Leadership must show authority

by Steve Forrest

Like many thousands of others, I have received an email from the Labour Party informing me that I have been suspended.

The email alluded to an issue of conduct at a meeting, but in what is an affront to the premise of natural justice the letter informs me that full details will be provided at a later date.

I have been a member since 1985 and have held many posts — CLP Chair, Conference delegate, stood for council — and I am currently an EC member in Harrow West CLP.

I remained in the Labour Party throughout the Blair years advocating the ideas of socialism and a democratic Labour Party alongside Jeremy Corbyn and others in what was at that time a minority opinion.

I proudly defended Walter Wolfgang at the 2005 Conference as he was physically ejected from the Labour Party conference — a man of 82 — and was duly thrown out with him, only to receive an apology from Tony Blair and the Party Chair the next day and be readmitted.

There are now three prominent left wing activists in Harrow West CLP who have been suspended from the Party, two officers and a councillor. This in my view is no accident and is a deliberate attempt to silence the voice of the left in the Party at a local level in preparation for the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader.

This is an organised purge that would make McCarthy proud of the tactics, in order to isolate Corbyn and take back control of the Party from a left socialist movement to the calm waters of austerity-lite.

As socialists in the Labour Party we must come together united and determined to confront the purge, as what it represents is a struggle for the future of the Labour Party and at its heart a class struggle.

This fight against the purge must be led by Jeremy Corbyn, our Party leader, and John McDonnell, who need to put their authority and show leadership in this critical battle.

A failure to realise the importance of this battle for the future of our Party and the steps that are needed to be taken to win power to the members from the bureacracy would be a grave error of judgement.

We must defeat the purge as part of the struggle to win the Labour Party to the ideas of socialism and the vision of a world of hope. It would be a pivotal moment in Party history.

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