He who fights, can lose. He who doesn’t fight, has already lost.
October 20, 2013 5 Comments
Anyone who thinks this blog is a comprehensive round-up of my political week is mistaken; but I do try to inject as much as I can. My desire, really, is to foster discourse across a variety of topics. In my humble way I think I am making Southend’s political scene an attractive place for debate. (And having just written that I realise that I can justifiably be accused of lacking modesty.)
Discussed elsewhere (on Tony and Nigel’s blogs) is the subject of whipping. I suspect that the wounded beast that is the Tory administration in Southend is thrashing around, desperate to ward of the blows that seem inevitably to lead to defeat next May.
I feel I should correct Cllr Cox’s assertion that the Labour Group is “mere lickspittle” to our leader. I believe in the party whipping system and see it as a necessary part of democracy. Our party debates in private and reaches an agreement. The whip merely ensures that each member does not undermine that democratic process. I am our Group’s whip for this year, and so far the whip has not been used. The debate on all-up elections, as far as Labour is concerned, was a free vote. The fact that we all eventually agreed merely demonstrates that the Conservative proposal was flawed. Cllr Cox could withdraw his comment, or think that I am lying. I admit I would be disappointed if he opts for the latter for, despite our political differences, I like him. I hope amongst my many failings I still maintain integrity.
Amongst my engagements this week was the Southend Sports Awards 2013. We had a bigger crowd this year, and it was a pleasure to see so much wonderful endeavour recognised. For the second year running I sat next to Cllr Carr (she was mayor last year). I make it twenty-nine years that I have been involved in sports administration (and some of that time as a competitor); sport is something that I think is important on many levels. It is not just about fitness or the acquisition of trophies, it is also character building.
Yesterday I attended the twelfth Essex Conference on Labour History – always excellent value. I met Philippa Bilton, first cousin three times removed of Emily Davison. This year is the centenary of Emily Davison’s untimely death – she tried to stop the King’s horse in the Derby. It was a real pleasure to chat with Philippa, who assured me she was politically neutral at these types of event. She did, however, express deep admiration for Keir Hardie – the Labour Party founder was a strong advocate for female suffrage. Phillippa gave one of the four lectures (hers was on the subject of the suffragette movement and left wing support for votes for women).
Philippa’s very personal race through the history of women’s suffrage was a timely reminder of the inheritance we have from the radicals of the past. She finished with a quote from Bertolt Brecht: “He who fights, can lose. He who doesn’t fight, has already lost.”
The other subjects covered were The Countess of Warwick (an unusual left-wing convert as well as mistress of King Edward VII), the causes of the First World War, and the agricultural workers strike in NW Essex in 1914. Ted Woodgate from the Workers Educational Association gave the talk on the agricultural strike, and it whilst it may not sound that exciting it was very good. He certainly weaves a good yarn.
The conference gave me an opportunity to catch up with a number of comrades that I had not seen for some time. It was a joint venture, sponsored by both the Essex Local Campaign Forum (successor to the Essex County Labour Party of which I was once secretary) and Labour Heritage.