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Reflections and sycophancy: Kinnock versus the socialist Liverpool council
Tony Mulhearn, Former Liverpool 47 councillor
Present day Labour councillors who are carrying out Tory government cuts are still haunted by calls to emulate the example of the Liverpool 47 councillors who refused to carry out Margaret Thatcher's cuts in the 1980s.
This was further evidenced in a recent BBC Today programme when Baron Jenkin, Minister of the Environment during the Liverpool 47's tenure, was asked to comment on the content of cabinet papers which had been made public.
He said the biggest problem he had ever faced was the Militant Tendency's control of Liverpool. He was urged to send commissioners in to take control of the city.
His response was: "How do you get commissioners past half a million people, and how do you get them out again?" Recognising the potency of a mass campaign, his trepidation persuaded him to reject the idea.
This was followed by the first of a series of 'Reflections', in which Baron Hennessy of Nympsfield, FBA and an English historian of government, asks senior politicians to reflect on their life and times.
His first interview was with 'ex-socialist firebrand', ex-Labour leader Lord Kinnock. The interview was a model of sycophancy, leavened with dollops of cloying flattery.
Naturally Hennessy's big question was practically preceded by a blast of trumpets and a roll of drums.
It went something like: 'Now Neil, we come to what some people consider was the best conference speech in the history of the world - your attack on the Liverpool Militants, what gave you such courage and fortitude to make such a brilliant demolition of Liverpool?'
Although it was a radio show, you could sense his Lordship swelling up like a bloated toad as Kinnock entered into a fantasy world in which he carried out his historic role of saving the Labour Party from destruction and delivering a knock-out blow to brave councillors he described as 'clowns'.
He conveniently ignored the fact that the result of his carrying out the edicts of Rupert Murdoch and then Daily Mirror owner, pension thief Robert Maxwell, was the two worst Labour defeats since 1931 while, by contrast, Liverpool's Labour votes were the highest in the history of the city.
Hennessy of course did not ask why, since Kinnock's speech, Labour has been reduced to a hollowed-out scarecrow whose idea of opposition is to ape the policies of the ruling party.
One was reminded of socialist writer Upton Sinclair's quote: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it."
Liverpool: A City That Dared To Fight
By Peter Taaffe and Tony Mulhearn £11.99
The Rise Of Militant
By Peter Taaffe £11.99
Marxism in Today's World
By Peter Taaffe £8
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In The Socialist 14 August 2013:
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