The Labour Party, and the Left in general, are splashing around in the great pool of self-indulgency. Whilst nobody thought that Labour would be full steam ahead with the divisive Corbyn in charge, it seems the faction war is getting worse and worse. One minute he’s popular, next minute he’s not. One minute Labour are doing well, next minute they’re not. Gaffe after gaffe, spat after spat, they need a good slap around the face.
Even the liberal middle-class Guardian comedic establishment (oh yes them) are having second thoughts. Robert Webb (that guy from that cool sitcom) has come out and said that Corbyn “backs Islamists, he wants to leave NATO, he wants to spend a fortune on renationalising stuff”.
Despite the tax-credits scandal (I don’t even know what the Tories were doing there) and the clandestine bullying and abuse scandals, the Conservative Party and generally unified and strong, with (some sources say) an 11 point lead over labour, despite much public and media scrutiny. So it must be the case that, along with the publically unknown Tim Farron of the Lib Dems, the anti-Tory factions have seriously messed up one way or another, even amidst the supposed “catastrophe” of a Tory government.
So what can be done to help repair the reputation of the Left? It’s quite simple:
- Realise that their entire economic policy is garbage and they should find more effective, consumer based means to achieve “social justice”
While nationalisation may be on the agenda for some people, notably the railways, the fact is that most people intrinsically cringe at the idea of the government owning services. The vast majority know that bureaucratic, expensive monopolies are not the best way to run things, and the world has moved on from soviet-style management that people are generally sceptical of – when we have the Shadow Chancellor quoting directly from Chairman Mao you know they’re completely off script. Yet the concern is that people may be “exploited” or unable to pay the supposedly enormous prices that corporations charge when they own services. The solution is to tackle the incomes of people and consumers, rather than trying to run how the services are delivered.
The idea of welfare cuts and “getting people back into work” is a predominantly Tory idea, and if the Left want to be the side of social justice, they should be adopting things such as negative income taxes (sorry boys but Osborne has just reversed the tax credit cuts so he’s got you there) or toying with the idea of a basic income and reducing corporate welfare, allowing dynamism on the production side while simultaneously ensuring that people have enough income to get by.
- End the self-indulgent cultural Marxism and have a coherent progressive social outlook that doesn’t alienate half the country
Whilst feminism and identity politics are noble goals, they really need a PR agent. What is “correct and progressive” seems to change every day, and the constant bickering in between factions about what is “oppressive” and what is “appropriation” simply does not register with the average person going about their day and nor do they care. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t agree with “equality for women” or that homosexuals shouldn’t have the right to marry, but social media is full, and I mean REALLY full, of contradicting and self-indulgent notions conjured up by students who b*tch and scream and shout down people who don’t agree with them.
As long as this continues the Left will eat itself; I’m not trying to say “it’s political correctness gone mad!!” but when some people say that yoga is culturally appropriating the Indians and that white people should back off, whilst most other progressives say that we should integrate, experience and respect everyone, people are going to see you as an indecisive childish and pedantic movement.
- Realise that not everyone is on board with the crusade and they should ditch the idea that they own the moral high ground.
Following on from this, people are frankly sick and tired of being talked down to by progressives. They’re sick of the “liberal fascism” and redefining of free speech to what the Left like, the endless no platforming, the assumption that they’re correct and they only have to bully everyone else into seeing things the way they do and we’ll all be happy. There are few things more cringe-worthy as a student to see your supposed “representatives” all bought into the same ideology and basically shaming everyone else who doesn’t subscribe to it. You can even see it in the States with the way that Bernie Sanders, the current Left-of-Left-of-centre presidential candidate had his speech commandeered by the “black lives matter” group. If you can’t even respect your fellow comrades and wait your damn turn, why should anyone else?
Security in your beliefs means allowing them to be challenged, and shutting down everyone else on principle, tarring them as “reactionary” or “evil” makes you look like a flustered, snooty and insecure idiot. I happen to think that lots of the progressive ideas are fab, but taking a step back and realising that 95% of the population haven’t indulged three years of their life exploring ever more niche problems in society will be a step forward for actually communicating these ideas.
- A more contemporary foreign policy
Lastly, sorry Jez, but you’re out of touch. There is ZERO mood for idealistic notions of leaving NATO, whatever your opinion is. With rising instability in the Middle East and the rise of ISIS, the idea of scrapping everything and living in a field just doesn’t resonate with people (not necessarily advocating interventionism here but you get the point). The problem with Corbyn is that he is trapped in the 80s – the world has moved on and he needs to catch up. The global playing field has completely changed, and whilst he is admirably consistent, the two simply cannot co-exist. His party is trapped in a paradigm that is no longer relevant, and if they want to achieve progressivism and social justice they’ll need to change tact.
In short, although the progressive movement has brought many lovely things to society, it’s because the refuge of the privileged few with too much time on their hands and has ceased to evolve into a form that can relate to the populace. If the Left really want to improve society, they’ll need to understand first if they want to be understood.
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