Hold Yer Nose For Labour

Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband

Labour is sterile, soulless and, unfortunately, still too important to reject entirely

Having spent the last 17 years relentlessly whoring itself to the conservative-leaning floating voter, the Labour Party that fell from power last year was a shambling, indebted, rudderless wreck, practising a soullessly managerial politics that was as vacuous as it was uninspiring. The Westminster culture it helped shape was more insular and self-obsessed than ever, the expenses scandal revealing the extent of its detachment from reality, and leaving politicians more despised than they had been in a generation. Then there’s the minor issue of Labour allowing Dickensian levels of inequality, entangling Britain in two dubious and protracted Middle Eastern wars, encouraging the sort of reckless economic activity that brought about the financial crash, stoking the growth of the populist far-right by abandoning the interest of its traditional supporters, and keeping Peter Mandelson in work for a decade.

For those who think preventing the above is marginally more important than appealing to Daily Mail readers, the temptation is to utterly reject the modern Labour Party. Many left-wingers have done so. But while such robust reactions are very understandable from an angrily idealistic point of view, you have to wonder what good actually comes of such intense Labour-hate in the long run. Bitterly, constantly lambasting Labour, anyone who is a member of it, supports it, or is seen to associate with it in any way, regardless of their opinion of the Blair project and its conduct in power, effectively reduces the British Left to the level of a jilted soap character, chucking bin-bags of their ex-lovers old jeans out the window out of a top-floor window in a petty attempt to get back at them – scrambling at petty revenge that, while supremely satisfying at the time, is, ultimately, utterly futile. Continue reading

Forehead!

Furthering the Bemolution in a portakabin, with raffle-breaks

When The Bemolution is back in the West Country, we’re involved in a local campaign group. It originally came together in late 2009 – council proposals to shut and demolish a popular town-centre swimming pool rallied a wide array of fitness fanatics, disabled swimmers, political activists, trade unionists, and previously apolitical concerned citizens, all angry at the nonchalance with which our elected officials were willing to close a much-loved, much-used public amenity. 

Out of this angry mulch, something more permanent coalesced. The result was a multi-purpose campaigning pressure group that convenes fortnightly in a glorified portakabin in the train station car park, holding meetings that are a bizarre fusion of feisty politics and village-fete gentility, kind of like a Socialist Workers branch meeting attended by the cast of Last Of The Summer Wine. Continue reading