On Face Value

Politics in a Broken Age

Labour is losing the principles which have made it the supposed party of the minorities and working class. Corbyn’s leadership has shown that this is no longer the case, and that it may have reached endgame.

Labour have dominated my constituency for as long as records show. The extent to which shows that they have held power here all but three times since 1918, indicative of the strong ties of left wing alignment in my area of London. Indeed, the majority of London is red and that may not change for the foreseeable future. There has always been an inherent presumption, particularly where I live, that Labour are the party of the working-class and the party of the minorities. That may well have been the case, hell, that was the prime reason for the party’s inception in 1900. The success it has had in my area is obvious when interpreting voting records, but markers of Labour support are nowhere to be seen. This is a strange marker of politics in modern London. Within the local vicinity lie a vast collection of different cultures and backgrounds- something which has been of permanence all my life. Walking to school daily is complemented by a vast array of smells from nearby shops and restaurants: the names of local shops are distinctively foreign, paying remarkable homage to the countries and cultures that found them.

So, it is no surprise that prescriptive politics demands that Labour win here, and they do. They expectedly increased their majority here in 2017, following our verdict to stay in the EU by 55%. Yet, the political disconnect here is as clear as day. There is no urge to care about politics, heck, why should they? Politics here has had no real impact, there are still local problems which have been swallowing here since before my birth, I am told. Places like mine are close to such political apathy, that the prudence of the Labour party in maintaining votes from places like my community could be in serious doubt. People here don’t vote for Labour because they feel connected with the party’s values or ideas, but rather because it is what happens. The chances of the Conservatives ever winning here are low, considering that the core electorate here vote Labour based on principle. It is safe to note that Labour will win the seat here next election, whenever that may be, but the danger of Labour disconnecting from its core vote should be a point of worry for the party’s hierarchy. If it continues to steal the votes of a politically blind public, then those who swing-vote should be of major concern to the team charged with getting Labour elected into government again.

The question for Labour and Corbyn doesn’t lie with constituencies like mine electorally, but with those he must convince of his values and ideas. The ideals of the Labour party have been lost here, despite the fact they hold the local council, and have held the local constituency seat since 1992. Yet, they continue to win here and yet, the very foundations of the Labour party have been corrupted, nearing a point of irretrievable nothingness. Labour has a rich history of cultivating local values, through invigorating bubbling support and outreach from its local branches-oozing the collective values that have bounded its precedents throughout the history of the party.

The brunt of harsh austerity measures here have clearly had an affect on the community , and undoubtedly, others around the country. Rightly or wrongly, the Conservatives’ economic plan was actioned due to the desperate times following 2008’s financial meltdown. That had a huge impact, both financially and socially. Had Labour’s outreach been more effective, they certainly would’ve won in 2015. Ed Miliband failed, so he dutifully left. The realisation within the Labour party was clear- it had failed to win the voters that were in the middle, the dwindlers. The significance of the result was mirrored by the stunted turnout in Labour strongholds, like mine. Here, turnout fell more than twelve percentage points lower than the national average. Labour failed in engaging with swing voters, and had accelerated the process of core voter apathy, indicative in safe seats across the country.

Corbyn’s Labour is so open to political diversity, that it prevents the blossoming of political discourse among its own members.

To be fair to Corbyn, his campaign did well to push voter turnout here, which resulted in more Labour voter turnout since 1951. That 2017 election, however gleeful it may have seemed, only saw turnout rise by two percentage points. Corbyn’s performance in 2017 was a surprise to pundits and political heads everywhere, but the fall-out since has been obvious. Corbyn’s Labour has done more to alienate itself over the past year than the Conservative leadership could’ve hoped for. Rows over anti-Semitism, policy indiscretions and a general centralisation of the party leadership is something which has distanced itself from the voters it should be representing- both ideologically and locally. Corbyn has managed to show the world why socialism is apparent to failure. He claims to stand for the many and not the few, but this politics only seem to be dictated by the few. Himself. Labour self identifies as the party for many, for the minorities, but is significantly failing to adhere to those such basic principles. Corbyn’s leadership is ironically forged and upheld by the few. The tenacious stranglehold of Mr Corbyn’s leadership by Momentum is an ideological monster which has failed in invigorating local communities such as mine. Its startling focus on tribal politics is dangerous- it is restricting the very diversity within its own party. An instant contradiction to its so called ‘irreversible’ principles. Corbyn’s Labour is so open to political diversity, that it prevents the blossoming of political discourse among its own members.

Labour is no longer the party of the working class, or of the minorities. That won’t stop people voting Labour, particularly where I come from. Labour is now the party of purely ideological infighting. Yeah, the majority of people here are left-leaning voters, or are comfortable voting for social justice or greater provisions for their public services. That’s something which has resonated here for a long time. But a party consuming itself through the weak leadership of Jeremy Corbyn is fast alienating moderate Labour voters around the hardest hit areas of Britain. He may well go onto become our next Prime Minister, sooner than expected if he gets his way. But, it is evident enough to suggest that his stewardship as Labour leader is tearing the party apart. It could well implode. If it does, the 31,000 voters here who voted for them last time will be left without adequate political representation. I may not be a Labour supporter or future voter, but it says something about the state of the party when it is more concerned in its ideological infighting than representing the voters that are struggling to be heard in an age of populist politics. Corbyn must go if Labour is to return to being loosely tied together through its ideological values and community outreach- an equilibrium which has brought it electoral success in the past.

There is a hint of irony about Corbyn’s Labour party and its current state. But irony would only have worth if there was a hint of humour about it. The only joke here is that Labour’s representation of the minorities is a laughable fallacy.

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