W(h)ither the left in Manchester?

As the excitement subsides over Gordon’s speech of his life, it’s not just Labour who’ll be packing up their troubles in the old kit bag tomorrow. The party’s conscience has also been in town although they’ve not attracted any media attention which is probably how the high command would want it.  While the Labour Conference continues with an entrance fee payable for party members and corporate sponsored vol-au-vents’n’ booze a plenty, there is also another more scaled down freebie in town: Convention of the Left.I found myself down to speak at the parallel event to the official Labour Party conference on Saturday PM in a parallel break-out session on “the break up of Britain” which it seemed wiser to honour than end up being replaced by a tub of lard, so I showed up, despite disapproval from Labour chums, in the name of constructive engagement with opponents. Controversial remark of the day was me saying that to my mind the idea of an English Parliament had rather dispossessed type “Powellite” leanings about it. One audience member walked out.

So what can be concluded from all this? It seems that a fair number of lefties these days reckon an English parliament and “new” English nationalism will be the path to revolution. As a Labour party member, I vehemently disagree with this prescription for a Tory takeover. Excluding two parts of the UK that have consistently voted leftwards and ensuring constitutional gridlock will not usher in a new worker’s paradise. I still think we’re stronger together: that applies to the British nation-state, the centre-left and the working class. The best bet for all of the above is Labour rather than any exotically acronymed sub-sect or party calling itself English “democrats” when clearly they aren’t.

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