From a New Jerusalem to a New Way of Failing: What Has Become of the Labour Party | Jack McKenna
As I take a drag of my cigarette, seeing the smoke that fills my room vanish into the air, I collect my thoughts on the CLP meeting that I have just attended. My constituency was no stranger to being red throughout its history, but it now adds to the blue that has taken over most of the electoral map. I take another drag, and I remember the characters that were in the meeting. Some of these characters are good people but, like myself, are perplexed by what has become of our party; people who want to win and want to see a Labour government. Now, the other characters, they only have an interest in dancing to one sound – the banging of their own drum. Now, the beat does not resemble the beat of the many voters in this constituency, but the beat of their own out of touch, rose tinted views.
Now, I’ll make no secret of it: I joined Labour as it seemed natural due to my family’s trade union allegiances – a united front of fighting for a fairer world for our families and our communities. However, it is the cries of those people that fall on the deaf ears of a certain ilk that will decry these once hard working communities as ignorant, as bigoted and as treacherous. But you must remember that these people didn’t leave us, we left them – we abandoned them in pursuit of a metropolitan world view; a view that only matters in the coffee shops of Islington, not in the working men clubs of Ilkley. And why did the party once founded by a Scottish miner pursue this course of action? The answer: Jeremy Corbyn.
No matter what his cult followers say, he was not popular. The only reason he had the illusion of popularity was because his army of middle class Trotskyists entered the party that was founded for the working class, ripped up the rose and planted quinoa in its place. The party that once fought tooth and nail for working families was now decrying the existence of the family itself. Many noble MPs and members were aware of what was happening, but the tide of Corbyn’s cult of personality engulfed them. This army of trots were now acting like their very own NKVD. Nobody could get in the way of Saint Corbyn, or else they would be dismissed as a ‘Red Tory’, a ‘turncoat’, or ‘being part of the witch hunt’. But Saint Corbyn’s magic disappeared many moons ago, and his supporters ought to do the same.
This was a man who was hellbent on a deeply centralised state, eradicating the culture and identity of our nation in achieving his goal of a rigidly outdated ideology and his supporters naively lapped it up, milking the Corbyn project of any political substance. The Party that once championed Britain and her security were now flaunting the Palestinian flag at their own party conference; a bunch of people who throughout their careers have supported any attempt to rid Britain of her liberty – I point to the careers of Jeremy, and John McDonnell. More or less, however, just like the father of the Trots, the pickaxe finally struck and the penny dropped. Jobless politicians who were having to make their staff redundant just weeks before Christmas, Jeremy took to the TV camera..and made it all about him. Of course, in the wake of an embarrassing defeat, he was still right. Nevertheless, Corbynism is now decomposing in the ground, and there will be no resurrection.
So, what now? What about Starmerism? What about Labourism? What is the definitive? Well, obviously revisionism – sensible revisionism. The country supports the economic endeavour of Keir Starmer’s Labour, but it needs to be packaged not to convince the converted, but to convince the abandoned. The rhetoric of creating an all-out level playing field needs to go; instead we need to create opportunity and ambition (the level playing field will come naturally with a nation state) because that speaks to people positively.
I think the economic policies and rhetoric of Starmer are better than they were under Corbyn. However it is packaging that economic rhetoric with social rhetoric that the party needs to do – it needs to find a language that doesn’t speak to metropolitan areas, but to the post-industrial communities in the country and on the coast. We need to use our ideology as a case to build a better Britain – to make people believe in their country.
For Roman Catholic families like mine, Labour has always been the natural home. Now is the time to embrace the moral code and values of the Christian Left, but most importantly it is time for us to embrace The Church. There is a direct link between church, community and family – we, as a party, must embrace that link and emphasise the link between the three. Like I said, the answer does not only lie within the state, it lies within the community for Labour, and with community comes church and family.
So what is the solution? For me, the solution lies only partially in the 90s but definitely not in the Corbyn era. For me, the solution lies within the philosophy of Orwell, Ruskins and Glassman. The solution, as well, is that the party needs to learn to not be nice, but be ruthless instead. The only way that we can get used to being ruthless is by starting in our own house; those that infiltrated the party that I mentioned earlier need to be made to feel uncomfortable, they need not to be treated with open arms – these are communists and we can’t compromise with them.
Like my cigarette smoke, I hope the woes that encompass me as a Labour member vanquish into the air. But most importantly I hope the metropolitan agenda and the trots of Bohemia fade away into a political oblivion, never to infect this Party again.