Following the recent sacking of a Labour MP, Sam Tarry for attending an organised strike, another opposition MP, John McDonnell asks in a piece for the Guardian today (here) , what has happened that the Labour party can no longer be seen to stand up support labour. “New Labour” is the answer that springs cynically to mind, the ghost of which lives on inside its host, Sir Keir Starmer. This is of course well known , so why McDonnell needs to dress up his dislike for NL and frame it in a way that ensures maximum public exposure, when the public actually need to see a united party instead of one split by hypotheticals, is anyone’s guess.
“The risk is that when the millions involved go to the polls next,” frets John, “they will be asking the question of the labour leader, where were you when we needed you?” John, dear, voters have been asking that question since Gordon Brown took office.
Labour as a government were missing in action for the last twelve months of their last term. The party was ideologically exhausted and it showed. We’e’re seeing it now with the Brexit contingent that swept Tory non-entities into jobs in 2019 – New Labour stifled other movements within the party, just as “team Brexit” continues to hold back the next phase of the Conservative party. After a marathon run at the top all their talent, chewed up, digested and shat into the latrines at party HQ, just as Labour did in the mid-naughties.
“Where were you when we needed you?” I don’t know, having a great big fart-off over which Milliband sucked the most? You remember Ed, who jumped all over his borther David in a party leadership contest and then proceeded to jump onto whatever band wagon is rolling by. I’ve always followed politics and yet I can tell you shit all about Ed other than the fact he has a beautiful speaking voice and made some good barbs in PMQ’s twelve years ago when it emerged David Cameron once stuck his cock up a pig, or something.
“Where were you when we needed you?” Does he mean when the country desperately needed the party to get behind Corbyn – or indeed anyone who was not Theresa May and Boris Johnson (because the bar really had been set that low)? Instead the country got the idea Corbyn was some renegade waging a dirty turf war while the rest of his party fought like dogs over scraps of political detritus. If the party had got behind him before May’s disastrous snap election there could have been a win. If the party had quit the nonsense known as the “no coalitions” policy and had the ability to work like grown ups with other grown-ups, the country could quite probably be in a better state today. At the very least, my local library would still be in public ownership, and I’d take that as the consolation prize, really I would.
“Where were you when we needed you?” Arguing amongst yourselves! Fighting over nothing! Factionalising, weaponising, having petty internal squabbles. Last year the party had a row at conference – when it was in the public eye for the first time since its legendary shafting of 2019. What were they fighting over? Big picture stuff? A game plan to take on the Tories? Oh no, they were trying to decide whether they should be saying “at least £10.50 per hour” for minimum wage earners or the plucked at random figure of £15. And now finally McDonnell, and hopefully others within the inner firmament, is asking something vaguely pertinent: will working voters come to hate us if we don’t stick up for them now? Of course the question should be, will voters come to hate us more if we don’t stick up for them now? Remember, this is the party that only started do well in the polls after Borish Johnson had spaffed every last ounce of goodwill up the wall, so it really does need to get it’s act together now while the going’s good. McDonnell’s piece for the Guardian will do nothing to harm Starmer, or the party, but that’s only because people have stopped caring. Regardless, let us rejoice because belatedly – finally – Labour are beginning to ask the right questions. This one is rhetorical though. Just ask 2010 or 2015 or …. you get the picture.
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