OPEN LETTER TO PETER MANDELSON From Charles James

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Dear Peter,

You and I are roughly the same age, so we have lived through these last 60+ years together. We both come from politically active Labour families, yours more stellar than mine.

I have worked for Labour in every General Election since age 14 in 1966. You spent some time in the Young Communist League but eventually you saw sense and you joined the Labour Party. Had the Labour Party vetting procedure had been more efficient in those days your application to join might not have been accepted. History would have been different.

From 1997 to 2010 you and Tony and Gordon were in power and in office within the Labour Party. On your wing’s watch the Labour vote decreased from 13.5 million to 8.6 million. Had you maintained the 1997 vote Labour would never have lost a General Election.

When in power you failed to deliver for the people who voted for you. So they stopped voting Labour.

On Jeremy Corbyn’s watch Jeremy has doubled Labour’s membership in two years, despite a constant rain of derision and worse from the media, the PLP, and former Labour Prime Ministers. Jeremy Corbyn’s voice is a clear anti austerity message which resonates with many Labour supporters. You may not like what Jeremy says but at least he does not mumble it.

Apparently you believe that you are fighting to save the Labour Party by trying to drive Jeremy Corbyn from the Leadership. You and I sang “When cowards flinch and traitors sneer” often enough for you to know that your motives could be misunderstood.

I think you should explain to the six hundred thousand plus Labour Party members what went wrong from 1997 to 2010.

Was the problem that you were working to an ideology that was not rooted in the needs of the British people? Or what?

Why should we trust your judgement now?

Yours fraternally,
Charles James

(My credentials: I have worked for Labour in every General Election since 1966. I have been a member of the Labour Party since 1972. In 1986 I increased the Labour vote in Heaton ward Bradford by 80% to take the third safest Tory ward in Bradford Metropolitan District for Labour. In 1990 I increased my vote 47% to record the highest ever vote for any candidate in the ward. In 1991 we achieved a second Labour councillor elected in Heaton.

At different times I have served as Constituency Labour Party Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Fundraiser, Youth Officer, Parliamentary Agent, branch chair and secretary, and council election agent.

I have been bingo caller, bouncer, canvasser, committee room leader, council election agent, count representative, delegate, leaflet writer, leafletter, lottery promoter, newsletter writer, number taker, paper candidate, school governor, speaker, and voter registration canvasser.

Outside the Labour Party I organised my first demonstration at the age of 17. I was involved in student unions. I was at Grunwick. I was part of JCAD the Joint Campaign Against Deportations. I taught at the Croxteth School occupation. I was involved in the Honeyford issue. I went on demonstrations with the Bradford Asian Youth Movement. I collected for the miners. I helped in the Thornton View Hospital occupation. I was elected to the Council of the Law Society. I ran an immigration and political asylum solicitor practise. I taught Law and I was a member of UCU. I have recently joined UNITE THE UNION and Momentum)

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