Labour’s internal problems are their problem to sort, not mine although indirectly it affects us all.
Labour whether we like it, or not is the Official Opposition. It is their role to hold the Government of the day to account.
I can’t, shouldn’t and won’t take sides with their internal struggle, that is a matter for their Party, NEC, members etc. but the situation as I see it is a stalemate of calamatous proportions.
Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader by the membership and has a mandate for the role. His, and thus the members who elected him, believe in the politics of the Labour roots (subjective) and not in the centralist politics of say Blair. As I have previously written, I believe Blair took the New Labour to the centre ground as he saw that was the only way to unseat the Tories in the 90’s, and won. It appears that the majority of PLP and some members believe that the Blair type model is what would be required still to make Labour appeal to the electorate (it could also be a factor that most of those MP’s joined Labour in the Blair years) and that the direction of Corbyn is not condusive to that and hence have lost confidence. Corbyn is sticking to his principles that he believes in, as do the members etc. that back him and believe that as Labour MP’s the PLP should do too. They obviously don’t agree.
The problem for them, is that both sides are probably right, or wrong. What the Labour Party needs to decide is which is the right course for itself to take, it can’t be both. It will either have to split, or one side will have to cede, whichever way it may be messy.
The problem for the country is that whilst they have their internal struggles there is no effective Official Opposition. Yes Jeremy Corbyn can stand at the dispatch box at PMQ’s etc. but with the PLP in tatters it is hardly holding the Government to account. The Tories appeared to have split, had a leadership contest, such as it was, reformed together again and didn’t take any damage from Labour at all. That is not a criticism of Corbyn, but of the Labour Party as a whole.
Some may scoff and point to me as a Liberal Democrat, using the usual line of being finished, only having 8 MP’s etc. (Actually the Party is on the rise thanks, 4 by-election wins this week alone and a rising membership, up 17,500+ since referendum). The LD’s is the party of my choice. I don’t agree with everything, who does, but on the whole the Party fits my political beliefs. I have stuck with them (initially Liberal) since the 70’s as a follower, not as a member, or activist at that time and watched it grow and suffer over the years. What I do have is pride, I am proud to be part of the Liberal Democrat family.
Why Liberal Democrat I am often asked?
Many reasons actually. My parents always voted that way, though that was actually not a major factor. Whilst in my teens I observed the area I lived in changing between Labour and Tory with all the swings that brought with it. The labourites always seemed (this was a long time ago) to be brash and bullish, the Tories above their station and acting as if they were above everyone else’s too, the Liberals seemed to be willing to listen and had their feet on the ground (may be because of the size of the party). On this basis and the fact that I was never one to do populist I opted for Liberal. Labour was too far left for me. I remember once starting to read Arguments for Socialism by Tony Benn. I read two chapters and stopped, I didn’t agree with his views, so wasn’t for me. The Conservatives too far right. I did look interestingly at the SDP in the early 80’s and guess I got best of both when the parties merged. The more I looked at what LD’s and the other party’s stood, and still stand for, the more I knew I had chosen right for me. This is true especially today when I see what is happening in all the other parties. I’m glad I made the right choice and would encourage others to join the Liberal Democrats too.
Back to the present situation, I can understand why Labour members on both sides are positioning themselves as they are, in no way condone the bullying and violence, but understand. I hope they find their Karma and soon for the good of the Country.
p.s At the next General Election, remember this year, remember that the Coalition wasn’t bad after all (look what the Tories did when left to their own devices), remember what Labour is like at present and vote Liberal Democrat, I will.