Today I witnessed the best and worst of the Labour Party first hand.
The event I attended, Momentum Doncaster & Bassetlaw 'Democracy Road Show' was a joy from start to finish, full of dedicated people fighting for proper representation from their elected officials, something that should go without saying in a democracy but which, sadly on today's evidence, very much doesn't.
The positives first, because that is the most important part.
There was a fantastic spirit of respect and cooperation under trying circumstances, and the event ended up running seamlessly. It was a pleasure and an honour to sing there for new friends and old.
There was a FANTASTIC response to my #PeriodPoverty Solidarity Appeal, and I have come away from Whitwell with two boxes full of sanitary towels and cash donations for many more. It was great to meet Chris Williamson MP and I only wish time had allowed me to stick around for the Q&A. Great work from Gary and Bev and John and all involved.
Now to the hard part to swallow.
Local MP John Mann has a reputation for being a deaf ear to anything he doesn't want to hear, and certainly more than one person has described a career bully. Today he excelled himself. Cancelling a speech at the Jewish Labour Movement conference so he could move a CLP meeting forward by almost three weeks in order to clash with this event, he deliberately equated these two facts in order to smear the event I sang at as being anti-Semitic and (his words) a "Hate Fest".
This I find an unforgivable insult to myself and other attendees, and proof that automatic re-selection needs to end and it needs to end soon.
As a lifelong campaigner against ALL forms of racism, Fascism, bigotry and intolerance, I do not take kindly to this insult to my character and consider it a gross misuse of the power of his office.
I won't hold my breath for an apology.
Where Mr Mann has the willing ear of the Right Wing gutter press to air insults like this on his behalf, I have to type here and hope you read it.
I left Whitwell with a significant contribution to helping some of the poorest people in our communities, doing what Socialists SHOULD be doing. I was able to do that thanks to the amazing efforts of local people rallying to the cause.
This is the true Labour Movement. People working to help each other in times of crisis, and fighting for a future where we no longer need to.
This is what I will remember.
This is what matters.
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