As the strife in Labour mounted following the EU referendum, its former leader Neil Kinnock told a meeting of the party’s MPs: “Dammit this is our party! I’ve been in it for 60 years! I’m not leaving it to anybody!”
The sentiment was repeated, albeit in milder form, by the former leadership hopeful Liz Kendall in an interview with GQ last week.
“I’m not going to leave my party,” she said. “I am not going to give up my party to people who do not represent what we believe.”
Who exactly the “we” or the “our” Kinnock and Kendall refer to is unclear in the above statements.
Indeed, the tussle over Britain’s major leftwing party has revealed a complex ownership that underpins any large organisation.
As someone who spends much of his time listening to left-wingers, I’m used to seeing people upset after losing an election.
Contrary to popular cliché, such events rarely look like the five stages of grief, and the aftermath of the British decision to leave the European Union has been no different.
There’s something decidedly American about the timbre of the latest election for London mayor.
Should a real press regulator ever be set up in this country, its first rule should be that any paper found to be puffing itself like a political or corporate dispatch will be abolished on sight.
Most would not last the day, windbaggery being a practice most editors and proprietors enjoy even as the grunts on the newsdesk wipe tears from their eyes as they extract the sliver of meaningful information from another slew of press releases.
It’s this practice that leaves a bitter taste in the mouth as one leafs through the last paper edition of the Independent, still the last full-blooded national ever launched in Britain (New Day and the i being cheap-sheets) after 30 years.
It is evident to anybody who takes an interest in free speech and its bedfellow free thought that the Internet is now the only battleground worth fighting over.
As such, any attempt by a journalist to publicise the likes of Aaron Swartz, one of the programmers behind Reddit – to name a lesser achievement – should be applauded, even if it is Laurie Penny.
But the trouble with Penny’s writing on this subject is that it is dishonest, and it fails to delineate the complex argument around distribution of information in the Internet age.