The return of Entryism


Entryism – this old Marxist phrase, unused throughout the 15 years I’ve been in politics, suddenly is everywhere – being used (and spun) by Labour big cheeses.

One’s nose really does bleed for them, doesn’t it?  They invite the public to help mitigate the groupthink that builds in a party and elect a leader who appeals beyond the coterie of party activists. When the call is being answered – they cry foul.

Where is their delight at the eager response? Where is their recognition that part of the momentum comes from pragmatists who are joining to vote for an “electable” centrist candidate? The level of engagement in this internal party selection is startling. It suggests there is a separate blogpost to be written about how it might presage a “Syriza moment” or Scottish referendum moment in England which, by 2020, could make a Corbyn-like figure the most electable!

This is all very well. There is a But. Here it is: I went onto the Labour website to have a look. Yes, I could register for a measly £3. But I would have to sign a declaration that I am “a supporter of the Labour party”. I closed the window at that point.

I read in the Independent that “More than 100 Green Party candidates have tried to join Labour” . I don’t know who they are. I am not among them. I find I feel terribly strongly about this. You should see what I think of the Labour party! Actually – you can – on this blogsite. Easily!

We Green Party candidates stood in May as the only anti-austerity candidates promising our voters that to vote for us was the only way to send a clear message about social and environmental justice. We might think that to put our name to a Labour-supporting declaration on-line, is no more significant than clicking “I’ve read and agree to the terms and conditions” when we haven’t even read them. But for me, it isn’t.

When I think about what I have to show for myself, there isn’t much. I don’t own anything. I have no great edifices to my name, or glowing heirs and successors. All I have is my body, and, erm, my words.

If my words are lightly given and lightly taken, I disappear in all but physical form. I become void. So I did not join up to vote for Jeremy. I would not sign a false declaration. Not because I might be caught out, but because I’m not ready to self-annihilate. Not yet, anyway.


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