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Sunday 24 March 2019

Labour, That March, And Reality

Yesterday, around a million people descended on central London in support of the so-called Peoples Vote campaign. It was the largest demonstration in the capital since that against the Iraq War in 2003. Many who were there then were there yesterday. The Iraq War was a ghastly mistake. It was what tarnished Tony Blair’s reputation - permanently - and its effects are still being felt today. Now has come the spectre of Brexit.
The botched negotiations to secure a withdrawal agreement with the other EU member states, hampered by Theresa May’s intransigence, have left the UK a laughing stock on the world stage, a nation willing itself to become poorer and weaker. Yesterday’s march shows that there is a genuine and growing popular feeling out there in the country in favour of rethinking the whole Brexit business - including the Revocation of Article 50.

From my Twitter feed, it was a strange bipolar world that was reflected as the marchers assembled, the march progressed and speeches were made. On the one hand, there was great enthusiasm at the coalition that had been assembled - as it was in 2003 - but on the other, a show of derision and sourness from some on the left, sniping at those from the Lib Dems, and indeed some in Labour, who were addressing the crowds.

The only feeling at seeing this unfortunate dichotomy was one of sadness. Sadness that so many on the left were unable to even go as far as the likes of Owen Jones, who did not attend the march but gave those participating his best wishes. Sadness that instead of reaching out to those in the centre, and the centre-right, there was simply recycling of how many times they had voted to cut benefits and services.

What is being forgotten by so many on the left is that for Labour to get into power, the party cannot merely sit there and refuse to make common cause with others because their politics may differ. Let us not forget that at the Iraq war protest, Jeremy Corbyn spoke alongside then Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy. There are occasions when those with different political stances can come together. Yesterday should have been one of them.
Labour was represented, by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and by deputy leader Tom Watson, the latter being subjected to yet more disdain by many on the left, some of whom seem not to understand that yes, Corbyn’s proposals for a Brexit deal are way better than anything Ms May has managed, but that the best deal for the UK is not to leave at all. There is no better deal available than the one we have now, with EU membership.

And all those other parties represented - this, Jezza supporters, is the broad church you need to tap in to in order to ensure the fool’s errand of Brexit does not end up screwing over the country. Do not dismiss lightly the wisdom of Michael Heseltine, who grew up during World War 2, and spoke so movingly about the role of the EU in keeping Europe at peace. Remember his role in beginning the regeneration of the City of Liverpool.

Do not dismiss those from the Lib Dems, merely because they entered into a disastrous coalition with the Tories. They have been more than sufficiently punished for that wrong turn. Do not dismiss those who may not be ideologically committed as you on the left are. You need many of them on your side to get Corbyn into Downing Street.

At times of crisis, narrow ideology must be set aside for the greater good. That is all.
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Shai Masot said...

Why no mention of Tom Watson being booed?

rob said...

Well said Tim. Better to concentrate on what unites us than what divides.

Starbuck said...

small typo

it's michael heseltine

Unknown said...

Paragraph 6. That's what 'subjected to disdain from the left' is referring to.

Anonymous said...


This is one of the issues which divides me from you.

Where was all this "centrist appeal for unity" during the last forty years of unrestrained far right socioeconomic attacks on working class people? A period during which the nation was DELIBERATELY injected into wars it didn't want - a "ghastly mistake" my arse - and couldn't afford? When capitalism came to its most recent disastrous collapse and made things yet worse? While corporate media became neonazi in its propaganda output? While mass poverty increased and we saw the return of street beggars, homelessness and elderly citizens dying in their hundreds of hypothermia because they couldn't afford to bolster utilities companies profits? While "centrist" charlatans like Clegg and Cable say one thing about education, then do precisely the spiv opposite? While the British Union itself inevitably disintigrates before our eyes?

Is it REALLY necessary to add to this far from complete melancholic list?

We've heard this whining, snivelling phony garbage about "centrism" while the country has been dragged further and further to the right - until the term has no meaning at all, except where it complies with the capitalist status quo. Look where it got us. Look where it'll take us if it isn't stopped and reversed. Do you REALLY think the above "centrism" will have any more effect than it has up to now? The so-called "centrists" WERE AND ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM.

With decency and fairness now at a bigger premium than at any time since the 1930s, here's a suggestion: Start a union movement and call it Solidarity to encompass everybody. Follow the courageous example of Lech Walesa and the Polish workers - you know, those so rightly and roundly praised in the West, then so fouly betrayed - and see how far it gets you. See how you're treated by the establishment and its rent boys and girls.

The fact is ANYBODY who becomes a dissident against capitalism is labelled "extremist". Politicians who opposed Dixie slavery were even tagged as "Radicals". Do we need to yet again recount the depravity of South American fascist dictatorships? How many more examples are needed? Do we need another World War horror before we get a Labour government, however tired, with the guts shown in 1945?

You would do well to remember the politically combative words of non-centrist Nye Bevan: "Those who stand in the middle of the road get run over."

Unknown said...

The Iraq war wasn't a "ghastly mistake", is was a war crime, which killed at least a million people and destroyed a country, and marches, even massive ones like yesterday's, and the one in 2003 against the Iraq war, don't make a blind bit of difference to anything, as that gobshite Campbell, who was at yesterday's march, should know.

I voted remain and don't want us to leave but wouldn't attend anything with the likes of him and others at yesterday's event, ie Tom Watson, who should be kicked out of the party.

Principles matter and without them we have nothing.

Sam Best said...

Indeed this is true : "the best deal for the UK is not to leave at all". Sadly Tom Watson is not the one to deliver this message.
It's bizarre those who are still wedded to this ultimate snake in the grass cannot see what a disaster Watson is.
Zelo Street basically backed Watson when he went all in to proclaim various old Tories, dead or alive, were part of some mythical pedo ring centered around Dolphin Square.
It seems some on "the left" believed it was AOK to promote this damaging balderdash and thought they may gain political capital out of it.
Yet even though Tom Watson was shown to be a complete tosser over those claims, he still gets promoted no matter how vacuous his career has been just because he had a go at Rupert Murdoch as if that had any result.
The man is a disaster and I believe he could single handedly bring down Labour and destroy their chances of election.
The mystery is why Zelo Street is so wedded to this complete loser.

Anonymous said...

Michael Heseltine?

The Heseltine at a tory conference who waved his fist in the air at poll tax* protesters as he shouted, "Won't pay, can't vote"? The same Heseltine who promised "economic interference" on behalf of, and to the advantage of, er, a far right Ayn Rand capitalist state? The same Heseltine who destroyed mining communities across the country?

That "democratic centrist" Michael Heseltine, you mean?

*The same tax type made illegal decades before because it disenfranchised citizens in the USA.

Anonymous said...

If we stand alongside people like Tom Watson and Chucka promoting their political careers, then we make it all the more likely that these people will retain power and continue to destroy lives with their personal ambition.

Corbyn did the right thing, if we ally ourselves with evil (make no mistake these people are evil) then we risk the danger of never being able to change things in any meaningful way.

You may call this ideology but I think of it as not giving the enemy succour, if we are to change things in the limited time we have before global extinction then we need new paradigms and the old order in new outfits is not the answer to our problems.

Oh and Vince Cable, dont start me off on Vince F**king Cable

Sheffield Mole said...

Well put Tim. Elections are still won and lost in the centre ground.

Shai Masot said...

@Sheffield Mole. No they aren't.

Andy Foster said...

Here's a good account of what's wrong with 'People's Vote', from a passionate supporter of Remain:


Every bit is true. This is indeed a project to allow the political undead to rise and walk among the living again. Add to it Mandelson's comment that he never lets a day pass without trying to undermine Jeremy Corbyn, and there is why some of us will not support that campaign in any way. When the greatest political manipulator I have ever known is involved, you must first, before anything else, ask what he is up to.

Anonymous said...

Mandelson is a dead man talking.

Nobody except fruitloop Blair/Brownies believes a word that cunt says. Which of course includes treacherous weasels like Benn, Mann, Watson* and Hodge.

*Now just WHY did Tom lose all that weight? Wouldn't have anything to do with a "potential leader" make-over would it?

Anonymous said...

Because he decided to do something about his diabetes, you cretin?

Anonymous said...

In which case he'll surely do something about his pro-nuke and other right wing diabetic inflictions.

TIP: Don't hold your right wing breath.

Anonymous said...

"Tom Watson"?

THIS "Tom Watson"?:

Or was it some other "Tom Watson"?