Losing my religion: Some thoughts on the Labour coup

26 Jun 2016

 

For a long time, politics was my religion. It was my belief that by involving myself in left-wing activism, in the Labour Party debating groups and by learning about political ideas and theories, I could play my small part in making the word a better place. There was certainly an arrogance and one-mindedness in my word view. I looked down on people who didn’t care about political theory; taking comfort in the fact that, to paraphrase Keynes, practical men are usually the slaves of some defunct political ideology.

 

My idealism, though flawed, was based on a genuine passion to make the world a better place and was rooted in basic belief in democracy. It was also based in a belief in the basic decency of the Labour Party and the idea that structures like the Labour Party can become more grassroots oriented, more radical and more progressive if you take the time to change them.

 

Since Corbyn was elected, we’ve been trying to build something that resembles a 21st-century progressive party. Labour has rebuilt its links with grassroots campaigns and the trade union movement. It has embraced economic ideas that have the potential to restore prosperity to neglected parts of the country and ensure everyone benefits from the creation of wealth. The process of redistributing power from party elites to local members has begun.

 

However, Labour’s embrace of radical politics, my politics, has come at a price. Old assumptions have been challenged and many Labour MPs have been forced to accommodate themselves with ideas they find fundamentally unacceptable.

 

Today, a coup was launched against Jeremy Corbyn and I don’t think my idealism is going to survive it. If successful, the coup won’t just mean that Jeremy Corbyn is ejected from power. It will mean everything stood for was a lie. I told people to vote Labour, knocked on doors and got friends involved in the Labour Party because I believed that although it wasn’t perfect, Labour could be changed for the better. I campaigned for right-wing Labour Party candidates because I was convinced that at the end of the day we were all one party.

 

This coup proves me wrong. It shows that otherwise reasonable centrist politicians have no place in a progressive left-wing party. This vigilante coup by right-wing MPs destroys the trust needed for people of diverse beliefs to work together. It has taken away my faith in the Labour Party, a thing that has essentially defined me for three years. Should Corbyn be defeated I have no desire to fight an ideological gorilla war. I won’t waste any more time on parliamentary politics, at least in the short term. I’ll have lost my religion, but gained more time to learn, dance and an extra £3.92 per month – which isn’t too shabby. 

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