Labour are up a creek without a paddle, following yet another General Election defeat. As the party faces internal turmoil, they host a fascinating leadership debate that will see the party go one of two ways. Yes, two, not four.
There are so many reasons why Labour have become increasingly unpalatable to much of the electorate, and in fact, did they not possess the secure Northern, working class, and young anti-Tory vote, they would probably be in much worse shape than they already are. But, ironically, this is still one of the biggest problems, are Labour actually the anti-Tories?
Labour have been steadily lurching right on economic issues, offering only a milder form of Tory austerity and have too become increasingly authoritarian on social issues. That’s the real issue with this Labour party, and it’s one that’s been brewing for years – they’re not principled, they just follow the scent of popular opinion wherever it lands, like a drooling dog chasing a line of sausages. It’s conceivable, had Labour not benefited from a hard to budge position as one of the nation’s two largest parties and archaic typecasting resulting in misplaced allegiance to their party, they may have been done for a long while ago.
And, I think people are starting to see this; the Liberal Democrats argue their case from a point of liberalism, the Tories, whilst total bastards they may be, consistently argue a conservative ideology but what of Labour? The Labour movement of the late 19th and early 20th century is in far less demand now, to the point of it being nearly irrelevant. Labour are purportedly social democrats or democratic socialists but they have done very little to convey any such ideology in recent years, perhaps best illustrated by their refusal to oppose savage cuts to the welfare state that they so boastfully claim they invented.
Is it any wonder people are disillusioned with Labour? Nobody knows which way they’re going to go next. In fact, a lot of the talk in the build up to this election hasn’t been about what good they can do for the country if they win another election, it has instead been about this ideologically impassioned need to hold the power. But, if Labour can’t even form their own sound ideology and principle base what can they expect to do in government? If they refuse to oppose brutal Tory cuts and want to borrow old Lib Dem catchphrases then why not just support either one of those current parties? Labour has become a corrupt machine obsessed with winning – not with doing.
It almost feels as if populism is Labour’s only plan, that’s what three quarters of the leadership candidates are offering anyway, much in line with the rhetoric Milliband used in the run up to this year’s general election. Let’s be clear here, anti-immigration mugs are in no way the mandate of a socially democratic party. Nor was the promise to slash tuition fees to £6,000 anything other than a deceptive economic policy concocted to take another stab at the former coalition of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, and win superficial support from warm words.
Labour will go to the ballot boxes soon, and they will have two choices, a repetition of the career-driven, lacklustre, centrist, populist, wet lettuce politics that strives only for power and not righteous change for the good of the electorate, or a man in line with the principles of what Labour was founded to represent. Now, I’m not a ‘leftie’ nor would I ever vote for Jeremy Corbyn in a general election, but that doesn’t mean his party shouldn’t. He is the only candidate able to give Labour an actual foundation of beliefs, otherwise this cycle of false politics will go on and on and on.
I won’t lie, I would be happy to see the Labour party crumble, I would. This isn’t to do with the voters or the members, the party is full of good people, but the people who are in charge have denied Britain any genuine social democratic option for decades now. The way I see it as an outsider is Labour have three choices; a) they dismantle and form a new party and hope they get it right this time, b) they dismantle and flock to the Lib Dems and the Greens as parties of ideological conviction and consistency or c) they find a backbone and promote their initial ideas and win from that position, they try, like all the other parties do, to promote what they believe and make the people believe it too.
What they cannot do, is carry on down this bleak road where they tell the people what they think they want to hear, try desperately above all else to win power, and then sit on their hands because they have absolutely no idea what they believe in.