Why I’m resigning from the party I loved

Posted On 11 May 2019 at 6:23 pm

The following letter has been sent to Labour Party general secretary Jennie Formby.

It is with sincere regret that I tender my resignation from the Labour Party.

The party has been my political home since I left school and foster-care in the late 1980s — so that’s over a quarter of a century of membership.

When joining, I met some real mentors and like-minded people who believed in Britain; ordinary everyday patriotic people that believed our country could and would be better with Labour.

Council repairs

I campaigned for the party in my local working class community of Nuneaton; where I grew up; and as a student at the University of Bath, where I ran the Labour club.

Slogging away for the party has been hardwired into my DNA, making this decision to leave Labour an emotional and very difficult conclusion to reach.

After our landslide victory in 1997, it was a real privilege to be appointed as the national policy officer responsible for education and employment policy, working at the heart of campaign HQ in London.

In government, I was able to work closely with Labour ministers on shaping the New Deal for young people; the introduction of the first ever national minimum wage; and improving skills training at all levels in our society, including the re-birth of apprenticeships.

The values that drove these reforms have helped shape my professional life outside of politics where I have dedicated my whole career to improving post-compulsory education and training opportunities for people in the UK and overseas.

Until Monday 6 May this year, I served as a Labour councillor in Brighton and Hove, including a challenging period as the lead member for children’s and social services.

This role coincided with the election of Jeremy Corbyn and the transformation of the membership, driven by Momentum.

I’m afraid I can no longer remain a member of the party for three key reasons:

1. Anti-semitism — despite your best efforts since taking over the role as general secretary, the party has failed to adequately tackle this terrible disease that has infected parts of the current membership. The recent comments of the shadow justice secretary about Zionists being ‘the enemy of the peace in Israel’ (and the manner in which he initially tried to deny making them), is just another trope in a long line of sickening episodes. These are comments for which he has not been disciplined, making a mockery of the supposedly zero tolerance approach towards antisemitism.

2. Jeremy Corbyn — The leader has failed to get to grips with the different warring factions that now inhabit the party. While he may not personally engage in this virulent form of politics; many people around him and those on the hard left who he has personally attracted into the party certainly do. The public are not stupid. They know that such toxicity and this kind of intolerant behaviour could easily translate into government. The increasingly anti-American; anti-Israeli rhetoric coming from some members of the front bench and backbench MPs puts, in my view, the future national security of Britain and our major allies at risk.

3. Brexit — Two thirds of our representation in the House of Commons comes from Leave voting seats. Yet, our treatment of these voters by the majority of Remain Supporting Labour MPs/ MEPs has been despicable. Some of our candidates in these futile upcoming European elections have actively goaded 5 million Labour Leave voters, telling them that the party is no longer for them. Meanwhile, the party uses hollow phrases like it, “respects the outcome of the 2016 referendum result.” Of course, behind closed doors the party acts at every turn in the most duplicitous of ways; agitating with Brussels and big corporate interests to thwart Brexit all together. You only have to look at the party’s incoherent commitment to a future, permanent customs union with the EU, to see it has no interest in the United Kingdom becoming an independent self-governing nation again. Rather, the party of Keir Hardie and Clement Attlee, now seems content to allow unelected bureaucrats in Brussels to make our future trade policy — setting tariffs, taxes and regulations for whole swathes of our economy — without a real say in how these rules are made.
The recent local election results and the loss of Labour councils and councillors’ in our Northern heartlands demonstrates that the party is continuing to allow itself to be defined and run by the interests of metropolitan London elites; socialist conspiracy theorists; and by a predominantly student/ retired/ public sector profile of membership that resides mainly in our big university towns and cities.

Finally, I do not believe Labour can form a popular, united and sustainable majority in Parliament on its present course. We have possibly one of the most inept governments in our history, and yet the polls show the parties are neck and neck.

Sorry, I can no longer support the party.

Tom Bewick was a Labour member of Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. Withdean Actually Reply

    Pick up your dummy on your way out

    • No fan of Labour Reply

      Please point out where he was wrong.

      • David Jonson Reply

        A couple at random :
        1. Zionism *is* the enemy of peace in Israel
        3. Brexit is a result of democracy – remainers like myself lost the vote. Duh.

  2. Gilbert Bligh Reply

    I totally agree with everything you have said.
    Thanks for making that all perfectly clear.
    I wish you well in the future – it’s such a shame the Labour party is being led in such an inept way and cannot utilise the current political situation to their advantage (exactly as you say) to form a credible alternative to the absolute shambles in government now.

  3. Valerie Reply

    Netanyahu is an extreme right wing politician, directly re-elected by just 31% of voters. Sadly he remains in power because of splinter factions supporting him instead of the senior military figure who also got 31% of the vote.

    Jews & Israelis are not globally united behind the Zionist policies which are conflated with the ancient root religion beneath bith Islam & Christianity. Sadly defining anti-semitism now includes any criticism/opposition to the swaggering far right misbehaviour of Israel’s Govt and persisting land grabs & extreme military responses out if proportion to need.

    The West is a political hostage, mute in the face of outrages because of wider need in the ME. It is cowardly to invoke the tragedy of Israel & Palestine & definitional gamesmanship within Labour’s factions as a reason for resigning.

    Just tell the truth, Tom. You have simply got bored and your career is of more consuming interest. You have other fish to fry – as was the case for quite a chunk of the last Administration you no longer had time for.

    • Esther Reply

      It is very mean spirited of you to allege – in your final paragraph – that the the text of Tom Bewick’s letter was written in bad faith. It is reminiscent of the attacks on Jewish Labour Party MPs who complained about being on the receiving end of racism only to be told that they were motivated instead by a conspiracy against the Far Left of the party, perhaps funded by Israel.

  4. Neil Mcrobert Reply

    As a one time socialist who started work, became a party member & shop steward for 10 years I too will no longer be voting for the labour party. I agree 💯 with every word he has written….Tony Benn will be spinning in his grave!

  5. The Cold Voice of Reality. Reply

    On Tom’s comments on Brexit, we have not been an “Independent self-governing nation” since WW2. How can we be in a global market place ?
    Of our Electricity companies, EDF is French Government owned, EON and Npower are German.
    Even “Scottish” Power is Spanish owned. 90% of our gas comes from abroad, 80% of our oil.
    Half our Water companies are foreign owned.
    Only one Train company is totally British – Arriva are German owned, Govia are part French. Our trains are built by Japanese Hitachi and Canadian Bombardier.
    Do you really think our little economy is going to be able to get better trade deals out of the USA or China than we already have as a part of the much bigger EU economy ? David doesn’t get the better of Goliath in real life !

    Tom states that “Two thirds of our representation in the House of Commons comes from Leave voting seats.” He is right in stating that this is the problem, but not in his interpretation.
    Any party that wants to get into Government has to widen its support base beyond traditional enclaves. It is fashionable to deride Tony Blair‘s Labour Party as not being Socialist enough, but it did form the Government for 10 years. If it wants to change the ownership of the essentials of our national lives – power, water, transport, Labour has to get back into power by appealing to the very people Tom is dismissing – Metropolitans, the Retired, Public Sector workers, those who voted Remain. How many red dots are there on the current Electoral map of the South of England ?

    On Brexit, like many who favour leaving, he has been misled by the Brexit propaganda of “17M”.
    It is true 17M did vote to Leave, but this was only 37% of the electorate.
    29M did NOT vote to leave = 16M voted to Remain and 13M Abstained.
    What was dismissed as Project Fear is coming true. For example, before the talk of Brexit, the Pound bought 1.24 Euros. Now it buys 1.11
    That means that a consignment of goods which we then sold to Europe for 124M Pounds now only brings in 111M Pounds. What we paid for 124 containers of medicine now only gets us 111.
    With examples like this, does he really think that anything that has been revealed since the last referendum concerning the dire consequences of Brexit will make Remain voters change their minds, or bring on board those who were not sure last time ?
    Of course not, which is why those who favour Leaving are so afraid of another Referendum – they know they would lose.
    And before anyone mentions “Sovereignty”, let me remind them that Sovereignty was the cause of two European Wars in 25 years. Tom’s generation is the first since Victorian times to have grown up without having to fight, or send its children off to fight.
    Next month we will commemorate 75 years since D-Day, next year it will be a full 75 years since the last World War, started, may I remind you, in Europe.
    There is no denying the EU has its problems and being a member has its costs, but there is no Price Tag on Peace.

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