Jim Denham writes:
I have, personally, been through what might be called a “dark night of the soul“, agonising over whether to support Left Unity in the general election. The Shiraz team has been in emergency session all day, thrashing out our considered position. We’d have liked to have got the news to you all earlier today (we aimed for 12 noon), but it hasn’t been possible, due to the intense and sometime heated nature of our internal debate. Anyway, this inspirational report (below) in today’s Morning Star clinched it for us – we’re backing Left Unity!
Filmmaker Loach launches Left Unity manifesto at squat
LEFT Unity is contesting the election to keep socialist ideas alive, Ken Loach said yesterday as he launched the party’s manifesto at a London squat.
The filmmaker, whose spirit of 1945 documentary celebrated the achievements of Labour’s post-war government, said his party now carried that flame.
He said: “Left Unity is against the logic of the market. It’s for the interests of the people. And therefore it’s different.
“It’s so important that we keep these ideas alive.”
Despite insisting that he was “only a rank-and-file member,” Mr Loach is Left Unity’s highest profile supporter.
He set out the case for the party he helped form in 2013 in a polemic at a Soho squat, where journalists sat on the floor to listen alongside activists.
It could have provided a set for one of Mr Loach’s cult social-realist films and was chosen to highlight Britain’s social housing crisis.
Squatters cheered a manifesto pledge given by principal speaker Kate Hudson to legalise squatting as part of the solution.
Mr Loach said Left Unity would draw strength — and votes — from the “huge anger, alienation, fear and hunger” felt by people outside the Westminster bubble.
He said they had been abandoned by Labour in a wide-ranging attack on Ed Miliband’s party.
The Bectu member also cited Labour’s failure to restore trade union rights stolen by Thatcher as “another reason why we need a separate party.”
He said: “We need stronger unions with a leadership that represents the interests of the workers and doesn’t just give money to the Labour Party for the Labour Party to cut its throat.”
His criticism came as Labour launched it’s work manifesto with a pledge to ban bosses keeping workers on zero hour contracts for more than 12 weeks.
Labour MP Ian Lavery, chair of the party’s Trade Union Group, said the announcement “put aside all doubt” about its commitment to working people.
He told the Star: “To state that unions and the Labour party do not represent working people is an insult when the labour movement fights to protect workers’ rights, stop exploitation and generally better the lives of working people on a daily basis.
“The reality is that the trade union movement is not only part of Labour’s past but also the future – as is proved by today’s announcement.”
Left Unity candidates will be on the ballot paper in 10 constituencies.
The Star asked four of squat’s residents whether they would vote for the party, but none confirmed they would.
Paul, who voted Lib Dem in 2010, said he was “completely disillusioned” by the Lib Dems’ tuition fees U-turn, while Elise said she hadn’t decided which party offered the most “radical change.”
“I’m not convinced Labour is are a left-wing party – Ed Miliband isn’t working class,” she said. “But I haven’t made up my mind who to vote for yet.”