Several cups of tea later…(2)

And what of Labour?

It is not necessary to hate Jeremy Corbyn to think that he needs to step down as leader of the Labour Party. He has given the job his best shot but it’s time for a new leader now. He has said as much and I can’t blame him for saying that he is not resigning today but will hang around while a new leader is chosen. A political public disembowelling of Jeremy Corbyn by the Labour Party is unlikely to be a useful or edifying way to make a new start.

I delivered a few hundred leaflets for my Labour candidate, Beth Miller, in the area around my home. There was one conversation I had, bit by bit, with someone delivering free newspapers while I pushed election leaflets through some of the same letterboxes. This man asked me what I was delivering and, unasked, told me that he couldn’t vote for Jeremy Corbyn. While stifling the urge to point out that he didn’t live in Islington North and it was too late to move to get a vote there, I did say that it was a fine local woman who was standing for Labour in this part of Northants but this seemed to be news to him but of no interest whatsoever. A few doors down the street I asked him what he thought of Boris Johnson and was told that he was a t***** too and not much better.

For this voter, and no doubt many others, it came down to a choice between two highly unpalatable leaders, nothing, it seemed, to do with the local candidates and very little to do with the policies of the parties.

Labour certainly had policies, and policies with which I largely agreed, although it was a bit difficult to discern where some of them had come from and how they could have been afforded. In previous general elections I have voted Labour (in this Conservative/Labour marginal) despite the party’s inadequate environmental policies but this time around the Labour offering on the environment was very good and well thought out. Certainly it was a hugely better prospectus than the Conservative offering. At this time of grave environmental concern, of Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion, the environment was hardly a factor in this election. Boris ducked a debate on climate change and suffered no consequences for that and Labour failed to make this a moral issue in the polling booth. Instead we were offered free broadband.

The Conservative offering overall was that they were going to do something for us, Get Brexit Done, whereas the Labour offering was too much like a packet of sweets that we were being given from which we could choose our favourites. Free gifts for the electorate does not make a government for the many which addresses the real issues of the future.

It is a missed opportunity but the real missed opportunity was in 2017 when Labour came so close to toppling the May government – that was the opportunity gifted by the Conservatives and not quite grasped by Labour. Against the Maybot Jeremy Corbyn looked very sensible and human, if not exciting. She was expected to be strong and stable whereas Corbyn was expected to fall off the stage through incompetence – the fact that she was so bad and he was not so bad was a combination never to be repeated. And the Conservative manifesto included toxic policies. This time Johnson was managed out of dangerous public appearances and the manifesto was largely devoid of anything but a three-word slogan and photos of a blonde Etonian. 2017 was close run thing, and I think the Labour campaign was pretty good then. The fact that it was a missed opportunity does not mean that it was a fumbled one, I think Labour did brilliantly to come so close two years ago but it was never going to get a better chance than that.

But Labour needs to sort out where it is going from now on. It’s a hard road back to being a party of government from here. We can rely on Brexit being a hard road and the gloss coming off this election result quite quickly, but voters’ buyer’s remorse has to last a long time for it still to be a factor at the next general election.

Labour’s problem is a lot more than getting a new leader – although that is a big challenge in itself – but it is in finding a position in modern politics. Hating the Tories is not a position. I do actually believe that we need biggish government to deal with today’s problems, and that we need international cooperation to deal with them too. Whether it be nature conservation or the NHS, and climate change or the economy, we aren’t going to get where we need to be through the selfish actions of businesses or a free market for good. You can’t deliver a care system which works for all without the state doing it through spending our taxes, and the same is true for regenerating wildlife in the countryside and reducing climate emissions. An important part of government is to take our money from us, fairly, and then spend it collectively better than we could individually to deliver things that benefit us all whether that be an army, an agricultural policy or new hospitals.

It’s not the easiest sell in a selfish society. It’s far easier to sell tax cuts. But delivering public goods is why we need government, and delivering the right public goods is why we need a Labour party that can win elections.

The way forward needs some thought, and tossing Jeremy Corbyn under a bus won’t deliver what is needed. He has to go, and he is going, but that is such a small step on the way forward that Labour should make the transition as kindly as possible if it wants to be the party that cares for all. Labour needs to spell out the role of government not the role of its leader, and it needs to look like a competent and kindly team.

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37 Replies to “Several cups of tea later…(2)”

  1. The important thing is to remember however it was portrayed the Labour manifesto was a good one full of good policy and many of those things the right say were unaffordable government not long ago did, financial opinion has been hugely coloured by austerity. To solve our and our share of the World's problems we certainly need " big Government" we won't get that from Johnson or any Tory administration.
    To my mind key to any new Labour leader is not ditching those manifesto ambitions, it was manifesto full of hope, but explaining and selling them better.

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  2. I agree with much of what you say, Mark. Labour's problems stem in part, I think, from an ideological imbalance. That is to say that Jeremy Corbyn is an out-and-out socialist and was trying to bring the party back to that position from the only-just-left-of-centre party of Blair/Brown. He had two huge problems; the party was still full of Blairites and the country (by which I mean England) is overwhelmingly selfish, to large extent as a result of austerity. The Tory campaign managed to fool an enormous number of people. I read of a voter in Dennis Skinner's constituency who said that he had had enough of nothing being done for his area and the north in general and it was time for a change, so he would vote Conservative. So the Tories had managed to airbrush out the fact that they had been in charge for last nine years. On enviromental matters, I think we are in for a very, very hard time - not least because the environment doesn't make money. I have slightly better hopes for here in Scotland.

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  3. You're absolutely right about 2017 Mark, but I think you are being rather kind to Jeremy Corbyn.

    In 2017 the Conservatives ran easily the worst general election campaign of my lifetime under easily the least voter-friendly Prime Minister. Had Corbyn lost more heavily in 2017 he would surely have had to go. The fact that he ran May close, seemed almost like a victory (indeed many on the Labour left seemed to think it was a victory!) and, with Corbyn, McCluskey, Milne in charge for a further 2 years, the 2019 result had a terrible inevitability about it.

    Labour sowed the seeds of its own destruction in failing to defend the economic policies (or to acknowledge any of the achievements) of the Blair and Brown governments from the easy taunts of the Conservatives following the 2008 global financial crisis - a crash that was, according to the Tories and the media, all down to Labour overspending, 'deficit denial', a failure to 'mend the roof when the sun shone' etc.. For all the many weaknesses of the Blair years (PFI, over-reliance on increased tax take from a growing economy, not to mention the war in Iraq) a party that can't defend its own economic record or explain basic Keynesian economics is hardly going to be trusted by voters when it promises to spend big on, amongst other things, free broadband. And when it pretends that massive public re-investment after a decade of austerity can be done without increasing the taxes of 95% of the population it is treating the electorate (and the IFS) as fools.

    Like you I delivered several hundred leaflets on behalf of the Labour candidate in my constituency and like you I got push-back against Corbyn on the doorstep. The Cameron, May and Johnson governments have all been disunited, incompetent and chaotic. Johnson is the most dishonest and un-principled Prime Minister of modern times - a man who laid waste to his own parliamentary party and made absolute commitments to do things it was not remotely in his power to deliver. It was clear from the moment he began his leadership campaign for the Conservative Party that it was his intention to force a general election at the earliest possible date, preferably before we had left the EU. And despite all this Labour seemed completely unprepared for Johnson's victory in the leadership election, had no strategy to deal with his lies or the hostility of the media, was incapable of attacking the Tories over Brexit and consequently suffered the worst humiliation in the polls since 1935.

    Despite the manifest failings of the Tories, Corbyn was the least popular opposition leader ever. It really takes a special type of hubris to think that you can win from a position of such deep personal unpopularity. But of course he (and his advisers) probably knew he couldn't win. Was it that their project was more important to them than achieving success in elections?

    Working out where to go from here is a truly big ask which is going to take both time and serious reflection. But one thing is certain, if Labour indulges in a couple more years of navel-gazing and fails to attack the government when its being dishonest and deceitful then the Tories will have reset the agenda, yet again, in a way that makes it even more difficult for Labour to win next time. Labour needs to reach out to voters beyond its current narrow base and to seek to build alliances with other parties and it needs to communicate honestly with the electorate about the problems we face.

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      1. The problem with voting reform is that Nick Clegg effectively poisoned that well with his campaign for AV which had the sole aim of keeping the Lib Dems in cabinet in perpetuity and him in the Deputy PM's chair for the rest of his career. People voted against that idea in droves. I known AV and PR are different beasts, but most of the thickos of the UK electorate don't and won't make the effort to learn. Voting reform is effectively dead in the UK for the next generation thanks to Nick Clegg and his Tory stitch up.

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        1. " most of the thickos of the UK electorate"

          What a charmer you are. It's beliefs such as that which will keep the government you want from ever being elected.

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    1. I agree with pretty much all you have posted there Francis.

      Your point about alliance building with other parties is an important one. In the absence of PR which won’t be happening any time soon, the progressive parties in British politics really need to embrace the idea of coalition and let go of the self-defeating tribalism imbued in almost every party. As has been demonstrated across Europe, coalition Governments can deliver.

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    2. Just on the point of Labour sowing the seeds of its destruction by not defending the achievements of Blair and Brown after the 2008 crash, recently, at a talk given by two former advisers of Ed Miliband I brought this up. They said they had tried very hard to do this but could get no traction in the media. At least John McDonnell has sought to redress the balance by citing the loosely regulated financial institutions.
      Among achievements unrecognised was the paying off of debt owed to the Americans from WW2! How does that figure with the accepted image of profligacy.
      During that period, as the only way I could think of to register my ‘vote’, I joined the Green Party. Since then I’ve helped Caroline Lucas increase her majority at each election. I know I’m very fortunate to live in Brighton Pavilion.

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  4. The main reason for the result, I feel, was that the Tories correctly judged the public mood to be one of profound disaffection with Westminster. The electorate did not want to read Labour's (or anyone else
    s) manifesto, no matter how well written. "Get Brexit Done" was a minimalist slogan that had the subtext "Get Rid of Politics", which is what so many people felt.

    Corbyn's get failure has been to fail to capitalise on the wave of radical young people who joined the party during his rise to head the LP. The LP has become so moribund in some areas and so stuck in factionalism in others that it was unable to offer those young people any way of expressing that urgent wish to Do Something.

    Listening to John McDonnell expounding on plans for renationalisation only showed the tin ear of the Old Labourites - "We'll have management boards with workers and local councillors on them!" he exclaimed - as if that was going to make 19 and 20 year olds head for the barricades. The poor turnout at the polls amongst that age group - always a key demographic for Labour - demonstrates the Corbynite failure.

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  5. Perhaps it's just because my side lost, but I do worry about the future of our democracy. It's a sad state of affairs when the future of the democratic world is largely determined by whoever comes up with the best three-word slogans, whether it's 'Take back control,' 'Get it done' or 'Lock her up'. Any policy initiative that can't be expressed in literally half-a-dozen words or less risks becoming an electoral irrelevance.
    And I also wonder whether the allegiance of so many of our media outlets now means that it may be almost impossible ever to elect a party or leader that tries to challenge the dominance of super-rich individuals and the big corporations.

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  6. It's always difficult fighting a cause when the opposition has the press on its side because people tend to believe what they read even if it's only the headline. Jezza's past did him no favours and was gleefully siezed on by the right wing press whereas they lauded a man who is a philanderer, a back-stabber (ask DC and TM), a liar (HRH will confirm) and a coward (the only leader not to face Andrew Neil). But politics is full of hypocrites; Gove is happily supportive after previously undermining BJ's previous attempt to be leader but who knows what bribe (sorry incentive) changed his mind.
    Time will tell how much we all live to regret the fact that many people didn't know what they were voting for at the referendum or swallowed Farage's lies and then followed through by putting someone untrustworthy in charge.

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  7. Ok.so let’s see how many ‘dislikes’ I can get for this comment.
    I didn’t vote.
    The first time I was eligible to vote was in 1974, and I did vote. I found nothing to attract me to either the Labour or Conservative parties and so, with the innocence/naivety of youth, I voted Liberal.
    They weren’t quite what I wanted either, but my vote was important and it was wrong not to use it.
    I have never voted since.
    I have never voted because I am lazy/apathetic/ignorant/it’s raining/don’t appreciate what people have done in the past to win me that vote.
    You chose.
    Over the years I’ve heard every one but they have never changed my mind. And it is that last one that is most important to me.
    For so very very many reasons my chance to vote is important, an extremely hard won privilege. But it is this very reason that stops me from using it. I believe that my right to vote is far to precious to be used tactically. How can it be right that you have to vote for the least worst? Is that what my father fought for? Really?

    I have never said that I won’t vote. If I lived in Brighton Pavilion nothing would stop me voting. But the fact is that in the five constituencies that I’ve lived in, I have never had a candidate that I thought was worth my vote.
    Over the years I have seen candidates that I admire from all parties, candidates that seem to be in politics for the good that they think they can do, the difference they believe they can make. Honest people who stick to their beliefs come what may. But I truly believe that they are very few and far between. And getting fewer.

    I suppose that I am closer to the Green Party than any other but they choose not to, (or couldn’t afford to), put up a candidate in our very safe Conservative seat. Even Labour didn’t see the point in putting in much effort this time! A very strange choice of candidate indeed.

    It’s not as if I am idealistically waiting for somebody who is wholly aligned with my views, that is not the case at all. I am waiting for somebody who is honest, caring and socially just. That’s not what I’ve ever been offered.

    And I’m not alone am I. The turnout this time was around the two thirds mark. The same as it has been for the past few elections.
    After the war years, the turnouts were around 80%. That declined to the worst ever in 2001 when just under 60% ‘could be bovvered’.
    So is it truly the case that a third of the population are to lazy or apathetic to vote. Must be true of some of them certainly, but a third?
    A third of voters don’t vote! I will never be convinced that they are all too bone idle to get out of their chairs.

    I didn’t vote because I had nobody to vote for, nobody that deserved my precious vote. I may be the only one but I don’t think so.
    Some of my friends still find it strange that I can be as political as they find me to be but not vote.

    So what would make a difference? Well a fairer voting system would be a start. A system where every vote truly would count. I didn’t vote for the same reason that the Green Party didn’t field a candidate.
    People have literally shed blood so that we can vote. Did those people do so in the hope that a party with only 44% of the vote could form a government with a such a large majority of seats? And that 44% is only of the 2/3rds who felt able to vote. A minority with a majority? A bizarre situation. In truth, a selfish situation.

    The thoughtful post by Mark above uses the word ‘selfish’. Unfortunately we live in selfish times and live in increasingly selfish ways but I don’t have to vote for it. It’s not what I want. It is certainly not what the planet wants and I’m not sure if it’s really what this country wants.
    Is PR the answer? I really don’t know. I do know that we need a fairer system for a much fairer society.
    And we need somebody to realise that if a third of the population aren’t voting, that’s a lot of votes to be had and a big difference to be made.

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    1. Paul, just two quick points. One, in a general election you vote for a party, its positioning politically and its manifesto. "I have never had a candidate that I thought was worth my vote." is a poor excuse for not voting. Two, if you cannot in conscience vote for any party, then spoil your ballot paper. They are counted. Not voting gives you no voice, no opinion and power. If you don't like the system, do something about it.

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      1. Er, Andy, you haven’t noticed but I am doing something about it. I’ve written about my feelings above and maybe sown a thought that wasn’t there before. As for spoiling the paper and it being counted, I’m intrigued. Who counts spoilt papers and what exactly do they glean from it? How is that info used and by whom? Our forth candidate on the paper was the Monster Raving Looney party, maybe I could have voted for them but I feel that voting needs to be taken a bit more seriously than that.
        If the main parties can’t see that there are a large number of people who feel totally disenfranchised by the present system and work towards engaging them, then it must suit them not to.
        I actually liked some of the Labour manifesto this time, but neither our local candidate or Corbyn were people I could vote for. And as for all the free offers! Well, nothing comes free in this life and it was an insult to voters to suggest otherwise.
        IF we had PR the Green Party would have fielded a candidate and I would have voted as I said above.
        Not voting, along with a third of the voting population should be sending a huge message, it’s just that nobody is listening. Spoiling a paper won’t change that.
        Btw, one of the above ‘likes’ to your reply is mine. At least your discussing it!

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        1. At the moment there are 2 petitions trying to get PR on the agenda. One with Electoral Reform Society & another by Make Votes Matter.

          If PR had been in operation the result of the election just gone would be very different.

          For example instead of 11 MPs the Lib Dems would have got 84 Seats. The Greens would definitely have benefitted as well.
          UK would probably have a progressive govt but with many of the people disinclined to vote, feeling disenfranchised as they have never had an MP of their choice being elected. I for one have never voted for an elected MP but I have voted for a party in favour of PR.
          I fear UK is broken due to FPTP system

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    2. I’ve always voted, but with a heavy heart because my natural inclination is to vote Green. Unfortunately that’s always been futile so I have to vote for the candidate who’s most likely to defeat a Tory. That’s not the way it should be and I feel desperate for electoral reform, so my vote might actually count.

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      1. North72, I wish I had the chance to vote green, I would use it. This time they fielded 500 candidates, that’s 150 constituencies that weren’t given that chance. Your vote may have added just a little encouragement for them next time, it may even have saved a deposit. I have never believed that tactical voting will send the correct message.
        But thank you for doing what the main parties won’t do, discuss it.

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    3. Whilst many, including me, would share your unhappiness with an electoral system that disproportionately benefits the larger parties, I disagree with your contention that voting tactically cannot be right and betrays the sacrifice of those who have fought for democracy in the past. On the contrary, I believe that thinking carefully about how you cast your vote and how this can have the most influence on the eventual outcome of the election pays great respect to those to whom we can be grateful that we have the right to vote at all. Sometimes the most effective use of the vote is to cast it tactically to stop the party you disagree with most.

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    4. We should be like Australia and Italy amongst others, it should be an offence not to vote. Sure go to the polling station and spoil your ballot but at least you bothered. Ordinary men and women died or got transported to Australia to get us the vote, you dishonour their memory but not bothering. Vote tactically, destroy your ballot whatever but do it get off your " I cannot make my mind up or be bothered arse" and go to the polling station.
      Doubtless you will be one of those folk who complain endlessly about this policy or that, yet you failed to have your say and have no right to complain.

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  8. I think Francis has hit the nail on the head: Labour actually left the country in a good state in 2010 - but did you see any attempt to pull the tories up on number of nurses, police, hospital waiting times ? They got clean away with selling huge increases as new and good when all they were doing was repairing their own damage. And labour have been the most unbelievably ineffective opposition - why is it we never hear at national or local level of the havoc wreaked on local government by cuts beyond swingeing ? Or that austerity has never been called out for what it always was, an attack on the public sector first and foremost, coated in a thin veneer of financial responsibility. Nor were there clear, cohesive and coherent policies before we went into the election - perhaps fearing the tories would steal the good ideas, but still meaning there was no warm up to a different world. Instead they spent their time fighting each other - and Corbyn is absolutely to blame for that. I'm still not sure whether he hates Blairites more than tories - are you ? And to be fair, there was a lack of charisma in the chosen spokesmen matched only by Theresa - I'm afraid I groaned every time Len McClusky made an appearance - he may be a great guy for all I know, but as a voter he is a real turn off.

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  9. It occurs to me that three essential areas of modern existence are almost criminally neglected in formal education and they are probably neglected because helping young people to understand these could create problems for those interests that have power over us.

    Firstly there is an almost total lack of focus on learning about the natural world around us - and here I mean not looking only at the global issues that can almost seem abstract, but distant from us, like the climate crisis and mass extinction - but the identification of what should be familiar species of insects plants birds and other life, the sort of beasties that live in our cities, local parks and the countryside near us.. There have been moves to introduce into the curriculum examination courses which will help young people to identify, love and then protect the living things around them, and the growth of forest schools and outdoor learning are also encouraging.

    The other two intertwined areas where we should be looking much more closely are media studies and political education. Elections don't come up every year but the consequences of not using our votes wisely remain with us for decades and sometimes generations. It is essential, in my view, that we really should be debating in schools what the role of government is so that for example the links between taxation and public benefits are underlined and everyone understands the potential longer-term consequences of their having a few bob extra at the end of the month, both for good and for ill. Children need also to know how they can find information on government policies and performance, the voting records of their local MPs etc to become more actively engaged in the process.

    Connected to this is the need to instil in our young people the critical evaluation of the media - visual, printed and social - employed so extensivelt to influence them. They should all know who owns the media and what their real interests are, and learn to identify the rhetorical and textual devices used to transmit a particular message..

    We have seen in this election how the conservatives in particular made extensive use of satire, photomontage and allusion to generate a very widely accepted and extremely negative caricature of the Labour leader. Seeing through the tricks of advertising, not just in a political context, will help young people understand not only how they are being persuaded to buy a political message but also seduced into placing their faith in a new product or service.

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    1. Gosh, I used to do all three as an English teacher! There was a run down old farmland area nearby which is now a lovely country park and between John McDonnell, an excellent local MP, and Arocha, a Christian environmental charity they raised its status and protected it. We would go out for nature walks, poetry and fun!

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  10. Maybe things would have been different if Corbyn hadn't had to deal with such sustained and outright hostility from the Blairites and their allies in the media.

    Blair, Straw, Johnstone, Blunkett, Mandelson, Campbell and the rest were determined to ensure that he failed. The only exception was Brown who proved himself bigger than the rest of them and took a more nuanced approach.

    I suspect that what lay behind their enmity was the Iraq war, the defining issue of their political era. History has shown they were 100% wrong, and Corbyn was 100% right. It's understandable how that must rankle with them.

    Other than the outcome of the election the most disappointing aspect of all this has been the BBC's complete failure to even pretend to be far and balanced in its coverage. The breathless Koensberg in particular seems to have been nothing but a sock puppet for Dominic Cummngs.

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    1. Well said!
      The animosity was a fraction of what Major suffered from Thatcher. For example Alan Johnson on TV the day after.
      The BBC continually repeated the well worn insults.

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      1. Yup, Alan Johnson conspiring with the BBC, after the polls had closed, that was what did it!

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    2. De omnibus dubitandum, yours is such a huge failure of perception that I do not even know where to begin. I agree with you about the Iraq war and, believe me, I do not underestimate that failure. But the rest - well we are here today, all grieving, each in our own ways, and I hope you emerge from your own grief with new insight.

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        1. Constructing and presenting arguments was my trade for 35 years. Perhaps you should review your moniker, given your apparent certainty of the correctness of your own views.

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    3. Not sure we have been watching the same Laura Kuensberg. I think you are talking utter rubbish and I too don't like the Blarites. However Allen Johnston was right when he said Corbyn couldn't lead folk out of a paper bag and I liked his policies but we need to face up to this truth.

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      1. If you think Koenssberg's reporting since Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party has been fair and balanced then you are beyond help. She could barely conceal her contempt. I suspect it was partly political (she detests the political views he represents) and partly professional (she would have had no contacts within Corbyn's circle, so no easy source of stories, whereas Cummings was happy to spoon feed her the Tory line, and she was too lazy or too unprofessional to resist).

        Two specific examples: 1. the Whipps Cross Hospital visit, the story there was the state of the NHS and Johnson lying that there were no press present. Koensberg managed to close that story down by 'revealing' that the concerned parent was a Labour activist. 2. the Leeds hospital incident (sick child lying on a pile of coats) when Koensberg (and others) attempted to derail the story by running with the lie fed to them by the Tory Party that Hancock's aide had been assaulted.

        She's a poor journalist, too lazy or incompetent to question sources or check stories that align with her own prejudices.

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    4. Quite simply Corbyn made a hash of it, from the day he took Johnson's bait and agreed to an election.

      This election was always going to be about Brexit, Corbyn was at best ambivalent about Brexit, I lay the blame for the referendum result directly at his ambivalence on the issue and since then the Labour Party have twisted themselves in knots trying to reconcile the issue with the resultant election defeat.

      Yes the manifesto contained much that was good, trouble was nobody cared outside London - the electorate like simple sound bites, they don't by and large worry about detail. Labours message was incoherent, muddled and inadequately conveyed.

      Corbyn for all his genuine principles, failed miserably to cut across the simple message put across by the Tories and to be frank its clear that a good deal of the electorate don't give a fig about the trustworthiness of Johnson.

      Labour needs to think about what it needs to do to appeal across a broad spectrum of the electorate, otherwise it will continue to fail those vulnerable in society that most needs its support.

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  11. John McDonnell appears to have said to the BBC today: "The policies were popular; it was just that the wider public hadn't fully appreciated this." Perhaps he didn't exactly say that, and he's certainly right that the party's Brexit position (which I thought defensible) proved a liability. But on a broader front the party surely needs to ask why, when radical change is more needed than ever, the public has chosen a laissez-faire government. And McDonnell's comment gives at least a part of the answer: the more convinced you are that you have the right answers, the less concerned you are about whether the public agree with you. It's perfectly honourable to stand up for your beliefs but also a world of 'if only' unless you have a realistic chance of persuading the public to agree with you.

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  12. Once Brexit is done things will more or less go back to normal. It's distorted everything in this election. Hence Labour losses in Brexit voting seats.

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  13. A very interesting set of comments, and I think many of the points made above have real merit.
    Let me go one or two steps further than some people have (or might want to).
    The word selfish has been used several times above. What if substantial swathes of the voting public are fundamentally selfish, what if many are secretly racist or at least xenophobic, and what if many are so enthralled by consumerism that they really believe that their happiness and sense of self-worth depend on how much cash they can splash around.
    How does anyone go about selling a message that involves giving up more of one's own wealth to help those less fortunate, those of a different colour or culture (or species?), or those who have been dealt a less favorable hand in life?
    I am regularly appalled by tales from people for whom the worst aspect of homelessness is not the loneliness, the rain or the cold, but repeatedly being kicked, spat and urinated on. Or disabled folk for whom not being able to travel around easily is an inconvenience, but getting tirades of abuse and occasional violence are altogether more serious worries.
    Maybe parties that aim to champion the downtrodden, be they human or animal, start with a huge disadvantage, and may be unelectable in the present climate unless they have a quite outstanding leader with a hugely slick, well-funded machine behind them. I know people in the USA who are starting to think this way.

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    1. Alan Two, you use the words 'What if..' three times in your third paragraph. I believe it would be a far more accurate reflection of present British society if these words were left out!

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