The amount of on-line abuse Tony Robinson has received this week since he resigned from the Labour Party he served for 45 years reminds me, as if it needed to, why I can never see myself voting for the party. Ever. Again. A Labour Party that was once a broad church of widely different views ranging from the bonkers far leftism of Tony Benn to its mainstream left of centre, in varying degrees, ideals, now has only the bonkers far leftism.
Robinson has quit Labour for a variety of reasons which are its institutionalised anti-Semitism, which is not so much tolerated as promoted by the hard left, the leadership’s support for a hard Brexit, even if that means aiding and abetting and even enabling a hard Tory Brexit, but mainly because Labour’s current leadership is, and here I quote, “shit”. It’s hard to deny he has a point, there.
I look at the Labour front bench with a mixture of bewilderment and head-shaking disillusionment. How can, in anyone’s serious imaginings, the likes of Diane Abbott, Barry Gardiner, Rebecca Long Bailey, Richard Burgon, Dawn Butler and Emily Thornberry be seen as a potential cabinet actually running the country? And that’s before you look at Jeremy Corbyn in an objective way. Supporter or not, you know full well that he is plainly not prime ministerial standard. Corbyn has no leadership qualities at all. The last time he held ‘power’ was when he chaired the housing committee of Haringey council back in the 1970s. Despite his expensive private education, he is no intellect. It is hard to envisage he’d be even worse as PM than Theresa May but I wouldn’t put money against it.
Labour, as a serious political party, is on the highway to oblivion. It has been seized by the chattering hard left middle classes, many of whom were privately educated and so attended the prestigious universities denied to the working classes they purport to represent and care about. Labour today is nothing to do with meritocracy. Instead, if you want to get on, it’s best that your father is in a position of influence or that you know Len McCluskey, that old style trade union fixer. And if you do not loyally support the policies laid down by Labour’s de facto leaders Seumas Milne and the aristocratic Andrew Drummond-Murray, both actual communists by the way, do not expect a job. Expect deselection.
If today’s Jew-hating, hard Brexit supporting, badly led Labour Party still appeals to you, I suggest a swift reality check is required. Corbyn is a disaster socialist who yearns for a catastrophic hard Brexit which, he believes, will open up the opportunity for him to introduce pure socialism in one country. He is the hard left equivalent of the Farage and Johnson hard right vision of Europe, the latter seeing Brexit is a once in a lifetime opportunity to strip bare the welfare state and what they see as ‘big government’, which to the rest of us just means government. Corbyn and Farage are two cheeks of the same arse.
Tony Robinson was a high profile Labour member but his resignation serves to remind us all where Labour is headed. It is not a matter of opinion that Labour is institutionally anti-Semitic, it is a fact. It is not a matter of opinion that Corbyn and the comrades prefer any form of Brexit because of what they see as a golden opportunity for his socialism. He is a Brexiter through and through. Seumas Milne even more so. It is a matter of opinion to suggest Labour’s leadership is a bit shit but from all the evidence I’ve seen it’s more than a bit shit.
Heaven knows where left of centre voters go from here. The Lib Dems remain tarnished by association with David Cameron’s vicious years of austerity, Change UK has stalled, lacking I feel a clear message and actual leadership and the Greens don’t convince at all.
Labour is in a lot of trouble and under Seumas Milne – sorry, Jeremy Corbyn! – you can see why. There’s nothing left for the mainstream left. Just memories of what a Labour government looked like from 1997 onwards. Things can only get worse from now on.