Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/584/7448
A rat on Labour's sinking ship
SAMUEL JOHNSON once famously declared that "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel". In the lexicon of New Labour that has been replaced by "being anti-Militant is the last refuge of a scoundrel."
Tony Mulhearn, Liverpool
Labour MP Jane Kennedy justifies her ministerial resignation by citing 'intimidation and bullying', arguing that she fought a similar battle against Militant in Liverpool in the 1980s. "I fought against that sort of behaviour all my political career, including opposing Militant in Liverpool" (Liverpool Echo, 8 June 2009).
In that statement she perpetuates the myth that that any opposition was suppressed, and that the socialist policies of the 1983-87 city council were inspired, not by popular support, but buttressed by methods of intimidation.
As president of the Liverpool district Labour Party (DLP) and a councillor in that period I totally reject that assertion. I can't recall a single letter or resolution to the DLP from Ms Kennedy or her few allies proposing an alternative to the socialist polices of that council. I also ensured that Ms Kennedy, in the very few appearances she made at Party meetings, was given the freedom of the floor.
I know that, being incapable of articulating an alternative policy that didn't include sackings and cuts in Liverpool, she and her right wing political allies, which included Baron Kinnock and Peter Kilfoyle MP, supported the expulsion of socialists and the suspension of the DLP. That heralded the start of a process that has resulted in a moribund empty shell of a Labour Party whose legacy is their electoral catastrophe in the recent European elections.
Her true political convictions can be revealed by her voting record on the major issues. She voted for introducing ID cards, for introducing foundation hospitals, for introducing student top-up fees, for the Iraq war, against an investigation into the Iraq war, for replacing the Trident nuclear weapon. She also supports the maintenance of the anti-trade union laws, the most draconian in the western world.
So, in the absence of any policy differences, her transformation from an ultra-loyal supporter of Blair and then Brown, to a Brown oppositionist can only be explained by her fear that Brown's unpopularity could jeopardise her lucrative MP's seat at the next election.
The most galling aspect of Ms Kennedy's behaviour is that she replaced the great socialist Terry Fields as an MP having campaigned for his de-selection and subsequent expulsion from the Labour Party.
In The Socialist 17 June 2009:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party editorial
Lindsey Oil Refinery construction workers
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party review