Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Lessons from Red Clydeside

In her biography of her father John Mclean Nan Milton wrote of the election of the Red Clydsiders in the General Election of 1922 and refers to the leader the ILP’s 10 Cldeysiders ,James Maxton addressing Glasgow City hall before departing for Westminster.

People talk about the atmosphere of the House of Commons getting the better of the Labour men. They will se the atmosphere of the Clyde getting the better of the House of Commons. All the Labour members are personal friends. We are not leaving Glasgow as so many individuals but as a team working towards a goal-and that is the abolition of poverty.

Eighteen months later in the same hall. Maxton has a very different tale to tell. In unambiguous terms he illustrates the inevitable loss of vitality and growing frustration of the group when separated from their popular roots #, and confounded by the arrogance and contempt pf English MPs who regarded them as parochial bumpkins. Maxton clearly anticipated the danger to political integrity….such surroundings would breed, and his solution was short and unequivocal one. The Clydediders must return to the Clyde and take up the challenge of creating a Socialist Commonwealth in Scotland.

(Nan Milton John MacLean Pluto Press1973.
The sad thing is that they failed to do so and the lesson was never really learned.

Similar Stories can be told in Wales but in reality Westminster absorbed the Radicals  here flattered them and it was not long before they were enthusiastic members of the established order.

Without a doubt the future of Wales and Scotland lies in the Assembly and Scottish Parliament and it is to Adam Price’s credit that he got out of that institutionalised cesspit before he too was corrupted.

We still need to send MPs from Wales and Scotland the Iraq and Afghan wars were a prime example and it is amazing that Adam and his Plaid and SNP colleagues spoke for a large number of people throughout the UK (How the progressive left in England must wish for a similar left of centre parties there)
If labour lose this election then it is probable that all three “main” parties will be led by public school Oxbridge educated elite who have no idea of the problems of the majority of us and do not care because they see their votes as not counting. It time to re-establish a new Redclydeside mentality in both Wales as well as Scotland.

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