Calls have been made for the Galway poet Kevin Higgins to be reinstated as a member of the British Labour Party. He was suspended 18 months ago after writing a satire about critics of party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The calls came in the form of a letter to the left-wing British daily Morning Star. The letter, signed by 30 people, among them Paul Laverty, who wrote the screen plays for The Wind That Shakes The Barley and I, Daniel Blake, describes Mr Higgins' continued suspension as "absurd". Mr Higgins has been a member of British Labour since he was 15 and was active in the anti-poll tax movement in the 1980s when he lived in England. He has campaigned for Labour in the last UK general election and continues to pay his membership fee as an overseas member.
Mr Higgins was one of the many to receive letters from Labour’s compliance unit suspending him from the party after the party's Blairite/right-wing organised a failed attempt to remove Jeremy Corbyn as leader in 2016.
Included in the list of accusations against Mr Higgins was that he had refashioned Bertolt Brecht’s poem 'Ballad Of The Soldier’s Wife' as a satire about Tony and Cherie Blair. In 2015 he wrote the satirical poem, 'Blair’s Advice', after the former British prime minister wrote a column in the Observer saying Labour would only be successful by occupying the “centre ground”. Mr Higgins also Tweeted at the time: “Tony Blair needs to just go away. I hear he has an article in today’s Observer. I’d rather make love to John Prescott than read it.”
Mr Higgins’s supporters wrote: “We think it absurd that someone can remain suspended from the UK Labour Party for 18 months for the supposed crime of writing satirical poems," and called on the party to “immediately clarify this situation".