Newent Branch Labour Party Newsletter, 27 July, 2019
I was at a funeral this week, celebrating in best humanist style the life of a long-time member of our Branch who died aged 91. Some of you will remember Zoe and as I listened to the many touching eulogies, I thought of her lifelong commitment to peace, internationalism and social and economic justice, values Labour has always held as its founding principles
These principles are much alive in today’s Party, whatever the Sun, the Daily Mail, the Telegraph and others confuse their readers into believing. The party’s 2017 election manifesto generated great optimism across class, gender, age and racial differences but the Tory no-deal Brexit project whose endgame was reached this week in the crowning of Boris, the buffoon, and the many malicious assaults from inside and outside the Party with accusations of extremism and antisemitism has demoralised many of our supporters. Party membership still stands at around 500,000, though, the largest of any European democratic political party.
Today, the Party faces what left-wing groups always face when attempting radical reform of political, social and economic systems under a right-wing government. For over forty years, turbo-charged global Capitalism has fought a open class war against the powerless using all the economic and cultural apparatus it controls – through, for example, the media, advertising, benefit cuts and legislation – to frighten and dishearten those people Labour seek to protect. We see now the full effect of this war: gross inequality, homelessness, poor public services, food banks, xenophobia and in its wake the rise of the nationalist right.
I believe that the Labour Party is the only British political party that can resolve – through government action, not the market place – some of the most challenging and urgent global issues: climate change, economic inequality and rising demographic imbalance. We have recently lost votes to the Greens and Libdems, the first, a small single-issue and largely middle-class movement, the other, a party moving to the right and not to be trusted in coalition with the Tories
In 2015, Jeremy was widely accused by the popular media of being unpatriotic when saying he would not press the nuclear button; in June I watched a half-hour interview on C4 News with the two LD leadership contestants, Jo Swinton and Ed Davey. One of the interviewer’s questions was, ‘‘would you press the nuclear button’. Without a moment’s hesitation, they both replied, ‘Yes’. Quite shocking, really, from a Lib Dem leader; my friend, Zoe would have been shocked too. She spent a large part of her life campaigning against nuclear warfare. To see the whole interview, follow the link below. The ‘button’ question comes about 25 minutes in. Do watch it:
Finally, for a clear statement of Labour’s current position on Brexit no-deal, a second referendum and a general election, can I point you to a recent interview, 23 July, 2019, between C4’s Jon Snow and our shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell. Here’s the link:
With best wishes,
Chris Wooldridge (Newent Branch Secretary)