Tuesday, 23 September 2014
After 23 Years With a Heavy Heart
Throughout my campaigning life which began at 8 years old leafleting for Labour unsuccessfully against Major’s Tory Government, through to the last 2 and a half years as Co-Convenor of Labour for Independence. I have written many political posts. This is unquestionably the toughest statement that I have had to write.
I have often told this story of how I was brought up in a Labour family. My great grandfather was a strong working class Labour member in Dundee. My grandmother would tell me about the real Labour Party we had after the war. One who protected the workers, created the welfare state and the NHS. Looked after the sick, the old and the poor. Both my parents campaigned for the Labour Party, up until recently my mother still did. If red wasn’t the colour of blood I would have bled it anyway.
I began Labour for Independence because of the refusal of the party to give it’s membership the vote on where we stood regarding independence. In truth it was much more than that. Labour had long lost it’s way. It took me a while to realise, perhaps clinging to blind hope more than anything, hoping we could return to the days my grandmother talked about.
This campaign convinced me that we had a real opportunity to see a return to a real Labour Party in Scotland. Even after the polls had closed I spoke to a great many comrades at the count who yearn for change, even those voting no are aware of it. Yet the truth is the no vote will be seen as an endorsement of the Scottish Labour Leadership and how they defer to their masters at Westminster. Promoting right wing policies which have no place in the party of Bevan, Smith, Maxton and Hardie.
I’m sure many of you will have been aware of the constant slurs and abuse Labour for Independence have endured by our own party members. Yet this is not what has led me to this statement. It has been the constant that Labour has refused to acknowledge their roots or the very reason for their creation.
In this campaign we have had Labour leaders call us a ‘something for nothing society’ that we are not ‘genetically programmed to make our own decisions.’ We have seen our so called comrades high five Tories at counts. Some, like Jim Murphy hugging Tories in Clydebank of all places. Already we are seeing a backtrack on more powers and now a real terms cut in child benefit. But for me personally the final straw was seeing our Scottish leader Johann Lamont outside Asdas smiling for a picture because they had announced to raise prices in an independent Scotland. What a vile act for someone claiming to be Labour, let alone the leader of the party. Regardless of her voting preference the fact she should take enjoyment out of rising prices that will effect the poorest and the working class the hardest is unconscionable.
It has taken me close to a week of soul searching, but I have come to the conclusion that it is no longer possible to save the soul of the Labour Party. The great history and names within the party will live on, but they will live on with those who hold true their ideals and beliefs. Not by having a red membership card.
Therefore it is with deep regret that I resign my membership of the British Labour Party. They no longer represent me or the million or so Labour supporters in Scotland, nor a great many in other parts of the UK. They no longer represent their own history.
In light of my resignation I will also be stepping down as Co-Convenor of Labour for Independence and my place on the Executive Committee. I will accept a place at the future planning meeting on October 4th as a delegate of Angus. Where I will look forward to hearing real Labour comrades put forward what if any future Labour for Independence may have.
I would like to thank everyone who supported me throughout my time within the party and as Co-Convenor of LFI. I look forward to what the future brings.