I was married to my first husband for thirteen years. We had good times and bad, but ultimately it stopped being right for both of us and we divorced.
Does that thirteen years make me an expert on marriage? Of course not. If anything I tend to clam up when anyone asks for marital advice. Or I might say, don’t ask me, I’m no expert, I got divorced remember. And that’s how it should be. Unless we are narcissists, most divorced people are humble enough to come out of a marriage questioning their relationship skills. What barely any of us do, is brag about our failed marriage to all and sundry. ‘Hey guys, I was married once so I must be bloody perfect at it!’
But that’s what the blairites do. If you think of that window of time between a political party being elected into power, and being kicked out of office as a marriage, the U.K married ‘New Labour’ for thirteen years. And like a marriage, we had some highs and lows. For many, the introduction of the minimum wage was a high point, and the Iraq war was a deep low, but there were lots more moderate highs and lows in-between.
Over those thirteen years of ‘marriage’ five million of us abandoned the party we once had such high hopes in; until in 2010 we divorced them in spectacular style. Some of us entered new relationships with other parties, but many just went off politics altogether; falling prey to the cynical, ‘If we can’t trust them who can we trust’ mindset.
You’d think after such an abject rejection the blairites would indulge in a period of soul searching, but six years on and they are still in denial about the divorce. They are like the Miss Havisham of politics; wandering around in their wedding attire, stuck forever in some heady bygone era when they felt loved.
This ‘stuckness’ isn’t just holding back the blairites; it also holds back the entire Labour Party. If the blairites can’t accept their rejection by the electorate, they will never accept a new leader; especially a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who is the antithesis of them. That’s why they would genuinely prefer labour to lose under Jeremy Corbyn, than win. If labour win under Jeremy they wont feel ‘loved’ anymore. It would be like the final nail in the ‘New Labour’ coffin. They know if they keep briefing and sniping and snarling over the new leader, they will make the party completely unelectable, and then their chance might come again.
Now I’ve wracked my brain over what to do about this situation. Kinnock simply kicked his adversaries out the party, but he had the establishments’ blessing. This time the blairites are the establishment, so it’s much trickier for Jeremy. That’s why we have to handle the situation with care. Hence the idea for a petition calling for a Labour led inquiry into why so many voters abandoned ‘New Labour.’
The blairites are still living off the glory of three election victories, but until they acknowledge – or are forced to acknowledge – the painful fact they cost Labour five million core voters and Scotland along the way, they will forever be a thorn in Corbyn’s side.
An inquiry would be tough love for the blairites. It would be the equivalent of showing poor Miss Havisham a photograph of her ex lover having a wonderful time with his wife and three children. Yes she’d weep and wail and feel utterly bereft at first, but after that she could take off that mangy white dress and move on.
Like Miss Havisham, the blairites are clearly incapable of accepting the fact they were rejected on a grand scale, so we must help them, by holding an inquiry into the causes of that rejection.
We might know what those causes are, but it’s not us who need waking up.
Please sign the petition calling for an inquiry here