In a previous blog ‘A sorrowful resignation’ I set out the reasons why I felt unable to continue as North Norfolk Labour Party Treasurer – although, to emphasise, I remain a committed member of the Party that I joined as a sixteen-year old. This last blog received a deal of attention: some people, perfectly reasonably, said that I should stay on as an officer and continue the fight for mainstream Labour politics from within the local Party. This is asking a lot from me at present; I am uncomfortable with the direction of debate locally. Take this passage that appeared to the North Norfolk Labour Party’s Facebook; it was contributed by one of our newer members. These we are told are ‘rejuvenating the Party’.
The implementation of cuts by Labour administrations demoralises the population thereby lowering the level of political consciousness. Far better would be a call from Labour politicians to all councils to resist cuts by whatever means possible: dipping into reserves; setting illegal budgets. At the same time they should organise a referendum to test whether the public support austerity. They should call on local authority workers to take direct action to defend their jobs, including a one-day strike – coordinated across the country. This would throw the Conservative Government onto the back foot. They would be hard pushed to send in commissioners to take over a large number of local authorities. Above all it would create debate and discussion about the cuts, undermining the myth that there is no alternative. It would help rebuild the movement. To be a credible opposition, we need to fight back. By heading up a polarised debate Labour would pull in loads of support from all those cynical and disillusioned, mostly lower income people, who currently don’t vote because they think all politicians are the same.
I don’t know the individual concerned – he did not join until well after the General Election – nor do I want to know him. There is not a chance in hell of this sort of popular uprising taking place. If the idea was explained in detail to a representative group of local authority workers in Norfolk they would, first struggle with the concept, and, once they had understood it, fall about laughing. Shamefully the author of this submission is suggesting that others to put their futures at risk by committing illegal actions. His own role would be restricted to cheering on from the sidelines.
Sadly I have a short temper and it is getting shorter as I grow older. I have always hated puerile gesture politics, and react badly to such nonsense. I need a break before returning to action and hope that those have criticised me will understand.