This post is entirely speculative but it is based on a mysterious event: the effective closure of the web blog devoted to propagating the left-wing politics that most people associate with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the British Labour Party.
The blog is called Left Futures and it was founded by Jon Lansman, a long time Labour party activist who ran Tony Benn’s unsuccessful bid for the party’s deputy leadership in 1981, against Denis Healey, and the 1988 bid for party leader against Neil Kinnock, which was also lost.
In 2015, Lansman backed Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership race and in the wake of Corbyn’s unexpected victory he founded the Momentum group, a grassroots, left-wing activist movement which later was officially allied to the Labour party. Momentum is estimated by some to have over 30,000 members and is strongly pro-Corbyn and anti-Blairite.
As founder, Lansman owns all the Momentum data, i.e. details of its membership, which places him in a unique position of influence vis-a-vis the Corbynite left.
Lansman also founded the Left Futures website as a forum for debate on the Labour left. The website’s self-description reads:
Left Futures is an independent on-line network which seeks to bring to the web the best writing and the sharpest criticism on the Left, and open debate about shaping the future. It is committed to socialism, sustainability, internationalism and democracy.
However the site appears to have stopped operating. The last post was on October 1st, over three weeks ago.
Suspicious minds have suggested to thebrokenelbow.com that this may be a sign of an impending rightward shift in Corbyn’s political journey, as the prospect of Downing Street looms ever closer.
With Theresa May’s leadership of the Conservative Party in increasing flux and another general election not unlikely in the foreseeable future a shift to the right – which would of course be called a shift to the centre – by Corbyn would be in a long, if less than proud Labour party tradition.
Closing down, or at least silencing Left Futures would not be inconsistent with that.
Time will tell.
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Not beyond the realm of possibility (he has nuanced his views on the likes of Trident), but surely he remembers the huge backlash against Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems when they got into bed with the Tories and reneged on their election promises?
The main reason he’s attracted such a strong youth vote is because he’s seen as someone who’s always been on the right side of history (gay rights, anti apartheid etc), so he’s a refreshment in the face of Blairite politicians who are smooth looking and have the right soundbites for the airwaves, but who are merely Tories at heart. For him to go and undermine all of this for the possibility of a few extra votes from people who would never vote for him anyway because they see him as the archetypal “bearded leftie”?
Historically the BLP has moved rightwards before elections not to win votes but to a) mollify Tory voters who otherwise might be motivated to come out in greater numbers if it stayed left, and b) to mollify the City of London which can move against it after the election and undo all its progressive plans. If he was still alive and/or compus mentus, I would say go ask Harold Wilson. Some would argue it is why you cannot have revolution via the ballot box…….