After much thought, I’ve deleted this post.

I still have real concerns about the effects of John’s leadership bid on the future of the left. The post was meant to be humourous, but, on reflection, it’s upsetting to a number of people who I still like a lot, despite our difference on this question.

I will continue to engage in a debate with John’s team about the bid and the important political issues involved both privately and on here. However, I think that everyone benefits from a comradely debate, and that is why I have taken this post off.



16 Responses to John4leader

  1. Owen says:

    So you’re suggesting that politicians shouldn’t have a sense of humour? Talk about clutching at straws…

  2. Matthew says:

    Either John has an extremely poor sense of humour, or incredibly poor political judgement.

    Or both.

  3. B4L says:

    Firstly, I wouldn’t make a big deal of it, though it isn’t something a credible politician would waste time over.
    Secondly, I don’t think it is a humour thing, or why would only three MPs sign it? I’m sure Banks was enraged when he penned it, which makes it even odder that John would, calmly and collectedly, sign the rant, and 640-odd others not do so.

  4. Joker says:

    Another example of that famous John McDonnell sense of humour here…

  5. Ian G says:

    I’m all for having some humour in politics, but expressing a wish to see the human race wiped out is quite an odd joke. Unlike Tony Banks, I don’t think McDonnell is famed for his sense of humour.

    My conclusion was that he was just being plain daft. Does anybody, honestly, think that this man could win a general election?

  6. I’m kind of torn about this. I like John a lot personally. I also think that he’s a great MP, who has taken a lot of very important stands. I just think that he’s not the right person for a leadership contest, and this kind of thing shows the frailty of his campaign.

  7. Sally says:

    Look, I know you people detest John McDonnell and are determined to throw as much mud at him as possible. But is this really the best you can do? A jokey EDM? You really are going to have do a lot better than that

    Oh, and maybe consider developing a sense of humour while you’re at it…?

  8. B4L says:

    There’s no ‘detest’ about it, it’s just a bit odd. OK, there’s no accounting for humour, but I ‘m convinced Tony’s intention was serious, even if the use of language makes it sound slightly ridiculous. Anyone who laughs at that is a bit weird IMHO. Anyway, that’s all I’m saying on the matter.

  9. Hey Sally, the whole piece was supposed to be humourous….

    Anyway, I stand by what I said above: I can’t account for anyone else on this thread, but I think that John’s played an important role in the PLP and the campaign group. I like him personally, but I think he’s made an extremely big mistake in this leadership bid.

  10. marshajane says:

    I dont agree that johns made a mistake in the leadership bid.

    He is the one of very few MP’s that has consistently supported workers rights – actively worked in campaigns and Trade unions and he hans’t neglected his constituents & (as you acknowledge) played an important part in the campaign group and PLP.

    If the only thing people can find to have a go at him about is a jokey EDM (rather than certain other MP’s and leading figures in sleaze crap and loans for peerages) then this just proves why he should be leader of the labour party.

    and I for one will be voting for him and supporting him in any way I can.

  11. Sally says:

    I’m not saying you “detest” John McDonnell as a person per se. Many of you probably hadn’t even heard of him before he announced his candidacy; others had no idea what his politics were.

    You detest what he stands for – i.e. socialism. New Labour was supposed to have consigned every last trace of socialism to the dustbin of history; its comeback was not meant to be in the script. That is why some of you are scraping the barrel for anything you can find that you believe could conceivably discredit his campaign – including the fact he signed a humorous EDM tabled by the universally respected Tony Banks (who was famous for his wit). Doesn’t quite compare to illegally invading Iraq and slaughtering tens of thousands of its people, does it?

    I can’t wait to see how you all react when the campaign gets underway in the autumn. Tragically I can already predict it: “Hypocritical John McDonnell seen wearing Nike trainers shock”, perhaps; “Cow murderer McDonnell seen eating burger”, maybe. Keep it coming!

  12. Henry G says:

    Sally, going from the content of the headlines on this blog, I imagine that the people running this site are not New Labour supporters. I imagine they are one of many that are frustrated that there are no stronger and credible candidates from the Campaign Group to put political pressure on Brown during a campaign. Perhaps people should be looking to support Alan Simpson or the infinitely more thoughtful and credible Compass grouping of MPs to take the lead.

    As it stands, surely the happiest person for a McDonnelly challenge are the Brownites?


  13. Matthew says:

    Sally: Many Party activists who consider themselves socialists and very much not a New Labourites, myself included, are yet to be convinced that John would be the best leader – this EDM is not the only reason for that. Another reason is that lots of people are convinced that he will lose so heavily that he will discredit the left of the Labour party and set back the cause of socialists and trade unionists within the party for a decade. I desperately hope I am wrong, and I will issue a stinging mea culpa if I am, but it isn’t just me – members of the Campaign Group are of the same view, and if he has not even been able to convince the people on the hardest left of the party he right to stand, what chance do you think there is of broadening that to the point where he is able to make a strong showing?

    In the meantime – can I suggest that the best way that you can make friends and influence people like me to change my mind would be to keep to the facts and not accuse anyone who disagrees with you of being pro-war, anti-socialist etc. It might make you feel better, but its not winning you any converts.

  14. Henry G says:

    I agree with Matthew – the danger of the Left being smashed is actually quite high. Tony Benn was roundly beaten in his last ever leadership bid, and he had more many more followers than John McDonnell has. When even Ken Livingstone is reticent about backing his former deputy then you know that he is swimming against the tide. Coupled with the fact that many on the Left have left the Party in the last 10 years over some cause or other, his power base is slight. As it stands, the biggest party on the left is the ex-Labour Party and that is the Left’s problem.

  15. Ian G says:

    Sally, to say that anybody who doesn’t back McDonnell hates socialism is a very good way to go about alienating people in your own party. I’ve had enough with Blair going out his way to infuriate the mainstream of party opinion, and am counting the seconds till he goes.

    However if we don’t choose a leader who can reach out beyond our core support we may as well all sit at home for the next four years. Do you have any evidence at all that John McDonnell can do that?

    There’s a very nice guy who goes to our GC who has impeccable socialist credentials, we might just as well make him leader as McDonnell for all the difference it would make.

    Going down to glorious defeat might make us, the activists, feel good about ourselves. Unfortunately I can remember growing up in the eighties and the reason I spent three hours leafleting last night was to do my bit to make sure we never go through that again.

  16. Sally, I’m sorry to inform you that most people involved with this site, either as bloggers or commentators, are notoriously left-wing. In fact, if I remember correctly, Graham used to run the Campaign Group’s youth wing fairly recently.

    If McDonnell can’t even appeal to the more sensible elements of Labour Left his chances of getting on the ballot, let alone winning a half-decent % of the vote are very small.

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