In a slight tangent to my usual posts about Art I just wanted to write something really quickly about the Labour Party. As you, probably, know the ballot is now open for selection of the next leader; the choice is Rebecca Long-Bailey, Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy. This is one of the most important elections we can be making as the membership; last election we lost a load of traditional labour voters; if the next election comes and they feel like they can't vote for the Labour Party again then we've lost them for ever. This is a crucial election for the party; make no mistake about it. The Labour Party has always survived when people thought it was going to die; its always made a come back and now should be like no other.
I'm not going to say who I think you should vote for here but lets take for granted that who ever it is should be really clear on equality and social progression. Innovative solutions to the specific obstacles to the persuit of happiness of all people should be the core principal of any Labour Leader. That's a given.
I want to take some time to think about how we lost an election so terribly with a principled honest politician with no blemishes (until he became leader) to his name.
The first thing to talk about is the press. No Labour leader has ever, or will ever, get an easy ride from the press. The right wing press see any labour party worth it's salt as an aggressor that challenges it's establishment and will always shit on it to make sure it's not held to account on it's taxation and profit whording. We will never get an easy ride from them but what we saw happen to Jeremy Corbyn was beyond anything seen before in my life time. I am of the belief that is there is smoke there is fire and if enough people cry wolf there probably is one; I believe my Jewish friends when they say they feel scared and untrusting of a party that has a rise in anti-semitism. I don't believe Corbyn himself is Anti-Semetic; but I do believe that the party failed to deal with the problem as quickly and as harshly as it should. The party is big and sprawling; there are loads of members and affilated members and the process isn't as clear as it could have been. This has highlighted a fundamental flaw in the Labour Parties dismisal process that needs to be dealt with.
Fundamentally we have learned, in the public, that the Labour Party is a broad church and no one should feel unwelcome in it. Unions are different people standing together to create a better world; we have to stand side by side with people not like us and any person seen to be at odds with that is a menace and should be ejected from the party. I do not think that we should entertain the ideas of racists; we should educate them that the common enemy is the tories and not people who don't look like them or have their culture.
This election was, partly, lost because the Labour Party was unable to deal with this as quickly and as cleanly as it should have done. The thing we have to notice also is that Boris Johnstone managed to openly talk about "picanninnies with water melon smiles", "tank topped bum boys" and "letter box women" opently and survived a mauling from the press. Jeremy Corbyn liked a Facebook picture of some graffetti that had a subtextual amount of anti-semetic imagery. The press ended his career. That's the difference between the two. The next leader either needs to have the power to be impervious to the press like Johnstone or to say "I am not playing your game" like Donald Trump.
The second thing to mention is that the public thought the Labour Party's policies were unrealistic. There wasn't the faith for the party to deliver, what I thought, was a fantastic array of ideas. It's also worth noting that the British press labelled these policies as "radical". There is nothing unusal in the rest of the world about state owned utilities or the green new deal. These are not policies that are "mental" they are only seen as radical because neo-liberalism has become the status quo in the UK. These are not unrealistic policies globally speaking; what these critics really mean is that they think it's unrealistic for Corbyn and co to deliver them. This is key to thinking about who comes next as our leader is firstly who can be seen to deliver a radical alternative to neo-liberalism. The Labour Party is a socialist democratic party. It needs to be a viable socialist democratic party with a leader that can be seen to deliver it.
Within that the party has to remain as anti-establishment. One of the major reasons we lost the election was that Boris Johnstone somehow managed to become the "anti-establishment" ticket. In an absolutely mind fucking mental way the New York born, Etonian, Oxbridge, son of a millionaire, CONSERVATIVE party leader managed to become the anti-establishment vote. This was done, as I'll talk about shortly, by getting on the Brexit bandwagon and muttering "get brexit done" over and over again. The swaying voters saw him as a rebel against Europe and his behaviour as a rebellion against traditional political speak. Corbyn with his genuinely radical policies and his dithering about Brexit was seen as a "liberal establishment". In a bizarre fiddling of optics we found that Boris managed to flip things around and paint the Labour Party as the corrupt old pro-EU guard. Our next leader needs to be anti-establishment.
Which brings me to Brexit. This is important because that election was a Brexit election and everything was swayed by that. As was on the one before it. Everything was skewed by the question of our membership of the European Union. This is important because, I think, this means that we haven't yet tested real socialism in modern Britain outside the realms of Brexit. There is a lot of talk about choosing a "safe candidate" because the "modern populus don't like socialism" but I don't think we have, yet, offered the public a socialist manfiesto, with a leader they can trust, fully costed, in (post?) austerity Britain outside the realms of Brexit. It's important to remember that because people didn't vote for policies in the last two elections; they voted to "get brexit done" through the vortex of anti-establishment conservatisim and indicesive, corrupt, racist Labour Party. Labour fucked themselves on Brexit but they were in a difficult situation; they couldn't say they'd go for it as it would upset their membership. The couldn't say remain because it would turn large swarthes of the places they need to win against them. Their policy was the right one it just came out way too late and was high jacked by the tory party as being indecisive. We need to ask ourselves if we can give genuine socialism a real shot once the Tories fuck up the country even more in 5 years.
Finally we need to remember that we are in opposition which means we need someone who can hold Boris to account without him coming back and saying "do your tie up" like Cameron did to Corbyn. We someone who has the tenacity and eloquence to go at Johnstone for his behaviour. Johnstone is a disgrace to Britain make no mistake of it; he is a master of deception that is fundamentally racist and misognistic. He is a wolf in a gimps clothing with the haircut of a 9 year year old. He's a clown that's being marionetted by darker forces than we can understand. We need someone to expose him every week; and that person needs to look and sound like us. The people.
So before we go out to vote I'd like you to ask yourself some questions:
- Who do you think can either get the press onside or turn their back on them and win?
- Who do you think can propose socialist democratic policies and be trusted to deliver them by the public?
- Who do you think can steal the anti-establishment ticket from Boris when people realise what he is?
- Who do you think can be seen as decisive in reimagining the parties complaints system so all feel welcome?
- Who do you think can get the publics trusts in relation to their stance on Brexit?
- Who do you think can hold Boris to account every week and expose him for what he is?
- Who do I see myself in?
I think this is a solid starting place for thinking about who we can chose out of the last 3 candidates.