As regular readers will know although I am an active member of the Brighton & Hove Green Party, I am not shy of being critical of my local party when I think it appropriate. It is also no secret that some of recent actions have upset many in our party – in particular my campaign against the local rag for its crappy journalism, which I believe serves no party particularly well, even the Tories, to whom it is slavishly loyal. However, this morning is different. I’ve just read the one of the best demolition jobs that I’ve seen in years in a political debate. Please do read Jason Kitcat’s detailed deconstruction of the sheer hypocrisy from the local Labour & Conservative Parties’ campaigning in respect of bus subsidies in Brighton & Hove.
You can expect the thieving Tory bastards to lie, cheat and connive their way into power. That’s what they’re for – it’s their very raison d’être. Although I still warm to recall my Dad’s Dad talking about the atmosphere in Scotland after the 1945 general election, with people genuinely believing and openly declaring that the Tories “would never be elected again“, the fact is that without them and their nasty stall, democracy would be weaker. They destroy consensus and create a debate about values because theirs are fundamentally different from the way most of us live. Without that difference of opinion, people lose interest in politics and when people lose interest, all democratic values suffer. Without strong democratic values, society is weakened in its constant struggle with what the 1945 Labour Party manifesto called “the hard men“. The hard men of today run the psychopathic predatory corporations.
The Labour Party used to provide the other side of the political argument. It stood for socialism. That word, or even the phrase now favoured by the Greens and some others on the Left – social justice – is seemingly a taboo inside the Labour Party now. Since the illegal Iraq war, the Labour Party has lost its mojo. It doesn’t provide any form of alternative vision of society; the best it offers now is that its people will be better managers of capitalism than the Tories. There is nothing to inspire people. Without that inspiration, it lacks political integrity. Perhaps that’s why it stoops to hypocrisy in its local campaigning. I’m sure the people of Brighton & Hove, who are the most highly educated population in the country, will see through the flimsy veil of deceit.
The Labour Party councillors in Brighton & Hove need to answer the basic questions posed by Jason Kitcat’s post:
- If, as they claim, they didn’t support the Green plans on bus subsidies, why did they vote for the budget in February instead of abstaining as opposition parties normally do?
- Why didn’t they propose any amendments to the reports being considered by this weeks Policy & Resources Committee?
- Do their activists complain that the Green Party spends too much time and effort consulting as widely as possible before passing decisions because it embarasses their campaigning strategy of not proposing changes but still complaining about decisions?
Here’s a twitter debate between Caroline Penn, a member of the Brighton & Hove Labour Party executive committee and Holly Smither, an ex-Labour voter (and no particular friend of the Greens, I think):
Just one of many examples of Brighton & Hove Labour Party campaigning against consultations. It’s beginning to look like they are obsessed about the Green strategy of wide consultations. What’s the point of complaining about consultations in respect of a key Green policy? The Greens don’t have a majority on the City Council. It ought to be easy to vote down their policies or prevent them from obtaining office. All that would be required is for the Labour Party to work with the Tories, with whom they have so much in common. Okay, perhaps that is a bit hard on them but it ought to be possible to concoct amendments which the Tories would agree with.
It was widely said during the 1980s that Labour made itself unelectable by refusing to declare a credible strategy for government. It learnt that lesson nationally but it doesn’t appear to have learnt it at locally. All opposition parties snipe sometimes and fire from the hip at other times, without worrying too much about the logical consequences of every criticism they make. Such is democratic politics. However, blanket campaigning against decisions when repeated opportunities to affect those decisions have been ignored is sheer hypocrisy. There is no other word for it.