Today, a former Labour MP has resigned from the party, and few have noticed. So it is only fair that Zelo Street mark the occasion on which the former member for Glasgow Cathcart and, later, Glasgow South, Tom Harris, bid what he called an emotional farewell to Labour. “It was a very personal decision. The reason I didn’t press release of Tweet about it, is it does feel a bit like bereavement. It’s been a part of my identity for a long time. Of course I’m emotional” he told BBC Radio Scotland, but very privately, you understand.
His departure will come as no surprise to those who have seen Harris’ rightward drift - not to mention his being in a very small minority indeed in backing the Leave side in the EU referendum (he has now joined the right-wingers at Brexit Central). Also, we have been here before: the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog were taunting Harris about leaving three years ago.
“Former minister Tom Harris has said ‘goodbye’ to Labour” they told, before adding “Harris tells Kevin Schofield: ‘not leaving the party – yet’. Clearly he was over-tired when he posted the statement on Facebook at 11pm last night” As Zelo Street regulars will know, Staines knows all about making late night decisions that come back to bite him.
And while Herald Scotland has been fairly restrained on the resignation, telling “A vocal critic of Jeremy Corbyn, Mr Harris sent his resignation letter to Scottish Labour HQ last week after deciding the party was ‘not the place for me anymore’ … [he] acknowledged he had ‘not exactly been a shrinking violet’ about the current leader”, one part of Harris’ CV has been missed by the press. But not by Sol Hughes.
As Hughes has pointed out, “Tom Harris the only Labour figure to praise the Taxpayers Alliance (From the TPA's own annual report) . Says we owe the Taxpayers Alliance a ‘debt of gratitude’”. One hates to come over all Neil Kinnock, but here we have a former Labour MP - a former Labour MP - endorsing the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance.
By doing so, Tom Harris has aligned himself with a group which is diametrically opposed to the best-known Labour Party achievements. The TPA would have the NHS abolished in favour of “competition”, for which read a US-style healthcare system. It has advocated for abolition of the national wage. By spreading misinformation about speed cameras, it would endanger the lives of road users. It advocates for benefit cuts.
The TPA has indicated that it would support cuts to teachers’ pay. The group either declines to say who funds it - not even saying what country the money comes from - or dishonestly claims that their income is from thousands of small donations from their grassroots support - except the TPA has no grassroots.
This group is not about value for money. It is about demonising Government, any kind of Government, and indeed anything marked “Public”. This former Labour MP is there cheering it on. And then claiming to be all emotional about it.
Yes, there goes Tom Harris. On his way … out.
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Good riddance to him. Harris was a red tory, one of the direct causes of Labour near-demise in Scotland.
Now it would be nice if, for instance, the quislings Benn, Umunna and Mann would follow him into oblivion or in the tories, which is where they really belong.
There's a lot more I can think of too. The sooner the Labour Party is shut of the lot of them the better for the political and cultural health of this country.
Although he has written the odd article about the hyper-inflated 'row' over alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, to the best of my knowledge Watson did not mention the issue in any public statement regarding his resignation.
So why did the Guardian lead its report with the following paragraph?
"A former Labour MP and transport minister has resigned from the party after more than three decades as a member amid the ongoing antisemitism row."
Keep the stirring that cauldron, Viner...
Way out, door, slam.
Thanks Sol and Tim.
No mention of Brexit or TPA in The Guardians " coverage".
The Guardian just goes from bad to worse. Been reading it for over forty years but now it's as dispensable as R4's Toady.
Jackson was a great actor but a lousy politician.
If it's true she shares space with Hodge, you can't help wondering if she shares her political opinions especially concerning the crazy claim that Corbyn poses "an existential threat"* to British Jews.
*Has anybody yet seen a single scrap of evidence to support that crackpot claim?
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