Letter: Labour tradition - Arts and Entertainment - The Independent

Letter: Labour tradition

Letter: Labour tradition

Sir: Any liberal pretensions that David Aaronovitch may have had were blown to the wind today ("Watch out Labour, the Trots are back with a vengeance", 18 August).

Although co-ordinator of the Grassroots Alliance, my comments are deeply personal. I am fourth generation old-right-wing Labour - anti-Marxist, anti-Irish fascist nationalist, anti-violence in word and deed. But above all, I dislike bullies, injustice, bad faith and stupidity.

I have worked with Liz Davies and her associates for six months. While her politics are very different from mine, I have come to respect her for her resilience under a sustained witch-hunt that has been a disgrace to those liberal values that are part of the Labour tradition.

The facts. She has signed a tough pro-democracy statement that not a single Member First candidate felt able to support. She is on record as an opponent of political violence and fought and won a libel action on those very grounds against some seedy characters inhabiting the lower tidemark of New Labour. She backs the peace process. She has been attacked by a general secretary who stands accused of direct personal intervention in what are supposed to be free and fair elections.

They fear her because she holds up a mirror to the dark side of renegade left-wing participation in the New Labour revolution.

Aaronovitch has used the selective quotations of others and his own political past to help sustain a campaign of personal vilification that the mainstream of the party now sees for what it is - bullying, injustice, bad faith and stupidity.

Despite every attempt to split us apart, the right and the hard left of the Alliance stand firm with the Tribunite soft left in backing every one of our candidates as each, in turn, comes under fire from some very dark forces indeed. I hope Members First candidates will repudiate the underhand briefings and black propaganda undertaken in their name just as we commit never to attack them as individuals or as committed party workers. Let's get back to the issues and away from personal attacks.

TIM PENDRY

London N5

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