When the need has arisen, Labour’s right wing has never held back from attacking and expelling socialists from the Labour Party. This list even includes such legendary figures as Nye Bevan and Michael Foot.
Adopting the methods of McCarthyism, left-wingers in the past were accused of being linked to the Communist Party, or denounced as ‘fellow travellers’. The Bevanites were accused of creating ‘a party within a party’. This would often lead to witch-hunting, suspensions, and expulsions.
Today, the right wing are using these same methods against the left: suspending Corbyn and those who support him; crushing party democracy and rigging the rules in their favour; and now banning left-wing groups, including Socialist Appeal.
Of course, if the right wing gets away with this, then it will mark the beginning of a wider purge.
While those on the left are banned, however, right-wing groups are allowed to operate with impunity. This has nothing to do with double standards, but everything to do with class interests.
When the right-wing Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell attacked Michael Foot for being a ‘fellow traveller’ at the 1960 Labour Party conference, Foot retorted “but who are they travelling with?”
This is a very good question, with great relevance today.
After investigating the shadowy connections between big business and the Labour right wing, Richard Fletcher wrote in CIA and the Labour Movement:
“For the chairmen of the world’s largest capitalist organisations, monarchists, ex-Nazis, commanders of the American and German forces, the Crown Princes of Europe and CIA agents do indeed make strange travelling companions for socialists.”
Strange bedfellows indeed! In the post-war period, such reactionary forces worked through a series of front organisations to support Labour’s right wing and keep the party in ‘safe hands’.
This has continued right up until the present time.
Recently, especially arising from the years of Blair and New Labour, right-wing organisations have mushroomed – all very well financed – to maintain the tight grip of capitalism on the Labour Party.
The main support for this pro-capitalist tendency resides within the right-wing Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), but it also includes officials in the trade union movement.
In the Labour Party, these organisations represent capitalism’s Fifth Column – the faithful agents of the ruling class. They receive considerable support in terms of money, privileged access, and publicity, as well as connections to the secret services.
A number of right-wing trade union leaders were – and still are – paid agents of MI5. Individuals within the headquarters of the TUC are also connected to the special branch, who are used to spy on and supply information on left-wing individuals and trade unions.
A number of these are linked to foreign embassies and agencies, such as the Israeli embassy and the Israeli state.
When it was revealed that Joe Gormley, former president of the NUM, was exposed as being in the pay of MI5, Arthur Scargill commented that he wasn’t surprised:
“The history of our movement is littered with people in leadership positions who were either connected with the Special Branch or connected with the State.”
Peter Wright, a former agent of MI5, wrote about how they planned to discredit Harold Wilson in 1974:
“Using our contacts in the press and among union officials, word of the material contained in MI5 files and the fact that Wilson was considered a security risk would be passed around.” (Spycatcher, p.369)
These links obviously exist today.
The same question raised by Michael Foot can therefore be asked of Sir Keir Starmer and today’s Labour’s right wing: Who are they travelling with? Who are their bankrollers and supporters backers?
During the Blair years, various right-wing organisations sprung up, such as Progress and Compass. These were well-financed and extensively organised throughout the Labour Party, in order to bolster the Blairites. David Sainsbury, the Labour peer and supermarket billionaire, for example, was a major Progress donor.
They were later joined by a string of other organisations: Labour Together, Labour First, Remain Labour, Saving Labour and Movement for Change – all of which championed the capitalist cause of New Labour.
Today, while Socialist Appeal is banned, these groups operate freely within the Labour Party, backed and financed by rich business donors and the capitalist establishment.
These well-heeled groups constitute a capitalist Trojan Horse, which has infiltrated the Labour Party, and which openly operates to promote the interests of big business. They act as a genuine right-wing conspiracy within the party.
One of these groups, Labour Together, exerts enormous influence, and has close ties to Sir Keir Starmer and his entourage. It seems to have access to limitless amounts of money. Indeed, the organisation is currently under investigation by the UK’s Electoral Commission after allegedly failing to declare over £800,000 in donations.
Figures show that Labour Together’s most significant donor has been a Mayfair hedge-fund manager, Martin Taylor, who has given the organisation more than £700,000.
With such resources, the group has built up considerable influence and contacts. This organisation was especially active under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, with the express purpose of undermining him.
Most (if not all) of the signatories of Labour Together were actively involved in the attempt to remove Corbyn as Labour leader in 2016, in the infamous ‘chicken coup’. These saboteurs openly operated as a party within a party.
What the EC data now shows us is that since the end of 2019, Reeves has registered only two donations:
Labour Together (Trevor Chinn) (1/2/21)- £13,520
Trevor Chinn (6/4/20)- £25,370
— Operation Cupcake (@PhillipsBarrie) September 27, 2021
Labour Together has a number of registered directors. This rogues gallery include:
- Hannah Elisabeth O’Rourke, a former parliamentary researcher to former right-wing MP Tristram Hunt, who has had articles published by Compass.
- Sir Trevor Chinn, multi-millionaire who is the former boss of the RAC, and who has consistently helped finance Labour’s right wing. He was knighted by the Conservatives, and in 1996 was named as one of the “multi-millionaires who keep Blair in his office”. Chinn also plays a leading role in the Israel lobby groups British Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) and the Jewish Leadership Council, of which he is the Vice President. Since 1993 he has been President of the United Jewish Israel Appeal, the major fund-raising organisation for Israel. He donated £50,000 to help Keir Starmer win the Labour leadership election – the fourth highest amount from an individual donor. After this, Starmer declared “I support Zionism without qualification”. Sir Trevor also backed Liz Kendall in her failed campaign to be Labour leader, and donated to Tom Watson’s successful deputy leadership campaign.
- Jon Cruddas MP, who initially sponsored Corbyn’s leadership bid, but who later changed allegiance to Owen Smith. He is also connected to Compass and the New Labour think-tank, Institute for Public Policy Research (IPRR). The IPPR was founded by Baron Hollick, a businessman with media interests, a senior director of Diageo plc., and director of Honeywell International Inc. Cruddas is also a member of Labour Friends of Israel and the Tribune Group.
- Lisa Nandy MP, who is shadow foreign secretary, and who is also linked to Compass and right-wing IPPR think tank. Nandy co-chaired Owen Smith’s leadership challenge, and is also a member of the Tribune Group. She recently said she would be delighted to personally campaign against Jeremy Corbyn in the next general election, if Labour stands an official candidate against him.
- Steve Reed MP, OBE, and Blairite, is also in the Tribune Group and supported Owen Smith’s leadership bid against Corbyn. He also contributes to Compass and IPPR. He is the former deputy chair of Progress. He holds a longstanding commitment to Labour Friends of Israel. Reed, despite representing part of a borough of Croydon where its Labour council has gone bust, is the communities and local government spokesperson in Starmer’s shadow cabinet.
- Morgan McSweeney, who worked on Owen Smith’s leadership bid, and who was Starmer’s leadership campaign manager. He is currently Starmer’s chief of staff, and was previously secretary of Labour Together. In the past, McSweeney worked for The Campaign Company, a Croydon-based consultancy set-up by David Evens, who is now the Labour Party’s general secretary.
These right-wing groups are very much interlinked, with overlapping membership. For instance, Nathan Yeowell of Progress is a director of Labour First’s Labour to Win campaign.
Labour First is another key player – the secretary of which is arch-factionalist Luke Akehurst. Labour First’s registered directors at Companies House are Luke Akehurst, Keith Dibble, and John Spellar.
- Luke Akehurst, who was Labour Students national secretary between 1995-1996, later became a lobbyist for the defence industry. Not surprisingly, he recently tweeted that he could justify selling arms to Saudi Arabia as a counterweight to Iran. He was also recruited to BICOM, the Israeli lobby group, and has remained a director ever since.
- Keith Dibble is a former right-wing Labour councillor. He has served as chair of the South East Regional Board, but was removed, and is a former representative of Unite’s National Political Committee. He became the chair of Labour First.
- John Spellar is a Labour MP. He has a long history of witch-hunting socialists, inherited from his days with the EETPU. A one-time political officer of the EETPU, and speech writer for Frank Chapple, he was part of the St Ermin’s group, set up to counter the rise of the left in the 1980s. He detested Corbyn and supported Owen Smith’s leadership challenge. He has also served on the Advisory Council of right-wing The Henry Jackson Society, which, despite its strange name, is a trans-Atlantic foreign policy and national security think-tank, described as ‘neoconservative’. In fact, Jackson was a Cold War anti-Communist American politician, who joined the Ronald Reagan administration. Spellar’s officially registered donors include the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange, and Labour Friends of Israel, of which he is the vice-chair. At the moment, he is being investigated for the EETPU involvement in the blacklisting of workers.
There is a web of links between big business and Labour’s right wing. Many of these connections operate behind closed doors. But some of it is known.
For instance, Max Mosley, the disgraced ex-Formula One chief, made donations to Tom Watson – the then-deputy leader of the Labour Party – of £40,000, £200,000 and £500,000, in order to finance his office and operations.
The present deputy leader, Angela Rayner, has also attracted a long list of donations from businessmen. These include: £50,000 from the Labour peer – and media and entertainment millionaire – Baron Waheed Alli; £25,000 from investor and hedge-fund manager Martin Taylor; another £25,000 from Labour Friends of Israel supporter Trevor Chinn; £10,000 from entrepreneur Rajesh Agrawal, London’s deputy mayor for business; and another £10,000 from property firm Intro Developments Ltd, based in Manchester.
No doubt this is to help her in her many responsibilities as Shadow First Secretary of State, Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and Shadow Secretary of State for the Future of Work.
Angela Rayner received £25,000 from Martin Taylor and £25,000 from Trevor Chinn. Between the two they financed anti-Corbyn groups and MPs since 2015. Donations to Labour Together were mostly hidden. Goodbye NHS. #StarmerOut https://t.co/Sm325uTmy7
— Operation Cupcake (@PhillipsBarrie) October 2, 2021
Of course, Sir Keir Starmer has done well too. He refused to declare his donations during his leadership bid. But now we can see the handouts.
First is fellow lawyer Bob Latham, who gave Starmer £10,000. This was matched by the same amount from media entrepreneur Waheed Alli, a close friend of Tony Blair, who gave him a peerage.
The aforementioned hedge-fund manager Martin Taylor, who clearly has a passion for funding anti-Corbyn groups, gave £95,000. Another businessman, Clive Hollick, the Blairite and supporter of New Labour, gave £50,000. Sir Trevor Chinn, who we mentioned before, also coughed up £50,000.
The owner of Bet365, Peter Coates, another Blair supporter, gave £25,000. So did Martin Clarke, who originally supported The Independent Group/Change UK, which sank. Another Change UK supporter, Paul Myners, gave £10,000.
You can see that the top eight wealthiest supporters gave an amazing £455,000. These are part of the anti-Corbyn big business cabal behind Starmer and his takeover of the Labour Party.
The whole thing stinks from top to bottom. Big business wants to keep the Labour Party in safe hands – which it does through its right-wing agents, careerists, and place seekers. They are well financed and well fed for this purpose.
These pro-capitalist organisations are allowed to operate freely, pumping out their free market ideology, while the left is under attack.
Today, the right wing has banned Socialist Appeal for advocating socialist change. Tomorrow they will come for Momentum and the rest.
Their task is to carry out a counter-revolution in the Labour Party. How far they are able to go with this will be determined by the resistance displayed by rank-and-file members, and by the left unions.
It is high time we cleared out these stinking Augean stables of corruption and deceit.