McNicol’s resignation could redraw British politics

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McNicol’s resignation could redraw British politics

Peter Bingle believes Iain McNicol’s resignation as Labour Party Secretary-General has the potential to trigger a chain reaction that will see the face of British politics redrawn. The key question, though, is whether Labour moderates have the gumption to stand up and follow their conviction.

I know we live in a world of moral relativism and political dumbing down but sometimes an event happens which is so important it has the potential to change everything. The ‘resignation’ of Iain McNicol is such an event…

Ever since Jeremy Corbyn became Leader of the Labour Party, so-called moderates and the soft Left have shown a shocking lack of conviction. ‘Heads down’ and ‘hopefully it won’t last forever’ appear to be the two guiding principles of the Blairites and Brownites. Meanwhile, Corbyn’s grip on the Labour Party at every level including the NEC continues at an alarming rate.

To understand the modern Labour Party you have be old enough to remember the battle between Ken Livingstone and John McDonnell in 1981 at County Hall. I was coming to the end of three years studying sociology at the LSE. I had become an expert in the differences between Militant, the SWP and the SWSO. In this bizarre political paradigm, Red Ken was the benign pragmatist. Hold that thought …

Fast forward to now. The resignations of Neale Coleman and Simon Fletcher from Corbyn’s inner circle were signals of just how nasty the Labour Party leadership had become. Talking at the time to many Labour MPs, however, I was told that as long as Iain McNicol was General Secretary everything would eventually be alright. Those MPs no longer have that excuse for their political cowardice.

I have known Iain McNicol for many years. I regard him as a good friend. We disagree about politics but like and respect each other. In all my conversations with him what always shone through was his commitment to two things. His lovely family and the Labour Party.

It was hardly a secret that Iain’s politics were very different to that of Corbyn and his clique. That didn’t stop him clearing the Labour Party’s debt and turning the party machine into a first rate operation. Iain was at heart a party man.

Iain suffered much personal abuse during his seven years as Labour Party General Secretary. Since his resignation, he has suffered vicious personal abuse on Twitter by supporters of the Labour leadership. He is a grown up and will do brilliantly in whatever new career he chooses to pursue. It must be put on the record, however, that the Labour Party was very lucky indeed to have such a decent, skilled and professional man as it’s General Secretary.

Now that he has been forced out, Labour moderates have nowhere to hide. Their party at every level is now controlled by the hard Left. Haringey Council post-May will be a microcosm of what a Labour government will be like. It ain’t very pretty or nice …

So will Labour moderates have the guts to say enough is enough or will they just roll over and do nothing. I know there are plans for a new party. I have been party to too many conversations. Which Labour MPs are going to be brave enough to put the interests of working-class voters before those of middle-class Trotskyites? I am not holding my breath …

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  • Peter Bingle
    Peter Bingle
    Peter is the Founder of Terrapin Communications. With a career in politics and communications that has spanned almost four decades, he is one of the country's leading public affairs practitioners. His career has seen him advise many top companies, including McDonald’s, HSBC, L’Oreal, Permira, Motorola, Camelot, Rolls Royce & Kellogg's.
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