Stand Together - Or Fall Apart
WE NEED TO BE A REAL OPPOSITION! Earlier this week 129 Labour MP's voted to stop support for Saudi Arabia's campaign in Yemen - but 100 Labour MP's did not take part by abstaining, and so the vote was defeated.
If anyone doubts that those abstentions had an impact - the vote was defeated by 90. Had the 100 voted in favour, we would have seen the support withdrawn and the selling of arms to Saudi at least suspended.
During Cameron's reign as PM the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia was worth a staggering £5.6 billion. The poorly planned and equally poorly executed coup of the Labour leadership this summer is key to what I believe was the reason behind those MP's not taking part.
Jeremy, as we know, won again with a greater mandate from members. The coup failed! It failed members who spent the run up minding their P's & Q's and praying anything they had said on social media in the past would not get them purged of their vote or suspended from the party.
We saw 130,000 members who had not joined before January 12th denied a vote unless prepared to pay £25 to register, and we saw the democracy so many of the PLP say they proudly stood for stamped on and ground into the dirt in a way that made me ashamed of the party I have supported since 1980 after I cast my first vote in 1979.
In 1979 I was totally ignorant of politics. My dad, a soldier, was not politically savvy, like most soldiers he leaned towards Tory support. He and I had a strained relationship so I never knew if he actually ever used his vote, and Mum, though much more vocal about the evil of the Tories today, was no voter for sure.
So when I cast my first ever vote in 1979 I did so because my fellow soldiers told me the Conservatives were promising the armed forces a much needed payrise and so I voted Conservative!
Without going into detail, it is enough to say I got my first lesson in politics, a spanking if you like that was to change my complete ignorance to curiosity and dented my, up until then, complete trust in politicians.
By the next General Election I had left the army and taken my place at Durham University where I had affiliated myself to socialists. I didn't fully recognise my socialist genes then but I knew these guys were on my wavelength and I voted Labour - and never considered voting for any other party until just after the 2015 General Election.
I detested Blair and the Tory lite politics he brought to Labour but even as I affiliated myself to Labour in the early 80's, I was aware that Kinnock was already setting the party up for a swing away from the left. But Labour were still always going to be a better choice than the Conservatives.
The emergence of Jeremy Corbyn halted my thoughts of throwing my hat in with the Greens, I threw myself back into Labour support and with great relief too. At last here was a chance to see a Labour Party I had learned so much about from its conception.
I had never felt a desire to join as a member but Corbyn's election had me eagerly signing up. How many times during the summer did we hear from the anti Corbyn MP's lining up to shout in the right wing press and on the BBC, in fact to anyone willing to give them a voice (and a lift to their bank balances) that the Labour Party needed to be a real opposition?
How many of us screamed at those MP's that since Corbyn's leadership we were seeing opposition the like of which we had despaired of ever seeing again? We heard too the clarion call for a need to unify the Party to fight the Conservatives, we heard the warnings; if the Party did not unite then we would effectively give the Tories another decade or even another generation of power.
A few of those rebel MP's, yes rebels because they did not represent the views of the Party members whose membership swamped the 172 who voted no confidence in our leader - who had swelled the party membership to make Labour the biggest political party in Europe, bigger than all UK parties put together, sending a clear message that Corbyn was still the leader of choice - these few would still not commit to getting behind Corbyn if he was re-elected.
Owen Smith, his challenger, was the most adamant in proclaiming he would not support Jeremy Corbyn if he maintained his leadership. Many though were prepared to accept the members choice and did commit to giving their energy to unite and fight the Tories.
Were those commitments hollow given 100 MP's abstained on this crucial vote? I posted the link below on my Facebook wall, which is linked to my Twitter account, with the header '#StoptheWar.. 'And Labour MP's wonder why we sought change in Labour, why so many of us voted Jeremy Corbyn. Enough death in far flung places from those who are supposed to represent our wishes. #NotinMyName'
The same post, now a Tweet, went crazy with retweets and likes and I gained 20 new followers as a result and surprisingly no haters!
On Twitter these comments were typical......
Wolfe Jules said _it seems incredible to me that anyone could abstain on such a vital vote! Boris Bags said _Deeply depressing #StopArmingSaudi
John Richardson said _how in all conscience can Labour MP's support this assault on civilians
Leftie Lovey Tulk said _Time for @angelaeagle @tom_watson @Keith_Vaz_MP to name three to be deselected. They are deliberately undermining @UKLabour unity
And Ray Woolford said _Worst act by labour MP's since Iraq war vote. putting #chickencoup b4 humanity beyond contempt. JC must show leadership and party deselect
I don't know about you but I asked this question as soon as I heard the result of this vote - Was this about protecting the value of our arms sales to Saudi or was it about undermining Jeremy Corbyn?
Remember I told you the sales to Saudi in Cameron's reign was worth £5.6billion?
Do we have MP's within Labour being paid enough to vote for war so that Arms Dealers and Manufacturers carry on getting fatter on wealth? We know within the wealthy Conservatives such greed exists that souls have been sold for a buck - and we know some of these public schooled millionaires have no morals when it comes to fattening their bank balances, hoarding their ill gotten gains offshore to avoid taxes - but Labour MP's with the same intent?
Well of course there are bound to be a few who have the same reptilian ethics. We see how wealthy that warmongering snake Blair has got, so we know that some of his admirers in Labour are bound to want to emulate him - but I doubt in my heart that this was what was uppermost in the minds of all 100 of those labour MP's who took no part in the vote or abstained (let's call taking no part as abstaining because effectively that's what they did and whilst we are about it lets say that their abstaining was effectively a vote against the bill to withdraw support for Saudi Arabia, given the bill failed)
Nor can I believe that they are not sickened by the deaths and bloodshed and those desperately needing aid in Yemen, or perhaps I am giving them too much credit and comparing them with 'misty eyed lefties' like me - who the MSM seem to delight in disparaging, as if caring is weakness and something to be mocked and despised.
Whether that be the case or not, I am left with just one conclusion given the comments to both my FB page and my Tweet! That these MP's are so intent on undermining the Socialist grip on the Labour Party, that they would rather hand the Tories another decade of power than see Labour return to its roots.
Their prophecy of Corbyn failing to lead the party into power, their assurances that he cannot nor does not want to form a government has now got to come true no matter what the cost. Whether that be lives lost and human suffering in far flung places like Yemen, or seeing our poorest and most vulnerable continue to suffer at the hands of another decade of Conservative rule, they cannot be seen to have been wrong.
What can we do as members? If your MP was one of those who abstained, write to them with respectful displeasure at the heart of your message - try not to give them an excuse to have your membership suspended because you can fight them better as a member.
Get involved in your CLP's. So what if they are not keen to have you involved, so what if they make you feel like a leper - as long as you are there and new members come with your support for Corbyn your numbers will grow and it will be harder for your CLP to ignore you.
Go for positions within your CLP and make your voice louder, run for Council elections....... Remember a true socialist thinks about others first so ride the discomfort you may feel when at your CLP - it's more than about you, this is about all of us. It's about people taking back control of our own destiny.