Livingstone: a London Mayor for the Many Not the Few

 

Ken unveils pledges to make older Londoners Better Off

In the wake of Tory Boris Johnson’s successful campaign to cut the top rate of tax, which has left 410,000 London pensioners worse off with the so-called ‘granny tax’, Ken Livingstone today published his policies for older Londoners. Ken is pledging to campaign against the Tory pensions rip off and stressing his key pledge to cut Londoners’ heating bills with better insulation and an energy co-op.  

In his older Londoners’ manifesto ‘Older Londoners – better off with Ken’, Ken set out five key pledges to improve the quality of life for older people in London including:
1.    A cut in energy bills
2.    Campaign against George Osborne and Boris Johnson’s Tory budget tax assault on pensioners.
3.    Protect the Freedom Pass by cutting the fares and reducing the eligibility age to 60.
4.    Provide better local bus services and improve door to door and community transport
5.    Extend the Freedom Pass to the cycle hire scheme, to give older Londoners free use

Labour has made the fight for pensioners’ votes a key battleground in the London Mayoral election. Just over one in seven Londoners are over the age of 60 – more than a million people.

Boris Johnson is under fire over his central role in the ‘pensions robbery’ following the budget, his threat to the Freedom Pass and his failure to lift a finger while older Londoners’ fuel bills have risen sharply.

Last week’s budget means 44% of all pensioners in London will lose out thanks to the Conservative party. Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has pointed the finger at the Tory Mayor, saying: “Boris Johnson was the most prominent and powerful Tory calling for a £3 billion cut in the top rate of tax right now, making him the main accomplice to George Osborne’s tax grab on pensioners whilst cutting taxes for the richest.”  

Ken Livingstone said today:

“Older Londoners need a Mayor who will put them first, not a handful of the richest. The Conservative candidate in this election has got his way, with a tax cut for the richest, but 400,000 London pensioners are being made to pay for it. At the same time the Tory Mayor has failed to deliver on his plans to cut energy bills for London households.

“Older Londoners who are angry at the top-rate tax cut pensions grab can join my campaign to stand up to the Conservatives and help me cut heating bills for pensioners.

“Every year on a Tory Mayor’s watch the qualifying age for the Freedom Pass has risen and he has stood idly by. Only a Labour mayor can be trusted to protect the Freedom Pass long-term.

“As the budget made clear Boris Johnson is more interested in campaigning for a tax cut for the super rich than standing up for ordinary Londoners. I will put the majority first.

“Grey power can bring positive change. Let’s use it to make London fairer.”

68 comments on “Livingstone: a London Mayor for the Many Not the Few

  1. Apparently the RMT is going to sue Johnson for defamation:

    The RMT has threatened legal proceedings against London Mayor Boris Johnson over what the union says is a defamatory poster campaign portraying General Secretary Bob Crow as part of a corrupt group of cronies under the control of Labour mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone.

    The union also confirmed it has referred the matter as a formal complaint to the Electoral Commission. The “Not Ken Again” poster began appearing in London in early March.

    A spokesman for RMT said: “Our opinion is that this poster falsely portrays Bob Crow and RMT as part of some corrupt, venal, scandalous and wasteful group of cronies associated with Ken Livingstone.

  2. It’s saying something about the degeneration of politics brought on by the ramping up of military action over the last 10 years that people who really do believe they’re on the left are doing everything they can to get a win for Boris. Witness Harry’s Place’s sister site, Shiraz Socialist, which claims to be supporting Livingstone out of class loyalty, but in reality is doing as much muck-raking and undermining as any right-wing site (and indeed is using Gilligan for source material).

  3. Indeed. A great opportunity for the RMT to join the election campaign in some form, squandered by giving in to the right-wing narrative. This should be ABC stuff right now.

  4. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Bob Crow at London Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition public launch meeting.

    On the day of the millionaires’ budget, the transport union RMT national executive made the decision to back the London Assembly election list of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and to allow RMT branches around the country to back TUSC candidates in the council elections in May 2012.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cj6IMjVLzMw

  5. #5
    Indeed? Ken wasn’t exactly supportive when the Tube workers went on strike during his reign, IIRC.

  6. The Mayor of London is the ultimate boss of Transport for London. Of course he is not going to back striking tube workers. Bosses can be more or less enlightened, wear red or blue rosettes, but ultimately the boss is the boss, and the logic of that position obliges him to act like one.

  7. #6

    Jimmy Haddow: Bob Crow at London Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition public launch meeting.

    Eccentric trajectory from RMT, hard to see how they can sustain influence in the wider movement as they contnue in this direction

  8. Francis King:
    The Mayor of London is the ultimate boss of Transport for London. Of course he is not going to back striking tube workers. Bosses can be more or less enlightened, wear red or blue rosettes, but ultimately the boss is the boss, and the logic of that position obliges him to act like one.

    Well OK, but by the same token Bob Crow isn’t obliged to support a candidate who actively briefed against his members,either.

  9. tony collins: A great opportunity for the RMT to join the election campaign in some form, squandered by giving in to the right-wing narrative.

    I must admit I didn’t read it that way, but I can see how you can.

    I can’t see how it’s “eccentric” – or even new – for the RMT to back candidates which support RMT policies. But that’s a bigger issue, I suppose.

  10. Just a bit of food for thought:

    “Senior Labour figures have come out against the suggestion from Unite’s Len McCluskey that there was the potential for disruption of the Olympics from trade unions.”

    ” And a spokesperson for Labour’s Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone said:

    “Ken’s position is unequivocal, there must be no disruption of the Games from any quarter. Ken will work hardest to ensure there is no disruption to the Olympics not least because it was Ken who successfully worked to secure the Games in the first place.”

    http://labourlist.org/2012/02/livingstone-there-must-be-no-disruption-of-the-games-from-any-quarter/

  11. I think the RMT’s relationship with Livingstone is always going to be problematic. One thing that’s worth bearing in mind is how the mainstream labour movement sees the RMT. For people on the ground, it’s a beacon. But in political terms, it isn’t seen as being a scrappy fighter for justice, it’s seen as being on the outside, with no influence. As a union it’s anomalous, because it has a high, immediate economic impact when its members go on strike, and it has huge membership density. But that doesn’t translate to any attempt to win wider public support.

    It is, as you’d expect, contradictory. The union has a Millwall attitude – no one likes us, we don’t care – and that works well for its members. Really well, in fact. My wages have almost doubled in 10 years. But it isn’t automatic that the union must refuse to back Livingstone or that its support for TUSC means anything. Bear in mind that the RMT doesn’t, and won’t, make any attempt to mobilise its membership to go out campaigning for TUSC. It hasn’t done anything like it in recent years, for No2EU etc.

    As I alluded to before, I think the Ken vs Boris issue highlights a serious problem on the left, particularly the liberal left. Islamophobia drives so much of it, as does support for recent wars and occupations. It’s meant that what should be absolutely clear-cut is muddied, and that’s not Livingstone’s fault. None of us have any illusions in Labour, surely?

    For me, it’s this: We’re in the middle of an extremely right-wing, extremely aggressive government that is destroying the social fabric of the UK as fast, and as permanently, as it can. The government is intent on creating actual misery, not just by cutting stuff, but as a political end in itself. Who among us hasn’t felt crushed by the weight of the attacks in the last year, and the knowledge that much, much more is to come? It’s a very deliberate, calculated attenpt to alienate people and crush their spirits to make them feel that this is all inevitable.

    Against that background, Labour has a candidate who is still considered one of the old school Labour types, who speaks his mind and is prepared to get it wrong. For all his problems, Livingstone can represent hope for political resistance. I personally don’t think any TUSC has the potential to do that – for all the talk of an “exciting and broad” candidate list, and as much as I may like them personally, Alex Gordon and Steve Hedley from the RMT are unknown names who will appeal to no one. Simply having hardcore full-time union officials on your candidate list doesn’t mean anything in an environment where union consciousness and density is so low.

    Regardless of what the RMT does with TUSC, as a political left wing union it should know that it can have a limited impact on this mayoral election, and it should be using that impact to get Livingstone elected. Of course he’s gonna try to fuck us over if he wins – he’ll be my boss, that’s what bosses do. But the dramatic change in management style on the tube since Boris Johnson was elected shows that even if you think they’re all the same, when it comes down to it they’re radically different.

  12. Steve on said:

    God, socialists like Andy and Tony must be desperate if they are getting excited by the superficial differences between Boris and Ken.

    Ken dodged his taxes. Fact. He vociferously and repeatedly backed the Met over the Stockwell murder. Fact. He shat on striking unions. Fact.

    The RMT has integrity. Bob Crow doesn’t sell out. That’s why some on the reformist left hate him: fear of a good example. Unlike Ken, his actions challenge capitalism.

    Boris? Ken? Same old shit.

  13. Steve

    Do you get paid by Tory central office, or do you work for them for free?

    Do you think the difference between Livingstone and Johnson is really superficial over public transport fares, for example? To me that looks like an issue that will make a real difference to millions of working class Londoners.

    Do you think the difference between Labour and Tories is superficial over the Health and Social Care bill?

  14. Tony

    The exceptional conditions you refer to on London Transport certainly help explain the relative success of RMT. However I am unconvinced from my observation that RMT has offered anything particularly more effective on regional bus companies, or what remains of the merchant navy.

  15. Andy that’s very true actually. It’s easy to forget that not everywhere is like the underground. And we’re taking a serious battering there anyway… It goes back to our conversation earlier this year, about people believe that the RMT represents a model for organising. Within its material circumstances, it certainly does, but its circumstances are close to unique.

  16. Also bear in mind that Tony is correct that RMT will not actively test its memberships political convictions over TUSC. And many. RMT officials will be unable to campaign for aTusc, due to their Labour Party membership.

    This is gesture politics which reflects a RMT’s increasing political isolation in the wider movement.

  17. Steve, are you categorically stating that it doesn’t matter to Londoners, to working class people, to ethnic minorities, to resistance against cuts, if Ken or Boris win in May?

    And please don’t glorify the RMT or Bob Crow. RMT activists like will strongly disagree with your blanket assertions. For sure, reformists might hate Crow cos of what he does – but the truth is, what he does best is ruthlessly look after the economic interests of his members. Just an element of the class war, and an important one. But it’s no more and no less than that.

    Socialists don’t have illusions. Socialists recognise reality. We can sit in our isolated meetings talking about the need for this or that strategy, but the Mayoral election is a signpost for the future. If you genuinely think it doesn’t matter who wins, you’ve effectively absented yourself from any credible involvement in the movement.

  18. BTW I see Matt Wrack there supporting TUSC. This must be a cause of some cognitive dissonance for TUSC supporters.

    FBU the mouse that didn’t roar over pensions on N30.

  19. Also bear in mind that Tony is correct that RMT will not actively test its memberships political convictions over TUSC. And many. RMT officials will be unable to campaign for aTusc, due to their Labour Party membership.

    This is a pertinent point because of the way TUSC frames some of its publicity. It repeatedly quotes the number of members of the unions represented by its candidates (for example, its press release recently pointed out that “The FBU has 5,500 members in London. The RMT has over 12,000 members in London Underground alone.”) But surely that only matters if the unions are going to make real, tangible efforts to get their members to vote for TUSC. But this will only serve to highlight the gap between rhetoric and reality.

    If people are serious about building a new workers party, it has to start by engaging the membership of the unions involved – making people feel that their union represents their politics too, so it becomes natural for union members to vote for TUSC. But there’s been almost zero attempts to do that.

    When No2EU started, my branch (a central London one) didn’t even get any literature from those involved. But if you’re serious, you will engage your best activists, get them really involved in your campaign. After all, if the union’s members don’t even know the union is supporting a party, you’re not gonna get their vote.

    Now, I hope people don’t think this is an attack on TUSC. It’s a political disagreement. We should be able to talk about this honestly, and if any TUSC member wants to write an article to contribute to the debate on where the left needs to go next, I’ll be happy to publish it. But I do feel that TUSC as it stands has got it all backwards.

    Robert Williams – you said “RMT are now supporting all Tusc candidates.” But what does that mean in reality?

  20. I agree with andy that the RMT is ‘increasing isolated politically’ but I think this is from the leadership and officials of other, more compromised, unions and right wing labour activists.

    I hate to sound like a trot but, in my experience, ordinary rank and file members of the movement see the RMT as some kind of vanguard. They appreciate the RMT’s militancy and their old-school, no nonsense approach to trade unionism.

    As someone who travels around the country quite a bit I have to say that the only union badges I ever see on people’s jackets are RMT ones. Although, of course, wearing badges and shouting slogans is not enough.

    As an RMT young members activist and workplace health and safety rep I have got to say that it is the continuing pay rises and the retention of proper good terms and conditions that makes the union so different.

    I have been in several other unions in several other industries previously. All these jobs were minimum wage, shit terms and conditions, but the unions seemed to be content with this and only ever contact me to ask me to vote Labour.

    Now I fully support the union link and think it is the only way we could force the labour party to present a socialist program to the electorate. But I agree with the comrade who mentioned that, in its current form-with unions like the RMT not included and unions such as USDAW included-is essentially a conservative link.

    I think TUSC will get us nowhere and the obvious candidate to support is Ken, just as it is obvious we need to support the re-election of a labour government. RMT does this with it’s parliamentary group. The only difference with the RMT is that it only supports MPs who actually support our interests and refuses to sign blank cheques for war-mongering, privatisers.

  21. Gathering her brows like a gathering storm: ugly rumours doing the rounds

    And there’s nothing quite so ugly as those who circulate them with utter indifference as to whether London is saddled again with the Tories – you know, the bastards that are overseeing a net transfer of wealth to the rich from the working class.

  22. Karl Stewart on said:

    Hard to believe anyone on the left (Steve 15) could seriously try to claim there’s no difference between Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson?????

    Ken Livingstone’s pledged to cut fares by 7 per cent – saving citizens an estimated £1,000 over his term of office – defend the Freedom Pass and aim to hold the qualification age to 60 everywhere in London, restore the £30 per week education maintenance allowance and introduce new private-sector rent regulations to provide more security and ensure affordability for tenants.

    Other ideas include trying to switch public pension investment funds from the stock market to housing to fund a 10-year, half-million social homes programme and cut Londoners’ annual energy bills by supplying residents through Transport for London – making use of TfL’s reduced purchasing rates.

    Other proposals include extending the docklands light railway to Barking and take the Croydon tramlink out to Crystal Palace, and looking at putting new electric powered buses – built in London – onto London’s roads.

    Where does Johnson stand on all these issues Steve?

    If you look at actual policies, there’s a world of difference between the two candidates.

    Whether you belong to Labour, or whether you plan to vote Labour or not, surely there’s no better candidate for mayor?

    All of us who live in London should be actively backing Livingstone’s campaign.

  23. “All of us who live in London should be actively backing Livingstone’s campaign.”

    Just so, anything else is self rightous self indulgence.

    I don’t think that everything Ken has done is right but I do know that he is undeniably the best candidate for working class people in London.

    Livingstone gives the lie to TINA and that is of huge strategic importance for the Left in England.

  24. Gathering her brows like a gathering storm on said:

    Problem is Kris from what I have read is Bob who thinks and association with Ken is defamatory or am I reading this wrong?

  25. I agree the ‘shiraz socialist’ site has passed over from soft ( ish )Islamophobia and zionism to what is in effect support for the Tories it is laughable indeed that a racist buffoon like Jim Denham and his AWL cronies still try to present themselves of the left.
    I also agree it is madness to suggest there is no difference between Ken and Boris,
    However I think Tony and Andy are over the top in suggesting the RMTs response to the tories smears is playing to a right wing agenda that slant is more I suggest to do with their almost uncritical position to Labour.
    I mean how arrogant of Andy to refer the FBU as the ‘mouse that didn’t roar over pensions on N30′ I also believe that Matt Wrack and the FBU made a fundamental error in not balloting to join the action on that day ( though in many areas mine included large numbers of FBU members joined the rallys. If the FBU was the ‘mouse that didn’t roar’ the GMB was the ‘rat that squeaked’after N30.

  26. prianikoff on said:

    Dear, oh dear.

    No sooner had their Treasurer Peter Cruddas been forced to resign for selling access to Cameron, than more Tory filthy lucre has been uncovered. Further down the food chain, Boris is involved too. (see below)

    This time from Michael Hintze, whose relationship with Nigel Lawson’s climate change denialist malarkey has been uncovered.

    see:-
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/mar/27/tory-donor-climate-sceptic-thinktank

    Hintzes’ family apparently is of aristocratic White Russian extraction. They fled from the Russian revolution to China, from where they had to flee another one to Australia.
    In Oz, the young Hintze was educated by the Christian Buggers – sorry Brothers.

    He grew up to run a $5 billion Hedge Fund called CQS, which is noteable for actually making money out of the US subprime mortgage market.

    Hintze has provided the following personal cash donations to the Tories: -

    £37,500 to George Osborne; £25,000 to David Willetts; £10,000 to the private office of Dr Liam Fox MP; £1,200 to Theresa May; £7,000 to David Davis; £1,500 to Adam Holloway; £5,000 Boris Johnson.

    In addition, his Hedge Fund CQS made non-cash donations of: £25,763 to William Hague; £10,439 to Dr Liam Fox; £1,254 to George Osborne.

    Last October 2011, Adam Werritty was provided with a free desk by Hintze at CQS’s London base as part of his £29,000 donation to Fox’s charity Atlantic Bridge.

    Dear, oh dear…

  27. Gathering her brows like a gathering storm: Problem is Kris from what I have read is Bob who thinks and association with Ken is defamatory or am I reading this wrong?

    You can certainly read it that way.

    I can see why a union might decide not to campaign for a boss who is “gonna try to fuck us over if he wins”. I think there’s a legitimate debate to be had about that.

  28. The RMT’s situation is complicated – bear in mind that in 2004, the RMT sent a letter to every London member, in Crow’s name, urging us to vote for Livingstone. This was after a bitter local dispute in which Livingstone had really attacked the RMT, and followed a declaration by Crow that he would never support Livingstone again.

    But I think there’s a really important point of principle here. A solid, decent win for Livingstone could have the effect of giving people hope and strengthening resistence against the tories – which in turn would benefit RMT members.

  29. Charlie Maguire on said:

    Good to see the RMT continuing to distance itself from Labour, regardless of the criticisms that some want to make of this on here. Whatever the downsides or weaknesses of TUSC–and I have many criticisms of it myself–the RMT’s decision to back it is important, as was a previous decision of the RMT to back the SSP a few years ago. Labour is not and never will be of any use to those who really do want a socialist society in Britain. It’s no good bleating on about socialism, if all you ever do is return to the Labour fold, when an election looms on the horizon. I would like to see more unions break from Labour, as long as they’re doing it from the same standpoint as the RMT

  30. John Grimshaw on said:

    #29/31 I have read a lot of the material in the media on this issue. I have to say you definitely could read it that way. I think KrisS’ explanation of why RMT/Crow wouldn’t necessarily want to be openly associated with Livingstone especially in the run up to an election campaign is a better one, than say relying on alledged behaviour and innuendo which is preferred by some. Livingstone is a social democrat and not even a particularly radical one at that. Vote Labour with no illusions seems to fit.

  31. Karl Stewart on said:

    How about: “Vote Livingstone because his policies are a zillion times better than Johnson’s”

    It ‘aint rocket science!

  32. prianikoff on said:

    If TUSC had any chance of winning an election, the RMT’s position might make sense.
    But they have none whatsoever.

    So we’re back with the old problem of such leftish electoral propaganda campaigns – they risk splitting the working class vote and letting the Tories in.

    That’s just as true of Galloway’s foray into Bradford West as it is of the London Mayoral election.

  33. prianikoff on said:

    I suppose not with the transferrable vote system, although their arguments might persuade a lot of working class voters against casting any vote for KL at all.

    I tend to think the RMT would be better off trying to re-affiliate to the LP and arguing for socialist policies.
    Same applies to PCS.

    55,000 new members since last election.
    1100+ in the LRC.
    Well attended branch meetings.
    Lots of volunteers for canvassing.
    Many members want the LP to identify itself as Socialist again.

  34. #22

    tony collins: Robert Williams – you said “RMT are now supporting all Tusc candidates.” But what does that mean in reality?

    It is not even accurate, RMT’s executive has cleared the way for RMT branches to support TUSC candidates if they want to .

    It is far from irrelevant that a number of RMT officials are Labour Party members, and that without a strong lead from the union, then branches and activists are highly ulikely to want to back fringe candidates.

  35. #34

    Charlie Maguire: the RMT’s decision to back it is important

    no, not really. It is a fairly small union that has for some years been walking its own path, and on the political front is increasingly isolated from all the other unions.

    The significance is really very localised.

  36. Those who get excited about Ken’s manifesto are ignoring the reality of his tenure as Mayor. He’s an arrogant hypocrite who is pandering to left activists today only to disappoint them tomorrow.

    Yes, I support him over Boris, more out of crude class hatred than any sense of socialist optimism. I might even vote for him. But he’s a slimy, self-indulgent, tax-dodging old bore.

  37. prianikoff: If TUSC had any chance of winning an election, the RMT’s position might make sense.
    But they have none whatsoever.

    So we’re back with the old problem of such leftish electoral propaganda campaigns – they risk splitting the working class vote and letting the Tories in.

    That’s just as true of Galloway’s foray into Bradford West as it is of the London Mayoral election.

    Well, first up, I’m not aware of any socialist candidate standing against Livingstone. Certainly TUSC is not standing a mayoral candidate.

    Second, I agree that it’s quite unlikely that we’ll win a seat.But are you seriously saying that, in principle, socialists should not stand in elections unless they believe they are going to win?

  38. Charlie Maguire on said:

    no, not really. It is a fairly small union that has for some years been walking its own path, and on the political front is increasingly isolated from all the other unions.

    The significance is really very localised.

    —————————————————————-
    Andy,
    It’s still a national trade union, with about 80-90,000 members, with a fairly high profile and impact power when it strikes. As for it being politically isolated, not really sure what that means. The RMT is left-wing, to the left of the Labour party, with a leader that most of us would like to have in our own union leaderships. Certainly I would. Surely that’s good from a socialist perspective?

    Otherwise, we really might as well give up the ghost, accept that capitalism will always be in existence, will always triumph and that the best we can ever hope to do is to win piddling reforms, ever-decreasing in their scope, and pin our hopes to a party that during its last term in office passionately embraced both imperialism and neo-liberalism.

  39. Karl Stewart on said:

    Steve: He’s a slimy, self-indulgent, tax-dodging old bore.

    Whereas, despite our own “SU Steve” being clearly highly principled, selfless, witty and sparkling company, no-one’s going to vote for him.

  40. prianikoff on said:

    #44 “…are you seriously saying that, in principle, socialists should not stand in elections unless they believe they are going to win?”

    Yes, of course I am.
    The working class are interested in winning power.
    Which is reason that the Labour Pary was set up in the first place.

    The right wing inside it is more isolated now than it’s been for a long time. The more socialists and trade unionists that join, the better.

    Suggesting they break party discipline by supporting outside candidates is completely counter-productive.
    Independent “socialist” campaigns have never even won a council majority, let alone a Parliamentary one.

  41. Karl Stewart on said:

    prianikoff: #44 “…are you seriously saying that, in principle, socialists should not stand in elections unless they believe they are going to win?”Yes, of course I am.

    So do you think Labour should stand aside in safe Tory seats where they don’t stand a chance and perhaps came in a poor third at the last election?

  42. stuart on said:

    prianikoff:

    The working class are interested in winning power.
    Which is reason that the Labour Pary was set up in the first place.
    I don’t think it was

    The right wing inside it is more isolated now than it’s been for a long time.The more socialists and trade unionists that join, the better.
    the socialist left has never gained the leadership of the Labour Party

  43. I think it’s very unfair to attack the RMT for suing Boris Johnson. He’s trying to paint an image of TU “barons” being corrupt and the cronies of Labour. That is incredibly insulting and clearly unrealistic as well, so why shouldn’t they sue him? Ken would mostly likely also want to distance himself from that idea anyway.

    Furthermore, I think people seem to be forgetting that no one on the left is standing against Ken, who I can accept is not the same as Boris Johnson. The TUSC effort is focused on the London assembly, and I think even Socialists who vote Labour would accept that getting a trade unionist on to the GLA would be a good thing.

    Very surprised at Andy’s attack on the FBU – this issue has been discussed enough, surely? FBU will likely be involved in future strike action on pensions.

  44. John Grimshaw on said:

    Q. The working class are interested in winning power.
    A. Well maybe, but most of the time I think they are interested in ameliorating the impact of capitalism on their lives.

    Q. Which is reason that the Labour Party was set up in the first place.
    A. Actually, the LP was set up to provide a political voice for TU bureacrats.

    Q. The right wing inside it is more isolated now than it’s been for a long time.
    A. Ed Milliband and Ed Balls are radical?

    Q. The more socialists and trade unionists that join, the better.
    A. Many have tried including the Militant in the eighties and no-one has succeeded in defeating the alliance of right-wing educated liberals and the TU bureacrats.

    Q. The socialist left has never gained the leadership of the Labour Party.
    A. True

  45. prianikoff on said:

    #50 “do you think Labour should stand aside in safe Tory seats where they don’t stand a chance and perhaps came in a poor third at the last election?”

    Wouldn’t that just lead to more Liberal Democrats winning seats?

    #51, 53 on nature of LP.

    It depends on what date you trace back the formation of the Labour Party to, but it wasn’t just formed by “bureaucrats”.

    Leaving aside the early histories of Labour Representation League and ILP, it was founded in 1900 , when the LRC held its first conference.

    This represented an alliance of socialists and trade unionists, including the ILP, the SDF , the Fabian Society and half the unions affiliated to the TUC.
    During the next decade, union affiliations nearly doubled.

    The stated aim of the LRC was to gain “parliamentary representation for working men” (sic).
    Which means that as soon as such representatives formed a majority, they could form a government.

    Which is what eventually happened.
    So they were interested in power.

    Unfortunately, the right wingers in the party – some of whom, like Ramsay MacDonald, had been in the pacificist wing of the ILP during the Great War, let power slip through their fingers.

    After the Labour leadership had moved to the right, the ILP decided to disaffiliate.
    It ended up precisely nowhere.
    Membership slumped from 16,773 in 1932 to just 4,392 in 1935.

    As Aneurin Bevan said, their decision rendered them “pure, but impotent”.

  46. stuart on said:

    prianikoff,

    Since 1932 there have been several Labour govts with working majorities, several opportunities to assess performance. Excuses for socialists investing time building the Labour Party wear increasingly thin over time.

  47. John Grimshaw on said:

    #54 “Wouldn’t that just lead to more Liberal Democrats winning seats?” I may be being thick but I don’t get this point. Surely that means Labour would stand where it may think its not got a chance of winning.

    #54 on the nature of the LP
    In fairness Prianikoff I think I may have been a bit blase here. However it strikes me that it depends what you mean by “winning power”. To my mind winning power means taking over the state and the working class running it for its own benefit. Gaining parliamentary representation for working men is to my mind not exactly the same thing. Your right it wasn’t formally just founded by bureacrats but since the emphasis was largely around participating in the parliamentary process (with all the inevitable compromises that means) then to all intents and purposes it became about the bureacracy of the TUs and the right wing you refer to.

  48. John gromshaw

    You say participating in parliamentary process involves compromise.

    Can you clarify what politics doesn t involve compromise?

    And given that human society is by necessity heterogeneous. Isn’t compromise a good thing?

  49. John grimshae

    Do you really believe trade unions comprise of a tidy division between “bureaucrats ” interested in compromise ; coumterposed to steel willed grass roots members?

  50. “The world political situation as a whole is chiefly characterized by a historical crisis of the leadership of the proletariat… The multimillioned masses again and again enter the road of revolution. But each time they are blocked by their own conservative bureaucratic machines…” [etc. etc.]

    Surely you are not suggesting that this analysis may be flawed, Andy? :eek:

  51. BrokenWindow on said:

    Surely the bottom line is Boris must be got rid of;yes,Ken’s own business media debacle was handled badly – he should have agreed to make the changes before becoming Mayor (if).He has definitely split some of the Jewish Left,Johnathan Freedland’s article in the Guardian and Marina Hyde’s are two examples of how many see him so he is going to have a struggle here. Only the utter corruptness of the Tory political machine is preventing him from losing more votes but it will be close. If there is another Left candidate that will gift it to Boris who will make ‘principled stands’ on the third runway etc.Milliband is awkwardly backing Ken now but he’s not comfortable doing it. It’s for both of them to lose it – living in London I get the impression a lot of people don’t want either but that’s what’s on offer,bit like the election,really.

  52. John Grimshaw on said:

    #57/58 I assume that your inability to spell my surname is because your typing skills are as bad as mine Andy, or is it because you have some hitherto undiagnosed dislike of northerners? In answer to your points Andy. First on compromise – well i think there’s compromise and then there’s compromise. In my contribution I am referring to the historic and well documented tendency of the LP hierarchy and its TU bureacratic backers to compromise with the ruling class. Indeed many higher ups in the PLP are part of the ruling class. This is surely a compromise too far as these people end up being indistinguishable from the people they are meant to be against. Thats not the same as the “compromise” you are referring to which enables sane discussion between reasonable groups/individuals. I note Ed Milliband’s contribution to the threatened tanker drivers strike today has been to say that strikes should be avoided at all costs. He’s on which side exactly?

    Is there a tidy division between bureacrats and “steel willed” ordinary members? Well you summoned up this image from your own prejudices, not me. Of course life is not that simple and not all individuals are easy to pigeon hole, but if you think that the conditions at work are the same for ordinary members as they are for bureacrats who work for the union then you are sadly mistaken. But its not just that is it Andy. TU bureacrats occupy a peculiar position with regards to the means of production. Like a priesthood they exist to provide a link between the ordinary worhippers and their gods. If there were no negotiations going on then there would no need for them and equally they have an interest in ensuring negotiations with bosses go on especially as long as they’re doing it. I note that the London regional organisers job for the NUT has recently been advertised on the retirement of the incumbent. Now granted its quite a high powered job but do you think that somebody on £65,000+ plus sundry benefits and pension plan who may not have even taught in school has the same in common as a teacher of five years doing 53 hours a week and striking for their pension rights?

  53. stuart on said:

    andy newman:

    And given that human society is by necessity heterogeneous.Isn’t compromise a good thing?

    That sums the problem up. Labour will tailor their policies to what they see as the ‘average’ set of beliefs within society, or rather they will triangulate to the right to try to win new votes safe in the knowledge that those to the left can be taken for granted. Those within society who actually want to take action such as striking trade-unionists will be seen as an embarrassment. By organising politically to the left of Labour we can build around those who want to fight, even if they form a minority, we can draw in those particular activists. If you want to ‘get on’ in the Labour Party you have to move right.

  54. John – why, it’s “The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International”! I suppose the times when people could quote chunks of it by heart are long past. That’s probably no bad thing, though…

  55. #61

    John Grimshaw: I assume that your inability to spell my surname is because your typing skills are as bad as mine Andy, or is it because you have some hitherto undiagnosed dislike of northerners?

    Tapped in using my iPhone

  56. Karl Stewart on said:

    prianikoff: #50 “do you think Labour should stand aside in safe Tory seats where they don’t stand a chance and perhaps came in a poor third at the last election?”Wouldn’t that just lead to more Liberal Democrats winning seats?

    Well perhaps – but the reason I asked that was in response to your statement that candidates should only stand if they think they’re going to win.
    I think Labour should seek to stand everywhere so that people have the opportunity to vote for them. Of course elections are essentially about seeking to win, but standing in elections is also about making an impact, recruiting more members, getting a particular message across, making a public political statement, expressing new ideas etc.

  57. Vanya on said:

    #64 I would have broken from trotskyism far sooner than I did if someone in the USFI group I joined (I think it was a co-thinker of John Ross) hadn’t told me the Transitional Programme was the worst thing Trotsky wrote.

  58. John Grimshaw on said:

    #65 Admittedly my surname is subject to variation. My Turkish/Kurdish friends often spell/pronounce it as “Grin-show”.