I’m a new Labour party member, and only last week I wrote about the brave attempt of Harriet Harman of holding together a party which is in the middle of falling apart at the seams. I want to believe the best in my party, which my parents have voted for,which my grandad has voted for, even in this election when he needed help to get to the Polling station. I am a centrist by nature, after-all I am part of the New Labour generation, a generation which was given a chance by the Labour governments which romped home to political office with historical victories, and a rare certainty in its own identity for the Labour Party. I was heartened to see Tony Blair starting to come into play, with the speech he made today at Progress, as the left of the party are gathering momentum.
There are many definitions of insanity, Einstein’s was when you do the same action more than once and expect a different result. I like this definition, if it isn’t what insanity is it certainly describes blind faith. This is because blind faith doesn’t change due to empirical evidence. Many Labour activists hold this ‘blind faith’, or as I prefer to call it, ‘Insanity’. The idea that no matter what the evidence, the answer is always ‘from the left’.
I learned this first hand from the constituency party meeting which I recently attended. I’ve always known there is a sizeable chunk of activists, who don’t believe the ‘post war consensus’ ever truly ended. They like to think Thatcherism, and centrism which underpinned Blairism doesn’t exist, and we can just actively ignore these different views of the world. These views were an ideological progression in politics, and cannot be ignored for that reason. One activist even argued that why can’t the centre of British Politics be Atlee, and Bevan; it should be easy to ignore these calls as the ramblings of those who are out of touch and lost. After-all, every party has a faction which is crazy, however ours are now out in force, as we can see with Jeremy Corbyn who is now leading the election for Labour leadership. Indeed, after i got up and spoke about the idea of A.B.C (Anyone But Corbyn), i was given advice for a book to read by one person, ideally to learn the ‘truth’ as they see it. This attitude is nothing new, and can be seen even by people who are helping in Corbyn’s campaign. The tolerance for difference is minimal.
Let me be clear, it isn’t just the activists who are responsible for this oncoming storm which could eviscerate the party. The MP’s who gave their nominations to Corbyn as a charitable exercise have to look themselves in the mirror. If it wasn’t for their actions then we wouldn’t be discussing Corbyn, and this article would never have been written. But we are in a predicament now, where the party as a whole needs to come into the real world. A political echo chamber is soothing for the tortured electorally demolished mind but it doesn’t help anyone, let alone the people who the left really want to help. As the Telegraph have pointed out, small amounts of research from Yougov show a lot of Labour activists value solidarity rather than someone who can become Prime Minister. Surely this is a pressing issue in the party?
So is Labour insane? it might be too simplistic to press this argument, although it is tempting to use it. I do think a lot of activists are happy to be electorally suicidal, living inside an ever shrinking political echo, either that or they’re politically illiterate. Many of those who are rooting for Corbyn surmise that people who have never voted before, will come out in their droves because of a ‘genuine Socialist presence’ at the ballot box. They, of course ignore the Green party who had what most would term a Socialist agenda; the result of which was a mere 3.8% of the vote, 1 MP,and most of their second places coming in Labour strongholds where they didn’t come close to taking the seat. Indeed the evidence points us towards a strong leader, fiscal responsibility, and an affinity with not just those at the bottom of society, but those who are doing ‘alright’. Corbyn fails all three tests, the only time he’s been questioned so far he lost his temper. The other two points are surely self explanatory. But, that is what insanity does, it ignores all the evidence and plays on irrational thoughts and instinct, and repeats the same actions again and again. Expecting a different result, but always being dissapointed.