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steamchicken
8th May 2003, 23:08
Dear General Secretary,

One week ago I decided to destroy my Labour Party membership card and cancel my subscription. This letter is intended to be a formal statement of resignation, which should also help to make clear the reasons why I have resigned. I believe that, in a wide variety of ways, the Government no longer maintains the principles or represents the interests of those who elected it. Neither has the Party’s behaviour in government been appropriate to the traditions of the Labour Movement.

Despite some appearances to the contrary, I feel that the Government has failed even to make a serious effort to resolve the most important of our socio-economic problems – those being deep inequality, industrial failure, and a failure of culture expressed in the ugly, joyless, crime-ridden spaces of modern British towns. We have not even begun to tackle the Thatcher society, defined broadly as education for the rich, representation for Southern finance as opposed to Northern industry and labour, perverse anti-Europeanism, and an economically distorting property obsession. We will all live in windswept, ugly TV suburbs of tawdry yellow bricks, slaving in third-rate PFI businesses to keep the property bubble going, so we can buy imports and pretend to be Americans. Constant traffic on a million identically landscaped roundabouts poisons the air. Meanwhile, to keep us all happy, the Sun parrots whatever risible scares the Downing Street press office has fed it. It is Thatcher’s world, and it is yours.

Six months ago, I could still take pride in the successful return to Europe achieved by this government, a veritable diplomatic revolution compared with the mendacious and pathetic nonsense of John Major. Now this is gone. Joining the European single currency, the clearest possible move to identify Britain with the hope of a better world, now appears impossible due to the damage done by British acquiescence in Mr. Bush’s campaign against the institutions of the West. The achievement of the St. Malo declaration on European defence has also been thrown away, as evidenced by the recent summit of the weak in Brussels. Closer to home, we still have no evident policy to realise Mr. Gordon Brown’s frequent declarations of the need to close the productivity gap. Failure abounds, as does inaction. We have done very little to prepare for a renewable energy economy. The destruction of real, productive, growth-leading industries in favour of grubby City interests continues. Fancy accounting and PFIs enrich the dodgiest of property sharks and form the sharp end of Mr. Blair’s strange obsession with humiliating public sector workers.

Beyond policy, the smug immorality of the Cabinet has done much to drive me from the Party. Geoff Hoon’s vile recent performance is a case in point. The propaganda rant about supposed executions of British PoWs can only have been viciously cruel to the relatives of the dead men, whether true or not. If it was, as I suspect, propagandistic, it was disgusting. If it was the truth, then it was an outrageous breach of the Army’s covenant. I will not dwell on the appalling cluster-bomb remark, to avoid vomiting. The oh-so-convenient terrorist scares, the vicious pandering anti-French campaign, the refugee bullying – all these demonstrate a bankruptcy of principles. The deliberate assault on the weak is not the spirit of Socialism but of Fascism. (One may recall that according to Sidney and Beatrice Webb, the spirit of socialism is revolt.) I do not believe that the Government even attempts any more to act in favour of the powerless against the powerful, the only direction in which solutions to Britain’s problems lie. We are obsessed with creating tabloid stories of bullying to satisfy Tebbit-minded editors. The heart of the matter is the nasty clique around Mr. Blair (a potentially great Foreign Secretary who ruined himself by reading about John F. Kennedy) – or, as we may call it, the No. 10 Bad Ideas Task Force. I cannot see myself as a member under Blair or a Blair/Thatcher person such as Mr. Alan Milburn, Mr. David Blunkett, or Mr. Geoff Hoon. I resign from the Labour Party in order to live in truth as an independent socialist. To remain in it would be to take part in an organised lie.

Yours sincerely,



So that's it......

Paterbrat
8th May 2003, 23:16
This is pretty serious stuff, reminds me of Clare Short and her impassioned speech. Now that was impressive!!

Hilico
9th May 2003, 03:31
Steamchicken

Very, very, very, very well said. I agree so much it's painful. If Labour have become the Tories and the Tories have become, well, what?, then who can anyone vote for?

MMEMatty
9th May 2003, 03:43
Very Brave thing to do steamchicken, and i guess from the tone of the letter a rather hard thing also.

Admittedly i never really took much interest in politics, i was only about 10/11 when "New" labour came to power. However in that time i have seen the Labour party spin their way through disaster after disaster, and yet be re-elected by a greater majority than the first time! why? because there is no real opposition.
I cant see them failing to get a 3rd term at the next general election, purely because in my opinion IDS is unelectable (and even then, who would want to vote for the Conservatives after Thatcher?) The liberals, well they will get my vote, but i still think they will not be seen as a major opposition.

Very Brave thing to do steamchicken, and i guess from the tone of the letter a rather hard thing also.

Admittedly i never used to really take much interest in politics, i was only about 10/11 when "New" labour came to power. However since that time i have seen the Labour party spin their way through disaster after disaster, and yet be re-elected by a greater majority than the first time! why? because there is no real opposition.

I cant see them failing to get a 3rd term at the next general election, purely because in my opinion IDS is unelectable (and even then, who would want to vote for the Conservatives after Thatcher?) The liberals, well they will get my vote, but i still think they will not be seen as a major opposition.

Where do we go from here? I really don't know.


Matty

Caslance
9th May 2003, 04:12
Steamchicken, I wish there was a Smilie for a standing ovation.

You have encapsulated my own feelings far better than I could hope to do.

BahrainLad
9th May 2003, 04:40
Has it occured to you lot that the reason Labour have turned into the Tories is that the Tories were right ?????

'Old' Labour spending plans continually try to square the circle. You cannot have a large welfare state with huge numbers of inefficient, highly paid public servants - unless you raise taxes. But then high taxes stifle enterprise and people spend less in the economy. That means businesses, the largest taxpayers, pay less.

The only European economies worth mentioning in the British context are France and Germany. France is deeply in debt; Germany even worse. Germany is awaking to a new dawn: an ever aging populace enjoying an ever more expensive welfare state. Something has to give; and eventually it will.

The welfare state was a good idea in 1945: it raised the standard of living but was not hindered by, dare I say it, large numbers of the elderly. Now there are more OAPs than there ever have before, and the welfare state gets more and more expensive. Unless the population is willing to support such extra spending (to which the British people say no: why do you think they elected Blair?) you cannot make it work. If Brown really wants to improve public services, he will have to find the money for investment and pay demands: without reform the money is wasted; to get reform you have to buy off the unions. The British people will not pay for it.

In conclusion, the alternative may be unfair but, at the end of the day, that's life.

Hilico
9th May 2003, 06:54
Right, BahrainLad from Fantasy Island. Were the Tories right?

"Huge numbers of inefficient, highly-paid public servants." These would be the millionaires who were working in the NHS, British Rail, local councils and so on throughout the bad old seventies would they? Strange, but I never met one. The Tories sold off the railways in a right old rush before they got booted out, and the private sector now run them with its characteristic smooth efficiency. That is, they charge a lot more than BR ever did, planning a journey across more than one operator is a nightmare and the taxpayer shells out twice as much in subsidies as we did to nasty old BR.

The NHS? With its preponderance of inefficient, highly-paid staff, obviously a candidate for good old Tory business know-how. So let's sell off the hospitals and the surrounding inefficient wasteful land for housing! But let's make those smoothly capable developers build us a new (somewhat smaller) hospital on the same site. It'll be built to a price (to keep up the profits on the jerry-built wendy houses they're going to squeeze together on top of each other on all sides of it (and yes, I've seen the plans and they want it to happen not a million miles from me)), and we the taxpayer will have to lease it back from them for twenty-five years afterwards and they've got us over a barrel, but hey, that's efficiency for you! And no, we can't tell you any of the contract details because of commercial confidentiality.

The Welfare State was and remains an excellent idea, and I do wonder at the sanity of many people who haven't thought through what not being able to go the doctor if you're ill because you can't afford it actually means. Did the British people say no to this? You can't tell by saying 'they elected Blair'. Get rid of the idea that Blair won the 1997 election, put it right out of your mind. He would have won on an election promise to slaughter the first-born. The Tories lost - it wasn't a New Labour victory.

There's also a way Brown could find money for improving public services: he could crack down on corporate tax avoidance. High-profile campaigns against dole-scroungers can save us up to fifty or even a hundred quid a week in some cases! Then I look at the tax revenue from large corporations (what, 7% of turnover? and that's legal, is it?) and wonder how much the exchequer should really be getting.

In conclusion, life may be unfair, but having a New Labour (or Tory) government is never going to change it.

If the Centre moves too far right, we all become left-wingers.

solotk
9th May 2003, 07:17
Outstanding Steamchicken

Mind if I use it elsewhere?

;)

Kwasi_Mensa
9th May 2003, 07:44
Hear, hear.Nice piece of writing steamchicken. One can understand the urge of bringing democracy, but the lies, the lies.....

"Fascism is hostile to Marxism, liberalism, and conservatism, yet it borrows concepts and practices from all three. Fascism rejects the principles of class struggle and workers' internationalism as threats to national or racial unity, yet it often exploits real grievances against capitalists and landowners through ethnic scapegoating or radical-sounding conspiracy theories. Fascism rejects the liberal doctrines of individual autonomy and rights, political pluralism, and representative government, yet it advocates broad popular participation in politics and may use parliamentary channels in its drive to power. Its vision of a "new order" clashes with the conservative attachment to tradition-based institutions and hierarchies, yet fascism often romanticizes the past as inspiration for national rebirth. "

stagger
9th May 2003, 08:04
steamchicken

Great post - I would resign too if I was still a member.

BahrainLad
9th May 2003, 09:26
Hilico, in answer to your first question, yes of course! :cool:

I said this in my previous post, and I'll say it again: Old Labour spending plans continually contain proposals for above-inflation pay rises: just look at the firemen. "We have as our ultimate aim the bringing about of the Socialist system of society." You can't claim that the NHS is cheap simply because its staff aren't millionaires! (Perhaps I should have worded my phrase better - 'Over paid' rather than 'Highly paid'). If the country aren't willing to pay for it, you can't make it work.

That is, they charge a lot more than BR ever did, planning a journey across more than one operator is a nightmare and the taxpayer shells out twice as much in subsidies as we did to nasty old BR.

So, here you are complaining about subsidies to train companies. Yet, under BR, the Tories were under continual pressure to increase public spending for transport. So what's the difference. The difference is a key plank of Old Labour ideology. Spending through public services is good; spending through private vehicles is bad (yet much more effective!). The key to this is the unions: money in the public sector they have control over - money in the private sector they have no control over. In the end, if you get the same result, what's the difference? Privatised rail companies are a sham, I accept that. But the idea is sound: it's just the implication that was ******ed up. There is much more spending on the railways now than there ever was under BR.....but by private enterprise.

In the end, Blair won the 1997 election. He won it because he stole the Tories clothes. The British people, and we can safely say this for human beings in general, are gamblers. They will not pay money out of their pockets now in the chance that they may get sick. Blair won because he convinced them that he'd care for them for nothing. However, it's absolute bollocks. You simply cannot support the kind of comprehensive welfare state, combined with an ever-ageing population, with the level of tax charged in the UK at the moment.

I accept that your cause is a noble one: it's just unrealistic. Essentially, to be in power in Britain for ever more, you will have to be a Tory government. No matter what you call yourselves, and whether you occupy the Centre or the Right, you will remain in power. Left-wing socialism is dead. Centrism is the future.

skeet surfer
9th May 2003, 12:21
Great post steamchicken.

Bahrain - Without a healthy opposition (left wing) there is no future....

You are correct that a rise in taxes would be inevitable, in order to support the services required under a socialist government.
However, I believe that 'thatcherism' has already condemned the British people to an ever increasing tax burden.

When I paid £20 for my rail ticket in 1987 I got a train ride and any profits went to the government to use as they required. In 2003 I pay a grossly inflated price for the same journey, sometimes in the same carriages, run by a smaller workforce which is paid less for more work. Not only does any profit go to a private company but I actually pay again through my taxes in order to subsidise the 'unfortunate' private company concerned.

This system, which has been replicated throughout all of the privatised industries and services, is unsustainable. It's just a matter of time before the bubble bursts.

foghorn
9th May 2003, 18:06
run by a smaller workforce which is paid less for more work

Au contraire, market forces have pushed up train drivers salaries well above the rate of wage inflation. To such an extent that ASLEF, despite their hard-line leadership, struggle to get the train drivers out on strike unless they use intimidatory tactics.

steamchicken
10th May 2003, 00:00
Fire away, Solotk. Is this for the military coup?

Caslance
10th May 2003, 01:37
Has it occured to you lot that the reason Labour have turned into the Tories is that the Tories were right ?????
Not even for a moment.

Next question???

BahrainLad
10th May 2003, 02:32
Sorry Caslance, not good enough.

When we see a left-wing socialist government elected in the United Kingdom, then I'll believe the Tories were wrong.

However, I wouldn't hold your breath.

Caslance
10th May 2003, 02:58
Sorry Caslance, not good enough
Huh - sez you!!! My opinion's as good as yours, matey!:p

It's not a matter of left or right, but of a lack of imagination, a paucity of integrity, a surfeit of cant and hypocrisy and an unwillingness to vary from blind dogma.

The current administration is just as guilty of these as the last was, in my estimation.

The evidence is plain enough for all those who are willing to see it, irrespective of their political alliegance. I don't see much point in trying to convince those who won't see it.

Our political stances should be like our religion, a product of conviction rather than of opportunism.

I have far more respect for someone like IDS, who seems to believe what he says (even though I strongly disagree with much of it) than I have for any number of New Labourtm corporate clones blindy spouting the wisdom of The Dear Leader.

solotk
10th May 2003, 06:31
Fire away, Solotk. Is this for the military coup?

Steamchicken - Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh


"It is winter in Moscow" :ok:

Paterbrat
10th May 2003, 17:03
Come the revolution lads the red flag will fly!!! Ahh well it's quite instructive as to who the leftwingers all are, seem to to have seen them all clumping together in other threads drawn together by their ideology, thrombosae I believe Winston described them as. 5th column eh Tony, work from within the system. ;)

Caslance
10th May 2003, 17:33
Ahh well it's quite instructive as to who the leftwingers all are, seem to to have seen them all clumping together in other threads drawn together by their ideology
One can make precisely the same observation about the rightwingers amongst us, Paterbrat.

BTW, I simply cannot resist pointing out to you that the term "5th column" was coined to describe right wing insurgents during the Spanish Civil War.:p

Paterbrat
10th May 2003, 17:38
An obvious case of the kettle calling the pot black:D

Caslance
10th May 2003, 20:46
Ah, but which of us is Mr Kettle, and which Mr Black????:)

BahrainLad
10th May 2003, 20:47
Caslance, with the comment 'not good enough', I was merely suggesting that a reply of 'Not even for a moment, next question' didn't go into as much detail as one would perhaps like on the Current Affairs forum. ;) ;)

Caslance
10th May 2003, 20:56
Ahhhh! I see!

All is then made clear.

It was a very quick comment made and edited on either side of a mad dash for the bathroom, but we're straying into "too much information" territory here. :ooh:

GustyOrange
10th May 2003, 21:15
Reading through the Oxford book of quotations Gusty came across this cracker from Khrushchev:

"We say this only for the socialist states, who are more akin to us. We base ourselves on the idea that we must peacefully co-exist. About the capitalist States, it dosen't depend on whether or not we exist.

If you don't like us don't accept our invitations and don't invite us to come and see you. Whether you like it or not history is on our side. We will bury you"

Erm, maybe not Nikita...

steamchicken
10th May 2003, 21:16
It was General Mola, before Madrid with his vicious Moorish and Foreign Legion colonials, who said that he had four columns outside the city and a fifth column of sympathisers inside it. He also said, before setting off on the approach march from Burgos, that he would drink a cup of coffee on the Gran Via in five days....it took his lot three years, and I think he got his on the way.

Next thread - Who would you put in *your* Cabinet?

solotk
10th May 2003, 22:37
Sir Michael Boyce - Gaffer
Sir Michael Jackson- Minister of Defence

Paterbrat
11th May 2003, 16:31
Kentucky, the concept was adopted, the sypathies of those I alluded to were red, blood red, from the top of the hackle to toe of the boots.

Fubaar
11th May 2003, 21:30
“Show me a man who at 20 is not a Socialist and I’ll show you a man with no heart. Show me a man who at 40 is still a Socialist and I’ll show you a man with no brain.”

Don’t know who originally said it, but it pretty well sums things up for me.

Chaffers
11th May 2003, 22:26
Lovely piece of writing, pity its going to be filed in the round filing cabinet. Being a socialist must be a bit like being a Man City fan I guess. :D

Caslance
12th May 2003, 02:49
Wouldn't know, Chaffers old bean.

I'm a Red.:p

Hilico
12th May 2003, 06:33
I'm not a Red; it's the Centre that has become very Blue.

Let us make no mistake: the free market is the best system yet devised for regulating the exchange of goods and services. Goods and services, that is, that don't matter. Selling cars? Buying computers? Dealing in wigdet futures? Get those wrong, no-one dies. But - health care? Energy supply? Public transport? Water, for crying out loud? Not being able to have those simply because you don't have enough money is not what happens in a civilised society. It just happens in this one.

I love that privatisation of the water industry, to take one cracking example. What are "consumers" supposed to do if they don't like the service, only drink beer instead? (Well, maybe it wasn't such a bad idea...).

Some commentators reckon the health of a society is inversely proportional to the gap in earnings between the richest and the poorest. What we've seen since the advent of the blessed Margaret is what feels like an almost conscious attempt to create simultaneously a class of people with unimaginable wealth, and another with absolutely nothing to lose. I do not know which of them is more dangerous, but the existence of both together is potentially cataclysmic.

Paterbrat
12th May 2003, 16:40
How very profound, and in which case stand back because I think North Korea is just about to go bang!

Actually with regard to that particular situation, is it not just the teeniest bit predictable, ironic even, that Roh having been elected on a wave of anti-US sentiment is even as we speak, going cap in hand to the US to suggest ever so humbly that they do not pull out their troops just yet. Or redeploy away from the front line. The reality of the world situation sometimes it appears intrudes most rudely on pipe dreams and wishful thinking.

Idealism and dreams are wonderful things, everybody can have them, coping with what is actualy happening is unfortunately another matter entirely, and not everyone copes quite as well with that aspect.

Hilico
12th May 2003, 18:08
Paterbrat, for once I wasn't referring (in the third paragraph) to the hated Yankee infidels, it was the people of one country, the UK. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer and everyone suffers as a result. It's all very well putting the top rate of income tax down, but if you don't make very much so what? And putting VAT up from 8% in 1979 to 17.5% by 1990 doesn't make no never mind to the average Surrey stockbroker, or even the Essex computer programmer, but it sure hammers the people on benefits.

But if you want me to get started on the hated Yankee infidels...

Chaffers
12th May 2003, 18:40
I think you'll find that Caslance was talking about Manchester United, not communism Hilico.

Interesting to see so many card-carrying members of political parties on the forum, my application to the Natural Law party is in the post. :)

Hilico
12th May 2003, 21:06
Good job no-one knows I was once a member of the Green Party. If they'd found out my favourite vehicle is a helicopter (or even that I have a favourite vehicle) I'd have been exposed as a hypocrite.

Paterbrat
13th May 2003, 06:40
If the cap fits... and I was saying that the gap between the poor and the rich in the UK in general is nothing compared to the gap in NK. Over there you have people living off grass, I don't think to many are doing that in St Margaret's patch, not even your poor Essex computer programmer.
I think that 'poor' and 'rich' are relative terms and relatively poor people in UK are by many standards worldwide, rich indeed.

Hilico
13th May 2003, 06:56
"Let he that is without sin cast the first stone."

Just because the gap is narrower in some places than in others isn't reason to encourage it to expand, anywhere. Sorry but I don't know where NK (as opposed to the UK) is. Grass-eating became popular in the Netherlands late in WW2 for logistical reasons not unconnected with military indecision, and apparently it did the inhabitants not much good at all.

Paterbrat
13th May 2003, 07:02
Now where did I leave my pile of rocks... North Korea or NK is over to the right a bit further over from the Netherlands. I don't believe that they like eating grass any more than the chaps you described, but when it's all you have I guess you go for it.

Shouldn't think too many of them are dreaming about helicopters, more a crust of bread.

Hoping
13th May 2003, 07:24
And what are YOU dreaming about Peterbrat?

BarryMonday
13th May 2003, 09:56
One of the main reasons the Dutch were starving at the end of WWII is because the Germans commandeered all farm produce, including animals, to feed themselves leaving the Dutch with nothing.

When the bombing stopped and the plight of the Dutch was known Bomber Command started food drops. Unfortunately too late for some and thousands of Dutch died from starvation. Amongst the food dropped initially was fodder for animals, until the Dutch got the message back that all their animals had been taken/eaten.

(Wife's family all good Dutch farmers for generations).

Miserlou
14th May 2003, 02:01
The only thing Mr Blair's government has done right is to not touch the economy which was set up under John Major.

Paterbrat
14th May 2003, 02:23
From small beginnings Steamchicken... It appears, Hoping, that one of my idle daydreams has in fact come to pass. Clare Short, obviously an avid Ppruner, has been impelled by the grass roots movement so nobly started right here, to quit the government.
May I commend her on her movement, definitely in the right direction, down and hopefully out of sight.
I guess we all have those special people whom we regard with passion, she dear woman, affected me. Hopefully no more.

Crowe
14th May 2003, 03:53
Fubaar

sorry, but that is one of the most overused and insulting quotes about. how about

“Show me a man who at 20 is not a Socialist and I’ll show you a man with no illusions. Show me a rich man who at 40 was ever a Socialist and I’ll show you a hypocrite.”

Paterbrat
14th May 2003, 23:03
or the one about the Conservative being a Liberal who got mugged.

GustyOrange
15th May 2003, 02:57
Crowe,

Was that meant to be "delusions" ?

Gusty

Crowe
17th May 2003, 03:27
Gusty

works either way, but yep, yours is better.

(not been flamed by the reds yet either...

:D

cheers

Paterbrat
19th May 2003, 17:53
Dearie me, wot no more bailing out from the Party. How dissapointing, just when I thought that we had got a great grass roots movement going. Sorry chook, seems like your noble sacrifice has found few followers, other than that sultry sex bomb, who no doubt is making a go as a model now. I hear she is aiming at being Damien Hurt's next object to be suspended in a tank of formalin.

steamchicken
20th May 2003, 23:34
A Different (but Deadly) Cabinet....

Prime Minister - General Sir Michael Jackson

Leader of the House of Commons, Deputy PM - Charles Kennedy

Foreign Secretary - Peter Hain

Chancellor of the Exchequer - Gordon Brown

Home Secretary - Harriet Harman

Defence Secretary - ah bollox, get Jacko to do that one as well

Deputy for Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism - Chris Patten

Dept. of Trade, Industry, and Employment- John Monks (ex-TUC Gen Sec)

Deputy with responsibility for manufacturing industries - John Towers
" " for electronics and computing - Solotk

Transport - Kenneth Clarke

Deputy and Minister of Govt Construction - Sir Ian McAllister (Ex. Ford of Europe, now chairman of Network Rail)

Environment, Energy and Peasants - Margaret Beckett

Education and Social Affairs - Polly Toynbee

Deputy - Matthew Taylor

Health - Frank Field

Cabinet Office - Peter Hain

Treasury Chief Sec - Simon Hughes

Lord Chancellor's Dept (Now Min. of Justice and the Constitution) - Robin Cook

Northern Ireland - (now, who can we afford to lose) John Prescott - that'll make their eyes water....

Chief Whip and Minister for Torture - Capt PPRuNe

Paterbrat
21st May 2003, 02:49
Actualy come to think of it Harriet Harmon would look much nicer in the tank of formalin than Clare, and she suitably pickled can replace 'Tiny' above the fish counter in H.A.Rods.:)