Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Vote for the 'internal opposition'

A two-part piece (dating from April 12th) from The Voice of the Turtle (always worth visiting, but hasn't been uploading interesting articles quite regularly enough) by a Joe Bord on 'The Labour Government, the Election and the Internal Opposition' catches my attention. The argument is surprising, but the author bio says he's a Young Fabian (maybe an in-joke?). Joe wants us to vote (when possible) for Labour's 'internal opposition', basically the anti-war voters of 2003. Otherwise vote for the Liberal Democrats as second-best and Greens in third place.

Joe gives surprisingly serious attention to the possibility of voting Conservative (giving a NLR article as precedent), pointing to the areas in which it is to the left of New Labour, before rejecting the idea as mad. Phew!

The Liberal Democrats are treated seriously - with Kennedy 'floating' the idea of British withdrawal at the end of the UN mandate for occupation in December 2005 - but Joe also refers to the 'inroads' of 'deregulationist ideology' into the party via the Orange Book.

Respect is considered more quickly - acknowledging its small-size and newness, but 'the crudity of its positions beyond the middle east arena points to its character as a makeshift pole attempting to attract former Labour supporters aggrieved by the war.' Greens are given more credibility in the wider policy arena, but Joe goes back to the central contest over the war. The Green position is presented as 'a recipe for an allied evacuation that will leave the transitional government and the insurgents to fight it out', which Joe thinks is 'despairing'. Respect supports the insurgency as a 'national liberation movement' against any transitional government. Joe says this is 'truly ruthless' with a 'desperate logic', with defeat of the US 'global offensive' as the overriding objective and with no room for 'constitution building' and a rejection of the January elections. In comparison the Green policy is considered to be 'tenable'. Joe's own proposal is for phased withdrawal tied to a constitutional timetable as a way of the 'wrongheaded invasion' turning into catastrophe.

Part Two begins with critical commentary on the likely outcome in Iraq if there's a large Blairite majority. Joe goes on to list the 139 Labour MPS who voted against the war on March 18th 2003. Some are retiring (or have been kicked out - Galloway), leaving 124, a diverse group that overlaps with the smaller numbers who have revolted on other issues, leaving an 'internal opposition' close to the Socialist Campaign Group, roughly equal to the number of Liberal Democrats. Joe's conclusion: 'the balance within the Labour party... will be every bit as important as the balance between parties.... The real brake to a Blairised Britain lies within the PLP and the informal networks of activists and trade unionists supporting socialist parliamentarism.'


Post a Comment

<< Home