Len Arthur has just resigned from the Labour Party and joined Left Unity. His resignation letter below makes his reasons clear
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Labour Party resignation letter – joining Left Unity.
Direct Debit payment
With reference to your letter to me date December 6th 2013.
I’m afraid I have decided to resign from my membership of the Labour Party with effect from the date of this letter, being about the time my annual Direct Debit (DD) payment was due. I have cancelled the four DDs that I pay to the Party locally and nationally.
This has not been an easy decision having been a member of the Party from 1963 – 1972 and again from 1987 – 2013. I was a local election agent in the 1964 general election and my wife, Vera and me met canvassing for the Party in the 1966 general election. I have made a contribution to most election campaigns in that time, even when not being a member.
My decision to leave has gradually evolved since the Iraq war and the financial crisis of 2007 – 08. I consider the financial crisis to be one of the most important economic events in my political experience, exposing the contradictions and weaknesses of the neo-liberal economic experiment: attempting to make global corporations and capitalism profitable by making the rich richer at the expense of the working class. This began in the early 1970s, it influenced the 1974 – 79 Labour Government; was extensively implemented by the Tories 1979 – 1997; little modified by Labour 1997 – 2010 and has been massively accelerated by the current Tory government. The 2007 – 08 crisis has exposed this agenda for all to see and created the conditions for the left to mount a radical challenge.
In a number of ways I have tried to raise the debate within the Labour Party about how we, as socialists, could take advantage of this situation by developing policies that offer structural alternatives to the domination of the neo-liberal agenda based upon collective and democratic ownership and control. I supported Ed Miliband for leader and hoped that this would open up the democratic debate in the Party over the content of the next manifesto. However, it seems that democracy has been closed down, with local councillors becoming unaccountable to members and national policy processes remaining consultative and being overridden by statements from shadow ministers, such as Ed Ball’s commitment to continue with the Tory cuts into at least the first year of a Labour government. It is little wonder Labour Party members are disinclined to take any radical discussion seriously.
Any challenge to the neo-liberal agenda has now been swept away with the One Nation Labour approach based upon ‘responsible capitalism’ epitomised by the Union Jack emblem that would fit the Tories just as well. Austerity has now been accepted by the Party and is being implemented by Labour councils up and down the UK under the ‘dented shield’ rhetoric: they might as well stick the Party’s new emblem on every shield to complete the image.
As someone who does not support the efficacy of ‘personal politics’ and the power of an individual resignation my decision has been made easier by being involved and now becoming a member of Left Unity: a party that is serious about challenging neo-liberalism, has an internationalist socialist agenda and is likely to be part of the European Left. As it is the intention of the new party to stand in elections, which will mean challenging Labour candidates, this of course is incompatible with Labour Party membership, hence my resignation.
I will send copies of this letter to the Pontypridd CLP; to my branch secretary and to other Party colleagues who need to know directly. I am a Labour Party councillor on the Pontyclun Community Council. I was elected as a Labour candidate and I do not think it is democratically acceptable to just declare myself as a Left Unity councillor, so I will resign as a councillor at the next PCC meeting in February 2013 or, if I cannot attend, by letter before the meeting.
I wish you all well and I’m sure that I will be working closely with some LP members on campaigns where our politics coincide.