Friday, 3 February 2012
The Lanchester Declaration
1. Our common position is one of absolute commitment to the Welfare State, workers’ rights, trade unionism, the co-operative movement and wider mutualism, consumer protection, strong communities, conservation rather than environmentalism, fair taxation, full employment, public ownership, proper local government, and a powerful Parliament.
2. That is fully compatible with a no less absolute commitment to any, all or none of the monarchy, the organic Constitution, national sovereignty, civil liberties, the Union, the Commonwealth, the countryside, traditional structures and methods of education, traditional moral and social values, economic patriotism, balanced migration, a realist foreign policy, an unhysterical approach to climate change, and a base of real property for every household to resist both over-mighty commercial interests and an over-mighty State.
3. Our common position as set out in 1 above requires a truly national party. In the service of that common position, a truly national party would respect and take account of all of the commitments set out in 2 above, though without requiring any of them.
4. A truly national party would be profoundly sensitive to the interests, insights and aspirations of agriculture and manufacturing, small and medium-sized businesses, each and all of the English ceremonial counties, each and all of the Scottish lieutenancy areas, each and all of the Welsh preserved counties, each and all of the traditional Northern Irish counties, each and all of the London Boroughs, and each and all of the Metropolitan Boroughs.
5. A truly national party would be profoundly sensitive to the interests, insights and aspirations of the countryside, local government, the trade unions, mutual enterprises, voluntary organisations, and social and cultural conservatives.
6. A truly national party would be profoundly sensitive to the interests, insights and aspirations of people who cherished ties throughout the world, most especially within these Islands and the Commonwealth, but also to the Arab world and Iran, the Slavic and Confucian worlds, Latin America, and elsewhere, in principle including any country on earth, and ideally including all of them.
7. None of the above would be to the exclusion of the interests, insights and aspirations of financial services, the presently favoured parts of the country, the towns and cities, social and cultural liberals, or those who cherished ties to Continental Europe, the United States of America, and the State of Israel. But it would exclude any new Cold War against Russia, China, Iran, or anywhere else.
8. A truly national party would always give priority in international affairs to the ties within the Commonwealth and within these Islands, and could have no truck with any idea of the American Republic coercively imposing utopianism. It would reject that idea’s rewritten Marxism in which the bourgeoisie is the victorious class, because it would reject all class-based politics in favour of what Aneurin Bevan called “a platform broad enough for all to stand upon”.
9. A truly national party would fight every seat as if it were a knife-edge marginal.
10. A truly national party as a vehicle for our common position would draw deeply on a heritage variously trade unionist, co-operative and mutual, Radical Liberal, Tory populist, Christian Socialist, Social Catholic and Distributist, and so on. Integral to that heritage is a valiant history of opposition to all of Stalinism, Maoism, the Trotskyist distinction without a difference, Nazism, Fascism, and the Far Right regimes in Southern Africa, Latin America and elsewhere. Those who have never recanted their former Stalinism, Maoism or Trotskyism, or their former support for those Far Right regimes, admitting that that stance had been wrong at the time, can have no part in a truly national party.
David Lindsay, Parish Councillor, Lanchester, County Durham; Tutor, Collingwood College, Durham; http://davidaslindsay.blogspot.com
Rachel Banner, True Wales
Adam Bartlett, Labour Party member, Slough
Patrick Carr, Dipton, County Durham; http://twitter.com/littlehuan
Tim Collard, Edinburgh; Retired British Diplomat (Germany and China); http://tmcollard.blogspot.com
Ann Farmer, Woodford Green, Essex; Writer and Researcher; http://www.annfarmer.co.uk
Peter Kilfoyle, Labour MP for Liverpool Walton, 1991-2010; Parliamentary Secretary, Office of Public Service and Science, 1997-1998; Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, 1998-1999; Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence, 1999-2000
Mark McNally, Tutor, Collingwood College, Durham
Dr Martin Meenagh, Tutor, Lecturer and Barrister, London; http://martinmeenagh.blogspot.com
Margaret Pattison, Councillor, Lancaster City Council
Robert Pelik, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Nottingham
Richard Robinson, Councillor, Broxtowe Borough Council
Affiliations are given for identification purposes only. Party officials have actively prevented at least one Labour Peer from signing. A rising Labour student activist has felt obliged to withdraw his signature. The Guardian has refused to print it.