Waltham Forest Labour in turmoil

Word reaches me from a number of sources that Waltham Forest Labour’s woes show no sign of abating.

The longstanding subterranean infighting between factions continues, as does the jockeying for position to succeed the Leader, Cllr. Robbins. But in addition, the party is now swamped by new members, few of whom have much idea about, or interest in, its traditional ways of doing things, and some of whom seem intent on a purge.

Reactions to this influx vary. On the surface, there is obeisance to the mantra that ‘Jeremy has galvanized a new politics’. But in private, the feeling is one of doom and gloom. Some long-time members are dismayed by the thought of having to embrace old enemies on the Trotskyite, Stalinist and Green fringes. Robbins himself is urgently contacting those he has previously fallen out with in a desperate bid to mend fences. One or two others have already jumped ship to the Corbynistas.

Meanwhile, the shock waves are also enveloping our two local Labour MPs. The Evening Standard recently ran a story about Stella Creasy headlined ‘Left-wingers bid to seize power in east London seat of Labour star’. As for John Cryer, his trade union links may make his position seem reasonably impregnable, yet it is undeniable that even here the cracks are beginning to show. Members grumble about Cryer’s lack of local profile, his circumscribed interests, and his moonlight flit to live outside the borough. Other issues lurk in the background. As students of the French Revolution know, once unleashed, the mob will be unpredictable and capricious.

Against this background, it is interesting to find that Cllr. Shabana Dhedi has agreed to speak at a public meeting in Walthamstow showcasing the new shadow-chancellor, John McDonnell – he of Workers Revolutionary Party sympathies and ‘disarm the police’ fame.

Quite what this development means is as yet unclear. But given that Cllr. Dhedi is known to be close to Cllr. Robbins, is this a sign of the latter hedging his bets?

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