Despite what the Opinion polls said, neither Trump, nor Brexit, were a shock. That’s why the supporters of Bernie Sanders in the USA & Jeremy Corbyn in the UK were & are so energised – they sense this period in history is one of those ‘once in an era’ moments. Winner takes it all, loser gets nothing.
There have been predictions for the last 2 years of a total Labour wipe out in the U.K. under democratic socialist Jeremy Corbyn – and yet if the recent Local Council Election results were a General Election, the Tories would gain 9 seats and Labour would lose 20 seats. We were told 24% of the vote would go to Labour when voting booths opened, yet at this electoral test, 27% of voters chose Corbyn’s Labour.
What this shows is that if Labour are going to stop the predicted Tory landslide in June there is still a lot of work to be done – but talk of a Labour wipe out is wide of the mark. To stop a Tory landslide Labour need to continue to claw back votes until they hit 30%. Only then is it game on for 10 Downing Street. But rising from a prediction of 24 to an actual result of 27% is not the end of the world.
Theresa May lost ten points in the often not very accurate opinion polls in the first week of the general election campaign alone. The General Election ends in 1 month and 3 days time.
If a week is a long time in politics, a month and 3 days is an eternity. If Theresa May can lose 10 points in one week, what can she do in a month and 3 days?
But some people – who haven’t exactly been constructive to the cause of opposing the Tories, have cited this pre-General election test as a cataclysm. They are starting to point the finger of blame. Dark mutterings in front of national television cameras are spoken about ‘owning’ this election.
Many of those who had a hand in alienating Labour’s core vote – the working class – are busy trying to heap blame on someone, anyone, but them. Yet they were the ones who called the working class vote old hat jingoists for putting a premium on democratic accountability, and for their refusal to accept what even left wing hero Tony Benn called
‘A FOREIGN COMMISSION IN A FOREIGN LAND IMPOSING FOREIGN LAWS WRITTEN IN A FOREIGN TONGUE’.
And yet they were the ones that told the underpaid, unemployed, disenfranchised, dispossessed and never possessed white working class that they were racist for worrying about their wages dropping further as a result of increased competition for dwindling jobs. ‘
They were the ones who called the working class sexist for refusing to endorse a woman with a wrap sheet as long as Hillary Clinton. They are the ones to blame. They failed.
In the UK the pro-EU part of Labour failed to convince the people that the ideals of the EU were worth the bother, in the USA the anti-Trump wing of politics failed to convince the people that Universal Healthcare was worth the bother. These political movements failed because, with a few notable exceptions like Jeremy Corbyn in the UK during the EU referendum, they completely refused to engage with any of the points being made on the other side.
Ironically, given their penchant for being the warriors of Social Justice, they ‘otherised’ the working class, they demonised them and they castigated them. They castigated the working class mercilessly for saying what they saw – the standards of living eroded. When they voiced their concern, and their outrage, they told the working class that:
‘HARD WORKING IMMIGRANTS WILL DO THAT JOB, YOU LAZY, ENTITLED WHITE CIS GENDERED RACIST.
In this era the momentum we saw from the youth in the 60s and 70s, that put people like the Clintons and the Blairs in their positions as they rode the waves of political sentiments emanating from that period, is now with the other wing of politics.
It is because they have failed to engage across the Western World, and when told of their failures, they no platformed the messengers (Germaine Greer, anyone?). Today, using a Twitter feed, some memes and a few trolls you can completely overturn the system if you’ve got the right candidate. Just ask the #ChickenCoup.
So, what can we do? We on the left who have finally been given a chance to vote for, campaign for and support a candidate we believe in? We can do better. We can do more. There are people out there who need the socialism inherent in the NHS, they need our ideals, they need help getting to and from the shops, they need help setting up the systems we are all going to need to provide ourselves with food in the future, they need our passion for fairness in healthcare and our desire to see justice in society.
But they do not need our judgement. They do not need us to sneer at them. They do not need to be called ‘racist’ or ‘stupid’ or ‘deplorable’ simply for not believing in some of the things we believe.
Clement Atlee got lots of people who were not left wing to vote for him. He did it by being a decent, honest, diligent, polite hard worker, who respected people. That was it. No magic Malcolm Tucker-esque formula – he worked hard and was honest, and encouraged the members of his party to do likewise. They did, and despite the many predictions in the Press & the Polls that the great war hero Churchill would bluster his way to win, the people said:
‘NO. THANK YOU, BUT WE’LL CHOOSE A BUILDER. YOU ARE A FIGHTER, AND BY GOD DID YOU FIGHT – BUT WE NEED A BLESSED PEACEMAKER NOW, TO CLEAN UP AFTER THE WAR DOGS.’*
That is what Bernie Sanders would have been for America – their Clement Atlee.
But we do not live in that world. The Left failed to build that world.
But we can still build a Britain that has an honest leader, who respects those who he disagrees with, and has their respect in return. It’s time to stop mourning, mewling & wailing about Brexit & Trump, and start planning on winning elections in your area, so that you can help your candidate win.
“Vote Red or the NHS is dead.”
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