The naivety of Young Labour

A little while ago I received an email from and earnest but mis-guided Young Labour person to explain the rational behind their invite of a Chinese delegate to their summer school. I have considered his email and now would like to explain some things about real life that clearly the folk in Young Labour are missing. On the plus side it is good that they are involving themselves in the political process even if they are as misguided as a Qassam Rocket.

Here is his email.

from: ?? Hayden Munro <[email protected]>
to: ?? [email protected]
date: ?? Wed, Jan 13, 2010 at 11:18 PM
subject: ?? Issues around Young Labour Summer School
mailed-by?? ?
signed-by?? ?

Hi Whale

I read a couple of the comments you made about the girl from China coming to Young Labour?s Summer School this year. As a proud member of Young Labour and as someone who attended Summer School I wanted to explain the reasoning behind extending the invitation to her, and in doing so defend the decision to invite her along. It must be said however that I personally had no part in the decision to invite her, so I am simply trying to illustrate the motives of those that did make the decision.

The idea, as has been explained to me, was that a youth representative from China would come to Summer School, hear the discussions that go on inside a free and vibrant social democratic party, would have first hand contact with members of that party, and could take lessons about democracy and openness back to China. On that front, the decision to extend the invitation was a resounding success, as a decision was made that when she returned to China, she would try to step up similar Youth Forums, where everyday young people in China have a chance to voice their opinions, and interact as equals with members of the main Chinese Communist Party. Furthermore having her at camp gave us a chance to engage her directly on questions of openness. For example over drinks one night after a wonderful presentation from your MP of the Month Clare Curren on the importance of the Internet and Social Media, a few of us took the time to grill the Chinese representative over China?s restrictive internet policy, and the damage it does to free expression in that country. The result of that discussion was her resolving to work as a voice for openness on the internet when she returns to China, and possibly one day assumes a position of power within the main party.

When I first heard the news that a representative of the Chinese Government was going to be attending Summer School, like a lot of other people I did had my reservations. Was it appropriate for us as a centre-left party committed to human rights, to have official contact with the representative of a regime you rightly described as ?bar?baric, total?i?tar?ian,? and ?mil?i?tary dom?i?nated?? Would having her at Summer Camp be putting the Labour Party?s stamp of approval on the atrocities committed by the Chinese Communist Party? It did cross my mind that perhaps the invite had been extended too hastily, that perhaps the better course of action would be to send the message that there was no room for any co-operation or dialogue between our two parties unless dramatic reversals were made by the Chinese Government on positions vital to human rights. I read bloggers on both the right and left who, out of a legitimate commitment to human rights, called on Young Labour to cancel the invitation.

I believe however that to take such a position is to give in to cynicism. It is to throw up our hands and give up on any progress that can be made through open dialogue. China is not, as some of the more full throated voices on the right would argue (I?m looking at you Trevour Loudon) the sort of Stalanist Communist regime of yesteryear. It has an authoritarian regime yes, and the Labour Party has a strong record of speaking out against the excesses of that Authoritarianism. Yet there is another side to China, one that seeks to move towards integration with the free world, in pursuit of shared economic and security goals. The major role that China plays in world finance is a shining example of this, as is our current Free Trade Deal with them. It was this tendency within Chinese politics that Young Labour sought to encourage.? In inviting a representative from the Communist Party to Summer School, Young Labour was choosing to believe that people and institutions can change, and what has gone before need not dictate the future. We were choosing to make small gains where we could, without pandering to the whims of an authoritarian regime. In doing so, we were, I think, living up to the best parts of the tradition of liberal realism that defines our party.? We gave no endorsement of the human rights abuses of the Chinese Communist Party, and did our best to nudge the future course of China into a more open, accepting and, dare I say it, progressive direction.

On an entirely unrelated note, I applaud you for the public stance you are taking over name suppression. While I certainly don?t agree with every aspect of what you are doing, it?s always good to see someone make a stand on principle, and shine light on an area that has gone ignored for far too long. More power to you.

Thanks a lot,

Hayden Munro

Well firstly thanks to Hayden for his email, now a dissection for him and the other slow learners from Young Labour.

I wonder though if Young Labour have got a handle of life in China. If, as they say, Young Labour have “changed” the life of this poor commie kid too much, surely the kid?will be fast tracked to a re-education unit of the Chinese Governments choosing rather than make any huge change to?it’s billion plus population.

I think Young Labour are more than deluded if they really thought they could make a difference.

In fact they have probably condemned that poor commie kid to being an organ donor.

Then against Chinese are smart cookies and cunning as a weasel and she will have worked out that even suggesting that was what she had been talking about is a life (seriously) changing move.

And does anybody for a moment believe that Ting Tong would have been an ordinary citizen of China? If so I have heaps of unicorn horns for sale and a map of Atlantis.

The “Student” will without a shadow of a doubt have been a paid up member of the Chinese state intelligence services and will have been under orders to make friends with as many of the chumps as possible and get all the email addresses to keep in touch. Then progressively over years keep in constant touch telling them how successful she has been in going to meeting telling all the people about freedom and choice all the while lying through her teeth in order to gain the confidence of the fools in young Labour.

The backward naivety of these Young Labour chumps is breathtaking.

UPDATED: A reader has pointed out that the Young Labour person keeps very carefully talking about “the main party” in China. He’s either very very naive or is obfuscating. There is no “main party”. ?There is only the Communist Party. End of.