By Paul Burgin
Some weeks ago I attended the AGM of the Christian Socialist Movement, along with the Tawney Lecture, which was held at Portcullis House. At St Stephen’s Tavern afterwards, my guests and I were greeted by one of the former executive officers on the CSM, Chris Ostrowski, who chatted with us for several minutes. I have met Chris on a few occasions and whilst I don’t know him well enough to call him a friend, he has always come across as thoughtful, considerate, polite, and not someone who is a political brute, rather as someone who is firm but fair.
So it was that I was very pleased to hear that he will be standing as the Labour Candidate in the Norwich North by-election. Not someone to take victory for granted, Chris will be cautious but hopeful, which is good because right now we need more MPs who are like Chris.
For a long while we have recognised a need to change party politics. A desire to go beyond the bullying and sniping and petty point scoring which sadly we cannot blame entirely on the Conservatives. David Cameron recognised this and stated he wanted to move on beyond Punch and Judy politics, but as we have come to expect, this turned out not to be the decent move of an honourable opponent, but rather a shallow cynical ploy from someone who seems to delight in personality politics and who has been slacking of late in disciplining some of his MPs who have erred on expenses.
The Conservatives have shown themselves in recent weeks to be behaving like bullies. They indirectly threaten to remove the Speaker when the result of the election does not go the way they want, we have had David Cameron making unpleasant comments about riots if Labour wins the next election, and time and again we have individuals like George Osborne making snide and personal attacks on individual senior figures in the Labour Party. Admittedly we within the Labour Party have had the McBride scandal, much to the shame of many left-wing readers here.
So hopefully Norwich North, a by-election caused by the Expenses debacle and therefore born from what is low in British politics, will be a small part of the start of a slow and painful process into something better.