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

Ken Livingstone and Lee Jasper reunited

Posted on April 23, 2011

Do you remember Lee Jasper? As Ken Livingstone’s Director for Policing and Equalities in City Hall for 8 years, Jasper was one of Red Ken’s closest advisors and confidantes. Having been suspended in February 2008 due to a storm over alleged dubious dealings at the London Development Agency, he resigned in March 2008 when it turned out he was secretly sending “sexually charged” emails to a woman who ran projects that he helped to get taxpayer funding for.

Jasper’s reputation soured the entire Ken campaign in 2008 – and since then Ken has steered well clear of him, at least in public. The message has been that this is a new, clean Ken Livingstone, without dodgy mates like Jasper on his bandwagon any more.

How surprising, then, to see the list of speakers at the TUC’s May Day Rally in an email sent out by Lambeth TUC, and since sent on to  me:

Ken Livingstone (Labour Party NEC member and candidate for London Mayoral election)
Matt Wrack – FBU General Secretary
Tony Benn
Sarah Veale – TUC
Lee Jasper – Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts
Eylem Ozdemir – Refugee Workers Cultural Association

It seems the old band is back together again. (And yes, you did read that right – Jasper really has set up a group that believes the cuts are racist, and he really has called it “BARAC” in a heroically desperate attempt to get some Obama-glitz-by-association.)

According to his propaganda, we are meant to believe that Ken Livingstone has changed, but here is, once again, sharing a platform with the same old cronies, banging the same old drum. The leopard hasn’t changed his spots – and who really believes he’s been trying to?