As Labour trundles on into yet another week of the tiresome “coup”, it is depressingly clear that there are a large number of elected members of parliament who regard democracy (and by ‘democracy’ I am referring to the democracy of the plebs, the oiks, the us) as little more than a nuisance. Not only them, a large part of the politico-media class are clearly tired of our stupid ideas about having opinions and those opinions counting for something. The Tristram Hunts have expressed their belief that Britain can only be rescued by the children of the 1% and have openly reached out to them in their Oxbridge castles to save us all. Derision seeps from the media, recycling yesterday’s ‘chav’ diatribes for today’s Corbyn’s ‘Trots’ sneers.
What should be most worrying to casual observers is the fact that there appears to be an attitude that the clear attempt to circumvent democracy by disenfranchising a majority of voters is acceptable. Is seems it is acceptable if it may achieve a desired aim of people who appear to have a shared ideological viewpoint with yourself, even if they and you only actually represent a minority. It is baffling; more so, when the supposed shared ideological viewpoint doesn’t actually exist in reality.
Owen Smith has made much confusing stock of saying that he believes in all of the same things as Jeremy Corbyn (apart from spending £300billion on an unnecessary Trident replacement, which Smith endorses). Smith says he would do all the things that Corbyn’s leadership have pledged to do (and Smith has underlined that by releasing them all as his own pledges) but that he would do it from a position of being a great leader and potential winner of elections. Despite Smith or those in his team saying he can win elections or be a leader, there is no evidence to support either claim, it is just empty rhetoric. The numerous ‘gaffs’ made by Smith has demonstrated that he suffers from a brain that doesn’t work as quickly as his mouth; I get the distinct impression that Smith is not much of a reader. From his performances at the hustings and on a BBC morning debate, Smith’s not much of an orator either.
Smith thought he would boss the hustings and TV debates, so much so that his team attempted to set up an additional one for Channel Four News. Whatever stunt they had planned for the Channel Four debate, I bet Smith’s team are glad that the debate didn’t occur. The audience crossed the floor after the BBC morning debate and Smith’s rallies have attracted very little public interest, which rather suggests he can’t even attract support, let alone lead it anywhere. People don’t believe him when he speaks and don’t believe he’d do anything other than repeat the mistakes of the past, offering Tory-Lite to the electorate.
Of course, it’s not all one way. Ken Loach has been quite clear and vocal in his commentary on the debacle that Labour has found itself in the center of. Journalists like Owen Jones and, notably, Paul Mason have provided more balanced and honest coverage. MPs like Emily Thornberry have been open about the undemocratic viewpoints and actions of senior colleagues.
Labour’s “coup” has become a battle over democracy and it is becoming ever clearer that supposed “liberal” voices are anything but. You can have your democracy but only if you’re prepared to make the decisions that we want you to make. If you won’t make those choices, then you have no protection if we decide to deny you your freedoms and abuse you.
It is quite clear that an independent watchdog of political parties is needed and should be the outcome of the behavior of the usurpers within Labour who have decided to attempt to wrestle control of the Labour party by whatever harebrained schemes they can think of.