I’ve seen quite a few friends (and opponents) leaving the party over the last day or so, generally people who have a more anti-Corbyn or party right perspective than me. On a personal level, it’s really sad to see.
Their legit complaints about anti-Semitism, majoritarian bullying and so forth should have been listened to long ago.
I don’t want anyone to leave, and I think us having developed a traditionalist left which can’t tolerate any level of success for any other part of the Party, but which also effectively has a power monopoly going forward, has made that very difficult.
But why be selective? I also want people from a broadly ‘Blairite’ perspective to have a clear understanding that they’ve also contributed to getting us here.
Their politics are a form of Labour and deserve some sort of future. However, the folks at Progress alongside their journo and PLP allies gambled very hard and lost. They lost because they mischaracterised the left as invalid, badly organised, and with some irony, as without any social weight. They also lost because they overrated their own public appeal and lacked humbleness.
They had gambled over allowing random members of the public to vote for our leaders, and over the 2016 leadership election – a terrible play which dragged other parts of the party in even if they thought it was a crap idea. And it was.
If ‘third way politics’ had its day again in public opinion, they still couldn’t get it through the Labour Party firstly because it is now effectively locked, and secondly because there is no bridge between their politics and the rest of social democracy. I can understand why they feel there’s not really any hope here for what they believe. It’s like when they lost, all avenues to ever winning again were shut down.
I don’t want the same sort of party that Blairites do, straight up. I identify more with the policies of the left, and I am more happy with a member and union led party even when I disagree with fellow members.
But it’s sad to see many of these people leaving, because these people have dedicated big parts of their lives to the party and lost any connection to it, because some bits of sense they have talked have been ignored, and because we do need Nuneaton et al to vote for any type of Labour Party, whoever leads it.
Most powerful of all the factors from my point of view is the knowledge that people like me have absolutely no power or influence to fix this. Unless you are an insider who comes from a Momentum or trad left perspective, you’re in a minority that can’t nudge anyone to listen to you. Like Progress, I also can’t make it politically necessary for anyone to give a shit what I think as a member, because I don’t have 70,000 people on a factional mailing list.
Given that much of the Momentum left is emotionally motivated by blindly returning the trauma and caprice all of us from the broad left felt in the Blair years, and that nobody *has* to listen to people from different factions any more, all I can really do is hope that some of those members who do still matter are big enough to rise above the cycle, and listen just for a moment to what I’m saying here. Your voice still counts as a member where mine does not, so please pause for a second. So I guess this feels pathetic as well as sad. How uplifting for us all.