Monday, 24 April 2017

GUEST BLOG - GE 2017: Where to focus for the independent Leftie? by William Bolton

Didn’t expect this election now;  don’t think Labour should have voted for it without extracting some serious concessions from the Tories;  resent having my own plans for the next 6 weeks torn up by Theresa May for her own advantage;  think single member constituency first past the post elections for an unreformed Westminster are a sad apology for democracy.  So, primarily feel sick and manipulated. 

But – you can’t just concede the battlefield to a Tory party running on a close approximation of the BNP’s 2005 election manifesto

If you are Tom London and a rock solid Labour loyalist, the path is easy.  If you are a more free-floating independent Leftie, then more options are available – not necessarily a good thing.  I am grateful to Tom for making space on his blog for a point of view that is not his own.  

What to do?  Where to focus limited time and energy?  Some personal thoughts on the options follow – views on the answers sought!
1) Believe that Labour can hold the line at local level better than the national polls would imply
(a)  Fight the conventional fight in pro-Remain marginals in London or the big cities: defend sitting Labour MPs whose politics appeal and try to make sure the Tories don't make any gains there.
(b)  Fight the conventional fight in pro-Brexit marginals: try to defend sitting Labour MPs in the Midlands & North whose politics appeal and who are Tory targets. 

2) Believe that Labour is going to do very badly and therefore:
(a)  the composition of the PLP rump after the election is the important thing: 
  1. Be positive: defend (or try to get elected) the most appealing broadly pro-Corbyn and pro-change Labour candidates;
  2. Go negative:  encourage tactical voting to take the scalps of the worst, most disloyal Labour MPs.

(b) what comes after Labour is the important thing:
  1. get some Greens into clear second place challenger position, such as Natalie Bennett in Sheffield Central;
  2. try to strengthen the position of left-leaning national & regional parties, such as Plaid, SNP, the Yorkshire Party.

3) Believe that the most important thing is to campaign against the worst aspects of our existing system
(a) We will never get change under First Past the Post, so use the election to raise awareness of the need for electoral reform. 
(b) Campaign against the media system: for example, increase awareness of the scandal of the BBC taking its agenda so directly from the oligarch press – the Sun, Mail, Times, Telegraph, Express, Standard.
(c) Campaign positively for an alternative media: support some kind of alternative election news source. 

A focus on fighting the election in the conventional way, and the immediate need to fight against Tory lies, means working for regular Labour CLPs or supporting Momentum teams to do that.

A focus on trying to break the Tory-Labour duopoly system means working for the Greens in a constituency fight eg Natalie Bennett in Sheffield Central, or for others, say Leanne Wood in the Rhondda.

Rejecting our malign, farcical electoral system as it is presented to us perhaps means working for Neal Lawson and Compass’s progressive alliance for electoral reform

Rejecting our malign, farcical media system perhaps means getting involved with the Media Reform Coalition, and whatever they decide to do during the election campaign.  


Can’t do them all!  Which to choose?

2 comments:

  1. I just wanted to add a comment here to mention thanks for you very nice ideas. Blogs are troublesome to run and time consuming thus I appreciate when I see well written material. For more information visit legal herbal empire for sale

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  2. hi Tom London & William,
    this blog is just one month old and yet seems so long ago. The last 36 hours have been horrendous but until the atrocity of Monday night we were witnessing something quite special. When ordinary people are engaged in political discussion and hear proposals that mean something to them they will be receptive. Jeremy Corbyn has for the third summer in a row repeated his act of going around the country, being true to his principles and being honest. It works - simple as that. It does not mean he will win and we will never know how things would have panned out if Monday night hadn't happened. What is left of the campaign will be very different now but Jeremy Corbyn wont be.
    Here are a couple of links. One from 2 years ago where, in the original leadership campaign he explains how he would approach a GE and in the second he states, at the Oxford Union of all places, his view of what socialism is.
    Theresa May "debates" Corbyn most Wednesdays in Westminster. She and her team know exactly what the result would be if they really debated for two hours live on national TV.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlphPfcA2qU
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZvAvNJL-gE

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