Whatever happened to Trident?

Trident II missile (US Defense Dept)Among the reasons for concern that Labour has still not broken with its tradition of forming policy out of sight of party members, and with scant concern for their views, is the handling of policy on Trident. Our ‘independent nuclear deterrent’ became something of an iconic issue for the left and a subject where the left and centre of the party could unite.

The Left Futures website illustrates the importance given to the issue by the number of articles devoted to it. The subject has been returned to probably more than any other issue except austerity. Since January 2013 there have been thirteen articles on Trident. Four of them were published earlier this year. Not a single one found any case for renewing our nuclear weapons. The only article with anything positive to say about Trident was one by a trade union official which considered Trident renewal without nuclear weapons. Continue reading

Putting members in charge of the Party: are we up to it?

IsTheLeftUpToItBI remember a television programme about the death penalty many years ago in which the Governor of a US state (I can’t remember which) said that the death penalty was supported by the majority of voters and that therefore it required no further justification. That is one view of democratic power and voting: the rule of the people as a summation of popular prejudice. Continue reading

Labour Party Policy – your chance to demand a radical turn

LP_PolicyImageForLFLabour Party members have been invited to participate in the Party’s policy formation leading to Annual Conference 2016. The invitation came from Angela Eagle, Chair of Labour’s National Policy Forum (NPF), in an email of 7 April. Links were given to discussion documents for which responses are required by 8 June.

This is an exceptionally short period for organising debate to produce responses. For example in 2014 the initial letter went out on 10 March with responses required by 16 June. What this means is that the period for debate responses has been curtailed by a month compared to 2014. Not only that but because of local and mayoral elections many branches and  Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) have cancelled meetings in this period. Getting responses in will be difficult.

The left must respond Continue reading

Our debates must be comradely and informed

DebateOfManyColoursRecent discussions on Left Futures have shown a disturbing tendency on the left which at best gets in the way of meaningful debate about the many problems we need to resolve and at worst puts others off from participating and feeds straight into the image of the left that the right-wing media tries to cultivate.

The slightest participation in discussion on the left quickly reveals deep-seated differences and it would be foolish to expect anything else. On the other hand most of us realise that the election of Jeremy Corbyn provides us with an opportunity for left advance that, to be frank, was not of our making and took virtually all of us by surprise. To squander that opportunity with time-wasting argument and abusive exchanges would be to show complete disregard for our responsibility to make the most of this unexpected opportunity. Continue reading

The six most popular stories last month

Since some of you may have been lucky enough to get a holiday in August, you may have missed something. Like the six most popular stories on Left Futures last month, for example:

  1. The plot to topple Berlusconi – Berlusconi may be no friend of ours but you may still be disturbed by Tom Gill’s tale of a plot by EU and US politicians to topple him.
  2. Labour executive elections: best Left result since 1980s with 55% of members’ votes – Jon Lansman looks in depth at the results of Labour’s NEC elelctions.
  3. Avoiding charge of racism is a cover for patriarchy and misogyny in Rotherham – Diane Abbott explains why the roots of the horrific failures in Rotherham lie in attitudes to women not anti-racism.
  4. Stop the witch-hunt of Tricycle theatre for a “boycott” that never was and a false charge of antisemitism – Jon Lansman looks at an example of “crying wolf” over Gaza.
  5. On socialism, nationalism and anti-English sentiment in Scotland (part 1) – Scottish ‘independence’ divides the working class and offers nothing like socialist change, argues Greg Philo.
  6. Shutting down women’s refuges because they don’t take men is callous & absurd – Michael Meacher takes the Tories to task for the callousness about domestic violence.