Dennis Skinner: Blair's poodle yaps

Submitted by martin on 17 September, 2010 - 10:47 Author: Sean Matgamna

Dennis Skinner, one of the ghostly superannuated "lefts" in the Parliamentary Labour Party, has come out in support of David Miliband for Labour leader.

He calls on others to back "the man the Tories fear most".

Skinner, a one-time miner, has been an MP for 40 years. Unlike many of the career "leftists" in the old Parliamentary Labour Party, Skinner had real left-wing credentials.

He knew which side of the class divide and the class war he was on. He backed strikes, and backing them was more than a matter of policy and calculation: it was something he felt in his guts.

Politically, though, Skinner was of the old Labour left, and not untypical of it. Politically, Skinner was not really left.

He was an overt reactionary on some issues - a shameless little Englander, for instance, denouncing all moves towards European unity. Just like most of the would-be left, reformist and revolutionary alike, then - and much of it still.

Skinner's idea of socialism was to go back to the sort of state-controlled economy Britain had in World War Two. It was nationalist.

His socialism, like the Communist Party's and the official Labour Left's, was a species of utopianism. Cutting across the grain of the real historical tendencies, it was a regressive, reactionary utopia.

Like virtually the whole labour movement, Skinner moved in the Thatcher years and after towards focusing everything on "kicking out the Tories". Never mind the politics - getting rid of the Tory government became a self-sufficient policy.

By 1997 the Labour Party that finally got rid of the Tories was hard to distinguish in policy from the Tories. It had become a neo-Thatcherite party. Direct industrial action by workers was at a historical low point.

Skinner became a Blairite! A "left" pet of the Blairites and of Blair himself, who reportedly used to "consult" Skinner, that is, test the political temperature by the responses of this extinct little one-time would-be socialist.

It was a degrading and shameful role for Skinner to play. Seemingly, he relished it.

Now Skinner backs the candidate for Labour leader who is most clearly identified as Blair's heir - who is to Blair what Blair was to Thatcher, whose essentials he accepted.

Skinner's advice should be treated with contempt and derision. Yap on, little poodle!


Submitted by guenter on Wed, 22/09/2010 - 21:51

Good piece it highlights the bankruptcy of the left in Labour and emphasises the need to build an independent Trotskyist party.

i agree very much with the comment above.

Submitted by AWL on Thu, 23/09/2010 - 20:59

Yes, but HOW do we build such a party? Simply declaring the need for it will not do.

You need to consider the possibility that intervention in Labour may be PART of the fight to build a revolutionary party. In any case, it has clearly not dulled the AWL's political sharpness!

Sacha Ismail

Submitted by guenter on Fri, 24/09/2010 - 00:53

Since decades, the various trot groups tried to win labour-members over by making entrism into this party. years later they often did come out without having won any1 over, but perhaps lost people to labour.
i think, its time to adress the class directly (and not espec. those in the dead bureaucratic apparates) and speak on union meetings and neighborhead meetings, everywhere where workers are ,but not concentrated on 1 party and explain 2 them the necessarity of breaking with labour and stress the importance of an independent workingclass movement which can be build only autonomous, not always with 1 foot in labour.

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