He’s been elected by a big majority as the new Scottish Labour leader. Reviled by the Left, distrusted by Miliband…but how bad is Jim Murphy? Very bad argues David Jamieson
After Johann Lamont’s resignation over Westminster control over Scottish Labour, the party has chosen to elect the ultimate insider, Jim Murphy, to represent their aspirations for Scotland. Murphy is almost certainly the most right-wing leader in Labour history, in any part of Britain. Here are a few reasons to be very wary indeed.
1Authoritarianism. In 1996 Jim Murphy graced the House of Commons for the first time when he was the subject of an unprecedented ‘Early Day Motion’ which condemned his presidency of the National Union of Students (NUS) for “intolerant and dictatorial behaviour”. He had engaged in a furious campaign of persecution against NUS officials who supported NUS policy of free education at a time when (as today) Labour Party policy was against free education. Murphy left the NUS for a job in the Labour Party.
2Fingers in the till. In 2012 Jim Murphy was found to have exploited a loophole in his parliamentary expenses, by letting out his London address at the same time as claiming its rent. He is believed to have made anywhere up to £20,000. Incredibly, he was carrying out this scheme when in 2009 he apologised “on behalf of all politicians” for expenses theft.
3Staunch defence of Israel. In 2001 and 2002 Jim Murphy was the chair of ‘Labour Friends of Israel’. During his tenure war criminal and architect of the massacres at Sabra and Shatila, Ariel Sharon, became Prime Minister of Israel and construction of the now infamous West Bank Barrier began.
In 2011 he attacked the Trades Union Congress for supporting the boycott, calling it “a big step backwards” and also criticised student campaigners pushing for an academic boycott. He dismissed a UN vote to recognise the Palestinian state as ‘symbolic’. He insisted that the Labour Party under Ed Miliband must remain a ‘staunch supporter of Israel’. There is no evidence that recent massacres -particularly in Gaza – have changed is attitude.
Support for the Apartheid state was once widespread in the Labour party. Following decades of genocide against the Palestinians it is now widely recognised as an extremist position.
4Leading Membership of the Henry Jackson Society. Blairism in foreign policy terms is a form of Neo-Conservatism. But it is very rare for a Blairite to openly subscribe to Neo-Conservative ideology.
Jim Murphy is a member of the ‘Political Council’ of the HJS – he is one of a few fanatical Blairites on the Political Council which is utterly dominated by Conservative ultra-reactionary back benchers – the same ones who are now calling for a coalition with Ukip.
Henry Jackson was a military hawk and ‘anti-communist’ McCarthyite senator. The society named after him, founded in the U.S but transported to London in the run-up to the Iraq war, is the main bastion of Neo-Conservatism on these islands. At its inception, its avowed policy was barbarian:
1. Modern liberal democracies set an example to which the rest of the world should aspire.
2. Supports a ‘forward strategy’ to assist those countries that are not yet liberal and democratic to become so. This would involve the full spectrum of ‘carrot’ capacities, be they diplomatic, economic, cultural or political, but also, when necessary, those ‘sticks’ of the military domain.
3. Supports the maintenance of a strong military, by the United States, the countries of the European Union and other democratic powers, armed with expeditionary capabilities with a global reach.
4. Supports the necessary furtherance of European military modernisation and integration under British leadership, preferably within Nato.
This goes on and on and on. But since we have focused on the avowed task of HJS for subjugating foreigners and subjecting them to our supposedly enlightened ways, I must, for balance, mention clause seven. The HJS:
7. Gives two cheers for capitalism.
5This is all wrong, so wrong. The Labour party was founded as the parliamentary wing of Trade Unionism – to support the aims of progress and enlightenment. If you think the items in this list are arbitrary go back and read the black thread that runs through them. From the beginning of his career as NUS President he has supported market based economic policies and cracked down on dissent. When democratic institutions penalised him his friends in ‘New Labour’ swooped in for his protection.
From that point on he has been groomed for influence and become a key cadre of militarism and neoliberalism within the party. Even among his cohorts his support for aggressive foreign policy and free market economics is eccentric. The crisis of Scottish Labour has landed him as leader. But this is all an accident of history, and a figment of the historic decline of Labour. It was never meant to happen. And this right-wing extremist has no claim to lead the labour movement.
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