Thursday, 20 August 2015

I'm A Reject!


Rejoice, Rejoice - I’m a Labour Reject!

In 21st century UK politics, what’s the very worst political animal you can admit to being? A Conservative? A Liberal? Scottish Nationalist? Let’s go down the list into murkier regions … a UKIP member? BNP? Monster Raving Loony? A closet Nazi? No. It’s none of the above. The worst political identity you could give yourself in the UK today is that of a Socialist.


   There once was a famous British political party called Labour. It advocated Socialist ideas, such as fairness, equality, a Welfare State with universal benefits, public ownership of all the main utilities such as power, transport, the Post Office and telecommunications. It even managed, against the odds, to create a wonderful entity called the National Health Service. But something happened along the way. The word ‘Labour’ wasn’t enough. It’s an old word. It has overtones of hard work, toil, and even …ugh!- dirty hands. So they cleaned it up by adding the prefix ‘New’. It no longer remained as an organisation with its original tactile egalitarian ideals. It ditched its Clause 4 commitment to the very people whose hard-earned union contributions had built it.
It became a ‘brand’, a logo, a floppy red rose waved by young, London-based metropolitans in smart suits, slick robots all fitted with a cranial chip from the central computer to keep them ‘on message’. 

They were younger, smarter and better dressed than Margaret Thatcher’s horrendous waxworks of deranged draconian despots. They made her dull, greyly anodyne successor John Major look like a discarded helping of cold fish and chips to their enticing quasi-political nouvelle cuisine of fresh oysters, guacamole, polenta and a nice crisp Sauvignon. They convinced us, hiding behind the tattered remains of Labour’s older banners, that even after all the ravages our society had endured under the Iron Lady that the pound shop Valhalla of ‘Socialism-Lite’ was just a vote away, and we fell for it.


    Fast forward two and a half decades and we are governed by a corporate cabal of right wing extremist tyrants who make Margaret Thatcher look like Rosa Luxembourg with Norman Tebbit as Che Guevara.
It seems utterly incredible, especially after the 2010-15 Parliament, that a dumbed-down British electorate could have put these beasts in the driving seat, but there they are. Thus Labour implodes, and tail-spinning like an out of control Boeing 747 they grasp at the joystick of a leadership election in the hope that its result will land them safely back on the long, vague runway of remote power.
 
What a scruff! Where's that man's jacket, for heaven's sake,
and why has that beardy man got his hand on his hip?
Kendall, Burnham, Cooper: all the smart operators, veterans of Question Time, the glamourous, all the micro-chipped freshly-showered and coiffured message machines were assembled, batteries fully charged up from Blair’s national grid, with proper rose-waving ‘moral’ back-up from Kinnock, Campbell, Mandelson and Blunkett. But what’s this?!! Who let a Socialist into the mix?

It had seemed a novel, quirky idea; a cynical nod to distant times gone by, a romantic gesture to stir memories of what the party once was, what it used to stand for. No-one would vote for him, surely? After all, the electorate preferred global capitalism, they preferred austerity and benefits cuts, and who were Labour to disagree with all that? So they allowed a ‘leftie’ to stand on their coconut shy, and became dismayed when all the hard balls were aimed it Kendall, Cooper and Burnham.
  
This has required some serious back-tracking. What a big, dumb mistake - asking people to ‘support’ the party for a measly £3. And so they changed the rules. A War Criminal, as a kind of political surgeon, was allowed to step into the theatre to give misguided potential Corbyn voters the involuntary heart transplant he so vehemently recommends.


But now that I’ve received the following anesthetic e-mail, I know I’m in good hands, because the man with the scalpel is a man of Faith, a peace envoy, a friend of Bono, and he’s good at stitching things up, as this reveals:

Leadership 2015 (leadership2015@labour.org.uk)
Sent: 20 August 2015 04:16:44
         
Dear Applicant,

 Thank you for your recent application to become a Supporter of the Labour Party. As part of the process to sign up as a Supporter all applicants are asked to confirm the following statement;  I support the aims and values of the Labour Party, and I am not a supporter of any organisation opposed to it.

 We have reason to believe that you do not support the aims and values of the Labour Party or you are a supporter of an organisation opposed to the Labour Party and therefore we are rejecting your application.
Although you may have received or may still receive a ballot paper, it will not work and if you do vote it will not be counted.
Should you wish to dispute rejection by the Labour Party you would have to submit and pursue an application to join Labour as a full member.

Kind Regards
The Labour Party
Sent by email from the Labour Party and promoted by 
Iain McNicol on behalf of The Labour Party, 
both at One Brewers Green, London SW1H 0RH.
Website: labour.org.uk.  To join or renew call 0845 092 2299.

A Labour Party spokesman said they would not comment on individual cases, claiming “The Labour Party has a robust system to prevent fraudulent or malicious applications. All applications to join the Labour Party as a member, affiliate or supporter are verified, and those who are identified by our verification team as being candidates, members or supporters of another political party will be denied a vote.”
The party said there are several reasons why prospective party members could be rejected. They include not being on the electoral register, or having stood for another political party at the last general election, local elections or European elections. They also include people who nominated candidates for other parties at previous elections, and those who are known campaigners for, or members of, other parties.

I belong in none of these categories. Having been a Labour voter and union member since 1961 (even though I became, for a while, a member of the Communist Party in the mid-60s, which I left because it was too middle class), I have voted Labour in every local and national election over the past 54 years. I was briefly a Labour Party member in the 1980s. I left after Kinnock refused to attend a Miner's picket line, and would have in any case when they ditched Claue 4. In the last local Council and Mayoral elections in Mansfield this May, I worked hard for Labour's unsuccessful Mayoral candidate, Martin Lee, wrote speeches and designed leaflets, and actively campaigned for Labour on the street. Admittedly, I'm an unrepentant, left-wing Socialist, an endangered species, but I always saw Labour, even under Blair, as a valid buffer against the increasing draconian nastiness of the 'New' Tories. I'm 72 and still working. Will I ever vote Labour again? I doubt it. Will this election end up as a fiasco? I suspect so. The current Labour Party is nothing more than a very dark, sinister and corporate right-wing shambles. Hardie, Bevan and Atlee must be turning in their graves. Now, can I have my £3 back? Oh, sorry - I forgot - that doesn’t happen under capitalism, does it … so here's your new logo:


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