Wonder if any of these badges I found lurking among the mess on my desk would help prevent a Tory victory at the next General Election. It disconcerted me the way on Newsnight last night they accepted the inevitability of a Conservative government coming to power – to the extent they only had Tory contributors. This has seriously started to depress me – I really thought we had all that behind us – like puberty. I can’t go through it again any more than I could tolerate acne, feeling like nobody understands me and spontaneous involuntary erections (truth is I still suffer from all three but you get my point hopefully). I know 1980s nostalgia is in vogue but couldn’t we draw the line at bringing back a Tory government and just watch old news footage of Douglas Hurd and Nigel Lawson.
I was intrigued and amused to read the story in The Guardian today that a Channel4 Dispatches report had uncovered that our noble mayor had “links to a Trotskyite faction conspiring to transform London into a “socialist city state”.
I also used to know one of these alleged Trotskyites conspiring to Sovietise the capital of Capitalism as I was in the Labour Students with Simon Fletcher at City Poly back in the early nineties, when he was President of The Students Union and I was on the Executive and Chaired the Labour Club. If he is now a wild-eyed Trot then that would be quite a transformation – particularly for a fella now drawing a nice fat council tax subsidised salary that another old comrade speculated was in the region of 70-odd grand.
Lovely chap Simon as I remember him and I’d never want to been seen to besmirch his character in any way. But I sniggered into my coffee when I read the following beside a photo of a demonic looking Simon (he was a skinny lad at Poly, like an extra in a Smiths video – see photo, I’m on the right there and haven’t aged much better myself).
“The reports described how his chief-of-staff, Simon Fletcher, began his career working for Tony Benn and won a seat on Camden council in 1993 before becoming involved in Socialist Action. The faction, which sprang from a split in the International Marxist Group, aimed to reconcile its revolutionary programme with cooperation with the Labour party. Its critics claim Socialist Action decided to extend its influence by placing its members in positions of power in a number of organisations.”
Well surely the total failure of any kind of Left-wing influence in the Labour Party today at any level would be testament to the fact that Socialist Action have resolutely failed in their ambition. Hey, maybe they are running London after all, might explain the utter ineptitude of the GLA.
Simon the raging £70k-a-year Trot, was the fella that as President of the S.U. vehemently opposed the student protests that led to us occupying the Poly buildings for two weeks. He ironically viewed it as a Trotskyist manoeuvre and hated the Socialist Workers Party. He was a Bennite like many in the Labour Party at that time, myself included, but more than anything he gave the impression of being a careerist, and why not for a very bright bloke who got a First in Politics and lived and breathed the Labour Party.
I last saw him around the time of the last Mayoral elections looking only mildly embarrassed by Ken’s return to Party that he’d left along with thousands of other activists but who couldn’t bring themselves to rejoin the War Party.
I sense a good old fashioned smear campaign here – a return to Thatcherite style attacks on the Left, ‘Reds Under The Bed’ and all that. And it must just be over the limp Congestion Charge, because otherwise Ken is a model Quisling of the City corporations.
At one entrance to Leytonstone tube station the Socialist Workers have a stall with their papers on and a lady is giving out fliers for a meeting organised by Respect starring Gorgeous George Galloway MP (I thought the SWP didn’t believe in bourgeois democracy). Titled “British Politics after Blair”, it’s taking place at the al Badr Hall on Lea Bridge Road on Friday 9th.
Through the underpass at the other entrance a member of the Labour Party is giving out leaflets (no stall note) entitled “Labour, the Leadership and the War”. This meeting boasts 3 MPs (Labour have an unshakeable belief in bourgeois democracy) and takes place at the Welsh Church on Leytonstone High Road.
The leaflet, and the man giving them out boast that “all three MPs are anti-war”. You know our democracy is a bad state when our elected representatives try to impress us with the fact that they voted against an illegal war against a sovereign state that has cost the lives of over 600,000 people.
What else can I read about the politics of the nation from this encounter? Both groups seem to gravitate to religious buildings. Respect/SWP to an Islamic venue adjoined to a mosque, in order to show that they are no Islamophobes and can communicate with the ‘Arab Street’ (they never believed in gender politics anyway).
Labour are drawn back to their Celtic roots, still more comfortable with Methodism than Marx.
Whatever happened to Working Men’s Clubs?