I had a decent taste of Trad Labour in the People's Republic of South Yorkshire in the era of the miners' strike. The name was a joke, a pisstake of the Yorky Wolfie Smiths who postured and blustered and, like all empty pots, made much noise. The real heavy lifting was done by quieter Labour councillors and officers often drawn from the men that voters respected at work; pit deputies, mining and quarrying mechanical and electrical engineers, tutors at the local Tech, steel smelters, tool makers, railway engineers and the like. I liked those calm, confident men for whom nothing was impossible. They were committed to their class, to their county and to their country. They could coil a steel sheet as thick as your thigh, but it was the unexpected that fazed them. Emissaries from that there London came down to tell them not to say "Find us a cup of tea, will you, Pet" and similar things. They retreated into silence, and into the vacuum came Wimmin with green hair and Pronounced Views.
I've never met Frank Field, but I like him. Just as I liked Tam Dalyell, whom I did know. Tam chaired the all-party Parliamentary Archeology group at the time of the Iraq war, and we enjoyed a lively correspondence on the dangers of damage to unique sites in Iraq by both sides, and I've kept a score of his brief notes scrawled on Commons compliments slips with which he encouraged, fortified and thanked those with whom he worked.
It was no surprise that on the news of Mr Field's relinquishing the Labour whip yesterday, little Owen Jones proved his moral diminutiveness with a jejune, sulky, petulant Twitter post.
Well, I can guess the reaction of the Trad Labour lads I knew. They always had a very fine understanding of what was proper behaviour - and for a 76-year old MP who has represented his constituency since 1979, they'd know damn well that even his most bitter enemies in Parliament owed him gracious words. Field complained of Labour 'nastiness' and Jones has helpfully just proved his point.