New Labour’s Clause 4 – Why refound Labour again?

Certain Welsh Historians ask me why I joined the Labour Party without reading up on its history. I tell them that I didn’t join ‘Old Labour’ but that I joined ‘New Labour’. Tony Blair gulled me into thinking the Labour Party changed. This is what he said the party believed in:

Clause IV. Aims and values
1. The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the few; where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe and where we live together freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.

2. To these ends we work for:

A. A DYNAMIC ECONOMY, serving the public interest, in which the enterprise of the market and the rigour of competition are joined with the forces of partnership and co-operation to produce the wealth the nation needs and the opportunity for all to work and prosper with a thriving private sector and high-quality public services where those undertakings essential to the common good are either owned by the public or accountable to them

B. A JUST SOCIETY, which judges its strength by the condition of the weak as much as the strong, provides security against fear, and justice at work; which nurtures families, promotes equality of opportunity, and delivers people from the tyranny of poverty, prejudice and the abuse of power

C. AN OPEN DEMOCRACY, in which government is held to account by the people, decisions are taken as far as practicable by the communities they affect and where fundamental human rights are guaranteed

D. A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT, which we protect, enhance and hold in trust for future generations.

3. Labour is committed to the defence and security of the British people and to co-operating in European institutions, the United Nations, the Commonwealth and other international bodies to secure peace, freedom, democracy, economic security and environmental protection for all.

4. Labour shall work in pursuit of these aims with trade unions and co-operative societies and also with voluntary organisations, consumer groups and other representative bodies.

5. On the basis of these principles, Labour seeks the trust of the people to govern.

When I presented some of my policy ideas to the Ministers in the Welsh Assembly based on these premises they rejected the premise – even though it was in the rule book of the party they are a member of. When I spoke to certain members about why I had decided to leave the party after this, many thought Clause 4 had been abolished.

I recently found out that the Pontypridd Labour Party voted to restore the old Clause 4. I think many of them must get their education from Wikipedia, as they thought Clause 4 was the paragraph in Clause 4(1) above, not the whole text above.

I feel quite angry about the Labour Party at the moment with its ‘Refounding Labour’ programme – I was in the party for 14 years, unware that the aims and mission that made me join the party that were set out in Clause 4, most other members had never read, yet alone supported – they’re only knowledge of which was part 1 because it was printed on the membership cards.

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