If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

At least one Labourite gets it

Peter Watt, ex-General Secretary of the Labour Party, has an interesting analysis of Labour's electioral woes over on Labour Uncut. Here's an example:
But there is an arrogance at the heart of our politics that is going to make it difficult to really understand why we lost. It is an arrogance that says that we alone own morality and that we alone want the best for people. It says that our instincts and our motives alone are pure. It’s an arrogance that belittles others’ fears and concerns as “isms” whilst raising ours as righteous. We then mistakenly define ourselves as being distinctive from our opponents because we are morally superior rather than because we have different diagnoses and solutions. It is lazy, wrong and politically dangerous.
Well worth a read. And don't forget the comments, some of which take missing the point to an art form.


  1. That was a surprisingly good article, one which really summed up an awful lot of the reasons why I find Labour (in current incarnation) so utterly distasteful.

    I'm coming to the opinion that, in actual fact, the Labour movement is now redundant. The world in which it was relevant no longer exists, and the remnants of left-wing socialist policies it clings to are demonstrably not desired by most of the public - and weren't, even when they held majority government on a 25%ish mandate. Probably best if they just give up trying to rebrand or regroup around a complete paradigm shift in beliefs and start over again with a new party, I reckon.

    Probably best if it's one that doesn't appeal to swivel-eyed fanatics like that ranting loon "LeftIsForward". I'm amazed anyone could post that sort of nonsense about developing a political system designed to perpetually return a benevolent left-wing government without the slightest trace of embarassment. Not the sort of supporter I'd be looking for if I had a point to make.

  2. Labour's whole genesis was tribal, defending a whole class against another class. Now that a lot of those distinctions have vanished, it does leave the Labour party looking like an idea in search of supporters. Gordon Brown's real success was casting Labour as the friend of the entitled, against the interests of the productive. I've spoken to people at work earning the same as me, but with young families, who say they will always vote Labour because they couldn't afford to lose the tax credits or other benefits they have got used to. Neat trick.

    For the future, and as long as Labour lasts, there will be a solid constituency of

    a) genuine socialists
    b) unemployed
    c) low income families
    d) "disabled"
    e) workshy
    f) Class War types in bandit masks (see tonight's news)

    who will ensure a continued bloc of support for any party that promises them a chunk of other people's money.

    I suspect that LeftIsForward is a Tory troll.

  3. All very true, and that's why I think it would be in their interests to call it a day! By all means with some degree of pride in what the movement achieved, historically, if not so much in recent times.

    The other option is to remain shackled to what is basically the scrag-end of the voting public, who expect their loyalty to be rewarded with state-client lifestyles. Everyone else seems to have moved on to the aspirational bandwagon and the centre/right which, despite Blair's best efforts, is not a ground which Labour can hold for very long. Without the current skewed voting boundaries and FPTP, it's doubtful whether the strategy of "waiting for people to get fed up with the other lot" is going to work in future. That only leaves another major rebranding, and part of Blair's legacy is for that sort of exercise to be viewed with deep and toxic suspicion. I genuinely think they've painted themselves into a corner here.

    If there really is a core set of principles floating around somewhere in what remains of Labour, now would be the perfect time to cut loose all of the historical baggage and start again with a new, clear mission statement and a name that reflects it. It's probably the only gesture with any integrity left to them. I don't seriously expect it to happen, of course...

    You could well be right about LeftIsForward, although there are a fair few seemingly-genuine people posting similar viewpoints on the Guardian fora...!

  4. Integrity? Not in my lifetime, I don't think. As for the Guardian fora, I read them just to remind myself that the world is full of idiots. Full. It's why socialism is so attractive, as the sty is to the pig.

  5. Likewise, as far as the Guardian is concerned. It's a bizarre mixture of unwarranted belief in entitlement and obsession with the most trivial aspects of various "-ism"s. Plus, of course, Polly Toynbee. It's always useful to have her as a false-positive test of political decisions, given her shameless and consistent record of being diametrically wrong on everything, ever.

  6. I used to read the Guardian every day, until I realised that I was paying good money to be hectored at and admonished for my opinions.

    Toynbee is so bizarre I can't believe she is allowed to exist. Three homes, one in Tuscany, and a millionairess, and she pontificates about equality. Olympic-class hypocrisy.


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