Friday, January 03, 2020

Labour Pains

As I've established at some length, I don't make New Year resolutions.  That said, I have made a sort of resolution in that I have resolved to try and get this blog back on track.   Of late, I've all too often resorted to the trivial and inconsequential in order to come up with posts.  It just seemed easier than actually putting some effort into creating something more substantive.  Also, I found myself in something of a crisis of confidence as to the sort of stuff I was posting: was there too much politics?  Too much pop culture? Too many attempts at satire?  So, I've determined to be more focused and try to achieve more of a balance between the various things I write about here.  I kicked it all off yesterday by getting back to more in depth looks at schlock movies.  Today, we're back to politics. Most specifically, the continuing fall out from that election result.  First up, let's deal with that shit bag Johnson's New Year message where he implores us to all 'be friends' regardless of where we we stand on Brexit.  Why the fuck should we?  I mean, I'm all for respecting the referendum result: the 1974 referendum, that is.  You know, the one where we voted to stay in Europe. Let's not forget that the Brexiteers never accepted that result and spent more than forty years undermining and opposing it.  So why should I and the rest of the Remainers (who constituted nearly half of those who voted) accept and/or respect the 2016 result?  It was the anti-EU b rigade who established the precedent that referendum results were for overturning - where was their respect for democracy and the 'will of the people'?

As if democracy is a one-off event anyway - if we are to follow the 'logic' of the Brexiteers then we should only ever have had one general election.  The 'will of the people' would have been established and should never be challenged.  But we accept that opinions and demographics change, as do circumstances and economic conditions, meaning that we accept that democracy needs to be a regular event.  An ongoing process, where we check on that so called 'will of the people' at regular intervals.  All of which brings us, sort of, to the ongoing inquest into Labour's spectacular failure at the recent general election and its forthcoming leadership contest.  The depressing thing is that all the little Corbyn acolytes on Twitter are still in denial at his central role in the defeat.  They are still peddling the narrative of 'St Jeremy the Martyr' - a good and virtuous man brought down by the evil lies of the media.  Which really won't do.  He isn't unique in having to endure the depredations of the right-wing press: some of us remember the treatment doled out to Michael Foot, Neil Kinnock and, more lately, Ed Milliband.  All had to endure vicious press campaigns against them.  Even Tony Blair, before it became obvious that his poll lead was solid, suffered similar treatment.  Moreover, despite what the Twatterati might try and have you believe, Corbyn didn't invent compassion, decency or left-wing radicalism. 

But if not Corbyn, then what do they think was the cause of this electoral catastrophe?  Brexit, of course. If only Labour hadn't listened to those Remainers (of which the Twatterati were part) and embraced a second referendum, (thereby disrespecting the referendum result that they themselves didn't agree with), then they wouldn't have alienated all those Brexit voting traditional Labour supporters.  Well, leaving aside the fact that Labour lost more 'Remain' voters than 'Leave' voters, Brexit did play some part in the defeat.  For one thing, it might never have happened if Corbyn himself had campaigned more enthusiastically for 'Remain' during the referendum.  More importantly, though, if we accept that many of those who voted 'Leave' in previously Labour strongholds in the North and Midlands did so as a protest at being 'left behind' by the 'metropolitan elites', (particularly those seen as surrounding Corbyn), then, yes, Brexit was a significant factor.  For it was simply a symptom of a deeper underlying malaise, whereby those Labour voters felt their support was being taken for granted by a party that wasn't actually offering them anything.  If it wants to win those voters back, then Labour has to come up with a credible economic strategy that can offer their communities some kind of regeneration.  It has to offer the possibility that it can bring jobs back to these areas.  That's what those voters want and it's what Corbyn's Labour failed to offer. 

As I've mentioned before, one of the biggest problems facing Labour is that those most enthusiastic about Corbyn - who are the most vociferous of those on Twitter - simply are not representative of the majority of Labour voters.  They simply don't understand the traditional Labour voter who, as I've also mentioned before, are, in many respects, particularly socially, relatively conservative.  But to the Twatterat, this just means that they must be a bunch of racists and bigots, which simply isn't true - it just means that they are less concerned with, say, LGBT rights, than they are with having jobs and local communities.  It is this kind of patronising attitude on the part of the Corbyn faction which helps alienate those voters.  Depressingly, though, they never seem to learn and instead want, as a new leader, a Corbyn MkII, in the form of Rebecca Long-Bailey, a Corbyn acolyte with no public profile and the charisma of a brick.  Her recent leadership pitch in The Guardian also revealed a paucity of ideas and no real geasp of why Labour failed at the last election.  Hopefully, though, good sense will prevail amongst the bulk of the party's membership and they'll vote for someone, not just with electoral credibility, but the ability to deliver policies that actually appeal to disaffected Labour supporters.

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