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The Independent Group: A moment of destiny, or destined for the dustbin of history?

In Luton South, the local party chair quotes Trotsky to express his disgust at the defecting MP Gavin Shuker. But might history actually be on the side of the new movement, asks Adam Lusher

Monday 25 February 2019 14:04
Markus Keaney, local Labour chair, says Shuker would be annihilated in a by-election
Markus Keaney, local Labour chair, says Shuker would be annihilated in a by-election

It’s not every day you get to rock a flat cap and give a Trotsky turn of phrase to the BBC News from Luton. But Markus Keaney, chair of Luton South Constituency Labour Party, managed it all this week, when he discussed his recently departed ex-comrade Gavin Shuker, the constituency’s MP.

Keaney looked forward to the day when the defector to the Independent Group would be “consigned to the dustbin of history” and “annihilated” by an official Labour candidate at a by-election. His words were uttered with the cold rage of a man who knows his local party committee procedure and is prepared to use it in the cause of “passionate new members enthused by the promise of a break from neoliberalism” – as he described the post-Jeremy Corbyn intake in his September Morning Star article, written after a no-confidence vote taken by party members against Shuker was carried.

But, to refer to the context in which Trotsky popularised the “dustbin of history” line, who here were the doomed Mensheviks, and who the 1917 Bolsheviks arising to greet the new post-Capitalist dawn? As the Independent Group went cross-party with the arrival of three defecting Conservatives, were we witnessing the start of something like Emmanuel Macron’s French En Marche! movement? Or would Keaney still get his annihilation moment?

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