The Blogger Returns: An open letter to Socialists in the Labour Party

To my loyal readers,

I have woefully neglected my blog for a number of months mainly as a result of my battle with depression. I will be writing an article on that in the near future but for now I just want to say a big thank you to those who have read and supported my blog in months gone by. I am amazed that at the time of writing, nearly 2,000 people have read my blog. I also want to say that it touched my heart when in February 2014, I attended the national TUSC conference in London and one of my faithful readers inquired as to when I will be continuing to write my blog. You will have to forgive me, but until I recall your name I will have to dedicate this piece to “A Socialist Party member”. I would also like to dedicate this article to 3 great friends and comrades of mine, Teresa Stuart, Tom Sloman and George Fidler. The three of you have been a great help in recent weeks.

Below is an unedited comment which could also serve as an open letter to the members of the Labour Party who still remember the Socialist roots on which their party was founded. For those interested in seeing what prompted me to weave together this piece I would encourage you to check out the following link:

http://theknowledgeplymouth.co.uk/law-student-dena-rafati-is-running-labour-in-local-elections/

Here is the comment in full:

“Hi Dena, I am going to begin by saying that I hope you don’t take my criticisms of the Labour Party personally as I admire anybody that has the courage to stand up and be counted. I am also very well aware of how much harm the Con/Dem austerity agenda is damaging the ability of our councils to function effectively.

However, Labour leaders have said that they will stick to Tory spending plans if elected in the General Election in 2015. On top of that, we have seen at local level in Hull and Southampton for instance, Labour Councillors getting elected on a manifesto of opposing cuts and then being expelled from the Labour Party for sticking with their promises once elected. This is an utter betrayal of the hard work put in by these Councillors to represent ordinary working-class people which is something that they have promised to do.

I wholeheartedly agree with you that the Tories are at the core of a lot of our economic problems but in Plymouth the Labour group have had a choice. They could refuse to implement cuts and with popular support from those who rely on public services, demand that the Government give back the money which has essentially been stolen from the people of Plymouth. Alternatively, they could and have passed on austerity measures to people who are already suffering from shamefully high levels of poverty.

I know there are still progressive socialists within the Labour Party, but the rightwards direction the party is leaning towards is damaging people’s lives. I often find myself incensed when I hear the likes of Tudor Evans announcing that the Labour Party have successfully fought against the bedroom tax when I have lobbied the Council on a number of occasions because people are being forced into rent arrears and fear homelessness on a daily basis. In Scotland, the bedroom tax was beaten because Scottish Councils used their reserves to make up the shortfall in people’s rents. In Plymouth, I requested that the Labour Council use their reserves (which at the end of March 2013 totalled around £60 million) to protect vulnerable people, They refused. This is just one of many examples that I can list.

Now, I know for a fact that there are Labour Councillors and Labour Party members who loathe these cuts but feel that their hands are tied . But, the tactics used by the Labour Party as a whole to isolate and expel Party members who take a principled stance against cuts betrays the out of touch character of the Party leadership. The co-operative transformation of Plymouth’s public services will not protect these services in the long-run as private investors will be able to bid on services after three years of them being in co-operative hands.

This is why I feel that the working-class of this country need a new party that will fight to protect their public services and stop the declining standards of living which have directly resulted from the implementation of austerity. I would have joined the Labour Party if I felt it was possible to revive the Socialist roots on which it was founded but alas I feel that this has become an impossibility. This is why I will be proudly standing against your Party this May as a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate.

I recognise that I probably have far more in common with you than the Tories and Liberals who we will both be opposing. Nevertheless, I simply cannot abide the betrayals and complicit implementation of austerity by the Labour Party. I wish you all the best in your election campaign, but there is a reason why the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition will be standing the biggest left of Labour electoral challenge this May and I would kindly ask that you reflect on why exactly that is.

Kind Regards,

Ryan Aldred

Student TUSC candidate for the Ham ward”

2014-04-11 11.31.19

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