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Think about it; what was it that made you become a Labour supporter? For me, it was the ever-growing awareness of the injustices of our society- the gross inequality, poverty, hardship, deprivation and insecurity experienced by so many, whilst a small minority grow ever-richer, by exploiting the rest of us. The fierce desire to see a fairer, happier and altogether better society is what led me to the only place where this dream has a chance of becoming reality- the Labour Party. Isn’t that what brought you here?
So, if the awareness of these injustices is what brought on our commitment to the Labour Party, then why aren’t our politicians doing so much more to highlight injustice, so that more people will join our cause?
Labour’s election campaign was notable for its lack of focus on hardship and injustice- the very things that gained it most of its original support and that are the main reason for its existence. Why were the cruel, heartless, and sometimes downright evil policies of the Conservatives not being denounced at every available opportunity?
Why did we not hear Labour politicians shouting from the rooftops about benefit sanctions and food banks; about flawed ATOS assessments and the resulting suicides; about cutting legal aid and therefore cutting access to justice; about cutting housing benefit and the resulting evictions?
Why are we STILL not hearing about these things?
When asked why they no longer support the Labour Party, many people who previously voted Labour state that the Party let them down. You can see their point, can’t you?
The areas that are suffering the most under the Conservatives’ rule are the Labour heartlands, which have higher unemployment, higher levels of homelessness, and greater use of food banks; along with all the accompanying problems of poverty- higher rates of crime, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, poorer health and much lower life expectancy. By not focusing on these issues, by not doing everything in our power to bring them to the nation’s attention, we let down the very people who our Party was created to fight for and serve. It’s no wonder that so many of our ‘natural’ supporters either turned to UKIP, or gave up on voting altogether.
Let’s face it; we let ourselves down, we let our core supporters down, and we let the whole country down, as Britain is now going to be a much more unpleasant place to live for the foreseeable future.
The Labour Party was created to highlight injustice, so as to gain support for the cause and then fight against that injustice. If we’re not doing that, then what’s the point of our Party?
Labour’s post-election post-mortem has so far been dominated by the Blairite assertions that, instead of looking to win back all those who voted UKIP, or didn’t vote at all, we must instead try to appeal to more of the electorate, by appealing to the ‘aspirational’. This is a ridiculous claim. The Labour Party is entirely built on aspiration- the aspiration for a decent quality of life for everyone. What the Blairites actually mean, is that we should be more pro-business.
That is a ludicrous idea. We are obviously not anti-business, because we seek full employment for all. We want a prosperous society, where businesses can be successful, but we want that success to benefit everyone, through decent employment, in good jobs, with good wages and conditions.
We must not swing to the right. Those whose pro-business agenda trumps all other concerns should consider whether they are in the wrong party.
We must be who we are supposed to be- the LABOUR Party- the Party of the average working person, the Party of the 99%. If we swing to the right, in an effort to gain more votes, we not only let down our core supporters, we also risk becoming involved in an Orwellian quest for power, for power’s sake. It won’t do; to try to be more Tory than the Tories, to match their promises on cuts to vital services in order to gain votes, so that we can then sneak in some left-wing policies once we are in power. We must boldly challenge accepted (right-wing) wisdom about the way to run society and the economy, and we must even more boldly broadcast our grand vision of a far superior alternative.
It is time we stood up and proudly declared our values. Let’s not try to hide the fact that we are a left-wing party, or be ashamed that we seek equality, fairness and justice. Let’s loudly proclaim our grand vision and mission- to make Great Britain great for all of us, not just the wealthy.
When we elect our new leader, let’s think hard about who we are and what we want our party to be.
Let’s be a ‘real’ Labour party, because if we’re not that, then what’s the point?