I ended the 1980s convinced that Tony Benn was in the pay of the dark right-wing forces. From the viewpoint of democratic socialism, he seemed to have an unerring ability to adopt the most strategically inconvenient and divisive positions on anything.
He was either being paid by MurdochThatchaReaganCIA, or - perhaps more plausibly - he was indicative of the problems that the far-left will always have in a developed democracy.
They are a constituency that is easy to appeal to if you have slightly demagogic tendencies and an eye for the combination of the ideological elegance and political unpopularity.
So, while I'd happily sign up to many of the demands of the Labour Party's far-left (not the entryists from democratic-centralist parties, obviously), the far-left is a political club that it is just pointless to join.
Here's Stroppy on the inelegance of the leadership challenge from the left.
Stroppy: Get used to it. Every opportunity will be missed. Every chance to show discipline will be scorned. Every alliance will explode in recrimination and personal antagonism.
That's the left for you. It's always been like that.
Sorry about that now.
*Update* - there is the Oaten precedent to worry about though.