Little Twittering for Europe morphs into ‘let’s save Labour’

I don’t know about other progressives and Remain Alliance (Lib Dem, Green & PC) supporters but I’ve noticed that many of the Facebook Groups I subscribed to before the General Election who were backing Remain and also encouraging progressives to vote tactically are now little more than recruiting sergeants for trying to turn the Labour back into a Social Democrat Party.

My thoughts on this are:-

* Why did the centrists, moderates & social democrats leave Labour in the first place?
* Isn’t Labour now a Socialist Party which has thrown off its Blair era past to be a narrower church of the far left?
* Why do moderates, centrists and social democrats think they can return Labour to Blairism?
* Isn’t it better that Labour is a socialist party rather than a generation by generation see-saw party sometimes of the middle ground and sometimes of the far left?
* Haven’t we been here before when Kinnock ‘rescued’ Labour from the far left only for it to return there under Momentum/Corbynism?
* Why do moderates think they can get the left to relinquish power within Labour so it can become akin to Blairite again?
* If Labour is ‘rescued’ again how long will it stay moderate?
* How long will it take to ‘rescue’ Labour again?
* Is it even realistic to try to save Labour?

Being of the left and as someone who thinks of himself as a bit of a leftie I’ve often found that many Labour voters, supporters and indeed members are to the right of me as a Liberal and that’s both when Labour is moderate and when it’s left! My view has always been that Labour is too broad a church, ranging in support from working class ‘Tories’ to posh privately educated socialists and everything in between. I use the word ‘Tories’ quite deliberately but not in a derogatory way as many Labour factions talk about each other. What I mean is at heart they are actually quite right wing but they ally themselves to Labour because it’s their tribe; they’re no more progressive than I’m a Dutchman so to speak. Of course it was this section of the Labour family that the Labour leadership was pandering to prior to GE 2019. It led them to be all things and no things to most women and men on Brexit the biggest issue of the day; indeed their leader was neutral! That was never going to inspire anyone and of course it didn’t.

So Labour whilst being very much of the left under Momentum and Corbyn was actually singing the tune (well mumbling it quietly really) of its right wing supporters many of whom then promptly deserted Labour to vote for a far right alternative! You could not make this up but that’s what happened in GE 2019.

My point here is why are moderates, centrists and social democrats trying to save Labour? Is it because it’s a tribe they were born into and they feel they have to try to save it? If the motivation is tribalism then no good will come of it as tribalism is the fault-line in UK politics not its saviour. Labour’s ‘our way or no way’ approach to politics has bedeviled it and progressive politics over generations except for a brief period when Blair & Ashdown tried to promote inclusive center left politics. If Labour does swing back (and that presently is a very big if) towards social democracy it needs to want to work with other progressives in other political parties. If it pursues the mantra of everyone else on the left is a Tory then nothing will be achieved.

If you want to save Labour for it to become moderate, centrist and social democrat again then good luck to you but I fear you’ll have to keep doing it every 15 years or so, even if you do succeed, because fundamentally Labour is probably more comfortable as a socialist party. Remember in the Blair years when Labour activists often chimed in with the chorus of ‘we are old Labour’? Well they were and they’ve gained control of the party machine this time far more firmly than Michael Foot’s supporters or Militant ever did.

My advice is don’t waste your time if you think you can return Labour to centrist politics, that ship sailed a long time ago.

Realignment of the left

birkdalefocus.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/realighnment-of-left.html

It’s no surprise that Cllr. Iain Brodie Browne is making and commenting on the case for realignment of the left. British politics is in a terrible mess and we are facing Tory (UKIP Lite) rule for many years to come. That should be a prospect to worry any progressive.

Have a read of Iain’s thinking and indeed that of other progressives, including the late great Jo Grimond, via the link above to Iain’s Birkdale Focus blog site.

If Labour can address its tribalistic approach to British politics there may be a chance for progressives to win a fight with our selfish, privileged, divisive Tory rulers. If it can’t then it’s probably going to be Tory rule for a long, long time indeed.

Iain’s reference to Neil Kinnock is interesting as I recall that he started off as very much a left wing MP who was anti-Europe. But he seemed to travel ever towards the right of his party. He also ended up working for the EU. BTW what on earth is it which makes some left wingers anti-EU? Makes no sense to me as surely socialism is supposed to be international. Maybe it’s that strand of socialism which is narrow inward looking and nationalistic?

Liverpool – The Militant Era

www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-29953611

The BBC has the story although it reads a bit rose tinted spectacles to me. Of course it ended up with both Militant and indeed the Labour Party losing control of Liverpool City Council to the Lib Dems for many years as Liverpool folk realised that this Militant era had done a huge amount of damage to the image and economy of Liverpool. Indeed, just the mention of Militant and most people across the UK and possibly beyond will sadly still think of Liverpool for all the wrong reasons.

It seems a long time ago now, but it is only 30 years. Liverpool has changed hugely since then with the 2008 Capital Culture year marking a complete break with its unfortunate and ill-conceived flirtation with Militant policies of the 1980’s.

Just now and again you still hear the odd Labour councillor/voice in Merseyside harking back to what they still think was a good time for Liverpool, but of course it was a desperate time that all but killed the City off.

What is it with Bootle Labour’s control freaks?

Since Bootle Labour Party took control of Sefton Council (backed up by seemingly powerless Labour members from elsewhere in the Borough) their need to control just about everything has become more and more evident, indeed it seems to go to ludicrous extremes.

Take last Thursday’s Sefton Council meeting. There were 3 motions about health issues; all 3 should have gone through with all-party support but one was picked over and lambasted by Labour simply because it was from a Southport non-Labour councillor, or so it seems.

The motion all the fuss was about concerned dementia and had been put forward by Cllr. Pat Keith but at one point in the debate a Labour member called it ‘bogus’ and I rose to ask that this unfortunate remark be taken back and apologised for – sadly it was not! Frankly, there was no need for this Labour ‘big brother’ carry-on and it did make them look rather silly.

Contrast that with two other motions put forward by a Labour member on health issues (breast feeding and maternity care) where we opposition Lib Dems tried to support the thrust of Cllr. Killen’s motions without shouting her down simply because she is not of our political colour.

What’s more a further motion on the agenda, the text of which had been written by the charity Action Aid, was amended by Labour to include some child-like addition congratulating the Labour Party. I ask you………………..

Their Leader often talks about us all working together on Sefton Council yet Bootle Labour’s actions create exactly the opposite environment. Of course we Liberals and Social Democrats with the Lib Dems can get along with the Social Democrats within the Labour Party but we see very little of social democracy from Bootle Labour who run Sefton Council. It’s all old fashioned municipal socialism, old Labour barons and a hint now and again of what sounds like Militant rhetoric popping out in debate. They seem me to to be the kind of target that Labour Leaders like Neil Kinnock once had in their sights

You have to see the Bootle Labour Party in full flow to believe it all at times.