There is a world constructed in the minds of a few thousand people and the pages of the newspapers and within the hours of broadcast “news” that is self-referential, self-selecting, which constructs its own ‘truth’, which constructs its own ‘facts’, and that bares almost no similarity to the real lives of the millions of people who do not dwell within its bubble. Mainly a façade, the interchangeable figures become defined by the cobwebs that hang from the intellectual confines of structures and scriptures that perpetuate failed mechanisms of governance. Those outside of the bubble look upon with a bemused frustration as the self-important figures preen themselves for their next empty and incongruous utterance, reported with such reverence by equally self-importantly vacuous figures.
As much as those outside of the bubble want to put a pin in it, as much as we want to let in some oxygen and reform the trite machinations of ego driven politics, those within the bubble resist with every ounce of control they can muster. Progress are acting out in very much that way at the Labour party conference, rallying their minority position to stave off Labour becoming an openly democratic party, just as 100,000s of people poke the bubble with pins. Paul Mason has talked about not being able to hold back history but those who have worked so hard to nestle themselves within the bubble cannot let it go; as it suffocates them it offers a form of encompassing comfort.
The Right in Labour (which is probably not a very helpful description of ideological viewpoints) like to position themselves as ‘moderates’ or ‘centrists’, well, they’re not moderates but they are holding on with grim determination to the centre of the bubble. Their desperation to keep their nails dug into the bubble and the lack of oxygen within it means they are incapable of seeing that politics is moving on and that a new way is forming that is led by the people and not by the Shadow Play. Rather like David Cameron entering Downing Street with talk of a Big Society, their ideologies neither attract the greater society nor ultimately care for its intrusion, as witnessed by Tony Blair ignoring the wider voice when deciding to invade Iraq.
I hope the pins win. Britain needs a major party that lives outside of the Westminster bubble and that’s not going to be the Tories. If those fighting against the current winds of change in Labour win, then it won’t be Labour either. The danger of groups like Progress is that they just are incapable of seeing that they are a part of the problem because they want to perpetuate politics that have failed the general electorate. They can’t let themselves see that the electorate have been rejecting them. Labour needs to make a new kind of politics work and groups like Progress are absolutely focused on seizing control of Labour, not on what it will take to win general elections.