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Author Topic: A Leftist Manifesto I could happily sign up to
E10Rifle
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Nathan's post encapsulates perfectly why I would probably have stayed in the Labour party under Smith's premiership (despite disagreeing with him a lot), and why it's inconceivable that I could rejoin under Blair's.
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Duncan Gardner
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Almost ditto. I was a member in 1992, but I felt uncomfortable about the way Smith was seen as a shoo-in after Kinnock resigned. I supported that Kiwi bloke who wouldn't admit he was bald.
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Nathan HelenaHandcart
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Heh. What a weird thought, that Bryan Gould would have been a shoe in in 1994 had he not stood against Smith and gone for deputy instead of Beckett.
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TonTon
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So we have dalliance - who has never struck me as wanting to be anywhere near the left - and a New Labourite signing up to this.

Surely that shows the pointlessness of the exercise?

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Tubby Isaacs
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I love the way that this "reallignment of progressive forces" is put forward like a new thing. Presumably they haven't heard of the SDP.
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Super Sharp Shooter
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I do agree, TonTon. The thing in itself says the left is rubbish, and its supporters say the left is rubbish. As I said earlier, this simply isn't "the left", nor are its adherents "left leaning". Only they can tell us why they are squeamish about calling their hawkish free-market capitalism "hawkish free-market capitalism". I find it really odd, to be honest.

[ 28.04.2006, 12:25: Message edited by: Super Sharp Shooter ]

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Gangster Octopus
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In what way were the SDP "progressive forces"?
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Tubby Isaacs
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They weren't Thatcherite. And they told us they were progressive.
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Wyatt Earp
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quote:
John Smith's death is the worst thing that ever happened to this country.
Discuss with reference to the Black Death.
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Etienne
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The Black Death vastly improved the position of the peasantry, as a lack of manpower gave them a much better bargaining position and dramatically hastened the move away from feudalism and serfdom that persisted until the 19th century in some areas of Europe.
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E10Rifle
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To be fair to the Euston Group - not something they'd ever do to their opponents but still - it does contain signatories whose past writings have espoused fairly left-leaning social and economic policies (Cohen and Wheen most conspicuously, thoughthe former's been quite quiet on that recently - perhaps it's all the fretting over school fees).

But given these past writings, why are they now being so sheepish on having any firm opinion on economics. It's unbelievably, laughably flimsy. So we're supposed to sign up to a grouping that has nothing to say about the economy and the environment - the issues which, consistently, have been the most pressing ones for the Left outside foreign policy in recent years. Absurd.

The SDP were about as progressive as the Lib Dems are now - ie not at all.

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Super Sharp Shooter
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In my general faltering project to teach myself a bit more about modern british political history (really, I only started paying attention properly around 1988), I've been hatching a notion that the SDP were a kind-of beta version of New Labour. It was this same idea of a party where people from the left and right could mingle quite merrily (having abandoned most of their former principles, natch) and it was blatantly careerist. Or am I wrong?

[ 28.04.2006, 15:38: Message edited by: Super Sharp Shooter ]

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Tubby Isaacs
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I wouldn't say the SDP were as bad, because in their case it was as much the party that had changed as them. Labour was more left wing in 1982 than it ever had been- having been more right wing in 1979 than it had been of course. There were genuinely huge policy differences, but the immediate reason for actually leaving Labour was about careers- the Wembley Conference made it likely they would be deselected, so they left. They talked a load of humbug about how terrfying a couple of socialists waving fists was, but it was about deselection, that's all.

As it turned out, even members as rightwing as Frank Field all through the 80s and early 90s. Jenkins and Owen would have been fine.

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Tubby Isaacs
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A closer parallel might be with Thatcherism taking over the Tories from the mid 70s. A few active people suddenly discover they'd been believing in the wrong version of Toryism/Labourism, getting a bit of resistance, but dragging along the majority because they've always been more right wing than their public positions have suggested.
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E10Rifle
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Good point. The Tories' move to the right - and more to the point their development of a serious ideological "project" - was as significant, if not more so, than Labour's perceived, and actually very brief, leftward drift. But it was the ex-Labour people who gave the SDP its momentum. My grandad was part of that defection, as it goes, over really trivial stuff, but his heart was never in it (an Old Labour man, who was slagging off Blair from the left by the time he died).

The gap between Labour and the Tories in, say, 1983 was probably the widest it's ever been. There's no such gap now.

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