The Labour Right are behaving like spurned lovers who post revenge porn.
I am seriously trying to get my head round the behaviour of the right of the Labour Party.
I understand they feel shocked and rejected after Corbyn’s massive landslide win. The bit I struggle with is their need to shout their bitterness from the rooftops, or in this case from the front pages of the red tops. It’s just so undignified. They are starting to look like a lover who can’t accept they’ve been jilted. Even worse, they are starting to look like the type of jilted lover who lays all the blame for their rejection at everyone else’s door except their own.
Not for them a period of dignified silence as they lick their wounds in private. Of course not. If we are discovering anything about this wing of the party, it’s they crave attention. A dignified silence would earn them no publicity (and I’m not suggesting for a moment they shouldn’t express dissent through open respectful debate). Even more chilling a prospect to them – it might aid and abet a Corbyn led Labour victory in 2020, which would be the equivalent of seeing an ex lover go on to marry the person they left you for. It’s much more satisfying to phone everyone they know, especially their friends in the media, to regale them with tales of anguish and woe.
If they had engaged in a period of reflection, they might have benefitted from asking themselves the following questions. Did we take the members for granted? Were we offering a hopeful, inspiring vision for the future, or did we sound too much like business as usual? Were we dull? Did we sound out of touch? Did anyone know what we actually stood for? Were we too technocratic and stage managed? Were we focus group led rather than value led? I could suggest more points to reflect on but I fear I’d be wasting my time.
I used to wonder what they were hoping to achieve by their destructive behavior (telling Sky reporters they’ve nicknamed Corbyn ‘Jihadi Jez’ – Refusing to say they support him in an interview on live TV – Storming out of a PLP meeting, grabbing the first available journalist and telling them you feel sick with it all – Telling a conference fringe meeting the party is fucked, or a group of Uni students it’s in the shit. Sadly I could go on, but I won’t).
Are they hoping to sabotage Jeremy’s chances so they can gleefully say ‘we told you so!’? Are they provoking us into a purge so they can stand as independents to split the Labour vote? Do they want us, the members, to lose faith in Jeremy by making him look powerless in the face of an adversarial PLP?
Or do they genuinely believe their own excuse, which is ‘Jeremy is unelectable so the sooner he realises that and resigns, the better?’ If that’s true their arrogance is mind boggling.
Don’t they know politics is unpredictable? Look at what’s happened in Scotland, in Greece. If political mood never changed women still wouldn’t have the vote, and trade unions would still be a dream in someone’s head.
They say their first priority is to represent, not the Labour members, but their constituents. But we are their constituents. We are teachers, care assistants, police officers, supermarket staff, and unemployed. We are young, old, and middle aged. We are home owners, renters, borrowers and savers. We are mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters. We are disabled, mentally ill, and carers. We are black, white, atheist, Christian, Muslim and Jew. We are the ones with our fingers on the pulse of this country, not them, and we feel it growing weaker and weaker as the Tories bleed it of its life blood. Jeremy was offering the country a blood transfusion, while the right of the party were going to let it bleed to death. That’s why we chose Jeremy.
So what do we do about these ‘spurned lovers’. Do we let them lash out at Jeremy indefinitely? Do we deselect them and give them the excuse to call us ideological purists? I honestly wish I knew what the answer was. I still have a small shred of hope the right of the party will come to accept this new reality and help us oppose the Tories, rather than Jeremy. I hope they will come to see themselves through our eyes.
If they ever want us to take them back, as unlikely a scenario as that is, they need to start earning our respect, not behaving like the bitter twisted lover who posts revenge porn on Facebook.
By Michelle (Chelley) Ryan @chelleryn99