2/19/2013

Where is the Left in Britain?

I have often commented on the Left in Ireland but I don't think I have ever really looked at the Left in Britain. So in this vain I would ask the question, where is the Left in Britain?


I'm sure some of the more right wing readers would point to the Labour party but in my opinion they stopped being left wing several decades ago despite having some decent left wing members.

I have been lucky to meet, in my opinion, the four most prominent members of the British left in the last 40 years. Who was that you may ask? Tony Benn, Ken Livingstone, George Galloway and Arthur Scargill.

When I was completing my LPC in London in 2006/2007 I was a member of the Haldane Society. Haldane is the Socialist Lawyers Society and Michael Mansfield QC is the President along with notable legal professionals like Gareth Pierce who defended the Guilford Four and the Birmingham Six.

The AGM that year was in the College of Law in Bloomsbury where I was studying and Tony Benn was the main speaker. As me and a few friends walked into the room we found it empty but for Tony Benn and his coffee and a sandwich. He was a very unassuming man dressed in his cardigan like a friendly grandfather and we managed to speak to him for about a half hour before everyone arrived. His insight into Left wing politics and his instinctive understanding of the problems it faced was the best I had ever heard.

George Galloway I met on several occasions both at Sinn Fein events and also at NUS Annual Conferences in Blackpool during my time in QUB. While not as learnered as Tony Benn his oratory and caustic wit left me with in no doubt as to why he was so popular amongst sections of the British left.

Arthur Scargill I met at a Sinn Fein event in South Armagh. He spoke for almost 3 hours about the Miners Strike, his views on the current energy crisis, his views on Irish Republicanism and finally on the British left. A very interesting man who has lost none of his passion or his hatred of Neil Kinnock.

Ken Livingstone I met whilst attending his St Patricks Day Mayor's ball in London. Out of the 3 he was the most unassuming and humble in my opinion but with his links to Hugo Chavez, support of the Hunger Strikers and hatred of Thatcher he made his allegiances left in no doubt.

All four of these men are no longer involved in active politics and I'm left to ask who will now carry that torch? Certainly not Ed Milliband or Ed Balls, their positions are as close to left wing as Genghis Khan.

No comments: