BY SAM WHITE
In the Labour Party today there are three distinct factions. This is taking into account not just the Parliamentary Labour Party, but also party membership, whose numbers have ballooned to make it the largest party in Europe, in precise correlation with plunging its polling levels down to a dark point just a few inches above the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
On one side is the dwindling New Labour faithful—a dispassionate collection of breezily ruthless clean shirts. They look like glib senior managers, and behave like them too. While they could be dismissed as insincere careerists, their careers depend on winning elections, so perhaps realistic would be a fairer tag. Roundly dismissed by their detractors as narcissistic Blairites, they aren’t slow to point out that Blair nailed three elections.
Opposing them is the Corbyn accumulation. This in itself is a varied cluster, but can be broadly broken down into two groups.
First is what we might, if we’re generous, call the New Left. At their worst though, this is the Regressive Left. These people are young, judgemental and prone to tantrums. They almost certainly voted Remain, want to close down the right wing press, and will employ slurs and censorship to further their causes.
While expressing admiration for class-struggle socialists like Tony Benn, they fail to recognise that their identity-driven, self-absorbed interpretation of left-wing ideology is something else entirely. Having shackled themselves to cumbersome PC moralising, they are critically restricted in their ability to reason or reflect, but can subsist solely on wi-fi in times of hardship.
Then there is the Hard Left. These guys are not politically correct. Oh Christ, no. On no account must they be let near a microphone. At their fringes are some hard-line bits-and-pieces who are very likely to say something deeply sexist, issue a physical threat, suggest burning down Tory HQ, and then exchange texts with Jeremy Corbyn.
En masse though, the Hard Left are the keepers of the socialist flame, and they like nothing more than a long, shouty march, about anything—doesn’t matter.
What could Labour be if it took all the best elements of these three factions and whipped them together, while ditching the noxious, dreggy aspects of each group?
From New Labour: Keep the suits, the haircuts, and the media training, remembering they’re right to think that appearances matter.
Throw away the slippery evasiveness, the lack of a moral compass, the sociopathic tendencies and the impression of being relatively open to committing premeditated homicide.
From the New Left: Keep the laptops.
Ditch the defeated obsession with the EU. Do away with the misconception that it’s normal to despise vast swathes of your own country because you went to Berlin once and the clubs were good. Dispose urgently of the undergraduate virtue signalling—really, nobody cares about sombrero bans or gender neutral pronouns.
And from the Hard Left: Keep the collective fortitude, the understanding of Brexit, and above all, keep the love of a good buffet well stocked with pork pies.
Casket up and bury deep in the cold, hard Earth like nuclear fallout: the threats, sexism, antisemitism, block-headed inflexibility, pettiness, spite, regressive anti-Western rhetoric, and paranoid conspiracy theories.
Successfully merge this protean crop and you’re on to a winner, Labour, just like when you had Tony Bl… No, sorry, nothing like him.
On the other hand, such experiments are unstable, and we mustn’t forget that the Labour Party is now led, precisely as it was before this year’s pointless, no-contest, leadership pantomime, by a man who believes that murderous dictator Fidel Castro was a “champion of social justice”. A man who thinks an idea like banning “early evening socialisation” appeals to anybody at all. A man who is, understandably, stalked from within his own party by a mob of knife sharpening malcontents.
Be prepared that what you may end up with in attempting to unite the disparate cliques will be a spliced together self-contradiction: paying lip service to feminism while failing to confront Islamism; blustering on auto-pilot about workers’ rights while insulting the working class; aware of the need to work the media, while also hiding (behind a glass door) from the media.
It’s conceivable that the Labour Party is now past repair—so out of touch with its former supporters that its only remaining purpose is to haemorrhage votes to its rivals. For those who crave a functional, left-of-centre opposition, which embraces Brexit, Labour is close to being a write-off. Perhaps it’s time for an entirely new party to be formed in its place.
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