Wednesday, 12 November 2014

A New Start for Socialism

Malcolm Tucker: That's your fucking career over, right? Okay, you're fucking dead. And those three little words, "Tim in Ruislip", are the fucking nails in your coffin, dear.
Malcolm Tucker: Tim. In. Ruislip. Tim in fucking Ruislip.

So this article isn’t about Tim in Ruislip, it’s not even about Malcolm Tucker, although the notion of an (obvious) Labour spin doctor is perhaps systematic of the decline which I am writing about. But this quote, has been stuck in my head for the last few weeks.. Ever since Jim Murphy announced his candidacy for Leader of the Scottish Labour Party. 

The decline of my former party has been evident to anyone paying attention. This of course means that no-one outside of Labour for Independence and a few other Yes voters seemed to notice. A landslide electoral victory by the SNP in 2011 was considered a blip, a poor leader. Enter J. Lamont. I don’t specifically feel any great ill will toward Johann. I don’t think she is a bad person, just misguided particularly in the referendum. She isn’t evil, just not genetically programmed to lead a political party. 

By election victories maintained the bravado. Yet these victories were in towns where so strong is the tradition of voting Labour, they could put a red rosette on a Tory and still get elected... Some would argue they already have. Ironically for the Scottish Labour leadership it was their biggest victory which finally provided them with the reality check. The referendum result saw a mass sign-up to membership of the three independence parties. With opinion polls now showing that the SNP could take 52% of the Scottish vote in May with the Greens and the SSP looking to increase that Yes supporting number to 60%, reality has now dawned on the rag tag leadership of the Scottish Labour Party. 

Lamont has now jumped before being pushed, Sarwar has stood down as Deputy to leave the path open for Westminster's preferred choice as leader being an MP, (Thus needing a deputy MSP) gaining a seat in the shadow cabinet for his sacrifice... Labour is lost at sea without a rudder. 

Step forward Jim Murphy. 

Actually before we continue, let’s remind ourselves of Jim’s record. 

-Since 2001 Mr Murphy has claimed over £1 million in expenses
-Mr Murphy voted to cap benefits in March 2014
-Mr Murphy failed to show up for the vote against the Bedroom Tax
-Mr Murphy voted for tuition fees despite being NUS president.
-Mr Murphy went on 100 day tour of Scotland campaigning for a no vote, which meant leaving his  Eastwood constituency without an MP for almost 1/3 of a year. Yet claimed over £200,000 in Westminster expenses.
-Mr Murphy is a major figure in Labour Friends of Israel, who refuses to recognise of the state of Palestine.
The man who strongly supported the illegal invasion of Iraq and strongly unaligned himself with Ed Miliband when he apologised for said invasion.
Most worryingly Jim Murphy has never rebelled against the party line in Westminster.

This leadership election is now being played out as a battle between New Labour and Old, Right and Left, Murphy vs Findlay. Sarah Boyack seems to have been left out of the equation. 

The reality of this media drama is far from that. The truth is despite the support for Findlay within the trade unions and the socialists in the party, the media and more importantly Westminster want Murphy to be leader. While Findlay still has an outside chance, what he will discover if elected leader is that he will be punished for daring to upset the apple cart, offered less control and authority than even JOLO and will put his coat on a shooglie peg, the first day in office. 

I speak of this whole debacle no longer a member of the Labour Party, rather a proud member of the only socialist party in Scotland, The SSP. It is with that SSP hat that I write this article. You see Labour is dying, independence was the last chance to restore it and so typically of the party it shot itself in the foot. The fact members like myself, steeped in family tradition of Labour activism should leave is testament to that. These are the dying embers of a once grand party we socialists used to be proud to call home. The question is how long will it take to die out? 

In my view that depends on the decision they make with their Scottish Leader. An unlikely Findlay victory will delay the inevitable, a Murphy rise to the top will lead to the death of the party, no longer will they have the vote of Real Labour in Scotland.  

Within the SSP we must prepare ourselves for both outcomes, at conference we supported a yes Alliance in 2015, but we must think beyond that. We need to become the obvious choice for the socialists within the Labour Party to join. While over 2500 have applied to the SSP since the referendum, much more comrades have taken the step to join the SNP hoping to bind a nationalist party to a socialist cause. 

They do so because we are not there yet. We are not in the position to receive them, to let them know that this is the party for them. That if you are a socialist you belong in the only political party who fights for the working class, and rejects big business, neo liberal capitalism, the Scottish Socialist Party. Despite this we must be ready, Abe Gubegna, the Ethiopian novelist and playwright once wrote;

“Every morning in Africa, a Gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a Lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest Gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a Lion or a Gazelle... when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.”

We need to get running, we need to create a socialist agenda that will appeal to the socialists throughout the Labour Party, the SNP and even the Greens. We have much to do but our first step should prove to people the of Scotland, who and what we stand for. 

Clause iv was removed by Tony Blair as a symbolic gesture that the Labour Party was open for business, that it was no longer ‘Real Labour’ but wolves in sheeps clothing. Our constitution has a reworded version of Clause iv. I propose we amend it to its original text; 

To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.

Let this be the message to those who believe in a better way that we are the party for them. Let this be the symbol to the socialists within the Labour Party that we are home for you. This is not the sum of our change, rather the first firing shot over the bow that the Scottish Socialist Party are here and we are the mainstream, the real socialist voice of the people of Scotland. 

Oh ... And if Labour vote for Jim Murphy...

Malcolm Tucker: ..those three little words, "Jim Fucking Murphy", are the fucking nails in your coffin, dear.
Malcolm Tucker: Jim. Fucking. Murphy. 

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