Two of Leicester’s most influential Labour politicians, Executive City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby and his deputy, Rory Palmer, apparently believe that the Labour Party should concentrate their efforts on facing outwards to the public. Hence last year both campaigned outwardly by using the pages of Leicester Mercury to demand Corbyn’s resignation.
To the dismay of socialists, headlines in the Mercury read “City’s deputy mayor calls on Corbyn to go” (June 26) and “Labour Leicester mayor Peter Soulsby – ‘Corbyn’s position now completely untenable’” (June 28). Although this is certainly orientating outwards, more sensible people might have other names for it.
Labour’s ground-breaking comeback in last week’s general election occurred precisely because Corbyn ignored the antics of such anti-democratic plotters within his own party.
99.9% of Labour’s 650,000 plus members support Corbyn’s ongoing efforts to help make socialism a reality. Contrast this solidarity with the 0.1% of backstabbing members — most of whom are either elected Labour councillors or MPs — who have spent the last two years doing their best to undermine Corbyn’s leadership inwardly (within labour meetings) and outwardly (in the media).
With their annual party conference coming this September, Deputy Palmer dished out more bad advice on Sunday, stating in a series of tweets, how the:
“Period leading up to this year’s party conferences could be pivotal. Means our Conf must be outward looking, speaking to the nation. We cannot have a conf dominated by inward looking, party constitution debates, Rule Book changes etc.” (June 11)
Here Palmer was regurgitating the mantra of Blairite spin doctor Alastair Campbell, who just a few hours earlier had belittled efforts to democratise the Labour Party (live on BBC Breakfast TV) by stating “We will not win an election unless… Labour reaches outwards not inwards.”
Yes, Labour should continue to escalate their efforts to reach outwards to win over even more of the public to Corbyn’s principled opposition to cuts and austerity. But this does not mean reaching outwards to accommodate the needs of other sell-out politicians, whether they be outside or inside of the Labour Party.
That Blairite threat from within, however, is precisely why it is so critical that Labour must simultaneously look inwards to restore democracy to their party structures in coming period.
It is only right that the 99.9% of Labour’s members should be able to determine their Party’s future, not the remnants of New Labour past, who might perhaps find fresher careerist pastures outside of Labour.
In recognising that Blairite MPs will continue to sabotage the socialist programme being advocated by Corbyn, all Labour members must therefore fight to implement the re-selection process in every constituency. Such changes will allow members, and Labour members alone, to select their own political representatives – I think you call it democracy!