Sunday, 13 September 2015

15,000 new members in one day – and some still say it is the end of the Labour Party

I did not vote for our new leader, Jeremy Corbyn and I still have some serious concerns about both his past actions, his views on NATO, Europe and Northern Ireland and some of his close ‘entourage’ and many of those who may join (or in most cases re-join) the party because he is now our leader.

But I will not be leaving the party, or throwing my toys out of the pram – I will give him my full backing and the actions and words of David Cameron and the Tories after the result makes me even more determined to work hard to gain a Labour Government.

The words of David Cameron were certainly not the ones you would expect from the Prime Minister, to declare that the Labour Party were now a threat to national security and our families security was an act of pure arrogance.

Of course in Central London, it could be said that Cameron and the Tories are a threat to peoples security as David Cameron has increased the number of members of the House of Lords so there are now more Lords in London than on duty firemen!

As I stated I have not been a Corbyn fan in the past but happier to accept his behaviour in the 80s – being arrested in a demo against the South African apartheid regime that that of Cameron and Boris Johnson smashing up Oxford restaurants!

The comments from Cameron were made worse as MP’s like our own Ben Gummer dutifully repeated the Tory HQ tweet on their own twitter line – does Gummer now believe we are a threat to national security or does he just do what he is told by the Tory hierarchy?

Where I was wrong as many MPs also were, is that we had lost what our members and supporters wanted or possibly (and I hope more likely) we had not got our message over to them, to explain why we have to be seen a competent enough to run the economy and that does not mean becoming ‘Tory lite’.

Jeremy won a with a fantastic majority among members, supporters and union affiliates but he has little (or did) support from MPs and I guess the same may be true of MEPs, Cllrs, Council Leaders and more importantly the activists who are out every week on the doorstep canvassing and delivering. Jeremy must not forget us – we understand our members want change and we must now work together to make it happen.

The 15,000 who joined yesterday is a fantastic boost to the party and we welcome them into this great democratic organisation but for those re-joining, a warning, we can’t and won’t go back to the Labour Party of the 80’s – endless CLP and ward meetings, motions proposed to support some little known left wing organisation in South America, we are not going to run a council like Liverpool Militant did in the past, just look at the mess the Green Party have made in Brighton and we are also not going to be ashamed of what Labour achieved in 3 terms in power – if you’re not happy with that then maybe we are not for you but if you wish to join an organisation based on community campaigning, a party that wants to get things done not just talk about it then we are the party for you.

But most of those 15,000 members from yesterday will be new, not many will even remember Thatcher and the 80s – they do not care what Corbyn did or said then – they just want something new, not just a rehash of old policies – that is why this may just work – it is up to us already in the party to take that enthusiasm of those new members (many of them young) and take the fight to the Tories. In Ipswich this week we are holding two social events with new members – finding out why they joined, what they want to happen and what they can offer to the party and to the people of Ipswich.

Jeremy Corbyn showed the way this morning, he was not sat on twitter, he was at a local mental health event in his own constituency – a great example to many, that is how we will beat the Tories – campaigning hard rather than calling fellow party members, new labour, old labour, red Tories, Tory lite, Blairites, Corbynistas - we are all just LABOUR members and supporters.

But of course it will be a difficult time for the party, many are concerned about the direction we may now move, the strength of the Shadow Cabinet but I was impressed by our new leaders acceptance speech, the proof wil be in the pudding when we see who is on his front bench, and Jeremy is not the youngest and he may just be the person to help turn us back into a mass movement to regain power in the future.

I hope he quickly decides to put the whole party behind the pro-Europe campaign, and that he does not allow people like Galloway to sneak back in.

But we will stay loyal to the party and we will keep fighting for what we believe in.

What about the others? The Green Party probably last as many members as we gained this week and they will be just left with those of the far left who will never come back and those we would not want back. The Lib Dems continue to lose members – mainly to the Tories here in Ipswich, as we always thought many were just ‘yellow’ Tories. The SNP seem now set to go for another vote on independence, probably hoping to get it in before a Labour resurgence north of the border.

The Tories? Will laugh but they should be worried maybe not by Jeremy but by the opposition now being one of the largest political (and campaigning) parties in the Western World. They should also remember a certain IDS – he got over 60% of the Tory vote and was gone in two years. They also have their own impending civil war (or 2) over Europe and their 2019 leadership election.

So we fight on, taking the battle to the Tories, 15,000 new members in one day – I would be worried Mr Cameron, very worried.

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