Dear Ed Miliband

Micheline Mason

Micheline Mason

 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.

Yours sincerely,

Micheline Mason

Ed Miliband MP.,Leader of the Labour Party, House of Commons, Westminster, SW1A 1AA

cc. Sadiq Kahn, Tooting.


39 responses to “Dear Ed Miliband”

  1. janette says:

    good on u

  2. steve revins says:

    my ‘own’ Labour Party has not had any meetings since 2010; neither has the Labour-Link that I was a delegate on behalf of (over 5,000 Unison members in Birmingham pay the APF affiliated fund from their/our union dues)
    ….but who said it is necessary to leave the Labour Party to join this “Left Unity” thing? has that already been decided?

    • kate says:

      No it’s not necessary to resign from the Labour party in order to have the discussion in Left Unity but Micheline wanted to organise a local Left Unity group in Wandsworth and as she says ‘was on the verge of leaving anyway’

  3. Neil H says:

    Huge and grateful respect to Micheline Mason for her integrity, sacrifice and for her refusal to deny (against increasingly alien voices) the roots and ethos of the party we once relied on to put people before profit. We have all been listening, waiting for some kind of outcry from the leadership, but there is none to be heard. The Labour party is effectively, pragmatically and ethically dead.

  4. Janet Two Mothers says:

    Well said. Little awareness among the shoppers I leafletted today. I have ” ——then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me” ringing in my ears.

  5. Joanne says:

    I totally agree with the points made by Micheline in her letter. I have been voting labour for fifty years, through good times and bad, but feel totally disillusioned by the state of British politics today. I worked for most of my life but became ill in 2007 since which time I have been unable to work. I am not a benefit scrounger and paid my national insurance and income tax whilst working. It galls me to hear Harriet Harman and others rubber stamping workfare and the cuts in welfare – Keir Hardy must be turning in his grave. It is time to bring justice and compassion back into politics, a party of the people working for the people.

  6. Bev Turner says:

    Beautifully expressed and with such feeling.

  7. Left unity manchester says:

    Micheline, the language of the heart is lost to most politicians. I hope we will never lose it in this movement. Good to have you on board. Your words have really touched is here in Manchester.

    • Jonno says:

      New Labour politicians explicitly reject the ‘language of the heart’ in policy making and politics, hence Blairs and today Blunkett’s comments to the media: that the “P cannot be a repository for protest votes” (he also wrote something which incredibly directly refutes compassionate politics) for them it is ‘real politik which is supreme…

  8. SimonCampbell72 says:

    Absolutely agree with everything in Micheline’s letter.

    I only wish I will be so eloquent when it comes to my eventual resignation from the Labour Party.

  9. Jonathan Underwood says:

    Pretty much sums up my own reasons.

  10. Rich Will says:

    Excellent letter and a marvellous decision.

  11. Steve says:

    A very eloquent piece, and more or less sums up my own reasons for leaving the Labour party.

  12. Paul Fraser says:

    It is the non action of the Labour Party that brought in strength a hatred (it is the right word), the hatred of a London disconnected with reality on what is going on in Europe.

    Alex Salmond might have some “image issues”, but I am certain that a profound progressive country like Scotland, cannot deal with a much more conservative country like England. Besides, the SNP is not the only party who wants independence; the Green, Socialist, some elected members of the Labour and even Lib Dem Party, are in favour for independence.

    We are entering in a time where we question the Thatcher legacy, I can tell that since she entered in power, she initiated a policy that drew away Brittish industries, privatised sectors important to public safety and a catastrophic housing policy.

    Labour lost they mandate to represent the weaker, the disabled, the environmentally conscientious and the workers.

    Therefore, as a disabled myself, and as a progressive, I would like to congratulate you for this hard decision you talk, certainly for a brighter future.

  13. Dave Proudlove says:

    Brilliant Micheline, good to have you on board.

  14. Faith Romeo says:

    I just read this letter on a Facebook page and agree with everything said. Is there going to be a be a meet or something to mobilise and get involved with? I would be keen to help as I’ve been very disillusioned with the Labour party’s response to the onslaught of cuts against the most vulnerable people in society.

  15. Harry says:

    I to, agree with the points made by Micheline in her letter. I have been voting labour all my life, but now feel totally disillusioned by this Labour party that is effectively finished. well done Micheline Mason.

  16. Jill Miller says:

    Hi Micheline,

    You are so eloquent. I also feel that Ed Miliband is not cutting the mustard, however, I’m afraid that if all of us socialists leave the labour party in droves, the bloody tories will get in for another five years. And then we will have no NHS, or welfare state. Isn’t it worth voting labour for the next election to stop the Eton Boys creating more carnage. Once the NHS is privatised it’s too late to reverse…There is not enough time to build up Left Unity to take the tories on in the next election.
    I agree with every point you make and you have shown what a great inspiration you are. X

    Just a question to pose to voters Micheline….should we be concentrating on keeping the tories out….

  17. Jill Miller says:

    PS….I meant getting the tories out!!!

  18. You don’t have to belong to the labour party to vote for them. The ballot is secret. It is not clear to me how long it might take to build a viable alternative. Sometimes tipping points are reached and change can be very sudden.

    • sue says:

      This poses a crucial question. Do we then campaign for a Labour victory in all elections, local and national, or is the intention to select candidates to stand against them? I tend to agree with Jill above: Left Unity are risking splitting the vote and letting the Tories back in in 2015. I don’t agree with the current Labour stance on austerity but surely it’s better to work with the tools we have rather than reinvent the wheel? I’m undecided about the merits of Left Unity; it could be a great campaign force but not an electable alternative to Labour.

  19. Stuart says:

    With the numerous amount of posts showing dissaffection with the current political system and its ethos it may only need a suggestion of a potential that marries up with many peoples idea of what a society should be and offer for something to happen. There have been many cries of ‘why doesn’t someone do something?’ May we have a possible ‘Peoples Champion’ in the making?

  20. Judie McConway says:

    I just want to say “thank you” for writing in such an eloquent way, and exactly describing my feelings, worries and fears.
    We need someone like you to be there for the dispossessed, the sick, elderly and disabled, those who struggle to find work but discover there is none.
    Thank you.

  21. David Human says:

    Micheline for leader.

  22. David Human says:

    Happy May Day to one & all.

  23. David Human says:

    Micheline Mason for Prime Minister.

  24. Mark says:

    I also resigned my membership to Labour so disillusioned with politics has a whole. There are no real politicians anymore. Only professional political parasites in the whose only edict it’s to gain money for themselves and their cronies.
    Good on you for putting it to Ed hopefully he’ll listen but in my opinion he’ll just carry on blindly bumbling through until it’s time to act to get out!

  25. Chris Bernard says:

    Thanks Micheline, you bring common sense and hope. All you propose is so possible and achievable x

  26. Fran Bower says:

    Let’s be clear – you can’t support ‘Left Unity’ AND belong to the Labour Party – for moral reasons before ‘Left Unity’ becomes a political party, and after then because the Labour Party should expel you, according to its rules.

    Personally, I hope you all eventually decide to influence the Labour Party from the inside, like me, and make its voice louder and clearer, rather than getting carried away by buccaneering romantics who in the end will only split the left vote, but I guess on this website, that’s just me…

  27. Terry Crow says:

    I remain a member of the LP. That can change.

    I have absolutely no illusions in Labour. It’s lack of anything that could be called remotely ‘socialist’, not to mention its dire lack of internal democracy.

    I do not think Ed will see the light and campaign for socialism. He is embroiled with the status quo and tinkering – yes, I support whatever minor or even major progressive reforms he may propose, but we know his agenda remains in tow to big capitalism. Stop tax avoidance to pay for public services is the current panacea. Just ask Tony Benn why he moved left, to understand how real power works under capitalism.

    But as much as a few hundred (more) LP members may at this point in time decide enough is enough, the vast majority of individual LP members are not where you are, not to mention the overwhelmingly majority of the population.

    I try to look at things as they really are and as they may be down the road.

    There are undoubtedly many who do see the Labour Party, despite everything, as the best hope for social change for the better – isn’t this an irrefutable truth? I see this day in day out when arguing on the internet. More particularly, the mass of people will be oblivious to the existence of Left Unity and a new Left Party, notwithstanding Ken Loach’s potential to flag up its existence, at least initially. So I stay in Labour to argue the socialist corner (my version, anyway).

    And what happens if and when the trade unions get their act together towards Labour? That could have a radicalising effect. Again, I don’t say this will mean transformation, but when (eventually) things move, they can move fast. And in the LP, I will have more influence.

    And with a mass politicisation on the back of some event or other down the road, and on the back of a daily incremental growth of hatred and despair from the hardest hit, where will people turn? Will it be Respect, TUSC or the Left Party? Yes, I’m sure to an extent each of these. But won’t most go to the obvious place, and where trade unions are currently directing people – to the Labour Party, as unappetizing as that may be to the palate given what we all know about our current ‘representation’?

    I’ll happily support Left Unity whilst being a member of the LP, offering up a daily criticism of the LP leadership for its lack of a robust alternative to corporate capitalism. It can’t even fully get behind the NHS! So what’s the worst that can happen? The LP will expel me? Well, make my day, because I won’t go away, arguing for the opening up of a discussion on the alternatives to billionaire-owning big business and its monopoly of power over our lives, plus a badge of honour for being expelled for the crime of being a genuine, democratic socialist.

    I don’t know how Left Unity intends to take people like me into account, but I’d ask LP members not to cut off their nose to spite their face. Take a holistic approach, rather than an emotional, short term approach is all I suggest. What’s to lose? Time and events will make the decisions we need to make clear for us in the end. At the moment I don’t believe anyone has a crystal ball to predict how things will run, with LU itself being too small to register any significant influence on the direction of flow at this point.

    For the sake of genuine Left Unity, somehow we need to find a way to agree a cross-party alliance of socialists (assuming Left Unity becomes a Left Party that can be called ‘socialist’).

  28. I enjoyed very much reading that, their is hope yet for this world

  29. Jayne Linney says:

    Great letter, I’d love to know if there was a reply?

    • micheline mason says:

      There was no reply! In fact they are still treating me like a member even though I stopped paying my subs several months ago. I wonder how many other ‘members’ are like me.

  30. Paul Johnson says:

    What a loss of an asset but a great gain for us. Being disabled and having three disabled children can be challenging enough, without the minefield of filling in books and appointments and followed by being made to look like an underclass. Well done you.

  31. joseph mccaffery says:

    Labour died when ‘New Labour’ arrived.

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