Daily Express - - NEWS -

LIKE Win­ston Smith at the end of Ge­orge Or­well’s dystopian mas­ter­piece 1984, Labour Party moderates have learned to love Big Brother. Se­nior Labour fig­ures in­clud­ing deputy leader Tom Wat­son and London Mayor Sadiq Khan who once railed against Jeremy Cor­byn made as­ton­ish­ing dec­la­ra­tions of loy­alty to his lead­er­ship at the party’s con­fer­ence in Brighton this week.

Away from the scenes of ado­ra­tion for the dear leader in the con­fer­ence hall there was plenty of grum­bling about bul­ly­ing and in­tim­i­da­tion by ac­tivists in the Cor­byn-back­ing Mo­men­tum fac­tion in local par­ties. Down­cast moderates swapped grim tales about MPs and coun­cil­lors be­ing threat­ened with de-se­lec­tion un­less they agreed to re­cant on past crit­i­cism of the lead­er­ship and swear eternal loy­alty to the cause. Local par­ties were said to be rou­tinely pass­ing Mo­men­tum-backed mo­tions cen­sur­ing sit­ting MPs for sup­posed be­tray­als of Cor­bynite ortho­doxy.

The depth of the gloom among Mr Cor­byn’s foes was strik­ing. “We have to ac­cept that we have lost,” one de­spon­dent party moder­ate told me. “The party has been taken over by the hard-Left and be­come a com­pletely dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tion. For the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion on the Right of the party it is all over.”

An­other said: “We are like ghosts left behind from an­other age.”

No one at the con­fer­ence in Brighton was dis­cussing the pos­si­bil­ity of quit­ting Labour and set­ting up a break­away group as the So­cial Demo­cratic Party at­tempted in the 1980s. The dwin­dling band of moderates who have not slipped out of pol­i­tics al­to­gether ap­pear to be fo­cused en­tirely on an ef­fort to en­cour­age the party lead­er­ship to­wards a pro-Brus­sels po­si­tion on Brexit. They risk becoming fix­ated with a stance that will be at odds with many of Labour’s traditional work­ing-class vot­ers.

Mr Cor­byn’s al­lies are in­tent on chang­ing party rules to en­fee­ble MPs and hand power to the mem­ber­ship. Their aim is to turn Labour MPs into un­think­ing del­e­gates sent to West­min­ster to carry out the in­struc­tions of Left-wing ac­tivists. For the fore­see­able fu­ture Cor­bynites can sing The Red Flag con­fi­dent in the knowl­edge that their moder­ate foes have hoisted a white one.

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