Saturday 6 May 2017

The Fight Can and Must Continue

No Parish seat either, but I'll live. It was a very strong field. The real disappointment is the loss of a Parish seat by an immensely hardworking member. Those who have gone to such extreme lengths to beat me both for the County and for the Parish, I hope that you are exactly as proud as you ought to be of the fact that you have beaten me by cheating.

I am certainly very proud indeed of the fact that, while I lost, I lost with honour. The concern of the Police to protect me from you (yes, you did read that correctly) was very much appreciated on my part. Although it is worth mentioning that you have now made your point.

In any case, politics is not the only thing in my life, and elections are not the only thing in my politics. Unlike the hollering boys in the identical suits and ties that I can only assume that, like a football club, the Labour Party now issues to them for these occasions. Are the ties clip-on? Are the suits? And then there are the WAGs. On which note, where is the house that Laura Pidcock now claims to have in this constituency? How did a 29-year-old charity worker pay for it at a fortnight's notice?

Not that her charity is limitless. She walked out of the Teaching Assistants' Rally when a speaker, from this constituency, called for all Labour County Councillors to lose their seats. Alas, certain Labour stooges were able to blunt that message, with the effect that their precious party did not quite lose Overall Control yesterday. But there are at least three ways in which the fight can and must continue.

First, since Jeremy Corbyn and Angela Rayner are both to address the Durham Miners' Gala this year, then the Durham Miners' Association needs to write, over their names as well as over its own, to all Labour members of Durham County Council, making it clear that they would not be welcome if the TAs' dispute had not been resolved to the TAs' satisfaction.

That letter needs to be made public, and it needs to be accompanied by one of endorsement from a range of trade union leaders. The extent of the estrangement of the Labour Group on Durham County Council from the Labour Movement at large needs to be emphasised in the strongest possible terms.

Secondly, the unions, and the six Momentum members out of six in Division III, need to organise immediately for the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party to resolve that any Councillor who voted against the immediate cancellation of the attack on the TAs, a cancellation to be moved by non-Labour members forthwith, would thereby be expelled from the Labour Party, subject to the usual five year ban from re-joining. The credibility of the Real Living Wage of £10 per hour depends on this.

And thirdly, there is the forthcoming General Election. It is absolutely imperative that Grahame Morris be returned at Easington. It is no less so that no other Labour candidate be returned in County Durham. Make a judgement in your locality. But whatever else you do, do not vote Labour, no matter how much you might want Jeremy Corbyn to become Prime Minister instead of Theresa May. Here in North West Durham, funds permitting, you will have the option of voting for a man who has supported the Teaching Assistants from the very start.

I secured them the support of several national trade union leaders in August 2016. I secured their landmark meeting with Jeremy Corbyn. I secured the signature of Angela Rayner on their petition. I secured the support for them that George Galloway regularly expresses on his radio programme and to his quarter of a million followers on Twitter. Their champion, Councillor Alex Watson OBE of Consett North, is one of my Campaign Patrons, while George, another of their champions, is the other Campaign Patron. Like Alex, I did not sell out the TAs to the local Labour machine that has been the only beneficiary of that sellout.

Please give generously, and please spread the word.

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