Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hollow Labour, influential journo explains why he deserted

John Kampfner, former editor of the New Statesman, Chief Exec for Index on Censorship, sometime BBC reporter and Chair of the Turner Contemporary Trust has written a tract on a hollow and bankrupt (my view) political party which is all about self interest for activists at any cost and screw social justice and the likes of me and you.

I got sent this email (see below) announcing publication of the pamphlet Lost Labours, a couple of days ago, sent to me as one of the benefits of belonging to the Liberal Democrats, I thought it might appeal to my fair minded readers perhaps even the delusional Labour readers.

Just a quick note the opinions I express in this blog are my own although I see one local blogger refers to this blog as Liberal Democrat News Margate, it just happens that I believe in fairness, something Labour activists have side stepped in adopting a pragmatic approach to keeping big business happy and themselves in office and thus resulted in an ever widening social divide.

For the record I’ve voted Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative in my time, even during the life of this blog which is currently in its fourth year so to Ramsgate’s greatest Labour blogger this is not a party political blog I happen to be a member of the LibDems its just a facet of my life in the same way as working in rail industry or subscribing to sky TV.

Labour politicians, the professional ones who earn their living fleecing the taxpayer have forgotten how or why they got involved in politics, surely they didn’t just see esteemed Labour Leader Tony Blair as a role model and think crikey what a shyster, I’m up for some of that.

Anyhow John Kampfner’s email and excuse the minor rant!

Dear Anthony,

Today I launched my pamphlet, Lost labours, with Nick Clegg.

As somebody who has a long involvement with the Labour party, including editing the New Statesman magazine, I have been able to give a frank and honest appraisal of a decade and a half of New Labour. And in it I explain why I can no longer support them, and am instead turning to the Liberal Democrats. You can read a more condensed version in an article I wrote for the Guardian here.

Alongside one million other voters, I deserted Labour in 2005 in protest at Iraq in favour of the Liberal Democrats, the only party to oppose the war. My decision to back the Lib Dems in 2010 is based in a more fundamental appraisal of Labour’s record together with a positive assessment of the Liberal Democrats’ platform.

New Labour in office has had one all-consuming purpose: re-election. Since 1997, their every working day was based around the task of prolonging their term of office. It filled in the ideological hollow and justified ever-encroaching authoritarianism and a pandering to the right on criminal justice and other areas of social policy. In contrast, the Liberal Democrat analysis of the failures of the deregulated market has been consistently, and painfully, accurate. Nick Clegg’s tax reform plans, taking four million low paid workers out of tax altogether, are the most redistributive of any party. And the Liberal Democrat approach to criminal justice, human rights, foreign and social policy is close to mine.

People can only for so long be exhorted to hold their nose, to vote for a party they feel has let them down, simply because the alternative is worse. It is deeply damaging to politics to resort perpetually to the double negative. The Liberal Democrats offer a positive, radical and different vision. That is why they have my support.

Best wishes,

John Kampfner

PS Do forward this email to any Labour-leaning friends you may have; as Nick Clegg argued last year, now is the time for Labour’s lost army of progressives to join us in common cause.

Click here to visit the Liberal Democrats' website


  1. Tony,

    your blog has always been FAIR, keep up the good work,you are puting your side of the argument fairly,there are three main political parties vying for our vote,we need your blog to air the views of the ordinary man in the street,this you do with great clarity,it looks as if the party you support may have its say after the election as it looks as if the two other parties are neck and neck in the poles.
    Do not always agree with what you write but you always put over a good arguement.
    Margate needs your voice the voice of the people.

  2. The latest poll show that John Kampfner is in the minority. Libdems are not gaining at the Conservatives expense but Labour are. Having been at the dizzy heights of having 20% support last September, the Libdems are now at 17%. Looks like you have a mountain to climb Tony.

  3. anon 10 53 thanks for the comments still I not sure I'm the voice of Margate more a tired old git with a keyboard and a blog.

    anon 4 58 its worth noting that Labour got ruined in the Kent County elections no amount of photo opportunities saving Clive Harts bacon, not to promising in the European elections only 1 lab MEP

    The people I work with are sick and tired of Labour stabbing them in the back, Labour looks after public sector dib dobs and social security scroungers that's at least, how I and many co workers see Labour,

  4. At the time of the KCC (and European) elections the polls where showing con 43%, lab 27%, Lib 18% and others 12%. Today they are showing con 37%, lab 32%, lib 17% and other 14%. Looks like the people you work with are not representative of the public at large. The trend seems to be moving from con to lab and lib unchanged and as you know local elections bear little resemblence to the national ones. Your libs have a lot to do to avoid loosing seats they currently hold let alone gaining a few.

  5. anon 9 25 the only reason anyone is going to vote Labour is to prevent the official conservative party taking power.

    Labour are just tory wannabes these days when the likes of Mandelson (who reminds me of the rag bag slippery tories from Thatchers days) goes out of his way to obstruct the working people of this country.

  6. All parties are a LIB/LAB/Con