TUSC has to try to stand in the South Shields by-election. This will be a high profile by-election. A safe Labour seat means many fewer Labour voters will feel anxious about splitting the anti-Tory vote.
Voters hate sitting MPs forcing a by-election for no good reason. And does David Miliband have a good reason? He couldn’t become leader of his party which he’d use as a stepping stone on his ambition to be Prime Minister. But he could make loads more dosh in the United States of America.
David Miliband has been caught supporting torture. He is loved by corrupt war criminal Tony Blair. By-elections are few and far between. The left of Labour has to unite to have a candidate who is going to challenge not just this Blairite, but that other Miliband who got elected to move away from Blairism, appealing to trade unionists and anti-war campaigners then to pocket their votes to swing behind the Blairite agenda.
Ed wants cash donations from millions of trade unionists to subsidize his putting the boot into all of us who want organized resistance to the capitalist agenda of austerity, austerity, and yet more austerity; austerity for the 99% while subsidizing the rich to have second homes.
Owen Jones is trying to win kudos for putting up resistance to Ed Miliband’s surrender all across the board. Credit where it’s due. However, he has to put his money where his mouth is. He has to decide whether he wants parliament to be stuffed with ever more craven puppets who neuter themselves, allowing their strings pulled by Ed Miliband. Is that what Owen Jones is going to argue for in South Shields? Or will his commitment to Left Unity and a Peoples Parliament see advocate a choice for the working class people of South Shields and elsewhere? A real choice? A socialist choice.
Ken Loach’s appeal for Left Unity embraces many good people, including the unanimous support of TUSC’s Independent Socialist Network. I am very pleased about that. However, dragged into the orbit of Ken Loach’s appeal are far less principled individuals: right-wing centrists and ultra-individualistic anarchists. These people don’t want any credible electoral challenge toEd Miliband. They are witch hunters. They want to attach themselves to this project for sectarian motives, ever-fearful that TUSC may eventually get its act together and pick up the left-wing protest vote.
The South Shields by-election has to see TUSC try to work with Ken Loach, getting in touch with him immediately. And it has to appeal to the rest of the left to opt for a single candidate, one acceptable to all of us. We should even try to bring Arthur Scargill and George Galloway on board too, if possible. They may refuse, but then they bear responsibility for the split vote. If we can bring everyone in from the cold then that is a good thing. If they prefer to remain isolated, then that too is their choice.