Throughout its history the UK Labour party has been sold to us as a “Broad Church”, which is defined as “a group or doctrine which allows for, and caters to, a wide range of opinions and people” which apparently originated from a description of the Anglican church “favouring a liberal interpretation or doctrine”.
I have always had a problem with this loose terminology, and while it may be OK in a church, I don’t see how a political party can encompass a politician who supports nuclear weapons and another who wants global disarmament. That is too broad by a long chalk, as is the notion that the Labour party is not a Socialist Party, it certainly is in my mind, thats the whole point of it. Trying to water that down to make it somehow more acceptable to the public is a pure cop out.
From a political perspective, if you are openly in support of the existence of nuclear weapons, then you are presumed by the media to support their use, either as a deterrent or a pre-emptive strike weapon. Its one of the first, and most aggressive questions ever asked of a prospective PM. The media ignore the fact that a 1st Strike is madness and any retaliation cancels the idea that the deterrent worked…“Yeah we know all that but WOULD YOU PRESS THE BUTTON!!!” Either way, votes will be lost and gained.
I do not think any Socialist should support the possibility of using Nuclear weapons or any other kind of warfare, yet MP’s attached to the Labour Party get away with doing so constantly. The Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Libya have all been shredded by the Western Military Industry and its often supported by echelons of Labour MP’s either voting for it, or abstaining from stopping it?
In the light of this overall view I have been a lifelong Labour voter but I always stopped short of joining the Labour party, mainly because I was too busy earning a living…but also because there was always some kind of war going on within it. Then Jeremy Corbyn was elected, and I reluctantly joined, he seemed to me to be the real deal, and is still as close as it gets in my opinion.
I happened across a comment on a web page recently that captured my thoughts very well. I have used it, heavily edited, to form the basis of what follows for it fit my own view and framed my ideas.
The Labour party has a long history of endless “compromise” in the face of Right-Wing smears and attacks from the Right, the Tories and their media circus, it goes with the job. Labour has also suffered a continuous and relentless slow burning internal war between the walls of its Broad Church. It has swung from a form of Navel gazing to all out war but more recently it has been more extreme than the Tory/Labour divide itself
During the very brief periods when the Socialist Left has had some numerical traction in the Party we have seen some blatant refusals by right-wing Labour leaderships, to carry out democratic Labour Conference decisions. This has flown in the face of the fact that the Conference is a place where Members and MP’s actually formulate policy, its what sets Labour apart from the rest of the hyenas.
- Late 1950’s /early 60’s the Left had numerical strength based on the CND issue but despite Conference decisions, Hugh Gaitskell simply ignored Conference on CND – and The Left faded out of sight, as did the disarmament question. There was no real fight on the Left
- In the 80’s a surge inspired by Tony Benn with the excellent “Alternative Economic Strategy”, saw the relatively strong Left contingent outmaneuvered again by the Right(with the MSM blessings).The Gang of Four saw off the Left again, who just faded away and “accommodated” the Right for the sake of ‘maintaining Party Unity’.
- Also in the 1980’s ‘the so called Left Wing heroes at local government level like Ted Knight, and Ken Livingston, simply ran away from their promised fight over Tory-imposed council budgets, leaving the RSL/Militant-led Liverpool council isolated and eventually destroyed. This was a repeat performance of what happened at Clay Cross in similar circumstances in the 1970’s
You would think that with all that had gone before, the Labour Left should have learnt from its own history. I know I did, because I had lived through all of the above, and they all still gave off an unpleasant odour. Each of these washouts damaged the credibility of the party badly in my eyes, meaning I was always alert to them happening again.
If we jump to 2015 with its massive surge in the popularity of Jeremy Corbyn as head of the party, the Left at that time MUST have known that the MSM would go Bananas with the usual lies and smears so why were they so unprepared? It may well be Mr Corbyn himself was surprised and unprepared to be elected leader, we are after all, led by some to believe that he was nominated to fill a slot, not “win the bloody election”, and many on the Right of the party were pretty upset when he did.
OK so we have a Surprise Leader, but did the Left also miss the fact that the PLP and Party Administration machine was crammed full of Right-wingers from Blairs Gory days? Did the leadership not see that the Right would obstruct every move the Left tried to make? I know I did.
From 2015 onward, the Labour left, including Momentum, had the potential to build a real mass movement, of committed socialist activists to support the isolated Labour Left leadership. It went a long way to achieving this and Party membership was reported at one time being 600,ooo+, making it the biggest political party in Europe. This should have been used to take on the right-wing MPs and party officials hell bent on sabotaging Left initiatives. There was ample evidence of this sabotage to justify deselections and sackings, but it just did not happen, and among mumblings of Party Unity again, the party jogged along for a few months more.
The MSM was always going to go Full On “Character Assassination” mode, we all knew that, but so what? We had already had one love affair with Rupert Murdoch, and that was one too many. “The Labour Party will split” shrieked the pundits, but again, So What?
Labour was already split in half with two totally incompatible ideologies but no attempt was ever made to eject the Neoliberal free market Cuckoo faction. It seemed obvious to me that if the Cuckoos were not going to be ejected then it would be the Left that hit the ground in a cloud of feathers, and we now know how that turned out dont we?.
The very popular 2017 election Manifesto, plus an almost million strong mass movement built with the help of a “democratic activist Momentum” gave a certain strength to the whole enterprise, yet the strength never shone through, more is the pity. With the leadership’s compliance, Momentum was tamed. “Sort of Leftish” liberal politics seeped insidiously into the middle-class canvassing effort, and a few cynical old cronies like Jon Lansman started up their backroom political shenanigans once more.
Immediately after the 2015 leadership contest was settled, the “Team” started to water down the radical, lifelong, politics to appease the Right. The Left should have seen that coming from a mile away, it couldn’t have been more obvious, but if they did, they ignored it. Evidence? Sure! A 2015 commitment to nationalise banks disappeared into thin air and a total U Turn on nuclear weapons followed it.
Now for the 2019 Election where the leaderships lifelong socialist analysis of the EU had been reversed. A double whammy here which did not sway the Right Wing, and did not persuade the middle class Left wing either for they were still clinging on to the Free Market economy flotsam. What we did not end up with was a mass movement of educated socialists. There were radical, combative, routes to take but the Labour Left chose the route of accommodation and retreat and the 2019 General election produced defeat to seal the deal.
Today the Party is firmly back under the cold dead hand of Right-Wing control, just where the Establishment wants it, exactly like the castrated Democratic party in America, which sold its soul a long time ago. The radical politics of the 2017 and 2019 UK Labour Manifestos, once a glimmer of hope for millions, are now dead as a Door-nail.
Once again Labour has become Tory-lite v.4, The Party now gives unconditional support to this persistent fake Neoliberalism ideology, which is really Proto-Conservatism verging on Neo-Fascism in disguise.
There is nothing Liberal about supporting NATO wars, ever increasing Nuclear stockpiles and that particular brand of US imperialism that has seen the share price of Body Bag manufacturers go through the roof. According to Brown University, “At least 37 million people have been displaced as a result of wars fought by the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001 — more than from all conflicts since 1900 except for World War II.)
With the current Labour leader a Trilateral Commission member, its guaranteed that Labour will keep supporting War and what seems to be The Arms race to Armaggeddon, I am sure the Left wing know all this but they just don’t seem to care enough about it to raise merry hell.
Given what we now know, a battle against the Right while sticking to socialist politics and policies might have failed, but then again, it might not, we will never know now will we? I am not convinced the Labour Left ever really tried. I have just lived through 50 years of ambling from one capitulation to another, and it sticks in my throat.
Never mind though, everyone kept their Parliamentary seats, and their comfy risk-free fake Left future and Tory-lite v.4 can continue for another cosy decade! I cannot help feeling that the Parliamentary Labour Party have, throughout my lifetime, been as much good as a chocolate fire guard. Full of Leftist rhetoric and hot air but with no serious intention of taking on the right-wing elements in their own party let alone the growing storm of fascism within the Tory/GOP-Republicans on the Right.
Yes I am aware that the MSM is owned and run by tax dodging Right Wing Oligarchs, but the Left dont seem to want to do anything about that either. Maybe it is time those on the Left started to look at building their own media, a vast International Media that gives a voice to ordinary people instead of Merchant Bankers. The cost of a web domain and the ability to use Templates to build a site opens up the opportunity for anyone with a bit of Web knowledge to do some really powerful work in this area.
There are already some good alternative media Green Shoots out there on the internet, they need nurturing, cultivating and bringing into a common cause. Small but well informed units that need building into something strong enough to beat the Murdochs of this world into the bankruptcy court where they belong.
If all of these entities were under some form of Co-Op umbrella the funding could be centralised and carry massive potential for Advertising Revenue and increased Click Rates. Not only that but we would getting 1 begging Email a week instead of the 50 odd requests for financial support each week from the 50+ sites we subscribe to.
Many of these can be found in the Index page to our “Murdoch Free” Search Engine