Friday 10 March 2017

Morally and Politically Obligatory

Although I am sorry that the names of the other signatories have been omitted, this letter of mine appears in today’s Northern Echo

There are five groups on Durham County Council, plus two completely independent independents. But only Labour members voted against the teaching assistants. None voted in support of the campaign that has electrified the trade union movement and the Left throughout the country, thereby earning international attention.

Yet that campaign has been endorsed by the Leader of the Labour Party, at the largest working-class and left-wing event in Europe, the Durham Miners’ Gala, in front of at least 150,000 people and the television cameras. Only the Conservatives abstained, although that does make the Labour Group objectively “worse than the Tories”.

It is therefore not only reasonable, but morally and politically obligatory, to call for the election of no Labour candidate whatever to that Council on May 4.

And then, what? A Cabinet position for every non-Labour Group and for those of no group, with the numbers made up based on their relative size. The same for scrutiny chairs, obviously never mirroring the portfolios of their respective partisans. And representation on each committee and subcommittee in proportion to their numbers on the authority as a whole.

Such is the support that has been attracted by the Durham teaching assistants, the Lions of Durham as once there were Lions of Grunwick, that Labour’s loss of overall control, and indeed its loss of every seat, will be heard from the souks to the favelas, from the Dalit colonies to the Rohingya camps, and from Crimea, to Kashmir, to the scattered outposts of Diego Garcia.

David Lindsay, 2017 council candidate and 2020 parliamentary candidate, Lanchester, County Durham

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