Men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name. (William Morris - A Dream of John Ball)

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Campaigning for socialism - think strategically, act locally

Today I was proud to be part of the launch of Labour’s General Election campaign in Brighton Pavilion, supporting our candidate Adam Imanpour.

Adam gave the speech he would have given had there been time for a proper selection process (that’s a question to which we will return after the General Election, and NEC members had better be ready to account for their failure to permit constituencies to commence selection much earlier when we were asking to).

Members attending the launch event, which was followed by well attended street stalls in the constituency, asked Adam about the issues upon which we should focus in our campaign. One issue which did not detain us long was the question of whether we should stand a Labour candidate in Brighton Pavilion, where the incumbent (and sole Green) MP Caroline Lucas is viewed by elements on the political left as some sort of secular saint.

Of course the more than 15,000 local people who voted Labour in Brighton Pavilion in 2017 have the right to be offered the chance to vote Labour again in order to support a candidate who wants to be part of a Parliamentary Labour Party in order to offer unequivocal support to a socialist Government led by Jeremy Corbyn.

The Green Party have not asked us to stand aside in Brighton Pavilion, have formed a “Remain Alliance” at national level with the pro-austerity Liberal Democrats and are standing against an excellent socialist (and pro-Remain) MP in our neighbouring constituency of Brighton Kemptown.

Labour and the Greens work together constructively on Brighton and Hove City Council, where the Labour administration and Green opposition have shared commitments to progressive policy objectives which reflect the views of the vast majority of local voters who backed our two parties in local elections. We must continue this sensible approach to progressive politics at a local level.

Nationally we are now in a General Election period, in which the choice facing the country is whether we have a right-wing Tory Government led by Boris Johnson or a socialist-led Labour Government with Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister. Labour will stand candidates in every constituency in Britain, and campaign to support those candidates.

Of course the most vital campaigns are those which will be fought in marginal constituencies, such as East Worthing and Shoreham and Hastings and Rye, and in Brighton and Hove the front line for socialists, radicals and progressives is securing the re-election of Lloyd Russell-Moyle. Labour Party members are, thankfully, quite capable of supporting both our own local candidates and our Party’s nearby priorities.

This is all very much what I had to say a few weeks before the last General Election. I think I was right then. As to now, well, we shall see.

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