Labour has long claimed to be active in every community up and down the country and whilst this is not an untrue statement, there are many parts of Britain where the Labour Party is exclusively encountered in the press. For many citizens political activity is something that is people want to do but do not know how to get involved with issues they care about. My suggestion would be to make the Labour Party into a grassroots movement that is active at a level that is much more localised than just parliamentary constituencies. Empowering local people should be the future of the party and this requires a new approach to party organisation.
Plans to strengthen the Labour Party’s stance on racism, and specifically anti-Semitism, have been proposed the Jewish Labour Movement to drive this social disease out of the party. Both Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith have endorsed the plans which will likely mean that the proposals will be agreed to at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool later this week. The philosophical basis for this change obvious but the other aspect of this is about how the current rules of the party turn people off about politics.
When the Labour leadership election was called the NEC established some arbitrary rules about who could and who couldn’t vote. At the time I met the following prediction: “I am fully confident that a legal challenge will defeat this decision”. Today the High Court agreed with my amateur legal opinion and has ruled that Labour members who have joined since the January 1st should be allowed to vote in the upcoming leadership election. The Corbyn campaign welcomed the decision however the barrister representing the Labour NEC has appealed the decision.
The Labour Party has a long tradition of standing for equality and social justice against bigotry and intolerance. The accusations of anti-Semitism within the party sully that record and Jeremy Corbyn was right to suspend Ken Livingston and set up an enquiry. You may not be surprised to hear that I, like most people who are fans of logic, deplore anti-Semitism but I do recognise that lazy thinking does exist on the Left. There are some people who identify the actions of the state of Israel with all Jews, which is obviously stupid, and this laziness needs to be tackled. However now those people on the Right of the Labour Party are seeking to portray all Corbyn supporters as having a problem with Jews, and this needs to be called out. Warning: I’m writing this piece in anger so expect occasional swearing.