Sunday, 13 September 2015

Going to see

When you join the Labour Party you receive emails addressing you as "comrade" which is a bit hilarious. Now Corbyn's leader of the party, and a non-appointed front bench are resigning in droves, and it's still a bit hilarious. Here, anyway, is what I reckon...

"I see you, the media!"

I genuinely don't think I'll forget that first TV debate. I'll never forget thinking "Well 'favourite' Andy Burnham's nobody's favourite now surely." But more than that, I won't forget the woman in the audience who asked why refugees should be given a home while she might lose hers, and how Corbyn scolded her and took this opportunity to attack the show "Benefits Street", and then how Yvette Cooper said she didn't want to see her lose her home either, and how I thought that that was important. Both Cooper and Kendall appeared to have a far greater understanding of the true importance of Social Security than their male counterparts. It was practical, not ideological. So why did I end up voting for Corbyn?

Maybe it's because the next time I saw Yvette Cooper on television she was talking about how her policies were "for the future, not the past..." and I just couldn't take any more guff. "We need to send a clear message" - every candidate was saying that apart from Corbyn. Maybe it's because I found candidates campaigning for the party leadership on a platform of how attractive they'd prove to the opposing party off-puttingly bone-headed as a strategy: "Vote for me because I'll ignore you." Maybe it's because I wanted an opposition that opposed and didn't just abstain. Maybe it was because of that thing I wrote about wanting a Labour movement that engaged with the electorate as an energy to be harnassed rather than a market to be captured. Maybe it's because, horrible as this sounds, Cooper's husband couldn't even save his own seat so I found it very difficult seeing him on the steps of Number 10, even by association.

Mainly though, I think I voted for him because I wanted him to win. To see. Just to see. That might strike you as irresponsible, and I take the passion of those on the Left who attack Corbyn as unelectable extremely seriously, but I just can't agree yet. Arguing that his leadership would condemn Labour to the political wilderness ignores the fact that Labour have lost two elections now, while Nigel Farage made a far larger dent in the political discourse than Miliband without even winning a seat. What exactly is a wilderness if not where Labour already was? There'll be voters at the next election who were born in 2002. Try warning about them about "the lessons of the '80s".

This image is included to fool people.

And was the 1980's really such a wilderness? I remember that wilderness producing pretty much everything British that I loved about growing up: the television, the comedy, the music, the comics. So - however long Corbyn leads the party for - I look forward to some excellent art coming out of it.  The Great Consensus is over, maybe not for good, and maybe Corbyn will prove an immediate disaster in which case it will be back stronger than ever, but at least it will have earnt it. I'm very excited that we're finally going to see. And until that happens, let's not use the word "sensible" in a debate again. (Tony Blair argues that most "sensible" people recognise it wasn't the whole economy that broke, just a small part of it. The chain didn't break. Just the one link... Also, if we're going to discuss the National Economy in terms of a family making savings then let's shrink the banks down by the same degree and admit we're talking about a family that owes money to, at best, another family whose lives they saved... or if the banks are larger than this, admit that that's a problem. Focus, Simon.)

Likewise this image from Roger Quimbly.
Although what's not to like?

And how long will Corbyn lead the party? I thought during those debates he'd have no taste for it - that he was a direction rather a director. But his often stirring and occasionally whiney acceptance speech yesterday showed me a man who was up for it. So we will see, won't we? Personally I'm worried about Tom Watson as deputy. He's a magnificent campaigner and there's much talk of him uniting the party BUT... he did call Michael Gove a pipsqueak. But you hate Michael Gove, Simon! Haha, yeah... No, yeah, I really do... but if there is a lesson from the 80's, I think it's also the lesson of 2010 and 2015, the lesson Obama learnt, helping him beat the far more centrist Clinton: it has never gone well for the political Left when it talks about Good and Evil. Do your job, focus on the facts, convince through competence, smile, be courteous, and let the Right go mental and out themselves.

Speaking of security, an almost identical message found its way to me
as an email from CCHQ, somehow circumventing my spam filter.

Nobody likes being told off. Let the artists handle the telling off. Corbyn needs to learn that immediately, and so does Watson. Which is pretty much where we came in, with Corbyn scolding a scared woman and Yvette Cooper trying to reassure her. Right! I'm off to see what I've missed in the past hour.

"Does that make us targets for gunfire?" 
An example of excellent art.

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