Will the Last Person to Leave the Labour Party Turn Out the Lights? | Mario Laghos
The constituency of Hartlepool, Labour since its inception, has fallen to the Tories. Boris Johnson’s candidate, Jill Mortimer, won with 52% of the vote, while Keir Starmer’s man, Paul Williams, secured less than 30%. The Conservative Mayor of Teesside, Ben Houchen has won re-election with an unfathomably large 73% of the vote, after having won by a margin of only 2% in 2017. Likewise, the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, looks assured to increase his majority. Elsewhere, Labour is losing councillors and councils in such numbers that if predicted just 24 hours ago would have had the biggest of doomsters all incredulous. Over a year out from their most crushing electoral defeat since 1935, under new management, and standing in the face of a government whose pandemic response has left 128,000 dead, the Labour party has been smashed. Again.
Only the supremely intelligent could be so stupid as to not know why this keeps happening. John McDonell took to the airwaves to tell the BBC that Keir Starmer needed a policy platform which was more radical than the one rejected in 2019. His Socialist Campaign Group colleague, Jon Trickett, tweeted his vision for the party, which included amongst other things: ‘End[ing] Vaccine Apartheid’, ‘Nurses not Nukes’ and ‘Kill the Bill’. The Jo(h)n’s ideological nemeses, the likes of Andrew Adonis, have also been touring the studios to peddle their pet projects and personal proclivities as though they were psephologically sound. ‘Lose, lose, lose, lose, Blair, Blair, Blair, lose, lose, lose, lose’ they say. It’s Corbyn’s fault too dontcha know. Unlike the Left, the Labour Right don’t have any policy proposals, they just trot out platitudes about the need to listen and learn, about how it’s important to win back trust. Occasionally they’ll get all hawkish about Russia to let you know they’re serious about defence. But these two groups who dominate the Labour party, are not in reality enemies at all. They are two sides of the same coin, the Corbynites the Judean People’s Front to the Blairite’s People’s Front of Judea. Both were, and still are, fanatically pro-European Union. Both are overwhelmingly liberal in their disposition toward social policy. Both want to impose their will on the mass of the people.
Labour’s expectation that the working class should have a duty to agree with Labour values, rather than an understanding that Labour has a duty to represent working class values, is not new, but it is a terminal trait. Blair ignored the electorate and their views on mass migration and in so doing enabled the rise of the British National Party. Ed Miliband refused in 2015 to give voters a choice on the European question, gifting UKIP 4 Million votes, and David Cameron a parliamentary majority. Corbyn denied the country its solemn verdict on Brexit and damned the party to an historic defeat. Starmer’s approach is no different. Talk is cheap, and he talks of his intentions to listen and learn at very low expense indeed. I have written of his sweet words, of his commitment that ‘Christianity ought to form a blueprint for British society’ and of his blue ties and Union Flag backdrops. And I called it out as a ‘branding exercise in which pre-existing policies are dressed up in patriotic colours’. This cynicism was born out when Starmer collided with Christian values, in his visit to Jesus House Church, for which after the first whiff of grapeshot from Twitter, he apologised, and deleted all evidence of the visit. When working class football fans expressed their dismay at the kneeling ritual which had been imposed upon them without consultation or consent, Starmer sided with the players, the 1%, and damned the supporters. He himself took the knee, just a day after BLM riots defiled the Cenotaph. He was present but not involved as Labour MP for Nottingham East, Nadia Whittome cheered on the destruction of the Colston statue. He cuts a quiet figure as his MPs howl racist abuse like banshees against black Conservative Ministers. His is Corbynism without the broadband. It’s one last heave with a flag on the weekend. The working class will not be pacified by patriotic posturing; they want patriotic policies. They want their culture defended. They want immigration slashed. They want to give race baiters and Communists the boot. They want to take back control of their institutions. They want the police to do their jobs. They want meritocracy. They want to be better off at work than on benefits. They want robust defence. They want to retain and conserve the country as is. They want nationalism not globalism. And yes, they want economic justice too. They want an education system that gives their kids the same shot as rich kids. They want the state to control strategic industries, not Chinese companies, and for the people to be energy independent, not Russia dependent – because have all the flags you like – that’s patriotism too. Don’t believe me, don’t believe the polls, believe the evidence of your own eyes.
Labour knows this. They know that the mass of ordinary people doesn’t give a damn about Trans visibility day. They don’t want to wear your stupid LGBT lanyards. They don’t want shortlists for minorities or women, because that butts’ heads with the very English sense of fair play. They want a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, a home, a family, a stake in the society, a well-paying and high-skilled job, safe streets, secure borders, and national pride. And to hell with the cultural rot of defunding the police, kill the bill, green fanaticism, and this sacrilegious kneeling ritual. Stand up! But they don’t, and they won’t. The rump of MPs who have so far avoided unceremonious firing by electorate are ideologically possessed. Their values are not our values, and they will not compromise. Instead, they sign up to an even more insidious tactic – strategic ambiguity. I would respect the Labour party more if it pinned its race and faith manifestos, embrace of Critical Race Theory, and hatred of the nation state to their lapels. But the deal they have done with Starmer is to lock it all away in a cupboard, leaving it all on ice, while the no mark front man makes jibes about wallpaper and sleaze. They are content to give the electorate the impression that they are on their side, as these MPs will sit glibly as Labour condemns Tory ‘incompetence’ at the border, giving the impression that Labour would be more robust. They thought they had a winner with their ‘credible Leave option’ and they degrade the word patriotism routinely when we all know they’d jump back into the EU and flood Britain with migrants to wield as an electoral weapon at the first opportunity. Again, don’t believe me, believe Labour MP Rosie Duffield who told Left Wing propaganda outlet the Huffington Post that the majority of Labour MPs are “desperate to rejoin” the EU “at heart”. But unlike the Trojans, the English can smell a pup a mile off. Paul Williams, who was chucked out of Stockton in 2019, was overwhelmingly rejected by the electorate of Hartlepool. No matter how many flags he plastered across his campaign HQ, they know it was all smoke and mirrors. They knew he’d sell them out to rejoin the EU at the first opportunity. They knew he’d preside over them as an elected dictator if ever he won. Instead, they chose the only party that is willing to listen to them, the Tory party.
There is a sense in which we have Brexit to thank for exposing Labour. The Leave Remain divide forced Labour to depart from its strategic ambiguity, get off the fence and take a stand. They showed for all to see that they weren’t the Labour party of old, and that this new outfit was cosmopolitan in character and globalist in its outlook. But this in itself was not a crime or a slight. I voted Remain, and like most people when the results came in accepted it without complaint. Labour mirrored the majority, it took a position on Brexit, accepted the result and headed into the 2017 election on a manifesto to end Free Movement, leave the EU, democratise football, and give us a new bank holiday on St George’s Day. There were issues of course, questions over antisemitism hung around Corbyn like a bad smell. His stated commitment to maintain Trident was scarcely believable. He embodied much of that which Orwell described in The Road to Wigan Pier as crankiness. These flaws in part gave rise to swings against the party across the Red Wall, but in the final analysis, the party gained seats. It had formed a coalition of liberals and conservatives, Remainers and Leavers, socialists and Blairites, which was enough to knock the Tories down a peg. But it’s what happened next that’s revealing. The moment Labour got a sniff of power, the fantastical vision of a government of ‘national unity’, the numbers to block Brexit, and the ability to physically prevent a general election, they reneged on all that they had promised. They laboured under the assumption that another election would not be called until 2022, and comforted by this fact reneged on all that they had promised to the conservative element of their coalition and sold them out for the People’s Voters and the Islington Liberals. And if Brexit was about the European Union, this too could have been forgiven. But it wasn’t. It was about who we are as a country, as a people. It was an existential question and a litmus test to measure weather you believed in Britain. Labour, steered by Keir Starmer, showed us their true colours.
But any joy I take in witnessing the Labour party reap its just desserts is fleeting. Many of my formative years were spent in a mining town. I know first-hand the structural and social damage wrought by deindustrialisation. I was formerly a member of the Labour party because it was they who traditionally championed the working man. But today, it is Labour who want dole not coal in Cumbria. They wanted to keep taxes low for parasitical transnational corporations who push for unlimited migration the better with which they might increase their profits. It used to be the Labour party and the unions that opposed the EU on the grounds that mass migration would flood the labour market and depress wages. Today it’s the Tories that got Brexit done. Labour used to understand crime hurts workers most, the rich shielded as they are by wealth, but today Labour MPs want prisoners to get priority status for Covid vaccines. And just two years ago they stood on a platform explicitly opposing the Conservative guarantee that terrorists would not enjoy automatic early release. The Tories, flawed as they are, can now claim to be the party of the workers, and the party of middle England. Their socially conservative economically centre left agenda has won over a coalition of support capable of smashing the grandest of progressive alliances. Labour isn’t working. They’re locked out for a decade. For those of us who want patriotic policies and economic justice, it’ll be the Tories for the foreseeable future. Not that I’d be seen dead paying them any membership subs, they’ve got enough dodgy Russian oligarchs for that. Will the last person to leave the Labour party turn out the lights?