Monday, March 18, 2013

The Spirit of 1941?

I really enjoyed seeing Ken Loach's new film, "the Spirit of 45" - it is a great tribute to the achievements of the Attlee Labour Government (which were achievements of our class).



However, in the light of Ken Loach's call for a new political party (http://leftunity.org/appeal/) it is perhaps interesting to note that, missing fron Ken's history of the period is any reference to the "Common Wealth" Party (http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Pcommonwealth.htm) - founded in 1941 in opposition to Labour's wartime pact with the Tories. How did they do in 1945 and thereafter?



Indeed, Ken is pretty quiet about all the other various attempts to build an alternative to the Labour Party, from the departure of the Social Democratic Federation in the early years of the twentieth century, past the tragic split by the Independent Labour Party in the early 1930s, through to the Socialist Alliance in this century.



Sorry to be predictable, but I think our task is to try to reclaim the Labour Party rather than (or at least before) trying to replace it.

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1 comment:

Jon Rogers said...

The Greens in Brighton and Hove have made significant progress and - though I'm not convinced how much more leftwing they are in office - we have a decent socialist MP.

This isn't entirely unique of course. "Health Concern" held the Wyre Forest constituency for two terms under New Labour - and Respect have been a flash in more than one pan recently.

Because the Greens are more serious and rooted their presence in our town is probably more similar to areas which elected Communist MPs against Labour in the 40s.

For what it's worth, I personally would favour an electoral pact for the local and general elections in Brighton and Hove, because the purpose of the next General Election is to get rid of the Tories (not Caroline Lucas).

Unfortunately, such is the bad blood between the two parties locally that I doubt it's worth even trying given the time demands of every day resistance.

But that's the key point about a General Election - it's a national choice. At a national level there is no prospect of a viable left electoral alternative in 2015.

There may be little prospect of much better from Labour - and the left and trade unions may achieve little (probably because we won't be able to make the union machines really try) but it still looks like a better investment of time than following Ken Loach for an interesting chat.

By far the largest group to oppose the Government last night were the 40 Labour rebels.