Just thought I should write in and clear up some mistruths and maybe misconceptions about me that I have read on the blog and have been posted on social media. Firstly it is important to always remember “A lie repeated and unchallenged becomes the truth” and I wouldn’t want your readers or those reading social media being misled either deliberately or by accident.
In relation to my political affiliations and views I have never been a member of the Socialist Workers party nor have I ever attended any of their meetings. I have given quotes to the press association in the past which were then reported in the Socialist jottings along with many other tabloid newspapers.
To be clear I have only ever been a Labour party member and I only joined the party three years ago when I believed that there would be a change in leadership that would see the Labour party return to their roots following the defeat in 2015. Labour was promising what I can only describe as pale blue policies to make cuts but not at the level the Tories wanted to back in 2015 and before and I felt that I could not support the party during that time.
I was bought up in a very working class family with my mother working as a Secretary in London and my father a council worker for Greenwich council where he had started work as a labourer, laying paving slabs then steadily getting promoted into management roles before his premature death from Cancer at 57 years old. Both had been Labour voters most of their lives and I had developed a keen interest in following politics from a young age.
In May 2013 I stood in the Kent County Council elections as a TUSC candidate, at the time the party had been led and heavily influenced by senior trade union officials such as Bob Crow RMT with PCS, FBU, POA & NUT (now NEU) all being included as part of the National Steering committee. TUSC only required candidates to agree to a platform against all forms of cuts and anti-austerity and there were no conditions as to views on policy when out campaigning. This agreement suited me so that I could campaign freely although I was already concerned that TUSC had no real policy direction.
Soon after being elected as part of the POA NEC in August 2013 I was invited to attend the TUSC steering committee meetings at RMT HQ near Kings Cross. It soon occurred to me that TUSC was more of a campaign against cuts then it would ever be an alternative to the mainstream political parties and I began to raise my concerns. There was no real desire to come into conflict with any Labour candidate that stated that they would be anti-cuts and it seemed to me pointless to be promoting TUSC as an alternative party when they were not prepared to challenge each and every seat.
Then in 2014 whilst TUSC were making preparations for the General election in 2015, the Socialist Party offered to fund most of the TUSC candidates with in excess of £200,000 that they had made available and they wanted commitments in return for the cash. I disagreed with taking the money as it made TUSC as bad as any other political party i.e. beholden to those who fund it and I made my points to the TUSC leadership. The TUSC leadership decided to accept the money and I parted company there and then, not because I was anti the Socialist Party but because I did not agree with the politics behind the cash. I did not attend anymore steering committee meetings.
Whilst I have known some of NAPO’s current NEC a long time I have no-one “sponsoring” my campaign, writing my replies to this blog or else. I have chosen freely of my own accord to stand because I wanted to and I have campaigned on my own views, thoughts and beliefs. I guess in this case the description of being “Maverick” could then be considered accurate. I have always been one to speak out and challenge things rather than go with the crowd. Obviously this does bring me into conflict with others, especially those that have held court or power for a long time and do not like newbies entering the frame and unsettling the applecart. However once I have had my opportunity to state my case and fight for my views I can of course accept the consensus.
I would not accept that I am a ‘chancer’ though, more someone who is prepared to take a chance and fight for something worth doing rather than not bothering to fight in the first place. As I’m sure most of your readers have already established I will not take things lying down and I will always continue to state my case and argue my point, doesn’t matter how many people try to belittle me or attack my reputation I will always respond to mistruths and misconceptions.
In my experience far too many people make noise and then when elected they fall into the trap of following the consensus, this will never be for me and although I’m fully aware that this approach is littered with stress, frustration and sometimes disappointment it is the only way I know how to operate when it comes to tackling the big issues.
I hope that this clarifies some points with your readers Jim and thanks again for continuing to post my jottings.