A Croydon political thinker and activist who survived an attempt to have him kicked out of the Labour Party is included in the top 10 of a respected political commentator’s “100 Most Influential People On The Left”, published ahead of next week’s Labour annual conference.Andrew Fisher, Jeremy Corbyn’s policy director and a previous contributor to this website, is included at No9 in Iain Dale’s ranking list.
But Steve Reed OBE, the Progress MP for Croydon North/Lambeth South (delete to taste), who took part in the “chicken coup” by the Parliamentary Labour Party to oust Corbyn, doesn’t even manage to make it anywhere in the 100, which is made up of various Grauniad columnists, trades unionists, Green Party figures, the leader of Plaid Cymru and even a not-very-funny comedian.
The joke could yet be on Reed.
Given the result announced today of the unnecessary and prolonged leadership election, and with a new National Executive Committee about to start its work, former shadow cabinet member Reed may need to give his own future some serious consideration.
Corbyn was the overwhelming winner of the leadership contest, which was prompted by the mass resignations of Reed and his ilk in June. Corbyn got more than 61 per cent of the vote, a bigger mandate from the growing party membership than he achieved 12 months ago.
And that was even after a large number of Corbyn supporters were denied their right to vote through a series of suspensions, including a handful in Croydon who have been “purged” in a what has been described as “vindictive and intimidatory” rearguard action by the Blairites.
Corbyn’s re-election was preceded and followed by calls from a range of Labour figures for unity in the movement to take on the Tories, an attitude which the likes of Reed, an erstwhile vice-chair of the Blairite party-within-a-party that is Progress, conveniently ignored when they sought to undermine the leader.
Dale, the LBC phone-in host and right-wing writer, has put together the Top 100 with Corbyn – unranked this time in 2015 – firmly at the top of the listings, just ahead of Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP, and with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan ranked third.
Another Croydon-based figure, Val Shawcross, Khan’s deputy mayor for transport, makes the list, at No77.
Fisher, in ninth, is described as having “a controversial past” – journalistic short-hand for being a socialist who expressed publicly his disdain for the somewhat lukewarm approach to Labour values of others in the party in Croydon.
Dale writes that Fisher, “is very adept at imposing himself and his views. One of Corbyn’s most trusted lieutenants, he is likely to become even more influential over the next 12 months as he starts drafting some firm policies”.
Reed, the sometime poster boy of the neo-con right of Labour, meanwhile, looks to have rapidly diminishing influence.
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