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;
Rachel Banner, True Wales
Adam Bartlett, Labour Party member, Slough
Patrick Carr, Dipton, County Durham;
Tim Collard, Edinburgh; Retired British Diplomat (Germany and China);
Ann Farmer, Woodford Green, Essex; Writer and Researcher;
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;
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.


  1. Why the controversy? If anything this seems somewhat watered down. As you've pointed out here, points 2-10 could appear in a Conservative or Liberal statement of principles.

  2. Old Labour Old Catholic3 February 2012 at 13:59

    Great stuff, even if I bet you had to be talked pretty hard into phrasing 2 so ecumenically instead of just requiring all those points on the same basis as ones in 1.

    But you won't have been surprised that nowhere will give space to the non-Marxist Labour tradition rooted in 10, any more than to orthodox Catholicism rather than the new fusion of global capitalism, neocon warmongery, and liturgical camp as a metrosexual lifestyle choice.

  3. Quietly impressive academic and municipal base to build on, plus Peter Kilfoyle and those members of both Houses known to be keeping an eye on your work, waiting to see which way the wind blows. The Guardian is a Trotskyite paper, I don't know why you bothered approaching it. The lack of any paper for our position is almost as serious as the lack of a party. Aren't you involved in planning something along the lines of Marxism Today or the New Left Review?

  4. No-one in Fleet Street is old enough to have heard of Peter Kilfoyle.

  5. Bring back the Daily Worker. Neil Clark or Rod Liddle could edit it and everyone who has signed this could be columnists.

    The usual term for you in college and around Durham is "a glittering ornament". You are that, but you are also a significant intellectual asset to the place.

  6. The media could find all the space in the world for the failed Euston Manifesto written by a foreign embassy, but there is no room for this. Why am I not surprised?

    Calling out Tankies, Trots, apartheid enthusaists and Pinochet worshippers from back in the day has never been more important. In view of the situation today, would someone like Michael Gove care to comment on his past devotion to South American juntas?

  7. No more doubts about what your title would be. Beautifully alliterative.

    Or are your sights set even further south? You are close to having a candidate in every region.

  8. Peter Kilfoyle no more agreed to sign this than Neil Clark agreed to run as BPA candidate in Wantage. Your bluff has been called.

  9. He most certainly did, dear boy. I don't normally put up the silly student rubbish along the lines of "We've contacted Peter Hitchens/Rod Liddle/whoever and he has never heard of you", because why should I bother? One day, you might acquire some grasp of how the grown-up world works.

    I had rather expected that to be the day when you realised that everyone who is anyone at God's Own University has always held your little "newspaper" in utter derision, far from its having the power of hire and fire that you seemed to imagine. But no. You learned nothing from that, or from the little visits from ... well, I don't need to go on, do I?

    But might this be that day? I suspect that it might. Any more trouble from you, and I can assure you with absolute certainty that the patience of the institution will finally be exhausted. I am tempted to say, "Bring it on".

    On topic, please.

  10. Silly little boy, isn't he an ex-tutee of yours? And wasn't he supposed to be brilliant, until he got caught red-handed trying to rig a JCR election and then got a middling degree? Rich enough to stay a student forever, unfortunately. Not just a crook, incompetent at being a crook.

    You know dozens, possibly hundreds of MPs, ex-MPs, peers and the like. What with you being a full grown man and all, as you would have thought he had learned after what he got the last time he crossed you. He is an academic embarrassment, so by all means let him try his luck against you again because then the place can get shot of him once and for all. Stupid boy.

  11. You and Tim Collard are both former Telegraph bloggers whereas the execrable Dan Hodges is still there putting up the same bitter Blairite post over and over and over again.

    Your projected Review, presumably online in this day and age, could not be more urgently necessary. No publication in the Guardian, replaced with a series of David Miliband groupies (it was that McTernan before Hodges) in the Telegraph, some old Times hack instead of David Goodhart at Prospect, Rod Liddle passed over for the Indy, our people are completely denied a voice.

    The censored peer was doubtless your mate, contributor to one of your forthcoming books, stepfather to one of your adoring freshers, Maurice Glasman. We are silenced even in the House of Lords! Is that not a contempt of Parliament?

  12. True Wales could probably get a Strasbourg seat if it wanted one. Most obviously for Rachel Banner. But what, no Northern Ireland?

  13. Not yet. And not for want of trying even at this stage. The lines of contact are fully functioning.

  14. If this really was made the basis for reorganising the True Wales vote so as to secure a European seat, that would be a hugely positive development.

    On 5th May, you wrote about "the once-mighty Ulster Unionist Party, now vying for fourth place in Northern Ireland, and even by the standards of these things a loose federation of local franchisees: liberal-Left intellectuals, industrial-municipal machinists, agricultural-municipal machinists, Monday Clubbers, and so on. By all accounts, the Monday Clubbers, in particular, are regrouping." They shouldn't be the only ones.

  15. Loving the fact the Clark and Liddle are being kept in reserve. Their names on this would have distracted from you as the lead hack here, and might have deprived the project of Guardian martyr status. In that light, the lordly absence is also somewhat fortuitous, isn't it? Never underestimate David Lindsay.

    But who does? Are you sure that the silly boy is still here? He never, ever comes into college if he is. Not like you, on form again last night in your full James Bond outfit, white silk scarf and white gloves the lot, greeted as the granddaddy and the godfather by everybody from the biggest players in the student body to the biggest players in the university establishment. No wonder the silly boy never comes in.

  16. Neil Clark has reproduced this in full and without criticism on his blog,