So what on earth was I doing in Liverpool four days after coming out of hospital? That was a question many of my friends and family were asking.
On May 14th 2016 I was an active trade unionist, member of the Labour Party (but not active as I had a restricted post), working 80 hours a week to pay off debt from my stormy professional and personal life.
On May 15 I was lying in a hospital bed wondering I would ever be able to sit up without help again: I had suffered a stroke which was to change my life.
I had a lot of time to think!!
Over the next four months in hospital I looked back over my life, particularly my political life, and wondered what the future held. I spent hours doing what I could for the Remain campaign, Jeremy’s re-election campaign and the anti-purge campaign. This was mostly limited to Facebook and Twitter (sorry anonymous!) and my left thumb got a lot of exercise. I was however able as time progressed to venture out to Trade Union meetings – Unite Branch, Regional and National – all on a hospital wheelchair pushed by nurses, taxi drivers, railway employees and comrades. I wrote and got a resolution through my Branch and submitted to Region against Tom Watson and Ian MacNicol when the coup and the purge were taking place.
I was discharged 4 days before TWT and headed up to Liverpool in a lift cadged online with my mobility scooter (which I was standing on in the above photo) and a small suitcase. Jeremy had caught my imagination, I had always respected him for his tenacity, his sincerity and the fact that most of his views coincided with my own.
I wanted to be among like minded people to celebrate or commiserate.
While we were celebrating the right were organising, nearly managing a majority on the NEC, binding our councillors on the question of budgets etc. So we have to organise, to be focussed, and to be disciplined.
We have to have policy as an organisation. It has to decide democratically on reselection, deselection, PLP representation and accountability, and give training and guidance to our members on how to strengthen Labour in the service of the working class not the bankers, the big business owners or the state of Israel.
If the leaders of our movement don’t reflect the grassroots there are two options:
- Control, mandate and if necessary replace the leaders
- Atomize, confuse and if necessary replace all (or some) of the grassroots
Lansman has tried to do the latter with his ‘like it or leave’ challenge.
I say we stay, choose the former, and choose workers’ democracy