I see Terry Fields has died. He was a Militant MP who sat on the Labour benches from 1983 until 1992 when, having been expelled from the Labour Party, he lost out to the official Labour candidate at the general election.
Militant was the elephant in Labour’s sitting room right up until Neil Kinnock’s inspiring 1985 Bournemouth conference speech when he famously – and rightly – attacked the “grotesque chaos” caused by Militant in Liverpool. After that, the Trots’ number was up and gradually the Forces of Goodness and Light forced the Forces of Darkness from our midst; in other words we expelled the sods.
After 11 years in government, internal disputes in opposition two decades ago now look like the equivalent of two bald men fighting over a comb. But it was important that that fight happened and that it was won by the right side.
We had our own expulsions in Glasgow Cathcart in which I was closely involved, so I bear some of the scars from that period. So when I hear the term “Trot” bandied about to describe anyone to the left of Jon Cruddas, I take it with a pinch of salt. Real Trots – proper Trots – despise democracy and favour violent overthrow of democratically elected governments; supporting marginally higher tax rates for people earning more than £100,000 a year isn’t really up there with taking control of the commanding heights of the economy in the Big Book of Trotskyism.