March 7th, 2000
Dear Mr Blair,
The European Union are right to isolate the new Austrian regime until it proves its respect for human rights and democracy. I feel very strongly about this for the following reason. On my mother's side, two family members were shot by the Gestapo, and one by the NKVD. Yet another spent seven years in a Labour camp during the twentes and thirties for having been a political opponent of Stalin. Human rights and democracy are very precious, and must be defended.
However, you undermine the EUs credibility by failing to support democratic principles in your own party. The London and Wales Labour ballots were reminiscent of the rigged vote in 1903 which enabled Lenin to call his faction the Bolsheviks (ie majority), even though they were heavily outnumbered within the Russian Social Democratic Party. Any state employing such antidemocratic methods would be expelled from the EU! Are you really fit to be leader of a Western democracy? What kind of democrat thinks it's "radical" to replace a hereditary chamber with a largely appointed one? Perhaps you'd like to appoint MPs too? You clearly don't trust the people - that's why the people are losing trust in you!
As a Labour Party member for 20+ years, I am in despair. This is not what we expected when we voted to modernise our constitution. This is not the better society which my grandfather was suffering for when he was blacklisted for being a shop steward in the 1926 strike. Even a master of Orwellian doublethink would find it difficult to make an honest case for this latest gerrymander. And, come the next general election, can the British public really trust a party leader who treats his own members so shabbily?
The promise from Mr Livingstone not to run against the official candidate, was exacted by you under duress - like the school bully saying "say my rules are fair or you can't play with us." We the members of the Labour party did not approve of these bent rules, which you actually bent even more to ensure the result you wanted. Things were manipulated rather like the rotten and pocket boroughs in eighteenth century. The South London Coop could have been Old Sarum, which had seven electors who met under a tree and were told how to vote by "Diamond" Pitt; and Pauline Green was like the borough of Dunwich, which returned two members even though it had disappeared under the sea!
As a mathematician, I believe strongly that 60% is greater than 40%! I am one of the many members of the Labour Party who wrote to Mr Livingstone urging him to stand, for the sake of democracy. All members and former members I know feel that our party has been stolen from us, and are hoping that Ken will win. By accepting this tainted nomination, Frank has effectively consented to receive stolen goods. If the Labour party implodes now it will be partly his fault, but mainly yours. You promised that New Labour would mean an end to the block vote: "it has to go", you said, but renaged on your promise. Members' loyalty has been stretched beyond breaking point - we do not owe you anything now!
Your supporters who say that this system is the same which elected you are twisting the truth - like George Orwell's pigs saying that "thou shalt not sleep in a bed with sheets" is the same as "thou shalt not sleep in a bed." Such twisting of the truth is worse than a straight lie - it is insulting people's intelligence in the hope that they won't notice.
Very remarkably, even my
mum, a died in the wool Tory, wants Ken to win. She admires his humour,
his lack of pomposity, and, above all, the fact that his soul is not for
sale. Ken Livingstone was never one of the people who made Labour
unelectable. If he had been, Mrs Thatcher wouldn't have needed to
abolish the GLC. What made Labour unelectable in the early eighties,
at least partly, was back bench MPs who didn't have the courage to
stand up for what they really believed in - people who dared not raise
their heads above the parapet until they thought it was safe - people like
you in fact, Mr Blair!
The condition upon which
God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance;
which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime,
and the punishment of his guilt. John Philpot Curran.
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