Merseyside and militant

Jon Beasley-Murray jpb8 at
Thu Jul 13 15:24:11 MDT 1995

I wasn't in Liverpool during the 80s; I was in London, with the Young
Socialists (since disbanded), who at the time were pretty much dominated by

In my post I wasn't necessarily attacking the Liverpool Labour party, or
militant.  But neither do I think they were immune to criticism, and not
merely in terms of their tactics, which were at least to some extent
counter-productive in the end.

In my experience, militant were very much anti-feminist and homophobic (I
was being slipshod when I used the word "multicultural," the more so in
that it's not really a term in the British political vocabulary as it is
in the US). One memorable consequence of this was that when the tabloids
tried to smear Peter Tatchell as a militant member during the Bermondsey
by-election, it wasn't clear who was more embarrassed, Tatchell or
militant themselves.  Tatchell, of course, is now probably Britain's most
prominent campaigner for gay rights.

Still, Liverpool was (I think) the only place in the UK where the Labour
vote went up throughout the 80s and the general Thatcherite rout of the
Left (maybe also Glasgow).  Yet what exactly this says about militant,
Labour or Merseyside isn't necessarily so clear.

Take care


Jon Beasley-Murray
Literature Program
Duke University
jpb8 at

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