I am not a Blairite.
I find it abhorrent, and found it abhorrent after the election, to see them mobilise around ‘electability’ and ‘winning because THEY need us’. I found it abhorrent not just because it was utterly patronizing -and indeed, this is a major factor in the Left’s ascent-, but because it was wrong.
There was very little evidence to suggest Labour’s defeat in May was to do with being too left wing, nor about left versus right at all. There is no longer a ‘centre ground’, but multiple, and the Tories certainly did not win by being any form of ‘centrist’. I loathe disingenuous analyses, and I embrace ones based on evidence and data.
That’s why I find unnerving parallels between the Blairites and the Corbynites. As much as ‘being too left’ was not why we lost, neither was ‘being too right’. The literal myth that we ‘did not inspire people to turn out’ has no credible basis, no credible evidence. There’s no data to suggest we could increase turnout with Corbyn at the helm. Indeed, the people that don’t turn out are the young and the poor, and they more than others believe ‘they’re all the same’. But this is not the same as assuming this is because of ‘austerity’ or being ‘Tory Lite’. In fact, assuming stuff about the electorate (and middle class assumptions about the working class electorate especially) is a very risky game, it takes experimentation, and this here is my point.
Going into constructing a leadership based on guessing, assumption, experimentation, and ‘hope’, is a game for the privileged. And I feel like that’s what’s happened here. This is a guessing game amongst middle class people. And I do now have data to suggest this rings true; Labour members are 2/3rds from social classes ABC1, compared to a largely C2/DE voting base. And it shows.
I feel increasingly alienated from this race and this Party because, partly, the middle class Greens, Green types and Green smpathising Labourites that expressed such hostility for Labour pre-election are now dictating its future. That’s it! The Labour Party is beginning to feel increasingly like The Green Party, and it has an ostracizing effect for me. It feels like the people that I marched -belligerently- alongside with on that march a month back, are now morphing it into their ideals and deciding only their ideals are true, come what may.
Showing hostility toward existing members, accusing pragmatists of being unprincipled. Those asserting a black and white dichotomy between True Labour and Tory Lite are ignoring evidence of public perception, and are doing so from a place of privilege. Those using the line ‘I’d rather be principled than win’ are falling into the same trap as the Blairites, albeit on the opposite end. It’s as thought the soft left, or the New Left, or the Old Right, don’t exist in their prisms. And indeed, for newer members, they don’t. Because they don’t know about them. For too many, even Ed Miliband was a ‘Red Tory’.
The Labour Party right now feels like that anti-austerity march that made me so angry on June 24th. I look to my sides and feel no comradeship, because the minute I utter doubt or anxiety over electability and evidence, the moment I am pushed from the crowd as lacking in principle, as being a pessimist.
I am pragmatic and so cautious as to not ignore evidence because my fate, as is my family’s, my friends’, my community’s, is intertwined with the fate of The Labour Party.
The Labour Party is not a pet project to me. It’s not something I can dip in and out of, to experiment with like a lab rat. But that is the impression I am getting from newcomers voting Corbyn, some of whom have came from other parties like the Greens. It’s their pet project, not their fate.
So I shout back when I think some are taking too big a risk with it, when peers are not paying attention to the evidence.
If this is the politics of fear then so be it. Because I’m not the establishment, nor a Blairite, nor do I have any ideological intent, but neither am I free of principle. I am merely fearful based on evidence presented to me. I have every right to be fearful. And people dismissing that fear have a lot to answer for.
*For all this talk of the evidence presented to me, please check out EVERY SINGLE POLL AVAILABLE, including the recent IPSOS MORI poll that places Corbyn last in the public eye.