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Thursday, 02 June 2005



I've been reading your stuff for AGES, and loved your blog, but I'm a bit perturbed by your links with Waging Peace/ Vote 4 Peace. There was an article on Red Star about Henry Tinsley and his big cash donations to Blair and New Labour... then of course I read others' concerns about the "anti-war" candidates v4p was backing. Also, it seemed no-one standing against a labour mp was being backed. could you explain why?

Finally, I'd be interested in your views on the forthcoming london local elections - are you urging people to vote against Labour?

Paul Hilder

Jen - thanks!

In answer to your question a little while ago on an old post, V4P is still up and running (at - it was specifically for the 2005 general elections, but has run a couple of small campaigns against the royal prerogative and the Al-Jazeera leakers' indictments by the secret state.

Waging Peace and V4P were about as pure as you can get, in terms of practical electoral politics and winning seats in a first-past-the-post system. It was all about pro-peace candidates in a position to win. I think one Lib Dem was backed against a pro-war Labour candidate, though we didn't make a song and dance about this and it was a dilemma for some of us. Mostly V4P was a "progressive alliance" ticket (there weren't any anti-war Tories in marginal seats!).

The Red Star question - well, their assumption is that anyone who made contact with Labour or supported it during that period was tainted, and I think that's too cynical for words. If Henry will allow me, I'll paint him as a principled, totally decent and Blair-disillusioned former Labour backer, who happens to have money and do something with it other than what you see in the celebrity pages, and who will support anyone good except Tories (for reasons of broader progressive politics). He's all right - and I'd hope we can agree it was no crime to support Labour in 1997. I wish there were more like him.

Finally, I wouldn't urge people to vote against Labour in the London local elections on the peace issue: local elections should be for local issues, and it would be a shame if local democracy got hijacked by bad foreign policy! I think it's inevitable that Labour will get a bloody nose again in these elections, though: it's a party which badly needs renewal from top to bottom, as many of its good people will admit.

As I've said before, politics involves human beings trying to do things, and human beings aren't saints - whether they're politicians, voters or citizen activists. But there's a danger that we spend so much time trying to debunk each other that we end up never achieving anything positive in politics...


Thanks, Paul. Of course you are right about there being a danger that we "spend so much time trying to debunk each other that we end up never achieving anything" - a la "Peoples Front of Judea" - but it is important to know who we are getting into bed with! I couldn't support a campaign without looking into it, and into the people involved (and I'm sure you wouldn't either, Paul!)

I'm not sure how I feel about the local elections yet - might voting against Labour not give some in the Labour Party the kick they need to start standing up to Blair? I'll think on it further, though.

Keep up the good blog... we missed you there for a while! Hope you're enjoying fatherhood.

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