Truth is, there is a contingent within Labour who do not care about the size of the Labour membership. They never cease to tell anyone who will listen that party members do not win elections. Their belief is that elections are won in the pages of the Sun, most especially on the front page. Elections are won with billionaire and millionaire business people. You don’t win elections with marches or rallies or with avid supporters, no matter how numerous.
But, there’s a problem with this thinking.
At the same time that they hold the view that membership doesn’t matter, they also say that they want the same outcomes as the membership but that you have to win power to make those outcomes more than pipedreams. But media barons don’t want the outcomes that Labour party members want. Billionaire and millionaire business people don’t want the same outcomes as Labour party members. How, if you ally yourself and the party to media barons and billionaire and millionaire business people do you expect to fulfill those objectives that you say you aspire to? Tony Blair awarded Philip Green a knighthood; thousands of BHS employees have been made redundant as the retail chain closed for business, leaving behind a massive shortfall in the pension fund (a hole the size of a superyacht). Alastair Campbell has claimed that Rupert Murdoch pressured Tony Blair into invading Iraq, the repercussions of which will ring through history. With friends like these …
If you believe that politics is disproportionately influenced by media barons and billionaire/millionaire business people you should fight to lessen their influence. If you believe media barons and billionaire/millionaire business people can exercise more influence than hundreds of thousands or millions of British citizens then you might think your job, as a politician, is to fight for those hundreds of thousands or millions of British citizens to rebalance the distribution of power. It’s not rocket science.
The betrayal of the people that Labour is meant to be helping comes not from the hundreds of thousands of Labour party members who are fighting for a different, fairer, Britain, and who believe that Jeremy Corbyn represents the best opportunity for that. Those hundreds of thousands of party members are the people that Labour is meant to be helping; except it hasn’t, so they’re setting out to help themselves and those people like them now. There are those in Labour who are publicly demonising them for it. The betrayal, whether those MPs in Labour want to admit it to themselves or not, comes from them. It’s shameful.
Those who have created the current state in Labour, who agitated for the “coup”, who have been undermining the party for close on a decade, have created a narrative for Labour that will not be easily forgotten by the general public and will be associated with any regime of Labour that is born out of it. As someone who is just a member of the Labour party, not a “Corbynista”, that is what I fear most. Where I feared Brexit for the damage the Tories could inflict by exploiting the inevitable resulting chaos, I fear the principleless wilderness years in opposition that a “victory” for the agitators will inflict upon Labour. Their negative campaigning ably reflects their negative contribution to Labour politics and no one wants to vote for it.