After two decades of settled life in North Norfolk I’ve learned to accept that we can sometimes be a little out of step here. Even so the recent behaviour of our local Labour Party has been odd by any standards.
Anyone who reads this blog will need no reminding of the gravity of the situation we are facing nationally. The last two weeks have witnessed the biggest constitutional crisis of my lifetime – and as a leftyoldman I am well into my 70s. On Tuesday March 12thMPs voted overwhelmingly to reject the PM’s Brexit deal for a second time; on Wednesday ‘no deal’ was narrowly defeated; on Thursday a motion to extend the Brexit process was passed. This week we have seen the Speaker’s intervention and the Cabinet decision to seek a Brexit delay. Quite correctly the Brexit debacle is dominating political debate.
Not, it appears, as far as the North Norfolk Labour Party is concerned. They have other priorities.
Late on the evening of Wednesday 13th (the day that ‘no deal’ was rejected) I received notification and the agenda for the monthly members meeting of the North Norfolk Labour Party; this meeting takes place tomorrow. The centrepiece of the evening is to be a motion on antisemitism to be proposed by ‘a Member of the Executive’ – name unspecified. A briefing note, transparently cut and pasted from another document, stated “This CLP wishes to express its pride in the way that Jeremy Corbyn, Jennie Formby and other members of the NEC have acted in establishing a process able to deal fairly with antisemitism complaints”. The motion itself read “This CLP applauds the efforts of the LP leadership under Jeremy Corbyn to weed out and deal with antisemitic behaviour appropriately”. The whole communication continued at length over 300 words in a similar unctuous style.
Apart from the curious timing, there are two points to be made here. The first concerns the internal contradiction in this bizarre communication: on the one hand it denies that there is any problem; on the other it congratulates the leadership for sorting the problem out. Secondly, those of a more sophisticated intelligence may reflect that if the problem had been dealt with correctly in the first place we wouldn’t need to discuss it all at this stage.
Accordingly I decided it was time to overcome my torpor. Together with my friend the excellent Mayor of Cromer I wrote to all the Executive Committee (who apparently had passed the resolution unanimously) arguing:“Articulation of this motion in this way, and at this time, is a travesty bordering on the ridiculous. It will make the NNLP a laughing stock – immediately ahead of the District Council elections”. I also encouraged other members to communicate their concern. I was pleased to receive support; it is spring equinox so perhaps new growth is emerging. I discovered, for example, that our last two Parliamentary Candidates had expressed similar concerns.
The Executive themselves are oblivious and have seemingly become more entrenched and united. One of Corbyn’s achievements, perhaps the only lasting one, will be to unite the Trotskyists and Communists and thus end the Bolshevik schism. [i] I have received various warnings, including one from the Chair, reminding me that I must ensure that I destroy any contact details of members that I held when I was Treasurer. Quite how he intends to enforce this I have no idea and, I suspect, neither does he. However, using procedures to cut down dissidents is a standard hard-left tactic.
Sadly none of us on our side of the divide have the inclination to attend the meeting; for my part I will be going to London for the Peoples-Vote march – the political issue of our time. I am sure the resolution will pass; if not I will add a codicil to this blog. Enough of the handful of people (now generally dropped into the high teens) who attend North Norfolk Labour Party Meetings at present have a desperate need to reinforce their own ideological certainty. Passing such a silly motion will have no effect beyond making the local party seem irrelevant and ridiculous.
leftyoldman blogs will appear occasionally as the Brexit battle continues and the shape of post Brexit politics emerges. If you would like to receive email notification of future blogs, please press the ‘followleftyoldman’ button on the left hand side above. I continue to tweet at @eugrandparents.