Yesterday I linked to an obscure ultra-left paper called the Weekly Worker who have carried a couple of interviews with George Galloway recently. Few outside the ranks of the sectarian and satirical left have heard of that paper but now all that is set to change. Today in the Guardian David Aaronovitch has a piece on Galloway which includes quotes from those very Weekly Worker interviews I linked to. I am sure this is just a coincidence and any suggestion that such an esteemed coloumnist might have been browsing weblogs for inspiration should be swiftly dismissed as wishful thinking, shouldn’t it?
Anyway Aaronovitch’s piece is, as usual, well worth a read as he also has the full (dreadful) quotes from Galloway’s call to the Arab masses to rise up against the imperialist wolves etc. He also takes an interesting line on the whole issue of Galloway’s membership of the Labour Party, in the light of his outright opposition to the party and lack of confidence in the ability of his supporters to bring about ‘regime change’. “If Galloway is pessimistic about Labour, I thought, then now may be the right time for me to join….This is a sometimes brave if very imperfect government. As Galloway gloomily contemplates the party that sustains it (and partly because he does), I think I’ll take the step that I’ve avoided for too long. ,” he says. I like the logic.
Like Aaronovitch, I used to be a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain (no relation to the current Weekly Worker impersonation by the way). Unlike him I was a member of the Labour Party before and after that fascinating couple of years during the death throes of the CPGB. As a result of that experience, including a brief and depressing spell in local Labour politics, I have counted myself as one of those lefties who are deeply cynical about party politics. But the other week I used the online form at the Labour Party website and sent off my application to rejoin.
Why did I decide to join up again? Well I first joined the Labour Party on the very day I was legally able to do so at the age of 16 back in the days of Neil Kinnock’s leadership and ike most teenagers who get involved in politics I was intensely idealistic. Inevitably I found myself becoming disillusioned over time by the daily drudgery of local political activity and by the infamous in-fighting that went with eighties left politics. I left to join the Communist Party as a student to discover yet more infighting, albeit of a far more entertaining and colourful variety. Yet now, for some reason I find hard to explain, I feel idealistic again and throughout the last few months I have rediscovered the reasons why I joined the Labour Party in the first place.
If you are serious about progressive change, there really is only one game in town. And unlike when I was 16, we are now actually in power and in a position to bring about those changes. Many of us were part of a generation of working class kids who got a chance in life because of what the Labour Party achieved in the post-war years only to see so many of those roads of opportunity wrecked, just as we needed them, by Margaret Thatcher’s governments. Now we have a chance to make sure our kids have a future of decent opportunities, a chance we cannot waste, I think that’s why I have joined the party again.