“Jeremy Corbyn has been elected by the voters of Islington North with a large majority time after time because he is absolutely devoted to representing people & is embedded in the community.”Islington Friends of Jeremy Corbyn
Like hundreds of thousands of people, many of us joined or supported the Labour Party because we wanted to be part of a movement which would tackle injustice and build a better society. We looked at the NHS and saw that a Labour Government could deliver transformative change, improving the lives of generations.
The pandemic has shone a light on the growing structural inequality in our society, and we are now seeing clearly the obscene way in which money has been given to the Tories’ cronies whilst Universal Credit for ordinary people is cut by £20 per week.
Rents and utility bills are rising rapidly, with inflation outstripping pay. The profiteering and corruption at the heart of government cry out for action and for justice.
And yet at the moment, the Labour Party leadership seems to be more concerned with attacks on its own members than with setting out a vision for the society we could build.
Every day brings more stories of people suspended for flimsy reasons, for no stated reason or for retrospective alleged breaches of proscriptions which were not in place at the time that someone spoke at a meeting. Factionalism is preventing good Councillors who have represented their constituents from being able to be selected by the local membership, and is undermining the ability of Constituency Labour Parties to campaign in their local communities. The membership is the bedrock of the Labour Party and the party can only thrive when members are active and engaged, and are able to debate issues and make decisions about collective action.
In this context, the demand to restore the Whip to Jeremy Corbyn is not only about his individual situation but cuts to the heart of what the Labour Party is for. The Party was created by the Trades Unions to be a voice for working class people in Parliament. It should be a democratic organisation that empowers people to make a change in their communities, to campaign in the common interest and to elect people to local, regional and national positions who reflect Labour values.
The Whip was suspended by the Parliamentary Labour Party despite the fact that a panel of the National Executive Committee had reinstated his membership having considered all the evidence. Keir Starmer received a mandate from members on the basis that he would bring unity to the party – during his leadership campaign, he said that he would “Unite our party, promote pluralism and improve our culture”. What has happened is the complete opposite, and undermines any sense of natural justice.
We lose credibility with our supporters and voters if we do not live out our commitments – Jeremy Corbyn has been elected by the voters of Islington North with a large majority time after time because he is absolutely devoted to representing people and is embedded in the community. People come out of shops to thank him for his support, and when members are out canvassing there are repeated stories of how Jeremy got someone rehoused, or supported them at a time of crisis. He listens to people and takes action, and that inspires people to get involved in campaigns themselves.
Islington Friends of Jeremy Corbyn is a group of people in the constituency who supported Jeremy as our Labour MP and who are campaigning to have him restored as our Labour MP.
On this one year anniversary of the Whip being removed, we urge people to take action – as Jeremy has said “We are all in the Labour party because we want the Labour party to be a vehicle for social change. There is a thirst for debate in the party, and all those who have joined haven’t joined without a purpose.” Let’s unite to demonstrate that our purpose is to build a mass movement for real change – in the interests of the many, not the few.
- Please follow us on twitter @Islington4JC and join our twitterstorm at 7 pm on Thursday 18 November #RestoretheWhip #ReinstateJeremyCorbyn
- Email your Labour MP and ask them what they are doing to resolve the situation and bring the party together again – a template letter is on our website (www.islingtonfriendsofJeremyCorbyn.uk)
- Email the NEC to ask them to take action and to ensure that the party upholds fair and transparent processes. The Labour Party represents different strands of thought and different socialist traditions – this has been a source of strength which is now under attack.
- Share the letter from a number of Jewish constituents of Jeremy Corbyn who support the campaign and want to see the Whip restored without delay (https://islingtonfriendsofjeremycorbyn.uk/statement-from-jewish-members-of-islington-north-clp/)