Yemen crackdown: in pictures

The <em>New Statesman</em> publishes the most powerful images from the protests and subsequent polic

A government crackdown in Yemen on Friday left more than 40 anti-government protesters dead and hundreds wounded in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a.

Screaming

A demonstrator stands above the crowd, screaming and waving a graffitied national flag.

riot police

Until today, the protests had been largely peaceful, with only minor skirmishes between protesters and government forces. However, there has been an increasingly heavy presence of riot police.

Flag

In the photo below, two boys peek through a torn Yemeni flag on 17 March, the day before the crackdown.

Yemeni women praying in the country's capital.

Above: women pray in the nation's capital at a rally aimed at removing President Ali Abdullah Saleh, 17 March.

A protester with red hands

Below, a man raises his bloodstained hands to the camera after government forces attacked protesters, 18 March.

An injured child in Yemen.

Protesters carry away a wounded boy to receive medical treatment.

Yemen

Another injured protester is stretchered away by chanting demonstrators.

(All photos: Getty Images)

Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

Why a Labour split may be in the interests of both sides

Divorce may be the best option, argues Nick Tyrone. 

Despite everything that is currently happening within the Labour Party - the open infighting amongst party officials, the threat of MPs being deselected, an increasingly bitter leadership contest between two people essentially standing on the same policy platform – the idea of a split is being talked down by everyone involved. The Labour Party will “come together” after the leadership election, somehow. The shared notion is that a split would be bad for everyone other than the Tories.

Allow me to play devil’s advocate. What the Corbynistas want is a Labour Party that is doctrinarily pure. However small that parliamentary party might be for the time being is irrelevant. The basic idea is to build up the membership into a mass movement that will then translate into seats in the House of Commons and eventually, government. You go from 500,000 members to a million, to two million, to five million until you have enough to win a general election.

The majority of the parliamentary Labour party meanwhile believe that properly opposing the Tories in government through conventional means, i.e. actually attacking things the Conservatives put forth in parliament, using mass media to gain public trust and then support, is the way forward. Also, that a revitalisation of social democracy is the ideology to go with as opposed to a nebulous form of socialism.

These two ways of looking at and approaching politics not only do not go together, they are diametric opposites. No wonder the infighting is so vicious; there is no middle way between Corbynism and the bulk of the PLP.

I understand that the Labour MPs do not want to give up on their party, but I don’t see how the membership is shifting in their favour any time soon. Most talk around a split understandably comes back to 1981 and the SDP very quickly yet consider this: the most defections the SDP ever achieved were 28. If there was a split now, it would probably involve the vast majority of the PLP, perhaps even 80 per cent of it – a very, very different proposition. There is also clearly a large number of people out there who want a centre-left, socially democratic, socially liberal party – and polls suggest that for whatever reason the Liberal Democrats cannot capitalise on this gap in the market. Some sort of new centre-left party with 150+ MPs and ex-Labour donors to kick it off just might.

Of course, a split could be a total disaster, at least in the short term, and allow the Tories further general election victories over the next decade. But let’s be honest here – given where we are, isn’t that going to happen anyhow? And if a split simply results in what happened in the 1980s recurring, thus eventually leading to a Labour Party capable of winning a general election again, would members of the PLP currently wondering what to do next not consider it worth it just for that?

Nick Tyrone is Chief Executive of Radix, the think tank for the radical centre.