An open letter to the Disappointed Blairites

Dear disappointed Blairites

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We appreciate you are disappointed and no one would hold that against you. You’ve made it clear throughout the campaign you didn’t want Jeremy to win. It would look a bit odd now if you told the world he was the best thing since sliced bread. For those of you who have born your disappointment with dignity, and a proud determination not to become a destructive force within the party, we applaud you. You are the true party loyalists. Sadly though, there are some who have leaked despairing letters to the press, retweeted right wing tabloid smear stories against Jeremy Corbyn, or even worse, written them. One MP told a fringe meeting at conference our party is f****d because Jeremy Corbyn is now leader. When you do these things, you not only make yourselves look bad, you play right into the Tories hands.

Maybe that doesn’t worry you. You are rich compared to most people. A Tory government probably benefits you personally, but that’s not true for the vast majority of people in the country. For the million people reliant on food banks, for the disabled having their support cut at every turn, for the public sector workers with their shrinking pay and slashed pensions, and the young, with no hope of a decent home or a decent job, a Labour government is their only hope. When you turn your disappointment into a determination to undermine the Corbyn administration at every turn, it’s those peoples lives you are treating with contempt.

You say Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable, but if you constantly brief and snipe against him, that may well become true. Parties seen to be fundamentally split never win. Is that your aim? We sincerely hope not.

Unfortunately you seem to have learnt very little from the Miliband administration. Those of you who backed David for leader, could never quite let your disappointment go. Rumors of discontent with Ed as leader and possible leadership challenges, fed into the right wing narrative that Ed was a weak leader, hard for the party to bear. We, the members, never forgot or forgave your disloyalty.

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When we lost in May, we were stricken. It was all we could do to drag ourselves out of bed the next day, let alone appear polished and perky in a tv studio, stamping our own wrong headed and hasty analysis on why we’d just lost, and eagerly putting our hats in the leadership ring.
Yet that’s what some of you did. The hard truth is, you’ve read many things wrong. You’ve read why we lost the election wrong. You’ve tried to make your analysis fit your politics. You’ve ignored the shift to the radical left in other counties that have had austerity imposed on them. The U.K. is no different. Under a PR electoral system, the green surge may have become a green landslide. A large percentage of the 37% who didn’t vote, would have voted, and they would have voted for an anti austerity party.
The people of Britain are crying out for change, though you might not have noticed that in your cosseted lives. We, the Corbyn movement – made up of police officers, teachers, small business owners, the unemployed, students, journalists, doctors, the disabled etc, etc, etc, are merely a finger in the wind of that change. We haven’t been air dropped in from a strange left wing planet where people see things only through a left wing filter. We are bog standard normal people. But we are sick of growing inequality. We are sick of seeing our children stressed about student debt. We are sick of living in a society where decent homes for our children are so unaffordable they are stuck living at home well into their twenties, or even thirties. We are sick of worrying about the support available for our frail, elderly, sick, or disabled loved ones, or ourselves. We are sick of being told our tax credits, pay and pensions ‘have’ to be cut to pay for a banking crisis we did not cause, while at the same time hearing taxes are being cut for the most wealthy. There are so many things we are sick of, too many to list here.

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Yes, 24% of the total potential electorate voted Tory, but that means 76% didn’t. Those are the votes that are up for grabs, and yes, even some Tory votes too. You argue how we, the Corbyn voters, are different from ‘normal’ people because we are more left wing. But as Owen Jones rightly says, most people don’t think in terms of left and right. They think about policies that either help or hinder their lives. What they struggle with is incongruence. For all Ed Miliband’s best intentions, the message he put forward to the country in 2015 was confused. We have a cost of living crisis, he said, so we are going to freeze public sector pay and child benefit.

The energy price freeze, the ban on zero hour exploitative contracts, the scrapping of the Non Dom status – suggested Ed had brave radical instincts, but there was something holding him back, and that something was you. You are one of the primary reasons we lost in 2015. Your determination not to rattle the right wing media and woo Tory voters, is why 2 million naturally Labour inclined voters, in the end didn’t bother to vote. It’s one of the reasons Scottish Labour voters, even those who voted no to Scottish independence, voted SNP for the first time in 2015, and the continual undermining of the Corbyn administration by the right of the party risks us losing them for good. It’s why so many Labour voters gave the Greens their vote, despite knowing they could never win, and why we lost votes to UKIP, who craftily posed as the party of the workers. We weren’t offering enough hope to keep those voters with us. Yes, being more radical might cost us some votes to the Tories, those Labour voters who switched from the Tories to Labour under Blair, but there is a very good statistical chance we will win back more than we lose. And yes, we will incur the wrath of the Mainstream Media, but we’ll inspire a huge and energized grassroots movement to campaign on social media and in the streets to counteract it.

At the end of the day, we’ve tried it your way for several decades now. Your middle ground policies, yes, won us three elections (though many would argue we would still have won in 97 with a more radical left agenda…and that much of your success was down to timing), but ultimately lost us millions of voters and now two elections in 2010 and 2015.

Give us a shot. Let us try it our way. Help us. Put your disappointment to one side to become loyal activists and MPs. That way, if we lose badly in 2020, we won’t be able to point the finger of blame at you.

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Best wishes
A growing movement

 

By Michelle (Chelley) Ryan

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11 comments

  1. Mark Carey · October 31, 2015

    Thank you for your letter, it seems to be forgiving but accusing at the same time. I have only just become a paid member although I have voted Labour all my life. I think I would like to point out that I come from the so called ‘wealthy South’ if there is such a thing. Having Corbyn as leader of the party will not work in the South as most of my friends vote tory and will not entertain Labour, they are usually small busineses, self employed people and see Labour, especially the left as a threat, however I try to convince them that is not the case. Personally I like some of Corbyns policies but not all, especially those on the nuclear and imigration policies. My friends dislike him even more.. they need someone like Blair to make them feel safe, they will not get that from Corbyn however he tries to convince them. Let me be clear, Blair worked for t h e majority of this country because he wasnt seen as a threat to people who work, Corbyn is seen as supporting the feckless and the idles, even though we know that is not true.
    This is why I believe we will not win under Corbyns leadership, his refu s al to sing the anthem was a huge mistake and h e should be ashamed, however everyone is entitled to their opinion.
    I will continue to support Labour and work on local politics but I believe the Labour party is going backwards, not forwards.

    Like

    • John Meaker · November 2, 2015

      Sorry you feel that way but I do think you and your friends miss the point or points.
      First of all Jeremy Corbin is a man of deep conviction who has re energised the party as never before, the results can be seen in the numbers of young idealistic members taking their first steps into politics. Then there are people like me who were disenfranchised and driven out of the party by Trotskyists and Militant Tendency, if I thought this would happen again I would not touch the party with a barge pole.
      Did you hear Billy Brag on Question Time well he seems to be thinking along the same lines as many of us. Jeremy Corbin is the man to put some heart and integrity back into the Labour Party, is he the man to take us through a general election in 2020, probably not. What is sure is that Corbin will have made the party electable again and with a clear message to present to the country. What is for sure is that the Blairites and right wing members of the PLP who think that the party owes them a living need to think again. My view on this is they make an effort or they can get out, the situation is too critical to worry about prima donnas.
      My final reason for getting involved again is the simple fact that I cannot standby and watch David Cameron, George Osbourne, Iain Duncan Smith and Jeremy Hunt lie and cheat the electorate aided and abetted by their lobby fodder, who will go along with anything just so long as the Westminster gravy train rumbles on. Why do I say lie, because they perpetrate the myth that somehow Gordon Brown caused the recession we have just gone through. Reality is that Brown was trying to hold the banks up three years before most of us new there was a problem. As for the rest of their lies they are easy to find if you care to look further than the last sound bite.
      They tell me that we are not a credible choice for government, ask your self if you want a health service that follows the American model, you can get what you want so long as you have insurance or can pay. Have an accident out there. I did, you will find that they will save your life but that’s it you wait in the corridor until they check out your insurance or means to pay. Then there is Iain Duncan-Smith and his calumny over welfare. He has persuaded the population that all people who take anything from welfare are nothing but feckless layabouts, we all know there are problems but most are genuine people who need help. The truth of this came out last week over the tax credit cuts, all of a sudden hard working people found themselves in the same boat as those they thought of as feckless so it can’t be true can it and anyway that nice Mr Cameron said he wasn’t going to make the cuts and I voted Conservative.

      Sorry if I have rambled on a bit but I feel this so acutely and we need people like you back on side, a pragmatist who knows what’s what and has social conscience. I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Denise Ireland · October 31, 2015

    I am a Labour member, have always voted Labour and thoroughly welcome this open letter which embodies my sentiments entirely on the Labour Party at the moment and what needs to happen to move on and for us to become the true and effective opposition we need to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Akhtar Khan · October 31, 2015

    “Turning the Tide, An open letter to the Disappointed Blairites”
    People of all parties should take this letter very seriously! Writer has highlighted areas of real concern to the nation (majority) it certainly carries ordinary citizens needs and concerns. I vote in favour concerns expressed in this article!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: An open letter to the Disappointed Blairites | jaxagnesson
  5. jo Fitzgerald · October 31, 2015

    Please fo not address me as a disappointed Blairite. I am a committed member of the labour party. I voted for Blair and although it was a huge disappointment, it was not ALL bad. I am now looking forward to what hope Mr Corbyn, in his huge wisdom, can offer the labour party. Long may his leadership reign.

    Like

    • chelleryn · November 1, 2015

      I’m a bit confused. What makes you think I am addressing you? I also voted for Blair, but I am talking specifically about MPs who indulge in the destructive behaviour laid out in the article.

      Like

  6. Philip J Batchelor · November 1, 2015

    Jeremy Corbyn alone can’t change a society based on greed and lies created and fostered by the rich and privileged for their own ends. We need a new progressive alliance of Labour, what’s left of the Lib-Dems, Green, Plaid, SNP and others to introduce fairness and justice for all our people. Working conditions hard-won by trades unions over the last decades and public services are being eroded bit by bit as Cameron seeks to re-install Victorian values where the rich and privileged can do as they please. His mantra of ‘hard working Britons’ is the thin edge of a nasty wedge which will lead to the equivalent of 21st century serfdom as he and his cronies seek to destroy the unions and workers’ rights. The venom and spite unleashed upon the sick, the disabled, the poor and the unemployed by Iain Duncan Smith typifies the contempt for ‘ordinary’ people displayed by this tory regime. When our people need protection from our own government via the EU then we know that something is badly wrong with tory Britain.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. davemunnik · November 1, 2015
  8. Pingback: An Open Letter to the Disappointed Blairites (Mark 2) | Turning the Tide
  9. Fast Eddie (@RacingDaily) · January 24, 2016

    “Corbyn is seen as supporting the feckless and the idles, even though we know that is not true”
    That is incorrect. They are TOLD that is the case by every right wing source they come into contact with. And yes, it sticks. The way to beat that is to constantly counter it with the truth, reply to every BS tweet out of Conservative Home, Progress and DWP press Office, not legitimise it as ‘public opinion’. Public opinion is usually what people are told to believe by the Mail, the Sun, the Torygraph, the BBC and social media. The truth is I didnt see Cameron getting his shoes muddy at Sangatte or Dunkirk. It was Corbyn, the man who cares about those without the breaks in life. We should all aspire to think that way

    Like

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