Well, we have just lived through some remarkable years. Brexit, Trump, Corbyn and Johnson. No-one could have predicted it. So, what now?
Most importantly we are sliding very quickly, but not I believe inexorably, into a Right-wing Utopia of Intolerance and completely unfettered Free Market Capitalism with a very few winners and many many losers. Strangely too, political terms and names are meaningless. We have a ‘Conservative’ party hell-bent on tearing down the institutions that have governed our lives (and served us well) for generations (EU, NHS, Social Care and the entire Welfare State) while conserving nothing of the past; in fact they are prepared to smash our trading base in the wake of their ideaology. The Liberal Democrats are now neither liberal nor democrats (much as I deplored the referendum result, the only way to reverse it would have been a second referendum – not simply ignoring it). The SNP do not really want independence, or not for a while, so thay can continue to blame everything on England. And the Labour party, apart from an ever-narrowing Union base no longer really represents the working class, but rather enlightened middle class and young voters.
Which brings us to the real divide in Britain, and maybe in the whole world. We may have thought it was Brexit, or old against the young, or haves against have-nots. But the real divide is between Enlightment and Ignorance. And let me describe those two camps. Enlightenment has a disadvantage, as the very act of being enlightened means that one sees both sides of the story, and may even have some sympathy with those who are unenlightened. We (and of course I count myself as one) believe that we are open to new ideas, that we listen and learn, and that above all we have the interests of others at heart. We don’t just want what is best for us personally. We would be happy to pay higher taxes for better services, even if others will use them more than we might. But the real problem is Ignorance. And here there are two sorts. There is the ignorance of those who just have not heard; and with the multiplicity of channels on TV and the prevalence of Social media it is maybe unsurprising that many simply have not listened to, or thought about what is really happening. But far more worrying is those who are ignorant and proud of it. Michael Gove publicly declared “We don’t need experts”, and amazingly even today “The UK does not need a trade deal with Europe”. Is this simply willful barrel thumping, or is it a new Political Dogma; we know what we ant and we wont listen to any criticism. Anyone who disagrees must be silenced. And we know here that keads…
So, in my mind that is the battle ahead – to enlighten people, and it starts with the young obviously, and to expose ignorance whenever it raises its ugly head. The Labour leadership gives us a chance to try to bring some reasoned sense back into our Political discourse. If Keir Starmer wins we stand a chance, if Lisa Nandy does it, it will be far harder but not impossible; but if Rebecca Long-Baily wins we will simply continue alienating working people. She may have all the ‘right’ policies in a perfect world, but all if that is meaningless unless we win the battle against Ignorance and actually win back voters.