There has been much talk of the Corbynite faction of the Labour party taking over constituencies and party machinery around the country.
The examples are everywhere – from newly elected hard-left MPs on the party’s ruling body to the efforts to deselect ‘Blairite traitors’. But this week a senior Labour figure painted a picture for me of the consequences of a hard-left Labour takeover of London’s councils. It runs like this...
The radical transformation of the Labour party’s membership has delivered Jeremy Corbyn as leader and has facilitated the emergence of a front bench compromised of diehard socialists, anti-capitalists and Marxists. It has also reshaped local associations and party machinery right down to the selection of council candidates. According to veteran Labour figures from the Blair, Brown and Miliband days, this will soon result in maverick council declarations such as “no Uber in Islington” or “no Amazon in Haringey”.
These policies won’t actually take effect, but the message itself would, over time, be deeply damaging to London’s global reputation. Alongside such examples of student politics, a more coordinated effort will emerge to strip the City of London Corporation of its historic powers. John McDonnell is already on the record supporting such a move, and was only talked out of making it official policy at the last election by Labour moderates. With the Corbyn takeover of the party totally complete, there will be no such restraint in the future.
Any official move against the Corporation by the Labour party (either nationally or spearheaded by Labour councils in the capital) would put Sadiq Khan in a sensitive position. Would he be peacemaker, or would he sense an opportunity to extend his own powers? The Corporation itself needs to wake up to the reality of the Labour threat, and not wait until the revolutionaries are at the City gates.
Missing the Mark
Few people are as annoying as Mark Zuckerberg, the tedious hyper-nerd and founder of Facebook. We’re told he has eyes on the presidency, but seems incapable of talking about anything other than the importance of “connecting” – his favourite word, by a mile. Alas, Mark didn’t make many good connections when he appeared as a smiling cartoon character taking a virtual tour of hurricane-hit Puerto Rico from the comfort of his own office. Switch it off, Mark.
Let's call time on The Apprentice
As we all know, capitalism (and business in general) is falling out of favour with the public. Not so much that millions of people are giving up possessions and bartering for food, but enough that they might actually vote for Corbyn. One fixture of British life guaranteed to swell anti-business sentiment is the appalling reality TV show masquerading as a business programme, The Apprentice, whose ‘candidates’ are just fame-hungry half-wits. Let this (13th) series please be the last.
Harry Redknapp gets behind cryptocurrencies
Regular readers will know this column has been keeping an eye on the attitudes of top bankers towards bitcoin, ever since Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan called the currency a fraud. Well, in the interest of balance it’s only right to let you know that not everyone agrees with him. Step forwards the recently sacked manager of Birmingham City, Harry Redknapp - who yesterday announced that he is “proper excited about mobile cryptocurrency” – specifically, something called Electroneum. Harry tweets, “I’m in, get involved!” Not for me, Harry, but thanks.
RT's regular guests
Lenin referred to the West’s communist sympathisers as “useful idiots” – and today there’s no shortage of shadow cabinet members who fit the description. RT is the Kremlin-controlled news channel pumping out pro-Russian propaganda in the UK, and Richard Burgon (the hapless shadow justice minister) is a regular guest. Pro-Corbyn MPs line up to take their seats in the studio, without caring that Human Rights Watch describes Russia as “more repressive than it has ever been”.