"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Monday, 19 September 2016

Just another election .......

So online voting for the Labour leadership closes in just over 36 hours from now. It is no secret to anyone that I supported Jeremy Corbyn in both this and last year's leadership campaigns. But my support for Jeremy goes back a very long way. We are of similar ages and of similar political views. We have fought on the same campaigns. I have also disagreed with him about other campaigns. That is called democracy!

I have repeatedly appealed to the Labour Party as a whole - i.e. the PLP and the members - since before Jeremy Corbyn was elected this time last year to be democratic. To respect the wishes of the voters and support the new leader. I refused to be anti democratic throughout the New Labour/Blair years when my choice for leader was not selected by the majority and I only reacted publicly [and noisily!] against Blair over the Iraq war. [That's because my duty to Pacifism is higher than my duty to the Labour Party] I stayed with the Labour Party through the Blair years and worked from within to change what I saw as failings from the leadership but using party rules and not running down individuals to the media etc. 

However when I supported Jeremy Corbyn last year as I had supported John McDonnell & Dianne Abbott in previous leadership campaigns I was dismayed that as it became obvious that if Jeremy did win there was no way that his opponents would sit back and follow rules, opposing 'nicely' when they felt impelled to. They instead planned from the outset to use dirty tricks, smears and more to attempt to destablise Jeremy Corbyn. I realised that the Blair years had changed something more fundamental than the name of the party and a bit of power dressing of MPs. The 'Clause Four moment'* had done more than merely change the wording of the constitution of the Labour Party, it appeared to have changed the DNA of a certain section of the Labour Party membership. There will always be differing elements in all political parties. There has always been a left and right wing in the Labour Party. But suddenly the dialogue between the two seemed to be changing, morphing into a surprisingly vicious and spiteful spat. I have always been on the left wing. Not a problem and for fifty years I co-existed with others on the right wing and we united against the Tories. But suddenly I found myself - without changing my views - described as 'hard-left' and even 'dangerous'.

There has been talk of 'entryists' amongst the recent Labour Party new members who have apparently only joined from other hard left groups to take control of all local CLPs. One way to stop this - always supposing there are enough entryists Trotsky-ite like individuals to do this - is for existing Labour party members to out vote such entryists. As there existing CLPs this shouldn't be difficult and there are of course qualifications for taking part in votes at Constituency Labour Party meetings such as length of time of membrship. On the Dispatches programme tonight the Momentum movement had a rather McCarthy-like examination. It is worth following Owen Jones on this, on twitter today he said: "No-one can call me an uncritical Corbynista. But I know Momentum's leaders + they're genuine, passionate people who just want social justice"

Whatever the result of the leadership election, a lot of people will need to do a lot of thinking about their motives and future actions. Because if the minority won't accept the result that the majority of the voters give, they need to read up a few words in the OED. Starting with 'democracy', 'majority', 'winner'. 'runner-up' and maybe moving on to another book or a website where abstract thoughts are examined. Perhaps 'how can I make myself still look important when I didn't win' or maybe 'how can I convince voters they have made a bad decision without insulting them'. Jeremy Corbyn has asked Owen Smith publicly to work with him after the result has been announced, to heal the party. The latter has refused. Very sad and not a good example for Mr Smith to set his followers.

*Clause Four of the 1918 Constitution of the Labour Party stated:
To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of productiondistribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.

Tony Blair's 1995 amendment changed the statement to this: 
The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few, where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe, and where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect

Whilst Tony Blair removed common ownership, Jeremy Corbyn wants to bring it back when he talks about renationalising the railways. Just sayin'