Sunday, 23 August 2015

I bet the Labour party never knew it had so many friends !

All my experience in the Labour Party led me to one conclusion-what we needed most was a mass party,ideally of young idealistic people who wanted to change the world.You know like the young peop0le who came back after WW2 and wanted to end the squalor and ugliness of the preceding Tory decades-a world to win!
Over the last few weeks the Labour Party has tripled in size and can be almost called a mass party once again.
However it would appear that its the wrong mass!
A bit like the wrong leaves on the eail or the wrong weapons of mass destruction !
Not long ago we were told that Labour needed to attract people who had voted for other parties, Lib-Dems,Scot-nats,Green party, even Tories and UKIP supporters.We needed to build another big tent.
But now it seems what the Labour Party hierarchy meant was a not really so big a tent and one that could be trusted to vote like docile sheep for the next available mediocrity that sounded like the last available mediocrity and going back through a long line of mediocrities
Why does the Kinnock conference speech about generations of pig ignorant Kinnock's spring to mind?
now it is true that some mischievous Tories with a few bob to spare may have invested three quid (I bet they weren't members of Unite!) and its possible that the 'hard left' have infiltrated the party ranks.
But lets get this in some sort of perspective.
it is possible that a bunch of Tories have signed up-maybe the same Tory donors who have bunged Yvette Coopers' campaign £75K( or don't we talk about that!)
And maybe the 'far left' have mobilised all their supporters to join- well that's probably a few hundred at bes.Anyone who knows the nature of the left groups in this country knows two things, that there are not too many of them and the possibility of getting them to agree to any coherent joint strategy makes herding cats simle!
So what we really have is a large number of people who really desire change,who have seen mass movements emerge in Greece,Spain and Italy and especially Scotland and want to be part of that movement.

Can anyone in the Labour Party seriously suggest that the SNP knocked out 40 Labour MP's on a right wing programme?
What happened in Scotland was not about the charisma of Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond ,  it was a recognition that austerity was destroying the fabric of their country and the Labour Party stood for absolutely nothing.
Who on earth would vote for Murphy and Alexander and the other numpties who were offering merely a shade less austerity than Cameron and Osborne.

Now of course all we have his the hysteria of the British press and the wheeling out of what are euphemistically called 'Labour grandees' on a daily basis to rubbish Jeremy Corbyn and his thousands of new young supporters.
I thought it was scraping the barrel with Blair,Mandelson,Danzuck, Blunkett and the rest, but the ramblings of Baroness Boothroyd probably reached a new low.Who can they pull out next ?
Expect to hear any day from Herbert Morrison or Ernie Bevin-or possibly the wise words of J Ramsay McDonald-that doyen of all things traditional Labour Party.
The machinations and gerrymandering of party officials will get worse and more sinister in the next three weeks,expect more people to be barred after they have cast their vote-and how does that work in a secret ballot?
We are told that they will comb the canvass returns to see how people voted.Having canvassed for almost 40 years I can assure anyone that canvass returns are as close to fiction as any novel by jeffery Archer (actually they're better than any fiction by Jeffery Archer) and anyway-I thought the whole point of the electorally concerned Labour Party was to win people back to the party, especially if in the past they voted elsewhere.
Seems an odd way to encourage them to support the Labour Party:
"Oh you voted Green in nineteen oatcake-your barred!"
I hope that Jeremy Corbyn wins and the Labour Party moves into a new trajectory, my great fear is that the forces of reaction, those fat cats who want to be in a meaningless shadow cabinet (you know the ones that Tim Farron is encouraging to join him and his 7 dwarves to become the 'real' opposition)
I(f they win then all the enthusiasm of the past few weeks will be lost, those new members will vanish like the summer snow,who wants a four year war of attrition in constituency after constituency.
I've been there and it is soul destroying.
In my lifetime the best thing that ever happened in the Labour Party when the SDP decamped .It is possible that the left will be in a much stronger position than it was in 1981,but Corbyn will have two major handicaps-the PLP and the Party organisatio0n.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Now is thev time for all good men to come to the aid of the party.....maybe!

I'm in danger of becoming optimistic again about the future of the Labour Party.It is still a fairly difficult thing to come to terms with, but after the excitement and style that has engulfed young people in Scotland, Greece and Spain,couple the real enthusiasm for radical change actually happen here?
Even tiny stirrings in Vermont, where  Bernie Saunders the self professed socialist State Senator has entered the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination-and hold your breath-may be in the lead on Iowa and maybe even in New Hampshire!

I know its unlikely but there is a small still voice that says after so many false dawns.
When Jeremy entered the race to lead the Labour Party I was pleased by somewhat apprehensive.I remembered the euphoria when Tony Benn stood for the Deputy leadership and the campaign that convulsed the Party then, and the narrowness of Healey's victory.But that was then and this is now.Since that time the Party has changed.Three terms of Blair has ensured that the Party is not even a cocial democratic shadow any more.To put in bluntly it is at best a party of technocrats who believe they can manage capitalism betterv that the Tories and the Lib-Dems. They have swallowed undigested the whole free market ideology and have managed to create a party that doesn't sound like a socialist party,walk like a socialist party, talk like a socialist party and worst of all think like socialist party.
Even the events in Scotland during the GE failed to make an impact=I listened to the candidates for leadership there and they sounded as shallow and bone headed as Jim Murphy did before he was swept away.I still find it hard to believe that Dugdale, the likely winner tweeted on Hiroshima  Day that she was grateful that we had Trident!
And yet JC,despite all the hysteria about him appears to be pulling further ahead!The right are so desperate that they've pulled out Alastair Campbell to rubbish Jeremy. I.I thought bring Blair out of his estate was a desperate shot, and Johnston and Miliband D and Kinnock- but Campbell!
When in doubt they resort to the oldest fear tactic'entryism'.
It seems they never learn, why they even bring out the old warhorses of a different time,Derek Hatton, George Galloway,Dave Nellist and if they could get away with it the corpse of old Leon himself.
Their clai is that  maybe most of the 100,000 + new members are closet trots of one sort or another.Well sweeties can I tell you this, if the 'far left' in this country had over 100,000 clandestine members, the last thing they would do is to join the Labour Party!
Of course it is not a takeover by other parties or even party.There is a genuine desire for radical change, for an anti-austerity programme that means something,for poitical solutions that mean something different, not more of the same but in a different bottle.
So in the absence of actual conspiracies they follow the next route, it's not what you belong to,or where your 'allegiance' lies, it's what you think and say.Mark Serwotka, the outstanding leader of the Civil Servants Union has been denied membership ' because of what he has said or written;.It seems that in the new Model Labour Party even thoughts have to be policed.
" Whilst i have never personally metTony Clarke and John Dickie I know through the local media they are long standing critics of the local Labour Party.Through colleagues in the Labour Party I also know both individuals have a track record of using unfounded rumours to undermine Labour councillors who happen to have a different view or agenda from them."
That is an extract of a letter from Councillor Nazim Choudary to the Regional LP officer George Carr-Williamson in January 2012.
It was part of his response to a complaint against him for assault brought by a young woman.
Strange as it may seem I was in the LP before Choudary was even born and astonishingly I have been a long standing critic of Labour policy and many of those who damaged the party by pushing wrong headed and anti socialist policies for all those decades.But throughout that period of membership I like many others believed that my interests and values were those of the Party I joined.I had no difficulty in agreeing with the statement my union asked me to sign.
I was expelled in 2007 for breaking the rules,although I was supporting the wishes of my ward, but that is of no matters.Like so many others both those who are joining today for the first time or re-joining after a period of disillusionment I hope the Party will go back to the values and principles it once stood for.
And if Jeremy does win there is one thing he must do right away-get rid of the full time apparatchiks who so disfiguew the Labour Party today.And maybe some of tghe careerists too!