Dear Sir Keir,
I’m genuinely delighted to see you supporting Pride Month. But here’s a genuine question: why do you find it so hard to support –
- the nation’s critical work forces striking for fair pay,
- the immigrants being viciously persecuted by the government’s new Immigration Bill,
- the growing movement for transparency on the damage being done by Brexit,
- the overwhelming democratic voice demanding electoral reform,
- our fundamental right to protest,
- local politicians from your own party who have performed effectively for the communities in their regions,
- the pledges such as uniting the Labour party, putting public services back in common ownership and abolishing tuition fees, that got you elected in the first place?
Those of us who feel disillusioned by your endless U-turns and authoritarian approach aren’t all from the ‘extreme Left’ you are so intent on crushing. Plenty are the ‘liberal wokerati’ from the progressive centre and we also want all of the above, delivered by transparent, honest politicians. Any decent person would. Yet you’ve reneged on every one of them and baffled us all.
How, for example, can your proudly stated pledge to “devolve sweeping powers to local communities” possibly be consistent with the Labour’s National Executive Council (NEC) interference with those same communities by banning certain Labour mayors and preventing the formation of cross-party coalitions? One of the most effective ways of undermining trust is to say one thing and do another.
You presumably think you can ignore us all, because we don’t matter. Our votes are mostly redundant, so you’ve calculated that you can afford to lose some of them, especially from down South. It’s seats you’re after – mostly in the Red Wall – up North.
We understand the maths of it. But as you pose in your flag-waving, right-wing, Brexit appeasement fancy-dress, the disillusionment you are causing may come back to bite you. Your betrayal of your own policies, and failure even to provide the explanations we, your supporters, deserve, is driving decent people away. We could desert you in droves because, despite our determination to remove the current government, we also have red lines and other places to go, if really pushed.
If you wanted to, you could let the coercive effects of our current voting system take the blame for your approach. The electoral maths of First Past The Post (FPTP) dictates that, to have a rat’s whisker of a chance of winning the next general election, you have to furiously court a specific demographic in a limited range of marginal seats whilst studiously ignoring the rest of us. But the extent of your right-wing posturing is not only pushing increasing swathes of your support base towards their red lines but suggests that you are overreaching yourself – your performance is somehow too good, too zealous? So, is it perhaps a product, not so much of the FPTP straight-jacket you are currently forced into, but of the sad fact that, as history repeatedly shows, power corrupts?
If you make it as far as a hung parliament in 2024, it could be without the support, per head, of much of the country. Isn’t this something that, as someone who publicly declares the value of integrity and who wants to be a unifying force, you should start caring about?
Ed: West England Bylines is not party political and welcomes articles from across the political spectrum.