Today I resigned from the Labour Party.
I am sad that I am leaving an organisation that I (and my family and friends) have put so much heart, time and effort into over the past decade. But I am pleased that I have taken a stand against the bullying and the the toxic atmosphere that exists. I am happy that I am not condoning behaviour that the current Labour leadership have made acceptable, either by commission or omission. I am relieved that I now feel less ashamed of what the Labour Party has become.
Fundamentally, I did not join the Labour Party to fight other members. I enjoyed the broad church discussions, the ability to voice thoughts, and use discussions with others to develop my own understanding and formulate my views. I joined to do things in my community and to fight for those who need it. However, the current membership sees community activism coming a long second to ensuring the (boring) meetings are packed out, that the internal organisations are packed with “correct” people, and gunning for those people who may actually have the ability to develop an opinion.
There is little ability to enjoy and utilise the broad church, with the primary filter being if its an attack on Corbyn. And pretty much everything is an attack on Corbyn. Even when complementing Corbyn, its a hidden attack. The cult-like, fanatical nature of this is deeply worrying for any organisation. However, the really unforgivable thing is the lack of leadership when its required. Great to bang a drum to a large crowd of the faithful, but when the hard decisions are being made, its very quiet.
I hope the party can recover themselves, because an organisation so full of hate is unhealthy, but I will not condone what is going on through my inaction in the vain hope that it all might come right in the end.
The letter to my CLP secretary is below, which I think gives an overview on my reasons.
It is with regret that I am writing to you to resign from the Labour Party.
I have only been a member for just under 10 years, but in that time I have been a Parish Councillor, County Councillor, CLP vice Chair, membership officer, deputy leader of the Gloucestershire Labour Group, Police and Crime Commissioner Candidate and Parliamentary Candidate. I have been very keen to stand up for people and for what I considered to be the most important thing, our Labour Values.
You are probably aware, during and after the 2017 General Election I was treated rather badly by Gloucester CLP before we moved to Trimaran. This included collective bullying by the CLP Executive and a smear campaign that not only affected me but my family and friends. A situation that the National Party insisted that the Gloucester CLP apologise for but they never did and the National party did nothing to enforce.
Since then, I have seen and experienced the party increase in its bullying, particularly on social media and the more racist and anti-Semitic abuse that is directed by Labour Members and activists, particularly at our own elected representatives, but also at anyone who offers any criticism. This has been coupled with the lack of action by our party, and in many cases the abject denial that we have a problem. The Labour Party conference this year was the first Labour conference that I have been to that I felt nervous and unsafe at.
We saw that in the CLP meeting after the AGM where there was calls that the Anti-Semitism was a myth and simply a ploy to get rid of the leader. A demand by others to “name “the anti-Semitic members because they did not believe what Nia and Lee were saying about the nature of what is going on. This was coupled with some posts by a local member in Kidwelly this week on public community pages again saying that the anti-Semitism issue is a labour right-wing attack on the leader. These are not isolated views, they have CLPs passing motions in the same vein (EG Hackney).
Then, the issue of our stance on significant policies particularly Brexit is shameful. Even at this late stage, the Labour Party is pushing us down a road which will see people in Llanelli worse off and we are not doing anything about it. Lee’s report was like a hammer blow to me, and UK Labour has been complicit in what I consider to be the most divisive Tory act of my lifetime. We have put Party before Country, and when we still defend the Referendum as a democratic decision “will of the people” when we know it was based on lies, and criminal ones at that, we are not doing the right things by our people, we are failing them.
I am on the record of not being a fan of Jeremy Corbyn as leader but have been able to put that aside and stand as a Labour Candidate for both PCC and Parliament. I have had to defend his actions in hustings and I have put my misgivings aside for the broader benefit of the Labour party. However, he has not done the same and I believe he has let the Labour party down.
I had very high hopes to have Welsh Labour as a new home for community-based politics, and I do believe the majority of members that I have met have real community values, and I would hope that I can remain friends with many of you. However, I hate what the UK Labour party has become. We spend more time fighting amongst ourselves than fighting the opposition, more time worrying about the leader than those who need us most, more time shutting down the broad church that was our greatest asset.
I don’t believe my values have changed. I will work for local communities and for those who need us most. Where I can, I will support activities locally that help our residents. But I cannot stand by whilst the current UK Labour Party values cause me more shame than inspiration.