I promised you, and myself, that I would write and write throughout this election in the hope I could sift through the shite from both sides. As it turns out, that sewage was too thick for me to wade through. I couldn’t separate my 40 new hospitals from my free WiFi for all but one thing was a constant. Painful disappointment.
The Conservatives ended up with their biggest majority since Maggie. This is after 9 years of austerity and a new deeply flawed leader. This government has been directly involved in making the lives of those who are already struggling that bit harder, all in the name of an economic ‘greater good.’ But they were still seen as a better alternative to Labour.
Now when something has an outstanding record of being consistently shit and adds to this a woefully inaccurate election campaign, how bad must the other side be to not seem like a better option? This is the depressing question Labour must now answer. The “period of reflection.”
Too good to ever be true
One of the most simplistic of all of Labour’s failings reminds me of a child lying to their parents. When you are trying to distract them from how you hoovered up the family hamster you accidentally agree to planting 2 billion trees.
The sentiment behind each of these manifesto gems is heartwarming. An idyllic Nirvana of fast internet, satisfying basic income and public services that are the envy of all the world. A socialist heaven; I can feel the cheeks of the happy, smiling people who don’t have to pawn their family possessions when waiting for disability benefit. A heaven that people simply didn’t believe in.
In simplistic terms, this too much too soon approach fed into the rhetoric that the right wing press wanted to push. Corbyn is wanting to bleed the country dry to give everything away for free. Labour did learn from the last election, in which their numbers were ripped to shreds, by getting independent economists to cost their ideas. However, by this point the story had already been told, the ending had been accepted.
The British public didn’t want to hear it because they know how the world works and they know how hard this would be to pull off. Essentially, Labour came across as naive.
Worse than that, they ended up being accused of treating the electorate like simpletons who just want everything for nothing. Like a carrot dangled in front of a mule slowly trudging to the polling booths. It was too easy for the other side to twist, they should have kept it simple. End austerity and save the NHS – the rest can follow.
I’m not anti-Semitic but…
That old jew hating, conspiracy supporting chestnut. Just say sorry mate. It doesn’t matter if you’ve said it before. Keep. Saying. Sorry. And actually mean it.
Can I please make it clear to anyone who is reading that loves dragging up the “but Boris hasn’t said sorry for this…” excuse, it really doesn’t matter. If you have been accused by those within your own organisation as not taking accusations of anti-Semitism seriously you apologise first and then go into your monologue of how you will fight inequality. This is what the Jewish people of this country deserve.
I would love to speak to the PR team who was tasked with preparing Jeremy for the inevitable questions. I would love to ask them if they’re stupid or just wanted the Conservatives to win. They have had chance after chance to transform a flaw from the last election, weaponised by the right wing, into a shining beacon of how the Labour party has improved. They failed to do such and in the process left a large chunk of the electorate feeling isolated and abandoned.
I don’t believe Jeremy Corbyn is anti-Semitic and I know the Labour party is committed to improving the lives of other minorities. But if someone is choosing to ignore the actions of those close to them due to some twisted scouts honour loyalty then maybe, deep down, they don’t really see it as a big problem. Never mind the fact he’d rather play best friends than instantly cast aside the racists that hinder his party’s chances of winning. Idiotic behaviour.
Brexit means something different every week
Brexit has ran the political debate for too long. Labour hoped that the British public’s resentment of the word would lead to them focusing on other topics. Domestic issues which improve our public service and confidence; allowing us to move forward into a better future.
Alas, that would be too easy. Nothing was ever going to knock Brexit off the front page. Not even a 4 year old boy getting treatment for pneumonia on a hospital floor. Over 100 000 people estimated to have died quicker due to Conservative cuts? Get out of here, we don’t want to hear that. Tell me more about free trade deals.
Labour’s Brexit plan was doomed from the start really. Corbyn had been very public about his dislike of the European project for years. There was an electorate who wanted to leave, being led by a leader who didn’t agree with the EU but it was a party who wanted to remain. What a palarva.
What Labour actually ended up with was quite a sensible idea of taking a deal back to the people. However the chance of remain still being on the cards meant a lot of communities simply couldn’t bring themselves to support it. They had made their decision on Europe and Labour’s policy, in turn, forced their hand on the election.
If you don’t agree, you can’t sit with us
The crowning jewel in Labour’s campaign of self harm. In-fighting between the party about what the message should be, the rejection of centrists who are considering Labour and the chastising of any Tory within arms length.
Blairite, centrist, Tories with red ties, whatever you want to call people who don’t kiss the ground Corbyn stands on, they should have been our allies. The country was looking at austerity with shame and wanted a place they could stand and fight back. What they were met with was a dictator-esque rule book they needed to follow or they would not be welcome within this new, new Labour.
There will be many who respond to this criticism by blaming the right wing press for demonising Corbyn and to a certain point they are true. Newspapers like the Daily Mail and The Sun have been relentless in slander towards him, picking up on the smallest of instances and using them day after day after day. Where Labour really failed though was addressing them professionally.
There was no noticeable organisation from lead campaigners to deal with negative claims, only voices from the Twittersphere discounting any worries with an insufferable self pity, “The media is against us.” When those in high places are trying to frame you as an isolated cult you shouldn’t act like an isolated cult. This is unfortunately how many see Labour progressing.
Of course, it wasn’t all bad. Many bought into the ideas that groups like Momentum preached, resulting in these inspiring rallies you see whenever Labour comes into town. But the election has proven the longstanding theory that, in general, the voice of Corbyn preaches to the already converted. His Labour movement has inspired many to passionately follow politics but it does not correlate into new voters in new areas. And you need to win before you can make a real difference.
Period of reflection
Too forceful with policies, too confused over Brexit and too blase when respecting the Jewish community. When you want real radical change, those that benefit the status quo will always work against you but you can’t just play the political game to your own rules. This is where Labour need to improve, find a way to politicise socialism for the masses.
Positives can be found within Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership through how he inspired so many to become part of a solution. I also feel incredibly sorry for what he has had to endure in which was an honest quest to bring the party back to what it originally stood for – a more equal society. However, he has fought his fight and he has failed, due to media confrontation and his own obvious mistakes. Labour needs a leader who they consider a real winner and they need a leader who is less of an easy target.
To create the opposition that this country deserves a drastic period of re-organisation is needed, taking advantage of the giant membership that has been built. In power is a government that has made health care less reliable, social services less accessible and public satisfaction less realistic. This being said, continuing blindly with Corbyn’s alternative is the definition of flogging a dead horse.
Those pointing simply at Brexit or the Murdoch witch hunt as why Labour lost are really missing the point. It was a cocktail of errors, over a number of years, in which none can be ignored. The people have spoken and this period of reflection needs to bring results that can close the vacuum. They need a change they can trust as well as a change that will help the people that need it most.
5 years to make them believe
Featured Image cartoon is by Andy Davey, from the Telegraph