Why Labour must find a third way between oleaginous Blairism and Dave Spart, new insights into Karma and Dogma, MPs go up to higher pay and down to four day weeks, and the kisses giveaway not to be missed if you like naked men painted lilac.
Here for starters is a classic example of why the activist/Party member support for Labour will simply never cross over into main stream of ‘normal’ British political thought.
I’ve got nothing against the minority abnormal: that would be odd coming from a case like me. But no matter how many times fortune-cookie thinkers say “What is normal anyway?”, it is impossible to deny that every generation has its mores, and every culture has its own way of dealing with, or thinking about, politics.
British caucasians are not and never will be a political tribe. Nor are most Jews, Muslims, West Indians, Chinese and Indians I’ve known. At times I find this maddening, but over the years I have grown to respect that version of it which isn’t simply apathy. In particular, strangled ideological syntax we (mostly) find grating:
Well, it’s all there: ‘scapegoating’, ‘migrant communities’, ‘resolute opposition’ – and the supposition that every UK voter who can’t see the ‘truth’ in what McDonnell posits above must be a racist. About the only missing words are “Bruvvers an’ sisters”.
In the 1957 film I’m Alright Jack, Peter Sellers made his name playing Fred Kite, a Moscow-leaning union leader of whom McDonnell is simply a better-dressed version. In the 1970s, Private Eye dubbed this style of message ‘Leninspart’. What it isn’t is British, old boy.
The Shadow Chancellor has learned nothing from the 2015 election or the 2016 referendum. The traditional downtrodden, ethnic, bourgeois or just plain decent Labour voter believed in Blair (who sold them out) despised Eds Miliband and Balls, but now isn’t quite sure which way up to hold the Corbynites. That once-solid core of support loathes 1960s student-style ‘IS’ politics and obsessions, doesn’t careAF about FGM, is tired of hearing about LGBT, and thinks that, until such time as jobs for established Brits are sorted out (and the Tories banished to footnote memory joggers) they’d rather not have any more immigration thank you very much.
Racism is there in the distant background of some such attitudes – the dockers were always solidly united behind Enoch Powell – but in 2016 it’s far more about practical common sense and survival.
In 2007, a study of over 8,000 UK citizens with accurate cell sizes for all ethnicities showed that an astonishing 78% – nearly four in five – didn’t just want to control immigration: they wanted it stopped immediately. Even in the ethnic sub-samples, the figure was never lower than 59% – a clear majority for stop it now.
A decade on, we have seen the spectacular growth of UKip, its ranks swelled by millions of core Labour and Tory voters. But in terms of lost seats, Labour has been by far the bigger loser. Posters on twitter like the one above just make ordinary people want to groan. Policies proclaiming the joys of unlimited immigration make them recoil in disbelief.
Since 2010 I have asked but one thing of Labour: do the f**king maths. There is no need to go back to the Fifth Column antics of Blair, Prescott and Brown. But you cannot and will not win an election with a ghastly mixture of metro sleeve-hearts and Stalinist syntax.
Jeremy Bentham didn’t sound like that, nor did Attlee or (most of the time) Bevan, Wilkes, Bright or all the other members of our long standing radical tradition.
Going down in flames is not a sign of having principles, but a symptom of not listening….of, as usual, preferring to broadcast ideology rather than engage with reality.
So time to lighten up, and the one tweet from last week that truly made me laugh out loud.
I am calmer now for having seen this tweet. Wonderful.
But now back into the fray. It’s an oldie (from last February) but has been getting mega-retweets in the light of recent Osterity in relation to reduced welfare for the disabled poor, and 1950s born women having to wait for State pensions.
This is what we should be radical about: the superior, lazy, fat, feather-nested attitudes of our ludicrous ‘élite’, and the privileges they award themselves for having taken just about every wrong, short-termist, self-protectionist and pension-stuffing decision over the last sixty years.
And now, bless, they want to finish work on Thursdays….the better to enjoy the weekends. There are Waspis of my acquaintance whose Thursday experience consists of looking in the purse and realising they have 11p to last until Saturday.
And finally, this cracker from earlier today:
Dave is obviously a game guy: not only is he giving away kisses in New Zealand (it’s a long way to go, and not entirely worth it) he’s doing it in the nude and painting himself Lilac. I think if he avoids getting arrested, it should go down as a result.
Facetious Eats Shoots & Leaves gags to one side, this is a clever idea and a very rare example of well-crafted marketing online. I wish him the sort of success that goes beyond the mere avoidance of Mr Plod’s stubby fingers upon his collar.
“M’lud, Hi was happraochin’ the hemporium Hudson’s Bay when hi seen chummy that is viz and to wit the defendant prancin’ abaht hin the halltogevva and painted up like hi don’t know what…..”