Friday 9 March 2018

Answer Time

I have often been told by people who have done it that a first appearance on Question Time is more daunting than any other experience. Laura Pidcock did not do too badly last night, despite appearing to suggest that she obtained her seat both through an all-women shortlist and on merit. But politics is politics. This remains a matter of record, and every organisation or publication named on it is now aware of its existence. None has objected. Therefore, Laura has three options.

First, she could accept the endorsement of each and all of the Alliance for Green Socialism, the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, the Anarchist Federation, Class War, the Communist League, the Communist Party of Britain, the Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee), the Communist Party of Ireland, the Communist Party of Scotland, the Communist Workers Organisation, the Economic and Philosophic Science Review, Éirígí, the Independent Working Class Association, the Industrial Workers of the World, the International Socialist League, the Irish Republican Socialist Party, Left Unity, Lewisham People Before Profit, London Black Revolutionaries, the New Communist Party of Britain, Old Swan Against the Cuts, the People Before Profit Alliance, the Republican Communist Network, the Republican Network for Unity, Republican Sinn Féin, the Revolutionary Communist Group, the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), RISE – Scotland’s Left Alliance, the Scottish Republican Socialist Movement, the Scottish Socialist Party, Socialist Action, Socialist Appeal, the Socialist Equality Party, the Socialist Labour Party, the Socialist Party (England and Wales), the Socialist Party of Great Britain, the Socialist Party Scotland, Socialist Resistance, Socialist Studies, the Socialist Workers Party, Solidarity, the Solidarity Federation, the Spartacist League of Britain, the Stalin Society, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, the West Dunbartonshire Community Party, Workers’ Fight, the Workers International to Rebuild the Fourth International, the Workers’ Party of Ireland, the Workers Revolutionary Party, and World Revolution.

Secondly, she could accept the endorsements of some of those, but not of others, specifying which fell into each category and why. Or thirdly, she could reject the endorsement of each and all of them. Which is it to be? Of course, any of them might also withdraw its endorsement of her, in which case it would be honour bound to field or support a candidate against both her and me.

Moreover, there is still the question of the Teaching Assistants, 472 of whom Durham County Council has deprived of 23 per cent of their pay, so that they are now paid less for full time work with children than the members of that council are paid for no formal requirement beyond attendance at four meetings per year. With another hung Parliament on the way, justice for the 472 would be a non-negotiable condition of my support for any Government. Can Laura say that? What is she doing about it? Does she reject the endorsement of the Leader of Durham County Council, Simon Henig? The Teaching Assistants are in fact in their current predicament because they took the political advice of the man who is now her Political Advisor, rather than taking mine. It is no wonder that my Campaign Patrons are two of their most stalwart supporters, the local government legend that is Councillor Alex Watson OBE and the trade union legend that is Davey Ayre.

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