Skwawkbox — an embarrassment to the Left
Bob Pitt

I’m disappointed to see an article smearing Skwawkbox in this way, Like many online news outlets, it has often proved invaluable in counteracting and refuting the smears of the MSM and Blairites alike. As such, it has made an important contribution to a scenario, barely conceivable earlier in the year, where Jeremy Corbyn is now more popular than his Tory counterpart.

Yes, Skwawkbox was wrong to surmise that the government had issued a DSMA notice to conceal the true death toll at Grenfell Tower. But given the culture of deceit created by this government, and its predecessors, the error was understandable.

As for the other matters raised in the article, Skwawkbox is far closer to the truth than the author acknowledges. There were indeed elements within the Scottish Labour Party who colluded with the Tories in certain seats to stop the SNP. They were more preoccupied with organising another coup against the leader (which was being organised right up until the publication of the exit poll) than in mounting a serious campaign against the party’s opponents.

Members were encouraged to work to support Ian Murray (who emerged with the biggest majority of any Scottish MP) and as a consequence, Labour missed out on several winnable seats by margins of less than a thousand votes. As leader of the party in Scotland, Kezia Dugdale must take ultimate responsibility for such a misjudgement and it is entirely appropriate that Skwawkbox and others should raise questions about her position.

The role of the party’s regional offices during the election campaign also deserves scrutiny. Largely staffed by Blairites (as indeed is the party HQ), their commitment to a Labour victory in certain marginal constituencies was often conspicuous by its absence. I was horrified to learn that at least one Labour candidate, in an eminently winnable seat where the Tory majority was less than a thousand, was reduced to begging for assistance on polling day itself via social media. I was subsequently less than surprised to learn that the Tories retained that seat.

How many others like it were lost because of basic failures in organisation? Given the increase in party membership during the past two years, attempts to mobilise these extra resources should certainly have been made. Had the will been there from party officers, Labour’s increase in support may have been even more impressive, perhaps even enough to propel Corbyn into Downing Street.

It’s no coincidence that many of our most outstanding results came in areas where Momentum, rather than the party hierarchy, provided the bulk of support for candidates. While their efforts are to be commended, I would hope the NEC take steps to ensure such campaigns are run on a less ad hoc basis next time around.

Far from being denounced in such frenzied terms, Skwawkbox should be thanked for shining light in areas certain powers-that-be would prefer to keep hidden.

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