Labour: a broad church makes a stronger Party….
Salma Yaqoob has stirred some controversy by leaving Respect within our own ranks. It seems we are split between the pro and anti Yaqoob inclusionists. The latter are spectacularly missing the point of the founding ethos of our Party. It was forged in the fires of a grand political alliance between competing and sometimes mutually hostile political trends. On the one side, firey revolutionists and on the other the left-leaning elements of liberalism. This confused parentage has certainly lent extra spice to Labour’s emergence as the only serious force in British politics capable of challenging the small and big ‘C’ Conservative British establishment and even now it continues to play itself out in the most challenging of ways.
However, there is strength to be found in diversity as well as weakness. This is especially true for a Party seeking to be successful in electoral politics which, by dint of their very nature, must seek to win the support of a broad cross-section of public opinion. Go into any given public space and you will find not monolithic consensus but the lively interplay and exchange of views that comes from individuals with a diverse range of different prejudices and experiences. It is also good for the competing tendencies within the Party. I can’t think of any better test of an ideological current seeking to win popular support than the struggle to command the tide of inner-Party opinion. I, for the one, relish the challenge of having to prove the validity of my politics amoungst people who are often indifferent and against people who I know are actively hostile.
I despair of those, on both the right and left-wing of the Party, who want to turn this Party into an empty shell, a vessel for nothing more than their own ideological agenda. Doing this would rob it of its life, of its spirit and soul, it would make it as much of a husk as the Blairite leadership did during its tenure. It would cease to become the Labour Party so many of us treasure and hold dear to our hearts and it would lose the living link it should have with the people it was born to represent. This is the folly of the people who want to exclude Salma Yaqoob because they don’t like her politics, to forget the lessons of our history, that together we are stronger though many things may divide us.