Owen Jones and Ash Sarkar (Remainers) withdrew from Tuesday’s event because Eddie Dempsey (Leaver) would be on the same platform. Is that right? Is that what I heard? There’s been a lot of that going on lately.
***Wednesday update: oh well, that event didn’t go at all as expected. An MP advocating remain, who was billed to speak refused to be on a platform with a Trade Unionist who advocated a socialist leave, lots of argument ensued and some nasty rumours and “I didn’t say that”s got going, so we still didn’t get to hear pro-democracy arguments from both camps, so no-one got to consider both sides.
How do they survive in the House, if they can’t face someone who disagrees with them on a political choice? Please, let’s practice comradely debate and spread the word – being disagreed with is not fatal, it does not have to be vindictive and it most certainly isn’t ‘offensive’ or ‘hate speech’. It’s called political debate, and we need some.***
On Tuesday, 3rd September, if you go to Parliament Square – which I hope you will – or watch events unfold online, if you can’t get to Parliament Square – you may have a chance to listen to Laura Pidcock, an MP who knows her politics, knows her constituents, and is in politics because she believes in people, that they should not be left to suffer, that they deserve better – you may also have a chance to listen to Eddie Dempsey – a Trades Unionist who knows his politics, knows his fellow workers, and is in politics because he believes in people, that they should not be left to suffer, that they deserve better.
And they will probably be telling very different stories.
Leave or Remain, Remain or Leave – who drew that line down the middle of us all? A Tory – David Cameron. Who made it into an issue to hate each other over? To de-platform, to slander, and to refuse to hear each other? Who whipped up the hate? Nigel Farage for one – with lots of help from a lot of Tories.
Who has forced it to a stand-off by threatening to close Parliament? A Tory. The man who boasts that he defended the bankers when they folded on us, and demanded vast sums from the government, and left us with housing problems, work problems, health problems, left us with poverty, anger and bitterness.
We know, when we stop to think, that the poison that was bubbling around, the fuel for the anger, is class hatred – and we know neither Cameron nor Farage nor Johnson are on the side of the many – nor are the “nice” Tories, who want to Remain and stay nice and safe on top of the social heap. Nor are the anonymous bankers who funded the hate-filled EU campaigns on EITHER side.
And for many of us, only now are the ACTUAL arguments for Remaining or Leaving beginning to circulate in the national conversation.
If, like me, you go to Parliament Square on Tuesday, or listen to the speeches online, please can we do it in a new spirit – let’s listen to ALL the speeches, and for all their differences, remember they come from people who might just have something we need to hear. Let’s remember that if we demand a General Election now, we’ll have time to listen and to think and, if we’re lucky enough to get the Tories out, maybe we’ll get what we didn’t get from David Cameron – an informed choice between Leave and Remain.
Shall we actually try researching that, and talking it over during the Election Campaign?
Here’s your starter for ten – In my town, the local council is desperate to stay in the EU because it’s about the only organisation they can still get grant funds from. I have huge sympathy with that view – but think the EU is largely a bankers’ organisation, one that ruined Greece and didn’t do much better by Spain – but I voted Remain, because I figured there was no way a Leave under a Tory government would be good news. “We can’t leave because we’d fall into the arms of the WTO” is a daft thing to say when we know the EU was/is setting up their own form of the banker-takes-all trade rules – and I worry that the EU would resist a genuinely socialist government big but I can see that neither Boris Johnson nor the Brexit Party are our friends, because they are all on the side of the big banks, and would crash us out without solving the problems Westminster has made for Ireland and Scotland and our NHS – so for me, it has to be a General Election, and a Corbyn-led government, which would seek to give us an informed choice in our own time.
I wish we’d had a Labour Government two years ago, one that would stay for a bit and test the integrity of the EU by attempting some real socialism.
I don’t think it’s simple
Some pretty heavyweight banker-people in the EU have actually expressed regret over what they did to Greece. Maybe that regret, plus the looming climate disaster, is beginning to change them. Maybe a Corbyn/McDonnell government would push that change along. If not, maybe we should Leave after we’ve tried them out.
On Tuesday in Parliament Square, you may also get a chance to listen to Aaron Bastani, who is of the opinion that Mr Johnson can’t possibly be performing a coup, because, in or out of the EU, we haven’t got a proper democracy to break. And there will no doubt be others there, with ideas the person next to you might not agree with.
So as well as a General Election, and a chance to think, maybe it’s time to be demanding a written constitution, with rules politicians can’t just bend and break to suit themselves. And maybe we should demand the right to sack politicians that lie to us with dire consequences, that make us all so fearfully, hatefully angry – but one thing’s for sure – you should do your best to be friends with whoever’s standing next to you, whatever they think.
IN THE MEANTIME
The Election, and the campaign to get the Tories out, are things we can work on together – and together is what we need more than anything, as we struggle with the money problems, the health, the housing and the environment problems the Tories have left us with. The choice at the end of that road need not be full of hate. Enjoy the speeches in Parliament Square, and think on them.
I hope to see you on the campaign trail soon.