Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The world has gone mad or so it seems

This is an experimental blog, I am not writing it I am in fact dictating it to a machine that is called Dragon, and so far so good.

Talking to a machine seems more sensible at the moment than watching the news or even reading a newspaper everything seems to be going to hell in a hand cart. It's hard to believe that the United States, the place where people fled to escape tyranny, intolerance, hatred and all that could be found in the old world. Who could believe that the country that called for the huddled masses to seek sanctuary could end up with a bizarre president like Donald Trump. Of course America has a dreadful history it massacred the indigenous people set about creating unfettered capitalism and it destroyed everything in its way.

America, has been a contradiction since the founding fathers laid the basis of a nation that was in many ways a product of the Enlightenment. Of course even founding fathers were not perfect, even Thomas Jefferson owned slaves and my favourite president John Adams was not above a bit of political chicanery but compared to what we have now he was indeed a shining light in mankind's history.

It's hard to believe that the country that has so many different peoples, but has a history of almost tolerance- you have of course to remember Phil  Ochs memorable song "Mississippi find some other country to be part of". America cannot forget or ignore the tragedy that was and in some ways still is slavery. But for a few years it seemed that the American people understood that dreadful history and was prepared to make changes to ensure that Afro-Americans, that Latinos, that Native Americans would eventually be treated with equality and justice.

As someone who hated the American hegemony who objected most strongly to American imperialism who objected to the exploitation of other people's by the US military it did all seem to be changing. There was a time when after the Vietnam War there was a dawning in popular consciousness that America was no longer the world's policeman, why it could even elect an Afro American as president, there was a moment in history quite recently that things seemed to be getting better.

But all that fell apart last November when the political establishment of the Democratic party elected as its candidate another waste of space. There was a time when it would have been possible to have welcomed Hillary Clinton as a real change but that time came and went and we were left with just another opportunistic mediocrity. Had the Democrats listened to the mood of the people and perhaps given Bernie Saunders, the Vermont Senator the chance to bring a new political vision to the jaded elite and enthuse the millions of young people who are believed that Obama was merely the start of a new process of political involvement then who knows what could have happened.

However we all know what happened we know that a cynical manipulation of public opinion a juxtaposition of the notion that a billionaire property developer somehow could speak for unemployed factory workers and the urban dispossessed is frankly absurd.
Horror of horrors, as I was reaching the end of this near perfect blog, no spell checks nothing going wrong the phone rang as i was reaching my conclusion, and the dictation process ended.So you may never know how far I think the world has gone mad!

Monday, 6 February 2017

How much bleaker can it get?

There have been many dark times during my sojourn on this planet.Like so many others I thought the time of the Cuban Missile crisis in 1961 was a highpoint of grimness.If you remember it was a time when a new and inexperienced US president, advised by such halfwits as J Edgar Hoover and John Foster Dulles and even his younger brother-the US Attorney-General and onetime  assistant counsel to Sen. Joe. McCarthy.
The Russian leader N>S> Khrushchev seemed at the time to be a bit of an adventurer but in hindsight played a canny hand, and by removing some missiles from Cuba got a guarantee from the Americans not to invade Cuba,and that agreement seems to have held-until now!
That was then and now is now.
Nobody needs a rehearsal of the tragedy that has occurred in the US.The cleverest and most sinister election campaign has resulted in a 'President' that makes Nixon and Reagan seem moderate and reasonable and even gives George W Bush a patina of intelligence.
Things must be bad when billionaire Koch,principal funder of the tea party numpties has called together a bunch of fellow billionaire right wing donors to find ways of shutting down Trump.
Even the most reactionary free market zealots have spotted that protectionism,a trade war,closing borders and picking fights even with the right wing media is not healthy for the good old American capitalist system.
The red necks may well have rallied behind the demagogue and they may well believe that he will open all the mines in West Virginia and the steel  plants in Ohio but the masters of the universe know better and as a more savvy class of capitalist know that their favoured system of exploitation requires the international movement of both capital and labour.
Probably something a frequently bankrupt property developer was unaware of, but even he might have noticed that one of the auto companies he wants to talk to is called 'Fiat-Chrysler'-bit of a clue in the name Donald.
But then of course he shuns elites,preferring to hunker down with his red-neck buddies and those of his supporters in the white sheets and the pointy hoods!
Why I'm so depressed is not simply Trumpy, I have confidence that the American people will take care of him,sooner I hope than later -impeachment is one of my favourite words, and Tom Jefferson and John Adams put enough hurdles in the constitution to screw up any passing illiterate narcissist.
My worries are not simply   lodged in the White House,the contagion is far wider, the arrogance of the Brexiteers and the growing strength of the far right in Europe.
there is indeed a spectre haunting Europe right now and it 'aint socialism, it's national socialism.
What we are seeing step by step is not a revolt against elites, not a resistance to the haves from the have-nots it is pure unadulterated racism! and for the moment Trump and Farage and those like them have given respectability to Le Pen and the rest of the fascist rabble throughout Europe.
And in turn the pressure is on to give way at the edges- Labour politicians burbling about 'immigration' and 'controlling numbers' and the Tories sneaking in little bits of legislation to satisfy the Daily Mail and the Daily Express.
Curb health tourism today is the big idea, although they have to admit that it costs 1/1000 of the NHS budget, and will almost certainly cost more to administer as the BMA (hardly the natural base of the SWP) point out 'implementation will cause chaos in the health service'
I understand tat the former Archbishop of Canterbury,Lord Carey,thinks we should,nt be beastly to the Donald.
The dead parrot sketch lives and breathes after all!



 

Monday, 16 January 2017

Return from the dark side to another dark side

My last blog was October last year.I was then stricken by the palsy and but for a couple of brilliant paramedics, a whole bunch of doctors and a series of seriously talented nurses ,especially young Vlad I might have been putting this together of a celestial plane(or do I mean plain!)
However it turned I had a minor stroke and after a night in NGH I have been becalmed in Western View-not quite observing the sunrise but reading a huge biography of Rasputin( who by the way comes across as a paragon of sanity compared to Trump.As a matter of fact the people of America might have done better electing a long dead Russian monk of dubious morals than sa still breathing billionaire of dubious morals.
The only still remaining vestige of my strokette is frequent typing errors,infernal slowness and handwriting that now resembles a seven year old child.
My events in November just reinforced my belief in the NHS,well in fact the brilliant people who work in it not the parasitical Tory politicians who are trying to dstroy it, the greedy drug companies who are fleecing it on a daily basis and the monstrous privateers who are working hand in glove or more  precisely hand in pocket to dismantle our health service.
It is no coincidence of course that one of Trumps' most passionate ambitions is to destroy 'ObamaCare' as quickly as he can.
Lets not beat about the bush (which the world should have done to George Dubbaya) this shallow creature is firmy in the pockets of the big pharma companies and  insurance conglomerates.
It's also of course no coincidence that his big mate is that booby Farage,whose party is keen to dismantle the NHS too,whatever they say.
Of course we are hearing on a daily basis May and Hunt claiming the NHS is safe in their hands-and anyone who believes that really needs to see a mental health practitioner (if of course there are any left)
There are many reasons for the current problems in our health service,the major one of course being chronic long term underfunding.The Tory solution revolves around us all living longer-that pesky health service did its job too well and has kept too many of us proles breathing too long.They want to ration health care,to insist that we don't trouble hospitals until we're really on our last legs.
I wonder if 95 year old Phil the Greek will ever spend a few hours on a trolley in a corridor ?
But it's not just underfunding, the cunning plan is to kill off as many GP's as possible by imposing seven day working on them and expecting them to add loads of other things to what they already do, and on top of that spend no more than five minutes a patient.
then they wonder why nobody wants to be a GP these days,and as wll as losing existing doctors the numpties and to make sure that fewer trained doctors come over from mainland Europe.
You couldn't make it up.
Funding is indeed the major problem.but thee are others.
What clowns thought PFI would be a good way of financing the building of new facilities ? Borrow money from the private sector and end up in hock for dcades! (don't answer that question-just think it)
And of course the brilliant wheeze some years ago called 'Care in the Community'-remember it ? The notion was to close all those 'expensive' post operative hospitals like the one at Pitsford,sell the land off, and assume that post operative care would be dealt with the private nursing homes,local authority care homes and by families supported by visiting care workers paid for by local social services.
It all seems a different time...
It seems to me that the only thing that can change  this dreadfully depressing litany of horror is a Labour government based on an understanding of socialist values.That always reminds me of Ken Loachs' film 'Spirit of 45' when Clement Attlee spoke the the party conference and believe it or not used the's' word- you know the one that Jeremy Corbyn uses quite a lot.
I was born within a year of the founding of the NHS.So if you want to blame anyone for its problems, blame me-not that nice Mr Hunt(of whom it was reported today will acquire £16 million from the sale of shares in a company he owned)
Yup- blame me, it was all that free orange juice and cod liver oil that they doled out atthe childrens clinic    

Friday, 21 October 2016

'I was so much older then,I'm younger than that now '

A short wallow in nostalgia, with all the appropriate cheesy cliches to record the latest Nobel Literature laureate.The fact that Bob Dylan,who  was awarded the prize last week has been the recipient of so much abuse and rancour is good reason to celebrate his award.
Indeed if Bob had been of a nervous disposition, or a shy retiring Labour MP he would have probably reported the critics to the National Executive and sold his story to 'The Sun'
Crowds of mournful critics have bleated out of every orifice that Bob is no poet ot writer and should never be allowed into the world portals of 'literature'
Most prominent amongst the arbiters of literary taste has been the Scots born novelist Irvine Walsh- whose claim to fame is the semi-literate novel 'Trainspotters' or some such tome.
Well,can you remember a single word the numpty has ever written ?
If he is the measurement of modern literature then indeed we've need for the zeitgeist !

I can measure my cultural awakening (classy huh!) to my early encounters with Dylan.The cliche 'soundtrack of my life' is something more than another banality.
I grew up in London in a Scots working class Communist household.The earliest 'soundtrack of my life ' was the curious eclectic discordance of Paul Robeson,the Red Army Choir, Jimmy Shand and his band and because my Mum liked his voice Jim Reeves.
It was ever so ,there is a curious bit of the psyche of all Scots  that they appear to have an unhealthy affection for country and western music.
Now it could of course be the simple affinity between Celtic fiddle music and the tunes and stories that the early settlers took across to the mining communities in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Kentucky,a style we romantically describe as 'blue grass'.
Or of course it could just be an attachment to slushy sentimental pap,after all.Consider the stirring airs of Irish popular music and what passes for the same in Scotland.How can you compare 'A Soldiers Song with Andy Stewart singing 'A Scottish Soldier' -FFS! 

But as I grew older whilst still enjoying Paul Robeson I was moving into political activity,and that meant going to YCL socials where everything was sedate and almost genteel-a scratched recording of the Red Army Choir was often on offer or a visit to a smoky back room in a North London pub where bawdy folk songs were wailed by bearded blokes with their fingers stuck in their lugs in the style of Ewan McColl or American union songs in the style of Pete Seeger.
Interesting how smoky back rooms are often depicted as the backdrop to revolutionary conspiracies-we know Uncle Joe liked his pipe-but did old LD Trotsky puff away on a cheroot ?

Of course in my more proletarian incarnations a tacky scout hut on the Holloway Road was a venue where we swirled around like demented hornets singing 'I'm 'enery the eighth I am,'enery the eighth ...' whilst a mediocre four piece played out of tune.
Around the age of fifteen or so I forsook much of my musical heritage when I found Dylan.My Saturday job was in Islington Central Library, a much coveted Saturday number where we were paid handsomely-35/6 a day,a rate for schoolkids that the union Nalgo negotiated for us (in those days unions even protected part time schoolkids and we weren't even members)
The average Saturday wage at the time in grim North London was £1.00 a day so my  £1.75 was a cut above.
I also learned how to carry an armload of books that went over my head and found out the hard way what it was to be bawled at by a head Librarian (to this day I can remember Bob Crumpton's unique command of the English language)
Across the road was a record shop, and with my first 35/6 in a wee brown envelope I went in and invested in my first wholly owned LP of my own choice , and for 15/6 I possessed Dylan's second album 'Freewheelin' Bob Dylan'.
The soundtrack of my generation.
I suspect there are few of my age who are unaware of so much of his repertoire and who cannot forget the inspiration that Bob gave us, through the civil rights fight,the Vietnam war,the fight against apartheid and all the domestic and international struggles we lived through and fought through.
Of course there were others that followed,Phil Ochs,Joan Baez,Tom Paxton  McColl and Seeger and then the generations that followed.
There were other styles and genres that followed and arguably have also changed people's lives.
But like Bob:
"I was so much older then,I'm younger than that now."

Perhaps 70 is the new 25!
And Irving, if you think your a writer......up yours!   
 
    

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Agitate,educate and organise!


When we left beautiful Dubrovnik on Saturday morning we were fairly sure what the result would be from the conference in Liverpool.
we were not disappointed and I suppose we have to thank Owen Smith for confirming what many of us knew, that the Labour Party is no longer a snivelling collection of careerists and policy light clones but is emerging as a Socialist party, indeed now the largest one in all of Europe,and is becoming less and less the 'hollowed out shell' that Jason Cowley described last week in the New Statesman.
That's a bit ironic really given that the NS, along with it whinge-mate Progress  and all those other New Labour types has been the cheerleaders for 'moderate' politics, or to be more precise 'do as little as possible to rock the boat' politics of the last three decades.
However there is still a great deal to do if the Party is to be turned into one that can give leadership and hope to millions who are being crushed on a daily basis by austerity and the laughable pretensions of the so called 'political class'.
There is no such thing as a political class, it is a creation of wishful thinkers who believe if they say it often enough then we will get used to the perpetual rule of an elite.The one that the NS called the 'golden generation'-you will of course remember them, Douglas Alexander,James Purnell, the Miliband Brothers and of course the all dancing Ed Balls.
it is now up to all those thousands of new members to move on from hoping for change to creating change.
But some stable cleaning has to take place.The first and most important is that the witch hunt against members by the Party officials must end.It cannot be right that the thousands of new members subscriptions are being used by officials to trawl facebook and twitter and websites to find something someone once wrote eons ago and rehash it as being evidence of 'bullying' or 'deviation' or somesuch old tosh.
I guess when the thought police come to look at my scribblings over the years there is enough to cast me into the outer darkness several times over.(I forgot they already did that,at my last appeal they found stuff I had written ages ago on this blog-strangely enough it was a comment I made about Dennis Skinner becoming a parliamentary character-I'm glad by the way I got that wrong!)
However if these latter day heresy hunters had been around a few decades ago, well old Nye would have been slung out for calling tories 'vermin' .
So the first thing that happens must be the muzzling of the heresy hounds.
Then the Party needs to understand that endless bleating about unity means nothing other than offering a cover for plotting and scheming to go on with endless pious references to 'taking on the Tories'.
You don't take them on by wagging a petulant digit and then having a pop at JC.Neither does it mean stuffing inane leaflets in letterboxes,asking people what they want or offering to collect their litter or empty their dustbins.
In every area people have issues that confront them daily, some are small irritants, others are major problems,caused either by austerity or lousy Tory administrations.
What is required is for Labour Party branches to get involved in local struggles,to play a leading role, ina word to AGITATE.
There are many good examples, the best and most obvious one in Northampton at the moment is the plans by local Tories and big business to construct a highly dangerous and polluting incinerator in the St  James area.All the sophistry and preachy resolutions about creating business plans or understanding the problems of waste disposal and blah blah will not help the people living in the potential shadow of the monster.
I am delighted to see some Borough Councillors notably Gareth Eales taking a lead in the campaign, but it i9s just the sort of campaign that the Party should be organising townwide-that is real leadership within the community.
Which leads on to the second strand of what the Party needs to do-EDUCATE.
Every campaign that the Party participates in,if not leads should be about explaining in clear terms what is happening and why.Far too often, Councillors and indeed MP's get caught up in the management speak so beloved by bureaucrats at every level.If you want to know why people are turned off by politicians, can I suggest to those who are the public face of the Labour Party listen to themselves sometime, instead of preening in front of a camera,listen to what you are saying.
The reason why JC so resonates with so many people is that he speaks people-not jargon!

Lastly, if the Party is agitating and educating it needs to ORGANISE.That is the first lesson of the history of our movement.Even those farm labourers in Dorset understood that they needed to organise their workmates in the village-of course they got deported to Van Diemen's Land for their trouble, but at least they knew what had to be done.
Everyone talks about winning the next election, but to put it simply,stuffing semi literate leaflets in letterboxes is not organising, it's political drudgery at it's lowest level.The trade union movement learned what to do 150 odd years ago.
If Labour is to win council or parliamentary seats it won't be achieved by having a top heavy bureaucracy that spends its time sifting through members Facebooks and studying rule books like racing form books.As a simple suggestion with all the new money in the party,why not deploy Regional staff and indeed head office grand poohbahs into local constituencies, not simply to prepare for elections and design leaflets but get out into neighbourhoods and act as political organisers throughout the year.As a matter of fact as well as union officials on picket lines,LP organisers should be there too, offering to workers in struggle facilities to support their actions.
Labour Party organisers,activating and education within the communities,supporting members actions, supporting trade unionists,supporting tenants ,supporting claimants at the Job Centre.
"Where workers strike and organise,it's there you'll find......"  
Now wouldn't that be grand.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Farce repeats itself,first as farce and then as farce

Regular readers of my ramblings will be aware that I have a deep affection for the party of my youth-no not the Communist Party,or more precisely the Young Communist league) but rather that old warhorse of democratic socialism,the Labour Party.
One of the reasons the YCL threw me out,well amongst many, was that I found the notion of 'democratic centralism' irksome.
I could well understand in times of revolution and violent upheaval the need to maintain what leading party cadres used to call iron discipline.I understood why for instance during the Spanish Civil War each batallion needed a Political Commissar, after all in those times every comrade needed to trust each other,their lives depended on that trust.
That I understood, I knew instinctively that in a revolutionary situation discipline was everything, and each unit of the party was responsible to the one above, from the branch to the district to the Central Committee to the Political Committee.

But I found it difficult to relate that to the task of selling copies of 'Challenge' on a Saturday at the Nags Head.Would the revolution falter if I missed selling my quota ? Would those capitalist exploiters rub their fat hands together and polish their top hat if I failed to turn out on a demo. ?
Democratic Centralism was a futile activity in nineteen sixties North Islington, the proletarian masses of the Holloway Road were not buying into revolutionary change, indeed they were not even buying 'Challenge', and it was only a tanner!

Of course I might have got myself expelled even quicker if I had known that I shared my revolutionary aspirations with Peter Mandelson and David Aaronovitch !

So for a few years I pottered around left politics of sorts, whilst some movements held my attention and enthusiasm, like the Yellow Star Movement, CND,Anti-Apartheid and of course the huge anti-Vietnam War campaign, I was for much of the time a sort of political dilettante. 
For a time I thought I was possibly a Maoist,and whilst a student was almost 25% of the total membership of the Sussex Communist Caucus (M-L) Apropos of nothing in particular it was during that time I made a brief acquaintance with a very sharp guy called Alan Woods, who was a founder of what we now know as 'Militant'
But then he was a 'trot',the mortal enemies of us 'Stalinist' Maoist.
this by the way has all been a bit of a preamble to my main point.By the time I got to Northampton I had done the whole gamut, from the street newspaper of the 'Stoke Newington Peoples paper' to the intense study group of 'Theoretical Practice'-an Althussarian sect.
in Northampton there was very little left political activity, a few members of the old SLL,a smattering of anarcho-syndicalists and a tichy branch of the CPGB.
It was our next door neighbour,the redoubtable Doll Pickering who heard us ranting a bit in the garden and invited us both the the Castle Ward labour Party.
Now Doll was what you might describe as one to the right of the party.He was a great admirer of Reg Paget the then Labour MP (frequently described as being to the right of Attila the Hun)
But our fierce leftism did not phase Doll and she and the other older members made us welcome.
It was then a party in transition, and meetings at Charles Street were to say the least rumbustious.Every month branches and unions submitted resolutions and the debate was fierce and partisan.Ideas were explored,positions taken and defended and everyone was encouraged to engage and participate.
Of course there was endless plotting and counter plotting,voices were raised and tempers frayed.But as far as I can recall nobody burst into tears if the temperature got too high, and strangely enough everybody came back the next month.

It was as far as a party could get from the authoritarian discipline of a democratic centralist organisation.it's true that Northampton got a bit of a reputation with the Regional Office,we were the District Party that was frequently on the naughty step, Yet when that happened it wasn't about personalities but about principle.When the SDP was created we were almost suspended because we refused to endorse as candidates people who were involved in defecting to the SDP.
The NEC were furious with us and even sent no less a figure than the late and very left wing MP Eric Heffer to reason with us.
Didn't work, and we would have been locked out of the party had a general election not intervened.

what is happening now is too tragic for words.Jeremy Corbyn was elected last year with a huge popular vote of party members.He was elected,we are now told he is unelectable !At the next General election it will not be those 170 odd MP's, or those geriatric time served peers or even the wealthy donors who will win the election, it will be the hundreds of thousands of party members who will go out in their communities and persuade their neighbours that the Labour Party is not 'New Labour' but the sort of party that Doll and her democratic socialists fought for all those years ago.

Sharp suits and soundbites don't win elections, surely Jim Murphy and his mates in Scotland proved that-what wins elections is sincerity and a programme that resonates.Clement Attlee was a PR disaster on legs-and yet....
What worries me most is the dubious behaviour of so many, the labelling of thousands as 'trots' the influence of large financial backers,the hysteria about intimidation and bullying,and the description of thousands of young and new party members as followers of a 'cult'

even here in sleepy old Northampton things don't look too good, former PPC's write a letter,using party membership lists to members urging them to support that Welsh bloke.The nomination of JC by the two parties by 78 to 13 strangely doesn't reach the Party nationally, three members are still suspended,with no charge brought against them for almost a year,some members are told of meetings,others are not.

 
There is as far as I can see an atmosphere if mistrust and suspicion,why has it changed ? Thirty years ago we would argue and disagree upstairs in Charles Street, in that big smoky room for hours, then we go for a drink together afterwards and plan what Tory ward we were going to hit at the weekend.There are big campaigns waiting for Labour party leadership in this town, and I don't mean collecting litter.
we have two Tory Councils whose incompetence and arrogance is exposed every day, Northampton Labour Party I am told has thousands of members.
Where are they ? maybe their not getting the e-mails ? Who knows ?

Saturday, 6 August 2016

When is a movement not a party ?

I'm getting a little concerned about the state of mind of some leading figures in the Parliamentary Labour Party.
Only yesterday it was announced that Shami Chakrabarti, the distinguished civil rights advocate and long time leader of Liberty,the international human rights organisation( that the Labour Party has been associated with for many years, and indeed some of its leading members like Harriet Harman worked with) has been nominated by Jeremy Corbyn for a peerage.
She was the only Labour nomination in Cameron's retirement honours-and you would have thought the roof had fallen in!
Dear old Tom Watson got himself in a right two and eight.Whilst admitting that she was a superb candidate and would make a distinguished contribution to the Lords he bleated about the timing,the fact that it was Cameron's list and that JC had not told him!
then there was a flurry of criticism, the Chief Rabbi complained that her report on anti-semitism in the Labour Party  was not sufficiently robust, that is to say she didn't find hordes of anti-semites lurking in the shadows.
And of course St.Keith Vaz complained that he didn't know what day JC first told  Shami she was being considered.
This by the way is the same sainted Vaz who agreed to a new Zealand judge copping £500,000 a year for working three quarters of a year and then quitting on the child abuse enquiry.
Motes and beams seem to be the appropriate comment! 
But it seems at the moment elements of the PLP are trying to find,quite unsuccessfully to find any crime,real or imagined ,to nail on Jeremy Corbyn,to persuade Party members to vote for the immensely popular and well liked MP-Owen....?
What i find so difficult to comprehend,and maybe amongst me readership at the Labour Party Regional Office is why, if JC is so hopeless,the big beasts of the PLP were not queuing up to take him on ?Why was the challenge left to two middle ranking members of the PLP,one slightly better known than the other and she dropped out, leaving the Welsh bloke to campaign on a platform a pale shadow of Jeremy's!
What can you say about a Labour candidate who proposes a minimum wage Lower than the one the Tories are proposing !
I  feel a bout of Kinnock coming on, remember his outrage at Militant in Liverpool:
'A Labour Council (voice rising dramatically) a Labour Council scuttling round Liverpool and blah blah blah...'

however the strangest critique going round at the moment is the view that mass meetings are somehow not part of the project anymore.
A handful of people mincing around an ice cream van is somehow OK. but thousands standing in a square listening to a political speech:
'Well it's not cricket !'
Now I guess those right on Blairites (sorry that word may now be illegal) have never seen those old photographs of an earlier beared Labour leader haranguing a huge 'crowd' in Trafalgar Square objecting to a war (WW1 as it happens)
But then J Keir Hardie was always a bit of a dangerous subversive old premature hippie wasn't he.
then on top of hating mass meetings there is a resentment that such activities may just be part of a #movement', whilst so many of the PLP do not want a movement, they want a number of well behaved leaflet distributors who don't raise difficult questions, don't want a conference that might ask those difficult questions.Indeed it would appear that most of those distinguished Members would rather not bother with a party structure at all.Better not to have CLP meetings other than to reselect the sitting member.
Although to be fair when you see Westminster on TV there are few of them sitting there anyway.
All my life I have wanted a mass party, half a million members of a left wing political party.I'm so bloody excited.
But we need much more than a party that responds to parliamentary dog whistles.We need a party of the streets,of the workplaces,of the housing estates.We need a party of tenants and residents,patients groups,youth activists,anti-racist activists,anti-semitic activists,refugee supporters,disabled rights activists- you name the progressive cause then Labour Party activists should be taking the political initiative.
And that in turn will build the community activists,who will become the local councillors and the local MP's.
In building such a movement we expect it to work in parallel with building a trade union  movement.That means agitating, organising and educating (sorry for the old proletarian slogan there-it slipped in)
We need to see the union movement organising where unionism is weak,with the unemployed,the young,migrant workers.As part of that movement we need to see bigger unions, that elect their leadership and end the nonsense of small unions with big numbers of full tim staff.
As an aside the Labour Party also needs tom elect its full time staff too,no more 'appointments' for life.
Such a strategy will not just be for the next General Election,although of course you never know in these strange times.
Remember Socialism is not just for the next election or even Christmas- it's for ever!