Dis-enfranchised but not defeated.
As one of 130,000 new members, I am staying put.
In my previous blogs, I have sought to reach out to comrades, including those in the PLP, urging us all to come together; to get behind our leader and fight the real enemy. However, now we have the result from the Court of Appeal and I have been reduced, by the NEC, to third class membership, it strikes me that any further plea will just fall on deaf ears. The party machinery, by its actions, has made a point. The current leadership election is not just about Jeremy Corbyn, but about the very soul of the party. Whose voice is sovereign in this once great party? The message I am receiving loud and clear, from both the PLP and NEC, is that it is not the membership. Well I have news for them.
They may crow at their victory in the courts today; maybe tomorrow too and perhaps even for just a little longer. Soon though, in the not too distant future, they will discover just how empty their victory is. Democratic socialism will not be stifled for the whims of a few. We will make our voice heard. We will speak as one, in unity and solidarity. The membership is sovereign and we will make sure that in future it so remains.
The vast majority of the new members joining The Labour Party, did not join to enable the status quo. We were not inspired by any great vision forwarded by the rebellious PLP, nor by their banal performance in either government or opposition. On the contrary, we are quickened by a desire for a real alternative. A truly socialist alternative to the neo-liberal consensus politics that has brought our country to its knees.
The very fact that the NEC sought to deny 130,000 new members a vote in the current leadership election is indicative of the corrupt nature of current British democracy. The additional fact that we have a Tory majority government gained from such a small proportion of the votes cast has fired a determination for change. The PLP and the NEC, don’t understand this. They refuse to see that not only are they not providing the vehicle to create change, but they are part of the problem that feeds our determination to get it. Indeed it is the failure of the Labour machinery to offer an alternative to neo-liberalism that is at the heart of the problem.
To add insult to injury, those who plot to remove Jeremy Corbyn as Labour’s leader, label we who support him as some kind of lost souls seeking fulfilment in cult worship. We are allegedly sold on his personality rather than their political expediency. Again they just don’t understand the nature of the movement that Jeremy Corbyn has inspired. It is not about him… it is about us. We are no more going to accept their version of watered down socialism than did our comrades in Scotland in turning away from a neo-liberal Scottish Labour. It is the same feeling of betrayal that drives this enthusiasm for Jeremy Corbyn in the rest of the UK. This time it occurs within Labour rather than outside it, but just as in Scotland, the move away from the right is inexorable.
For this reason, the plotters days are numbered. Their choice is to embrace us or oppose us, but either way, we will make the needed changes to our party. We are the many, they are the few and time is not on their side. Jeremy Corbyn will coast to victory and again be returned as the Labour Party leader. The NEC left slate candidates have now been elected and will take up their positions in September. As time progresses, those who oppose the new politics will be replaced with those who support it. In every region, every CLP and every branch, our voices will be heard and the Labour Party will once again represent its founding principles. In doing so, whether in Government or opposition, it will speak out for the people who give it its strength. While we are told that principles are nothing without power, three decades of neo-liberal politics has taught us, power is worth nothing without principles.