fredag, juli 21, 2006

New Labour or True Labour?

I am right now present at the IUSY festival that is an amazing event where thousands of socialists gather in Alicante, Spain to meet up with comrades from all over the world. As often when I'm overwhelmed by things happening all around me, I don't know where to start writing about it. So instead, I write about something completely different.

Via Daraka and Fredrik, I've got to know that my good friend and comrade Graham Copp has started blogging. Great! And Graham also tells us the good news that there is now for the first time in ages a real threat to New Labour.

I am very glad to see that John McDonnell MP has declared that he will stand as a candidate for Leader of the Labour Party when Tony Blair declare his resignation. Even though I've never met John personally, he seem to be a very dedicated Labour politician with broad networks and a lot of energy. McDonnell, as the leader of the Socialist Campaign Group and of the Labour Representation Committee, is challenging the politics of Blair AND Brown in a campaign that is about politics not personalitites. Let's have a look at what he says in his statement of the 14th of July:

I am standing to ensure that thousands of Labour Party members and supporters have the chance to participate in deciding not only who should be the next leader of our party but more importantly what policies the party should be pursuing.

There are many that feel the party has lost its way. Many of the policies being pursued in Government have broken up the broad coalition of support Labour has relied upon throughout its history to bring it to power.

New Labour has systematically alienated section after section of our supporters - teachers, health workers, students, pensioners, public service workers, trade unionists and people committed to the environment, civil liberties and peace. Spin and allegations of sleaze are causing decent people to lose trust in our party.

This is reflected in lost votes, lost elections, lost members and a Labour Prime Minister having to rely upon Conservative votes in Parliament to force through legislation.

There are growing calls from across the party for change. We need to rebuild a progressive consensus, inspiring and giving people hope that another world is possible. We need those who have turned away from Labour to come back home.

For the first time in decades people no longer feel they have a political voice. This campaign is a challenge to the present political consensus.

I will now seek support from all sections of the movement. At next Saturday's conference of the Labour Representation Committee we will debate the policies needed by a real Labour government and the way in which we can reinvigorate democratic participation in the party.

From September this campaign will be travelling the country, convening meetings face to face with party members, supporters and the general public to discuss the issues facing us. We will be urging those thousands of Labour Party members who have left the party to rejoin and those who are no longer active supporters to re-engage.


I think this is the campaign Labour really needs, desperately. No metter if McDonnell wins or loses, the campaign will have a good effect on party democracy and on the direction of the Labour Party as a whole. Go John!

Look at John McDonnell's website here.

4 kommentarer:

Graham sa...

Peter, it's always good to hear from you and I hope that you enjoy the blog. My team and I will be covering news and politics from the UK, across Europe and the world. I hope that you will keep us informed about the latest developments in the great Social Democratic nation of Sweden.

daraka kenric sa...

Hey Peter,

Say hello to everyone in Spain! I, too was glad to see the daily up and running and have been reading it steadily.

I want to ask you and Graham to comment on the recent Euston Manifesto...which should be a hot discussion!

Have fun!

-Daraka

Graham sa...

Hey there Daraka and Peter,
There's long been a crowd of left wingers and former left wingers who have been saying basically what the Euston manifesto says for some time. People like David Aaronovich, Nick Cohen, Christopher Hitchens et al. It's been written about extensively, as it's mostly written by pundits. However, I've not seen anything genuinely new that goes beyond a kind of liberal imperialism that's not that far beyond what the neo-cons believe.

I suppose what's neo about the neo cons is that they reject realism for accepting hostile dictatorships in the name of international stability and argue instead that liberalism should be willing to impose its likeness on other countries.

Although there are some difference in rhetoric, I think that the positions of the neo-cons and the liberal imperialists of the UK are basically the same.

David Clark makes a similar point here about a similar crowd who tried to launch a 'Scoop' Jackson Society recently.

Anyway, I think that the counter argument was put very well today by Simon Jackson in an article in today's Guardian who argued that:
"The idea that Britain (or any other country) enjoys a unique legitimacy in intervening in the affairs of sovereign states is legally doubtful and racially repugnant [...] Quite apart from the madness of this imperialism, the west cannot implement it. It can hold in thrall such puny neo-colonies as Kosovo, East Timor and Sierra Leone. But in Iraq it has failed and in Afghanistan it is failing.

daraka kenric sa...

Graham and Peter,

Hmmm... I'm a bit more sympathetic to the "liberal imperialism" outlined in the manifesto, what with folks like Galloway running around loose in the streets. I blogged about it, and would love to be argued with...