Secret recording of Kinnock's anti-Corbyn speech to MPs
Neil Kinnock was elected to become leader of the Labour party on 2nd October 1983 being the least unpalatable candidate in the contest, against Roy Hattersley, Eric Heffer and Peter Shaw. Even from this distance in time, it is almost unbelievable that the Labour party was only able to find these four from amongst its numbers to challenge for the post of party leader. Within a short period of time, it became clear to many, that far from being the paragon of socialist values and ideals as promised before and during his leadership election campaign, Kinnock was in fact just another opportunist who would be prepared to ditch anyone and anything that did not fit in with his vision of "life after Foot".
Less than two years into his "leadership", his close association with Peter Mandelson, soon to become Kinnock's Director of Communications and "rising stars" Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, confirmed that the Labour party was moving to the right and that Kinnock was following the path of former leader Jim Callaghan, guided by Mandelson, Blair and Brown.
His personal dislike, verging on hatred, of certain individuals within the Labour party and the wider labour movement was vividly apparent at Labour Party Conferences and the widening rift between the Labour party and the Trade Union movement, culminating in Kinnock betraying the National Union of Mine-workers strikes, ensured that Margaret Thatcher was able to pass the most draconian anti Trade Union legislation through Parliament that this country has ever seen, most of which remains on the statute books even to this day.
In his period as leader of the Labour party from 1983 until 1992, Kinnock fought and lost two General elections, despite the Mandelson created public image and publicity programmes of Kinnock and his wife strolling along the beach (and famously falling on his back in one out take) and adopting the "presidential style" of presentation still used by some today. The party had become a party of spin, presentation and froth rather than a party of substance and principled belief. The voter noted this change and they rejected it. Kinnock announced his resignation as Labour Party leader on 13 April 1992, and ended his 25 years in parliament in 1995; to take up various lucrative roles within the EU, first as Transport Commissioner.
What then motivates Kinnock, in his now infamous speech to the PLP attacking Jeremy Corbyn, to argue that "the party was established to pursue a parliamentary route to socialism" when he himself had been instrumental in laying the foundations to shift the party to the right, abandon socialism and to commence the path towards the abolition of clause 4 of the Party Constitution? Why does Kinnock still cling to the now well worn cliché that people will not vote Labour with Corbyn as leader, when people did not vote Labour when Kinnock was leader? The criticism of Labour then was that "You are all the same when you get elected" and they deserted the party in droves and membership plummeted. That cannot be said about today’s party when our vote has increased in local election we have won all by elections and taken all Mayoralty elections, and party membership now stands at over 600,000, and all under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.
Kinnock’s diatribe to the PLP was not as enthusiastically welcomed as some PLP conspirators and the media would have people believe. He represents a period of party history where the Labour Party elite lost its traditional relationship with its members in the Constituencies, the ordinary voter that we represent and the Trade Union movement which founded the Labour party so many years ago.
Kinnock in his ending rant to the assembled PLP said "There will be no retreat! Dammit, this is our party!"
In this one statement Kinnock demonstrated why his leadership declined after only a few short months. The party today does not belong to the PLP. The Labour party belongs to the membership in the Constituencies, Trade Unions and we shall fight tooth and nail to prevent it falling under the autocratic control of those self serving elitist plotters of the Parliamentary Labour Party.