With the election called last week, I intend to vote for Hilary Benn but will do so with a troubled conscience. This won’t be because I find him lacking in substance or unresponsive; on the contrary I have found him to be an excellent constituency MP. My qualms are centred around the fact that I think his party are unfit to form a government. I’ve never before found myself in the position of wanting all the major parties to lose.
I expect this opinion will anger some. We live in times where it is not possible to simply disagree with someone. These days we become enraged that anyone should dare to hold a different opinion to ourselves. And nowhere is this anger more evident than among the Corbyn-supporting Left, who seem driven by a pompous self-righteousness that not only sees all that is good and wise residing in themselves but shows genuine contempt for dissenting views. In light of that, I fully accept that what I am now going to say will alienate many and while it might seem a little premature to start discussing what needs to happen after the General Election, in reality, these are things which many of us feel should have happened two years ago.
Unless the polls are woefully inaccurate then at some time early on the 9th June many of us will be dissecting the election results and wondering if we are staring into the abyss where, somewhere deep in the gloom resting on the unseen rock-bottom, lay the hopes of those who don’t wish to see unending Tory government.
The fact is that many have been saying for two years that the top table of the parliamentary Labour party are unfit to hold high office. This has been met by a wilful renunciation of the obvious. Told we were talking nonsense, that we were Red Tories, told that we should take our vote elsewhere, we have known that this day of reckoning has been looming for quite some time.
How did things get to this point?
The Labour Party was created to get the voice of the working-class into parliament but somewhere, over the course of the past few decades, it has become something else. I think part of the reason for this is found outside the traditional well of Labour support.
There is a certain type of middle-class person, tortured by whatever material advantages they have had in life, who begins to hate themselves. Eventually this leads to fetishizing the working-class and, in short order, all those abroad who are fighting against oppression, especially if the people doing the oppressing are “The West”. These people, whose background often provides a safety net from poverty, begin treating politics as their hobby, in much the same way as other, more mentally stable people, develop an interest in craft ales, or vinyl records, or fell-running. They overcome their self-loathing which has made them so unhappy and angry and turn that negativity not just upon their political opponents but, bizarrely, reserve their most vehement and ferocious hatred for fellow-travellers on the Left who deviate from the purity of their own vision. From the Spanish Civil War, through the days of Militant to the days of Momentum, if the Left has found itself at home doing anything, it is excoriating each other, calling each other names and generally bringing about a split in its ranks. Considering that we on the Left shout about “Solidarity” so much, we are peculiarly fond of rending assunder our movement.
This inability to play nice with one another from the same side of the political rainbow does not bode well for ambitions to govern the whole country. Being in government precludes dealing only with your political family. You must govern well for all and not hate even those who hate you.
Throughout my adult life I have met middle-class people who have been at pains to tell me – an actual working-class person – how and what I should think. Thankfully, as soon as I have clocked them approaching, adjusting their keffiyeh or their peaked Lenin-style cap, I have switched off mentally. Few things anger me as much as being patronised by the middle-class.
The current leadership now remind me of the characters in The Big Bang Theory – but instead of overcoming their own inadequacies by idolising comic superheroes as proxies who possess the looks and powers to battle successfully in a world that has overlooked or mocked them, they have been fanboys for murderous terror groups around the world. While I uphold the right of anyone to believe whatever they want, I’d suggest that finding common cause with Hamas, Hizbollah and the IRA doesn’t make you a prospective leader of the UK.
They would do well to look to the roots of the party, which were steeped in Methodist faith and patriotism. While I am neither religious nor particularly patriotic, I can say with confidence that the party will never govern again while they appear to hate their own country so much. The current leadership, the oddjob mixture of people promoted so far beyond their abilities that they even look surprised themselves, will never understand this but the vast majority of the electorate are more concerned with the fate of Britain than that of any number of other worthy causes overseas. The majority of people don’t care about overseas causes – they are for political nerds only.
After the election I’d like to see a Left wing party that is led by, and mainly constitutes, the working-class. No other group in society would submit to be led or represented by those from outside its own ranks. Women’s Rights, or Gay Rights, would never be led by a man or a heterosexual respectively and so we, the workers, need to be at the vanguard of any movement that champions our rights.
There have been elections where I haven’t voted but this time I will, even though I know that the party I vote for is led by corduroyed hobbyists and virtue-signalling gesturists. It feels more important than ever to stock parliament with good MPs who will be capable of holding the government to account without having their Students Union level politics held up to ridicule. In the coming years we will need them.