The North Rebels: Driscoll’s Call to Action Independents Emerging Parties Against Labour’s Stagnation

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Jamie Driscoll
Jamie Driscoll

The exclusion of Jamie Driscoll from Labour’s ranks is a damning indictment of Sir Keir Starmer’s spineless leadership. This supposed moderniser has in fact revealed himself as a reactionary intent on purging the last vestiges of principle from a Party that has utterly lost its way.

Jamie Driscoll, the North of Tyne mayor, should by rights have been embraced as the embodiment of Labour’s future – a man of the people who dared to speak truth to power and rouse the slumbering idealism of those betrayed by this bankrupt Establishment.

Interviewing Jamie Driscoll, Owen Jones, a prominent left-wing voice closely aligned with Corbyn, announced his departure from Labour this week. He now aims to establish a network of challengers to Labour in key constituencies, seeking to curb its arrogant abandonment of principle.

Owen Jones’s interview with Jamie Driscoll, well worth a watch.

Instead, the pitiless Starmer machine, terrified by any hint of radicalism, callously cast him into the wilderness for the crime of holding fast to an authentic Labour vision. One can only assume they recognised in Mr Driscoll’s evident decency and integrity a searing rebuke to their own hollow opportunism.

Jamie Driscoll: A Martyr for Labour’s Forgotten Ideals

Now, this brave tribune of the left sounds the alarm that a Starmer government, shorn of ambition and capitulating to the dismal orthodoxies of our age, will prove a mere placebo. Its refusal to boldly reinvest in decimated public services, to dare to re-energise our moribund economy through visionary collective endeavour, can only sow the seeds of a resurgent far-right backlash.

Running as an independent candidate for North East mayor against Labour’s Kim McGuinness, Driscoll advocates for voters to support independent and Green candidates in the general election. He asserts that such a move would not hinder Labour’s ability to form a government but rather disrupt the status quo and advocate for a fairer electoral system.

Remember that we are a great crusading body, armed with a fervent spirit for the reign of righteous­ness on earth.
Let us go forward in this fight in the spirit of William Blake:
I will not cease from mental strife,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

Clement Attlee: Leader’s speech, Scarborough 1951
Clement Attlee photograph Yousuf Karsh

For the deluded Starmerites indulge in the fantasy that meek acceptance of a cruel, unjust status quo can somehow salve the terrible wounds inflicted by decades of unfettered capitalism. Their magical thinking is a wretched abdication of Labour’s historic mission – to strive, to build, to transform in pursuit of a genuinely prosperous and equitable society.

It is left to honourable mavericks such as Mr Driscoll and the indomitable George Galloway to uphold the flame of democratic socialism, to reject the futile panacea of this “magic growth bunny” and instead inspire the masses with a bold, Modernist vision of collective empowerment through economic and social renewal.

Galloway’s seismic triumph in Rochdale on the platform of his Workers Party shall send tremors through the venal halls of Westminster. This irrepressible lion of the left has conquered a former Labour citadel by proudly raising the banner of genuine socialist transformation – investment in jobs, homes and infrastructure to revitalise Britain’s ravaged communities and restore their dignity.

Nor is the grassroots revolt against Starmer’s spineless rightward drift confined to Galloway’s North. The announcement that veteran anti-apartheid activist Andrew Feinstein will challenge the Labour leader in his Holborn & St Pancras lair signifies a growing insurrection by those who still burn with the passionate socialist principles Labour has so shamelessly betrayed.

While Labour declined to respond to Driscoll’s searing indictment, Starmer has feebly defended his fixation on “economic stability” – a euphuism for continuing the craven austerity immiseration inflicted by the Tories. Rachel Reeves’s derisory “answer” to Tory ‘Austerity’ is more ‘Austerity’ Labour simply aims to perpetuate Tory cuts as Labour collaborates in crushing the aspirations of the many.

Labour Heartlands and I have supported Jamie Driscoll ever since first working with him to organise the Durham Miners Gala, with the People, Pits & Politics Festival page, so in this, the greatest endeavour of our age, I stand with him, Galloway, Feinstein and those rare voices which dare demand better. Lest we enable the nightmarish continuation of this neoliberal consensus by succumbing to small, timid ambitions that do little more than maintain an unjust, decaying status quo.

The choice is as brutally binary as it is existential – a new Jerusalem beckons, if only we are blessed with leaders who will seize the prize.

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