Thursday, 14 July 2016

The Labour Party — madness by another name

I begin with a paragraph from today's email from Labour List by Sarah Vine:

Owen Smith, the latest challenger for Corbyn’s crown, has manoeuvred to appeal to the hoards of young members who previously supported Corbyn by pledging a second referendum on the UK’s eventual Brexit deal. It’s a shrewd move - we could see Smith picking up votes from the pro-European members who are internationalist in outlook and would do anything to see the referendum result reversed.

Also news that there is to be a legal challenge to Jeremy Corbyn's inclusion in the Labour Party leadership ballot without the support of 51 MPs/MEPs.

Then, of course, the decision to ban all Labour Party branch and constituency meetings until after the Party's leadership election is over. I have yet to see anything about how, why and who actually made the decision.

Nor is this madness confined to Westminster and the Labour Party's National Executive Committee, there are clear signs that it exists among Party members in Beeston, Broxtowe and elsewhere.

In Beeston there are Party members who want some kind of grand alliance on the left of politics to campaign for a second referendum. It is a madness they share with Owen Smith and Angela Eagle. Perhaps by the time you read this Jeremy Corbyn will have joined them in this collective madness!

I use the word 'madness' as shorthand for 'extremely foolish behaviour'.

The latest post on Municipal Dreams, one of my favourite blogs, is about Harlow in Essex and ends with this paragraph:

Harlow voted 67% to 33% for Brexit in the recent referendum — that's a metric we have come to recognise as a powerful measure of disillusion, and exclusion, from the more comfortable status quo enjoyed by many... this indicates a working class town which suffers the inequalities and deprivations class bestows'.

Not to understand this and to label those who voted for Brexit as unworthy of Labour's attention and support, which is what a second referendum will do in their eyes, will be an act of political madness. Labour should be saying that it understands why many working class people voted out and that it will support them through this period of change.

Theresa May understands this and her short speech outside No.10 Downing Street yesterday actually used the term 'working class' more than once and it was a speech I would have been happy to hear a Labour politician make.

Political leaders of all parties are good at making such speeches, then not delivering, so we will have to wait and, dare I say, hope in the absence of a Labour victory at the next general election that May will deliver. 

The fact that Labour Party remainers are talking about a second referendum has probably already ensured it will lose local government seats next May and a good few parliamentary seats at the next general election.

In the fifty-six years since I joined the Labour Party I have never known a blanket ban on local meetings. This act in itself tells you the disdain which exists at a national level in the Party for its rank and file members. This act will have stopped countless local government prospective candidates' selection procedures for next May. For this reason alone the decision has to be challenged, but instead the money chases an effective ban on Corbyn being a candidate.

At this moment, wherever I look in the Labour Party I see, with a few exceptions (e.g. Graham Allen MP), what I can only describe a collective madness. I believe I have cited enough evidence to prove my point. If you think otherwise, I suspect you are in a state of denial, refusing to recognise or accept reality.

I would like to say I will look at all the Labour Party leadership candidates closely after ruling Angela Eagle because she supported attacking Iraq and bombing Syria. The trouble is Owen Smith will go the same way if he continues to support a second referendum, which leaves Jeremy Corbyn and I am hearing enough from other Party members I know and trust to wonder about his competence to lead the Party, which means right now Corbyn will get in by default and so the madness will continue!

I do not want a Labour Party Leader to adore or who has the same views as me on every issue. I want a leader who will share wealth and power fairly, not just between classes, but between communities and regions, who will put building homes before HS2 type projects. I could go on, but my wants are modest and I know, from just listening to people, that the same can be said for the vast majority of us.

A link to a column in today's Guardian by John Harris, who I like. It is headed There's a fetid cloud of acrimony over Labour — it's the reek of death. 
Click here to read

Also a link to a post I made to my parkviews blog in May 2010, posted on the eve of that year's general election. Click here to read. It seems relevant to where we are today.

1 comment:

  1. When I was studying the 17th century for my OU degree one of the set books was 'The World Turned Upside Down' by Christopher Hill and at the moment with all the happenings over the last few weeks it does seem like a time of upheaval and change. I sometimes feel that my world has been turned upside down and I no longer feel in tune with it:)