The Nether-World

May 17, 2007

A Sad Day For Democracy In Britain

Filed under: Gordon Brown, John McDonnell, UK Politics — netherworld @ 3:45 am

thatcher.jpgIt’s over! We now know for certain (barring the unexpected) who the next Prime Minister of the UK will be. There was never really any doubt about the outcome. The sad thing is that a much needed debate within the Labour party has been stifled by the Brown camp. Labour party members have been denied any say in who their leader will be and it was only the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) who got to decide, ignoring the views of the thousands of rank and file Labour supporters. I was realistic about John McDonnell’s very slim chances of becoming the leader of the Labour party but I did think (wrongly it turns out) that he’d be able to get onto the ballot at least.

I made no secret of the fact that I supported John McDonnell who, in my opinion, offered a clear alternative to the New Labour/Tory domination over British politics, which has resulted in a lack of any meaningful debate. Now that John McDonnell has thrown in the towel after it became evident that there was no way for him to gather the necessary 45 votes to get onto the ballot, that debate will be delayed for another two years when I expect Labour to lose the next General Election because it has nothing new whatsoever to offer other than a continuation of ‘Blairism’ which everyday shows just what a bankrupt and failed ideology it is. For this reason the PLP went out of its way to prevent a challenge. I cannot believe that no heavy pressure was put on PLP members to vote for Brown. Just look at the figures; 308 nominations for Brown, 29 for John McDonnell. Realising that Brown would eventually win the contest, they voted in the only way that ensured they kept their privileged positions or gained new ones.

I think John McDonnell fought an honourable and inspiring campaign and behaved thoroughly decently throughout. I hope he continues to fight for those old Labour values he believes in which have been undermined by Blair and Brown in a decade of betrayal. I hope he also continues to fight for the now disenfranchised Labour party members who have been told in no uncertain terms just how little their views matter to the PLP. New Labour likes to portray itself as a party that offers choice, whether in health services or in education, but despite its rhetoric it offers no choice when it comes to selecting a leader. I doubt this page will remain long on the Labour website (via Blairwatch).
As Ringverse says:

The leader of this country was decided over a meal in an Islington restaurant in 1994.

We will now be treated to a coronation instead of a contest and this will be spun as some kind of victory for democracy when the opposite is the case. The anger amongst Labour party members is palpable. I’m not a member of the Labour party. I used to vote Labour before Blair took over and transformed the party so radically, and I was prepared to vote Labour again in the event of John McDonnell winning the leadership. If I was a member though, I think I would now be tearing up my membership card after realising the contempt that the PLP shows for ordinary party members. I wonder how many party members will be doing just that. Under Blair membership of the Labour party halved, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if this trend continued under Brown.

Gordon Brown promised us a a “new kind of politics” when he takes over. I think we can now see that for the empty rhetoric it is.

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