Now -read the book!

Here is a link to my memoirs which, if you are a glutton for punishment, you can purchase online at
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)

Sunday, March 31, 2019

A political April Fool

There are some good April Fools which I have enjoyed over the years – but this year I have found a brilliant example of a website purporting to be that of a tiny left-wing anti-EU political Party with a bizarre detailed backstory.

This is (or so the website says) an organisation which claims inspiration from Marxism but is essentially just obsessed with Brexit. The game is only really given away by the Pythonesque name of the imaginary outfit – the Communist Party of Britain Marxist-Leninist.

These are (allegedly) “communists” who believe that the British Army exemplifies “national sovereignty”.  They also (we are supposed to believe) celebrate the fact that fifteen people came together to launch “Leavers of Britain”. (Yes. Fifteen.)

To have put all this together simply to amuse people on April Fool’s Day shows a commitment to humour unmatched since Enver Hoxha was amused by Norman Wisdom.

It's a bit too easy generally to poke fun at the movement spearheaded by Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, this website is a really well developed parody of the "Lexit" wing of that movement.

I feel almost guilty linking to it before the day itself.

Friday, March 29, 2019

(S)election alert!

With the defeat in Parliament of the Withdrawal Agreement we don’t also now face the near certainty of European elections on Thursday 23 May, but the increasing likelihood of a General Election, presumably on the same day (unless the Tories have to delay matters while they choose a new Leader).

The Tories obviously intend to present themselves to the people as the “Brexit Party” – Labour needs to focus on our positive, progressive, socialist policies (and – as to Brexit – the logic of the recent position of the Party in Parliament would be that an incoming Labour Government would seek to negotiate a different deal and then put it to the people in a referendum, in which many of us would, I imagine, vote to remain).

For those of us in Brighton and Hove working towards vitally important local elections on Thursday 2 May, the best way we can help Labour in the forthcoming European elections and General Election is to step up the local campaign. Labour Party members need now to bear in mind that we will fight the coming General Election under our elected Leader, and on the basis of policies inspired by the same socialist principles as those which informed our 2017 manifesto.

There is just now the little question of selecting candidates where we do not already have them in place…

Saturday, March 23, 2019

On missing the People's Vote demonstration (again)

Regular readers of this blog (Sid and Doris Blogger) will know that I am awaiting treatment for prostate cancer. Brexit isn’t the only thing that got delayed this week – so did my radiotherapy.

However, at least in the latter case this was on the basis of a sound and worked out alternative plan – and I won’t have to wait for a vote in Parliament before receiving treatment!

In the meantime though I am not really up to demonstrating, otherwise I would (this time) have been on the People’s Vote demonstration in London (taking just one day off from the local election campaigning which, again were I fit enough, would be taking up much of my time).

Brexit was never going to do any good for working class people – it is the (peculiarly) English manifestation of the reactionary tide rising around the world, and the only sane socialist position is to oppose it.

That said, Labour’s leadership have had – and still have – a tightrope to walk, as is evidenced by the geographical spread of signatures on the petition to revoke Article 50 (or which I am one of the more than four and a half million signatories).

Seven of the ten Parliamentary constituencies where the largest numbers have signed this petition are Labour held, as are eight of the ten where the smallest numbers have signed. Brexit divides, across the country, the people we need to unite in support of a socialist Labour Government.

Labour does therefore have to try to heal the divisions between our supporters in West Bromwich and West Bristol, which were exposed by the 2016 Referendum – and that helps to explain why the Party leadership weren’t on today’s march (although the constituencies of the Leader and the Shadow Home Secretary are both in the top ten constituencies for signatures on the petition).

Working-class remain supporters in Hackney, Brighton and Islington have more in common with working-class leave supporters in Wolverhampton, Easington and Rotherham than we have with the Tory backers of the “People’s Vote” – just as those leave supporters have more in common with us than they have with Nigel Farage or Jacob Rees-Mogg.

We do therefore need continually to assert the importance of the class issues which can unite our side in politics and which divide us from both Anna Soubry (and her new “independent” chums) and Boris Johnson. In Brighton and Hove we can do this by campaigning for Labour’s progressive programme for our City, which will emerge in increasing detail over coming days.

However, when it comes to the crunch (as it now has) – and when decisions have to be taken about Brexit - we need our Party in Parliament to come down on the progressive, internationalist side of the divide among our own supporters, not least because either May’s deal or a “no deal” will make it materially harder for any Labour administration, nationally or locally, to implement policies in the interests of our people (than either Labour’s “softer” Brexit plans or the better option of no Brexit at all).