The Labour Party deserves disdain, at a minimum, even if one were ignorant of its blood-strewn history as a defender of (British) imperialism when in government. In all manner of wars and subterfuges, from the partition of India, to Vietnam, to Ireland, to Iraq and the Middle East in general, the Labour party has been the proponent of, or an ally in, a wide variety of imperial crimes.
An apparently saintly Jeremy Corbyn, embattled leader of the Labour Party, shares the same sins. Apart from being a member of the Labour Party for more than 30 years, he is now a member of the Privy Council. This Council includes senior political figures from all major parties, who are informed about the ill-doings of the British state and pledge not to tell. The oath is as follows:
“You do swear by Almighty God to be a true and faithful Servant unto the Queen’s Majesty, as one of Her Majesty’s Privy Council. You will not know or understand of any manner of thing to be attempted, done, or spoken against Her Majesty’s Person, Honour, Crown, or Dignity Royal, but you will let [ie stop] and withstand [ie prevent] the same to the uttermost of your Power, and either cause it to be revealed to Her Majesty Herself, or to such of Her Privy Council as shall advertise Her Majesty of the same. You will, in all things to be moved, treated, and debated in Council, faithfully and truly declare your Mind and Opinion, according to your Heart and Conscience; and will keep secret all Matters committed and revealed unto you, or that shall be treated of secretly in Council. And if any of the said Treaties or Counsels shall touch any of the Counsellors, you will not reveal it unto him, but will keep the same until such time as, by the Consent of Her Majesty, or of the Council, Publication shall be made thereof. You will to your uttermost bear Faith and Allegiance unto the Queen’s Majesty; and will assist and defend all Jurisdictions, Pre-eminences, and Authorities, granted to Her Majesty, and annexed to the Crown by Acts of Parliament, or otherwise, against all Foreign Princes, Persons, Prelates, States, or Potentates. And generally in all things you will do as a faithful and true Servant ought to do to Her Majesty. So help you God.”
Corbyn's principal divergence from this blood-oath loyalty to the British state shortly after becoming Labour Party leader was ... not to kneel before the Queen. Perhaps his knees were playing him up a bit.
My message to those who have already pledged their £25 to the Labour Party, or may do so, is that they would have a much better chance of a positive outcome by betting on a three-legged horse next running in the Grand National.
Still better a reward would be secured by purchasing, reading and reflecting upon an informative book by, admittedly, a right-wing, former Labour Party member, Edmund Dell: A Strange Eventful History, Democratic Socialism in Britain, Harper Collins, 2000. It should be read with critical eyes (what should not?), but this book is well-written, full of enlightening information and is available at much less than the otherwise wasted £25.
Tony Norfield, 21 July 2016