Blast from the past

I see Terry Fields has died. He was a Militant MP who sat on the Labour benches from 1983 until 1992 when, having been expelled from the Labour Party, he lost out to the official Labour candidate at the general election.

Militant was the elephant in Labour’s sitting room right up until Neil Kinnock’s inspiring 1985 Bournemouth conference speech when he famously – and rightly – attacked the “grotesque chaos” caused by Militant in Liverpool. After that, the Trots’ number was up and gradually the Forces of Goodness and Light forced the Forces of Darkness from our midst; in other words we expelled the sods.

After 11 years in government, internal disputes in opposition two decades ago now look like the equivalent of two bald men fighting over a comb. But it was important that that fight happened and that it was won by the right side.

We had our own expulsions in Glasgow Cathcart in which I was closely involved, so I bear some of the scars from that period. So when I hear the term “Trot” bandied about to describe anyone to the left of Jon Cruddas, I take it with a pinch of salt. Real Trots – proper Trots – despise democracy and favour violent overthrow of democratically elected governments; supporting marginally higher tax rates for people earning more than £100,000 a year isn’t really up there with taking control of the commanding heights of the economy in the Big Book of Trotskyism.

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4 Comments

Filed under Labour, Parliament, Politics

4 responses to “Blast from the past

  1. wobblybob

    The end of militant, with their valiant struggle against Thatcherism, was also the beginning of the end of Labour as a socialist party.

    Now all we have left is this party of ‘tories in red’ more detested than the real tories by many traditional labour voters. A party who their last token comedy socialist let slip think socialism is something to do with eating kippers.

  2. Steve McQueen

    “So why is everyone so bloody miserable?”
    In answer to your question, Mr Harris, the honest citizens of this country are feeling disullusioned because instead the ‘right’ side winning the battle, people allowed themselves to be hoodwinked into buying ‘socialist-lite’ and all that it has left is a bitter taste in their mouths. What staggers me in the aftermath of my father’s sad demise, is the overwhelming assertion that as a man of principle he received posthumous respect from his adversaries. I’m sure that his family takes solace from every printed and spoken word that Terry ever uttered as he meant every last syllable; unlike your ‘honourable’ self, Terry Fields never had to apologise for anything he ever said.

  3. I notice, Tom, that you gloss over the stance that Terry Fields took, particularly his belief that Labour MPs should live lives which are broadly in keeping with the constituents who voted for them. It’s ironic that his death should happen at a time when the question of MPs’ expenses is in the spotlight. To quote your now-notorious query, “why are people so bloody miserable?”, well, it might just have something to do with the fact that New Labour (a Kinnock creation, remember) defends a corrupt expenses system while lecturing low-paid workers on restraint.
    The “Forces of Goodness and Light” leave a legacy of an illegal war, sycophancy to the wealthy, Northern Rock, PFI, etc. It’s true, Tom, that you “expelled the sods”, meaning that it became your party to run…right into electoral oblivion at the next election.

  4. nibbs

    Now Notorious query? How odd to hear presumably people of the left join forces with the Daily Mail and a shadow Tory minister. As I recall Tom asked a very valid question as to growing unhappiness in relatively affluent societies and why it was we appeared happier when we were much poorer. It’s a good question and sparked an interesting debate.

    The forces of goodness and light left a minimum wage (remember £1 per hour?) and better NHS (remember 10 hour waits in casualty being the norm) record investment in education, a tax credit system that gave low paid families a chance,sure start centres to help deprived areas….yes, there’s a lot more they should have done but the far left are never happier when we’ve got a Tory government.

    As for Militant they were a bloody nuisance inside the Labour Party and helped ensure many moderate members stopped attending CLP meetings during the mid 80s.I know, I was one of them in Knowsley on Merseyside.They choose to fight the Labour Party from within rather than the Tories.

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