Monday, 30 August 2021
As they and I both know, the result on Super Thursday has reopened the question of the injustice against the County Durham Teaching Assistants, along with that of the DLI Museum, and along with that of the previous regime's obsessive dismantlement of public transport.
All eyes are now on such Labour Group as there still is at Durham County Hall. Is it going to disgrace itself again, by voting to keep unrighted the wrong against the Teaching Assistants, as well as by voting to keep the DLI Museum closed, and the buses cut?
If the internationally infamous Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill had been on the Statute Book during the last half a dozen years, then every one of the Teaching Assistants' demonstrations would have been illegal. Until the murder of Sarah Everard, the Labour Party had been planning to impose a three-line whip in favour of that Bill, and to withdraw the whip from anyone who had joined Jeremy Corbyn in voting against it.
But then a middle-class, white person was killed, so that even Keir Starmer had to pay attention. News cycles move on, though, and neither Starmer nor his party has given the slightest leadership to the opposition to this wretched Bill. They have silently voted against it in Parliament, and that has been it.
Much as Labour did over the Poll Tax, which ended up being brought down on the streets, taking the Prime Minister of the day with it; her own autobiography dismisses witheringly the suggestion that she was brought down by anything else. In the aftermath, Neil Kinnock, whom Starmer so closely resembles, was left scratching his head and wondering, as he does to this day, "What was that?"
The organising force had been the Militant Tendency that he had purged from the Labour Party. On the streets and through Dave Nellist, who was popular across the House of Commons, it had succeeded where Kinnock had failed in the official media and at the Despatch Box, deposing the British Left's greatest ever hate figure from the Premiership despite her party's enormous parliamentary majority. On "Europe", policy, rather than rhetoric, did not change one jot. But the Poll Tax was abandoned entirely, and more or less immediately.
With varying degrees of reservation, all of the numerous organisations in the Kill The Bill Coalition supported Corbyn, and indeed Momentum and The World Transformed are both members of that Coalition. Another is a trade union that, despite having been affiliated to the Labour Party from the start, is expected to disaffiliate in the course of Starmer's Conference speech. Think on.