Why I am leaving the Labour Party

JVL Introduction

David Plank, who has just resigned from the Labour Party, has put his reasons in writing. This has been a difficult but necessary decision for him, having been brought up in the Party by his socialist grandparents and mother, and been active ever since despite “political restriction” in his professional life.

It is not just the chronic lack of national and international policies that has made up his mind, he says, but crucially “the moral infection spreading outwards from Keir Starmer, David Evans and their offices urged on by the purblind hard right… which is destroying the Party”, making it “morally corrupt”.

JVL urges those who can stay in the Party to do so, but of course provides a platform for the ideas of those, like David Plank, who find themselves no longer able to do so.


David Plank: My reasons for resigning from the Labour Party

I have today resigned from the Labour Party. This is to share with you and others my reasons for resigning from the Party my grandparents and mother brought me up in.

They are stated below.

  1. First and foremost, the unacceptable conduct of the hard right in the Party from 2015 when Jeremy Corbyn was elected by a large majority of members – despite his re-election by an even larger majority in 2016 after the disgraceful attempt by the Parliamentary Labour Party to overthrow the decision made by members. By the hard right I mean many members of the Parliamentary Labour Party who believe this is “their Party” which they have the right to “take back”, many Party staff at national and regional level who regard themselves as unaccountable to a leader with whom they do not agree, and many right wing councillors who also undermined the members’ choice on the doorstep and in other ways. Their conduct was marked by, for example, constant briefing against Jeremy Corbyn to the right wing media, the undermining of the 2017 General Election campaign as documented in the report on the Governance & Legal Unit [1] [2], and the continued denigration of the leadership up to and including the 2019 General Election campaign. The shock on Stephen Kinnock’s face when the result of the 2017 Election became clear, said it all.[3] The shadow cabinet now comprises many of those MPs who worked insidiously to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and the vision of hope he led for the many not the few. And the Forde Inquiry into the Governance & Legal Unit report, what has happened to that? In effect it has been suppressed.[4]
  2. The malicious misuse of mainly unfounded allegations of antisemitism against left wing members of the Party – and disproportionately against left wing Jewish members, such allegations being four times more likely than against non-Jewish members – and for the officers of the Bundist/non-Zionist Jewish Voice for Labour, 223 times more likely.[5] The parents, grandparents, great uncles and aunts, aunts and uncles, and other extended family members of many of these Jewish members perished in the Holocaust. For them to be accused of antisemitism is unforgivable – and deeply, deeply hurtful. For those who do not wish to face up to this, please go and see Tom Stoppard’s “Leopoldstadt” to understand the personal assault such an allegation represents. 81-year-old Diana Neslen is one Jewish member who experienced this horror and has been sanctioned by the Party because she dared to stand up for the brutally dispossessed, occupied and oppressed Palestinian people – and to stand out against the racist conduct of Israel[6]. Conduct exemplified most recently in the evidence that one third of women in Gaza with breast cancer are refused permits from the Israeli authorities to receive essential treatment in East Jerusalem where the only service for them is located. Only 65 per cent of Palestinian women in the Occupied Palestinian Territories including Gaza survive more than five years after a diagnosis compared with 90 per cent in neighbouring Israel, the occupying power for the last 54 years[7]. And witness amongst many other iniquities, Leah Levane, Jewish Co-Chair of Jewish Voice for Labour being refused entry to this year’s Annual Conference despite being a duly elected delegate – and expelled overnight, on a trumped-up charge of associating with a proscribed organization – one not proscribed until many months after Leah Levane had spoken at their events.[8] Much to the glee of the discredited and hate filled Lee Harpin of Jewish Chronicle infame.[9] [10] This is replicated over and over again – driven by the hard right – against non-Jewish as well as Jewish members, but particularly Jewish members.
  3. Underlying this outrage is the fact that the Party has taken sides in the bitter disagreement / divide within the Jewish communities (plural not singular), siding with the Zionists who support Israel as a matter of faith against the many Jewish people who do not support and/or are critical of Israel’s well documented practices of segregation against Palestinian second class citizens of Israel and Palestinians in the occupied territories, oppressed unlawfully under military law by Israel since 1967[11] [12] [13] – gradually being absorbed into Israel by illegal settlement[14] and other deliberate means – and by the brutal unlawful siege of Gaza, accurately described as “the world’s largest open air prison”[15] [16]. The hard right has chosen to side with the Zionist Israel supporting Board of Deputies, Jewish labour Movement and Jewish Leadership Council rather than take the principled stand against Israel’s abominable conduct that the Party should be taking. Particularly as this outrageous situation is of Britain’s making through the use of the British Mandate to support the creation of Israel at the cost of the Nakba – the forced eviction in 1948 by Zionist militias of more than 700,000 Palestinians from their homes and land, many of whose descendants still live in the refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and elsewhere. This is deeply shameful – it is morally wrong to be siding with the oppressor not the oppressed. As Nelson Mandela said, “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”[17] The failed two state solution advocated by Lisa Nandy – scuppered by Israel which never intended to honour it – is no answer to this humanitarian crisis, which requires strong action against Israel – by the United States of America as well as ourselves. Action as stated in the motion passed by this year’s Annual Conference which Lisa Nandy so contemptuously tossed aside.
  4. The hard right has also taken sides against the Party’s members, and in particular left wing/socialist members. The latest egregious instance of this has already been mentioned – Lisa Nandy’s dismissal of the Annual Conference policy decision on Israel and Palestine. Conference is the sovereign body not Lisa Nandy who, like any other individual Party member, is bound by legitimately made Conference decisions. Conference is the sovereign body not the shadow cabinet.
  5. The most egregious instance of this arrogant stance, however, is the factional use of the Party’s disciplinary process, which is open to abuse because it has no place for due process and denies natural justice as a result. The failure to separate prosecution from adjudication, made even worse by the so-called fast track procedure, recent reduction in the role of the adjudicatory National Constitution Committee and longstanding failure to introduce an independent appeals procedure, are a deep moral stain on the party’s reputation. A stain which since the 2020 leadership election has been indelibly inflicted on hundreds of members up and down the country – mainly to the detriment of left wing members falsely accused of antisemitism or the odious catchall of bringing the Party into disrepute. No clear charges, a procedure which invites members to incriminate themselves, no timetable, members left in limbo without contact or support for months or years – the only support being a heartless reference to contacting the Samaritans. Hundreds of members are in this appalling position at any one time produced by a McCarthyite culture of anonymous snitching on each other. Witness two well-known instances in the Cambridge Labour Party – both members still suspended without recourse – and the resignation from the Party of another who would otherwise have been snitched on and pursued by the Governance & Legal Unit. Witness yet another contemporary instance in Leamington and Warwick CLP, in this case a young Labour member excluded at short notice from standing as CLP Chair – all too typical of the reactionary culture in the Party[18]. This is a Stalinist purge exploiting a deeply unjust disciplinary process – for the defence of which in recent court proceedings the Party, to its shame, successfully relied on the disreputable argument that it is in effect a private club – akin to a gentleman’s club which can blackball any member without rights or defence[19]. And this claims to be the Party of social justice which “delivers people from the tyranny of poverty, prejudice and the abuse of power”! [Labour Party Rule Book, Chapter 1, Clause IV]
  6. Alongside this is the suspension of many left wing CLPs, cancellation of AGMs to provide time for gerrymandering of the delegates, replacement of their officers by right wing members and overturning of properly made decisions because they do not suit the hard right in the regional office. Witness, for example, the Bristol CLPs and the South West Regional Office’s out of order, inhumane behaviour.[20] [21]
  7. All of this accompanied by blatant gerrymandering in the selection process culminating most recently in the selection process for MP candidates which failed to select one left wing member to join the candidates’ panel. The explanation given by “a source” approached by Labour First was that the left wing applicants were all “piss poor”.[22] Two of them who subsequently appeared on Labour Grassroots “Not the Andrew Marr Show” were clearly eminently selectable. One of them, Jane Vernon, a blind person, gave a detailed account of hidden harassment by a hard right member in a position of power in Hammersmith CLP. Again, this is repeated up and down the country. Occurring also in councillor candidate selection, including an instance in my own CLP when a left wing applicant was excluded without explanation other than an unspecific reference to social media. Exclusion of left wing members and other jiggery pokery also marked this year’s Annual Conference with many duly elected delegates suspended before the Conference to rig the votes for the leadership.[23] [24]
  8. Yet in the Party of claimed social democracy, we are not allowed to debate or discuss any of this on pain of immediate suspension – of the CLP officers who allow such discussions and of members who participate in them. Motions and discussions have been banned on a plethora of pertinent topics ranging from the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn and the subsequent unconstitutional withdrawal from him of the Parliamentary whip, to the discriminatory IHRA “definition” of antisemitism which conflates criticism of Israel with antisemitism[25] – which is the intention of those who strongly advocate its use – to the abuse of the disciplinary process, to motions of no confidence in the General Secretary and/or Leader, to the astonishingly poor and “deeply flawed” EHRC report on the Party[26], to anything which the regional office decides would deny Jewish members “a safe space”… Only today in my own CLP, a motion passed unanimously by a branch on the investigation of Jewish members generally and referred to the CLP for adoption, was ruled out order by an official in the regional office named in the report on the Governance & Legal Unit – on the ground that “… any ongoing investigations cannot be discussed and this is not a fit motion to be considered…”. That this is the default action by the hard right is clear in that it took the official only six minutes to give this guidance to the CLP Secretary from the dispatch of the Secretary’s email. It is also of course complete tosh as the motion does not refer to an ongoing individual case but expresses alarm at the fact that “… the Party has investigated Jewish members for alleged antisemitism on more than 40 occasions in recent times, and that 11 of Jewish Voice for Labour’s officers and committee members have been subject to such investigations”. Other acts of undemocratic suppression are commonplace – for example the suppression in my own CLP of a supporting statement to a motion on Israel and Palestine. Suppression of democratic debate and discussion in the Party of claimed democratic socialism is deeply unhealthy and a great abuse. [“The Labour Party is a democratic socialist Party”. Labour Party Rule Book, Chapter 1, Clause IV]
  9. It is no wonder that 150,000 members have left the Party since the 2019 General Election, disillusioned by their treatment and by the joyless lack of vision in the Party’s leadership, with its valueless triangulation seeking to attract Conservative voters while losing the enthusiasm and hope that not long ago existed among, for example, many young and BAME people – and among people like my adult children. All gone. Unsurprisingly, the recent Young Labour and BAME Forum meetings in Cambridge CLP were inquorate. Without the inspiration and creativity of these former members, encouraged by imaginative not punitive leadership, Labour has no hope of measuring up to, for example, the modern world of work so devastatingly analyzed in the current issue of New Internationalist[27]. The Party is light years away from where the people need it to be, and it is not clear that there is a way back.
  10. As for “forensic opposition”! Tell that to the tens of thousands of people who have died, and are still dying and being maimed by Covid, with a government with the oceans of blood on its hands still flowing – while we are being “responsible”, not standing up and shouting for what is right – particularly but not only in February/March and September/October of last year when it was plain that ideology and gutless indolence/indifference were ruling the roost, not the evidence, not good public health, not what was as plain as a pikestaff. And the needless slaughter in our care homes of defenceless people denied even the ability to see their loved ones on their deathbeds – with scarcely a whimper from Her Majesty’s Opposition. Where was Labour?[28] And where is it now when the indolent ideological populist instincts of this Government have created the conditions for a perfect storm which is already killing and maiming thousands, and threatens yet again the treatment of cancer and other conditions alongside elective surgery with up to four year waits for a hip replacement and people dying in ambulances forced to wait for eleven hours. Where is the Party of the NHS?
  11. As for policy, where is the boldness the country needs from its purportedly “democratic socialist party”, with clear evidenced knowledge of the hundreds of billions that are available for beneficial use without any increase in the basic or 40 per cent rates of Income Tax – to bring our services back from the devastation caused by false self-interested “austerity” inflicted for ideological reasons – first by the Tory/Lib Dem coalition government and then by Conservative governments. Instead, we are told we do not announce our taxation and other economic policies until a General Election is called, as Daniel Zeichner MP told us at a Cambridge CLP General Meeting last year in response to my question. This is unfounded timidity not prudence. It is irresponsible not responsible.[29] [30]
  12. As for international policy, despite the responsible stance of some Labour local authorities like Cambridge City Council, where is Labour on refugees and asylum seekers with a governing party which says it’s their fault if they drown and breaks international law by insisting that refugees must stay in the country they first landed in. Where’s Labour? Not an audible bleat lest it offend the so-called “red wall” constituencies. A return to Jack Straw regressive policies not the international policy based on human rights we were promised – and had with Jeremy Corbyn. Instead, Labour tacitly supports the arms industry with all the harm that it brings – including support for Israeli arms manufacturers such as Elbit Systems who boast of their battle tested weapons – tested on Gazan Palestinians.
  13. As for income rights and abolition of poverty, there is a return to the reactionary Blairite approach of the deserving and undeserving poor, with excessive emphasis on “hard working families” and rejection of the minimum living wage fairness of £15 an hour – when the rich, including Tony Blair, do not pay their taxes as decent citizens should (witness the Pandora papers). These “socially conservative” values should have no place in the Labour Party with its honourable tradition in implementation of the Beveridge Report and much more. We should not support views which, as my socialist Mother said, are for the “I’m alright, Jack, pull up the ladder brigade”. As for approaches to the burgeoning “precariat” with all the inhuman strain this capitalist abuse places on families. Where is Labour on this? And trade union rights to stand up for the powerless, repealing the abusive Tory laws which aggravate an already uneven field? As for abolition of the right to buy alongside investment in social housing to prevent the sale for private profit of publicly funded dwellings and consequent inability to provide truly affordable housing. Where is the Party on this? Nowhere. No wonder so many people say they do not know what Labour stands for. Because despite the welcome announcement of a Green New Deal, nationally it stands for little – other than union jacks.
  14. This parlous state of moral and political decay is the creation of the hard right – typified by people like Wes Streeting, Luke Akehurst and Margaret Hodge. People who are not content to disagree and debate, but wish to crush those they despise and hate. The last named person should not even be in the Party given her grossly offensive conduct in calling Jeremy Corbyn “a f…..g antisemite and racist” – for his standing up for the Palestinians and standing out against racist Israel – whereas she is the zealot full of hate who co-chaired the motion which launched the attempted coup against Jeremy Corbyn in 2016 – against the members’ wishes.
  15. This situation has been greatly aggravated by a lack of integrity in the Party’s Leader. Despite his signing up to the Board of Deputies pledges, as, unwisely, did all the candidates, I voted for Keir Starmer believing his signed ten pledges – thinking he was a man of integrity. He is not. With the claimed exception of climate justice and the honourable exception of abolition of tuition fees, most of his pledges to the members of the Party have been broken, including: “Public services should be in public hands…Support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water; end outsourcing in our NHS, local government and justice system”, “Increase income tax for the top 5% of earners…No stepping back from our core principles” (on economic justice), “Stand up for universal services and defend our NHS”, “Review all UK arms sales and make us a force for international peace and justice”, “Defend free movement as we leave the EU”, “An immigration system based on compassion and dignity”, “Work shoulder to shoulder with trade unions to stand up for working people”, “Forensic, effective opposition to the Tories in Parliament – linked up to our mass membership”, and “Unite our Party” (!!). Keir Starmer has reneged on these “solemn promises”. He and his ruthless General Secretary, notorious for his commitment to do away with Party democracy[31], have launched an all-out war on left wing members of the Party, more often than not under the false guise of combatting antisemitism – when Keir Starmer should be well aware that the evidence simply does not support this[32]. And now he has launched an all-out attack on Liverpool, writing in “The Scum” during the Annual Conference, and through his staff, vowing to “break people’s legs”[33] [34] in Liverpool following the Tory imposition of special measures on the City Council rather than playing the constructive part in this difficult situation that a Labour Leader should. Having already played the factional card in imposing a right wing candidate in the mayoral election and excluding left wing candidates from selection as prospective councillors.[35] And now even bringing in a Party defector as his enforcer.[36]
  16. The moral turpitude and decay underlying all this is infecting the Party, with many members and affiliated bodies turning a blind eye, being ignorant of what is going on, or not wanting to know. “They must have done something wrong” one Cambridge Labour Party member said when this matter arose in discussion at a branch meeting! Ignorance, indifference and turning a blind eye are marks of authoritarian regimes and cultures such as McCarthyism. And the hard right in the National Executive Committee and elsewhere look on with glee that “we are getting out party back”. While others in the Cambridge CLP dared yesterday to insult comrades with a Pecksniffian motion on conduct in meetings This is morally repugnant.
  17. It is no wonder that the Party is in deep financial difficulty, sacking campaign staff to cover the growing shortfall of income on expenditure – while employing more and more snoopers to trawl through social media to provide fodder for the antisemitism disciplinary machine – and join the former Israel Defence Force Intelligence Officer employed by the Party earlier this year[37]: a former member of Unit 8200 which “…has faced fierce criticism for its role in maintaining close surveillance of the Palestinian civilian population”.[38] The loss of 150,000 members is a major factor in this, aggravated by the self-inflicted wound of paying out £780,000 (including damages)[39] of our money to former staff who feature in the report on the Governance and Legal Unit and to the presenter of the prejudicial and deeply biased Panorama programme, “Is Labour antisemitic?”[40] [41] [42] – paid out against legal advice – with chickens coming home to roost subsequently in the ongoing action by some of the recipients for alleged breach of their confidentiality in the report on the Governance and Legal Unit when using Labour Party systems not private communications, as they claim. Plus, the loss of Unite’s £700,000 annual contribution due to the leadership’s policies – including Keir Starmer’s reneging on a deal to restore the Parliamentary whip to Jeremy Corbyn which remains unconstitutionally withdrawn to the outrage of many longstanding faithful Party members including me.[43] And the legal costs are inevitably growing, now outstripping campaigning costs, due to the actions of the hard right – not from the inheritance of Jeremy Corbyn, as these purveyors of untruth would have us believe[44].
  18. The moral infection spreading outwards from Keir Starmer, David Evans and their offices urged on by the purblind hard right on the National Executive Committee, is destroying the Party. It has become morally corrupt and I want no part in this, choosing instead to spend my time on activities which contribute much more to the commonweal and my family. And I have become emotionally drained by it all, which for a 77-year-old with a chronic health condition is not recommended. I wish for the sake of my Grandparents, Mother, children and grandchildren that it was otherwise – but it is not.
  19. It is both enlivening and deeply sad to be reminded on the recent death of Keety General of how different things were in 2017 – and how different they could have been if the hard right had not done what it has done – and continues to do.[45]

 

David Plank

former Labour Party member, 21 October 2021

[1] https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/leaked-labour-report-should-have-been-explosive-scandal/

[2] https://novaramedia.com/2020/04/12/its-going-to-be-a-long-night-how-members-of-labours-senior-management-campaigned-to-lose/

[3] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-42050357

[4] https://skwawkbox.org/2021/05/01/exclusive-forde-inquiry-had-no-contact-with-ico-before-shelving-report-or-after-and-party-now-moving-to-withhold-it-permanently/

[5] https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/statement/how-labours-claim-of-countering-antisemitism-has-resulted-in-a-purge-of-jews/

[6] https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/app/uploads/2021/08/Annex-1-Diana-Neslen.pdf

[7] https://www.map.org.uk/donate/donation-details/380?btn=2&utm_source=MAP+Newsletter&utm_campaign=860bbca5f4-211013+MAP-AP+-+2021+Breast+Cancer&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d9c2f5c5d8-860bbca5f4-43255349&mc_cid=860bbca5f4&mc_eid=906190f407

[8] https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/article/leah-levanes-response-to-his-threatened-automatic-exclusion/

[9] https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jvl-co-chair-marched-out-of-labour-conference-and-expelled-from-party/

[10] https://bylinetimes.com/2021/09/24/the-ipso-jewish-chronicle-car-crash-just-gets-worse/

[11] https://www.btselem.org/topic/apartheid

[12] https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution

[13] https://www.un.org/unispal/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/AHRC43NGO185.pdf

[14] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council_Resolution_2334#:~:text=It%20concerns%20the%20Israeli%20settlements,by%20members%20of%20the%20U.N.&text=The%20resolution%20states%20that%20Israel,has%20%22no%20legal%20validity%22.

[15] https://actionaid.org/opinions/2021/fourteen-years-blockade-has-left-two-million-gazans-living-open-air-prison

[16] https://www.nrc.no/news/2018/april/gaza-the-worlds-largest-open-air-prison/

[17] https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/nelson-mandela-30-years-palestine

[18] https://skwawkbox.org/2021/10/20/labour-suspends-young-left-candidate-two-hours-before-chair-vote-without-saying-why/

[19] https://www.matrixlaw.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Neslen-v-Evans-approved-judgment.pdf

[20] https://tribunemag.co.uk/2020/11/labours-bristol-west-suspensions-are-an-attack-on-party-democracy

[21] https://skwawkbox.org/2020/11/25/cull-of-bristol-left-continues-now-chair-and-secretary-of-bristol-north-west-suspended-by-labour/

[22] [22] https://twitter.com/siennamarla/status/1448729684653580296

[23] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-conference-mcdonnell-starmer-stalin-b1927239.html

[24] https://skwawkbox.org/2021/09/15/exclusive-labour-right-mounting-delegate-expulsion-blitz-to-save-evans-and-prevent-mp-accountability-at-conference/

[25] http://freespeechonisrael.org.uk/helporhinder/#sthash.3PqxE0cw.dpbs

[26] https://www.truthdefence.org/post/the-ehrc-report-is-neither-robust-nor-reliable-it-is-deeply-flawed

[27] The Big Story – Work. The squeeze on workers. New Internationalist, November-December 2021, pages 16-20.

[28] https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/7497/documents/78688/default/

[29] https://leftfootforward.org/2021/10/prof-prem-sikka-keir-starmer-failed-to-offer-policies-at-labour-conference/

[30] https://leftfootforward.org/2021/08/prof-prem-sikka-the-political-system-doesnt-work-for-the-poor-and-marginalised/https://leftfootforward.org/2021/08/prof-prem-sikka-the-political-system-doesnt-work-for-the-poor-and-marginalised/

[31] https://labouroutlook.org/2021/02/06/what-david-evans-really-thinks-understanding-the-attacks-on-labour-party-democracy/

[32] https://www.waterstones.com/book/bad-news-for-labour/greg-philo/mike-berry/9780745340661

[33] https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/reports-say-labour-want-break-20322511

[34] https://twitter.com/labourleft/status/1379057067550515205

 

[35] https://skwawkbox.org/2021/10/19/labour-punishing-councillors-who-voted-even-for-review-of-weapons-fair/

[36] https://skwawkbox.org/2021/10/18/exclusive-labour-appoints-right-winger-who-quit-to-join-tinge-as-liverpool-officer/

[37] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/mar/02/lawyers-complain-to-labour-over-hiring-of-ex-israeli-intelligence-officer

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/labour-ex-israel-military-intelligence-officer-role-anger-grows

[38] https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/labour-ex-israel-military-intelligence-officer-role-anger-grows

[39] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/jul/22/labour-pays-out-six-figure-sum-and-apologises-in-antisemitism-row

[40] https://www.mediareform.org.uk/blog/bbc-panorama-on-anti-semitism-a-catalogue-of-reporting-failures

[41] https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/article/letters-and-complaints-to-the-bbc-about-the-panorama-programme/

[42] https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/article/an-open-letter-about-the-labour-tribune-mps-group-statement-on-antisemitism-in-the-labour-party/

[43] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/sep/13/keir-starmer-jeremy-corbyn-suspension

[44] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/oct/15/labour-spending-more-on-legal-battles-than-campaigning-sources

[45] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqeyf9AmuHs


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Comments (35)

  • Stephen Richards says:

    There is a concerted & well orchestrated effort to wipe Socialists & Socialism out of politics & MSM. No platform allowed, even on publicly owned PSB. BBC & Channel 4 especially, but the worst culprit is the Labour Party.

  • James Simpson says:

    What took you so long? This non-member has always regarded the Labour party as a capitalist engine of economic growth, never democratic in the slightest and, to varying degrees over its history, trying to out-Tory the Tories with usually unsuccessful results at the ballot box. Why anyone with a socialist bone in their body would waste their time in such an organisation is unfathomable. Since 1979, the only opportunity that this vaguely social-democratic party had for gaining power, in 1997, was almost entirely because the Tory regime was in an obviously disastrous state. We can see that Starmer is waiting for such an opportunity again. If it arrives, I doubt he’ll be leader; he’ll probably have died of old age.

  • Tim Towers says:

    Absolutely brilliant analysis of the current state of the Labour Party and a forensic analysis that clearly states the reasons why I also have resigned my membership. I have been a socialist all my adult life and now feel morally tainted to be funding a party that has so clearly turned its back on all the values and necessary actions required to defend the vulnerable and the powerless against oppression and exploitation. Many thanks to David Plank.

  • Simon Dewsbury says:

    A very long resignation letter – but very valuable in its thoroughness. a review of the horror which the Labour Party under its current leadership has turned into. I too have just left, sad, but not regretful.
    History will not look kindly on what has been happening.

  • Joan says:

    Solidarity with you David and thank you for spending time reminding us in such detail of the reasons many of us, like you, with a lifetime in the Party as an activist, why we can no longer be a member. Keir Starmer is a blatant liar. He’s not to be trusted and he’s killing the Party.

  • Naomi Wayne says:

    Para 2 – name of Stoppard’s play is Leopoldstadt NOT Leopoldville (clearly someone old enough to remember the destruction of the Congo, and the Belgian name of what is now Kinshasa). Please could you change it.
    [done – JVL web]

  • Machiela says:

    Tears just flow for all those victimised by these grotesque Machiavellian , self serving , hollow people that now represent the opposition of the present government. It as though they have all walked out of a 1950’s science fiction movie; whereby the brain has been sucked out through a month of hard brainwashing, subliminal messages staged in one room; resulting in a complete robotic state. No humanity, no integrity, no political beliefs, no morals. Drip feed daily to them! Prime example is Starmer himself( obviously the first to be stripped of intelligence and humanity. Hasn’t got a political thought in his head). We have to take back the people’s party, the real Labour a party. Action is the only way “ stand like lions after slumber “ as JC would say!

  • Christine Edwards says:

    I made very depressing reading but I,m so glad I read to the end. Can’t say I.m sorry you find it impossible to stay I too am soul searching on whether to leave the party..I suppose it will be inevitable now .. solidarity from another 77 yr old socialist x

  • Alan Wright says:

    Thank you for detailing the full history of the Right’s corruption of the Labour Party to the point where it is no longer fit for purpose. There is no point in socialists remaining in the party and propping up this bankrupt organisation, nor is it worth continuing to fight Labour’s Right – we should be putting our energies into forming a new party that can enthuse and energise the electorate as Jeremy Corbyn did. And there’s no time to lose.

  • Mary Davies says:

    Abhorrent McCarthyite persecution of Jewish socialists & the left.

  • Les says:

    Time to “drain the swamp” ? Yes !

    What tools do we have to achieve this ?

    1 Stay in and vote against the undemocratic right.

    2 Only campaign, and only vote for left candidates who are not part of this bureaucratic witch hunt.

    Let hard right MPs lose their elections and lose their cushy jobs. They don’t represent us, they only represent themselves.

    If only MPs have the power, then we need the majority to be left wing MPs dedicated to Labour Party democracy.

    Draining the Labour swamp is the only way Labour members can take control.

    Its our duty to effect this short-term hit.

  • Bernard Grant says:

    Thank you David for the effort you have put in to describe in full detail what has happened to our Party. It was clearly a mammoth effort and I say thank you again.
    I decided to stay and fight against the Right, especially Starmer, who I believe was part of the plan to stop Corbyn and the real Socialists in the Party (the Left) from ever being in power, where they would have more influence around the World as the Government of the UK, where they could press for sanctions against Israel and its behaviour towards the Palestinians. For me and many, many people around the Israeli Lobby is behind Starmer, the evidence is pretty much overwhelming.
    In the end, I hope that all those Socialists that have been suspended, expelled or resigned will come together, be it with a new Party or winning back the Party that has been stolen from us.
    There are Sicialist groups that are working together to fight back, if they can get the Unions to join them, then I believe it will happen.
    Thanks again David

  • Sabine Ebert-Forbes says:

    Your letter of resignation has touched me deep inside, as I am struggling to hang on in there by the tips of my fingers.
    You have put together an amazing analysis of the present situation within Labour Party and also reflected about the effects on you. This letter was a labour of love, extremely well researched and evidenced, as well as executed in style.
    Thank you for sharing your letter of resignation. With solidarity and sending best wishes for you and your family.

  • Barbara Gleave says:

    It is heartbreaking to see just how thoroughly the Labour Party has been destroyed. Good people like David Plank stuck it out longer than I did.
    How selfish is LP now to deny ‘the many’ hope for the future, how desperately sad for all of us.

  • Derek Taylor says:

    I too am considering leaving after first joining the party in 1970. I haven’t been constant, I admit, as I left in disgust in response to Tony Blair’s determination to organise mass murder in Iraq in 2003, but I rejoined once Jeremy Corbyn became leader, trusting that the ‘real’ Labour party was about to be reborn. If those 150,000 members who’ve left since this awful slither to the right had stayed and fought loudly for proper Socialist values, would things have been different? I wonder. I’ve spent months and months since Der Stürmer, I mean Starmer became leader, writing to high profile MPs and shadow cabinet members asking them to spell out their feelings about the awful situation in the ‘Palestinian territories’. Only one (of dozens!) replied, this being ironically Stephen Kinnock, who still – he says – feels strongly about this.
    David, you may be more honourable than me, but I can’t yet let go, because there’s nowhere politically to go to. Sadly, responses from the Lib-Dems, the party who kept Cameron in power, were more reasonable (at least they didn’t ignore me) yet I just can’t go there.
    So on I soldier, for just a bit longer hoping against reason that this rotten cabal running OUR party will magically disintegrate and Palestine will be free, while I duck to avoid those flying pigs.

  • Ellie Gates says:

    Thank you, David, for this very moving article. It accurately catalogues and describes my experiences as a left member of the Labour Party. Your warmth and humanity is in stark contrast to those who are now running this party with an iron fist. I was inspired to join when Jeremy came along with his message of kindness and justice to create a better society for the many. I seized the opportunity to help create this society for my grandchildren. I cannot imagine what is motivating the mindless cruelty and vindictiveness of Evans/Starmer et al, or what they can possibly hope to achieve by it. Your writing has made me weep for the lost opportunities. Much love and best wishes to you.

  • Angie Hudson says:

    My sentiments entirely but eloquently and well evidenced. I’ve left.
    Oh dear

  • michael ryan says:

    Another intelligent, hard working and principled member reluctantly walks away from a life time’s association with the Labour Party.
    The “leadership” will revel in their success in ridding the Party of “troublesome” left wingers, but their narrow vision of what Labour represents and the supposed entitlement of the right to reinvent the Party as something totally divorced from what most people recognise, will surely backfire.
    Labour’s raison d’etre is being undermined, as are the democratic principles that have sustained it through the years. Even the most die hard stoics within the membership will eventually succumb to the realisation that today’s Labour Party is just the empty shell of the organisation which changed the face of British and World politics and raised the profile of working people.

  • Leti B says:

    Sad. So where do we disaffected ex-Labour voters turn to now? Or should we forge a NEW and different socialist party? With Jeremy Corbyn as leader?

  • Allan Howard says:

    Machiela: To my mind it isn’t just that they have no humanity, but that they are anti-human, like some alien species from a distant planet, who regard us Earthlings as way, way inferior to them. I liked your description, and it does indeed seem to apply to Starmer, but generally speaking they can impersonate us Earthlings really well and act the part.

    I was just thinking last night about the caste system in India, and wondering how on Earth did it get to be that way, and have of course wondered in the past how it is that in just about every civilisation historically there were the rulers – the kings and queens and lords and emperors and Pharaohs, etc, etc – the elite, who wielded so much power, and then their were their subjects.

    Yes, there are people who are born leaders, so to speak, that others respect and admire, but they respect them precisely because they don’t regard themselves as somehow superior and, as such, they use their abilities for the good of all around them.

    But I really can’t get my head round all this King stuff, or Ruling Elite stuff, and it really does seem totally alien to me, and they definitely have a completely different mind-set from the rest of us, and literally regard themselves as highly superior beings, who collectively think they own the planet. And they DO!

  • Harriet Bradley says:

    Thank you for posting this brilliant analysis of the destruction of the Labour Party so many of us have supported and worked for all our life. The actions of Starmer and even more the abominable crew of bullying officers captained by David Evans are truly McCarthyite and cannot possibly be justified by electoral success as recent poll results have shown.

  • Ruth Drummond says:

    My heart is breaking reading this. I agree with everything you say. I have been a socialist all my life, even before I could vote. Followed my dad. I too have left the Party. I can see no future for Labour sadly.

  • George Nicholson says:

    I totally agree with everything said, I left labour due to the terrible treatment of Jeremy Corbyn and the election of keir starmer,
    All my working life I’ve paid into transport unions and the party , have never voted for any other party ,I’m now 73 and thanks to starmer and his dubious collective I’m left “partyless ” having read much over my years on politics , simply reading ” the ragged trousered philanthropists ” tells me we’ve not gone forward and now our desires are in reverse , I’m sure starmer is knowingly or blindly working for the Tories, count each Wednesday how many times he offers to support the government, well I walked away and he should cross the floor !

  • Colin says:

    I, like you, worked tirelessly for the Labour Party for as long as I can remember, also like you it breaks my heart to have ceased my membership, unfortunately, whoever is elected leader be they male, or female, should they utter the word Socialism they will be treated exactly like JC by the establishment’s media. So it’s back to what it has always been, ie, vote Tory get Tory, vote Lib Dem get Tory, vote Labour get Tory.

  • Margaret West says:

    Thank you for this David – I was very sorry to hear how the stress is affecting your health.

    How very very sad .. and it seems you are not alone in this – you only have to look at the faces of those Party members persecuted by the leadership to see the stress.

    I am staying on – fortunately I am in good health – and am hoping that sooner or later the Party comes to its senses. Surely those Labour Party MPs possessing a little common sense – let alone an ounce of decency – must realise it is going nowhere ?

    I did not vote for Starmer – I voted for Lisa Nandy – thinking we needed a woman. I was impressed by her
    understanding of the mistake of a second vote – and she was then – co-chair of Friends of Palestine. I also thought she made a good stand against Andrew Neil ..

    However I really thought that they all meant it when they promised to stick to Corbyns policies of 2017 and 2019.

  • Karen Sudan says:

    I know how you feel. Thank you for so clearly articulating every reason for your decision. I am 67. Was a member 50 years. My Dad for 70 years until he died just over two years ago. My son too until we were placed under investigation and resigned. All three were Labour councillors. Our Party has been invested by careerists. That is one thing I disagree with you about – they are not right wing. Although they service the hard right They have no ideology themselves. They are self-serving careerists and nothing more.

  • Daniel Vulliamy says:

    A powerful statement by David, and some impressive responses; I prefer those written in sadness to those sent in contempt. My partner and I will not resign membership, though I have stood down as CLP Chair. But we will definitely cut to the retired members’ rates and focus engagement and support on our fine BLP and CLP.

  • Nan Parkinson says:

    Very well written. All true and so, so heartbreaking. Keep well.

  • Soliman says:

    Solidarity to David, and others who have left the labour party. Its certainly a dead end, so much so, that the Bakers Union also recently severed ties with the party. Its a shame Corbyn hasn’t done this and then set up his own party. It would definitely send out a strong message to labour, and more importantly, offer the working class something more than the same tired labour lines about “tory scum” and “vote labour to get rid of the tories”. Can I ask where people are going ? It seems theres various left groups, but not one unified workers party, although Galloways Workers Party appears to be trying to do that.
    As an aside, give this – https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/red-star-radio-red-star-radio-VM3RcK01ytp/ – a listen. Theres some really good Marxist analysis about recent events, and the British political scene.

  • Carole jarvis says:

    It is time to organise (I know it will feel like desertion but it needs to be done) and for a new rival party to the new right wing Labour.
    Perhaps we could do a deal with the greens as our policies (those of Jeremy Corbyn) are much the same.
    I know that if an announcement was made by a select few of the real labour party funds and membership request’s would come flooding in, I’m on a state pension and I would join at the drop of a hat and I would pledge money that I don’t really have to get it started.

  • Patrick Lonergan says:

    Thankyou David for your erudite piece. I have been a socialist all my life and only joined the party when Corbyn was elected. Like many of you replying ,I am in my 60s. I am London Irish, so I remember in the worst days of ‘the Troubles’ my disdain for Labour party policy on Northern Ireland. Jeremy Corbyn and a few others were the exception.
    Recently , I have been reading a lot about Climate Justice in the Global South and it has reminded me of how narrow Labour has become in its view of the world. The Union Jacks, Labour backs Britain etc…
    Lisa Nandy ‘friend of palestine’ a complete misnomer !
    I am clinging on in hope that the left will reclaim the party and if not then its time to go.

  • Jon Ellis says:

    I am another who can no longer be in this party. Can we make an alternative ? I don’t know, but it is time. Jon Ellis, former Labour councillor, Southampton

  • Philip wagstaff says:

    As usual the ‘soft’ left wants the best of both worlds and that is damaging the fight for socialism. Either we support Mr Plank for dignity and socialism (as I do) or criticise him for making the ‘mistake’ of giving in to the Right’s provocations and leaving. You cannot have both ways JVL no matter how hard you twist the
    illogic.

  • Soliman says:

    Great to see people want to build a unified working class movement.
    @Carole jarvis – we definitely need to challenge the establishment, but with there already being various factions to the left of labour, should we add another one, or unite them/get behind an existing party like the Workers Party ? I know Galloway isnt everyones cup of tea, but he can certainly fight, and he does have an already existing party. The Greens did recently express support for a £15 wage for hospitality workers (check the Bakers Union twitter for info), but haven’t they otherwise been anti-working class – bringing in austerity measures in Brighton, and recently having issues with bin men ?

    @Jon Ellis – solidarity Jon. Southampton council was labour run for years, and from what I remember, they submitted to tory austerity, putting up little to no fight. Two or three councillors did, although someone has said different over at the all thats solid blog. There are various socialist groups active in the city, but they dont have any seats currently. The Greens have gained a lot of voters in the city, but whats there track record with class struggle ?
    We can and should create an alternative. How do we go about it ?

  • Richard Hobson says:

    Wow! I’ve read a few resignation letters since I wrote mine 18(?) months ago but there is more vitriol in this one than any other I’ve seen. Don’t get me wrong, I’m with David all the way. The Labour Party has become a pitiful excuse for an opposition, with no democracy, no socialist policies, no spine, and no chance. 1997 was a long time ago, things have changed a lot. The SS Neoliberal Labour will be smashed against the rocks at the next general election. Then I hope those on the left will be able to pick up the pieces and forge something new. I hope I’ll still be around to see it.

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