WHY I LEFT THE LABOUR PARTY (after 40 years……..)

Recently I cut up my Labour Party membership card after (about) 40 years. I could no longer see the point. And, because I put it on Twitter, I have had many conversations with people who feel the same.

And now the Party (in the persona of one of the members of staff from ‘Membership Services and Correspondence’) has written and asked “Before you go, can you tell us why you want to end your membership?” Well yes, I certainly can. Even though the futility of the exercise is not much mitigated by the laughable improbability of the next sentence: “If you could spare a couple of minutes to let us know why you decided to resign, we can make sure we learn from your experience as a member and improve in the future”.


Anyway, I wrote a letter to Membership Services and then two of my favourite lesbians at supper the other night asked what I’d said and so I read it to them and they said I ought to ‘publish’.

So…..here goes.

Dear Membership Services,

Well the list is long:

  • being abused as “a fucking Tory” or “here comes the fucking Right wing” in Labour party meetings
  • the failure of the Party to tackle anti-Semitism
  • the abject failure of Jeremy Corby’s leadership to make a dent on the poll position of this absolutely chaotic and venal Government.
  • the Corbyn ‘team’s’ obsession with forms of ownership – eg nationalisation and an ideological idea about council/state run services rather than a total focus on their effectiveness for the people they are there for. (See the declaration that the new Momentum dominated Labour group in Brighton and Hove that they would take all the homelessness services in house, when they are mostly run by a charity who also own the Day Centres – thus increasing costs and losing tax advantages)
  • the failure to campaign loudly and effectively, in the Referendum and since, for EU membership as a way of advancing and protecting workers rights, human rights, the environment etc…. Where was the ‘EU – Remain and Reform’ Labour voice?
  • endless failures to recapture patriotism and love of Britain and develop a language that resonates with working class and other voters who love their country. Where, for instance, was the speech from the Leader on the anniversary of D Day which reminded us that it was ordinary soldiers who fought for freedom and then voted for the world they had brought into being in the form of a radical Atlee Labour Government? Where was the speech that praised the foundations of the modern welfare state established by that government and then continued as a jumping off point for a radical new vision for that welfare state in the 21st century? Where was the speech praising the heroism of those soldiers and the vision of Europe so many of them articulated that day in France in June? Where was Corbyn? All he said was “the service was very inclusive”.
  • the Office of the Leader is clearly dominated by a small unelected clique who seem to regard themselves as answerable to a core of the membership and not the British public. And this is also reflected in the behaviour of local party activists who seem to believe that MPs are accountable to them, not to all constituents.

I could go on…. But, under the current leadership, Labour is consistently failing to build a centre left coalition around a new approach to an economy that reduces inequality, serves consumers and producers, and increases productivity; a welfare state that supports people in a way that is fit for the c21st; sees public services as in need of radical reform in the interests of those use them rather than just needing more money; failing to re-imagine the relationship between British people and the state in any kind of compelling way. Instead all we get is meaningless slogans about “the end of austerity”.. “for the many ……” etc etc.

Well…. you did ask

I will come back to the Labour party when it returns to being a broad alliance capable of creating a future-facing vision for country not spending its time looking in the rear-view mirror in the hope of re-capturing a lost age of workerism that neither existed nor is fit for modern Britain.

Thanks for writing

Yours, Simon

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