Leaving the Labour party

Having kept you all in quite enough suspense (?!) it’s now time to tell you why I have left the Labour party.  If you ever studied World War 1 in History at school, you may remember the whole idea of political events escalating to the point where only a single spark was needed to provoke the outbreak of war.  And Gavrilo Princip obliged when he assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

I have been extremely unhappy with many aspects of the Labour party in recent years; the response to 9/11, Blair’s leadership, Blair’s trustworthiness, Blair’s hypocrisy in lecturing us all on rights and responsibilities and yet completely failing to take responsibility when things go wrong, Blair being a bit of a smarmy git, Blair undermining and turning his back on core Labour values, Blair in general.  In fact, the only reason I bothered joining the Labour party was so that, as a Labour party member, I would be able to play a part (albeit a tiny one) in choosing the next leader.

Last Wednesday I watched in shock and disgust as security guards pounced on a “dangerous, radical dissident” at the Labour party conference in Brighton.  82 year old Walter Wolfgang represented a clear threat to the security of our nation … as he shouted “Nonsense!” at Jack Straw.  Using that logic, surely all of us are dangers to society … I mean, who hasn’t shouted “Nonsense!” if not at Jack Straw, then at one of his equally deluded colleagues who currently form our government.  What made things worse though, was the way the heavies also swooped on another radical dissident, Steve Forrest, who had the temerity to stand up and defend the inappropriate man-handling of an elderly man.  Both were ejected from the conference and had their passes revoked.

Only once the Labour party realised the depth of the PR disaster that they had just walked into did they retract, apologise to Wolfgang and allow him to return.  But even that was a half-baked apology as he was re-admitted on the condition that he didn’t repeat the offence.  And this is where the problem comes; Sure, the manner in which Wolfgang was forcibly ejected was outrageous but the bigger point was that he was disciplined and ejected at all.  In this, the Labour leadership seems to be adopting the US position of “You’re either with us, or you’re a terrorist.”  Setting aside the possibility that democracy does supposedly allow for, that opposition can be peacefully and harmlessly expressed.  If a front line politician such as Jack Straw can’t take someone shouting “Nonsense!” then he should resign, wrap himself in cotton wool and go home to mummy.  Blair and Bush claim that the War in Iraq was brought about in order to topple a brutal regime which suppressed opposition and tortured and killed many innocent people.  And yet they are both so insecure about their own democratic states that they react in such an obscenely heavy handed way to the mildest opposition.

The characteristic of a civilised society is surely that a government sets forth its agenda, the opposition points out weaknesses and errors … and the different sides debate the issues.  And Blair must know that there is significant opposition within the party.  Why pretend at party unity when most people know there are deep divisions on some pretty major issues?  Surely it’s better to bring the debates out into the open.  Ask the question, Why did Wolfgang call out “nonsense”?  If Blair sweeps all the difficult issues under the carpet, the ground will become unstable and no one in the party wll be able to stand properly.

And if this the way the Labour party is going to view and treat even the mildest dissenter, then it’s a movement I want no part in.  This just shows that the Labour leadership has little to no interest in what ordinary people think – only in their grand schemes and designs for the future of Britain.  Labour don’t even seem interested in genuine debate, just highly polished sound bites and focus group policy.  I’m no longer interested in being a member of a party that tramples on and stifles peaceful opposition voices.

Mr Blair, you can take my Labour party membership and stick it …

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