Friday, February 22, 2019

How do we respond to the challenges of recent days?

Following the departure of a couple more right-wing Members of Parliament from the Parliamentary Labour Party this week, I am even more of the view that Labour Party activists have better things to do than focus on those departing.

Just as the Party nationally will face increasing attacks as the prospect of a General Election in the near future increases, so – in Brighton and Hove – we can expect further incidents which might distract us from our task, which is to campaign for a socialist Council for the best and most progressive place in the country.

This week we have seen one sitting Councillor respond to her deselection as a Labour candidate by joining the Tory Party (just as it starts to fall apart). We have also seen another Councillor leave the Party to sit as an Independent. And (in what I am sure is an unrelated development) a draft policy document prepared as part of the development of our local Manifesto has been “leaked” to the local media (who, misunderstanding a document which they don’t seem to have read) have declared it to be a product of “Momentum” rather than the Party.

We simply need to refuse to be blown off course by these predictable inconveniences, and the many further problems which will be thrown at us in coming weeks. It is not worth responding in detail to the allegations made against us by those who, having been elected purely and simply because they were Labour candidates, have now forgotten the solemn promise they made when they were selected to abide by the Rules of our Party.

The Party is dealing, increasingly promptly and effectively, with any cases in which allegations of misconduct are made – and it is not “bullying” or “intimidation” to seek to hold elected officials to account. The reasons given by those who leave the Party should not necessarily be taken at face value.

What matters is that local people are given the opportunity to vote for the socialist Council which the people of Brighton and Hove need and deserve. The best and only response which we can make to the events of recent days is to get out and campaign for that socialist Council.

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