Micheline Mason has decided to resign from the Labour party in order to help us build Left Unity. Here is her resignation letter to Ed Miliband
April 12th 2013
Dear Ed Miliband
I am sorry to say that I have decided to resign from the Labour Party in order to help organise ‘Left Unity,’ a potential new political party. I thought I would let you know why.
I have been an artist and political campaigner since my childhood it seems, starting with my own struggle as a disabled young person against the forces of segregation.
In my lifetime – over 60 years – I have seen many improvements to our quality of life, most of which have been brought about by the struggles of the ‘oppressed’ with some help from allies. This was particularly true in the optimistic years post World War II, based on a powerful sense of collaboration and equality so brilliantly illustrated by Ken Loach in his new film ‘The Spirit of 45’. Certainly disabled people have re-defined the problem for us from one of ‘personal imperfection’ to one of stereotyping, segregation and denial of opportunities. Our successful struggles against this have meant that my daughter, also a disabled person, has lived the sort of inclusive life that seemed impossible when I was growing up in the fifties.
Ken Loach seems to be asking us to examine the mistakes made during that time of rapid, top down change. Despite the most breathtaking creations of Universal Healthcare, free Education, affordable housing for all, and all the nationalised services, the class system was never dismantled at its’ core, leaving the elite poised ready to regroup and reclaim all that had been built for the benefit of all, for their own selfish purposes through privatisation. We are forced to watch this happening every day like witnessing a slow car crash about which you can do nothing.
I have been waiting to hear from the Labour Party some protest, some acknowledgement of the destruction by these ruling elites, but I do not hear it. I hate the divisiveness of worker against the workless, disabled against the non-disabled, immigrants against the ‘British’. It is all playing into the hands of those wanting to exploit us further and pandering to our petty grievances, resentments and bitterness. It leads to coldness towards people who need help, even hatred towards some of the most vulnerable people in our society. I only hear you using the same language and condemning the Unions for trying to protect people. This is not the sort of leadership which will shift the bias back towards the ‘All for One and One for All’ spirit in our hearts.
I believe we need to use a different language – that of kindness and compassion, sustainability, the truth about income inequality and who benefits from ‘growth’. Unless we do this, and with confidence and conviction, people are being left circling in confusion looking to ridiculous and dangerous ‘solutions’ such as those put forward by UKIP. Many of us are becoming disillusioned altogether with politics and deciding not to vote. This is not a good thing.
The worst thing in my mind is that since the Thatcher years our culture in this country (England) is being corrupted into one of selfishness and small minded acquisitiveness, disconnection from others and a judgemental attitude towards people about whose struggles we really know nothing. I do not want to live in a world like this.
I feel it is worth taking time to gather the voices and experience of those people who fought for the Welfare State. I want my daughter to learn from them, that collectively people can still create a better world for all, not just the few. So these voices need organising and I am going to do whatever I can to make it happen.
Ed Miliband MP.,Leader of the Labour Party, House of Commons, Westminster, SW1A 1AA
cc. Sadiq Kahn, Tooting.
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