Monday, September 26, 2005

maybe we should run 'em into the sea

What with the War Party being down in Brighton and all, the Guardian's conference blog has moved on from coverage of the Libs in Blackpool to Labour's stint on the Sussex coast; not an awful lot of posts so far but it should prove interesting reading as things shift along. There's an illuminating item concerning a fringe debate involving Clare Short last night where a woman stood up and said,

"I don't want to give my name or where I come from. I've been an activist for nine years and in the CLP [constituency Labour party] I come from, if you have views like Clare [Short]'s, you're shouted at, you're told you shouldn't be in the Labour party ... "

It's pretty astonishing if this really is the case. Despite my teasing, I still believe that the natural home for a reasonable, liberal person is within the Labour Party, even if we're stuck with this appalling government. At the moment the right wing of the party has asserted its supremacy, which is why lily-livered lefties like me have deserted Labour, leaving hardier souls to carry on the good fight while we complain and register our vote with others. But it didn't really occur to me that, far from being encouraged to fight their corner and wait for their day, left-wingers left in the party are being actively marginalised and pressured to leave. If that is the case, then the Labour Party risks making the split between itself and it's traditional supporters not just temporary but absolute.

4 comments:

Andrew Brown said...

Hummm. I can certainly take you to lots of other CLPs and branches where you're shouted at for holding the other opinion, or indeed thinking that this Labour Government has done a few decent things. Was ever thus. Activists in the Labour Party have always had a robust way of expressing our opinions.

After all it wasn't so long ago when there was a page in a left wing "newspaper" which carried a column called 'Class Traitor of the Month', which was aimed at anyone with moderate views in the party.

Its not a fantastically edifying part of our internal debate but don't believe its a one way track.

jonathan said...

Thanks Andrew, that's a good point - I'm sure you're right. Didn't think of that.

James said...

Did you make it to any conference events, jon?

jonathan said...

only a dinner with some nice blogging folks from Andrew's Bloggers4Labour network. to be honest i only kept up fairly tenuously - much of what was said could have been predicted: plenty i agree with, plenty I don't. Blair's speech gave me the heebie-geebies when he was talking about wishing he'd gone further. What, more curbs on civil liberties, more faiths schools, more foundation hospitals? yikes.