Friday, December 13, 2019


Let's be clear to begin with. The real blame for this mess lies with Cameron. The Tories have had a majority for only two out of the last twenty three years and in those two years they unleashed chaos. They have been unjustly rewarded for it.

Second, let's not forget that the referendum campaign was flooded with lies and illegalities, the election campaign was worse, more cynical, and showed a flagrant disregard for the normal rules of democratic conduct.

Institutions were not up to the job. The electoral system is utterly dysfunctional - delivering majorities to minorities. Voting looks to have matched remain/leave polling. The referendum result was reversed in votes, but has delivered a huge majority to the main leave party.

These factors are real enough.

But for every success there is a failure in an electoral zero sum game. This has been a colossal failure of the opposition.

The usual sources on social media will be working on their excuses. They will blame the electorate – thick; the media – biased; billionaires – corrupt; Blairites - red Tory weasels; Brexit - turning people away from the true faith; and, on the fringes, Israel – secretly controlling the world. Once you cease to be an obnoxious teenager, you start to take responsibility for your own actions. Or you should. Some never do. Cue Corbynistas.

People like me called him out as not up to it from the very beginning. The 2017 election was a bit of a reprieve. I waited for some rebuilding, a bit of inclusivity, and a reflection on where we go from here. It never happened.

Brexit was important. The 2017 Labour manifesto said that Labour would impose a hard Brexit. Remainers didn't believe it. I had to show one person the page in the manifesto and he still refused to accept it. The Party and voters were overwhelmingly pro EU. It was time for clarity. Instead, the Brexit cabal of Corbyn and his pet Stalinists - Milne, Murray, and McCluskey - had to be dragged towards unconvincing ambiguity. If you pretend to support two mutually contradictory sides, you end up being mistrusted by both.

It was also a time for decisive leadership. Labour had to commit to a position based on principle. It should have committed to remain and explained why - consistently and forcibly. People respect courage and reason. The minority of older Labour leave voters may have wanted Brexit, but if remain had been explained, not just in economic terms of the damage it would do, but in the good old-fashioned language of Labour patriotism, of solidarity, of the power and prestige of the nation leading the continent, the argument would have been respected. But if, and only if, they respected the person delivering the message. Corbyn was loathed by them. He poisoned remain. Even though he was a secret leaver, he had no credibility with leave either. Polls and canvassing had shown that for years, but still Labour persisted with a leader who could not lead.

In the meantime, May went down to an historic Commons defeat – three times. Vote of no confidence called? Nope. Johnson illegally prorogued Parliament. Vote of no confidence called? Nope. Then there was the agreement for a temporary unity government to bring down Johnson and launch a second referendum before calling a general election. The crisis would be resolved. What happened to that one? Well, the deal was that an elder statesman, and someone who was not a party leader and had no career ambition, would become temporary Prime Minister. Corbyn insisted it should be him, despite not fitting the bill and being unable to command the confidence of other parties and independents. He killed it. Even then, a vote of no-confidence would have given a hiatus that would have given him the first pick of trying to gain a majority. Was one called – even in these extreme circumstances? Nope. Johnson lost his majority and was there for the taking. What did Corbyn do? Nothing. The only thing that Johnson desperately craved was an election where he could turn a minority of votes into a majority in Parliament and avoid any scrutiny. At last, Labour resisted. Under the Fixed Term Parliament Act they had a veto. No election was due until 2022. Johnson was cornered. Then, the day after voting to deny him an election, Corbyn overrode dissent in his own party and gave Johnson what he wanted. An election. On the day Johnson wanted. And before Labour had selected all its candidates, when the Party machinery was creaking under the strain of the anti-Semitism scandal, and when Corbyn himself had an approval rating of minus 60. Yes, minus 60. The worst personal polling in history. Great. It was suicidal.

The last chance was an electoral alliance. Both Swinson and Corbyn failed. It would have been difficult for Swinson because many had joined her side because of their loathing of Corbyn. Both decided to fight their corner when the situation called for unity. Once again, antipathy to Corbyn was the block. The result was a split anti-Tory vote in many constituencies.

Corbyn, a marginal backbencher, supporter of any grotesque tyranny that would oppose the West, a man without any substantial achievement to his name in 35 years in Parliament, was thrown into the leadership as a symbol of the left. The collective of the Labour Party became subsumed under the cult of personality of a mediocrity. Corbyn worship depoliticised the Party. It didn't matter what he did, how much he backtracked, how shallow his politics were, how shameful the growth of anti-Semitism, none of it mattered. All his followers did was lie about his dubious past. He became above scrutiny. His Labour opponents failed in their duty to free us from this baleful leadership.

It's now complete. He has lost every national election during his time as leader. The lot. And this time he has lost to a completely unfit Conservative party at a critical time in the nation's history. I don't think it will be on Corbyn's conscience. He strikes me as too self-righteous for that. But it should be on all his supporters'. This wasn't just a failure of one man. Political hobbyists indulged their fantasies, elevated someone manifestly incapable, never bothered that he said little other than platitudes, ignored the evidence of his unpopularity that was there in abundance, and weren't put off by an overwhelming vote of no-confidence by the Parliamentary Party. At that point, Corbyn should have resigned. He didn't and his admirers voted him back in, while sharing ever more ridiculous and dishonest memes about his virtue. And the stench of anti-Semitism was embraced and replicated with relish.

Please learn. Never abandon critical faculties in the face of a cult of personality. Left populism is as malign as right populism. Progress isn't a matter of 'bad' people being replaced by 'good' ones. Remember that politics is about ideas, programmes, policies, and truth - my how they abandoned truth. It is not about empty symbolism. It is about managing conflicting interests. It is about the real lives of all the people of the country. If you are from the left, it is about effective and practical politics to advance the welfare of the people. And it is a collective effort. I cringed at all these 'I support Jeremy Corbyn' and 'Vote Corbyn' memes. You should support Labour and vote Labour, not support and vote for an amorphous cypher on to which you can project your hopes. The outpouring of sanctimonious self-indulgence was a collective collapse of intelligence. The signs were there from the beginning if people wanted to look.

We now face a ruinous government. That's the Corbynite legacy. This deeply reactionary English nationalist party could have been resisted and defeated. It's time to ask yourself why it wasn't. Here's a clue. It wasn't because of the media, billionaires, Jews, lizards, or chemtrails, etc. It was because a section of the left lost its mind.

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