Posts Tagged ‘Darrell Goodliffe’

The attack on May day is an act of cultural and class vandalism

05/03/2011, 07:56:45 PM

by Darrell Goodliffe

The Labour movement has many factions – but it also has many common themes which unite it. The parties widespread fidelity to its cultural traditions often bring the left and the right of the party together. It is not uncommon to see comrades, who I regard as being on the right-wing, defending the link between Labour and the trade unions, for example. It gives you that warm feeling inside which says “I belong to something that is both political and bigger than politics.” Hopefully comrades from all wings of the Labour family and beyond will come together to defend May day.

The celebration of May day as a public holiday pre-dates the Haymarket massacre in Chicago in 1886, and it was incorporated into the labour movement’s calendar by the Second International as a day of protest. As well as its links with labour and the working class movement it incorporates other traditional threads. There are rural celebrations marking the arrival of Spring and Christian celebrations for the Feast of St Philip & St James (who just happen to be the patron saints of workers).

What is most worrying about the Tory-led government’s proposals to move May day is the sheer pettiness and pointlessness of it all. I can’t think of any other motivation than childish, class-driven, spite. TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, nailed the government’s motivation when he said it’s:

“all about satisfying Tory backwoodsmen who have a bee in their bonnet because of May day’s association with international labour day”.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Labour must not become the party of the white working class

16/01/2011, 01:29:28 PM

by Darrell Goodliffe

Jack Straw’s comments about sexual abuse and the alleged propensity of Pakistani men to “prey on” white girls stirred up a hornets’ nest. But they also, along with the likes of Phil Woolas and Gillian Duffy, demonstrate that Labour is in danger of becoming a party of the white working class. And this cannot be desirable. The white working class is a reactionary formation. It has arisen partially as a result of the collapse of socialism and class identification. But also as a response of capitalist globalisation, and the effect that has had on migration and immigration.

Establishing the reactionary nature of the formation of the white working class is easy. It is based on fear and prejudices, and is expressed by its reaction to certain phenomena, such as immigration. It feels threatened, voiceless and powerless. And it has a tendency to lash out at those nearest too it.

Labour is accused of ignoring it and holding it in contempt, which in a way it does. But, as Straw showed, it also has a propensity to indulge its irrationality and intolerance. In other words, it will indulge the ethnic, but not the class, side of its identity. (more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

AV is a sham

05/01/2011, 12:30:43 PM

by Darrell Goodliffe

It seems that serious battle is being joined within Labour over the alternative vote (AV) referendum. MPs supporting the “No” campaign have been adversely criticised by Labour “yes” for abandoning their manifesto commitment to hold a referendum. In truth, no party is bound by a manifesto commitment that has been submitted to and rejected by voters. Consider the consequences if it were: presumably. Labour “yes” thinks that we are still bound to commitments made in manifestos throughout the 80s? Maybe, in some cases, it would be better if we were. But insisting that commitments made in a losing manifesto are binding is nonsense.

The battle in Labour over AV will be hard-fought because the stakes are high. In all likelihood, the side on which Labour voters eventually come down will decide the outcome of the referendum. I will vote no. Not because I believe in first past the post (FPTP) – although I think it is superior to AV – but because I believe that AV is the wrong reform. Those who support AV in the expectation that it will lead to further reform are sadly misguided.

Let us assume that on 5 May the public votes for AV. Who will then go on to initiate further reform? It certainly will not be the Conservatives.

Nor will it be Labour. Ed Miliband, and the majority of the leading figures in Labour “yes”, have made their view clear: it is “AV and no further”. (more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Coalition government is also tearing the Conservatives apart

20/12/2010, 06:11:43 PM

by Darrell Goodliffe

In Oldham East & Saddleworth, it seems that the Conservative campaign is not all that it should be. This brings into sharp focus an issue that receives little media attention because of the political problems of the Lib Dems.

There are some who believe that it is unlikely to be a Liberal Democrat rebellion that brings down the Tory-Lib Dem government. They are already far too wedded to its fate to be the ones that wield the axe. They also know that a vengeful electorate is waiting, eager to exact retribution for the Liberals’ broken promises.

The force most likely to explode the coalition is found not in Nick Clegg’s aptly yellow party, but on the Conservative benches. It is a right-wing force which includes many of the new intake. Truly Thatcher’s children, these people clearly did not expect to be sharing government with anybody. Least of all a party they regard as rather “wet”. They are not “coalition” politicians and never will be. They see it as a barrier to, not an enabler of, radical change. (more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Still getting to grips with life after Tony

09/12/2010, 03:00:23 PM

by Darrell Goodliffe

As a young political pup I joined Tony Blair’s Labour party. Few could forget those heady days of 1997 when he made a routine occurrence – a general election – feel like a social revolution; or at least as close as you can come without cutting off heads.

Fast forward 13 years and, after a “varied” political journey, I find myself in what was Gordon’s and is now Ed’s Labour party. Things are different but the sense of shell shock at our sudden ejection from power and the departure of a messianic figure still lingers. Left-wing Labourites view Blair with contempt, but, if we are honest, we would not say “no” to a left-wing Tony. Whatever you think of him, he has charisma by the bucket-load and that engenders a certain grudging respect.

We spent the entire leadership contest looking for a new Blair. My highest hope for Ed Miliband was the belief that he would do a “Tony” in reverse; that he would reach out from the centre to the left and create the opposite kind of party to Blair, forming a dominant centre/left axis (as opposed to Blair’s centre/right one). He might still, but the omens do not look good. (more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon