Labour must take ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’ if it wants to win back the people

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The Road to Wigan Pier

Labour has suffered its worst general election results in living memory with dozens of seats that the party had held for decades falling to the Conservatives.

The Road to Wigan Pier part 2.

The Labour Heartlands that wall of Red has crumbled. Election night as been a night of loss not only of constituencies but the loss of hope and aspirations for millions. The Labour Party offered ‘Jam today,’ real change. An opportunity to take this country forward into a new future where a persons first waking thoughts aren’t how they can survive another day or week on the bread line, how they can feed the kids or where the next pound will come from.

Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party offered a chance to move the country forward, away from austerity, zero-hour contracts poverty wages and food banks. He offered a vision of equality and social change.

So why didn’t the people more so the working class grasp this opportunity as they did in 2017 what changed?

We had virtually the same winning manifesto of 2017. The manifesto added bread to the jam a staple substance. Free broadband, free school meals and other benefits. Policy’s designed to make the working classes lot in life just a little bit easier. On domestic policy’s the 2019 manifesto was a plus, plus manifesto that matched the manifesto of 2017. The 2017 manifesto that helped carry Jeremy Corbyn in a tide of change against all the odds with his virtual one-man campaign we witnessed gains where we expected losses and hope rise from a sea of desperation. But that was then…

What was so different in these two manifestos, differences although few were fundamental in the Labour Party’s collapse?

  • GE17 Leader Jeremy Corbyn.
  • GE19 Leader Jeremy Corbyn.
  • GE17 Radical Manifesto.
  • GE19 Radical Manifesto.
  • GE17 Respect the Result of the EU referendum.
  • GE19 Second referendum on leaving the EU.

It seems odd that the Labour Party would choose this issue, of all things, on which to be so totally inflexible and to pick a fight with its voters. Remainers will try to express that the Party offered a choice a compromise, a compromise that told the majority that although your democratic vote was the majority, we want a chance to overturning that vote. We want you to vote again. In recent years, for the sake of electoral advancement, the Labour Party has compromised on public spending, welfare, private sector involvement in public services, nationalisation, and so on. But when it comes to the EU, Labour it seems as been totally inflexible, even when it’s bad politics.

The Party should start by accepting the policy for a second referendum was a vote losing policy, instigated by the likes of Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry and Tom Watson. Pushed onto the Party from the remain MP’s in their London remain safe seats, Centralist politicians who acted in their own interest irrespective of the outcome from the predominantly leave voting Labour constituencies outside the metropolitan cities.

For two years Corbyn said no to a second referendum.

A second referendum was a no go policy. Owen Smith was sacked from the front bench for trying to promote a second referendum. It went against Labour policy. Remain pressure and lots of undermining of both Corbyn and the official Party policy’s from Starmer Et al’ forced the Labour Party onto the two-horse balancing trick. 

Corbyn had said no to a second referendum even on the very day of the 2018 conference when the original second referendum composite motion was passed. As the script goes Corbyn had been on the right side of history for 30 years. The outcome of that shift in Labour party policy was instrumental in this election collapse.

Despite clear warnings from Labour chairman Ian Lavery who warned that the party could be “finished” if it backs a second referendum. the remain PLP continued the siren voices continued to push the Party into a losing position.

At every turn, Corbyn was undermined by Starmer, Watson and later by Emily Thornberry who at one point had seemed a loyal ally. They used the growing army of remainers supplied by Peter Mandelson and his people’s vote. These useful idiots who followed the people’s vote lead by Jeremy Corbyn’s arch enemy Peter Mandelson, a former Blairite minister and EU commissioner Peter Mandelson, the architect of New Labour, who had boosted he is working every day to undermine Jeremy Corbyn, to remove him from leadership, a Blairite peer who stood up in the House of Lords to lambast the party’s leader for backing Brexit. Well, he certainly found a way to undermine Corbyn. Helped by two people who have the audacity place themselves into a leaders position Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry.

 

coup de complete

It beggars belief some people are now advocating that Starmer or Thornberry take over the leadership of the Labour Party. It’s not a coup d’état, it’s a “coup de complete”

No Labour leave supporter in the Midlands and the North would accept a Westminster metropolitan second referendum remain, advocate, especially who was more than instrumental in this exodus of Labour support in the heartlands.

How on earth would these out of touch moderates pull back the left-wing leave voters? Then again that’s not the plan. The big picture is to return the Party back to the party of New Labour AKA the other Tory party. The argument will be it was not Brexit that broke Labour but Jeremy Corbyn and his Left-wing policies. Why because the British people despise anyone giving them hope or even free stuff like broadband.

“That Keir Starmer video”

I am not for one minute suggesting Jeremy Corbyn was perfect, I struggled greatly with some attributes to both his leadership skills and that pious personality trait he would sometimes expose. I personally was not looking for Gandhi as a leader I was looking at a someone that could articulate like Tony Benn and have the fire of Michele Foot. But more so I was looking at a leader that was sincere in changing people’s lives for the better a person that gave fresh air to a dirty world of politics and worked for the people.

You see I voted for Corbyn twice, I even joined momentum (no longer a member) early in 2016 to defend both Corbyn and my democratic vote. In my opinion, the big failing with Corbyn on leadership was the lack of it. My vote was for a leader and a leader must do what it says on the tin ‘LEAD!’ not be neutral on the most important political issue of peacetime Britain.

But we all know the real reason we lost…

The Labour Party is a democratic socialist Party at the very core of the movement is our respect for democracy but…

While senior Labour politicians have always felt more comfortable speaking to pro-EU middle-class voters who have seen the visible gains of EU membership, they have little to say to Eurosceptic working-class voters who have suffered on the other end. The Labour Party’s message to these voters is little more than ‘you’re wrong’.

It did not matter to a large extent what the right-wing papers had to say about Corbyn the accusations of being an IRA sympathiser the implied terrorist associations etc. Corbyn had been under much worst personal attacks during the 2017 general election. At that time not just from the MSM but attacks from his own PLP. A PLP who had just a dew short months earlier attempted a coup and forced a second leadership battle. Now the overtly criticised the Party leader.

However, that one thing working-class leave voters could not ignore. The policy that soured any amount of bread and jam. A second referendum a policy Barry Garnier had once pointed out would be a policy that suggesting leave voters were stupid:

We, the remainers, lost the vote, but because you were stupid enough to do what you wanted rather than what we wanted … we’ll give you another chance to get it right,’ that undermines the whole principle of democracy in this country.

If people want to be able to achieve change through democratic means, if they feel that that is being denied to them, they then turn to other, more socially disruptive ways of expressing their views, and that is the danger here. -Barry Garnier

Democracy

The working class have very little in the way of democracy. We listen to the arguments made by politicians, we discuss them, we argue them out at home, work or the pub, we watch the debates on our TV or take to social media where we test our own perspective against that of other peoples.

We then loan our vote to a Party or candidate of our choice, the one who we feel represents our values and opinions. We loan them our vote for a short period of time, a set period. With that vote we have effectively loaned our politicians the power to rule over us, to form a government. Only for that short period of time, after which we repeat the process. We measure their performance and vote again according to our preference.

It is a simple process of making our mark, placing a cross on a ballot paper and believing that the system although not perfect is fair. Fair to the point of making our own choice, after all, we are all wise enough and bright enough to carry out due process before we make our decision, to check our facts and weigh the options, to listen to the debate and hear the truth or call out the lies.

The votes are counted and the majority wins. It’s an age-old process and the very foundation of democracy.

We expect our vote to count.

In a referendum, we are asked by that government to whom we have loaned our vote, our opinion. We are asked to make an important choice on aspects of great importance. A referendum is more than an opinion poll. It is a collective instruction a mandate to our government in what to do with that power we have loaned them. We give them our opinion on how to take this country forward. this is not just an expression, this is a mandate, an instruction in what to do with that power we have loaned them. We expect that majority to be carried out, after all, no matter what the ardent remainers would like to tell you it is the Democratic will of the British people.

Do I mean by all this that the referendum or even the general elections represents genuine democracy? No, not even a reader of the Telegraph could quite swallow that. but in the words of the arch remainer Keir Starmer:

“We lost the referendum. Yes, the result was close. Yes, there were lies and half-truths—none worse than the false promise of an extra £350m a week for the NHS.

Yes, technically the referendum is not legally binding. But the result was not technical; it was deeply political, and politically the notion that the referendum was merely a consultation exercise to inform Parliament holds no water.

When I was imploring people up and down the country to vote in the referendum and to vote to remain, I told them that their vote really mattered and that a decision was going to be made. I was not inviting them to express a view.

Although we are fiercely internationalist and fiercely pro-European, we in the Labour party are, above all, democrats.

Had the outcome been to remain, we would have expected the result to be honoured, and that cuts both ways.

A decision was made on 23 June last year to leave the EU. Two thirds of Labour MPs represent constituencies that voted to leave; one third represent constituencies that voted to remain.

This is obviously a difficult decision.

I wish the result had gone the other way—I campaigned passionately for that—but as democrats we in the Labour party have to accept the result. It follows that the prime minister should not be blocked from starting the article 50 negotiations.”

Keir Starmer
The Labour Party

The Road to Wigan Pier

The Road to Wigan Pier sets out a hellish vision of a broken Britain, before delivering a long meditation on creating a fairer society.

Orwell’s book takes the reader into the very heart of the northern working class. Their views and attitudes, their hopes and aspirations. It explores the different personalities of the working class. It would be fair to say there are traits and differences between a working-class Glaswegian and a Londoner or the Geordies and Scousers. There is a picture that can be traced when we look at the working class throughout modern Britain all similar but all with distinct personalities and treats exclusively local to their areas.

The Labour party needs to reach out to all the working-class communities not by standing on a platform and telling the people to toe the Party line but by speaking to the people in pubs and clubs the party needs to walk the streets and as Orwell’s says:

It is a kind of duty to see and smell such places now and again, especially smell them, lest you should forget that they exist.”
George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier

In short, the Labour Party need to reengage with the people, the working classes they are supposed to represent. They need to recruit not just from the fresh-faced university graduates that have gained a 1st in social and political studies but from the masses of people with a wealth of real-life experiences that can be translated into effective community building.

I grew up in Doncaster a small pit village one of the poorest 5% in the UK. I lived on mainland Europe for 10 years in and out of the military. On my return, I lived in Rotherham then Bolsover now Chesterfield. All leave voting areas all but Chesterfield turning Blue. Chesterfield retained its MP more by luck with the Brexit party splitting the Tory vote.

  • *Toby Perkins (Lab) 18,171 (40.21%, -14.59%)
  • Leigh Higgins (C) 16,720 (37.00%, +2.24%)
  • John Scotting (Brexit) 4,771 (10.56%)
  • Emily Coy (LD) 3,985 (8.82%, +3.37%)
  • Neil Jackson (Green) 1,148 (2.54%, +0.92%)
  • John Daramy (Ind) 391 (0.87%)

The Labour Party must not abandon the working class

We cannot abandon the people of the Labour Heartlands. We must rebuild and begin the process of unity that can only happen with understanding and it starts with the realisation that democracy no matter how floored must be seen to be respected.

The Party need to see for themselves in the main leave supporters are not racist, xenophobic, immigrant hating nationalist. Try telling the people of Bradford who voted leave or more so Keighley a Labour leave voting constituency that turned Blue that they are racist.

Keighley, where the average age in Keighley Central is 33 and 72.6% of people living in Keighley Central were born in England. Other country’s of birth were 15.7% Pakistan, 3.4% Bangladesh, 0.6% Scotland, 0.6% India, 0.5% Ireland, 0.3% Wales, 0.3% Northern Ireland, 0.1% South Africa, 0.1% Nigeria.

The religious make up of Keighley Central is 51.2% Muslim, 29.9% Christian, 11.6% No religion, 0.3% Buddhist, 0.2% Hindu, 0.2% Sikh, 0.1% Jewish. A truly cosmopolitan town.

Yes there are elements of bigotry in the right wing leave groups and Party’s with or without the UK leaving the EU the chances are high they would be bigots anyway.

The Labour Party must not abandon the working class that voted Tory. If they do they will never win them back no matter how much jam they give.

Democracy has always meant more to the northern working class! 

“A Yorkshireman in the South will always take care to let you know that he regards you as an inferior.

If you ask him why, he will explain that it is only in the North that life is ‘real’ life, that the industrial work done in the North is the only ‘real’ work, that the North is inhabited by ‘real’ people, the South merely by rentiers and their parasites.

The Northerner has ‘grit’, he is grim, ‘dour’, plucky, warm-hearted and democratic; the Southerner is snobbish, effeminate and lazy – that at any rate is the theory.

Hence the Southerner goes north, at any rate for the first time, with the vague inferiority-complex of a civilised man venturing among savages, while the Yorkshireman, like the Scotchman, comes to London in the spirit of a barbarian out for loot.” – George Orwell, Road to Wigan Pier

Orwell describes his personal idea of socialism, and what socialism is like in England.

The general idea of Orwell’s is that socialism and communism are no longer movements of the working class. The movement is lead by the middle-class, the bourgeoisie. But firstly he explains how the English class-system works.

In Britain it isn’t possible to determine the class of a person by simply looking at his income. In England the tradition plays a very important part.

Another aspect of the class-system in Britain is the almost inherited rejection of the lower classes. Orwell tells a story of his early boyhood, when he felt that lower-class people were almost subhuman, that they had coarse faces, hideous accents, gross manners, and that they hated everyone who was not like themselves.

The rejection of the lower-class also has physical roots. So the children of the middle-class were always taught that the working-class smelled. And this is obviously an impassable barrier, for no feeling of like and dislike is so fundamental as a physical feeling.

Class hatred, religious hatred, differences of education, of temperament, of intellect, even differences of moral code can be got over; but physical repulsion cannot.

But what about those middle-class people whose views are not reactionary but “advanced”? Beneath his revolutionary mask, is he so much different from the other? Are there any changes in his habits, his taste and his manners, his ideology, as it is called in the communist jargon? Is there any change at all except that he votes Labour or Communist? It can be observed that the middle-classed communist still associates with the middle-class, still lives among the middle-class, and his tastes are those of a bourgeois person.

The main thing Orwell criticises is that middle-class socialists often speak against their own class, but they evidently have the behaviour and manner of a middle-class person.

The socialists who make propaganda for “proletarian solidarity” generally don’t even have a lot of contact with the class they profess to be “fighting for”.

The only contact with the working-class that socialists generally have is with the lower-class intelligentsia at the various political workshops.

If you want the Labour party to represent the people then it must recruit mix and understand the working classes it must learn to tolerate the smell.

The middle class despise the working class.

But more so the middle class remainer hate the working class leave voters with a passion. 

Road to Wigan Pier, part 1. pre-election

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