If democracy is destroyed in Britain it will be not the communists, Trotskyists or subversives but this House which threw it away. The rights that are entrusted to us are not for us to give away. Even if I agree with everything that is proposed, I cannot hand away powers lent to me for five years by the people of Chesterfield. I just could not do it. It would be theft of public rights.
People in debt become hopeless and hopeless people don’t vote. They always say that that everyone should vote but I think that if the poor in Britain or the United States turned out and voted for people that represented their interests there would be a real democratic revolution.
We used to have a War Office, but now we have a Ministry of Defence, nuclear bombs are now described as deterrents, innocent civilians killed in war are now described as collateral damage and military incompetence leading to US bombers killing British soldiers is cosily described as friendly fire. Those who are in favour of peace are described as mavericks and troublemakers, whereas the real militants are those who want the war.
Change from below, the formulation of demands from the populace to end unacceptable injustice, supported by direct action, has played a far larger part in shaping British democracy than most constitutional lawyers, political commentators, historians or statesmen have ever cared to admit. Direct action in a democratic society is fundamentally an educational exercise.
If the Queen can reject the advice of a minister on a little thing like a postage stamp, what would happen if she rejected the advice of the Prime Minister on a major matter? If the Crown personally can reject advice, then, of course, the whole democratic facade turns out to be false
Cabinet members are soon overwhelmed by the insistent demands of running their departments. On the whole, a period in high office consumers intellectual capital; it does not create it....The less ministers know at the outset, the more dependent they are on the only sources of available knowledge; the permanent officials.
I think the truth is that the Labour Party isn't believed any more because people suspect it will say anything to get votes. The rebuilding of some radical alternatives to Thatcherism - and by that I mean all-party Thatcherism - will require us to do some very difficult things
I sometimes wish the trade unionists who work in the mass media, those who are writers and broadcasters and secretaries and printers and lift operators of Thomson House would remember that they too are members of our working class movement and have a responsibility to see that what is said about us is true.
The general election of 1983 has produced one important result that has passed virtually without comment in the media. It is that, for the first time since 1945, a political party with an openly socialist policy has received the support of over eight and a half million people. This is a remarkable development by any standards and it deserves some analysis ... the 1983 Labour manifesto commanded the loyalty of millions of voters and a democratic socialist bridge-head in public understanding and support can be made.
Well, it all began with Democracy. Before we had the vote all the power was in the hands of rich people. If you had money you could get health care, education, look after yourself when you were old, and what democracy did was to give the poor the vote and it moved power from the marketplace to the polling station, from the wallet...to the ballot.
It would be as unthinkable to try to construct the Labour Party without Marx as it would to be to establish university faculties of astronomy,anthropology or psychology without permitting the study of Copernicus, Darwin or Freud, and still expect such faculties to be taken seriously
I opposed the Suez war, I opposed the Falklands war. I opposed the Libyan bombing and I opposed the Gulf war and I never believed that any of those principled arguments lost a single vote - indeed, I think they gained support though that was not why you did it. What has been lacking in Labour politics over a long period is a principled stand
Although socialism is widely held by the establishment to be outdated, the things that are most popular in British society today are little pockets of socialism, where areas of life have been excluded from the crude operation of market forces and are protected for the benefit of the community
I think Mrs Thatcher did more damage to democracy, equality, internationalism, civil liberties, freedom in this country than any other Prime Minister this century. When the euphoria surrounding her departure subsides you will find that in a year or two's time there will not be a Tory who admits ever supporting her. People in the street will say, thank God she's gone