Labour angst or unity against austerity?
Labour’s analysts are having a hayday undermining their new leader, Jeremy Corbyn, often using analyses of their pre-Corbyn election defeat to attack him. Their understanding was poor back then and, if John Cruddas’ – Labour’s Shrinking Vote is anything to go by, it isn’t getting any better. (The comments are even more disturbing.) Here, Adam Samuels, peruses the territory.
Given that Labour gained 1 million votes overall against their 2010 defeat, John Cruddas’ research provides an odd analysis. Of course, with Britain’s ridiculous out-dated voting system, this is not reflected in the seats gained or lost. UKIP got only 1 MP for 4 million votes; that’s not right, even if we despise them. Simple as.
Labour’s problem in May was two-fold. One, they remained too ‘right’ for core support – SNP, Plaid, UKIP gains, and secondly, they were not trusted with the economy. This is also odd, given that Osborne and the Tories backed Labour’s spending penny for penny pre-2010. Plus, the economy was rising again just prior to 2010 election. With their enforced austerity, it is shocking now that the Tories have once again taken extreme measure like the Welfare Bill, while claiming to want to rid the uk of poverty and injustice.
Agreed the PLP and Corbyn have issues to iron out – no problem for me, debate and disagreements are healthy – it’s just the PLP & media are not used to Corbyn’s style of democratic decision-making. Moreover, and worryingly, it appears they either don’t want to change, or can’t. The trouble is, despite their opposition and that of the media en masse, Corbyn achieved the biggest mandate of any leader – more so than Blair. So, those PLP members have 2 choices:
1. Leave/resign, with thanks for your work/efforts, if you cannot work with democracy. It was a very clear message from party members & supporters; Corbyn had a massive majority in all 3 areas of the party: members, supporters and union affiliates.
2. Stay and work within the huge mandate given; you are there to represent the party, not Westminster or your own career.
As for winning back votes off the Tories, Westminster and the media/commentariat surrounding it, still do not grasp why they are wildly out of touch with most people (of any party). It is why I championed Plaid & Leanne Wood in May, and why I feel it is essential, and I mean essential, that the ‘left’ backs Corbyn as he represents most Plaid & Green policies, and a lot of the SNP’s.
Here’s just one example of how the mysterious ‘middle ground’ can be won back.10 years ago, a young couple, both working full-time, with a child and two cars, could afford their own mortaged home. Now, that exact same demographic – two young people, working full time with a child, have one car to share and struggle to pay rent on a council flat. This is today’s reality – my friends. Do the tories speak to these people? Or does Corbyn speak more clearly and genuinely to these potential voters?
If it is a rare chance to get these ideas played out UK-wide, then we are morally-bound to support his programme. Otherwise, why are people in politics? I stand side by side with Plaid re getting rid of Carwyn Jones, but Dafydd Wigley is daft and certainly counter-productive for Plaid, by looking for ways to discredit and oppose Corbyn.
Now, prior to Labour policy being set, is the time for Plaid to approach Corbyn, saying where they can work together. We need also to take the opportunity to explain why Plaid find it so difficult to work with Carwyn Jones. Such an approach would strengthen both Plaid and Corbyn.
If the ‘left’ goes down the traditional route of fracturing any unofficial ‘coalition’, the Tories win. That simple. Then, the policies we all want to see will stand 0% chance of coming in. If all anti-austerity parties are serious about social change and, as this is a genuine real chance of it happening UK-wide, let us work together to get these policies through wherever possible.
Labour MPs, Plaid, Greens, SNP and the left, should worry far less about ‘appearing relevant’ and more about making a collective ‘very relevant’. Changing Westminster and its media culture is not required, we just have to get the truth and evidence out, directly, to the people; social media and good old grass roots volunteers can achieve this. Group ‘momentum’ is also worth noting and supporting. After all, a previously unknown 66 year old man talking politics who gets teenagers climbing trees for a glimpse of him at packed out venues, surely has to be doing something worth supporting.