Open letter to constituency and branch secretaries and cc’d to my blog.
I doubt you’ll be surprised by this, but having spent a couple of weeks reflecting and soul-searching, I have decided my time with the Labour Party is done once again.
I came back to the party, after a hiatus of nigh on 30 yrs, along with many thousands of others, once Corbyn became established as leader and it was clear that the Labour Party had finally returned to its socialist values. Except it was only ever the leadership and huge influx of new members that ever properly bought into this.
The whole time of my involvement was dominated by battling with the old guard, especially the Welsh Labour establishment, most notably in the shape of Carwyn Jones and Madeleine Moon, who did more than their fair share to undermine the new zeitgeist. But slowly and seemingly surely we were dragging things in the left direction. With Jones and Moon discarded to the dustbin of history, despite the circumstances, I still felt a degree of optimism that with new blood in the leadership of the right calibre, momentum could be regained.
I was further encouraged by a slate of candidates for Leader that included 4 women and only one dull grey suit (well, Tory blue suit in fact). When this became the final four (with Clive Lewis and the awful Jess Phillips gone), there were three acceptable women candidates, all of whom I could have given a real chance to, but no. The dull grey suit wins it. The knight of the realm wins it. The establishment lawyer wins it. The heir to Blair wins.
We all knew it was coming some time ago, of course, and plenty of good socialists have been debating amongst themselves as to whether they should stay or should they go. I didn’t want to make a hasty decision, for sure, and plenty of people were saying he would build bridges and unite the party.
However, the shadow cabinet appointments along with the revelations of the full extent of the treachery in the Governance and Legal Unit have totally alienated me. I can no longer bear to have my name associated with the Party that so actively undermined and destroyed the possibility of a Corbyn government today. I cannot countenance another penny of my money or a minute of my time being used and abused.
I hear the arguments that it will all be thoroughly investigated and put to rights, but I have absolutely no faith in that happening. If it does, then maybe, just maybe, I can be tempted back.
I hear the arguments that we need a Labour government more than ever, and Starmer should be better placed to do that. That is a given, but will be the case with or without my contributions. And to be honest, unless the manifesto remains a close approximation to that shaped by Corbyn and McDonnell, as a bare minimum (which again I have no faith in happening), then it is pretty much a choice of the lesser of two neoliberal evils. But again, if I’m wrong, I may be tempted back.
I hear the argument that this will all be more likely if people like me remain within the Party. But as I intimated earlier, it was hard enough work achieving progressive change in a party with a progressive leader and a progressive membership. It is going to take a Herculean battle to achieve anything remotely progressive with a resurgent Blairite wing. I have never enjoyed pissing in the wind.
What is the point of winning for winning’s sake? If it doesn’t allow you to do what is necessary, it is a Pyrrhic victory at best. It is largely pointless, save for the few people around the fringes that may be saved . That may be enough for me to still vote Labour. Absolutely anybody would be a significant improvement on the vile Wallis that Moon managed to lose to. Anybody but a Tory is certainly as true as ever it was.
Anyway, enough. Let me thank you gentlemen personally for your support and encouragement during my time in the party. I wish you luck in the pursuit of some of the goals we share. I’ll be pursuing them through other channels from now on.