Tony Mulhearn at the 'Labour against witch hunt' meeting, photo Dave Walsh

Tony Mulhearn at the ‘Labour against witch hunt’ meeting, photo Dave Walsh   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Dave Walsh, Liverpool and District Socialist Party

With Labour Party conference in Liverpool from 23-26 September Socialist Party members have been busy. We sold around 150 copies of the Socialist paper at and around the conference and distributed about 1,000 leaflets. We got a very friendly response from the majority of delegates.

On the first morning of conference the front page headline “Blairites Must Go” found an echo with many delegates. Clearly, the great majority of constituency delegates and a lot of union delegates want the democratic right to freely choose their parliamentary candidates.

It was clear that the Socialist Party was a significant part of the discussion around the conference. Dawn Butler’s opening speech to the women’s conference on Saturday referenced Militant, the Socialist Party’s predecessor, and MP Laura Smith’s speech raised the need for a general strike, echoing a demand the Socialist Party has raised

The Socialist Party’s regional secretary in the North West, Hugh Caffrey, was interviewed by BBC journalist Nick Robinson who asked him “who are the Blairites?” Hugh responded that left delegates knew the answer to that question, and that democratic mandatory reselection of MPs would allow them to kick the Blairites from their power base in the parliamentary Labour Party.

On Sunday evening a number of us attended a ‘Labour against the Witch Hunt’ meeting. Tony Mulhearn, a Socialist Party member and one of the heroic ‘Liverpool 47’ – the councillors who defied Thatcher in the 1980s – was among the speakers. Tony drew a link between the Labour right’s witch hunt against Militant supporters in the 1980s and the attacks led by the Blairites on Corbyn supporters today.

On Tuesday evening, the Socialist Party held a public meeting. The discussion was ‘who were Militant and why were they expelled?’ It was well-attended, including by a number of delegates from Labour Party conference.