Sunday, 30 March 2014

Dagenham Labour councillors defect to Scargill and UKIP in two-way split

socialist labour party header

Whilst most left-wing pundits were trying (and failing) to watch the latest Trot fest on-line in Manchester in the form of Left Unity's second conference a rather odd split has taken place in Dagenham Labour Party.

Two of Labour's councillors have split to join Arthur Scargill's Socialist Labour Party and another four have decided to throw their lot in with UKIP. The Barking & Dagenham Post reports:

Labour has seen six of its members cast off the red rosette and move to parties on either side of the political spectrum in as many months.
Four have gone on to join Nigel Farage’s fast-rising UK Independence party while the other two have taken a step to the left and joined Arthur Scargill’s trade union supporting Socialist Labour Party.

But is this a sign that Ed Miliband’s party is losing its grip on Barking and Dagenham?

Party spokesman and chair of the local candidate forum Cllr Darren Rodwell claims nothing could be further from the truth.

Speaking to the Post he said all of the recent defectors had failed Labour’s two-stage reselection process to stand as candidates for the party in the upcoming May local election.
The Socialist Labour Party has been seen as a "ghost" organisation for many years now since King Arthur kicked out all and everyone who disagreed with his leadership. At the same time the SLP has put up "paper candidates" who generally do better than the much more active far left groups with which it competes in elections.
The SLP has even managed a couple of updates to its' usually moribund website
Our warmest welcome is extended to Councillor Jim McDermott who has joined the SLP after resigning from Labour.

Jim, who has represented the Eastbury ward of Barking and Dagenham since 2006, tells us he feels the Labour Party in Barking has over many years been taken over by people ‘following a different political agenda’ not consistent with the principles he believed the party represented when he joined it fifty years ago.

As an SLP councillor we believe Jim will be free to speak out more openly in support of the interests and needs of his electors as indeed it is his wish to do.

His actions demonstrate integrity, and a concern for the benefit of others over self which is rare in politics these days.

If you share the concerns of Jim McDermott and many others, who are disgusted by the brutal capitalism that is scarring our society and our world, take the first step. Join Us!

Kim Singleton, SLP General Secretary.
They now report:
A second Labour Party councillor in Barking and Dagenham has defected to the Socialist Labour Party. We are delighted to welcome Cllr. Barry Poulton to our ranks. Party President Andrew Jordan describes him as a man of principle who is placing the concerns of his community ahead of any self interest. Cllr. Poulton has stated that he does not wish to waste his work for the community which would be the case if he did not make his political move.
Dagenham was an area in which the BNP has traditionally been a threat, but as the English Elections blog tells us:
Labour managed a clean sweep of all 51 seats in Barking and Dagenham in 2010, but through a series of defections since then the combined opposition has grown from zero to eight councillors - UKIP are the largest opposition group now with four members, the Socialist Labour Party are up to two, with one Conservative and one Independent both also sitting on the council.....

However, with Labour having pulled off a clean sweep here in 2010, and with polls generally showing them in a better position now compared to then, there is every chance of another Labour clean sweep coming in May. Saeed's Abbey ward is particularly safely Labour with 67.1% of the vote last time to the second-placed Conservatives' 13.2%. Thames ward was a little more marginal by the monolithically Labour standards of Barking and Dagenham with a Labour vote of 49.4% to a second-placed BNP's 17.1%. Neither ward has history of UKIP or Socialist Labour candidates though, so further speculation on electoral chances would have no basis.

Arthur Scargill may not be smiling for long.

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