Friday, 17 February 2017
With no party description, I shall be contesting the new seat of Durham West and Teesdale in 2020. The Labour MP for most of it will be retiring. So, an open seat, right here in your old County Durham stomping ground. Tony Blair, you can either put up, or shut up.
Wednesday, 15 February 2017
There are five Groups on Durham County Council, plus two completely Independent Independents, one of whom, Alex Watson, is the Patron of this campaign. But only Labour members voted against the Teaching Assistants. None voted in support of the campaign that has electrified the trade union movement and the Left throughout the country, thereby earning international attention. Yet that campaign has been endorsed by the Leader of the Labour Party, at the largest working-class and left-wing event in Europe, in front of at least 150,000 people and the television cameras. Only the Conservatives even formally abstained, although that does make the Labour Group objectively "worse than the Tories".
It is therefore not only reasonable, but morally and politically obligatory, to call for the election of no Labour candidate whatever to that Council on 4th May. And then, what? A Cabinet position for every non-Labour Group and for those of no Group, with the numbers made up based on their relative size. The same for Scrutiny Chairs, obviously never mirroring the portfolios of their respective partisans. And representation on each committee and subcommittee in proportion to their numbers on the authority as a whole.
Tuesday, 14 February 2017
The treatment of the Teaching Assistants has provided a focus for what has become in recent years the mounting anger with the everlasting, right-wing-if-anything Labour Leadership of Durham County Council. But that authority has always been surrounded by a certain aura. Or, at any rate, it has been since at least the 1960s.
In the present climate, if so much as one Labour candidate were elected to Durham County Council this May, then that would prove nothing, absolutely nothing, other than the corruption of the Returning Officer. And it would prove that corruption beyond any reasonable doubt.
Monday, 13 February 2017
And yet the Leader of Durham County Council, when not literally running away and hiding from the Teaching Assistants, has the gall to show his face in the Northern Echo.
No Labour candidate should be elected to Durham County Council this May. Not one.
The good people among them, and there are several, could regroup in time for 2021.
Friday, 10 February 2017
It would be an insult to the Labour Right to accuse the viciously parochial and the spitefully anti-intellectual Labour Group on Durham County Council of being any part of it. Against that Group, the Durham Teaching Assistants have managed to attract the support of Jeremy Corbyn and Ken Loach, of the Morning Star and Counterfire, of George Galloway and the Durham Miners' Gala. Each of those, never mind all of them, brings a seriously international and intellectual network into play. Those networks have already heard, and they have already passed on, the roar of the Lions of Durham.
Labour's loss of Overall Control, and quite conceivably its loss of every seat (why not?), will be heard from the souks to the favelas, from the Dalit colonies to the Rohingya camps, and from Crimea, to Kashmir, to the scattered outposts of Diego Garcia. It will be heard in every state that voted for Donald Trump in order to clean the Rust from its Belt, and it will be heard in every country on Donald Trump's banned list.
I am prepared to consider the possibility that, on a very good day, around half of those who were about to be unseated had at least heard the words "Crimea" and "Kashmir". But "souk", "favela", "Dalit", "Rohingya", or "Diego Garcia"? The tiniest handful would know, and they would. But none of the rest would have a clue. Ask them to list the states that swung it for Trump. Ask them to list the countries that he has banned.
Not only on one magnificent day of the year, but on every magnificent day of the year, Durham is about to become once again the centre of a vibrant internationalism and intellectual exchange. By depriving Labour of Overall Control. And by depriving Labour of every seat? Why ever not?