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Ray Apps

Political ideas not vendettas

(August 1979)

Letter, Militant, No. 467, 17 August 1979
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Dear Comrades,

Peter Willsman’s letter (Militant, issue 464) contained a supposed quote from a speech I made at Canterbury Labour Party.

When I read it I was much amused at the obvious distortion of what I said. I felt it did not merit a reply from me, as Peter Lush had dealt with the main arguments very well.

Willsman is so hurt by my disregard for his falsity, however, that he has seen fit to circulate Labour Party activists around the country with previous correspondence written by Campaign for Labour Party Democracy members in reply to articles I wrote last year on the reselection of Labour MPs.

There have been very sharp differences between myself and some members of the CLPD on questions of strategy and tactics. These have always been conducted in a comradely way, however, on the basis of differing ideas rather than personal vendettas.

Peter Willsman is abusing his position as an EC member of CLPD. They are concerned to further the course of Party democracy and as far as I am aware support no particular political programme, Militant, Tribune, Willman’s if he has one, or any other.

In the speech I made at Canterbury I never even mentioned Bournemouth: that is a figment of Willsman’s imagination. The claim I made at Canterbury was that if the programme of Militant was to be adopted by the Labour Party we would sweep the country in the election and the Tories would be reduced to a rump in Parliament.

That rump may or may not include a Tory MP from Bournemouth who may or may not be an ex-Colonel who arrives in a bathchair loaded with hand grenades.

Willsman reveals his contempt for working people by his suggestion that they would be unable to relate to and support such a programme. But we are confident the labour movement would win overwhelming support for such demands as a 35-hour week and a £70 minimum wage.

To secure such demands and the full fruits of their labour, would require the public ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.

Yes, Comrade Willsman, the working class would respond to such a call from their mass organisations.


Ray Apps
Brighton Labour Party

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