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The Broad Left and the End of Labour Politics

Article first published in Labour & Trade Union Review, No. 29 (May-June 1992), 12-23.

Derek Hatton, Deputy Leader of Liverpool City Council and most public representative of the Militant faction, Charles Clarke, Neil Kinnock

A copy of this article in Word format can be downloaded here

Charles Clarke and the National Union of Students
'Left Caucus' into 'Broad left'
A problem of policy - There being no serious policy options for a students union, the rivalry of factions within the union became a 'rhetorical auction'
Only disconnect - resulting in cynical disinterest on the part of ordinary students
The nature of CPGB idealism - How adoption of the notionally democratic Socialist British Road to Socialism did not produce a conversion to the idea of democratic Socialism
Deviousness with a purpose (the Left Caucus, embodying an ideal which could not be publicly admitted) and deviousness for its own sake (the 'Broad Left' - Martin Jacques and the abandonment of any sort of political idealism)
'Trends in youth culture' - a transference of affection from the USSR to the USA 
The effect on the Labour Party - The drive against Militant - 'Having no programme or avowable purpose of substance, the Broad Left would have lacked a raison d'être that it could proclaim had it not been for the existence of the Ultra-Left.'
'A pestilential nuisance' - 'It is not to be wondered at that politicians who have made a career out of being pestilential nuisances of the most irresponsible and unreasonable kind should not know how to deal with other political tendencies that make life a trial for them in their respectable dotage.'