The Crushing Sense of Reality Will Make You Cry

Hah, so when I wrote “I’ll be back to writing next time”, I forgot just how much a total and utter defeat tends to reduce the inclination to do anything except wallow in misery. Or, if you’re part of the Labour Party, wallow and join the massive circular firing squad. It’s what we do so well. Aside from losing elections apparently.

I’m still too depressed to talk about it too much; the worst part is that I had priced in a Labour defeat months ago. But this week, with my Twitter bubble in full effect, with people like Owen Jones (who I keep on my follow list mainly to get annoyed every time he retweets a cherry-picked poll from an obscure outfit that says Sanders will win Texas or something) talking up about how something was changing on the ground…only for less than 24 hours later for them to come clean on how Corbyn kept on coming up negatively on the doorstep. I honestly find that maddening.

Almost as maddening as the centre-right, charging in with “I told you so! What…no, we still don’t have any ideas except for a reheated pot of Blairism that hasn’t worked since 2005…” It pisses me off that after, what almost five years in the ‘wilderness’, the right wing of the Labour Party has yet to do…anything except carp from the sidelines (possible exception here for Stephen Kinnock, who at least did some digging) and hope that David Miliband will come back and save them. I would not class myself as a Corbyn fanboy by any means, but I mean at least he had the guts to stand and be counted, not run away in a huff to another continent and deliver a massive blow to his brother’s new leadership literally as it just began.

And then there’s the Left, who have decided that in lieu of any introspection, they’re going to blame everybody else. My favourite group is the exact same people who take potshots at you if you point out that voting third-party in the US is a bad idea for progressive causes dishing out metric tons of vitriol towards the Liberal Democrats. I’m not saying it’s not deserved (especially in the case of Kensington, where Grenfell was used as a cudgel to turn the seat back into Tory hands by the LDs, which they should not be allowed to forget in a hurry), but these people were quite happy to see Clinton fail to feed their accelerationist urges. And maybe, just maybe, don’t write a manifesto that is tailor-made for juxtaposing with 1983. Seems a bad omen, and if you’d had cut it down to just “a shedload of money for the NHS and we’ll nationalize the railways”, you’d have started the push back to the left whilst also not throwing out 500 policies all at once. And I still get people defending Chris Williamson. Still.

And then there’s the Americans, who of course have to make it all about them. Look, I’m not voting for Sanders, but there’s a subtle difference between him and Corbyn in that he’s regularly ten points above the President in current polling, and Labour have almost always polled below the Tories. People got excited last week about a poll that only had Labour 5% down, for goodness sake! (oh, that’s another thing about the supporters: just because YouGov is run by a Tory…maybe it’s not a great idea to dismiss every poll out of hand because of some magic ‘unskewing’ you could apply to their model. Just maybe) The situation here is different to back home, though maybe we could look at the way moderate Democratic candidates broke through in 2018 and feel that it’s not quite as simple as ‘offer them Medicare For All and everybody will vote Democratic1’.

So to sum up: everybody is wrong and I am right. Excellent.

(I’ll admit that that my preference for going all in on Remain does seem to have been the wrong option, but the 2018 Euro Elections indicated that Labour would have got massacred in London if they’d gone hard Leave, so I’m not sure if there was ever a good choice here)

Anyway, I’m coming home this Friday to the first solid Tory Government since I was 13 years old. Hurrah.

  1. I actually support the concept of Medicare For All because the American health system is completely insane, but the Sanders bill/litmus test is potentially highly damaging. Firstly, by banning private insurance, it hands the GOP an incredibly effective attack line before the battle to pass the damn thing even starts, and secondly, there aren’t 50 votes in the Senate for it, so what are you going to do if you get in and you can’t pass it? Warren is being pilloried by the left here for her suggestion of passing a public option and then moving on to Medicare For All towards the end of her first term, but better that people are helped by an imperfect fix rather than have them die or suffer but we maintain our ideological purity, right? Right? Is this why I get called a centrist melt on some forums? [return]