Fenton said...

Hodges uses the word "Tribalist". I would suggest the rest is down to mere semantics. And that someone is protesting too much.

John Ruddy said...

Seeing as he complains Labour is about who you know rather than what you know, its strange that he hasnt mentioned his Mum is a Labour MP....

Perhaps his diatribe is because its become clear that he not succeed her in 2015 after his antics last year....