Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Reflections 3 The Flag Stays Red!

On Thursday (last week) I did something that I’ve never done before; that was to spoil my general election voting paper and those for the local ballot held to elect a new council and Mayor for Newham.

On my way into the polling station in Canning Town, two members of the local Labour Party were handing out cards to voters and saying that the ballot numbers were on the back, and by that I presume the order on which their candidates were placed. I politely refused, but concealed my indignation until I had done what I felt was right for me and placed all three papers in the separate ballot boxes provided, and then let rip on the way out, telling the Labour people that their harassment was uncalled for and an affront to the level-headedness and intelligence of the electorate and just for good measure told them that the Labour Party had betrayed the working class, that took them by surprise judging by the look and facial expressions displayed, it also made me feel rather good braking my political frustration, albeit momentarily.

And frustration is the best description to describe the sandbar that I and many socialists wonder into in sober temperance, refusing to drink from the poisoned chalice of capitalism. Many have sold out over the years and thrown their sole at the feet of the capitalist alter. New Labour is but one example; some I know have walked backwards and even joined the Liberal Democrats thinking that they were radical and able to accommodate a socialist thread within its membership.

For me I feel that I’ve been wondering in the darkness of the moon lit uninhabited desert, desolate, uncultivated and very barren.

When I was young I dreamt that the world could be a better place and joined the Labour Party, twice in my life I found that I had to leave, need I say more than the Miners Strike and Tony (Tory) Blair.

However I had the good fortune some fifteen years ago to meet Brain Hopper and his partner Linda, and in Scunthorpe we lifted the red flag flung down and abandoned, setting up the Socialist Labour Party. This people will remember was the party started by comrade Arthur Scargill, back then it had potential, existing in real possibility it grew quickly and within weeks it had a thousand members and in Scunthorpe we had ordinary folk joining like the leaves falling in the autumn breeze, such a gentle wind of determination refusing to abandon, forsake or leave behind our socialist creed, principles and beliefs.

Those first months were happy and memorable, everyone was impregnated with real hope and that our scarlet banner would fly high and with a world to win along came the Hemsworth by-election on February 1 1996 following the death of Labour MP Derek Enright. The result was a Labour hold. The election was the first contest by the Socialist Labour Party, ahead of the party's official formation; we were there with Arthur and many others treading the streets of this ex-mining and now abandoned community, ploughing, tilling and cutting the socialist earth among those hard working fellow members of our class. We didn’t win but we saved our deposit and more importantly lifted morale lighting a skyrocket to the stars, oh such happy days!

We attended both founding conferences and then participated in the 1997 general election when comrade Brain Hopper stepped into the breach and put-up against the Scunthorpe now former and sadly discredited MP an active advocate of New Labour, Elliot Anthony Morley.

To be continued…

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