How to make Labour a progressive party…

There’s an election tomorrow – only a local election, but still a big enough election to make me think very carefully about how to vote. For me, it’s difficult – as I’ve blogged about before. I’ve been a Labour supporter most of my life, and instinctively love to vote Labour this time – but the direction Labour seems to be heading makes this very difficult for me.

In most key areas, it seems as though there’s no real difference between Labour and the coalition. Labour’s shameful stance on Workfare, their apparent acceptance of the scrounger/striver agenda for welfare, their immigration policies, ‘tough’ crime policies, apparent support for the Snoopers’ Charter, failure to effectively oppose the coalition on education etc etc make them seem little different from a centre-right Neo-liberal Tory-lite…

So what is a progressive to do? How can the Labour Party be helped to rediscover its soul? It seems all but impossible.

If I vote for them tomorrow, and they do well, they’ll think their policies have been endorsed, and they’re going in the right direction.

If I don’t vote for them tomorrow, and they do badly, they’ll think they need to move further to the right.

If I rejoin the party, they’ll think that I’m joining them because I like their policies – so more of the same!

If I stay out of the party, they’ll (justifiably) say I have no right to criticise their policies.

Whatever I do, it seems, they won’t be becoming progressive any time soon. And yet, what other option do I have? Vote Green? I like the policies, but they care so little in my constituency they don’t even have a manifesto. Spoil my ballot paper?

It’s frustrating, to say the least. I’d like to rejoin the party – I know there are many good people in the party – but how can that help? I haven’t seen any sign at all that the front bench pays any attention at all to the progressive activists in the grassroots. If it did, the likes of Liam Byrne and Stephen Twigg would not still be representing the party in the crucial areas of welfare and education.

I suppose I just have to accept it. It’s very sad to be effectively disenfranchised.

6 thoughts on “How to make Labour a progressive party…

  1. You’re not disenfranchised at all, you’re a bit arsey. Why didn’t you stay in the Labour party and seek to change it? Why must everyone in it be of the same opinion as you? I joined after Brown was ousted so that I could vote for Ed Miliband and there’s times I wish I hadn’t bothered, particularly when campaigning for Ken to find Labour members voting for Johnson!

    I have no time for the likes of Liam Byrne and David Blunkett, Jack Straw and John Reid, too name a few. I object very much to former Labour MPs accepting a seat in the House of Lords but I can see the necessity of forming a coalition with others to close the House of Lords.If you’re a democratic socialist then these things you have to fight against from within as you’re certainly no use outside Labour if you seek to change it.

    • I’m certainly a bit arsey – and a bit of a whinger, and I’d like to agree with you, but is there any evidence that being inside the party has helped? Any policy that has been significantly changed as a result of good people in the grassroots?

  2. I dont understand whats so difficult, vote green or independent . Labour/tories need to be sent a message. Scotland have another option and have chosen it. Anyone who spoils a ballot paper is a half wit. no-one gives a shit about a spoiled paper.

      • Why not join the Green Party and work to build it in your area? The Green Party is a largely decentralised party and relies on local activists, so get out there and do it rather than eloquently bemoan the lack of anyone else doing it for you. You can then help to provide others with a chance to vote for the policies you support.

  3. I have total empathy Paul, I’m in a similar position, I have chosen to remain in the Party & seek to fight for change from within; aside from this I’m using to submit suggestions for Policy development and to comment on the Party proposals. But I concur it does feel redundant.

    BYW @andidry a spoiled ballot paper does matter, if there are enough another election campaign has to be called, and believe me they DO care about this (from my time in local govt)

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