Simpson Stands Down

Submitted by Janine on Mon, 02/19/2007 - 14:29

Alan Simpson MP has announced that he's standing down from Parliament at the next election - ostensibly to devote more time to the fight to save the environment.

You would think that for a socialist, a seat in Parliament would be a good place from which to fight for the environment, so Simpson's move smacks of giving up. As does his comment that "There are good people in the Parliamentary Labour Party but not enough of them." Mind you, he has a point when he says that "At times, I feel that colleagues would vote for the slaughter of the first born if asked to."

With the leadership election looming, and more rebellion in the air within the Labour Party than for some time, it's not a good time for a socialist to back out. But then again, Simpson has been notable for his failure to back the socialist leadership challenge of John McDonnell. He has played a spoiling role, supporting Michael Meacher on the grounds that whatever Meacher's many faults (eg. supporting the Iraq war), he does talk about the environment a lot.

The fight to save the planet is, of course, the most important issue facing humanity. But it is also tied in with the fight of the working class to overturn profit-driven capitalism and replace it with a socialist society that puts human need (including the need for a sustainable environment) above private profit. To treat the environment as a unique issue, a single-issue campaign more deserving than any other, is to separate it from class politics. And to make your own niche in this issue is to abrogate your responsiblity to the labour movement and the socialist cause as a whole.