An Open Letter to the Labour Party Members of West Bromwich East CLP:
Charlemont with Grove Vale
Great Barr with Yew Tree
Greets Green and Lyng
West Bromwich Central
A couple of weeks ago, Boris Johnson stood in front of 10 Downing Street, promising investment in schools, hospitals and police, after 9 years of austerity that has crippled and divided our society. A couple of years ago, Theresa May did the same. Did you believe them?
We don’t think you did. We in the Labour Party often shake our heads in despair when we see our fellow citizens repeatedly taken in by the rhetoric of the Conservative Party prior to elections: their talk of compassionate conservatism, their sudden interest in working for everybody’s good. Why do the people keep believing them? Is it just a kind of laziness? Wishful thinking?
Rather similarly, several disloyal Labour MPs, (Tom Watson, member for West Bromwich East among them) indicated, after the 2017 election, that they would cease briefing against the party: cease undermining the leadership, cease smearing the membership, and so on.
Did we believe them? At that time, there was nothing we could do but hope and pray for greater solidarity and better behaviour from our representatives.
You will very soon be invited to attend a trigger vote, to decide whether or not to require your existing MP, Tom Watson, to undergo a reselection process to stand as the candidate for the next General Election. (By the time you read this, some of you will have gone through the process already.) No doubt Mr Watson will have written an appropriate statement, and perhaps made other communications. It’s not for us to ask what he has said.
However, we wonder whether you, his constituents, are happy with his continuing disruption of our Labour Party?
Many of us may be frustrated with policies at a given time – very frustrated perhaps. As ordinary members, if we went running to the press briefing against comrades, smearing them as a group, or disrupting due processes that are supposed to be confidential, we would rightly be disciplined.
Of course any member has the right to question policy and process: but to do so through the press and media is deliberate sabotage - Tom Watson does this over and over again.
If you are happy with the way your MP conducts himself, then of course you will vote against triggering a selection process. However, if you are not happy with Mr Watson’s behaviour, we beg you – please use your vote to trigger reselection. He will not change.
If you think he will, please remember the Tory PM’s statements about compassionate conservatism in front of 10 Downing Street. Remember how frustrated you were that people still vote for those Tory politicians who repeatedly promise one thing and the do the opposite. Please don't be like them.
We feel that as long as Mr Watson has a platform he will continue to use his media contacts to attack our great political movement, promoting the narrative that we are a divided party.
It is true that there is conflict in all political parties right now. Conflict is change happening. It is uncomfortable and frightening. But it can be got through with dignity and respect: We do not see that in Tom Watson’s media posturings. The rest of the party must stand by helpless, as week by week, month by month, his name pops up in the media, chipping away at our chances to transform this country for the better.
So many of us in Labour are watching and awaiting your decision with baited breath. Only you, as Mr Watson’s constituents, have the democratic right to use your votes in order to hold him to account. This is simply fair play, and he still might win the candidacy.
We know that a General Election could happen very soon, in which case reselections will be called off. Yet nothing is predictable in this current political climate. Sometimes we have to hold on to our ideals and hopes: hopes of greater solidarity, of a fairer nation and better politicians who use their position to respect their members.
We have so many hopes. One of them is that you, the constituents of West Bromwich East, will use this new right that has been granted to all members, and NOT to just wave your MP through with a nod, but rather to require a full selection process.
Yours in solidarity
Labour Party Members