Thursday 19 October 2017

Labour's secret report backing Corbyn-style party change 'too radical'

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn giving his keynote speech at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn giving his keynote speech at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

An internal party report recommends that Labour here adopts a radical Jeremy Corbyn-style of membership-based politics.

The secret report warns that the party faces a further slide in the polls unless it effects change - with Mr Corbyn's gains in the UK hailed as a prime example to follow.

However, it has emerged that the Irish party will not be circulating the special briefing report from the recent Labour Party conference in Brighton, England.

Some have argued the Irish party needs to emulate the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour revolution in the UK.

Opinion polls continue to show Labour floundering in Ireland since the last General Election.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin was among those who attended the Brighton conference and was photographed being warmly greeted by Mr Corbyn.

The report, seen by the Irish Independent, is entitled: 'From Political Pariahs to the Political Mainstream'.

It advised the Irish party had the choice of following the lead of the vibrant, expanding Labour Party in the UK under Mr Corbyn or else the Greek socialist party PASOK, which collapsed from the dominant force in Greek politics to single-digit support.

"A key part of the revival of the Labour Party in Britain has been the wholesale abandonment of top-down management by technocrats in favour of ploughing resources into enabling members rather than managing them," the report said.

"Much of the ideas are simple and very adaptable to the Irish situation.

"Given that British Labour now stands at 570,000 members and growing (the largest political party in Western Europe), we should try to harness any easily accessible resources from our UK colleagues."

The report warned that the Irish party faced a choice between Corbynism or else a PASOK-style collapse.

"Labour can be timid and meek and look back to old certainties from the 1990s, or we can shape the future. Either way, politics will not stand still - are we open minded enough to political change or content to slip into irrelevance?"

But one veteran Labour Party member said the UK conference report was effectively "suppressed" because it endorsed recommendations far too radical for the liking of many within the Irish party's hierarchy.

"It is an Irish version of the Blairites versus the Corbynistas," he said.

The senior Labour Party member said the report was not being circulated throughout the Irish membership.

"Some don't like where they think it will lead," he said. "It goes too far, too fast.

"They are concerned that once you open the door to such radical change, there is no closing that door afterwards."

But a Labour Party TD insisted policy and strategy development was extremely open with the Irish political party.

Cork East TD Seán Sherlock said Labour's policy development was exceptionally democratic, fair and grassroots based. "Policy is determined by a mixture of ordinary members, policy committees and internal expertise," he said.

Irish Independent

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