The twenty second of March 2013 was the day that the Labour Party in Northampton finally gave up its claim to be a political party that represented anyone other than itself.
The evening in the Guildhall started off well enough, as a piece of gesture politics the walkout by Labour councillors before the Tory administration gave its eulogy to Thatcher was quite good theatre.Marred only be the fact that their colleagues in Corby had done it in a far more stylish way the week before,but at least it erred on the side of righteous indignation.
However it went downhill after that,in dramatic style.
A couple of weeks ago there was a demonstration on the Guildhall steps against the bedroom tax.A couple of Labour councillors, Stone and Mennell turned up and spoke passionately against the legislation.Sally Keble also appeared,at least for the press photo-call and then scurried off.
So far so good.
Then came the meeting.Labour had five motions to be debated and the last one was about the bedroom tax.
To call it a motion is in fact stretching credulity.it was more a whimper,it was the mom and apple pie version of a motion.
First it called the bedroom tax 'so called', thus rather undermining the national party's decription of the tax.It then rambled on a bit about it being something the Labour group was against and would fight it 'through the usual channels' and it then came to a dramatic dénouement- the high point of the labour Party's stand against what many think is Cameron's poll tax moment.
NBC Labour group was urging the Tory administration to speed up the creation of an appeals panel!
Yes you've read it here first-the labour party has decided that barricades and defence of tenants is a bit passée, so instead of calling for no evictions as the Green led Council in Brighton has done,or redesignating rooms as many Labour council's have done-the passionate political giants on Northampton want an appeals panel to be set up quickly.
Of course the fact that the Tory administration would set up and dominate the panel and that it demonstrated quite clearly the defeatism of the Labour Party really diodn't bother the assembled comrades.
After all Lee Mason, former Labour leader and former Chair of housing cheerfully admitted that it was a non-political resolution!
A non- political resolution about the most politically contentious issue facingf local government today!
For good measure she also confessed that as an opposition party they did not have a majority and therefore could not win a vote.
The logic therefore is to present a defeatist motion, get it passed and proclaim in every Labour Rose a great victory!
Torry Wire the Leader rather lamely criticised those of us who urged that they withdraw the motion that we should have heard them last montgh,when no doubt in an opposition business statement they told the Tories that they were all very naughty boys and girls.
The tragedy of all this is that over the next few months things are going to get worse, and tenants might have hoped that the opposition would at least put up forceful arguments in the Council chamber to give them some hope and inspiration.
But the rules of debate in NBC mean that the topic cannot be revisited for several months(six months seems to be the period)
This was known to the Labour group and even discussed,but yet they allowed the weakest and most pathetic resolution to stand.And they even managed to lose that fucker!
The Tories were playing with them, the anodyne resolution from Mason had its rug whipped away by a sanguine Tory leader who was enjoying himself hugely at the expense of the official opposition.
Even the Lib-Dems made a better fist and tried to warn the Labour party of where their Tory appeasing motion was headed.It was instructive to see the look of anguish on the faces of some of the Labour councillors,but sadly anguish was not enough.
Lee Mason and her non-political motion has failed the Labour party in Northampton, if they win more seats in the County Council elections it will only because the Tories and Lib-Dems are even more unpopular, but this sad display of ineptitude has revealed just how hollow and directonless the local Labour Party have become.
And that is not only bad news for those who seek socialist transformation but for the people of Northampton.
Labour councillors hang your heads in shame!