Has Gordon Brown and New Labour marginalized the LP left to such a degree that it has become a brake on progressive politics.

These days it seems to me to be the Labour Party left which is acting as the brakeman which prevents the English left moving forward; and not as was often the case in the past the far or Trotskyist left. What ever one may feel about the antics of the SWP and some of the rest of what in the UK is called idiotically the far left. They at least do not go to the working classes and reinforce any illusions working class people might still have in the Labour Government. But this is just what the Labour Party left continue to do when they call for a vote for the labour party come election time, despite knowing full well that since 1997 both the Blair and Brown government have been the bulwark of big business and privatization within local government the NHS and the economy as a whole.

After the invasion and continuos occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, plus the recent research issued by the Sutton Trust and the OECD report in which it was claimed Britain had the lowest socially mobility out of the 12 major industrial nations. It must be increasingly difficult for the comrades who remain within the Labour Party to justify their reasons for doing so. That the Labour left is beginning to run out of steam is highlighted by the fact that almost the only argument they now put forward to encourage workers to vote New Labour, is they will be better off under Labour than a Tory government; and just how pathetic is that, the worst of two evils. Of course it is worse than that because the LP left are actually members of one of those evils.

I am not accusing those leftists who remain in the LP of selling out or consciously betraying the class, as I am well aware these comrades are as dedicated as those of us who work outside the party, simply asking if it is not time they re-considered their position.

If LP leftists still had any illusion that the party could be a vehicle for progressive change, they surly should have had them blighted when Gordon Brown’s first act as Prime Minister was to invite Mrs Thatcher, the architect of much working class misery at home and in Ireland, to be his guest at 10 Downing Street. What Brown was doing here was publicly stating to the multi national hordes that they have nothing to fear from him becoming PM, it would be more of the same.

During Gordon Browns years at the Treasury we have seen a massive expansion of the privatization of public services. Which in many cases will eventually take the provision of societal welfare and health care back to the Victorian days when working class people had to rely on charities to provide their basic needs when sick, homeless and old. I am not over exaggerating this fact for those public services in which there is very little profit to me made, are being turned over to charities like Help the Aged etc.

It is not over egging the pudding to claim that the Blair/Brown Labour Government’s have displayed a hatred for the public sector ethos, private profit is all. It has intentionally done all in its power to undermine the moral of those who work in our public services whilst attempting to buy off the middle class professionals working within it with unsustainable salary hikes, [police] which when they are not repeated will allow the private sector to entice them away from the public sector.

We have already seen this happening within local government and I might add some of the Labour local Council have been amongst the most enthusiastic privatizers and why would they not be as it is Labour Party government Minister’s who are behind this drive. Whether it is the NHS or local authorities there is only one ‘road map’ coming out of central government and it is the patronage of money making above all professional skills. Whether it be a social worker, teacher, nurse, doctor, health care professional, every single task they carry out must be priced and the only reason for this is to make the change over from public to private as smooth and as profitable as possible.

Yet the LP left despite being fully aware of all of the above still cling to the corpse of the LP, the only other argument they put forward beyond ‘less of two evils’ that has a smidgin of truth is that the Trade Unions created the party and whilst the unions remain they will remain. But this is burying ones head in the sand, for few of the more progressive unions remain affiliated to the LP and of those that do there is a massive gap between the TU leaderships and the members they represent, if anyone doubts this I suggest they check out the salaries of the Top TU leaders.

In any case times have changed dramatically since the LP was first formed and the party with them, and it is impossible to over look the fact that some Trade Union bureaucrats have sat on the hands and refused to challenge New Labour’s Neo-conservative economic and political platform, thus they must carry a great deal of responsibility for the demise of the LP as a vehicle of progressive change; and by refusing even to consider whether there is a need for a new Left Party the LP left are allowing these bureaucrats to set their agenda..

If the progressive group around John McDonnell MP were to stealthily set up a committee to look at the viability of a break to the left of labour, then at least it would be a start, but to carry on as if the LP can be reclaimed and once again become a vehicle for progressive politics is nonsensical and is to play Capitals game. The consequences of this strategy will undoubtedly eventually lead to the demise of the parliamentary left as a political player. With the UK following the lead set by the Democrats and Republicans in the USA, in that no matter which party gains power its main priority will be representing the best interest of Capital.



Filed under EU, Gordon Brown, Labour-Party, Left Party, local-government., New-Labour, New-left, Organized Rage, privatization, socialism, UK

7 responses to “Has Gordon Brown and New Labour marginalized the LP left to such a degree that it has become a brake on progressive politics.

  1. Charlie Marks

    John’s position has shifted over the past year. He now concedes that there’s no point in attempting to capture/reclaim the party at present and that instead of “reclaim labour” the approach should be “build an alliance around progressive campaigns”.

    This concession counts as a step backwards if you hold to the theory that Labour is a workers’ party so long as the unions fund it – it means that things have got worse and that the “reclaim” campaign has utterly failed – but a step forwards if you believe Labour cannot be the vehicle for workers to gain political representation and that the failure encountered by the “reclaim”ers is inevitable as democratic partitipation has been reduced to a minimum and challenges to the neoliberal agenda pre-empted.

    If nothing else shifts the LP left, it’ll be the prospect of unemployment. That’s what keeps them in the Labour party and prevents a break off.

    There will be a desire to make Labour move away from the neoliberalism of Blair and Brown – a desire shared by the unions. Sadly, although McDonnell favours the construction of alliances around single issues using the Labour Representation Committee, the LRC admits only those who are for Labour or neutral, preventing a link-up with the Respects or the Socialist Party’s Campaign for a New Workers’ Party.

  2. corbynite

    Totally ridiculous to argue that the LP left is a ‘brakeman’ preventing the left moving forward.

    Presumably you’re suggesting that the left must all be in one party, which is clearly the ideal, so why attack the LP left any more than the SWP or Mili? If the biggest left currents already outside the LP are unable to form a viable alternative, even when New Labour continues to push war, privatisation and racism, shouldn’t we be looking at their failings a bit more?

    Every European country has a mass political organisation to the left of the social democratic party except Britain. Granted they have PR electoral systems but there is no prospect of any political party to the left of the LP winning much representation under a different voting system. And it would take a giant leap of faith to suggest that a different voting system would galvanise different Trot parties to unite for parliamentary representation.

    However even in Europe there is a need to orient towards the social democratic parties and consider strategies to keep them to the left whilst they remain the mass political force of the class.

    So whilst it is good that Die Linke can win 51 seats in the Bundestag, that is 51 out of 600 and when much of your class still votes for the SPD, with 220 seats, there is a need to ensure the SPD representatives keep to the left.

  3. Mick Hall


    I am real please you have raised the German Left Party as its foundation and success was one of the reasons I wrote this piece. One of the main reasons why NL have been able to behave as it has is because of the lack of a left party within Parliament.

    You mention the SPD, since the Left Party entered the Bundestag, it has been forced to re-look at its program due to the fear of hemorrhaging votes to the Die Linke. I believe if a majority of the UK LP left including its MPs were to split to the left to form a left party, it would both invigorate left wing politics and shake up the social democrats within the LP.

    Whilst this piece is aimed at the LP left I have done much the same with the SWP etc in other articles.

  4. Mick Hall


    I don’t feel we differ much, by the way, I hope you do not mind but I have added your blog to my bloggerSphere.

  5. WorldbyStom

    I think Corbynite is correct. I can’t see a split of any significance to the left, and the current shambles in Respect (in both flavours) just indicates what an arid place the left of Labour actually is. First past the post is the crucial stumbling block, now as it always has been and all formations from the CP through to various socialists of democratic and other hues have found it so hence the arguments in favour of entryism. Problem is that in the UK there is no life beyond the LP and that is what will keep LP MPs cemented to the party in the hope that times will change. It’s also worth noting another aspect. The voting electorate don’t appear to want a formation to the left of Labour. And the largest pool of radicalism, albeit a flawed one? That goes to the Lib Dems.

    I don’t disagree Mick with your point about the possible future dynamic of large centre centre right formations, although I find it a tad far-fetched considering that the LP still has strong organic ties to working class structures. But that’s a problem facing all democratic polities one way or another. As Corbynite notes the Left Party in Germany is still very much a minority and any left project must still depend upon the SPD to hold the line against the right…

  6. Charlie Marks

    Lib Dems? Pool of Radicalism? The only party to get its membership to vote in favour of a privatisation…

    The point about Die Linke is that its very existence is pushing the SPD left – they have to compete with Die Linke.

    Look at Scotland and Wales. Labour is more social democratic in both nations because of the nominally socialist Plaid Cymru (with which Welsh Labour now shares power under its “clear red water” strategy, ie, clearly redder than Westminster Labour) and the rhetoric of the SNP in Scotland.

    The future for class conscious workers in England is not within New Labour – McDonnell’s strategy is correct, but the LRC needs to be broader. It’s important that the Respects and the Greens don’t stand against each other or Labour lefts. Sadly, the extra-labour groups were dismissive of McD’s run for leadership – then again, his inability to get on the ballot proved them right.

    Here’s my controversial statement: what would boost the labour movement would be the death of the centralised British state, which would weaken the ruling class as a lone England would finish off imperial ambitions in these isles – how do you fight in the Middle East without Scottish and Welsh soldiers?

    England on its own would not mean Tory dominance any more than devolution in Scotland and Wales has meant Labour dominance…

  7. WorldbyStorm

    Charlie, you’ll note I put the word ‘flawed’ in front of the Lib Dems… in some respects they’re populist, in others liberal and in others they display a limited tilt towards social justice. Die linke is inapt as a comparison because of first past the post. Labour in Scotland and Wales has been more social democratic pretty much throughout the last 30 years, indeed Scottish society appears to be more SD. Whether that’s due to the SNP (or PC) is a moot point, neither of which have been consistently leftist.

    However I entirely agree with you. The break-up of Britain would be good for the left – entirely putting aside the international situation.

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