These are good questions. Thoughtful piece. I look forward to good responses. Please will you tweet ones worth looking at? While we’re in meltdown in the middle of transformation, all good ideas are worth considering.
I can see fear and anxiety on your part, well-founded, you’re not blinkering yourself with blind optimism. But I’m not seeing faith or trust in the process. Mine’s not rock solid either, so I’m not going to say be like this or think that. But I don’t believe all is lost.
I think we in Britain don’t know how Tory we are. We have Thatcher in our DNA. We grew up with it, what else do we know. Excising her is a horrible process, you have to look within. Shedding your inner Tory takes some of your identity with it. Not an easy thing to do and most people will avoid it, because nobody wants to unravel. So I don’t know what difference Labour reaching out to Tory voters or indeed right wing (Blairite) voters will make. They are resolutely resistant. They won’t change until circumstances force them to, like we saw on BBC Questiontime when a furious Tory voter was in tears, who is now voting for Labour.
The Tories may appear to be together, but I see them as a kind of Frankenstein party, cobbled together, zombies since Thatcher finished them. They haven’t, and won’t, transform to be the party we need as we head into the 21st century, so there will be more furious Tory voters looking to Labour. I think it might be that way round. So Labour need something to offer. Which is where your questions come in.
I think as things settle, after the divisions within the Labour party resolve themselves, however that may be, we’ll see a clearer and more coherent message from Labour. It’s still being formed. That’s not because they’re incompetent, but because what’s happening today is unprecedented. We’re not just leaving a century behind, we’re leaving everything we ever knew. The turn of the century has coincided with the end of the industrial revolution. There are any number of revolutions across the board happening at the same time. The whole of society and life as we knew it is in transformation. It has to fall apart before it can fall together in a new way. So even if Labour do fall off that cliff, I’m not worried. Because there will always be a need for Opposition and representation for the Left. Question is what will it look like, what do we need it to look like, what do we need as we head into a future we can’t see clearly yet.
People who are inward looking, or even backward looking, holding on to halcyon days that never happened, will be terrified at the thought of looking outward or forward. They want the reassurance of what they know. Change is happening too quickly for them. The faster things change, the more hostile they get. Tories are good at empty promises that allay their fears. And they’re so desperate for that reassurance, they don’t even care if the promises are broken. We’re in a time of exponential change. This dynamic of lying Tories and desperate voters is only going to get worse. Which is probably what they said about Thatcher. The predicted shift to the left didn’t happen then, it’s happening now.
It’s like there’s a deadweight weighing down on society. People have polarised, further to the right and the left. There is no middle ground right now, where the deadweight is resting, which is why ‘chicken coup’ failed so spectacularly. We have Frankenstein Tories holding on to the status quo being opposed by an embryonic Labour (Corbyn’s) that’s finding its feet in an unknown landscape.
I’ve probably described what you and everyone else already know. I don’t have any answers, I’m just watching and waiting, and I appreciate what you wrote. I imagine you got a lot of grief for your post today, so I thought I’d write something that wasn’t horrible.
For my part, I support Corbyn, I follow him in social media, I don’t get my news from TV, I get it from Twitter. I’m not typical of the electorate. I support him because he shares my values. I am clear on what my values are and what I stand for, so I am clear on who I support. But it has taken a lot of hard work on my part to get here. I’ll say it again, it is horrible excising Thatcher’s neoliberalism out of your DNA, it really does lead to a sort of identity crisis. But I would say it’s worth the effort.