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  • Writer's pictureJack Martindale

Surviving the Car-Crash

Updated: Jan 20, 2020

For as long as I have been aware of politics, I have always been a loyal supporter of the Labour Party. This was something that took my immediate family by real surprise – they were never members of a political party – as I was only 8 years old during the famous 1997 General Election. Believing that society should be as fair as possible and always offer support to the disadvantaged is fundamental to my beliefs and what I regard as instrumental to a healthy moral compass.

To my disdain, Britain has witnessed a Tory landslide. Upon losing a whole 59 parliamentary seats, the Labour Party has just performed its worst in a postwar election – since 1935 – and is now a fragmented association, plagued by in-fighting and a lack of any clear direction.

Oh, sorry, I forgot, it’s all our right-wing media’s fault. Don’t work with, work against this and your purity shall surely shine through… The difficulty being that if you’re just not popular beyond a sanctimonious cult following, you won’t be able to prosper.

I quite like Labour’s leader Jeremy Corbyn as a man; we could probably have plenty of fun at a real ale festival or plenty of his other numerous middle class pursuits. Some foraging anybody? As leader of the principle opposition party, I feel that he should have been certified long ago.

It certainly was never just me who couldn’t trust him. With Jeremy Corbyn, I always felt that his appeal extended to what his many devotees felt that being an endorser of him could represent about themselves. This is then riddled with insincerity. It never seemed so much about his policies beyond a poor pantomime where you cheered “YAY!” every time that he as “the goodie” opened his mouth and “booed and hissed” at anything that was ever suggested against what should have been a flailing has-been, yet was apparently somebody who so much hope and trust had been disproportionately placed. Going with the festive theme, it was hard to refrain from shouting “oh no you’re not!” when he made a promise. Probably about as valid as the supposedly binding commitments that he must have made upon entering any of his three failed marriages.

‘Saint’ (as the esteemed novelist JK Rowling so aptly phrased it) is that there was nothing new or at all original in anything about him. It had all been tried before and, as Corbyn so expertly repeated at in terms of marriages and his party’s latest election performance, FAILED.

Memory has never been the forte of any idealist. Almost instantaneously after his election as Labour Party leader in 2015, I felt that he reeked of the late Michael Foot. “Who the hell’s that…” is what I could imagine being the fair question from the vast majority of those falling under the age of 25 – which, incidentally, most heavily favoured Corbyn. Let me own the fact that during part of my misspent youth, I uncovered a seedy penchant for empirical political facts. This disgrace allows me to cite from memory alone that the Conservatives won the 1979 General Election with a parliamentary majority of 44 seats.

It was after Jim Callaghan’s loss the Labour Party was plagued with plenty of internal bickering. Ultimately this resulted in Foot been elected the leader. “Trotskyist” and “hard-left” – sound familiar? – were certainly common themes of this time. Indeed after the 1983 General Election, the Labour Party accrued its worst modern electoral performance to this date, taking home just 27% of the vote and 209 Parliamentary seats. This left the Tories with a majority well in excess of 100 seats. Patterns and common sense are not revered at all by fanatics, yet I could not summon many more astute examples of history repeating itself. With nobs on.

As with Corbyn, I’m sure that there was adequate evangelical faith in Michael Foot. This was bad enough, but in sustainably recycling this garbage and feeding it into a post-modern and neo-liberally dominated world is utter lunacy.

Corbyn’s lack of being able to engage with the working class is salient and all-too-overlooked element of the Labour Party’s latest defeat. This is perhaps the element that I find most heartbreaking. The voiceless no longer feel that they have a representative force in Parliament and, however laudable his principles were, an ex-public school representative of London’s metropolitan elite could hardly bridge this gap.

Once firmly a worker’s party, the losses of the ‘Beast from Bolsover” [Dennis Skinner] and even Tony Blair’s ex seat of Sedgefield signify that this relationship has been allowed to reach its demise. British politics now almost allegorizes our society in being so firmly divided.

This election was so obviously a Brexit election. Corbyn’s perpetual dithering on the topic only cemented his lack of qualification for his position, in my eyes. His lack of leadership direction is something for which we are all paying the price. The promise of a second referendum was just too little too late, and as with “for the many, not the few,” the outcome was far too vague and didn’t promise anything tangible. Talk about too little, too late.

Being open-ended is not for what an electorate is in search. Whereas the Tories’ “get Brexit done” is clear and, as much as I am against the principle, is something to sink your teeth into. Sadly, it is true that throughout the Great Depression of the 1930s, people have a history of veering towards the right in terms of hardship. What the Left then need is to resonate with voters.

It is almost now a reversal, as the Tories seem to best represent the proletariat and they have attached themselves with Johnson’s depraved populism. We have to ask ourselves, on a somber note, how we have as Prime Minster somebody who has described certain black people as having “watermelon smiles” and fully veiled women as “letterboxes”.

Instead of having somebody as leader who as opposed to attracting supporters who are likely people wishing to appease themselves for the shame that they feel towards their own existences. Spout to anybody that’ll listen about how righteous Jeremy Corbyn is and all of the sins that you believe yourself to have committed can be brushed under the rug!

At least following Jezza’s departure, I won’t have to have a bilious attack the next time that I have to hear “goooo Jeremy Corbyn, goooo Jeremy Corbyn” as an apparent replacement for people’s medication. It was as though they were chanting “kumbaya” my Lord with similar avail to his ever arriving as a savior. Yes, Corbyn always was the biggest blessing for anybody supporting the Conservatives.

Talking of faith, his party managed to cause the Jewish community great offence. Whilst I do not for a second believe that Corbyn is at all an anti-Semite, his pontificating around the issue as opposed to just saying the equivalent of “sorry mate” and moving on only cemented his incapacity as a leader. Instead we were served with the standard verbose and standardly self-important response.

Supporters may deem Corbyn to be the ultimate in earnestness, only I can barely contain myself thinking how in line with the brutal capitalism that he so despises, he is such a brand. Oh the bitter irony. I concede that he is a great campaigner and how necessary these people are in politics. Rebels are so the antithesis of leaders. I feel ready to conclude and I haven’t even touched upon the terrorist associations that he has – obviously unfairly – been accused. As with Brexit, Corbyn managed to fudge just about every sensitive issue. This is why I wish that he could contain his over inflated ego and maybe retire to do something to which he seems better; like running the Woodcraft Folk, perhaps.

Can we please now ditch the patronization and elitism of Corbynites and actually get a force to represent real working people? For the people before all traces of hope towards a fairer society disappear. Can the left not just wake up and smell the coffee and diffuse the bitter divides that consume the Labour Party in electing somebody actually electable (please don’t remind me of the Corbyn’s 2017 hiatus, in which power was not swept from one of the weakest Governments in history). Let’s all move forward, unite and those of you that want to have Labour values espoused, let’s work together to get back into power. Purists, please in future, form your own political party.

Allow mw to stress how in spite of all of this tirade, I feel that Corbyn is a lovely and decent man. I just hope that his core tribe have come to terms with there not being a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

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