Saturday, 2 October 2021
These Labour Pains Are Death Pangs
If you were starting out now, then why would you join the Labour Party? What for? Frightened into anonymity in a way that I have to say that some of us would not have been even at that age, the author of this invaluable account of the Labour Party Conference remains determined to "stay and fight". Fight for what, exactly?
It is the Labour Right that cannot conceive of any life outside "the party", because professionally and socially it has no such life. Its weird caricature of middle-middle-class people of my generation has not been formed by a varied or even a normally monochrome experience of work or the lack of it, nor by a broad range of interests, nor by a wide circle of friends. When these people's archetype had me expelled from the Labour Party, the best thing that has ever happened to me, then there was hysterical disbelief that I was nevertheless still alive.
The entire Left is now receiving much the same treatment, but who cares? Who needs the Labour Party, apart from people who would otherwise never go out, not even to work, nor even have anyone to whom to talk online? With nothing else to do, they conspired to stop Labour from becoming the largest party in 2017, but its Leader and manifesto nevertheless took 40 per cent of the vote. It abandoned that formula on Brexit in 2019, and look what happened.
Labour will now spend successive General Elections moving further and further away from the Corbyn programme even as never-ending Conservative Governments implemented more and more of it. As a result, Labour's electoral fortunes will decline inexorably. The renationalisation of the railways is well underway. Something decidedly Corbynite is going to have to be done about energy. The majorities of the supporters of all parties favour a minimum wage of £15 per hour. And so on.
Large majorities of the supporters of all parties, including the Conservatives and including Nigel Farage's vehicles at the given times, have long supported renationalising the railways, just as they now support a similar approach to the utilities, and a minimum wage of £15 per hour. Britain must be the only country in the world to have an overwhelmingly Trotskyist electorate. At least according to the people who are back in control of the Labour Party. They are welcome to it.
So welcome, in fact, that I can confirm that the entire delegation of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union did indeed walk off the floor of the Labour Party Conference in order to attend a union conference that they knew was going to vote to disaffiliate, after which they obviously did not return. This was a literal, physical walkout. May there be many, many more.