Saturday, 13 February 2016

Letter of the week

Most of the far-left press has become dire reading over the years. The two main ones Socialist Worker (often nicknamed the "Sun" of the left) and The Socialist (previously known as Militant) are not just dull but sometimes simply just a collection of blinkered ideologically based rants are barely worth reading.

There remains one small publication that still attracts interest (though not as much as it used to) the Weekly Worker published by the minute Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Committee) which is led by ex Communist Party/New Communist Party hack Jack Conrad or to give him his real name John Chamberlain. There believed to be no more than a couple of dozen of them but their paper has in the past been a source for all the juicy gossip on the far-left hence it used to attract quite a lot of readers.

The CPGB deny their paper is just a gossip sheet, but since their turn to Left Unity and their tedious reporting of the internal machinations of that dieing organisation readership has plummeted. Left Unity turned out to be a cul-de-sac for failed lefties and frankly kooks like the woman who sang her contribution to their founding conference or one John Tunoman/John Lubbock who put forward resolutions describing ISIS as "anti-imperialist"......(see here)

However the WW does have a lively letters page which can be of interest, though I recommend skipping over anything written by Tony Greenstein an obsessive anti-Zionist.

This week there is a letter that not only caught my attention but contains a sentiment that should be shared by anyone who wishes to remove this bastard Tory government (Corbynistas should particularly note:
I am one of those who believe that a Labour government - any Labour government, no matter how impure - is better than any Tory government. Alan Paton, author of Cry, the beloved country, told Peter Hain: “I am not an all-or-nothing person … I am an all-or-something person.” In other words, half a loaf is better than none. It is better to be a weak government than a strong opposition. The Blair governments may have been lacklustre socialist governments, but they were better than the 18 years that preceded them and the years that have so far succeeded them.

The CPGB is a case in point. It is impotent. It may expound pure Marxist principles, but the public don’t want to buy it and it has absolutely no chance of power; sad old revolutionaries dreaming in never-never land. In fact the whole of the British left, fragmented into a plethora of sectarian posturing, is impotent, with no foreseeable hope of gaining political power. The only hope of dealing with the Tories is to get Labour into power. You can then set about trying to get Labour to try to adopt more socialist policies. Half a socialist state is better than none at all.

In 1980, following the 1979 Labour rout that elected Thatcher, Hain wrote the following words: “Of course, all sorts of arguments will be cited in favour of far-left groups, this time, in these particular historical circumstances, facing that specific stage in capitalist development. But then they always are.” And later on: “One of the least appealing attributes of the far left is its self-righteousness: its claims to possess a monopoly on socialist wisdom, on morality and honesty, and in the case of the Socialist Workers Party specifically, its irritating tendency to exaggerate its self-importance and the role of its activists. That sort of approach makes left unity difficult to build. It also reflects a fault of the whole of the left, inside and outside the Labour Party: namely, a desire to posture rather than grapple with reality.”

Later the same year the party elected the hard-left Michael Foot as leader. In 1983 Foot went to the country with a manifesto that later gained the “longest suicide note in history” soubriquet and Labour went down to its most crushing defeat ever, just about managing to avoid third place. Neil Kinnock set about making the party electable and declared: “Remember how you felt on that dreadful morning ... and think to yourselves: June 9 1983 - never, ever again will we experience that.” And we haven’t - not yet anyway. But if we regard Peter Hain’s words as prescient then 2020 beckons. Corbyn is offering “the longest suicide note in history” once again.

The country needs a Labour government that will govern moderately and not ideologically; that puts people before profit, not profit before people; that accepts capital as collateral damage, not people. To get that government you have to deal with Britain the way it is, not the way you want it to be; then maybe you will be able to deal with the world the way you want it to be rather than the way it is.

Michael Ellison
Spot on I'd say.
It will be interesting to see the replies next week!

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