Owen Jones is right – Britain doesn’t have enough lefty campaign groups

Posted on January 22, 2013

Owen Jones, that youthful paladin of the Left, has come up with an innovative idea: a new, left wing campaigning organisation. Why didn’t anyone think of that before?

Maybe he’s got a point – there is a total vacuum of socialist organisations in Britain. I mean, I’ve racked my brains and the only ones I can think of are:

the Socialist Workers Party, UK Uncut, Occupy, RESPECT, the TUC, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, the Communist Party of Britain, the Fabian Society, Compass, the Socialist Unity Network, Socialist Resistance, Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts, Youth Fight for Jobs, the Scottish Socialist Party, Solidarity, the Socialist Party, the Stop the War Coalition, the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, Coalition Against Cuts, False Economy, the Anti Academies Alliance, the Anti-Atos Alliance, Boycott Workfare, 38 Degrees, Campaign For A Fair Society, the Coalition of Resistance, the Other TaxPayers’ Alliance, the Public Services Alliance, Cuts Disgust, Defend Our NHS, the High Pay Centre, IPPR, Unite the Resistance, Right To Work, Lost Arts, the Labour Representation Committee, Queer Resistance, Tax Justice Network, the Fawcett Society, Left Unity, Women Against the Cuts and of course Owen’s own think tank “CLASS”.

With such a shortage of organisations, it’s clear that what Britain really needs is a new left wing outfit.

As Owen says, “it is a mystery that such a network does not already exist”. I guess it would do, if it wasn’t for all the splitters

Yes to AV – funded by bloodstained Soviet gold

Posted on November 10, 2010

There are many reasons why the country should vote a solid No to AV in the forthcoming referendum (they are excellently laid out here) but one of the most unexpected came out this weekend. It was covered in the Sunday Times, whose paywall sadly resulted in it garnering little follow up, but it seemed worth picking up on.

It turns out that the headquarters of Unlock Democracy, who are prominent leaders of the Yes campaign, were bequeathed to them by none other than the Communist Party of Great Britain. The CPGB, as we now know, was funded by the murderous Soviet regime, and went on to become the New Politics Network – which then merged with Charter 88 to form Unlock Democracy. By the candid admission of Unlock Democracy’s Peter Facey, this means that “Moscow gold is ultimately helping the Yes campaign.”

I met Peter Facey when we both testified on MPs’ expenses to Sir Christopher Kelly’s Inquiry last year. He seemed a nice enough chap, albeit one with some pretty bizarre views on how government and democracy should work. I doubt that his house is secretly full of red flags and vinyl copies of “Now That’s What I Call Internationale Speeches 1952″ – though who knows whether Unlock Democracy still has former CPGB members on its books.

As bizarre a story as this may be, it does matter.

How can Unlock Democracy keep a straight face as they claim to be “the UK’s leading campaign for democracy, rights and freedoms” when their very existence is underpinned by the donations of stolen gold from a (happily destroyed) murderous regime? The people who were killed, enslaved and robbed in the process of raising the funds to buy their office at 6 Cynthia Street would have dearly loved some “democracy, rights and freedoms” but they were denied it.

More importantly, how can the Yes to AV campaign seriously accept material or support from such bloodstained sources?

The opinion polls show that the more the public learn about AV, the less they like it. On this distasteful evidence, the same will be true of the Yes campaign itself.