Keeri who loved humans

Keeri who loved humans
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Friday, 4 December 2015

That Vote to Attack.

I remember an afternoon in the late seventies. We were travelling, my children and I, on a train from the Heathrow Terminal to London. Tony Benn was sitting in an aisle seat two rows behind us. My son, Raghu, had just bought a copy of Benn's biography and hero-worshipped the man. He walked up to Tony Benn shyly and asked for an autograph. Benn tore a piece of paper off a notebook and signed his name on it. We still have it. When Benn was defeated by one vote in the leadership election some time in that era, we were disappointed. I think it changed the direction of Labour politics forever, leading it off into detours and closed alley ways that it should never have traversed.

   Hilary Benn's spech. That speech. Applauded by the people he supported, mainly, but not only, the Conservatives. There were the Labour right as well, the Blairites who have still not woken up to reality. What a sell-out that speech was! 

   I used to be something of a speech-maker myself, wasn't too good at it. But I started at age eight, so I can recognise a good, well-thought out speech a mile away. Benn's speech was not one. It was emotional, unprofessional and did not make any points worth considering .It was all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

   So the IS hold us British in contempt. (Along with most of the rest of the world they also hold in contempt.) Are we to fight wars whenever someone shows us disrespect? If disrespect is what we are angry about, we need other strategies - like ignoring them completely. Writing a few decent articles about them. Getting our effete Media to think straight. Educating our children to respect the diversity, which is the richness of this country.

   Many things about the Syria vote confuse me. And the aftermath is even more confusing. Someone said Tony Benn must be turning in his grave after that speech by his son. I think that is a safe prediction. My father, the freedom-fighter of the Gandhi era turns in his grave, or blows at his ashes, whenever I exhibit symptoms of rabid consumerism. He is probably down to his last spoonful by now.

   And de-selection? I have always believed the local parliamentary party must choose its candidates, not some cultish group of Neanderthals who have established themselves in Westminster and haven't got a clue about how party members think and feel.

   More to the point - if you worked in a firm and found that you disagreed with the beliefs and actions of your CEO, you would consider resigning. Or get sacked. Those who do not go with the majority opinion within the parliamentary Labour Party should have the grace to LEAVE. Or, I could hope the local party members would see them off. Threats and abuse are bad behaviour and those who do this are not doing the Party or Mr Corbyn any favours. But now that the Conservatives have bulldozed the Country into war, maybe they could get Fallon and co. to do some discreet phone calls inviting some of the committed Blairites to join the Tories. They belong there.

   It is petrifying, the huge dissonance between the thinking of the Labour right and the local Party members. Why are these dinosaurs still with Labour? How do you define Labour with this motley bunch in it?


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