The attempt to rather peremptorily abolish the post of Labour Party deputy leader, and hence get rid of Tom Watson at the start of this year’s conference was at the very least inept and badly thought through. The blame attaches itself firmly to Jon Lansman, the leader of Momentum, who seems to think he has some magical contribution to make to the party. Personally, I would be quite happy to see the back of Watson, who has serially failed to fulfil his constitutional deputy leader role. But this can’t be achieved through a last minute back of a fag packet motion to the NEC. It’s the sort of thing Watson himself was guilty of in the Blair/Brown wars. Watson plots in his sleep, usually on a foundation of solipsism and careerism. Having said which, he may have slightly more electoral appeal than Lansman, who comes across as a humourless ideologue, a kind of hangover from Militant days where a sense of humour was not necessarily considered essential in the make-up of a working class revolutionary. As it is, Lansman’s actions have detracted attention from issues of substance at the start of the party’s conference—not that that would have stopped the media from latching on to some other ‘Labour in crisis’ story.
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