Saturday 23rd July
Some of you may have gained the impression that I am a rabid left-winger, but that isn’t really true. I suppose I would describe myself as Soft Left. In my youth I would have welcomed a Revolution and been one of the first to man the barricades. However I have seen too often the abuse of power and have maybe mellowed a bit over the years. A year ago, during the Labour Leadership Contest I at first supported Andy Burnham who came second, but I was amazed at how Jeremy articulated the arguments better and became the favourite. A part of me really liked what he was saying – but there was always this huge elephant of doubt in the room. Jeremy just didn’t sound or look like a potential Prime Minister. Well he won, but that doubt still exists – only more so as time goes on.
I almost despair at the situation we find ourselves in, a Parliamentary party at war with the elected Leader and most of the members. Both sides are guilty of stubbornness; they need to really sit down and talk to each other, but this has been tried by Tom Watson and the Unions and it hasn’t worked. And now into the mix has come the threat of deselecting M.P.s who disagree with Jeremy (or the movement he leads). I was around in the early Eighties when a similar situation was happening – and it all ended badly, until Neil Kinnock knocked a few heads together and saved the party from self-destruction even if he lost two elections and it took eighteen years for Labour to get re-elected.
I don’t believe that most M.P.s are simply self-serving and right-wing, but many of them are realists, to threaten to de-select them simply because they disagree with you smacks of Dictatorship. You can spout all sorts of wonderful slogans and promises in Opposition but until you gain power you can change nothing. And unfortunately we live in a Media dominated world where unless you sound convincing to the general public you will get nowhere. I think we are in for at least ten more years of Tory rule; not because people love them but because Labour has been seen as unrepresentative and disunited and are fighting their battles in the full glare of TV, it is almost a nightly soap-opera at the moment. So, I am probably going to vote for Owen Smith; at least he looks and sounds as if he is competent and is from the same section of the party as I find myself – to the left of the centre, but not too far left.