Saturday, May 12, 2007

Michael Meacher interviewed


Another interesting interview, this time with centre-left leadership candidate, Michael Meacher.

Meacher actually comes over pretty well. He puts growing inequality as his highest priority, saying that he never expected there would be growing poverty alongide growing super wealth under a Labour government.

He also stresses the importance of the environment, and his opposition to PFI and privatisation, and the need for democratic renewal. He positions himself as representing the traditional Labour mainstream, rather than being the candidate of the left. In historical terms of course this is true.

He also addresses the issue of whether he is splitting the left constituency, and Meacher claims he is standing becasue he has a better chance of getting the necessary 44 nominations. In some ways he does have a point that McDonnell (as a hard left candidate) may not be best placed to attract votes from the centre of the party. Whether Meacher is better placed is another question.

Actually he does make a very interesting point about why a contest for leader is important in order to make Gordon Brown accountable, answering questions about why he is suitable, and what policies he will be following.

By the way, I notice that Lindis Percy, the brilliant peace campaigner, is supporting Michael.


dan said...

you are such an obnoxious, irritating little wanker

as someone who's not even in the labour party, you're just determined to fuck off those socialists who are still committed to fighting to reclaim the party (which you see as a dead end)

john mcdonnell interviews are all over youtube!

if you're going to try and wind up labour party socialists like this, don't expect us to have anything to do with the likes of you

Snowball said...

Sometimes, I really wish I was I a member of the Labour Left - they all sound so nice and friendly don't they?

Bruce said...

John McDonnell on youtube can be found here and with the John4Leader tag.

AN said...

Indeed Snowball :o)

Talk about using McD's candidature to rebuild the left sit a bit uneasily with constant vituperatve attacks on anyone not supporting their candidate! Or in my case I do support John McDonnell , but apparently without sufficient enthusiasm, or suspension of critical thought.

It would have been helpful if our friend had provided a link to a McD interview, and then i would have put it up.

AN said...

Thanks Bruce

These are not interviews, are they?

In the case of both Jon Cruddas and Michael Meacher, Labour Home filmed long interviews of about 15 minutes each, asking them a number of questions so we get a rounded idea of the candidates.

I have put up a post including a couple of the John McD films.

BUt I repeat, I have not found an interview with him.

Perhaps you should take it up with Labour Home, why they interviewd Meacher but not McDonnell.

Owen said...

If you had taken the time to go to John's video section on the website, you'd have found lots of videos:

As you can see, this section includes one extremely lengthy interview with him.

I'm not particularly interested in getting into a debate with you about your attitude on this whole matter. You know full well what your actual position is. In my opinion, you have always been dismissive towards this campaign, instead championing Jon Cruddas (who, as polls have shown, doesn't have anymore support than John McDonnell as things stand - but is clearly much further away from the politics you profess to have). Like some other socialists who no longer regard the Labour party as a vehicle of progressive change (not least the Socialist Party who, when in a position of any power, have done their best to act as obstacles to this campaign), you seem to have only paid lip service to supporting the campaign whilst heaping criticism on it and refraining from giving any positive comments.

When our campaign has reached the most critical point with the Meacher camp, you express your solidarity by publishing an interview with Meacher and heaping praise on him.

With friends like you...

AN said...


Thanks for the link to the interview. I was looking for one on YouTube, and this interview was on Googlevideo, which is why i coouldn't find it. I have published it above on the blog.

I think it is very disreputable of you to imply that my politics, and my attitude to the McDonnell and Cruddas campaigsn are any different to the views that I publicly state.

I have explained time and again why I think the debate in the unions is the most important arena, and that Cruddas's campaign is a good vehicle for that. Of course McDonnell's campaign also allaows the same debate, but we all know the big 4 or 3 unions are not going to supprt McD this side of armaggeddon.

Similarly, I am happy to publish the interview with McDonnell, yet you snidely imply that I had some ulterior motive in not being able to find it.

You seem to have an obsession with the Socialist party's attitude to this campaign, why mention them here unless you are trying to create an amalgamation of my politics with theirs? In order to make it easier for yourself to dismiss my point of view. this tactoc if amalgamation has a disreputable history in our movement.

As I have explained before, i have supported McD's campaign, championing it as far as I could in my union and in the Southern region of the GMB. This is real practical support.

I have however objected to some of the shrill moralism and overblown boostersim coming from some of McDonnell's team, including your own abuse of anyone not in the Labour party as an ultra left.

It is absolutley absurd to suggest that publishing an interview with Meacher is somehow undermining McD's campaign.

What do you think is going to happen - McD supporting MPs are going to read this blog and switch to Meacher?

I support the left candidate for leader agsainst Gordon Brown, whether it is McD or Meacher. Let us hope it is McD, but it may be Meacher, and we have to work with the actually existing situation.

Nor have I "heaped praise" on Meacher. If you watch the interview I merely provide commentary of what it contains. There is a difference between reportage and advocacy.

AN said...

Owen : Jon Cruddas (who, as polls have shown, doesn't have anymore support than John McDonnell as things stand

Sorry, Owen, but isn't Jon Cruddas backed by both the T&G and Amicus sections of the new UNITE super-union?

Whereas John McD is not suported by the big unions?

All along I have explained that for me, getting the unions to express a political distance from the current course of Blair/Brown was the important issue.

It looks like I was right that Cruddas's campaign has started to do that.

Owen said...

"Owen : Jon Cruddas (who, as polls have shown, doesn't have anymore support than John McDonnell as things stand

Sorry, Owen, but isn't Jon Cruddas backed by both the T&G and Amicus sections of the new UNITE super-union?"

I was referring to polls of Labour party members and trade unionists conducted over the past few months.

AN said...

Yes, I know that - but as all along I have argued that the most important electoral constituency is the unions, then the fact that Cruddas's support in the CLP's is no better than McD's doesn't invalidate my argument, does it?

Cruddas's campaign is in fact allowing the big unions to express a desire for a change of direction, which puts all of us, inside and outside the LP, in a better position for the coming period of a brown government.

Owen said...

I was referring to opinion polls in both sections.

It should also be noted that T&G Broad Left and Amicus Unity Gazette (which have effective majorities on their respective execs) have unanimously endorsed the John4Leader campaign.

You do realise that the leadership election is run under the One Member One Vote system, don't you?

Anonymous said...

Meacher and Mackky D - 2 Bald men fighting over a comb? None of them has a chance of getting elected and their main function seems to be to deceive the public that the "Labour Left" still exists.

Having heard both Meacher and McDonnell speak several times, I have to say that Meacher is far more charismatic and engaging than Mackky D (despite the latter being more consistently left). I heard Meacher speak at the Campaign against Climate Change conference last year and he was very sharp.

Compare the Benn campaign in the early 80s with the John McDonnell campaign - no comparison.

The main function of the Labour "Left" is to give left cover to the right wing of the party. I know plenty of "socialists" in the Labour Party who come election time go out canvasing for their New Labour MP.

How many of the MPs who endorse John McDonnell voted for an Iraq Inquiry?

The number of MPs in Labour who consistently vote left is probably under 5.

Adam J

Mikael said...


"The main function of the Labour "Left" is to give left cover to the right wing of the party. I know plenty of "socialists" in the Labour Party who come election time go out canvasing for their New Labour MP."

Now that's rubbish. Not even "Ultra-Left" rubbish, just plain old good rubbish - no adjective or qualification needed. It's rubbish, alright.

Snowball said...

Mikael - what has been 'rubbish' was the total failure of the Labour Left to hold Blair to account for his war crimes - given he was leader of the Labour Party...

AN said...

Owen: You do realise that the leadership election is run under the One Member One Vote system, don't you?

Of course I understand the basis of the election, the question is whether you realise that becasue McD is going to get a very small vote, the importance of the campiagn is the campaign itsef, and the debate it opens. Not how many votes the candiadtes get.

There is also BTW a diffeence in getting 9% in a field of 2 candidates and getting 9% in a field of 5 candidates.

9% is unlikely to grow to 51%

but 9% could grow to 22% or 23%.

AN said...

Owen: You do realise that the leadership election is run under the One Member One Vote system, don't you?

I cannot believe you approach Owen, which seems to be that you are in it to win it.

It doesn't matter what the electoral system is, the left cannot win the leadership. All we can do is demonstarte opposition to Gordon Brown.

It has been your consistent failure to realise this that has led to the moralistic tone asking people to join the LP as individual members. Wheras our votes as members of affiliate unions are just as valable as demonstrations of opposition, even if they don't have as much weight towards the result. BUt given that McD has no chance of winning, the electral arithmatic is irrelevent.

Mikael said...

Oooh, flashing out the big guns now, eh Snowball.

Some Labour Left-wingers did hold Blair accountable for the war by voting in favour of an investigation; others by participating in a massive PLP rebellion. Meanwhile, you keep smooching around with fundamentalist and opportunists . I actually met Alex Callinicos once - he came off as an utterly confused sectarian with very little knowledge of what Marxism is. Deal with him and George before you attack the Labour Left. At least some members of Labour - quite many of them, as matter of fact - are not afraid to come out against the leadership; unlike the avctivists of the Ultra-Left, which live in fear of their leaders, who rule them like tyrants!
Anyhow, this discussion really isn't worth having with someone whose name indicates that he would melt in the heat of the revolution.

Ed said...

"I actually met Alex Callinicos once... very little knowledge of what Marxism is."

That is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen anyone write. Almost pathetic.

Mikael said...

"That is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen anyone write. Almost pathetic. "

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth though, I am afraid.

I mean, state capitalism... per-lease!

Anonymous said...

Mikael, you are absurd.

The PLP has singularly failed to hold Blair to account. When push came to shove only 12 Labour MPs were prepared to vote for an Iraq Inquiry - hardly a "massive PLP rebellion" and half of them weren't even left wingers. Most of the Socialist Campaign Group failed to vote for an Iraq Inquiry when their scarce a sentient being in the land who cannot see that Iraq has been a disaster for occupier and occupied.

The Labour Left has never been more insignificant. Why try and revive a corpse?

This doesn't mean that there aren't sincere socialists who operate within the Labour Party - but in reality they achieve little by staying in there, and too often give "left cover" to the right wing within the party.

Mikael said...

How brave of you to come forward, anonymous.

Well, it's better to attempt to revive a corpse than to pathetically attempt to build some kind of monster of the frankensteinian type (i.e. trying to merge a number of lifeless dim-witted sects; especially when believing that they can be "reinvigorated" with the "brains" of Callinicos.)

AN said...


You are just making a fool of yourself by implying that Callinicos is stupid or confused.

He may be wrong about some stuff, but he is no fool.

Mikael said...

I didn't say that he was stupid, simply that he came off - at the time I met him, a number of years back - as someone who had very little actual knowledge of Marxism. Such was my impression, and I'll stick to it. Foolish - too bad then.

I would say he's a bit more clever than Rees - whom I met on the same occasion - but at least the latter was rather friendly/had a sense of humour.

AN said...


ARe you familiar with the expresion: "when you are in a hole, stop digging"

Mikael said...

Yes, but I don't see what it' got to do with this though? Am I not entitled to my own opinion about Alex callinicos?

That's the problem with the ultras, say one bad word about one of theirs and you're lost for life...