To my utter shame, I have a bit of Labouristani in my past. I once joined the Labour Party in Bradford. I can’t remember how many meetings I attended, but it didn’t take long for me to learn that this was a machine, that it was built on all sorts of opportunist alliances, and one thing that was hard to find in this beast were any socialists, and those that did profess to be so, did so for many selfish reasons. There was one gentleman in Bradford, who stood as a labour councillor. He was really an out and out Tory, but the conservatives wouldn’t entertain him so he took the next logical step and joined Labour. During his election campaign I ask him, ‘Yaar, I thought you hated socialists, yet you are standing for a party that claims to be socialist.’
Being an eloquent upcoming politician he replied, ‘Yaar. Pahji. Brother, you know.’
Wanting to go further than this profound answer, I enquired, ‘What do you understand by socialism?’
In the name of baba Marx, I swear this is his reply, ‘You know, it’s being social. You know, social-sooshal, gap-shap.’
In the years that followed my decision to leave, along with thousands of others in Britain, I learned that there was no real difference between the Labour and Tories, when it came to racism and how they dealt with us. We had a slogan in the 1970/80s – Labour Tory Both the Same – Both Play the Racist Game – When I looked a bit further a field, I learnt that Labour party was umbilically connected to British imperialism and all the horrors that it stood for- and that was before Tony Blair lead the party – and opened the gates of hell in the Arab world, and left a legacy of doom and gloom in Blighty.
Do I dislike Jeremy Corbyn? No, I don’t. He has, in the main stood for the principles that all people of conscious should, but supporting the continued existence of the United Kingdom is not one of them.
I find it hard to imagine, a party so corrupt as the Labour Party, so utterly tarnished, can actually change anything, or will allow anything to change. At best, it may raise hopes only to have them dashed, and in the process throw another generation into despair.
Some friends have recently thrown caution to the wind and joined Labour. Some with the belief that some hope is better than none, others sited the rise of UKIP. A few days agao, I asked an old die hard old organiser, what he thought about the current state of affairs. He knows Jeremy Corbyn, holds him in respect and used his office in bygone days as a base from which to organise campaigns.
‘Jeremy knows in his heart of hearts there is no hope in this rotten heap of Labour, ‘ my friend replied. ‘And the British ruling classes know there is no danger from Labour, and if you read Corbyn’s statements, he is very clear about this. This is not a fight for socialism. At best, what ever happens in the labour party leadership is irrelevant for the future, if you wish to fight for socialism. These bunch of conniving Labourites, they might pull any stunt; cancel the leadership election; number two candidate wins or else should Corbyn win, then just get rid of him after he has been elected as leader, with a vote of no-confidence of MPs. There’s no love lost up there.’
‘But what do you say to those who say, we need hope?’
‘Hope cannot be found in that which has trampled on the lives of millions,’ he replied, ‘go fight for it out and build a socialist movement’
‘And what do you say to those who say, “we have to stop UKIP, and that is why I am in Labour?”‘
My friend replied, ‘If someone put a gun to my head and said, “Vote Labour or UKIP.” I would reply, “Shoot me.”
My new novel is out:
In a town seething with Islamophobia…