And so farewell. Leaving Labour.

So here’s my letter of farewell to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party.

I was an entryist, really. I hadn’t been a member of the Labour party for years, but I decided to put up the money in order to vote at this leaderhsip election. Like 40% of those who joined for this purpose, I voted to try and vote you out. We lost, as you probably know… I didn’t vote against you because of your policies. I voted against you because you are unelectable.

I think the Labour party is dead and gone for a generation at least, possibly for all time. But Jeremy, I wish the best for you, I really do, so for what it’s worth, here’s my advice as a concerned bystander.

 

Have a vision, not a complaint. The strategy of pointing out how horrible the Tories are, and mumbling about “hope” and hoping people will vote for you is a losing one. It didn’t work for Ed Milliband, and it won’t work for you.

 

Become media-savvy. The media really want to report on a soap opera, and not on your policies. If you give them any hint of a soap-opera, that is what they will report. That’s why you need to have a united party. That’s possible, if you try and become a leader, rather than an activist (see below) but there’s absolutely no point being cross that the media won’t listen to your policies. Get some knowledgable media people, who are happy to disagree with you. When you do things like sit down on the floor on a train, and put it on youtubeu look more like Rik from the Young Ones than a party leader – and that is currently how you come across.

 

Prioritise your party above your own convictions. All parties are coalitions, and you have to lead a coalition, not be the spokesperson for any one ideology. There will always be people in your party who will be against you whatever you do (you were one of those in previous times). But most of your MPs want to win an election, under the genuine hope that they can do good. That will only work if you can let your party be more important to you than your own personal convictions. You will think that is a lack of integrity – in reality it is prioritising one integrity over another – the integrity of your party over your own personal integrity. You have to work out which matters to you most.

 

Learn to communicate. If you are going to be genuinely radical (which is probably necessary in terms of what is happening in the world) then you have to reassure people that you are not going to be dangerous. Remember the Yes Minister Maxim. If you have nothing to say, make sure the way you style your message is new, thrusting, visionary, dynamic. If you are going to be radical, house yourself in oak panels, leather seats and music by Purcell.

Stop being so religious. I was a big fan of Tony Benn in his later years, but in his prime he had a sort of religious fervour about his political ideology – in a way that he never did about his actual religious beliefs. There is no absoute right or wrong in politics, and only the zealots think that way. We are a democracy, and zealots don’t get elected. Over the last few decades we have drifted into a form of capitalism which needs to change, but that will also take decades. If you sound as though you want it to happen tomorrow, people will think you’re a revolutionary. Democricies are very large ships, and you don’t turn them by throwing them into reverse.

 

Finally, You need to lean the difference between being an activist and a leader. Like many people, it wasn’t your politics which set me against you, it was your lack of leadership. You have been an opposition politician for many years, voting against your own party’s government, and that’s an important role. But it’s not a leadership role. This is why you have been accused of bullying – because you’re still behaving as you were when you had no power. When you are powerless and you’re shouting, you may be called a prophet. But when you’re in charge and you’re still shouting, you’re a bully. You may feel as though many people are against you. But you have power now. You’re the one in charge. You can use it to unite or to divide. You can use it to take revenge or to reconcile. That takes more than words, it takes time and listening and action. I’m leaving the party because I think I know the way you’ll choose. But I’d loved to be proved wrong.

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About frpip

Priest, Dad, A long way away. You can call me Father Father Father.
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12 Responses to And so farewell. Leaving Labour.

  1. Hariod Brawn says:

    So depressing to hear all this stuff from the media stick. Can’t you feel it that being in the middle of the road is soon only going to get you mown down from both directions? The centre ground is dead, or dying. But wait, what’s so radical about what JC is proposing?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news-14-5/the-jeremy-corbyn-policies-that-most-people-actually-agree-with-10407148.html

    • frpip says:

      I’m not sure you’re responding to what I wrote here – I said that we need radical politics, and that I didn’t vote against Corbyn because of his politics, but because he was a bad leader.
      I don’t understand your first sentence – “Do depressing to hear all this stuff from the media stick”. What do you mean?

      • Hariod Brawn says:

        I agree in that I think Corbyn is not a natural leader of a nation. That said, I believe the task for the party is to redefine itself before contemplating winning a general election, and that’s surely going to be a long haul. Corbyn is well-placed to at least lead that process of reformation. What’s in the air and growing as much as mistrust in politics itself is a rejection of Neoliberalist ideology, and so we see the rise of Sanders and Corbyn, and deep mistrust of Clinton and the Tories. [They’re in power on just 24% of the electorate’s wishes, remember.] This, in my view, is something the party has to tap into effectively. Young people are largely disenfranchised due to housing costs and education fees, and their incipient political cry is in part a rejection of obeisance to market efficiency in the private and public spheres. The Mandelson/Blair axis say nothing in respect to rejecting unregulated market forces (Neoliberalism); Corbyn does.

        When you referred to “prioritising one integrity over another”, then that sounded to me rather like the line The Guardian has been peddling in recent months, which itself seems at odds with Corbyn’s potential appeal to the electorate as a man of deep political integrity. Owen Smith personified this idea of subordinating integrity to the push for power, but that’s precisely what goes against the grain of Sanders’ and Corbyn’s appeal, and which itself is garnering such widespread support. Let’s face it, Clinton is struggling to maintain a lead over a neo-fascistic demagogue, so her “prioritising one integrity over another” (her speciality) isn’t going down well with the electorate. And she may well lose – “zealots don’t get elected”, but Trump seems damn close to it, doesn’t he?

        Anyway, aside from these minor differences, we’re essentially on the same side. 🙂

      • frpip says:

        Thanks very much for this – lots to respond to. I’ll get back to you later if that’s okay.

      • Hariod Brown is a Troll.

      • frpip says:

        I’m not sure that’s terribly fair…

      • His post has typical strategy, to push you into a more extreme position, where you’re either with them or against them. The so-called Momentum group are known to be employing these tactics. Organiszed trolling recruits activists to prowl social media and engage with those who express any opinion about the subject in hand that is not clearly on their side – especially if critical, and aims to undermine your belief in your own position – especially if an ambiguous position, and force you to take sides. Trolls’ posts invariably include links to their own propoganda.

      • frpip says:

        I appreciate that that is indeed a strategy, but I’m not sure it’s one that Hariod employed. We are all guilty of reading (or half-reading) things and making assumptions about what other people feel. And I honestly think if we demonise all of Momentum as “baddies” – surely then we are simply leaping into the same mistake? The only way the Labour party is going to survive this is if we stop thinking in those dualist ways – good v bad, right v wrong.

      • I agree, it’s not a question of people being right or wrong, but discriminating between practices that are respectful and those that are not., between that which is nearest right and that which is less so. Do you remember, perhaps in the 1980s, Socialist Worker sellers/activists harangueing passers by with their cold, de-personalized leftist propoganda? Now, despite a new names, updated nomenclature and different media, it’s much the same thing. This is the bullying you referred to in your post. They are not interested in you or your opinion, life experience or judgement (which despite very slight aquaintance, I instinctively do respect – though I suppose by default I really ought to anyway!), but simply in their being right and beating you into submission to their views. And I rather fear that – despite his soft words and peacable manner and tone, Jeremy Corbyn feels most comfortable when he is with people who don’t contradict him. That is, in my view, extremely undemocratic, and extremely worrying for our country.

      • Hariod Brawn says:

        Thankyou for reading my comments, Big Garden Blog, though I fear you may somewhat have grasped the wrong end of the stick, and which error I accept I may have contributed to in my wording. I am a member of The Labour Party, but not Momentum, and nor am I a troll. If I come across as contrarian, then that is a label I can live with, and am always prepared to stand or fall by my given position in reasoned discussion. That being so, then please feel free to engage. In the meantime, here is a balanced article on what Momentum is about in actuality:

        https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/sep/18/momentum-activists-labour-jeremy-corbyn-feature

  2. [J] Brilliant! What I thought but was unable to bring to words!

  3. Philip Moriarty says:

    Reblogged this on Symptoms Of The Universe and commented:
    I was going to write a post on my thoughts on Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership victory at the weekend but in the reblogged post below Fr. Blackledge sums up just about everything I’d wanted to say, and then some. I agree wholeheartedly with his advice to Corbyn (although, unlike Fr. Blackledge, I’ll remain a member of the Labour Party).

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