Why I’ll choose division over supporting Labour

Don't blame me, I voted for kodos

When people tell me that I should not criticise Labour because I am being divisive or that I must vote Labour to get the Tories out it’s a kick in the guts. I’m being offered a choice between a party that will rob and beat us or a party that will rob and beat us a little less and sometimes give us cookies afterwards.

https://twitter.com/Cadoret/status/313397860425162753

“Today in Liverpool, and in many other cities across the UK, Labour attempted to capitalise on the anger and fear surrounding the bedroom tax by holding their own rallies. It’s worth noting at this point that, much to the anger of people who have already started organising in their communities, Labour did fuck all to try and contact the aleady existing grassroots tenant groups – you know, the people who will be on the front line when bedroom tax hits hard.”  – Quote from Magic Zebras: Labour can’t co-opt our anger

(Note that I am aware that the bedroom tax protests were organised by Labour Left and not Labour. I include the above quote as an example of the anger and sense of betrayal held against Labour and the obliviousness of some Labour activists.)

Labour are better than the Tories, but the bar for that is not high. I have no confidence that Labour will actually undo any of the devastation that the current government are inflicting on us. I have no confidence that Labour will actually bring provision of the NHS back under state control, restart local services, or rein in the banks. I have many good reasons not to trust Labour.

Don't blame me, I voted for kodos
Before I was angry with Tories, I was angry with Labour. Very angry. Labour destroyed rights and civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism and people we don’t like. Labour introduced the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act which gave extensive powers to government to spy on electronic communications, led to local councils spying on people over school places, litter dropping and dog poo problems, and made it a crime punishable by two years in prison to refuse to incriminate yourself by handing over encryption keys.

Labour gave us control orders that let them keep people under house arrest forever because the evidence against them is secret or non-existent. Labour gave the police the ability to put people in prison for 28 days without charge never mind trial, and they wanted it to be 90 days.

Labour gave us ASBOs which let a judge make something a crime punishable with prison where before it was legal but merely annoying. Labour gave us dispersal zones which let a power-tripping police officer order people to leave the area on a whim. (I had one outside my house.)

Labour gave us war in Iraq and Afghanistan, in the face of protests by millions.

Labour changed the law to attack the right to protest outside of Parliament because one anti-war protester irritated them.

Labour tried to bring back ID cards, and worse, an identity database that would record numerous trivial details about each of us that added up to a massive intrusion by the state.

Labour replaced Incapacity Benefit with Employment Support Allowance and gave the contract to Atos to assess everyone that claimed it. It was Labour that decided that the medical expertise of your own doctors and consultants was not worth as much as some jumped-up Atos employee ticking boxes on a computer while ignoring what you tell them.

Labour are neoliberal – they support privatization, deregulation, decimating the public sectore and outsourcing everything possible to the private sector. Labour bailed out the banks at vast expense – some £800 billion. The bulk of our current national debt, in fact.

Labour introduced competition to NHS providers. Labour brought in the purchaser-provider split, commissioning, and competition rules, and PFI, all of which made the current destruction of the NHS possible. Labour handed over our hospitals to Private Finance Initiatives which allowed private companies to run the hospitals while charging incredible amounts of interest and extortionate fees for the simplest of maintenance tasks.

Sure, Labour did some good things too. Labour got the deficit under control before the bank bailout. They actually ran a surplus for a few years. Labour fought for social justice and against child poverty. Labour fought for inclusion and equal rights. Unlike the Conservatives, Labour has members I actually consider to be decent people and who fight for justice and for good. But Labour has a great deal more members who stand for all of the bad things I just mentioned.

I am not telling anyone not to support Labour but these are the reasons why I can’t vote for them. There are good people working to change Labour from the inside and I salute them – MPs like Michael Meacher, activist members like Sue Marsh. But I cannot give my vote to Labour, and the LibDems took my vote and handed it over to the Conservatives. If Alternative Voting (AV) had been voted in then Labour would have been my second choice on every future ballot but as things stand If I can’t vote Green or Independent in future elections then I will spoil my ballot rather than vote for everything that I saw Labour do. That may be divisive, but so be it. I can’t endorse Labour’s past or risk endorsing what they do in the future.

Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.

Author: Latentexistence

The world is broken and I can't fix it because I am broken. I can, however, rant about it all and this is where I do that when I can get my thoughts together. Most of the time you'll find my words on Twitter rather than here though. I sometimes write for Where's The Benefit too.

16 thoughts on “Why I’ll choose division over supporting Labour”

  1. Wholeheartedly agree with you on every count …. having always been a staunch Labour supporter (what I would refer to as real Labour unlike the Blair New Labour etc) I feel totally disenfranchised by the lack of any real alternative.
    Well said !

  2. Really empathise with your viewpoint. I haven’t voted Labour since John Smith died and found Labour’s time of rule with the nanny state, Iraq war and the erosion of civil rights outrageous. I’d like to think they’re learning from their mistakes, but if they’re not giving credit or co-operation to the grassroots movement that began the bedroom tax revolt, isn’t suggesting they really have as yet.
    Young Ed doesn’t fill me with hope either. Like many of his colleagues, he hasn’t exactly lived a life outside the Westminster box, therefore everything happening to people is fairly academically understood – which is a million miles away from experienced understanding.
    The LibDems will never get my vote again unless they make a radical move to pull the plug on the Tories. Traitorous power-grubbers.
    It all leads back to the fact that power corrupts, especially under the current system. I’ve been around long enough to see this in action even in so-called anarchist groups. There’s always a small dominant group within who will attempt to impose their ideology onto the rest.
    I keep thinking surely there is an alternative? Some way of creating a new political force which is more co-operative based in nature, that works in a way that ensures that no small self-interested group can push their agenda to the detriment to the others? Surely we are in a time when a new approach has a real chance of working?
    However, realistically even if that came together, it would take time to make it work – and we need to prevent the Tories wreaking more havoc on the vulnerable.
    In the meantime its only right to keep pushing home to Labour that they need to change and they need to listen – now. The one thing Ed has going for him, is that he does appear to be a leader looking for a direction to be pointed in. It’s not a lot, but perhaps that’s a glimmer of opportunity in a very dark tunnel.

  3. I was at Liverpool on Saturday. It felt like some people had come just to have a go at Labour rather than fighting the bedroom tax. I completely understand why grass roots feel so angry, and betrayed and let down, but at the end of the day, a national political party is a good ally, and I accept them as an ally, all be it grudgingly. I’m under no illusions that come the next labour gov’t I’l be on twitter just the same, adding my voice to campaigns against unfairness and injustice perpetrated by those in power. The labour party on this issue are a big and powerful ally, its like cutting off your nose to spite your face when hyou are fighting them fighting the bedroom tax.

    1. There is a very real anger and a deep sense of betrayal over Labour’s past and now Labour activists are quite happy to tread all over others instead of working with them. You should ask who was actually being divisive over the bedroom tax protests.

      “Indeed, the logo Labour’s campaign initially used was remarkably similar to one already in use by the grassroots campaign.

      When the local Labour hierarchy were questioned by campaigners on their motivation for Labour Against the Bedroom Tax, why they had not bothered to contact the local campaign already in existence and where their logo came from, the party began deleting posts and banning people from their Facebook pages.”

      1. I don’t know those involved in organising the rally in Liverpool. I absolutely agree that Labour should have been involved earlier and certainly it is their responsibility to work with grass roots, not the other way around. However the organisers did point out that the protest was intended to be non-partisan, the banner read ‘Liverpool against Bedroom Tax’, it was intended to bring all those against it together. I’m just disappointed that we able to do that I suppose, whoever’s fault it was.

      2. One of the speakers was a lady who had lost her son. She was in tears on the podium and I was listening to her. I just think the ‘Labour, Tory same old story’ chants could have waited for another day. I’m sure they’ll be lots more opportunities for chants like that in the future. I’m certainly not defending Labour, I just think for one day people cld have put their axes down.

        1. Obviously it’s not your fault, or the lady on the podium, but the Labour organisers caused great offence and obviously didn’t care about the other people. You have no right to police their anger in response to that.

          1. Oh, sorry. It’s just that on the “Labour Against The Bedroom Tax” Facebook page it says “Big day of action tomorrow – and we will be joining Labour Left events in around 50 towns and cities to stand together and say NO to the bedroom tax.”

            I note the words Labour in there too. If Labour didn’t organise it then why are they claiming it? Oh wait, we’ve gone full circle.

          2. The protest was organised by Claire Chapple and Debra Power. The facebook page is Liverpool Bedroom Tax Protest. Several times during the protest, Claire spoke and stated the protest was non-partisan. The banner they commissioned stated ‘Liverpool against bedroom tax’ and was covered by a banner slating Labour. As I say, some people seemed more interested in attacking Labour than fighting the bedroom tax. I geninuely believe the only agenda of those ladies was to fight the bedroom tax.

          3. Then you have to ask why (a) Labour members claimed ownership of the protests elsewhere, and (b) whether the anger at this might reflect the larger betrayal that the bulk of my blog post was about.

          4. Do you know what, I absolutely agree with everything your blog says. I just think in Liverpool agression towards Labour went too far. The microphone was unplugged and banners covered or pulled down. I haven’t seen anywhere that Labour have claimed ownership, but I take your word for it, and that is wrong, it wasn’t their rally. Labour councillors and MPs spoke, and they were heckled, which is absolutely fair enough, I just think some people were there to be disruptive, and not to listen. I think Labour speakers were there to support us in our protest not to ask for support -imagine the upset if they hadn’t turned up at all. They spoke as locally elected representatives, along with some people personally affected and members of the crowd (including a young boy). I think local groups should have been invited to speak also, but thats a decision the organisers took and I have no idea why.

          5. Yep, Labour are rubbish, no two ways about it, but at least they came, and as I said earlier, I will take them as allies, albeit reluctantly. That doesn’t mean I’m allied to them though.

  4. I think you missed out “Labour scrapped the 10p tax band, increasing income tax disproportionately for the poorest in society”…
    http://www.speakerschair.com/post/labour-s-10p-tax-fiasco

    Increasing tax for high earners only weeks before the end of their 13 year term, and then failing to oppose a reduction in that tax, is also something I bet you dislike…
    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/03/27/ed-balls-fails-to-vote-commons-50p-tax-budget-2012_n_1381601.html

    Truth is, income tax policy is the most basic indicator of where a party’s heart lies. The modern Labour party hates poor people and loves rich people.

    You could argue that there were more benefits and tax credits available from Labour, so they took with one hand, but gave back with another. However, these were introduced with the cynical knowledge that up to 25% of the most needy never manage to claim all the benefits they’re due to – the Labour government even budgeted with the assumption that some of the most needy would never claim – and so didn’t even have the money to pay them!

    I bet we see more spoilt ballot papers next time, but I don’t think it does any good. The only big change that sometimes works is a strong local independent candidate. I hope we’ll see a few more of those get into parliament.

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