Labour’s threat to take legal action against Ashfield Independents over ‘for the many’ banner

Campaigners with the banner in question
Campaigners with the banner in question

“For the many, not the few” is a phase some say came from an ancient Greece historian speaking about the foundations of democracy.

Others say it came from Percy Shelley’s poem The Masque of Anarchy.

And now it seems there is more confusion surrounding the phrase after political party Ashfield Independents was threatened with legal action by the Labour Party after it used it in a campaign against the removal of full-time firefighter during night time shifts at Kirkby’s Ashfield fire station in February.

Labour is claiming the banner which read “for the many, not the few” is an ‘infringement’ on its copyright as it was used in their 2017 manifesto.

Ashfield Independents has received a “pre-action” legal letter from Andrew Whyte, head of governance at the legal unit at the national Labour Party.

The letter, addressed to Councillor Jason Zadrozny, Ashfield Independents leader, claims the Labour Party is the “owner of the original material”.

However, Coun Zadrozny said: “This pathetic attempt at intimidation from Jeremy Corbyn’s bully boys won’t wash with us.

“We are only a small political party who fight hard for local people in Ashfield.

“While we have had a hugely successful year politically, I was surprised to receive a letter from Labour’s legal boss.

“We used the banner when representing more than 10,000 residents who had objected to services at our fire station being axed.

“If that’s not for the many and not the few, I don’t know what is. “I just wish that the Labour Party put in as much effort to save services at our fire station.”

In response, a Labour Party spokeswoman said: “Imitation is the highest form of flattery.

“However, if the Ashfield Independents want to discover how to really transform Ashfield and our country for the better, we can send them a copy of our popular manifesto – the name of which should be quite familiar to them.”

Ashfield Independents said it would not be responding as it claimed there were errors in the letter, but the party has instructed a lawyer to look into the case.