Posts Tagged ‘Clem Atlee’

Could we, or should we win again? Paul Bower on his difficult relationship with Labour

20/08/2010, 03:00:32 PM

I left the Labour party in March 2003 when the bombs began to fall on Baghdad.  This ended a formal relationship that began on 4 May 1979, when I joined the day after Thatcher was elected.  My Labour leanings had roots in my childhood in a small Sheffield terrace with no bathroom.  One of my earliest memories is of my dad explaining to me why Harold Wilson and not Alex Douglas Home should lead the country. My dad died in 1968.  He was a toolmaker in a family firm where conditions were Dickensian. Health and safety was non-existent and there was no sick pay or pension.  He didn’t trust politicians, but he told me that Labour were our best hope. He suffered from a series of lung diseases and his life was saved by the NHS on at least three occasions starting in 1949.  If Nye Bevan and Clem Atlee had not created the NHS I would not have been born.              

In between working with bands like ABC, The Human League and Heaven 17 I campaigned vigorously for Labour. In the 1983 election I argued with voters who looked at you incredulously when you explained that Michael Foot should be Prime Minister. In 1985 I played a small in part setting up Red Wedge, the collective of radical musicians, comedians, writers and film makers who attempted to engage young people with politics and encourage them to listen to what Labour had to say. We supported Neil Kinnock’s efforts to bring the party into the modern world without losing its passion and principles.  We liked Neil.  


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