Wigan MP’s speech to Unite North-West gathering needs to be heard and understood by Labour’s remain-obsessed MPs and commentators
The political differences between Wigan Labour MP Lisa Nandy and the SKWAWKBOX are numerous and not hard to identify. But in at least one vital area, Ms Nandy has a grasp of the issues that many Labour MPs, commentators and activists desperately need to learn from.
Nandy was speaking this week at the north-west launch of Unite’s outstanding ad campaign for tomorrow’s European Parliament elections – and she talked passionately of her experiences in Wigan, demonstrating a perspective and understanding that puts many on the high-profile left to shame:
Ms Nandy clearly despises right-wing extremist ‘Tommy Robinson’ – but she does not despise her working-class constituents who are furious about attempts to dismiss or discount their democratic choice in the 2016 election and who are the target of Robinson’s and Farage’s attempted exploitation.
Not only that, but she does not consider them bigots, nor consider their leave vote as driven by hatred of foreigners.
On the contrary, she is well aware that the internationalism and solidarity that have characterised them for decades has not diminished – but that they are angry at an out-of-touch political class in which many of the most prominent voices are constantly denigrating their moral sense, insulting their intelligence and attempting to disenfranchise them.
She also understands that Brexit is essentially a sideshow being exploited by elites to sow division and suspicion among the many to divert our attention from the far greater issues we face in a country in which poverty has been intentionally made endemic by Tory governments and in which figures like ‘Robinson’ do want to stir up hate.
Those Labour figures who, like the recklessly damaging Tom Watson this morning, write off working-class leave supporters as ‘fascists’ – or as stupid, or primitive, or unworthy of the vote – need to take a fistful of leaves from Lisa Nandy’s book.
And the party needs to discard even the suggestion of any vote that will amplify the sense of outraged disenfranchisement among its working-class supporters – and to do it urgently.
A failure to do so will not only guarantee the hardest of Brexits, but risk far, far worse.
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