It's not cheating to run a good campaign
Journalist John Harris has many admirable qualities. For example, he once wrote a long article in the Guardian about how great my friends in Oxford are.
However, he is also capable of writing some terrible rubbish, like today's article, which tells the Terrible Tale of the latest Blairite Stitch Up.
Erith and Thamesmead are choosing their parliamentary candidate for the next election, and the Blairites are apparently supporting Georgia Gould. Apparently, her supporters are doing shocking and devious things like encouraging Labour Party members to vote in the selection and producing leaflets to support her. This is kind of like cheating, apparently, because it might look bad to unspecified members of the general public (this is actually Harris' argument).
In a super classy way, John Harris also manages to find space to repeat all the smears about Georgia which he has read on the internet and not managed to find any actual evidence for (this is in the same article as his condemnation of Damien McBride for, um, passing on smears about his political opponents).
I'm not a Blairite, but I have met and campaigned with Georgia and I think that she will make an excellent MP. Harris mentions that Erith and Thamesmead only has 279 members. If they select Georgia as their candidate, then she will be able to use her extensive experience from campaigning in Mitcham and Morden and Oxford East (two constituencies where the local Labour party is very active, and where she has spent a lot of time over several years volunteering as a campaign organiser) to make sure that the local party spends its time getting new people involved, and in keeping in touch with local people, listening to them and helping with their problems. Those are exactly the skills which, in my view, any constituency with a large majority but a small membership should be looking for when choosing their parliamentary candidate.
It would also be good if we could kill off this idea that it is somehow cheating for aspiring parliamentary candidates to encourage members to vote in selection processes, or to produce effective campaigning leaflets. These are exactly the campaigning skills that we need Labour candidates to have, and are far more useful than, say, the ability to make a speech in a room full of activists. John Harris should know this, because my friends in Oxford explained it to him last year very patiently and clearly, and he wrote it all down for his article in the Guardian. But he's obviously forgotten it.
There is an ocean of difference between bright, committed young Labour activists like Georgia Gould and poisonous individuals like Damien McBride or other members of the Nasty Party Tendency. In contrast, there is no meaningful difference at all between New Labour spin doctors briefing against their political opponents and self-proclaimed left-wing journalists repeating smears that they've read on the internet against their political opponents.