Labour’s opponents are pushing desperately because the party is a government in waiting. It’s time for its supporters to act like it
This article was written before the suspension of Chris Williamson MP.
One thing that has become unmissable in recent months, in spite of the best efforts of the Establishment media, is that Labour’s opponents see that it is a ‘government in waiting’ – in fact the only functioning form of government that the UK currently has.
Theresa May’s years-long efforts to find a Brexit plan have been notable only for chaos and incompetence that have driven EU negotiators to distraction.
Labour’s straightforward plans, on the other hand – in spite of the best attempts of the media to ignore them – were immediately welcomed as ‘heavenly’ and eminently practical by EU leaders.
Meanwhile, the quitters’ group quit, only to lurch into a racism storm within a couple of hours of its launch – and since then has failed to provide more than an empty soundbite in response to questions about what the quitters stand for.
Apart from an endorsement of the conscious cruelty of austerity and the importance of avoiding an election, at least.
Yet Corbyn could go to the Tory-won seat now occupied by one of the quitters and draw a huge crowd, while the hapless incumbent couldn’t even get shoppers to pause for a second in her nearby ‘rally’.
But the Labour movement has a problem – a problem that exists in the very strengths that make it what the country needs: compassion, indignation on behalf of the oppressed.
Those opposed to the change the movement will bring know that these features run deep in the make-up of left-wingers – and they know how to press the buttons that will generate a reaction they can exploit.
With Pavlovian reliability, the left will react.
Doing so provides the fuel and material for the next generation of attacks and ties up the left in defensive battles that soak up time and energy needed for the positive battle for change.
Or it turns the left inward, bringing the division the opponents of the left have always used to conquer.
Predictability and naivety are indulgences the left can’t afford when the stakes are so high and the prize so close. It’s time for supporters of the Labour movement to step up to the task and act based on the left’s – the real left’s, at last – future in government.
Above all, this means refusing to engage on the terms their opponents set – and focusing all energy, effort and coordination on the battles they want to fight.
Picking the fights they will win – especially positive campaigns, promoting the change Labour will bring, and attacking the Tories’s gross unfitness for office.
Labour has over half a million members. It has a policy set that is popular with an overwhelming majority of the country. And it has a party leader who speaks human.
If the left picks its battles based on these huge advantages, it wins. If it learns to ignore baiting and act strategically, it will pick those battles.
Not every wrong can be immediately righted. Sometimes we have to understand when less is more. Sometimes we have to play the long game.Labour activist @scousegirlmedia
If the left learns to ignore its opponents’ Pavlov’s bells and acts like what it is – the movement from which the governments of coming generations will be drawn – the Establishment’s deepest fears will come true. For the sake of the many.
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