Let’s start by setting out the situation: after dozens of people were arrested before the coronation under the Tories new, fascist Public Order Act, Labour’s David Lammy has said his party will not repeal that legislation if it gets to form a government.
His dismissal of demands for it, and his attitude in general, has been greeted with shock by an electorate that had been relying on Labour to actually fight Tory dictatorship, not join it:
It has left some of us asking where we could possibly turn instead.
Fortunately, a few options have presented themselves after the results of last Thursday’s local elections became clear. Several of the surprise winners appeared on the net-based Not The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.
For example – the Green Party, exemplified by former Labour councillor Jo Bird:
So, people on the doorstep are not meekly accepting the claims of the main parties on the doorstep; they’re checking out those claims and voting on the basis of whether those claims are accurate or not. That could be a serious challenge for the Tories, whose relationship with the facts has always been unstable, but now also for Labour.
How about the former Liverpool Labour councillors who formed the Liverpool Community Independents and stood for election there? Here’s their account:
“The Labour Right can befriend you and then stab you in the back.” If that’s how they treat their fellow party members, how do you think they’ll treat ordinary voters who elect them into Parliament?
The victory also adds credibility to Lucy Williams’s claim that the Labour-run council is “incompetent”. We hear Tories attacking Labour councils on that basis, in Parliament, all the time and to have former Labour councillors elected back on that basis is damning for Starmer’s party. What’s going on there? Are these Labour councillors acting on duff orders from Starmer? Or are they complacent in their positions and can’t be bothered?
And they are already actively calling on voters to unseat the Labour MP in the constituency that includes their council area – Maria Eagle – in favour of an Independent.
Finally, former Labour activists linked up with others and formed a group called ‘Salt of the Earth’ to take 14 of 15 available seats on Winsford Town Council, in Cheshire:
“People were being patronised by Labour… It’s been crazy. There’s been a lot of smearing. It’s been really unpleasant.” Who wants to be represented by people like that?
I’m not saying this kind of unpleasantness is all that Labour has to offer; This Writer is a former Labour member and activist and I know plenty of people who are still party members and are, themselves, great human beings.
They’re all on the left wing of the party, of course.
These victories show that complacency of the kind that Lammy is displaying may well have had its day.
I certainly hope so. But what happens next is up to all of us.
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