An Open Letter to my Comrades in the Labour Party


An Open Letter to my Comrades in the Labour Party

Previously published here

CX4JE5 Rare 1940's vintage UK Labour Party enamel badge, featuring the Liberty logo which was used until 1983

I am so, so sad. What is happening to our beloved party? To which I have belonged for nearly 50 years, having joined the Young Socialists at the age of 15. Yes I have always been on the left of the party, but that’s fine – like any democratic organisation we are an amalgamation of those with differing points of views and sometimes the votes at conference may not agree with our individual wishes. But that is democracy – or what I have always believed. 

I voted for other candidates in the last few leadership elections, but supported those elected as I believe a loyal member should. I will do the same this time if my choice is not that of the majority of my comrades.

 However I honestly believe that Jeremy Corbyn will be the best leader for us and want him to win. I have followed his career for years and know him to be someone of sincere views. On a personal note he supported a long campaign with which I was involved with modesty and compassion. Just as I would expect.   

The party introduced the £3 supporters ‘ticket’ to allow non-members to join in the election process. And are now complaining about the possibility of ‘infilitration’. They are of course mentioning militant tendancy, communists and other ‘far left’ groups. My immediate fear on the announcement of this innovation was Conservatives and others joining to skew the votes. 

Ed Miliband’s election to the leadership ticked all the right boxes for the party hierarchy but he proved unelectable in this year’s General Election. So the claims that Jeremy Corbyn could prove unelectable to the electorate in five years time are, seriously, laughable.   

I do a bit of political blogging and normally would be out there giving it a go in support of Jeremy. However there are too many party members showing disloyalty and divisiveness to the country that it has taken me a time to even think about publishing this blog. I am not attacking those who oppose me and others who agree with me. I just ask them to moderate their voices a little.   
I am going to do that boring thing that old people do. I am going to repeat myself and suggest that anyone wavering about the state of the country and what is the difference between Jeremy and the other candidates read a book. Not great literature [I was an Eng Lit lecturer in an earlier incarnation] but a reminder of why the Labour Party and the Trade Unions came into being. And why we need Jeremy Corbyn as our leader: ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ by Robert Tressell. Read it, weep and then vote for Jeremy Corbyn. 

 Labour Party Member
and Unite Member 
Photo: The old Labour Party Badge. Lovely isn’t it?

Labour Leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn, Speaking at Tolpuddle

Jeremy Corbyn Speaks at Tolpuddle, 19th July 2015

The significance of six men from Tolpuddle in Dorset and their families made to the lives of working people, leading to trade unions, and to democracy is unbeknown to many, who learn of kings and queens and rich people’s wars.

“My lord, if we had violated any law it was not done intentionally. We were uniting together to save ourselves, our wives and families from starvation.”
George Loveless
Tolpuddle farmer

But their battle was just to feed their families. They worked the land because rich people forcefully claimed they owned it. It is to commemorate these six men that there is an annual rally in Tolpuddle.

This year, The MP for North Islington, Jeremy Corbyn speaks of the Martyrs, and their contribution. As a candidate for the leadership of the Labour Party, he also puts forward his vision for a fairer society, where everyone is cared for everyone, and everyone cares for each other.

 Labour has had its ups and downs, but our contribution has been amazing.

  • We formed the NHS in 1948, Health Care free at point of use.
  • Passed planning legislation and built large numbers of council houses.
  • Building on Beverage, we founded the welfare state in 1948    
  • In Government we passed Equalities Legislation
  • The Human Rights Act
  • Argued and Changed Lives for LGBT

We have won great debates and made a massive contribution . Now there is unanimous support for free healthcare as a human right, but the idea of a welfare state as an insurance system to protect everybody from destitution has gone off the rails. There is talk in the Houses of Parliament of welfare scroungers, and people are watching Benefit Street. They are condemning people with disabilities (often work related), who are claiming legitimately – by the nastiest possible media imaginable.

“We need to say something different as a Labour Movement. We want to live in a society where nobody is homeless, where nobody is destitute. Is it right in the fourth richest country we allow one million people to rely on food banks, and sleep on streets?

Let’s defend the principle of a society which cares for everyone and where everyone cares for everyone else.”

We had our downs, supporting Private Finance Initiatives – and the Appalling decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003.

“It was a long time ago, but it does matter because the descendants of war are the next war , and the war after that. The growth of irrational forces like ISIL is not far from where we exported arms, which is now fuelling these conflicts. We have to think carefully about the human consequences of war. The refugee crisis around the world is now the biggest in recorded history.

Specific targets for the future Labour Party is the vote in 2016 for Trident replacement which is to cost 100 Billion pounds. Labour should oppose this. We want a world of peace, not war.

The other question facing the Labour Party is the Banking Crisis. We lost in 2010 because of a banking crisis created by unregulated banks and a sub-prime mortgage crisis in the US which led to a tsunami of economic problems all around the world. It was not caused by too many nurses and paramedics in the health service, cleaners in schools, educational assistants or any other public worker.

It was right for the Labour Party to bring banks into public ownership. The problem is that shares were given to a holding company, now under direction of George Osborne, selling them off at a loss.

Now spivs and the city, and fat cats all around the world  are buying up those banks. Since we paid so dearly as the public for those banks we should retain public ownership so that we can direct them to invest in manufacturing industry and everything else.

But we adopted an austerity budget, and an incoming  Labour supporting government would have made cuts as we have seen the ConDem government cuts. You can’t cut your way to prosperity. You only get change if you challenge the austerity agenda.

Reality is rebranding our economy leading to a greater inequality, reducing the size of the state in what it does for ordinary people.”

Labour need to offer something different. A future with hope.

“Now we have a chance to debate and offer an alternative through this Labour leadership campaign.

Now we can mobilise people, we can unite people, we can excite people. We can encourage those 53%  young people who were registered but didn’t vote. We can win people back.  

.. By being proud of what we are, where we came from: proud of our unions. 

I do know that mobilisation of such large numbers people invert town and city in this country, talking about something different, wanting something different has changed politics. Let it continue!”