Labour are sadly now a regressive party

That is the rather sad and just about only conclusion you can draw from the Copeland and Stoke by-elections of yesterday. But then there’s always been a tussle in the Labour Party between progressives and regressives.

Strangely at a time when Labour ostensibly has a left wing leader, whom you would expect to take his party in progressive direction, the opposite seems to be the case.

Have you seen the UKIP-lite literature that Labour put out in Stoke! Yes they beat UKIP but only by being UKIP-like. In Copeland the Tories simply out UKIPed Labour.

British politics is now seemingly re-settled into two groupings,

UKIP,Tories and Labour representing regressive politics

Lib Dems, Scot Nats and Greens representing progressive politics.

Yes, I am absolutely sure that there are still progressives in the Labour Party but their voice has been lost as the party has marched to appease the troublesome views of it’s right wing ‘working class’ supporters. And let’s face it there’s a worrying hint of racism where Labour is marching to.

Labour have jumped into the Brexit bed of Teresa May and UKIP and that’s no place to be for a party that once claimed to be progressive.

Labour are UKIP semi skimmed, the Tories are UKIP full fat.

Is Labour just an alternative Tory Party for those who consider themselves to be ‘working class’?

Does it go without saying that the vast majority of Labour voters would never vote Tory and that they will continue to vote Labour pretty much whatever the party stands for?

I ask as having been involved in politics for some 37 years now I really don’t know what Labour stands for these days other than not being the Tory Party. Just look at this:-

They started to privatise the NHS when in government but now say they oppose NHS privatisation.

They campaigned, if rather weakly, to Remain in the EU during the recent referendum but now support Leaving the EU.

They backed and promoted the war in Iraq, along with the Tories, but now seem thoroughly embarrassed (and rightly so) by what they did.

They were pretty much a social democrat party during the Blair years but now have a socialist leader and a predominately socialist membership.

Their MP’s are mainly social democrat in outlook and belief but their party membership has no time for them, often labeling them as Red Tories.

Their ‘working class’ supporters are seemingly rather right wing and are tempted to support UKIP at times when tribal loyalty starts to wear a little thin.

Is ‘not being the Tory Party’ now Labour’s strap line and main selling point?

And I never cease to be amazed by the number of champagne socialists there seem to be around Labour. Top of the range cars are often a give away but then you discover that the drivers/owners are Corbyn backers. How does that add up because for all his faults Corbyn is an unlikely champagne socialist. Indeed, having personally felt he deserved the benefit of the doubt and that the press were out to hound him, I think it may well be fair to say that he’s a socialist from a previous era. A throw back to Michael Foot’s idea of what Labour should be all about? Certainly he does not come across as someone at ease with our diverse society, more as though modern ways leave him with a hankering for the good old socialist days.

I often use the somewhat jokey phrase these days ‘Hey I’m a Liberal, most Labour Party folk seem too right wing too me’ yet, whilst this line often brings about a wry smile when I use it, I really do think it fits many Labour politicians.

Being known as a ‘not the Tory Party party’ is one thing but supporting Teresa May’s off to the far right Government, as Labour has done over Brexit, just puts them on a charge of being Red Tories in reality rather than just by insult from their own left wing.

Labour’s dilemma laid bare in Prescot

I went canvassing yesterday for a local council by-election and was struck by two things. Firstly, the revival of the Lib Dem vote was strong and of course, from my point of view, most welcome. But what really stood out was the the position of the Labour Party and it was not good news for them!

Yes of course I came across a few tribal Labour voters who have voted Labour all their lives and will continue to do so no matter what Labour stands for. I suppose you categorise them as Labour’s right wing. Most of them will not actually be Labour Party members but their loyalty to Labour is absolute.

Compare that with the actual membership of the Labour Party these days; predominately left wing, socialist and very much behind Jeremy Corbyn.

These two groups are all but incompatible and to add to the mix you have the vast majority of Labour’s MP’s being in neither camp! Yes of course some will be from Labour’s working class tribal right and some will be Corbynites but the vast majority of them are stuck somewhere in the middle. They will be seen as being social democrats in polite company and as Red Tories by their own Party membership.

So what about Prescot? Well Labour-run Knowsley Council is clearly about as popular as snow at harvest; even Labour supporters who expressed a view about their local council were hardly complimentary. But what I noticed, if you take away Labour’s tribal supporters, is that the rest are hardly enthused about Labour at all these days.

Obviously I don’t know how the Prescot by-election will turn out but what I could clearly see on the doorsteps of Prescot was that the national trend of Labour support slipping away whilst Lib Dem support rises is being replicated.

As I often say, hey I’m a Liberal, most Labour folk seem too right wing to me.

PS. BTW I personally did not come across anyone who said they were a Tory supporter.

Labour – Comradery NOT

www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/jeremy-corbyns-team-accused-of-bullying-after-list-of-abusive-mps-issued_uk_57d9a203e4b0d584f7efabb2

The Huffington Post has the story on its web site – see link above

A definition of Comradery is a feeling of trust, a bond created by a shared goal or experience — you don’t have to be best friends with everyone in the group to know you have their support. But there’s not much comradery around in the Labour Party these days!

With thanks to KP for spotting this story.

And this more Merseyside centric Labour story that the Liverpool Echo is running follows that one up nicely, or not so nicely, depending on your opinion:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/momentum-plot-liverpool-labour-riverside-11889907#ICID=FB-Liv-main

Trying to be reasonable about this, if Labour is to become a truly socialist party then surely all its right wing MP’s should be deselected, should they not?

Jo Cox – Thoughts on the consequences for UK politics

I have to be honest and say that I had not heard of Jo Cox MP before she was murdered but what I have learned about her since leads me to think that in a Parliament with few shining progressive stars these days she must have been one of them.

With the Lib Dems severely reduced in numbers, a Labour Party that is inward looking, authoritarian and at war with itself and the SNP looking like an uncomfortable marriage of supposedly social democratic and narrow nationalist values the left of British politics is frankly in a mess.

Jo Cox, we are told was far from being in the usual Labour mold (tribal and authoritarian) so she is both a big loss to Labour and to progressive politics in general. This was well summed up by Nick Clegg (not someone I would usually quote) when he said in a Tweet on the day of her murder – Jo Cox was unusually free of the tribal pettiness of politics – always friendly, cheerful and kind to friend and foe alike.

But as we have all read since the murder people in public office do receive threats. Yes, often they will be from nutters who have no intention or ability to carry out their threats but at the fringes there are the genuinely dangerous crack-pots.

I think I have posted previously about some of the crank mail I got when I was Leader of Sefton Council and how I was warned about it by my predecessor – Labour Cllr. Dave Martin. Indeed, I will never forget his advice ‘Within 6 weeks every nutter in the Borough will know who you are’.

I also recall how my colleague and former Sefton Councillor Andrew Blackburn got some very odd and worrying letters during his time on the Council so threats, hate mail, etc. are sadly what elected folks can and do get at any level of governance.

Where this latest tragedy leaves politics is difficult to say but it must not lead to those who hold elected office becoming more remote from the people who put them there. That is the road to democratic ruin. We must strive to be more open, less tribal and more inclusive in our politics.

And a final word about Jo Cox. I wondered more and more as the story of her all too brief life unfolded in the media how despite her being a Labour MP she came across more like a radical Liberal.

So sad that that this bright star was killed seemingly because of some irrational hatred issues in the head of one man.