I had great hopes for Labour.

LogoGreyJulian Cohen, the new Manchester North Left Unity organiser explains why he is joining up

I am getting involved in Left Unity because I really believed the Labour anthem “things will only get better”. (and it didn’t) Well they certainly couldn’t get any worse after the Tories left power leaving a deeply divided country, very little effective manufacturing industries and venomous ideological pursuit of privatising everything. So decimated mining communities were left to the scourge of heroin dealers who joined in the get rich quick frenzy and dog eat dog culture. No response to help and support those who suffered in the changing landscape.

In the early eighties I was studying for my History degree at Manchester Polytechnic and I was interested in politics but never felt a strong desire to get involved except at spectator level. I always identified with left of centre issues and admired Tony Benn and Michael Foot with their fabulous fire and brimstone oratory style and their strong passions to support the working classes and the disadvantaged. The response by other left wing parties appeared to fragment the support for the left and in some ways they were responsible for the demise of the labour movement. Continual arguments and splits fought out in the public eye and a loss of the intellectual arguments were a cause of constant disappointment as The Tories won election after election. Despite this I had had free education, a health service that was excellent and free at point of contact. There were some odious things creeping into the political system. High unemployment, the dreaded poll tax, decimating manufacturing industry, eropsion of a decent legal framework for workers, broken communities, the selling off of our council houses, selling off of school playing fields, privatising everything that was possible as an idealogical weapon to brow beat public workers, the crepping in of competition/privatisation in the health service and treating the working classes with total contempt (remember Norman Tebbits getting on a bike to look for work comment).

I had great hopes for Labour. Well as those fabulous socailists Tony and Cherie ran offf into the sunset with Loadsa money made from the after dinner party circuit I began to question what Labour had done or even what they had stood for. I felt conned. I liked his banning of Fox hunting but then I realised that wasn’t even an effective act. Labour had done very little to get unemployment to an acceptable level. Is there a purpose for this? A couple of wars when we apparently have no money?
Even John Prescott seemed to have been tainted by the role of public office, parliament and its institutions. NHS driven by targets and key performance indiactors and more increasing role of private companies creeping in.

Move forward and a coalition just after Gordon brown had upset one of his working class supporters (or was he set up by a controlling and corrupt media). ITS GOT WORSE. More ideological attacks on publics services. Here we go again – more privatisation. Even though it is private companies that have bought us the the brink of economic chaos. More attacks on the disadvantaged. Lets add the disabled and sick to the working class. The politicians and bankers have lied and they have been deceitful yet they are still in power. The institututions are corrupt and they are failing.

I am ambitious to see a new type of party. A party like Left Unity that looks to be polished and slick and able to clean up and win all the intellectual and moral arguments to have full employement, nationalised industries working for the good of the nation and a party which represents all parts of its communities. The United kingdom works best when we all pull together. The people of this county are it’s assets. Young, older, disabled, all races, creeds and nationalities – everyone. The days of divide and rule must be ended. I am in it to focus and see real change. Lets not be split.

When i was at polytechnic at freshers week all those years ago I was put off by the infighting of those splinter group left wing parties. It let in the Tories. Instead I joined the anti fox hunt group. i may have saved a few foxes but now i want to help save this great nation from failed Tory, failed Labour and failed whatever you want to call them neo liberal fakeries!!!


6 responses to “I had great hopes for Labour.”

  1. david foley says:

    Splits occur when people have their own agendas, the new movement should be simple, a stripped down, bare knuckle organisation with simple. clearly defined goals. It’s focus should be the people and the workers, it should be ready, sleeves rolled up for a hard, long fight.

    • Jonno says:

      bang on, keep it lean and mean, no time for ideology at present, its time to take the fight to the enemy…

  2. Curlew says:

    Julian speaks of : “The days of divide and rule must be ended” and that he “want[s] to help save this great nation from failed Tory, failed Labour and failed whatever you want to call them neo liberal fakeries”

    But the problem I see is that there is just 2 years between now and the next election. On your other pages I see people resigning from the Labour Party. Are you going to be standing candidates in 2015? If so, will it be in safe Labour seats? Will you be ready in 2015? (well actually you need to be ready by mid 2014)

    I’m sorry but all I can see is a divide and rule of the Left voting public and the delivery of a full majority of the Tory party. Thanks.

    I really hope that everyone on here is not in for a great big let down…

    Why don’t people show this energy within the Labour Party (or even the Greens for that matter) Why is it that at party meetings it is only the right side of the spectrum that turns up, making it a uphill struggle for the few left-wingers that remain in the fight.

    • Guy Harper says:

      The reason the need for a new party has emerged is that there is now a lack of working class representation in parliament. The Labour party keeps moving to the right despite the attempts by activists within the party to stop it – because the strategy that New Labour leadership takes is that of populism – attempting to take the centre ground – responding to perceived pressure from the right, in the form of the lobbying groups and the benefit scroungers/immigrants narrative in the mainstream media. The position of the Greens is more debatable but they have been proven to compromise with austerity and thereby lose all notion that they present an alternative.

      Whatever party comes out of this won’t make great strides before 2015 – building a party takes time – but the crucial outcome would be a party opposing austerity and presenting working class representation once the expected Labour Party government in 2015 embarks on its own inevitable austerity agenda. You just have to look at the People Before Profit vote in the Lewisham Evelyn byelection to see that the appetite is there for an alternative.

    • John Penney says:

      Generations of good Left Wing socialists have frittered away their valuable political time trying fruitlessly to “push Labour Leftwards”. It hasn’t worked has it ? New Labour is a throroughly neoliberal capitalist party today, only interested in meeting the policy wishes of the Tory/Labour “Swing Voters” in marginal constituencies. Hence New Labour’s policies are pretty indistinguishable from the Tories. The recent accomodations to the “migrant worker” racist panic drummed up by the gutter press, and the collaboration of New Labour in the scapegoating of the unemployed and benefit recipients generally , tells you all you need to know about the non-plausibility of Labour as a vehicle for progress against the capitalist austerity offensive.

      If we manage to create a new radical political party and broad social movement of the Left, as others have said, it won’t be a significant electoral force by 2015 – so won’t be splitting the Labour vote then. And so New Labour gets back into office in 2015 under two of the Blairite neoliberalist architects of the deregulated bankster disaster, and the opening up of the NHS to competition, Milliband and Balls . Will they reverse the cuts, reverse NHS privatisation, slow down austerity ? Will they hell.

      The key period of struggle for a growing new radical Left Party will be AGAINST a New Labour government continuing the austerity offensive for the bosses. Whis is not the time to waste illusions on the dead as a dodo New Labour Party. The sooner it is displaced by a real radical socialist party fighting for the majority , not the rich, the better.

  3. Roshenke says:

    We seem to have travelled a thousand miles in the last week just think how far we can go in 18monthes courage we can do it

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