Springingtiger's Blog


Bracken’s Response (to a Labour Party that has lost its people)

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A friend of mine who lives in England received a request from the Labour Party for help or donations to win the Scots from Independence. I copied her reply because it is a powerful response from an English Labour supporter, and former member of many years, who opposes her former party’s stance on Scottish independence. It puts a lie to the myth that Labour is united in its opposition to Scottish independence, and she speaks with the voice of the Labour left who feel excluded and betrayed by the party they love. Labour was once the party of ordinary people made extraordinary by their solidarity and passion for justice, this letter shows that passion is still alive; it also shows that in England, as in Scotland, the traditional supporters of Labour are divided from a Labour leadership that has lost touch, not only with its own supporters, but with the principles upon which it was
founded.

“I read your correspondence and hope you will read my response.

I support the right of the people of Scotland to express their preferences about the future governance of their country  in a referendum. Living in England and having an interest in politics I have formed my own view of the forthcoming referendum. However, I believe in self determination – and it is up to Scotland to make the choice.

I have heard Labour Party spokespeople comparing a possible yes outcome to a divorce. Perhaps Scotland will vote to leave the union because they have been treated so poorly within the union. The Labour Party must take some responsibility for that.

I note that polls have indicated that many people who voted Labour in the last general election intend to vote Yes in the referendum. I wonder, given this fact, why  Labour Party MPs  arrive in Scotland to campaign for a NO vote rather than having the humility to listen to the concerns of the people in an impartial manner.

I do not think people are impressed by MPs absenting themselves from Westminster and neglecting to hold the Prime Minister to account on our behalf in order to lecture the Scots on how they should vote.

I  feel badly let down by the Labour Party, when in power they took us into an illegal war and in the run up to the forthcoming general election the leadership have promised to retain spending cuts.

I oppose further nuclear power stations and want to see the country acting to implement their obligation to nuclear disarmament from the treaty we signed. It seems clear to me that Labour is wedded to the retention and so the consequent cost of maintaining Trident- this will be a major fact in my decision when casting my vote next year.

I look at the way the Party responds to US demands for action over ISIS and sanctions over the situation in the Ukraine and the slow and inadequate response to the ongoing situation in Palestine.

I wondered if the photo of Ed with the Sun was photo shopped- but no, it was real – what an insult to the families of the Hillsborough victims who are still fighting for justice.

Almost every week the leadership, or sometimes the lack of it, gives me another reason to look for a different party or candidate to vote for.

I couldn’t help but compare the  influx of English Labour  MPs into Scotland with their relative lack of presence in supporting marchers who walked 300 miles to raise their concerns about the NHS.

I have a lot of respect and time for a small but  dwindling number of Labour Party MPs who do their best to represent and help their electorate whilst  staying  true to those who first established the party and the values and principles they held.

A UDA camp has been established outside the police station in Rotherham and today our region witnessed the spectacle of rival far right groups coming to blows in Rotherham; a town which has been pretty solidly Labour for all of my lifetime.

Labour representative have failed young people there for decades. The vacuum left by disillusionment  with the Labour Party has produced an alarming and dangerous situation which will lead to further alienation from the political process and serious tensions between different groups in the town.

I see little evidence of any sense of urgency from the Labour Party to tackle the situation.

So no – I don’t wish to donate to your work on the Scottish referendum but I will continue to make donations to assist people and organisations here and overseas who strive to defend services  like the NHS and who provide humanitarian help to those who are suffering as a result of military action and the failure of the international community to defend them for example in Gaza.”

I hope that when you read this it will remind you that the working people of England are not our enemies and their struggles are ours. Our freedom from English rule should not separate us from the English working class, or indeed the workers of any nation, but should rather be a pledge to stand beside them their struggles, as they have stood beside us.

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