so 48 Labour MPs voted NO on welfare cuts, my own MP Nick Brown was not
among them, though according to stories in the papers he was among a
great many not happy at being forced to abstain. At the end of the day
it is the 48 who said no who will have made the stand those of us who
voted Labour in the last election and kept faith, wanted to see.
|At the Newcastle Irish Centre|
My choice weeks ago was not set, but vaguely left and curious about
Corbyn. As of two or three weeks ago I fell into the Corbyn camp more
out of comfort with fellow travellers than understanding that I was,
like them , following my principles to their logical conclusions. During
the election I had longed for us to steal the thunder of the SNP and be
kind to immigrants, fight austerity, bin Trident adding my own personal
goal of nationalising the rail lines and utilities. Positions
described as unpopular but surprisingly gaining traction even before
election day dawned. As it happened we had no spine, our leaders were
weak and never did figure out we wanted more distance between us and
the tories not less.
Who's NHS? OUR NHS! well apparently no...
not with our comfortable season ticket holding career leadership
cowering behind the wall in fear of the dark mass of Daily Mail readers
that wouldn't vote for us even if we promised to castrate Millwall fans.
Last night's vote proves they fear wandering from the Tory narrative so
much they prefer to be known as the ones who put the final nails in
the coffin of the Labour party. Well I can hear you saying that Corbyn
and the left wing of the party will do that. At least it would be a
choice we give the electorate, a clear obvious dramatically clear
choice. I'd rather go down fighting than be smothered quietly in the
soft mushy quicksand the Parliamentary party wants us to perish in.
|Speaking at the Durham Miners Gala|
The fact is that we have five years of the Tories in a majority
government, we've lost the Scots, the left and the middle ground. If we
don't have a discussion now about policy and reform, when will we? Who
will trust us ever again? By choosing Jeremy Corbyn, we as individuals
make clear to the Westminster mob that the rank and file will not stand
idly by and be dictated too like small naughty children who don't know
any better. Our popular positions are in fact what people want, and it's
time the party reflected that. So who's party is it anyways? You'd be
surprised how complicated and expensive it was until recently to join
the party of the people, starved of volunteers, local constituencies ,
hands tied by regulations and sliding scales, have been unable to
operate anywhere near as busy or active as they should due to the
Byzantine politics of recruiting. Policy dictated from above and
filtered out so carefully we are at times at a loss to determine what is
and is not official policy.
I can tell you that from where I
sit, only Jeremy Corbyn can force the conversation that has to take
place to halt the rot and turn around the decline in what are supposed
to be core Labour values. Compassion, fairness, openness to the world
and the balls to take the acceptable risks to get Britain working again.
And it is a discussion, one in which we will not all agree nor will we
get all our bits in. Which brings me to another thing. Some have said
they cannot vote for a candidate because he or she does not tick the one
foreign policy box they see as a deal breaker. For some its BDS, yet
others Palestine or our involvement in foreign wars. Let me tell you
comrades, I as a member of stop the war coalition desperately want
peace, but cannot agree for reasons of culture and personal self
interest on every iota they have to say , and yet ... I will work hard
for them. Are some of you troubled by the one or two positions held by
Jeremy Corbyn on Palestine? Will that stop you, an otherwise committed
voter on the left from supporting him? That would be sad as this is less
about foreign policy than it is about the kind of Britain we want to
live in. There is only one candidate willing to put that vision into
practice. World events come and go, but we need a party that will save
our NHS, protect the weakest in society, promote education, trade unions
and yes even hard working business people willing to pay their fair
share of tax. Like all things that change, working conditions have
changed along with the challenges that come with the Internet economy.
The self employed, the small family business and the need to harness,
feed and house all this talent rather than doom them to the back alleys
and food banks. But if you are hung up on one issue and think some
perfect person will come along that fits you like a glove, mate you're
in for a long wait while the rest of us get on with it. Europe is at yet
another crossroads where we can veer left or carry on with austerity.
Country by country we are lurching towards a real alternative that does
not abandon compassion, fairness or security. Hard fought worker rights
are under threat, health care, access to education and civil rights are
crumbling before our eyes. If we allow the right and the fascists to
high jack the agenda of change we have only ourselves to blame.
Now is our turn to take the first step by joining the Labour Party as a
supporter at a £3 level before August 12th. Let's elect a real socialist
as leader who will conduct the conversation our top most layer seems to
fear so much. I would be shocked if it turned out what we're saying
wasn't connecting with the public and the rank and file. Long ago the
mainstream press from the Guardian to the Telegraph became more
interested in selling papers than the truth; on the street, in meeting
halls and in the privacy of social media outlets people have been moving
along and past these now paralysed old organs of the establishment
looking for an instrument of change, Jeremy Corbyn is that instrument.
Did you vote TUSC, Green, SNP or not at all in the last election? Maybe
you held your nose and voted Labour, no matter; that was then, this is
now. Get the party you want by taking part in the process. I don't
promise you perfection or that we'll win every time. But I will tell you
this, a few weeks ago we thought it would be a miracle if Corbyn got on the ballot, then we figured he'll at least make a good show of it, but
look at where we are. 15 points in the lead according to some polls, the
party establishment is afraid, very afraid. Last time I saw such a
thing we won a close municipal marginal much to the surprise and dismay of the Lib Dems. #jezwecan The only thing crazy about this campaign is that it looks like as long we don't take our eye off the ball, we will win this!
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Corbyn for leader North