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Douglas Alexander: Labour hasn’t fired Arnie Graf as election guru

30 March 2014

Ed Miliband tried to reassure his MPs this week that the party just needed to weather a temporary blip. But one question the Labour leader will be (or should be) contemplating which is quite separate from the squally polls is whether his top team can repair increasingly public tensions which are as much about personality as they are about strategy. The Mail on Sunday reports another fissure between Douglas Alexander and Michael Dugher, while Andrew Rawnsley has a useful guide to the major fault lines in the party. This morning on Marr, Douglas Alexander was asked to comment on reports that his party had fired Arnie Graf as community organising election supremo. He replied:

‘First of all, we haven’t and secondly only on Monday we appointed our hundredth community organiser across our key seats in the country. He’s going to be involved in the general election campaign, absolutely. Listen: the work that he started is being taken forward: we’ve got a hundred organisers across the country. We didn’t even have a hundred organisers in 1997 when we won our historic victory.

‘The difference is the Labour party’s membership is growing. We’re up against a party that even in the key seats, the Conservatives now has halved its membership since David Cameron became leader, less than 100,000 members, average age 69 and rising. The Conservative party are a party in retreat and Labour actually is advancing in those critical marginal seats where we’re actually going to see the outcome of this coming general election.’

Those words ‘listen: the work that he started is being taken forward’ don’t suggest a particularly prominent role for Graf in the months ahead. Allies of Graf won’t just be furious with Alexander over this: they’ve been agitating in private for Ed Miliband to protect those in his camp who are pushing for a visionary and ambitious election campaign, such as Graf and Jon Cruddas.

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Show comments
  • Mukkinese

    Meh. All this attempting to maximise Labour’s internal differences is missing the point. Everyone expected Labour to fall apart into back-biting and squabbling after 2010, but Miliband kept them together and disciplined.

    Pretending that they will panic and fall back into their old ways because of a few bad polls is more “whistling in the dark”…

  • Colonel Mustard

    Some here may find this a useful aid to discovering more about how the “post-modern left” works and what has been imported from the USA to Britain under our noses but without its stench being detected:-

  • swatnan

    Its important to remember that we are British not American, and we have values, so its no point in coping America, just because it worked for Obama. EdM is no Obama.
    In fact any Democrat could have beaten John McCain and Sarah Palin, and Romney, even Hilary.

  • HookesLaw

    The Times runs on Lab wanting to give away more free money ie cut student fees. I suspect Labour do not detail where the money will come from or how they would fund a decent and competitive higher education system.

    • Mynydd

      I’ll wait until the Labour party make a statement on student fees before making a comment. You must remember the News International Times are anti-Miliband for standing up and calling out Mrs Brooks which resulted in the closure of the News of the World.

      • HookesLaw

        News International? I think the Guardian will be lining up their lawyers over that.
        Does that mean you do not agree with cutting tuition fees?

  • Mynydd

    Isabel Hardman missed out one point Douglas Alexander made, in that the latest poll give Labour a 7 point lead. So to confirm his point, You/Gov / Sunday Times, 30 March, Con 33%, Lab 40%.

    • HookesLaw

      The YouGov Euro election poll puts UKIP in 3rd. And says 42 stay 36 leave. The problem with these polls is they do not ask what to after or if we leave.
      The Opinium poll (did wee Dougie mention it ?) shows a Lab lead of just 1 point compared with 5 on the 12 March.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    He sounds very important this Arnie Graf.

    • GnosticBrian

      Indeed, he is such an important figure that Labour he didn’t feel the need to obtain anything as mundane as a work permit.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Graf’s origins are in the Chicago-based IAF (Industrial Areas Foundation) founded by Saul Alinsky which describes its chief purpose as power and its chief product as social change. Basically infiltrating communists who inspired a similar common purpose here. As usual the intentions don’t match the outcomes as the current state of Chicago demonstrates.

      “Alinsky helped establish the tactics of infiltration now so widely used by the left, coupled with a measure of confrontation, that have been central to revolutionary political movements in the United States in recent decades. He never joined the Communist Party but instead, as David Horowitz puts it, became an avatar of the post-modern left.

      Though Alinsky is rightfully understood to have been a leftist, his legacy is more methodological than ideological. He identified a set of very specific rules that ordinary citizens could follow, and tactics that ordinary citizens could employ, as a means of gaining public power. His motto was, “The most effective means are whatever will achieve the desired results.””

      Sounds familiar.

      “IAF targets specific communities and seeks to “build a political base within the sector of voluntary institutions that includes religious congregations, labor locals, homeowner groups, recovery groups, parents associations, settlement houses, immigrant societies, schools, seminaries, orders of men and women religious, and others.” Once it has gained a foothold inside any of those entities, IAF sets out to “identify, recruit, train, and develop leaders in every corner of every community” where it has a presence.

      Sounds familiar:-

      There are numerous contradictions in Alinsky’s creed, including his conflation of conservatism with privileged power which anyone who took a close look at New Labour from 1997 to 2010 and who takes a close look at Miliband re-invented “socialist” Labour now will recognise as nonsense. It is now rather difficult to see much more than the power aspiration in all those cloaked agendas and the creation of the type of privileged elite that Alinsky’s creed would have opposed.

      The animals looked from pig to man, etc.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        So he’s a very well connected sleek turd?

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