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Can the Left reclaim Labour?

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posted on Jul, 26 2006 @ 06:33 PM
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An interesting article wrttien by the Socialist Party. Its about John McDonnell leadership challenge (McDonnell is what you call a "left wing labour" member, coming from the group "Labour Left")..correct me if i am wrong.



THE WEAKNESS of the Left in the Labour Party, and the changed character of the Labour Party has been graphically revealed by the fact that Left MP John McDonnell could not get the support of one-fifth of Labour MPs (about 71) to mount a 'stalking horse' challenge against Blair. This is despite the depth of Labour's current crisis and disenchantment with Blair.

Indeed, it may not be possible even for McDonnell to get the 40-plus MPs he needs to bring a challenge to stop a Brown 'coronation'.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


www.socialistparty.org.uk...

It touches on a good point about creating a political alternative and does again bring up issues about the Labour Left and the Left in general.




posted on Jul, 26 2006 @ 07:28 PM
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I suppose the facts of how things are are interesting in the sense that some people need reminding of the political realities every now and again.

Whether they call themselves 'old' Labour, 'old left', 'socialist Labour' etc etc the stark truth is that they are going nowhere, they simply cannot attract mass support (as the alternative Labour left experiments up and down the country in various by-elections and even the last 2 general elections elections show only too clearly).

The British 'left' have a clear choice, they can either support a government attuned at least to some of what they want or they can resume their ideological travels in search of the never attainable sufficient ideological purity (a task best confined to those out of power)
Out of power is something a genuine 'left-ist' Labour party would surely rapidly be, hence the reason why so many torys love to join in the stirring, whinging that Labour isn't 'socialist' anymore/true to their ideological roots/principled etc etc.

If only 'New Labour' would play the 'old Labour' game, eh?

Mind you, the 'old' Labour crowd (as the figures quoted above show all too clear now a small rump in the party) would probably prefer being out of power and complaining about the next tory government as the compromises of real and actual political power make for far to grubby a business with far too much scope for claims that they were 'sell outs' etc etc blah blah blah.

The problem for them all is that Labour are now far closer to a euro 'social democrat' party, very small 's' socialist in relation to domestic & social policy and inclined to be small 'c' conservative in regard to commerce & international policy.

Which is a style 'the people' seem to rather like, despite the occasional grumbles.



posted on Jul, 27 2006 @ 06:44 AM
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But, its fair to say, that the public and the voter are starting to be interested in what you would call "left wing" policies, such as the environment, Iraq war and "nuclear" subject. Plus, its fair to say, we are becoming more European and we are starting not to fear the EU (i have for one don't, heck, i support the idea of a Federal European state), so the Left is starting to become more important again. I do not agree with Tony Blair, that if Labour flirted with the Left, it would get voted out. I doubt it.

Labour are lucky, because if in the general election, both Labour and Tories may have to go to their harden grass root voters to gain more support and i think the Tories "chatting up" the right is going to cause more damage than Labour chatting to the Left.



posted on Jul, 27 2006 @ 07:20 AM
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Yes, but nuclear power, pollution and Iraq are areas that most of the main parties have been discussing. Hell, the Liberal Democrats have made those three areas some of their core policies! (Which is one of the reasons why I'm a member!
)
I think that Labour has moved a great deal from its early history. Look at the policies of Kier Hardie and the Webbs, and you'll see some views which would get laughed at nowadays.
I suppose what you have to ask if how far left people want to take Labour. Back to the Webbs? Back to Atlee? Pure socialism as a practical political concept went out of the window in 1991 when the Soviet Union finally fell apart.

[edit on 27-7-2006 by Darkmind]



posted on Jul, 27 2006 @ 07:46 AM
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Originally posted by infinite
But, its fair to say, that the public and the voter are starting to be interested in what you would call "left wing" policies, such as the environment, Iraq war and "nuclear" subject.


- But there's the rub, infinite.

Whilst it is true one can look back and see those kinds of issues as previously being 'traditionally' one of 'right' or 'left' I don't think that applies so clearly these days.

That being the case I can't agree with your proposition.

'Green' issues like the environment belong to neither 'right' or 'left' and I think that is how the public sees it as well nowadays.
Note the sceptic public with both major partys in their attempts to establish 'green credentials'.

I don't think the issue of nuclear power, or even keeping updating or renewing a nuclear deterrent, is so clearly a matter of 'left' or 'right'
(especially with the tory party flapping like a broken reed in the wind on these matters, so obviously saying whatever they think people want to hear).

As for the war in Iraq?
Well ok, a lot of people keep talking as if the whole country is against British involvement now but I'm not so sure that is as true as it might first appear.

Being involved initially was deeply unpopular with a large section of the public, that is obviously true, I agree,
but,
when asked if we should just pull-out and leave Iraq to whatever fate may come (despite British involvement now being on the basis of a proper UN mandate) I don't think it is so cut and dried.

People may have been in a majority against the war starting and British involvement at the start but that is rather old history now and not quite the relevant point anymore.


Plus, its fair to say, we are becoming more European and we are starting not to fear the EU (i have for one don't, heck, i support the idea of a Federal European state), so the Left is starting to become more important again.


- I agree, but then I always did think that kind of myth based xenophobia was just being used to try and scare people.
I'd also say look at how the wheel has turned.
Pre the Euro-elections of 1986 (Thatch's anti-EU 'diet of Brussels', anyone?) it was the tory party that was pro-Europe and Labour that wanted to leave it.


I do not agree with Tony Blair, that if Labour flirted with the Left, it would get voted out. I doubt it.


- OK, your POV and all that,
but,
besides one fair result in the Scottish Parliament (Tommy Sheridan's Scottish Socialist party got 6 elected in the Scots Parliament), one result in the Welsh Assembly (Mrs Law, wife of Peter who died after leaving Labour in protest at women only short-lists and who was supposedly offered a Peerage to stand down from his Westminster seat) and perhaps George Galloway MP in the London east-end you can hardly point towards growing electoral success in relation to 'anti-New Labour' left-wing national politics and the UK Parliament.......

....... whilst I can point to various 'real Labour'/'Socialist Labour' etc etc repeated general election and by-election failure.


Labour are lucky, because if in the general election, both Labour and Tories may have to go to their harden grass root voters to gain more support and i think the Tories "chatting up" the right is going to cause more damage than Labour chatting to the Left.


- I don't think it is about luck.

I think it is about the record in government, and Labour's record has a wide, not narrow, appeal.

In any case I think the days of any political party specifically appealing to a core vote and expecting to win in the UK are gone.

I do agree that in trying to be 'all things to all men' the tory party simply invite the comment of 'why change to a group that wants us to believe they would be a kind of 'Labour-lite' when we can have the real thing'?
..................without the worry about their right-wing nutter element?

Labour have the advantage of having neutralised their ideologically committed leftist nutters, those that remain are there to act as a conscience and represent an element of Labour's support but they are not the majority and can't even claim majority support within the Labour party never-mind out in the country.

Pragmatic government with a small 's' socialist home and social policy and a small 'c' commerce and foreign policy are the combination that currently appeals.

.....but having said all of that infinite it is also my belief that when Gordon Brown begins the process of taking over the Labour leadership in the coming year or two the inference will all be about how he is 'a safe pair of hands' with those parts of the 'New labour' program that has worked well and more 'left-leaning' leader offering change with what has not gone quite so well.

It's all relative of course, GB (co-author of 'New Labour) is no 'lefty' by any stretch of the imagination but IMO a large part of his initial appeal will rest on 2 things
1) the most successful Chancellor in living memory (a huge achievement) and
2) whilst he is still 'New Labour' he is not Tony Blair.

The tory reliance on a tory version of TB may well look ill-judged by then, this aging country will have just had 'young' for a long run and someone shouting 'new', young' and the 'future' every other word may well not have quite the appeal some thought.



posted on Jul, 27 2006 @ 09:11 AM
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.....but having said all of that infinite it is also my belief that when Gordon Brown begins the process of taking over the Labour leadership in the coming year or two the inference will all be about how he is 'a safe pair of hands' with those parts of the 'New labour' program that has worked well and more 'left-leaning' leader offering change with what has not gone quite so well.


I can sort of see that too. I think Brown will be very centre (mainly to prevent any chance of the Cameron taking the centre ground) and i don't think he will be as "right" as Blair, Brown will probably do an excellent job of fixing divisions between "old" and "new" in the party. Plus, some center left leaning may be used to also take floating voters of the Liberal Democats.

The Tories, in my view, have two general elections in them, if they dont break through and enter office, then its safe to say that they are dead as a political force. In the late 80s and early 90s, many throught that about Labour (a program last night on BBC4, Worst job in British politics).Stated that Labour party members felt that if they lost the 1997 general election, Labour would be over a political force. But Blair won with a landslide. Somehow, its looks hard for Cameron.



posted on Jul, 27 2006 @ 02:35 PM
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Well, the good old Socialist Worker always made me chuckle when I read it back in my student days and even then I thought it was pap!

I think that what the "old" Labour lot do not appreciate is that their general philosophy has gone and they are a minority party rapidly fading off the political map.

The general belief system of the Socialist Workers and old Labour et al is all gone. We (the population) are less polarized and the extremes of the past are not relevant to the political landscape of today. We are more comfortable, richer than we ever were, better educated etc., and with all that comes a more conservative outlook on life. This is what New Labour did, they chucked out the philosophical rubbish and moved to the right because that was the only way they would get elected.

I heard some trade unionist ranting on a few months ago (the previous Leader of the Fire Brigades Union, I think) banging on about the rights of the working class to do this, that and the other and how everyone was out to persecute the working class etc., and that his membership had the RIGHT to work a four day week and get paid £30K. Total gibberish, sounding a bit like good old Arthur Scargill as he led the miners to their doom.

So, the world may be less interesting, but as time moves onwards I think the extremes in poloitics will fade.

Bye bye Socialist Worker...

Regards



posted on Jul, 27 2006 @ 02:43 PM
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New Labour has created a big vacum in the Left, and the Liberal Democrats have been trying to feed on this (rememeber "Left Labour" tag?). RESPECT is trying to rally disenchated trade unions (due to Labour moving away from the unions) and gain support. George Galloway believes that RESPECT should create a Left coalition (current aims is partnership with the Greens in European elections) to combat Labour and the Liberal Democrats for the left wing voters.

An interesting article in the independent, afew months back, support of the future politics. Battle of the extremes. British National Party on one side (anti-islam) and RESPECT on the other (anti-zionism), its interesting to note that in someways, its right to believe that extreme politics is on the rise and some voters are moving away from mainstream parties due to "everyone is the same".

But who knows, European parliament elections will be interesting to watch.

[edit on 27-7-2006 by infinite]



posted on Jul, 27 2006 @ 03:41 PM
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Originally posted by infinite
New Labour has created a big vacum in the Left...

I am not so sure there is a big vacum to the left. Galloway's RESPECT party will cease to exist after the next election and the Lib Dem's won't stray too far to the left because they know that is where political death lives!

There may be extreme politics but they are no longer mainstream. Typically any extremes will be "single issue" related. After all, the Nutter Galloway managed to get in on the single issue of Iraq and had that not been on the agenda he would have lost his deposit.

Regards



posted on Aug, 1 2006 @ 11:28 PM
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Galloway is a fool; but I wouldn’t say everything he says is stupid.
However as a political leader he is very stupid when it comes to economic policy; and particularly when it comes to nuclear weapons. Galloway is a fool partly because he thinks being proper socialist will win him votes-power.
All it will really do is win a already made audience (many of whom are passionate) (e.g. crazy CND activists ect).
Galloway forgot that whilst talking about politics on big brother is a good idea; going along-on with the show is not.

I don't think Galloway’s support for Saddam’s government of Iraq was foolish. I think he knew it would cost, and I think he's sincere.
However I'm a person who would like to reinstate ether Saddam or "Saddam the 2nd" (to keep control over Iraq).

This would be good for both their and our security, and the stability would suit our foreign policy too.
What I hate about the Iraqi people is how many of them are Muslim fundamentalists; I dislike religious fundamentalism anyway. I think teaching people to stop others from drinking alcohol, to stop others dressing as they please, and to punish woman for adultery by stoning them to death in front of the mob court is not a religion, but the symptoms of childhood indoctrination (a psychological disease against human liberty).

So there’s room alright for a new left, as radical as the last one. Just without this CND, or economic "socialist workers values" wacky ideology business. These things are not democratically obtainable because they are not desirable.
For a start the average fat man sitting in front of the TV knows re-nationalising state assets is bad economics.

They know that excessive tax on the rich will wreck the economy by causing them to flea, or perform their jobs less enthusiastically, sometimes because many can retire early with some money. Whatever it is; parts of Old Left ideology is made flawed by human nature.



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