I’ve previously commented that I don’t tend to contribute to political threads, and now here I am starting one of my own. But what the hell, I think this is worth it’s own thread.
Depressingly, lots of papers today have big headline stories about Labour not accepting defeat graciously, blaming everyone else but themselves, etc. I think there’s definitely an element of that going on, but I also think this has been such a seismic shift in the balance of the country that a bit of self reflection is warranted and valuable. So here’s a thread where we can all waffle and reflect a bit – and do it amicably, like we do best.
So the big questions I am interested in are: What went wrong? Was Jeremy Corbyn a mistake? Who should the next leader be? What should the direction of the party be now? Is “Old Labour” now irrelevant, given we are now in a position where only New Labour has been able to win a majority for decades?
Me, I’m still trying to figure it all out. More and more I’m finding the terms “left” and “right” meaningless and subjective, but by any measure I would definitely be filed under pretty hard left. I favour collective responsibility over individualism. I think it’s more important to safeguard a baseline of health and welfare for everyone and I believe the more money you make, the more you should help support this. The old “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need” still seems pretty sound to me. On a stronger, more radical bent, I distrust aspiration (which is too often just a buzzword for “making lots of money”) and generally think there is too much focus these days on monetary success at the expense of sustainability and mental well-being.
So I’m one of those naive people who felt energised by the Corbyn movement. And on a personal level, Corbyn’s avuncular, grumpy, measured approach was a breath of fresh air after politics becoming more and more a game of star power and soundbites.
But I see now that just not enough people are behind this, and I’m now forcing myself to judge my political stance on practicalities instead of utopian hopes. Practically speaking, there’s a huge swathe of people in the country who are hard-working, patriotic types who never trusted Corbyn and felt betrayed by Brexit dithering. There’s absolutely no question that the Conservatives capitalised on this undercurrent so expertly the conspiracy theorist in me is starting to suspect the whole thing has been a long con over the last five/ten years (i.e. use the Brexit vote to foster confusion and unrest, foster that unrest with an incapable person at the helm (May), then a saviour (Johnson) comes swooping in so everyone can unite behind a simple “Get Brexit Done” message which cuts through all the confusion).
The next leader? I’d like Labour to maintain a left wing momentum (no pun intended) and choosing either Jess Phillips or Angela Raynor (both northern, plain-speaking, tough as boots and female) would be a sensible way forward.
What are your thoughts? Get on your soapbox and waffle away. I love reading all your opinions, and on these pages I’m regularly forced to challenge my own views and assumptions in a healthy way.
(PS I’m from Ayrshire and I voted SNP – that’s a whole other kettle of fish so I’m not even going to go there, but opinions welcome on this as well. The SNP has maybe been one factor which has sucked votes away from Labour over the years, so is definitely part of the issue).