I really shouldn’t. On Thursday the UK voted that we should leave the EU. 1 million people more voted to leave than remain. Whether you agree with that decision or not it is a fact. The people who voted most strongly for Leave were, based on the official polling data, from working class towns who have been let down and left behind over the past 30 plus years. This was a chance for them to scream out their anger and rage at the state of their lives and the fact that they don’t feel listened to. Since the results the far right, the racists and the xenophobes have used that as an excuse to peddle their hatred, believing (I think wrongly) that the vote has shown more people agree with them than they previously knew. The Prime Minister has resigned. The EU want us to start negotiations. The Vote Leave campaign have come out already and said their big claims (more NHS money and lower immigration) were never actually true. People who voted leave are about to find out that when the campaign said “Take Back Control” they added a silent “and give it to Etonians in London”. We are about to go into one of the angriest phases in this country’s history.
We should all be sitting down, and working out what we do to get from this point to one where we can act as a country again. Hell, we need to decide what sort of country we really want first. Not what sort of country are we being offered by career politicians in London. I should be setting out, as a socialist, my view for what that could look like and how we could achieve it. We need cool heads, reconciliation and calm debate to answer all of those people who voted in anger. We must not fail to hear that voice – they are the majority in this country. That is what I should be doing.
But no. Instead I am writing a blog about another attempted coup in the fucking Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP). A party which now appears to be so full of career politicians from the Blair years that it is incapable of seeing outside the Westminster bubble they live in. Who think it is more important to get the “right” result from the leadership election they were on the wrong side of than look to their constituents and address their concerns.
Now, in an attempt to upset every Labour party member in one go, I am going to admit to something which people will see as an act of treason itself. I no longer believe that Labour would get the best possible results in a general election with Jeremy Corbyn as their leader. I voted for JC, and I strongly believe that we need a left leaning leader in order to win back not only votes, but those people who have roared at the government in this referendum. We must not allow them to fall down the route of listening to the racist demagogues of UKIP. So I think we need a left-wing leader who can get those people back. I believe there may be better candidates than JC. I do not believe his performance in the referendum was strong enough. There were enough instances of poor performance and behaviour that we should all be able to see it. I do believe that a move towards a left wing leader who is a more natural vote winner is the direction we should go in.
But this is not the way to do that. At a point when we need a strong, united and responsive Labour Party we are turning our backs on the country to fight internally. What a hideous joke. I am still waiting for the punchline. Let’s be clear on this – dear politicians of pretty much every party YOU ARE NOT DELIVERING WHAT THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY WANT. Many feel they no longer have a voice and government is a long way away and not listening. Well done to the PLP for showing those people that is exactly what politicians do. Particularly when you consider the reason for this timing – so that this coup can happen before changes to the NEC lead to rule changes that might make it more difficult to get rid of the party leader.
The problem is one entirely of your own making PLP. The party in parliament is so far further right than the party members that when the leadership election comes up there is only ever going to be one left wing candidate – the fact that they take turns putting themselves forward proves that. But what happened last year (after the tories won an outright victory) is that people said “enough is enough, we want left wing policies and a left wing leader”. We gave you those instructions. By an absolute landslide. There is no questioning the view of the party members in this. The fact that people signed up to join the party in their thousands to make sure that happened should have given you some idea. This, I believe, is the route to taking our country back from those who no longer care about the working class.
Instead of working with those instructions and that leadership you have used every opportunity to undermine and challenge it. You have shown no loyalty to your party members. I do now hope you understand that those party members should feel no loyalty back to you. Neither should the electorate of the country as a whole. You have put your own self-interest ahead of the national one. For that you should be appalled at your behaviour. If you do not like the views of the membership of the Labour party feel free to leave and join another party. Get elected on the back of their membership fees, their hard work and activism, their policies. You truly should be ashamed of your behaviour. We certainly are.