Politics over thirty six years

During my life as a hard line unionist I’ve considered myself to be on the left of main stream politics. In the late 1970s I was very tempted to join the Communist party but instead, in the summer of 1983, I joined the Labour Party. Throughout the dreadful Thatcher years I was on many demos, marches, and solidarity campaigns.

Blair showed his true colours when, as one of his first reforms, he pushed through the revocation of clause 4, thus cutting ties to the trade union movement. This was even though the Labour Party was established as the political arm of the unions. I argued vociferously in my CLP (constituency Labour party) meetings against this. I was outvoted by the majority, who were ready to give Blair time. Mr Blair had many faults but, his one redeeming feature was, he could think on his feet. Indeed he did grant devolution to the three Nations in 1999, started a campaign to end poverty and encouraged Free Start Centres. His major mistakes were in pandering to Bush by sending Britain to war in Iraq.

In May 2015 when Ed Miliband resigned, who I always thought of as ineffective, Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party. I thought we might see a redressing of the awful Tory attacks on the working classes. Going head to head with David Cameron, and his side kick George Osborne, Corbyn failed to score any significant wins during debates. This might be excused as lack of experience or simply the Tory party had the voting power. But the regime of austerity cuts continued hitting peoples lives and security. After eight years they had almost crippled the country, and seemed proud of it. Then as always, with the Conservatives, Europe divided them.

The whole Brexit debacle began when Cameron failed to deal with the Tories who thought the UK was sending too much money to the EU and Britain was in danger of being swamped by immigration from poorer countries. Cameron’s solution was to call for the matter to be settled by a referendum. The result of that referendum succeeded in dividing the whole country. Cameron immediately retired from politics after the vote.

Theresa May was elected leader of the Conservative Government. She continued with the austerity programme. Universal Credit continued, the infamous bedroom tax and a whole host of vicious attacks on the poor. These were open goals where Jeremy Corbyn should have won significant debating arguments. He didn’t.

Today Britain is a broken society. People, even in affluent areas can see the homeless sleeping on the streets. Crime is rampant as a result of police officer numbers being reduced over the years. That reduction in police numbers isn’t by natural wastage. No it’s due to the Tory government squeezing the police precept’s annually. Our Nation Health Service has suffered the same fate.

It is deeply regrettable that eight Labour MPs have resigned the whip. They say Jeremy Corbyn is ineffectual in failing to deal with anti-Semitism, which is said to be  rife in the Labour party. Whether true or not. I can’t say, but it’s well known Corbyn is very sympathetic to the Palestinians. But I can honestly say I’ve never seen hostility towards Jewish people in the thirty six years that I have been a party member.

Mike

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