Labour aspires to govern all of the UK, including Northern Ireland. Yet it denies the people of Northern Ireland the basic democratic right to vote for Labour Party candidates. We are not allowed to vote for the party that will set our taxes and decide if we have to go to war.
In denying the people of Northern Ireland the opportunity to vote Labour, the party is suppressing the possibility of building an anti-sectarian, cross-community, left of centre Labour politics that can challenge the prevailing communally-based head count politics.
The Labour Party NEC 2016-19 Review’s flawed report gave the following reasons for its policy of suppressing Labour candidates in Northern Ireland elections:
- Labour Party members in Northern Ireland would have to take a view on ‘contentious issues‘ making it difficult for the party to be ‘cross-community‘. This ignored the fact that LPNI members are already ‘cross-community’ – as democratic socialists LPNI members disavow contentious politics based on the national question.
- Standing Labour Party candidates risked causing conflict in workplaces and union branches. This claim ignored the fact that three major affiliated unions (GMB, UNITE and USDAW) gave evidence to the Review supporting our demand for the right to stand Labour candidates. Incredibly, the Review argued that our local communally-based parties (such as the DUP and Sinn Fein) could better represent the trade union interest!
- It is a ‘long-standing convention’ that sister parties do not stand candidates against each other. This claim ignored the fact that there is nothing in the Statutes of the Party of European Socialists, or anywhere else, to substantiate this. It is an insupportable stance, given the SDLP has been canvassing for Fianna Fail candidates against Irish Labour in Irish elections.
- Labour Party NI representatives could not be rigorously impartial honest brokers and guarantors of the Peace Process. The Good Friday Agreement brought an end to the bloodshed, but it did not, and cannot, deliver reconciliation, because the sectarian divide generates the salaries of the local sectarian-based politicians. Only the Labour Party can build on the settlement of the constitutional question which is written into the Good Friday Agreement. Only the Labour Party can stand anti-sectarian democratic socialist candidates in Northern Ireland, committed to impartiality, and thus provide a viable path to reconciliation for all of the diverse people of Northern Ireland.
LPNI fringe event: Tuesday 28 September 6.00 pm
New Madeira Hotel, 19-23 Marine Parade, Brighton. Green Room
Why is the Labour Party propping up the sectarian political stalemate in Northern Ireland?
Chair: Erskine Holmes Labour Party in Northern Ireland (LPNI)
Speakers: Sir George Howarth MP; Margaret Gregg GMB;
Emily Thornberry MP Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade;
Louise Haigh MP Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (invited);
Ged Nash TD Irish Labour Party;
Boyd Black LPNI
Contact: Boyd Black 07715045985