There I was sailing along writing posts and swatting away critical comments effortlessly; (comments years ago were tougher; perhaps it gets easier with time as you see very little which is genuinely new) Then; out of left field an anonymous writer on Friday, March 05, 2010 6:04:00 PM – wrote to me and concluded with a challenge to me to devote an article on the theme of “Socialism V Electability” a topic which another commenter had raised previously; I should not have tempted fate because here it was, this was original.
It niggled at me for a couple of days; probably because it relates to something which very few people in any walk of life manage to avoid namely; what are you prepared to do or say to achieve something that you want? What hitherto precious things; beliefs or ideas are malleable to you? It’s a massive field and one which covers every feature of life but; for obvious reasons I will stick to politics. The struggle and yearning for power is at the core of all politics and the question of what you are prepared to do to achieve that power is a very valid one. Venial to Mortal are the sins and misdemeanours which politicians commit for power; from telling a constituent a white lie to get their vote to lying to the country about dodgy billionaires like Hague / Cameron/ Ashcroft illustrates this (I couldn't help myself)
The example I give is deliberate; I give it to show the massive variation which is caused by the desire for power and I believe that it also shows that the higher the stakes are i.e. becoming the Govt. the more ready and disposed some people are to doing such things. Clearly your own position on the political spectrum will affect how you look at compromises made by power seekers. The choice can be painful and stark and I think that with most people involved it’s a matter of a list of what individuals see as the big issues to them. Obvious examples at least to me and in no particular order are; peace; I believe in the struggle for world peace it’s a massive issue; racism; sectarianism - anything other than complete opposition to racism/sectarianism is another; capital punishment; any move to reintroduce the death penalty would be a resigning matter; immigration any move to forced repatriation is the same; nationalism; an evil creed, any move toward it and I would go. There might be more you can’t tell until they happen sometimes such as conflicts / wars etc.
Socialism V Electability? it’s almost impossible to answer; if you want to see a Socialist society you have to be prepared to compromise because it is a long march not a sprint. A revolution today would see us all dead on the left such is the power of the establishment and the propaganda of the media so, we compromise and try to win bit by bit; I know no other way to do it. Like most people I have become more pragmatic as I grow older but my goal has never changed; I know that there will be people who read this and will send me comments asking perfectly legitimate questions about Iraq; Afghanistan; Trident etc. should I have quit because of these things? Should I have quit because of Blair? Mandleson? Perhaps I should have set a deadline for the complete abolition of the Lords and the Monarchy and quit if it was not met?
Why do I stay when I am so opposed to our lack of action on Palestine and our subservience to America? I can only say in my defence that I believe most strongly in fighting for what I believe and the best place to do that is the Labour Party; the above issues are massive and I have compromised on them I believe that to be a measure of how important politics is; quite simply you stand and fight and hope for success or you take your ball and go home but one thing is certain; if you take up ‘keepy uppy’ in the garden you will never influence anything. That is the reason that I am not only still here but why I urge people to join the Labour Party; it’s the same reason that Michael Foot stayed and guys like Tony Benn; Dennis Skinner and Ken Livingston etc. are still here with me.