Shiraz changes line on election: will back Left Unity!

April 1, 2015 at 5:19 pm (elections, left, politics, posted by JD)

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

Wednesday 1st
posted by Luke James in Britain

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.”


  1. ted edwards said,

    Anyone who believes the leadership of any trade union is going to lead them to the promised land is actually living in cloud cookoo land. There was only one leader ever likely to do that Bob Crowe and we all sadly lost him last year.

    • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

      Bob Crowe was an elected union negotiator and did his best and that was his job.

  2. John R said,

    You had me there, Jim. I forgot the date.

  3. ted edwards said,

    Will I ever learn Jim April 1st

  4. Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

    A good time to declare you were not a Marxist. The book by Francis Wheen on Marx is good. Why would anyone call themselves a camp follower of anyone. Think for yourself. You could call yourself a baby Jesus follower, Jim. Support Labour and not those lefties that have a good lifestyle pretending to be socialists and are closet Tories.

    • Jim Denham said,

      I deleted that one, Glesga, because I thought people would take it seriously.

      • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

        Even socialist can have some fun and the occasional smile. No point in having useless rants all the time.
        Did Marx own the clothes he wore!

  5. damon said,

    Reading this on the 2nd, that never occurred to me, but I thought it must be a spoof. The thing is though, that whoever gets in will make little difference.
    One or other may handle things better than the other, but who can say at this stage? A good example of why engaging in the political process is a waste of time, is tonight’s debate farce.
    I’m in one of Ken Loach’s films as an extra btw.

    • Jim Denham said,

      I nearly appeared in a Loach film about thirty years ago. A very nice man, btw.

  6. Steven Johnston said,

    “Left Unity is against the logic of the market. It’s for the interests of the people. And therefore it’s different

    Sadly, as they will leave capitalism intact a vote for Left unity (mk 257) is therefore illogical. How can you vote for a party that is against capitalism but will do nothing to replace it?

    I like his films though, they are better than Mike Leigh’s.

    • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

      They do not really want to replace capitalism but just run the show like Stalin did.

      • Steven Johnston said,

        That is why you are better off voting Tory…why you ask? Well at least they will want to/try to get every worker a job, as a worker employed is a worker creating surplus values for the capitalist class. Also employers want healthy, happy and well educated workers, so the tories will ensure our welfare state is well funded. If anyone disputes this just check the spending figures for periods when the Tories are in power.

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