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  • Writer's pictureJack Martindale

Can we restore the left as a powerful democratic force?

Updated: Feb 24, 2022

I cannot help feel that our democratic practice is currently more under threat that at any point since the universal franchise was afforded to us in 1928.

Of course any such claim of a democracy actually existing in the United Kingdom may of course ever be challenged by feats such as still retaining an unelected second chamber in the Houses of Parliament [House of Lords] and a monarchy. This is without even bringing into account claims of us possessing a strong media bias; it all being so relative is something that I’ve found make this so tricky to infer, yet nonetheless true. The point that I am trying to raise, is that I can feel that with the freedom of information that is now so easily accessible and effortlessly manufactured by all and sundry, is without any checks and balances to be held to account. Whilst freedom of information has to be a celebrated and wondrous thing in itself, there must be a real danger in terms of the logarithms that the information age is so challenging towards, such as curtaining the news worthy information that we receive.

Never has there been a time where it has been so acceptable to overtly despise, chastise and belittle those with an opposing viewpoint to your own. It was in fact a statement by BBC broadcaster Lauren Laverne in the Guardian (you’re more than welcome and justified to pigeon-hole me all you like at this point) in saying that “the principle of polite disagreement” is something that she’d like to restore. This resonated and struck a particular chord with me, as I feel that social media in particular – for all of its wonders – has infantilized us to the degree of herding us around like primitive pack animals in affording us the delusional sense of self-importance.

As with so much of society, I feel that us putrid middling classes are predominantly responsible for and bear the brunt of it; being those with the supposed intellect to be consumed in ourselves and being the victim towards the rampant consumerism that we so create. It is the bitter irony in this lack of self-realisation and the hypocrisy that it represents.

Previously in the worthless writings of mine, it has perhaps become apparent that I despise do-gooders. That it is so often, those equipped with the elitism and arrogance to believe that they are ethically and morally superior to those who think differently to them; their concept of a debate is normally a regurgitated haughty lecture, as opposed to any exchange of ideas.

This is how I feel that my dream of an egalitarian society has so being destroyed of late. It is the fact that elitists now so dominate the progressive voices in our society. It is the audacity of the upper echelons of our society quipped with both the grandeur and superiority to feel that they best represent to working-classes. This is whilst conveniently over-looking the fact that in their cultural warfare over chattering class issues such as gender neutrality, use of pronouns etc. neglects to account for what I see as the principle issue facing our society.

That is, the disgusting way in which our resources i.e. wealth is so unequally distributed. Lockdowns showcased this. I’d never claim that I am any sort of accurate judge in terms of the effectiveness of lockdowns – I do what I am told – and their necessity. An ugliest trait of lockdowns that could easily be witnessed, was the increased aggression and disdain that people could feel towards people acting in a way that did not fit with their supposed model of saving society. The only consistency that I felt throughout lockdowns, was that the poor suffered by far the most.

This was whilst they could receive the patronage of the management class, who from behind the computer screens from which they worked, could champion over how they were looking after the most vulnerable in society whilst celebrating their well-earned food delivery. Talk about modern Upstairs Downstairs! I think that it is the convenient lack of self-realisation from people that riles me the most. Going on a bit of a tangent, but that is, you know, those idealists who claim such things with sweeping statements such as “Tories are scum” somehow overlooking the brunt of the matter, which is the fact that many of the inhabitants of the most deprived parts of the country are now represented by Conservative MPs. Tony Blair's Sedgefield, Tony Benn's Bolsover to b name but a couple. Our left has become identifying with and made-up of white-collar workers as opposed to providing a voice to the blue collar [lowest paid] that it should so represent.

With this in itself, I think that we need to stop entering into our moralistic crusades and realise that people being so complex, experiences so unique and varied, there is only one thing that we can do to protect the neediest in society: level-up wages. Increase the income and job security of those in lowest quality of jobs. Employment rights, education and housing are the crux of what I believe us left need to win back from the right. Let’s branch away from our brand riven populist movement in which we were losers and get back to being in tune with the needs of our time and get back to being a broad church of compromise and be in power


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