The following is a guest post by the Rev Dr Peter Mullen, Hon. Chaplain of The Freedom Association. Peter takes a look at the three new people who have been elected to the Labour Party's National Executive Committee.
While May’s so called “government” lurches from one crisis of ineptitude to the next fiasco, Jeremy Corbyn is quietly assembling his politburo – the polite name for which is Labour’s National Executive Council (NEC).
One of my favourite films for a wet Saturday afternoon is Superman II in which our hero grapples with a trio of malevolent opponents. The three people appointed to the NEC last week rather reminded me of that film. They are: Jon Lansman, Yasmine Dar and Rachel Garnham who accumulated more votes than the lefty comedian Eddie Izzard. Those three are a huge force behind Labour’s shift to the hard left and their election gives Corbyn a majority on the ruling Council.
I have discovered a little about each of this trio and what they stand for…
He is one of Corbyn's super-groupies with a forty years’ career of agitation and propaganda, wheeling and dealing for the hard left – smoke-filled rooms and all. Lansman was so close to Tony Benn that you might say he was Benn’s vicar on earth. He was founder of the group Momentum, Corbyn’s storm-troopers assembled around the time of last year’s general election. Their task is to undermine, sideline and eventually deselect moderate Labour MPs who do not toe the Marxist line.
Lansman celebrated his election to the NEC as a "victory for 21st Century socialism" and before the result was announced he told the BBC that if he won it would mean the "dream of a members-led Labour Party" was a little closer. Which, being interpreted, means death to the Blairites and the end of democratic Labour.
While at Cambridge University he was involved in student politics but he never won an election himself. After this he worked unpaid – it was a labour of love - on Benn's campaign to become the deputy leader of Labour in 1981. During this campaign, organised with exquisite Trotskist subversion techniques, he was accused by Denis Healey – Benn’s rival – of drumming up the far left rabble to disrupt one of Healey’s speeches.
This could not be proved because Lansman had been in Wales while Healey’s speech was delivered in Birmingham. Nonetheless it led to articles about Lansman's public school education and "silver spoon life," with critics suggesting he was a champagne socialist. So you see, even a member of the hard left can be the victim of the politics of envy!
Next he became an aide to the strict Marxist Labour MP Michael Meacher. And after Meacher's death in 2015, he devoted himself to managing Corbyn’s campaign for the Labour leadership.
The Observer obtained a tape in March last year which it claimed featured Lansman, calling on the rentamobs of Momentum to ensure the left took over strategic party positions. He also allegedly said that if Len McCluskey became the general secretary of Unite it would affiliate with Momentum. This would establish hegemony for the Corbynistas.
Jon Lansman is Jewish which does not make his life as Labour fixer-in-chief any easier, as the Labour left is virulently anti-Semitic. Indeed, Lansman already endured his own spot of bother at the time of Ken Livingstone’s notorious comments on Adolf Hitler which led to his suspension from the party. Lansman said in a tweet that “a period of silence from Ken Livingstone is overdue" and called on him to leave "politics altogether." See how these lefties love one another! It is well known that the Revolutionary Marxist Current section and the rival Marxist Current of Revolutionaries hate one another more than they hate the Tories!
Dar has been a member of the Labour party for five years, though she claims she's been an activist for much longer. She is a representative on Manchester City Council but previously worked as a multi-faith prison chaplain and social worker. Dar says it is this work which has helped "inform" her socialism and contribute to her political views. She claims, because she is Asian, to have faced "strong challenges" from both Ukip and the BNP.
Yasmine is cheerleader for the Corbyn love-in and says his leadership is to be "celebrated and embraced" because he promises to take Labour even further towards the extreme left
Oh yes, and here’s one for the notebook: Dar is an Islamophile and she is a particular admirer of the Iranian revolution. She recently spoke alongside Labour member Afzal Khan and the economist Professor Rodney Shakespeare at a gathering in Manchester to celebrate the 38th anniversary of Khomeini’s Islamo-fascist takeover of Iran:
“It’s an absolute honour, honourable guests here today. Thank you so much for this opportunity. We’re here for a celebration, a happy time, 38 years of the Iranian Islamic revolution so I’m absolutely happy, it’s the third year that I’ve been coming. I keep it in my diary and make sure that I’m here.”
During her time as a Labour Party activist in Mid-Bedfordshire Garnham has held a number of positions. She spent almost ten years as a Constituency Labour Party (CLP) Secretary and is the National Policy Forum CLP representative for the Eastern region.
Garnham first joined the Labour Party at the age of 18 and is also a member of the University College Union. She claims being a member of the Labour Party keeps her "grounded and in touch."
When running for a place on the NEC, she said she supports Corbyn's agenda against war, racism and austerity. Garnham also said she wanted to be a voice for grassroots members but also ensure a Labour win at a general election.
She claimed she was standing for a "transformative, democratic socialist, election-winning Labour Party." While declaring her support for Corbyn, Garnham said she wanted the manifesto he put forward at the 2017 general election to be improved upon so it can allow more investment in growth, wholesale re-nationalisation, and “the fight against inequality and poverty.” She wants urgently to prevent global warming and to bring about world peace.
Garnham is well-versed in Trotskyist manoeuvres and understands the virtue of collegiate solidarity. Accordingly, as well as supporting Corbyn, she has lent her aid to both Lansman and Dar.
And Dar has expressed her support for Garnham and Lansman…,and Lansman has pledged backing for Garnham and Dar. The trio is a tightly bound unit – just like the three villains in Superman II.
All views expressed in contributions by named authors are their own and may not reflect the views of The Freedom Association.