Guest post – Why aren’t we Labour?

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I’ve started writing this post many many times. From the beginning of this long election campaign I’ve had approaches from Labour activists suggesting I step aside in favour of Labour, or that I should ask another Green candidate to do so. Lately I spent two hours discussing why I’m not Labour with an activist who was at least a bit more respectful – suggesting I come over, rather than negate myself and the vision I stand for.

Now Finchley & Golders Green Labour and Conservatives are  throwing the kitchen sink at their knife-edge campaign, and this includes a letter from a former Barnet Green – Donald Lyven – who switched to Labour before the local election last year. He told me the reason was that he was so disgusted by what he saw going on in the borough that he wanted to campaign with the party that actually had a chance to displace our disgraceful local Tory administration.

In this general election Donald has put his name to a letter being sent to voters believed to be Green or Lib-Dem leaning, which urges them to vote Labour. It is entitled “From Donald Lyven ex Green candidate”.

Arriving at the door of a long-time Green activist, the letter raised Tim’s blood. This is the e-mail that Tim wrote to Donald that same day:

“Hi Donald, Thank you for your letter, which arrived today and has been sent to try and persuade me to vote Labour. I have a lot of time for you, Donald. I think you’re a good bloke. However, I’m not that pleased with the content of the letter.

As far as I’m concerned Labour has truly lost its way. It has become a very dull and unimaginative centre-right party.  Some of the reasons I am not going to vote Labour are as follows.

The first reason is historical. Labour have been totally ineffective as an opposition due to the decisions they made while in government. For example, it is hard for them to credibly oppose NHS privatisation and student tuition fees when they were the party that introduced them in the first place. Caroline Lucas has had to do that for them.

Secondly I’m a bit sick of Labour’s same old tired argument that if we don’t vote for you we get a Tory led government. You might have tried to wipe it form your memory but the last Labour government acted like a Tory light party, which continued the neo-liberal agenda of Thatcherism. In 1997 they had the opportunity of a generation to reverse 18 years of Thatcherism and they not only failed but encouraged its growth. Miliband, Balls et. al. were part of that government and  perpetually tainted. Therefore, there is no evidence to show that this would not continue if they were elected (maybe the SNP might force them to adopt some real left-leaning policies).

Thirdly, I think it is the other way round. I think Labour need to move nearer to our (Green and left) way of thinking before people like me will ever entertain voting for Labour again. They need to start acting like a real left-wing party not a centre-right party like all the others.

There are plenty more reasons but this is all I’ve got time for.

Hope to see you soon for a pint.

Please forward this to your leaders.

Best wishes, Tim”

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