Tuesday 9 May 2017

Fighting On

It is three years since a former Deputy Leader of Durham County Council introduced me at a funeral as "the man who should have been our MP". It seems to be the broad consensus among people like that, approaching unanimity in the generation above mine, that that was what ought to have happened, but of course never did, as such things almost never quite do. If anyone dissents from that, then it is Neil Fleming, and even he, older and more right-wing than I am, would have to concede that it would at least have been preferable to what has now come to pass.

Look, I have never said that Laura Pidcock ought not to be the MP for anywhere, ever. My view is that she ought not to be the MP for here, now. She is not representative, and she is not ready. A 29-year-old Marxist and radical feminist with an inherited grudge against the Catholic Church, all things that could have been smoothed a bit during her thirties in a middle-ranking position, is not someone whom even what is now the fairly left-wing Constituency Labour Party in North West Durham would have selected. Least of all from outside, and as a consolation prize because her own MP had decided not to go through with his expected retirement.

Not representative, and not ready. Readers from the local political world, you know this. You know it. You had already arrived at it. Several of you taught this kind of thing to me.

Nor, unlike a committee in London, would the CLP have fallen for the faux-prole act of an impeccably middle-class, and really quite privileged, person who happened to have a regional accent. Tony Benn, Michael Foot and Tam Dalyell were privileged. Jeremy Corbyn is impeccably middle-class, as am I. The problem is the pretence otherwise; the endless banging on about being working-class when obviously no such thing, at least to anyone from the North East.

Without her advantages, I am not in a position to raise the deposit of £500, never mind the £10,000 that it would take to mount a serious campaign, between 18th April, with no notice whatever, and 11th May, when nominations will close. We normal people simply cannot do that in less than a month. We can, however, do it in five years.

So I am not giving up. My campaign has not ended, nor will it. My campaign has not been suspended, nor will it be. Donations remain welcome. I have every intention of contesting the County seat here in Lanchester in 2021, and I might, or might not, do so earlier, in the highly likely event that one of the sitting Councillors moved on or just got bored, or that the other became too seriously ill to continue, or both. I have every intention of putting up for the Parish Council in 2021. And I have every intention of contesting the parliamentary seat that contained Lanchester in 2022.

The local Labour machine has already proven that it cannot beat me in a fair contest, but only by cheating, although, having done so, it has now made that point, which it has no reason to press any further. The expected boundaries of the seat in 2022 would be even less appropriate for a Far Leftist who had no inclination whatever to co-operate with Independents, Liberal Democrats, Conservatives, and entirely nonpartisan community stalwarts, and who, having been given a parliamentary seat while still at that stage, had never been required to grow out of it. By then, a considerable area of the new constituency will very probably have had a Conservative MP for five years.

My work continues. My work to secure justice for the Teaching Assistants, something that now requires the election of no Labour MPs in County Durham except at Easington, which is a realistic aim in all but one of the other seats, and which is an aim worth pursuing in all of them; the TAs need to stop listening to those who have already stabbed them in the back. My work to unite the unions, the Independents, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives in order to bring the Volkswagen Group's production for the British market to County Durham after Brexit, in very stark contrast to those who have merely managed other people's poverty for 32 years and counting. My work to secure working-class representation, and especially rural working-class representation, on all public bodies, as well as in the media.

My work to give voice to the fact that the workers, and not the liberal bourgeoisie, are the key swing voters. My work to give voice to the fact that identity issues must be located within the struggle for economic equality and for international peace. My work to give voice to the fact that the leading role in the defence of universal public services belongs to those who would otherwise lack basic amenities, while the leading role in the promotion of peace belongs to those who would be the first to be called upon to die in wars. My work to give voice to the fact that the decision of the EU referendum by people and places that voted Labour, Liberal Democrat or Plaid Cymru means that the concerns of those people and places ought now to be the focus of political attention.

My work of opposition from the start to the failed programme of economic austerity. Against all Governments since 1997, my work of opposition to the privatisation of the NHS and other public services, to the persecution of the disabled (of whom I am now one), to the assault on civil liberties, to every British military intervention during that period, to Britain's immoral and one-sided relationship with Saudi Arabia, and to the demonisation of Russia.

My work in rejection of any approach to climate change which would threaten jobs, workers' rights, the right to have children, travel opportunities, or universal access to a full diet. My work to rescue of issues such as male suicide, men's health, and fathers' rights from those whose economic and other policies have caused the problems. And my work of refusal, as a mixed-race person, to recognise racists, Fascists or opportunists as the authentic voices of the accepted need to control immigration.

As to North West Durham in 2017, if my Campaign Patron, Councillor Alex Watson OBE, made a public endorsement, then I would disagree with it publicly if I disagreed with it at all. If he did not say anything, then nor would I. If he did say something, but I did not, then you could draw your own conclusions, but no further comment would be made by me. My eyes are already set firmly on next time.

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