Sunday, 30 October 2016

Get out of the left wing bubble!

All members of political groups are great at talking to each other, many spend as much time on internal politics as they do on national campaigns and the Labour Party probably spends more time on internal issues that any other party.

We do have a good reason in the Labour Party for spending so much time talking to each other, we are the most democratic of all political groups and have the most affiliations - unions, other socialist groups and often are members are also involved in other campaign groups from CND to Save the Children fund.

Some make a living of spending their time on internal politics and that was always my concern about momentum, their main aim was to push the party to the left (and make sure they took control of the internal party machine) rather than win an election.

Trouble is they may be a victim of their own inward looking style - as Jon Lansman and Sam Tarry (close to Corbyn) seem to have fallen out with other key players in Momentum, hastily called meetings, lack of meetings - not really examples of all member democracy that they campaign for within the Labour Party - but that really was never their intention to let members decide on policy it was just a tool to place those from the far left in positions of influence in the Labour Party.

After attending recent Labour meetings it is become obvious that calling someone a 'Blairite' is one of the most cruel comments you can use against anyone so it did make me actually smile when senior Momentum members have accused Lansman of having  “absorbed the modus operandi of Blairism” .

Lansman and Tarry may have realised that Momentum is now out of control, not surprising when senior members of the group also belong to groups like the Alliance for Workers Liberty. Local Momentum groups have been picketing CLP meetings and campaigning against Labour Councils. So now Lansman and Tarry (I want to be an MP) have decided they need to put the genie back in the bottle.

The Left have always had the ability to turn on each other and this week we have seen them fall out with the Trade Union movement over both fracking and the new runway at Heathrow.

But my concern is that Corbyn would rather appeal to these left wing groups that show real leadership - the Heathrow runway decision was also going to be hard for  Corbyn when so many of his closest supporters represent London seats and he may put his 'green' credentials over the economic need of the country. But he also seems the need to promote the fact that he is closer to the membership than the rest of the PLp and create battles that did not need to be started.

That was the issue with Yemen - again a self inflicted own goal by Labour and one that was set up by Corbyn, what the Saudi Government are doing in Yemen is wrong but the motion put forward was poorly written and would not have had the desired effect, there was confusion on the whip and the whole episode was badly organised but it seems to many that was the whole purpose of the event - to make sure that the PLP still seem to be ignoring the views of members. The membership should be more concerned that  Corbyn finds it hard to be critical of the Syrian regime and their Russian supporters than their own MP missed a vote that they did not know they had to attend.

Recently and quite surprising one of the left commentators who has become most critical of the Corbyn leadership has been Owen Jones and one of his recent comments certainly seemed to nail the problem on the head both nationally and here in Ipswich. Nationally the left have got to stop worrying about internal issues and campaign for a Labour Governemnt, maybe taking note of one of their own criticisms of the PLP - stop fighting each other and take on the  Tories.

The same can be said locally, not just fighting the Tories but talking to residents, constituents, voters - that is how elections are run, not debating motions at CLP meetings that will have little effect in changing things or attending some futile rally in ,London, Owen puts it very simply - "The hundreds of thousands who have joined the Labour Party all need to dedicate as much as their life as possible to knocking on doors and talking to voters outside the left-wing bubble"

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