Jeremy Corbyn and the obsession with the history of Marxist revolutions.

Apparently there was a pitched battle for the Chair of the Portsmouth Constituency Labour Party last night…

A pitched battle between New Labour and New Old Labour by all reliable accounts. Probably de riguer in the party by now if Damian McBride’s analysis is anything to go by…

for all the indifference that Corbyn and co appear to be showing to the need to persuade the public to vote for them in five years’ time – they are operating with relentless and at times brutal efficiency in their efforts to seize control of the Labour party’s internal machinery. It explains why Corbyn has been willing to appoint only true believers to his key shadow cabinet and inner circle jobs, and is allowing Unite the union to terrorise the party’s staff and MPs like a homage to the Bolsheviks’ NKVD secret police. Why? Because, as any good Marxist knows, you must secure your revolution against the enemies within – including the temptation to dilute the purity of your principles and policies – before there is any chance of taking on your enemies without. Secure the revolution, silence all internal opposition, eliminate any disloyal elements, they tell themselves, and then we will have the strength and unity to take the fight to the Tories, the media and the public. If that strategy seems hopelessly misplaced and outdated, remember that it is only 15 years since the last successful socialist revolution in Britain, Ken Livingstone’s seizure of the London mayoralty.

And…

Livingstone’s 2000 victory in London tells them that a seemingly unfashionable, far-left maverick can command popular support in defiance of his own party, the media and the bourgeois establishment, simply by speaking his mind and sticking to his principles. It’s a good theory, but it comes with grave dangers. The Livingstone who won as an independent in 2000 and as the Labour candidate in 2004 was the same Ken who lost badly in 2008 and 2012. In 2008 we told ourselves that the media assault on Livingstone and the toff factor with Boris Johnson would play in Labour’s favour in terms of driving turnout among working class voters in inner-city London. As it transpired, we were swamped by the size of the vote for Johnson from London’s suburbs, totally alienated by fears that Livingstone would increase their taxes and extend the congestion charge, as well as wanting to signal their anti-Labour sentiment at the nadir of Gordon Brown’s administration. The same pattern repeated itself in 2012: all the more crushing in the wake of the omnishambles budget, with Labour 10 points ahead in the national opinion polls.

Yes. Only this time it may not only be the affluent middle class the Corbynites are losing for Labour. In an albeit tiny electorate, there was some poor news from working class council ward in Ashford in Kent…

I would venture to say that Scotland doesn’t look like it’s going to do Mr Corbyn any favours next May, and it’s London stronghold may follow suit.

Policy on its own is certainly not politics. But policy as an abstraction, ie with only the slimmest grasp on the nature and consequences of current government policy is not a form of politics that most voter can relate to either. In the centre or anywhere else.

Do read the whole thing

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty