By Matthew Barrett
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Last year I wrote about Labour's thoughtful commentariat - the sensible lefties willing to accept the fact that cuts do need to be made, and willing to engage with the real political debate - as opposed to those irresponsible voices on the left who would condemn anything the Coalition does as "out of touch" "Tory cuts" made by a "Cabinet of millionaires", and so on.
One of the four I wrote about, John McTernan, has since left the British political scene, and is now working as Australian Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard's communications director. However, a different sensible left-wing voice has emerged to take his place. Atul Hatwal is the Associate Editor of Labour Uncut, and I've collected below some of his best contributions to recent debate.
Hatwal blames Ken Livingstone's defeat on "political cowardice" by Labour's high command. He writes:
"In 2010, Livingstone was publicly campaigning against a Labour candidate having just been selected via a fixed selection process almost egregious as the one which unfairly barred him in 2000. Right was not on his side and as a candidate he was much diminished after his 2008 loss. Expelling Ken in October 2010 might have prompted an independent candidacy, but so what? Ed Miliband would have seemed a strong leader, Labour would have got a better candidate and London’s proportional voting system would have helped neutralise the electoral impact. ... More than Ken Livingstone’s disastrous campaign, this hypocrisy, this abject political cowardice by Labour’s senior political figures will be the real travesty."
Hatwal warns that Labour's regular poll leads could count for very little by election time, because...
"...by 2015 [it is likely that] there will be some form of economic upturn, and Leveson will have concluded. In this more benign political environment for the government, even allowing for Number 10’s serial bungling, would Labour’s 3% lead hold? The lesson for Labour is that the party cannot rest on its current lead. History, and London’s election, shows it is likely to be much closer in reality. To resist a Tory fightback, Labour needs to press the advantage. Now."