Posts Tagged ‘LRC’

Yes Labour must bold, but it must not fall into civil war

25/11/2020, 11:07:49 PM

by Trevor Fisher

Only two responses to my recent piece on the need for Labour to be bold, addressed the issues. Ted Wilson is wrong to argue that the SNP should be held to its 2014 “Once in a Generation” slogan and no 2nd vote be allowed, this is the Boris Tory line and it is both politically and constitutionally wrong.

Constitutionally it has always been the case than campaign slogans cannot be enforced. Bill Clinton won his first presidency on Keynesian economics, went to the treasury and promptly junked all his campaign pledges – and embracing treasury orthodoxy did him no harm at all. No campaign slogan is ever enforceable. As Johnson is currently showing with the “Oven ready deal” slogan of 2019. Politically it is not the case, as Theresa May accepted, that a second referendum can be denied, so Labour should stop endorsing the Johnson-Tory position.

Meanwhile Labour’s internal politics are becoming toxic. Corbynites and anti-Corbynites are tearing the party apart. The three month suspension should be accepted and hostilities suspended.  As legal proceedings may happen, any discussion of the EHRC report and implications are sub judice, but a deeply ominous threat has emerged from three unions who are reported to have threatened to remove funding for the May 2021 elections unless Corbyn has the whip restored immediately.

According to the Mirror, Unite, CWU and FBU have made this threat which must be withdrawn. It is a direct attack on Labour’s campaigning and helps the Tories. Activists fighting elections depend on having central funding when needed, especially for Commissioner elections. The threat by the three unions goes to the heart of what Labour, as the Labour Representation Committee, was formed in 1900 to achieve – fight and win elections. Elections cannot be won without funding. Withdraw this threat NOW.

And the second valid comment on my article? Tafia for once got something right. Michael Meacher was indeed a lovely man. And saved the Labour Party. At a crucial moment in the battles of the 80s when the NEC was finely balanced between the factions, a vital vote was on a knife edge and Meacher normally voted with the left. Neil Kinnock whispered to Meacher, sitting next to him, “If I lose this vote I am resigning”. Michael switched his vote and won the day. I bought him a drink when next I met him, he did enjoy a drink. But he was also a political realist and knew when the leader had to be backed.  Activists on the NEC have a choice to make. Back the current leader, not the last one, and stop a civil war.

Trevor Fisher was a member of the Labour Coordinating Committee executive 1987-90 and secretary of the Labour Reform Group 1995- 2007. He was a member of the Compass Executive 2007-2009

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Labour history uncut: the LRC finds its feet

27/11/2012, 05:56:40 PM

by Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal

After the 1900 election, the Labour representation committee had managed to get two MPs into parliament: James Keir Hardie and Richard Bell.  Not a huge number, but at least they could hold party meetings on the omnibus to work.

Whipping was a much simpler affair too. No need to issue papers every week, Richard Bell just had to make sure that, when they went through the lobby, he was holding Keir Hardie’s hand.

For his part, Hardie was returning to parliament for the first time in five years. The time away had not dented the sense of proportion and willingness to compromise that had served him so well the first time round.

Early in 1901, he put down a motion calling for legislation, “inaugurating a Socialist Commonwealth founded upon the common ownership of land and capital, production for use and not for profit and equality of opportunity for every citizen.”  It would have included a free puppy for everyone too, but there wasn’t enough room on the order paper.

Hardie laid out his proposal to the commons.

‘”Who’s with me?” he asked.

“I am,” cried Dickie Bell.

“Anyone else?”



The parliamentary equivalent of taking a shot on goal from kick-off had failed. Shocker. Clearly it was time for the LRC to get over the excitement of being in parliament, and face some difficult facts.

“You, at the back. Perhaps you’d like to share what’s so funny with the rest of the mob?” Keir Hardie addresses the crowd.


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