Thinking of voting Labour? Well think on this

Labour have always prided themselves on being a broad church with their members and supporters holding some very different views indeed.

It used to hang together as a political force as much because of its authoritarian approach to politics where internal disagreement was kept very much out of the headlines.

How things have changed with just about every Labour disagreement filling our national newspapers and splits of every kind being an everyday thing these days.

And this leads me to a question that I have been asked a surprising number of times already as we move towards a General election. The question? Do I agree that electors should vote for the candidate of a left of center party that can most obviously beat the Tory candidate in any given constituency. Well at one level, to me as someone of the left, the answer in the abstract is yes BUT….

The BUT is this for me. Before voting for any candidate (of the center left) you must look at what the person actually thinks, what their record is (if they have been an MP previously) and how easily they may be whipped to vote for things that their party wants but you as an elector may well not want. In other words just blindly looking for the best left of center candidate to beat the Tory in your constituency may at face value get you a non-Tory MP but it may also get you someone who is little more than a Tory under a different flag.

Some Labour MP’s are actually quite right wing in their outlook so watch out. For example you would probably be using your vote well if you live in a seat where the sitting Labour MP voted against Brexit (despite being whipped to back Brexit by Jeremy Corbyn) and you supported them. But what about those Labour MP’s who either campaigned for Brexit or were prepared to be whipped to vote for Brexit in the House of Commons despite having campaigned against it in the EU Referendum?

And why do I use Brexit as an example? Because Brexit will hurt the ordinary man and woman in the street hard and it will hit the poorest hardest. No one of on the left of British politics can support Brexit without realising that it is a social and economic disaster for anyone but the rich and powerful. So how an MP voted in the House of Commons over Brexit is a really big issue. An MP who voted for Brexit but who also says they support ordinary working people and those in society who are less fortunate are, in my view, running with the hare and the hounds. What I am saying is that Brexit and a caring social attitude are incompatible as far as I am concerned.

So yes please seriously consider the best placed candidate to beat the Tory in your constituency but don’t assume that the Labour candidate (should they at face value be the best placed) is all that you would want them to be. You may be in for an unpleasant shock if you don’t check out the candidates of the center left in detail!

Tribalism – I’m in the tribe so everything the tribal leaders do is OK by me

Politics is full of tribalism and the Labour Party wears its tribal loyalty like a badge of pride as an obvious example. I don’t think I will ever forget MP Andy Burnham making it clear that his party came first in a Labour Leadership hustings interview, only to be shouted down by one of his own (MP Liz Kendal) saying ‘Country first’.

But here in the UK we have always had a sneaking admiration for those who at face value are a part of tribe but who are actually mavericks with a mind of their own. MP Ken Clarke is an obvious non-tribal Tory who will kick out when he thinks his party is in the wrong. Of course Jeremy Corbyn MP made a name for himself by not supporting the Labour Leader of the day when he was a back bencher. It’s ironic that he’s now whipped Labour Remain MP’s to vote for Brexit and that the vast majority of them actually followed him down a Brexit road they do not believe in! That’s taking tribal loyalty far to far in my book.

As a Liberal I take the view that if my Lib Dem party tries to push me a certain way then by instinct my reaction can easily be to refuse. Liberals are by their very nature very hard to whip as they are free thinking individuals who coalesce around a common broad agenda.

But with the advent of Trump and his supporters we start to see a whole new and hugely troubling tribalistic agenda that his supports are fully signed up to. They don’t check whether what he says is right or wrong, they simply back it. They don’t actually care if it is right or wrong/truth or lie, if he says something/anything they want to hear. They will seemingly follow him anywhere he goes like the unthinking have followed despots across the world before. This is of course the road to fascism!

We all like to belong to groups that think like us but we do ourselves a great disservice by blindly following the crowd or the tribe and we believe/support everything our chosen or given leaders tell us.

You can’t be a a Liberal without questioning most things you come across, its a burden at times when siting back and repeating the propaganda of a leader is a lot easier.

Just look at this way who does trump rant against? The media, immigrants, Muslims, Mexicans etc. Who does he put in power? The powerful, the wealthy. people who disrespect our world environment, people who think like him.

Any leader who surrounds themselves with too many like thinking people is facing trouble as leaders need to be challenged by advisors not told they are wonderful.

As for Trump’s attacks on the media, yes of course some media outlets are utterly irresponsible. We saw it in the UK over Brexit – There was nothing some media outlets would not stop at to fuel prejudices that they had implanted in the minds of their readers over generations even though their ‘truth’ was obviously lies to anyone who looked behind the ranting headlines. BUT we are supposed to live in a free society with a free press. That means that the press can say things that are not true but they can be challenged by those who know the truth is being distorted. Trump only wants his ‘truth’ to be heard/printed not the ‘truth’ and that’s another step towards fascism.

Give tribalism the boot, it leads to despotism and fascism.