I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Left Unity is dead; long live left unity. The last photo I posted of Saturday’s Left Unity conference saw a lot of old men either yawning, or with their heads in their hands, appearing to be in absolute despair. Was that the photo the tactically-inept Kate Hudson’s team thought an excellent advert for the party they claim will shake the capitalist establishment from top to bottom? Not sure. Can’t remember if it’s on their own website or Facebook page, or was posted by one of the many who found the entire affair thoroughly objectionable. Wouldn’t put it past them, though. The people at the leadership of Left Unity have zero idea of how they come across to the rest of the left. They have no understanding of what it actually means to be part of the left, looking back to the good old days when Neil Kinnock witch hunted Dave Nellist. Maybe this indifference to the real left explains why their sole ‘report’ of annual conference for some time was a boast of how a ‘party’ (one that had declined catastrophically from 10,000 online supporters to a mere 1,200 members within months) had demonstrated exactly how dynamic it was going to be by – after second preferences were brought into the equation – voting that the name of Left Unity was going to be… Left Unity. I don’t think voters are going to be all that impressed if this is what Kate Hudson’s team consider the most important decision taken at their annual conference. This is more like a rejected joke from a Monty Python sketch.
Getting back to that photo of tired old men yawning their heads off and/or with their heads in their hands, why might that actually have been a photo Left Unity’s leaders chose themselves as an appropriate method of attracting their audience, building their political profile? I genuinely don’t rule this out because their political compass is completely useless. How bad are they at presentation? Consider this…
Kate Hudson refused for days to post any article on Left Unity’s website on Woolwich atrocity. She did this despite the fact that within hours every socialist group and many individual activists on the left had put out statements or commented on twitter. It was everywhere. And I don’t think we could complain about that. Our televisions were wall-to-wall commentary on what the atrocity meant for Muslims, the anti-war movement, socialists, everyone. What should we do and say about this? How do we respond to the EDL crawling out of their racist sewers to intimidate every Muslim for the crime of two individuals who had clearly been driven beyond the edge of insanity, at least in part due to the war crimes of Tony Blair and George Bush, which is clearly no justification for this barbarism.
When Kate Hudson finally agreed to post something on Left Unity’s website, it was a second-hand, pretty feeble attempt, one written by her for a completely different organization. As if that was not bad enough, Kate graced it with a picture of herself, as though this was just one more photo opportunity for her to establish name recognition for her as a prospective Left Unity Parliamentary candidate. Not everything is about you, Kate. But it was even worse than that. Much, much worse in fact.
The photo Kate chose to associate everything about Left Unity with her personally was one of her with a massive grin on her face. Talk about inappropriate. I had to complain for days about how bad her decision made Left Unity look for her to see the light and delete that utterly tasteless photo of her. After a few days she did the right thing, changing her photo, although still failing to see any need to dump any personal reference to her in an article about Woolwich.
My reward for getting her to face up to the idiocy of what she had done was to ban me from contributing to Left Unity’s blog. Shoot the messenger, eh Kate? Kate Hudson clearly needs all the help she can get to stop her screwing things up for all members of Left Unity, but she is impervious to argument. So she censors the opposition. This incident tells us everything we need to know about what has been wrong with Left Unity from day one, and how conference has merely carved these flaws in stone, condemning it to an early grave.
The latest report of the conference tells us how great it was that the so-called ‘Safe Spaces’ policy went through conference which stops critics actually making the case against the party leadership. Actually, despite their best intentions, delegates refused to debate this monstrous censorship by a brittle Left Unity leadership. The leaders ran away from a vote, and responded by pretending they won the vote. Utterly, utterly pathetic.
The level of debate by Left Unity’s leaders is atrocious and their only hope of winning votes is by gagging everyone who is not a cheerleader for what they are saying. This is outrageous. Not only will it reduce them to a laughing stock within the labour movement; it is tactically inept given that socialists sharpen our polemical weapons by internal debate. Kate Hudson, Tom Walker and the rest of these people can stop their critics in Left Unity, but only at the expense of stopping their rank and file preparing them for the television studios. They are going to walk in and be taken apart because they are untested. They will flounder, and deserve to look like the political illiterates that they truly are.
Left Unity under Kate Hudson’s leadership has zero ambition to put an end to the system of wage slavery. It is merely an extremely dull vanity project that she and a handful of others hope will get secure them parliamentary careers. I see precious little hope of their getting close to doing this: the real left – the socialist left – will take them apart in the debating chamber of a serious electoral campaign. Kate Hudson, Tom Walker et al pose no threat to Labour, SNP, Greens, Respect, never-mind an alternative pole of attraction to the Thatcherite xenophobes of UKIP, those who have been mopping up the radical protest vote of a legitimately alienated electorate.
What might Kate Hudson’s Left Unity succeed in doing? Only one thing: adding to the alphabet soup of parties of the left that want a piece of the action, want to eat into Labour’s hegemony within the labour movement. Kate Hudson wants above all else to stop TUSC winning and she knows that first-past-the-post poses a problem for TUSC. So she exacerbates that problem by setting conditions to any electoral non-aggression pact with an organization whose members have just reminded us what it can do thanks to their stunning victory in Seattle: Kshama Sawant. Left Unity, Kate? Pull the other one.