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Monday, April 20, 2009

Alice Mahon: Politician of Principle

Here is Alice Mahon's resignation letter to her constituency secretary Martin Burton.

Dear Martin,

I am resigning as a member of the Labour Party and I wanted the local party to know before I make my decision public.

First, I would like to thank you and my friends in the party for your comradeship and support over the years. This has been a difficult decision to take as I feel I was almost born into the Labour Party.

However, I can no longer be a member of a party that at the leadership level has betrayed many of the values and principles that inspired me as a teenager to join.

You will recall when I stood down I said that after the illegal decision to wage war on Iraq I could not have served another term under Tony Blair's leadership.

With hindsight I should have resigned then, but I thought this would be very unfair to Linda Riordan and labour members putting themselves forward for election to the council.

I also hoped that we might go back to being a really progressive and caring party should Gordon Brown succeed Tony Blair as leader.

In the event I could not have been more wrong.

Despite all the evidence and in the face of the credit crunch, Gordon Brown's obsession with privatisation such as the Royal Mail is inexplicable and quite simply wrong.

Labour had its chance after Blair to get its finger on the pulse in the country, more social justice not less.

That chance was squandered with catastrophic results.

He has shown not one jot of contrition as he continues to privatise what is left of our public services.

At the same time he has failed miserably to tackle the corporate greed of the bankers.

As to foreign affairs, it becomes clearer by the day that the Labour Government cooperated with the Bush regime as they rendered whoever they judged to be guilty of terrorism to despotic regimes who tortured them and offered them no access to the legal process whatsoever.

Our ministers shame us in front of the world when they give their support to the Israeli government as they commit war crimes in Palestine and the Lebanon.

Brown has just announced plans to send another 900 troops to Afghanistan, billions to be spent on an unwinnable war and pensioners dare not turn on their heating because this Labour Government will not tackle the energy fat cats.

On the domestic front we said in our 2005 manifesto that we would not privatise Royal Mail, we lied.

That same manifesto promised a referendum on the European Constitution, we re-named it the Lisbon Treaty and reneged on that promise also.

If this Treaty is ratified we can say goodbye to any publicly owned services. Article 111-147 is clear, we will be handing over to private corporations, social services, education, transport and postal services. Even the NHS will be up for grabs.

The misnamed Welfare Reform Bill now going through parliament is something the Poor Law Guardians would have been proud of. This Labour Government should hang its head in shame for inflicting this on the British public just as we face the most severe recession any of us have experienced in a lifetime.

This assault on the poor and disabled is taking place at a time when former Labour Ministers still drawing an MPs salary, line up on an unprecedented scale to take up lucrative consultancies with private companies, that as ministers they previously had dealings with.

I have written to Gordon Brown about this, he simply passed me on to a civil servant. This personal greed and possible conflict of interest did not appear to concern him.

My final reason for leaving the party is because it is no longer democratic. The personally vindictive, dishonest campaign played out on the pages of the tabloids by certain Labour party members to deselect Janet Oosthuysen was despicable, but even more shaming was the behaviour of the NEC who have uttered not one word of criticism about the Home Secretary's behaviour on expenses, but have ruined the political career of an excellent candidate whose only crime was to scratch her ex partner's car.

The undemocratic nature of that selection continues as the reselection has been conducted without much transparency and is now subject to complaints from members of the Calder Valley Party.

Quite simply I have had it with New Labour.

Yours in friendship,


olching said...

Of course it's principled. There are still even at this moment principled people left in the Labour party. But, boy, it's depressing. And Labour will be annihilated at the next election.

David Lindsay said...

Alice Mahon has made it entirely clear that she has left Labour because of policy, including the vicious Welfare Bill, the work of James Purnell, who persecutes the poor, sick and disabled while charging the taxpayer four hundred pounds per month for food, since apparently neither his ministerial nor his parliamentary salary is paid in order to feed him.

Truly, we have stepped through the looking glass.

Anonymous said...

What will happen to her constituents? Is she resigning from her seat?

jock mctrousers said...

Well, good for Alice, and not before time. I suppose there are still a handful of principled Labour MPs (e.g.that Jeremy something who writes for the Morning Star - excuse me if he's not Labour)who hang on because there's nowhere else to go - the SWP or Respect? Sigh. What a state we're in; the British people are completely defenceless against whatever the next Tory government chooses to unleash. Maybe Cameron will turn out to be a nice guy - some hope!

Neil Clark said...

olcihng: yes, it's certainly a dire state of affairs.
david: agreed.

douglas: hi there. Alice was an MP from 1987-2005. She has resigned as a member of the Labour Party.

jock: I'm afraid Dave is not a nice guy. What a sad state of affairs that after enduring 30 years of neoliberal excess, Britain looks likely to elect...yet another neoliberal government.

Foolonthehill said...

New Labour fell for Foney Blair hook line and stinker, what else is there to say? I couldn't understand it at the time - he made my flesh crawl with revulsion, and hypocrisy was all too self evident from the start - and it's been a catalogue of betrayal since. Will the last person with socialist principles please switch the New Labour lights out on leaving.