Brian Heading: Labour in NI would want Clause 4 back if they are socialist

Re Ms Kathryn Johnston's remark on Labour Party socialism ('˜NI Labour Party defies HQ's electoral ban', April 13).

Ms Johnston is quoted referring to differences between the SDLP and ‘dissident’ Labour members in NI as saying

“We (the Labour party) are socialists they (SDLP) are not”.

Could I point out to Ms Johnston that a great British socialist Mr Tony Benn when answering a question, ‘Is the Labour Party Socialist?’, replied that “the Labour Party is not socialist but there are socialists who members of the party”.

I think as one of many socialist and social democratic members in the SDLP I think Tony Benn’s statement can be applied to myself and others.

Furthermore, when asked to comment on the Labour Party and the Blair years, Mr Benn’s response was: “We are paying a heavy political price for 20 years in which, as a party, we have played down our criticism of capitalism and soft-pedalled our advocacy of socialism.”

I look forward to seeing the NI Labour nailing their colours to the mast for a reinstatement of Clause 4 as Labour Party policy and the singing of the Red Flag at the end of their conference.

I would suggest: don’t slag off potential allies, this is a PR election after all and transfers will be important.

SDLP Cllr Brian Heading, Belfast City Council