Sunday 25th June 2017, the day I leave the Labour Party. I’ve been thinking about it for a very long time, since that fateful day in 2015 when Jeremy Corbyn became Labour’s accidental Labour. I’ve had more than enough “Why don’t you fuck off and join the Tory Party?” from mainly anonymous Corbynistas, and much, much worse from blog responders who may be Corbynistas or Britain First supporters. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference. The last thing I’d do would be to join the Tory Party, given that I share Aneurin Bevan’s view that they are “lower than vermin”, so I am now officially politically homeless.
My loyal reader will be aware of my contempt for the type of politics Corbyn represents. His active support for the murderous IRA, as well as his dealings with “friends” in Hamas and Hezbollah, always turned my stomach. His contempt for the Labour Party in parliament, voting against Labour more often than David Cameron, his close links with the SWP front organisation Stop the West…er…Stop the War, his long-standing support for unilateral nuclear disarmament and his backward facing politics that emanate from the 1980s where they should really have stayed. The idea that Corbyn’s Labour is a new and different kind of politics is laughable but it is undeniable that it has taken off among a particular group of people. The affluent middle classes.
Corbyn was a star performer at the Glastonbury Festival yesterday, making his usual speech to affluent, middle class young people who seem to hang on his every word, rather like the disciples of Brian of Nazareth. The students on a “gap yah”, professionals in their motorhomes able to fork out £250 just for the privilege of singing along with the king of tedium Ed Sheeran (good luck with that one), all acting as if they are at a PDC darts event, but inserting “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” instead of “Oh Michael van Gerwen”.
Imagine being Corbyn. For 32 years, a largely unknown, rebellious backbencher, doing largely as he pleased when he wanted, unencumbered by the awkward business of being in the cabinet and shadow cabinet and making decisions that actually affect people’s lives, suddenly propelled to the front of the stage, becoming a cult figure in mainstream politics. Everywhere Corbyn goes, he is met by worshipping crowds who ignore the fact he is a terrible public speaker and probably don’t all realise the sort of people who surround him or, worst of all in my opinion, his pernicious role in our calamitous decision to leave the EU. The latter is the issue that has pushed me over the edge.
I do not deny Corbyn’s success in apparently galvanising a large number of people to vote Labour in the recent election. Time will tell just how much of the swing to Labour was purely down to him – I happen to think there was a substantial amount of tactical voting involved – but the point is Labour’s heroic loss was still a loss and we are faced, I suspect, with a Tory government for some years to come. I think Corbyn’s Labour has gone as far as it can go.
There were a number of reasons I believe why Labour did well in the election and in no particular order, these are they:
The abysmal Tory campaign and the political self-immolation of Theresa May
The perceived homespun authenticity of Corbyn which undoubtedly offered hope and optimism
A cynical Labour campaign that faced all ways over Europe
“New Labour’s dead,” said the fanatical Corbynista MP Chris Williamson, his eyes twinkling. “No doubt about that. It’s dead, buried and finished. It’s a regrettable chapter in our history. Historians will think ‘my God, what were they doing?!'” he cries. What they were doing, you arsehole, was winning three general elections that made millions of working people better off. “A regrettable chapter in our history” that brought in the minimum wage, Sure Start, massive investment in schools and the NHS and so, so much more. Mainstream Labour MPs “should be on bended knee apologising,in fact. Not just to Jeremy but to the entire Labour movement.” Well, fuck you, Williamson. As long as my arse is pointing downwards, I will never support a hard left Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn and inhabited by people like you, John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, Richard Burgon, Seumas Milne, Mark Serwotka and Andrew Murray.
I have stopped apologising for the Blair years because, apart from the disastrous aberration that was Iraq (which I always felt was more a question of when we got involved, not if, given the tyrannical nature of Saddam), they were largely good years where the country was more at peace with itself than it has been at any time since. The likes of Williamson do Labour no favours by disassociating themselves from a period in time when Labour won three general elections. And why? Because the great unwashed, the voters, liked what they saw.
Corbyn’s coalition will surely never hold together, especially when the reality of Labour’s positions on Europe are exposed. The truth is that Corbyn and the comrades support ending free movement, leaving the single market and the customs union; in other words, they support Theresa May’s hard Brexit. The young supported remaining in the EU. Will they be happy with a Labour Party whose position on Brexit is indistinguishable from May’s? I’m not.
I agree with the gobby Chris Williamson’s assertion that New Labour is dead, which is why I am leaving today. I support a meritocratic country where people are encouraged, not discouraged, from seeking success and, yes, being better off. In my Labour world, at the same time as we encourage individual success, we celebrate collectivism where we look after each other by way of a strong NHS, free at the point of delivery and dignity in old age. New Labour represented, more than anything, a third way of doing things. Williamson wants to return to the extreme version of two party politics. He can do it without me.
This will be the second time in my life I will have left Labour and, I suspect I won’t be joining again. The lurch to the hard left looks irretrievable and for as long as Labour is led by the likes of Corbyn, I will never be a member. The Labour sell out on Europe is unforgivable and whilst Corbyn can cream himself in the adulation of the twee middle classes at a rock festival, he can do so without my subscription fee.