From Corbynista to Conservative voter

Why I went from campaigning for Corbyn to backing Boris.

Alice Bragg

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Topics Brexit Politics UK

I really liked Jeremy Corbyn. When I was campaigning against the invasion of Iraq, he was a hero for me. Watching the build-up to that war was difficult for someone brought up within the Labour Party. After Iraq, I didn’t return to politics until I received a Facebook post telling me Corbyn was on the ballot paper to become leader. I promptly joined the party and voted for him. That was in 2015.

A year later, I found myself at the heart of Corbyn’s team. I set up a grassroots video channel for Momentum and worked on communications for Corbyn’s second leadership campaign in 2016, which began after Labour MPs moved against him. As the orchestrated resignations began to hit the headlines I, like many others, joined a volunteer online army using Twitter and Facebook to defend him. I dropped the work I was doing and turned up at the union offices where his campaign was based. A few weeks later I was making videos profiling activists around the country who were rallying behind Corbyn. The Midlands and the North were amply represented.

The General Election campaign in 2017 was incredible. Being part of it, I witnessed the power of mass mobilisation through politics. It inspired people. Corbyn made us believe we had the power to change things. We felt like heroes. And the more we used our talents in support of Corbyn, the more others were inspired to do the same. I spent the campaign filming short online videos of Labour Party members talking about the issues their communities faced. Through doing these, I realised how present deindustrialisation still is for many communities, where factories, pits and potteries have long ago closed. The lack of investment in these places was also stark; very little had flowed into these areas since the massive industrial wipeout of the 1980s. Outdated infrastructure was holding people back, excluding them from access to high-speed broadband as well as routes to training that would open up opportunities.

But New Labour, in power for longer than Thatcher, chose not to redress the economic imbalance she left. Instead, it preferred to support wealth creation in the south and use tax revenues, along with government borrowing, to fund welfare benefits and public services in these old manufacturing heartlands. By contrast, Corbyn’s radical agenda, enshrined in the 2017 manifesto, was a blueprint for change. A network of local investment banks would encourage entrepreneurship; infrastructure investment would provide a foundation on which people could build businesses and gain skills; nationalisation of utilities would bring down the cost of living. But most significantly, Labour would bring manufacturing back to Britain. It is worth noting that in many of the ‘red wall’ Labour constituencies that went Tory at the last election – places like Dudley North, Bassetlaw, Great Grimsby, Rother Valley and Bishop Auckland – there was an increase in Labour’s vote share in 2017.

Two-and-a-half years later, the Labour Party had squandered this growing base of support. People like me were voting Conservative for the first time in their thousands. How did this happen? Brexit was a big part of it.

I voted to remain in the EU. But like millions of other ‘Remainers’, I instantly accepted the referendum result. As the Brexit debate raged on, I kept waiting for a comprehensive Labour Party vision for Britain outside the EU – one that saw our departure as the first step towards a fairer economy. When interviewing Labour members in Bolton, a father in his thirties explained the motivation of many who voted to leave. ‘People say, you do it for your children’s children’, he said. While many accepted there might be economic turbulence as a result of Brexit, he said ‘a lot of people thought they could deal with the brunt of it and then later on we’d be more prosperous’. But as the prospect of a post-Brexit Labour vision receded into the smoke and mirrors of ‘constructive ambiguity’ – a position with the principal aim, it seemed, of weakening the government – I began to question my allegiance to the Corbyn project.

I understand the dilemma he was in. Corbyn argued for his entire political life for members to have a greater say in the direction of the party, only to find himself with a membership that was approximately two-thirds against leaving the EU. But with conviction and authority I believe Corbyn and John McDonnell could have steered the membership away from calls to overturn the referendum result. They could have excited members about the prospect of what happens next. There were, of course, the added pressures from New Labour stalwarts, who still had huge influence among MPs and were mounting a serious challenge to Brexit within parliament and through informal, high-level political channels. For me, as for many others, support for Corbyn was driven by our rejection of New Labour. Yet, a year and a half after I got involved, the two sides seemed to be colluding in a mission to reverse the referendum result.

Following increasingly incensed Facebook updates posted by Labour Brexiteers in the north was like watching an edifice slowly crumble. Two-thirds of Labour constituencies had voted to leave. Choosing to ignore this statistic, Labour’s top team instead entered into a collective delusion. The party’s surprise success in 2017 had convinced many that, had the campaign carried on for a few weeks longer, Labour would have won. So ingrained was this conviction that when the alignment of favourable elements changed, the thinking nevertheless remained the same.

But the picture was changing. Starting life as the focal point for a spontaneous, national movement to get Corbyn elected, Momentum had morphed into a means of disseminating identity politics. I came to realise, with sadness, that Corbyn’s perspective is not too far off this. His lifelong opposition to racism is eminently commendable, but if you see the world through a lens of ‘oppressors’ and ‘oppressed’, there is little room left for nuance or understanding. Instead, people are pitted against each other along battle lines of group identity, which is unhelpful in a country trying desperately to unify and move forward. And because complexities are ignored, those placed in a category of ‘oppressor’ – the Israelis, for example – have no right whatsoever to be understood. When you have a Jewish population in this country with quite natural ties to Israel (although often in disagreement with the actions of its government), they can easily be made to feel insecure by a political philosophy that damns the very idea of Israel. The fear within the Jewish community in Britain now is palpable. This should not have been allowed to happen.

As I write this, I am acutely aware of the consternation this may provoke among other Labour supporters and activists. Many have spoken to me openly and honestly about the concerns they have about a Conservative government and the impact it might have on their families and their community. The simple answer is that I voted Conservative because I believe Brexit must happen as soon as possible. By denying communities their political will to leave the EU, Labour became incapable of representing them.

And yet, I still believe Corbyn was the spark for a genuine and vital movement for change. Although he lacked the qualities to deliver on his promises, the excitement around the Corbyn project, particularly in the north and the Midlands, should not be forgotten. There is no reason why, with the right leader, Labour cannot enthuse people again. But for me personally to come back to Labour, there would need to be a credible economic blueprint to reshape the economy; the party would need enough confidence to bring in good people, based on merit, and retain them; and it would need to continue to support local campaigns by developing policy solutions and not just promising more and more funding. But most importantly, the Labour Party must have the will to unify the country and a vision that includes us all. Without that, it will continue to alienate its natural supporters. With it, Labour can win.

Alice Bragg is a filmmaker and writer. She founded World Film Collective, a charity that taught filmmaking to marginalised young people using mobile phones. Find out more about her work and the WFC here.

A longer version of this piece can be read on Alice’s blog.

Picture by: Getty.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Comments

Tony Nicholson

29th January 2020 at 5:11 am

Plenty of simple minded right wingers will be delighted to read that. A wicked socialist who saw the light and went with Boris Johnson! You could not have invented a more heartening tale to justify this extraordinary transformation. Please forgive me for this, but I don’t believe you!

Glenn Bell

17th January 2020 at 12:33 am

Corbyn was a rabble rouser who wanted power at any cost so he could implement his ridiculous political theories and policies, theories and policies which have failed time and time again all over the world.

jan mozelewski

17th January 2020 at 11:21 am

I agree about the rabble-rouser policies etc. Plain as a pike-staff. But I disagree with the ‘power at any cost’. The impression i formed of Corbyn was of a man dedicated to a life as Citizen Smith who suddenly found himself as Leader of the Opposition, and therefore part of The Establishment.
Every time I saw him interviewed, or doing PMQ’s, a saw a man with an internal battle between these two totally irreconcilable roles. It is a wonder he didn’t have a nervous breakdown. (No sympathy from me though.)
Subconsciously he was a man who DIDN’T want power. And ,inevitably, the subconscious won.

Sean Delaney

16th January 2020 at 11:02 pm

Alice’s kindergarten comprehension of economics certainly qualifies her as a Corbynista

Susan Hesketh

19th January 2020 at 1:00 pm

The fact that she finds Corbyn ‘likeable’ was enough for me. She must be in a small minority because even rusted on Labour voters hated him. Even my 97 yr old Aunt who came from Northumberland mining stock hated his guts and went out to vote for Brexit after a 25 yr polling hiatus and then again in Dec 19 to keep the ‘commie’ expletive out. Labour were unelectable under Corbyn and haven’t learned a thing from the trouncing either. It’s always someone else’s fault.

JP Edwards

16th January 2020 at 7:02 pm

Labour thwarting Brexit was simply a means of undermining the Conservatives. The greater the mess the greater the chance of winning a General Election.
Brexit was simply another principle they would sacrifice in order to achieve power.

Jim Wigan

16th January 2020 at 6:01 pm

‘Many have spoken to me openly and honestly about the concerns they have about a Conservative government and the impact it might have on their families and their community.’

Statements like this are why so many view left wingers with incredulity. After 10 years, what are the tories doing or proposing to do that should make us fear for our futures? Reopen the workhouses? Abolish the NHS and make us pay for cancer treatment? Enslave our first born? Invade France?

When unemployment is at its lowest level for 40 years, suggesting that ‘the tories are evil, just…evil’ doesn’t wash with us ignorant proles. And we all know that if you ramp up taxes, we will all pay for it either directly or indirectly. That is why Labour have lost the working class vote.

James Knight

16th January 2020 at 5:49 pm

“We felt like heroes.”

Just for one day..

michael savell

16th January 2020 at 5:00 pm

Brandy Cluster—And I think he is right,we are too uptight to be successful.We need a person who really understands economics ,somebody who has possibly just retired from the city and has just suddenly found a conscience,is a bit old fashioned,married and christian to build a party around.We are fast losing sight of the things that really matter,none of the present pols.could furnish a suitable CV and we must look harder.What the party is called matters nothing.

Nick McG

16th January 2020 at 4:39 pm

Brexit aside, voting Conservative was the only sensible option. Boris is a one-nation Tory much like Blair which, though not ideal, is much better than the identity politics madness of the lib dems and labour. I noticed Jess Philips column in the Guardian wasn’t open for comment but Keir Starmer’s was. Are we to assume this is because of potential ‘abuse’? If you want to be PM, it comes with it.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

16th January 2020 at 10:26 pm

The opportunistic, philandering liar BJ was clearly the lesser of two evils. Communist Corbyn would have decimated everything. This is a sad time in British politics when we are forced to choose between a chimpanzee and an arch-fornicator.

Tim Wheeler

16th January 2020 at 3:08 pm

I was a 30 year Labour voter and his piece resonated strongly with me. At one time I believed Corbyn was a breath of fresh air – but I very quickly came to see him as The King With No Clothes. For me the disillusion set in much earlier. When he announced his 180 degree U-turn on Brexit. For decades he’d espoused the Tony Benn doctrine that a government’s legitimacy comes from ‘one person – one vote’ National Citizen Democracy. Ordinary voters must appoint & be able to sack their rulers. Suddenly Overnight Corbyn was a REMAINDER (a quiet and barely visible one to be sure), but he’d done an astonishing U-turn and the mainstream media (rather than vigorously investigate such a bizarre occurrence) seem oddly incurious. It was clear to me he’d sacrificed the principle voter democracy for institutional rule. He’d struck a bargain with the Blairite MP’s (led by Hilary Benn & Kier Starmer) get peace and a chance at becoming P.M.
Ever since I’ve seen Corbyn as a hollow shell – weak, indecisive and often silent hidden away from public view when important questions were in the news. Since the Referendum he has been a pitiable figure who knew he had sold out. He often kept a low profile (so you thought “Where’s Corbyn?”) but then he pop up into full view – apparently still harbouring hopes of still becoming P.M.
He knew he’d sold out and

Cedar Grove

18th January 2020 at 1:13 am

To be fair, his disappearances were often no more than an illusion created by the media.

Corbyn was once criticised for not being seen in Islington at the time the media expected him to be: in fact, he was speaking to massive crowds at the Durham Miners Gala.

nick hunt

16th January 2020 at 2:04 pm

Sadly, Labour ‘will continue to alienate its natural supporters’ until it realises that preaching inequality to those you view as inferiors can’t possibly work. We don’t want or trust ‘self-annointed saviours’ anymore (the title of Thomas Sowell’s great book). To see the task confronting leftist elitists, imagine politicians like Emily Thornberry treating white van man and his opinions as her equal.

Dominic Straiton

16th January 2020 at 12:34 pm

Following Corbyn is like following Jim Jones. When the scales fall from your eyes and your not dead in the jungle of south America count your blessings.

steve moxon

16th January 2020 at 2:21 pm

Like it.

H McLean

17th January 2020 at 12:20 am

I read Jim Jones but my mind thought Jim Bowen, so for a few seconds I was confused picturing him in the jungle playing darts with scales on his eyes.

K Tojo

16th January 2020 at 11:30 am

Interesting (I suppose) to read a Corbynite declare why she went turncoat but the tone is that of a social media “luvvie” who overestimates her political insight and believes her opinions are of major importance to her online followers.

With sentimental, paragraph filling comments like “…the Labour Party must have the will to unify the country and a vision that includes us all…” you know you are reading the opinions of a juvenile campaigner not a perceptive political commentator. “Unify” a nation of nearly 60 million people many of whom, urged on by an activist riddled establishment, are eagerly asserting their separate identities?!

Does she still believe that Corbyn won the argument but was undermined by those pesky Remainers? I think so.

Brandy Cluster

16th January 2020 at 11:51 am

Wow; very insightful comment.

Jonnie Henly

16th January 2020 at 12:32 pm

” many of whom, urged on by an activist riddled establishment, are eagerly asserting their separate identities?!”

So does this mean that the population at large are in fact swayed by what their “betters” tell them? That’s the implication of your sentence there, even though it contradicts what you stated just above it.

K Tojo

16th January 2020 at 4:28 pm

Well now, wee Jonnie Henly, I don’t usually bother getting into these troll versus troll debates. Assertion and counter assertion endlessly trotted by people who just know they are right and cannot resist offering their corrective views to the deluded other. It all gets rather tiresome.

Anyway, as a Momentum activist desperate to keep a small breath of life in the ailing body of socialism, you naturally need to believe in an entity you call “the masses”. This entity, as any true Lefty will tell you (I’m sure that some of your best friends are true Lefties) is easily swayed. Hence the socialist’ love affair with tacky propaganda. They are sure the politically unaware “masses” will find it educational. That is if they are not “counter-swayed” by the hated right wing media.

Even with your socialist blinkers on you must have noticed the growth of those diverse identarian movements pursuing their unique grievances, convinced of the injustice they have suffered at the hands of this ******* society (insert prejudice of your choice). They don’t need to be swayed – just encouraged.

Face it: “…a will to unify the country and a vision that includes us all…” is the kind of sentimental pap that ultimately means nothing. It would fit perfectly into a speech by almost any politician.

Jonnie Henly

17th January 2020 at 12:11 am

I’m not a Momentum activist. So first up incorrect assertion from you straight up off the bat.

Tacky propaganda is something you find from political groups across the spectrum, because all political ideologies that support democracy believe the electorate can be successfully persuaded to support their aims.

Aside from that, even with your own blinkers on surely you can accept that large scale movements, be they identity based or otherwise, don’t grow solely at the urgings of activists.

You can’t simply use that as a soft excuse to decry the masses when they don’t act how you approve.

Jim Lawrie

16th January 2020 at 10:50 am

Had the “millions of … Remainers” who “instantly accepted the referendum result” made their voices heard things might now be different.
I am still shunned as a traitor by Independence supporters for accepting our Referendum result.

Labour does not accept the General Election result save as a reflection of the stupidity of the electorate.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

16th January 2020 at 10:24 pm

‘I am still shunned as a traitor by Independence supporters for accepting our Referendum result.’ —
That seems pretty fair to me.

SAOR ALBA

Puddy Cat

16th January 2020 at 10:31 am

We have had much talk of the Red Wall now we have the Momentum Wall. This is a structure of such robust construction that it will withstand any assailing. The current leadership campaign will, inevitably, be a regurgitation of failed prognosis and Money Tree policies. The leader chosen will be one that parrots that which is now written in stone by the coterie surrounding Mr Corbyn.

There will be an air not dissimilar to that which oppressed Germany after the First World War, that we failed not because our ideas and actions were incorrect but because there were subversive activities that undermined our efforts. Our endeavours were as nothing because of people who were not dedicated enough. Therefore, In future, knowing that we have enemies amongst our numbers, duplicitous waverers, we must persist, purge and then recommit. Labour is run by a persistent dogma that seems oblivious to change.

The PM alluded to the best way to fuel a social program and that was to be a successful commercial nation where the whole population was involved in the effort and, most tellingly, in the rewards. What an exciting time. Hearing Mr Corbyn in Parliament yesterday I could not help but reflect on that element most prominent in the now much reduced Guardian, that the only way that we can attract custom is to turn everyone into victims whom we can cosset, comfort and maintain. A recipe for allegiance and gratefulness, a poor alternative to making your own way and pondering on success rather than being constantly infused with unavoidable, inevitable failure and victim-hood.

nick hunt

16th January 2020 at 2:12 pm

Pope Francis is talking about ordaining married priests. That’s a radical abandonment of Catholic tradition and doctrine. No way could the high priests of Momentum or any radical leftist ever betray the teachings of the Prophet Karl like that. They are less flexible than the current Pope, who ironically enough appears more faithful to Marx than to Jesus.

H McLean

16th January 2020 at 10:25 am

For the last ten to fifteen years the problem with the left is that all new initiatives are invariably co-opted by radicals. This is what happened with Momentum, which started as an antidote to the neoliberal New Labour by people who wanted a return to they saw as traditional Labour values. When the radicals took over and it became a vehicle for unhinged identity politics there was no way the voting public would go for it. And this is the important bit – the left used to have a dominant centre that pushed back against radicals and wouldn’t allow them to gain a controlling foothold, but with the explosion of intersectionality in the early/mid 2000s, it became all but impossible to stand against the grievance mentality that sprang from academia and directly into left-wing politics. The New Intersectional Hard Left is only concerned with power, and they don’t care how they get it. Until the PC woke identitarian aspect of left-wing politics is killed off for good then all new initiatives will be hijacked and derailed, just like Momentum was. The sooner this happens the better for everyone. The western world needs the left to stop careening to the far left and move back to the centre. To bring balance back to the force, as it were. Until then, Go Boris!

Isabel Cooke

16th January 2020 at 10:28 am

Mad about intersectionalism and identity politics, you right-wingers. Weirdly, no-one outside Spiked uses these terms. Whatever they are. I think it’s what the rest of call discrimination and oppression.
Momentum was always radical and always will be.

H McLean

16th January 2020 at 11:49 pm

Isabel, I am not a right-winger. I am a disillusioned centrist and I have the Political Compass test results to prove it. In the not-so-distant past I was even a member of the Green Party, until the unprincipled and disingenuous shifting-ground of the left turned me off.

When people are raised to live by MLK’s words about judging people by the content of their character rather than the colour of their skin – as I and people of my generation were – or course we are going to resist when the ideology shifts to a position of demanding the exact opposite. If you cannot comprehend how fundamentally objectionable this change in left-wing thinking is then you need to do some research.

Brandy Cluster

16th January 2020 at 11:53 am

Completely agree. The Left wins most of the arguments and loses all the elections.

Isabel Cooke

16th January 2020 at 2:15 pm

Yes. We’ve only been in power once; in 1945. The press and the establishment have put in place effective monstering to stop any socialist government. we have to organise an alternative economy of mutualism.

nick hunt

16th January 2020 at 2:57 pm

Wise leftists know that you must destroy democracy and all objects of cultural loyalty (eg God, nation, family) in order to truly rule over and be loved by the dumb gammons. Democracy gives power to the people to remove you. The greatest socialist leaders (Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot) all realised this basic truth. To make sure the gammons wouldn’t stop them, they also disarmed their citizens, with Hitler paving the way on this around 1932 (this claim is disputed by leftists, even if Hitler’s words are not: “History teaches that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so.”)

steve moxon

16th January 2020 at 11:56 am

Yes. A key point, I think, is that the rapid growth and subsequent hegemony of ‘identity politics’ (that is, ‘PC’, as most folk know it), being such a deliberate toxification of politics to ordinary people, ensured that no longer would there be mass membership of political parties, thereby allowing extremists much more easily to take over. This in turn has led to prospective parliamentary candidates being selected less for their popular appeal and instead more for their (‘hate-the-people’) ideological adherence, which has fed back to fuel disenchantment with politics and the chasm between the Left and Left-addled ‘political class’ and the population at large.
Labour effectively is finished.
Although party membership has collapsed generally, the remaining bedrock of the Conservatives by contrast to that of Labour is not a group tending to ideological extreme: conservatism is simply realism, and this much more than some supposed tendency of harking back to the past, which anyway has never been true re business and organisational development; quite the opposite. Realism requires recognising real innovation and trends. And a core group of Conservative Party members across the country is less likely to have bought into ‘identity politics’ than the parliamentary party and administration.

Jonnie Henly

16th January 2020 at 12:30 pm

Yet the closest thing in the last few decades that we have seen to mass membership of political parties is the Labour party under Corbyn.

Also, repeated studies have shown the Conservative membership to be far more radical or “extreme” than the elected representatives of the party and even most Tory voters. Moderate realists they are not.

steve moxon

16th January 2020 at 2:40 pm

The Momentum member stuffing is tiny compared to the millions of members of the major parties in the past.
It’s some of the MPs and those in the upper echelons of the Party organisation that are the extremists in the Conservative Party in having swallowed ‘identity politics’. The ordinary members largely haven’t, or only minimally, so are not ‘extreme’ by normal measure; only from the warped perspective of those such as yourself, who automatically see non-Left as ‘far Right’, in the usual tedious mirror-image ‘projection’ on to anyone and everyone who doesn’t agree with you. Ordinary Tory members are mostly non-ideological normal realists.

Jonnie Henly

17th January 2020 at 12:06 am

Ordinary Tory members are mostly hard line ideological conservatives.
Not far right, there is a difference there, so you’ll have to drop that straw man.
But they are certainly not non ideological. They have fairly radical views about the future direction of the UK, views the majority of the populace doesn’t share. The only people who delude themselves into thinking conservatism isn’t an ideology are overly defensive conservatives themselves.

It’s been decades since a political party had a membership bigger than Labour’s, of which Momentum only makes up as small fraction.

The days of million plus member parties are long gone.

Jonathan Yonge

16th January 2020 at 10:22 am

I can’t help thinking that many Corbynistas who lip-read Corbyn’s (lying b*tch) aside to Long-Bailey in parliament will have had the scales fall from their eyes.

Iain Litenment

16th January 2020 at 9:20 am

“Labour Party must have the will to unify the country and a vision that includes us all.” Surely your argument shows this was the mistake It made on Brexit. Politics is about contestation and one battle ground you pose is identity politics, which, in it’s hierarchy of victimhood, puts the white working class on the bottom rung. Identity politics, along with the accompanying separation of communities through the ideology of multiculturalism, is truly destructive of what it means to be a British citizen. The result is that one community can have so little empathy with another that they believe themselves to be justified in the vile abuse of children. It also results in civil servants charged with the safety of the people believing, as shown through their actions, that those at the very bottom of the hierarchy ladder are not deserving of protection and care. It also makes sense of the vile on going abuse of Brexit voters. Identity politics is the most debased of political outlooks and we must go into ideological battle with the aim of destroying it.

steve moxon

16th January 2020 at 10:10 am

Yes indeed. Either Alice was extraordinarily blind generally or fundamentally failed to see the nature of ‘identity politics’. How could anyone be under the delusion that ‘identity politics’ is about being considerate to minorities when this so very clearly is just a posture, to cover its actual nature of hate-mongering towards ordinary people?

steve moxon

16th January 2020 at 8:41 am

But Alice, how come you failed to notice that the Labour Party for decades now (and in particular figures within it like Jerwammy, and not least Blair) has been ‘PC’-fascism central?!
‘Identity politics’ was central to Blair, and is even more central to Momentum: the nasty ‘projection’ of own faults on to others. The Labour Party and Momentum see the rest of us as sexist, racist, xenophobic because that is what THEY ARE THEMSELVES. Labour / Momentum hates the mass of ordinary people, because we don’t buy their bull. This hatred towards us is as ‘the workers’ of old that the Left stereotypes and abstracts as male, ‘white’ and heterosexual. The Left hates those in these categrories. This is the real sexism, racism and xenophobia. To try to square their ideological mindset with reality, Labour & Momentum reckons it’s not the ideology that is wrong but the voters. You supported a party and a leader who have long wished to replace the electorate.
‘Identity politics’ is the project not only to deny reality and to hate-monger, but to try and impose a new reality by self-fulfilling prophesy: to relentlessly impose the crazy notions that sex (‘jendaarr’) and race somehow are mere social constructs that can be moulded any which way they choose, and that really disinctions don’t exist at all. How come you managed to miss that?!

Brandy Cluster

16th January 2020 at 11:55 am

Another excellent comment. I can sure use these for Australian discussions.

The Left is well and truly being nailed; the cat has been belled and I’m thinking it will become progressively (no pun intended) difficult for them to sustain their rabid ideologies – all of it emanating from hatred and always seeing the glass half empty.

steve moxon

16th January 2020 at 2:28 pm

Australia is more civilised than the UK already, judging by the stronger criticism of all this muck out there. It’s an Australian institute that funds the journal which takes most of my science review papers. Bush fires or not, Oz is looking like the place to move to if all this stuff goes exponential into the stratosphere and we’re all threatened for our wrongthink not just with no employment (that’s already the reality) but jail too!

a watson

16th January 2020 at 3:32 pm

Agree. The hatred of the traditional British working class, especially men, is apparent from these Labour groups.

Brandy Cluster

16th January 2020 at 10:04 pm

I don’t understand this – or I didn’t until I read “The Road to Wigan Pier”. In this Orwell says that the bourgeois Left “hated the rich and disliked the poor”. So this antipathy has a long, undistinguished history and it might explain why the working class were so appallingly treated in the Bolshevik Revolution and subsequent revolutions usefully described as all about ‘more equality’.

My children (adults now) were all educated at Catholic schools which was populated by large numbers of working class kids, a great many of whom had fathers working in coal mines. I had a fair bit to do with those families through the schools and, though I do not come from a working class background myself, I found them very conservative people with strong values which they took for granted and assumed the rest of the population shared. Their kids (my children’s friends) were decent and virtually all went onto successful careers.

Unlike the writer of this article above, my evolution has moved from conservative middle class to sympathies with the working class; I’ve seen them die in most of the industrial accidents and be waved off as collateral damage. And, apart from the diminishing trades unions – more interested in naked power than representing their members – nobody seems to care about them anymore. Our own Coalition government was recently re-elected (nominally conservative) and they saw a shift towards them and away from Labor as you have in Britain. What? The people don’t need jobs now – or are their jobs just not ‘fashionable’ anymore? I won’t sit idly by and let this stand, while ever I have the power to think, speak and write.

james bradley

16th January 2020 at 8:30 am

It takes grit for a person in the media sector to make public a switch of loyalty from Labour to the right albeit for Brexit.
I admire Alice’s courage and honesty and wish her well and hope that Boris doesn’t let her down.

jan mozelewski

16th January 2020 at 10:08 am

Ditto. A thought-provoking article and from a perspective throwing fresh illumination on the debate. I hope the Tories don’t let the people of the Red Wall down. They have so far mouthed the right sentiments but they need to follow it through.
I think the people who switched to the Tories did the right thing…for too long their ‘red’ vote had been taken wholly for granted and- rather like customers who never looked for a better insurance quote but simply automatically renewed- they were consequently on a bad deal. This has shaken things up and they cannot lose from it.

Chris Carter

16th January 2020 at 8:28 am

“A longer version of this piece can be read on Alice’s blog.”
Blimey.
Of course the polling shows that it was Corbyn himself that was the main problem, with Brexit a key but secondary issue.
Needless to say the two are related. He managed/manages to be both “passionate” – but only about events overseas, he has never had an intelligent thing to say about the UK economy and that whole side of things is McDonnell’s agenda – and weak at the same time. And of course, even wrt those issues in which he is interested, he is almost always wrong.
As for “his lifelong opposition to racism”, I’ll treat that with the contempt it deserves.
Corbyn’s appalling history is well documented, and if the author could not see in 2017 the kind of antisemitic cranks who were attracted to the party by Corbyn’s worldview, well she can only have been turning a blind eye to it all…

Isabel Cooke

16th January 2020 at 10:45 am

No. Mr Corbyn is one of the foremost anti-racist campaigners in Parliament.
the a/s slander is used against anyone the petro-dollar dislikes – anything that threatens oil production. Trump use it against the Squad of clever, confident black women of whom Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is one. It was used by the right against Malia Bouattia to nobble her attempts to be left-wing in the NUS. It’s a grotesque slur. Of course, endless growth, endless capitalism, only means the end for the rest of us.
Mr Corbyn is passionately supported by many of those 200,000 Jewish inhabitants of the UK who are not amongst the 40,000 of Rabbi Mirvis’ s flock. They know that self-evidently, he is an anti-racist. He was once arrested for his opposition to apartheid. Over and over again he has raised or spoken in Parliamentary motions in support of Jewish people , in commemoration of the Holocaust and against a/s. He has actually fought on the streets to defend a Jewish community centre against fascists. Just look at the record!
Also look at the record of the PM, an open racist, whose words spark attacks on Muslim women. No media outlet says a word. Why? Because the government is racist in word and deed. Look at Windrush. The 15 Tory councillors dropped for racism were qquietly let back in just before the election.
Don’t be a dupe of the Daily Mail and Murdoch, disgusting apologist for the climate change deniers.

Brandy Cluster

16th January 2020 at 10:08 pm

I read “The Australian” – the Murdoch flagship in Australia and the only news outlet which debates the issues surrounding ‘climate change’, with varied opinion. So, don’t fall for the cliches and fake news of “The Guardian”.

We have noticed the climate changing, but what we are skeptical about is how Australia – with 1.3% emissions – can affect our own climate with such a small number, let alone the rest of the world. Our Chief Scientist told the Australian Senate, “it will make no difference”. Yet the shills continue with their mantra, “action” on climate change and we are berated the world over the same. Because it has now morphed into religion it’s all about belief rather than facts.

Once ‘the science’ has come up with demonstrable data which shows the impact on global climate of any ‘action’ Australia takes (science in/science out, if you please) the Australian people will grab it gladly with both hands. Until that time they will continue to protect jobs and the Australian economy.

Jonnie Henly

17th January 2020 at 12:01 am

The idea that Corbyn doesn’t get passionate about domestic issues is a straight up lie

Matt Ryan

16th January 2020 at 8:21 am

What you have discovered Alice is called “growing up”. Its when you realise that Leftist politics is stupid and you become more conservative.

Isabel Cooke

16th January 2020 at 10:58 am

No, it’s when you realise that anyone can post a comment online retailing any old stereotype – and sincerely believe it!
Alice has lost heart and been overwhelmed. She should treat the a/s slanders with the contempt they deserve and try to see that yes, the Palestinians are oppressed. There is room for nuance in every area of life; but in a battle, which is what this is Alice, there is win or lose. The Israeli government is dedicated to obscuring the details of the Nakba – ‘it was empty land’! – so it can grab even more land.
This is a battle Alice and the fight to upset the enemy’s morale – that was us, but you’re no longer us, are you? – is one of the most important parts of that battle.
Taking down our leader was the first requisite after our ambush of 2017 scared the life out of the Tories – and the oil companies. Destroying our solidarity is the first line of attack and the last.
The stinking press, Alice, reached depths it’s never plumbed before and made a lie out of the truth; which is that the Tories are only interested in their rich friends and those people are only interested in money, not in reining back their consumption in any way.
People in Germany and Italy in the 30s weren’t stupid; just brainwashed.
Now try not revisit this publication as it is dedicated to spreading confusion and passivity. Who benefits from that? Only the rich.
We actually offer the only economic way out, Alice. It’s either coops and mutualism or it’s burn baby burn; because capitalism is predicated on endless growth and we can’t allow that because it will kill us all! Lots of nuance in finding new ways to get on with life.

nick hunt

16th January 2020 at 2:43 pm

I’d say the greatest example of bigotry and/or derangement in your post is the absurd and highly offensive assumption that those with conservative beliefs cannot care about others. Why not inform us more frankly that only leftist beliefs can save us ignorant sinners and non-leftist infidels? One key reason leftists are losing the plot, elections and minds wherever you look is because they insist on preaching equality to people clearly seen as inferior to themselves. Leftists value their ideology before real people’s lives and concerns, just like Stalin and Mao. Hopefully Alice realises that we neither need nor trust pompous self-annointed saviours anymore, and will trun to those who now want power to the people: the populists.

Jim Lawrie

16th January 2020 at 8:44 pm

“People in Germany and Italy in the 30s weren’t stupid; just brainwashed” you just cannot let go of your superiority complex, can you? Then you warn Alice she’ll suffer a similar fate if she reads this publication. Presumably she hasn’t the wit to discern for herself.

Jim Lawrie

16th January 2020 at 8:50 pm

Tell us Isabel Cooke, what level of growth do your policies settle for?

jan mozelewski

17th January 2020 at 11:33 am

Ah yes, Jim. You succinctly get to the nub of it. The left, the corbynistas, embrace the whole doomsday scenario of climate and ‘sustainability’ because its a sure-fire way of keeping people poor, stopping them bettering themselves and keeps them reliant on hand-outs. And naturally they also think that is the best way of keeping them voting for the left. As soon as people get a bit better off they vote Conservative. lol

Geoff Cox

16th January 2020 at 8:18 am

Well said Alice – a fair summary.

However, on the wider point of investment to create jobs etc, you have to grasp that the problem is on the demand side, not the supply side. Any fool can invest £200m in a factory making widgets and employ 500 people to work there …. for a year or two. But if no one is prepared to buy your stuff, it’s all a complete waste of money. I’m afraid the simple fact is that average wages in this country are still too high to compete with China et al and state benefits are too generous to force people to do something for themselves.

Local entrepreneurs are what we want – but without subsidy as that creates a false prospectus.

Jim Lawrie

16th January 2020 at 12:25 pm

A whole plethora of in-work welfare payments indiscriminately subsidise all employment. The minimum wage sets a limit on the amount of subsidy benefit for employers, but is championed as a left wing achievement while the national debt rises to pay for it.

I’d scrap in work benefits, VAT, the minimum wage and charity subsidies.
I’d give workers training vouchers and enforce on training organisations full disclosure of where their candidates finished up in the 2 years after training.

For me it is heartening to see an article that touches on the economy and responses to that.

Isabel Cooke

16th January 2020 at 2:16 pm

The left-wing does not champion the measures introduced by Tory-lite Blair to subsidise employers.

Jim Lawrie

16th January 2020 at 6:41 pm

I mentioned one measure they supported. The minimum wage. They campaigned for the reelection of Tony Blair and therefore supported his Premiership, and that of Gordon Brown. That is how membership and collective responsibility work. SWP included.

Steve Roberts

16th January 2020 at 8:05 am

I suppose this article is quite cathartic for Bragg personally, it will help cleanse here conscience, i write that not sarcastically because the fact she placed democratic credentials and a realisation of the destruction divisions inherent in Identity Politics forefront in her actions is to be welcomed, well done to her.
The rest of the article is very revealing, hopefully she can do a lot more thinking about the political future and how society is to resolve the huge problems we all face, not least the belief in many political circles that peoples agency is dangerous and we would be better relying on state patronage in many forms, humanity is indeed underrated.
Bragg’s writing exposes many of the limiting and constraining tropes of the “left” -which in fact actually imprison people in a political outlook that cannot resolve the problems we all face – in her case probably genuinely felt compassion for those “left behind”
Emotionalism and compassion, a moral tale really, are what lies at the heart of “left” ideas, they provide no real answers but salve the conscience of the “caring” sections of society, inadequate paternalism writ large.
She reveals that at one of the lowest points in electoral history for the LP in 2017 it was regarded as “incredible” the activists “felt like heroes” they were putting into action their support for Corbyn or more precisely it was “driven by a rejection of New Labour” another shallow form of being an anti tory( Blair) really, they wanted to see a redistribution of wealth from the South and Welfare into some form of regeneration, i am sure they were all patting themselves on the back with their compassionate caring for the left behind.
It appears to have slipped the memory that even that low point was only achieved by the LP completely lying that it would honour the referendum result, that manifested later in the historic 2019 GE, commentators again take note that’s primarily what it was , Brexit.
And yet despite all this Bragg , like so many others in and out of the LP cannot bring themselves to face political reality, the LP has been what it has for a century or more, in different forms for different reasons, changing the leader or any other amount of wishful thinking will not create a vehicle that will provide serious radical transformative change in society, that is not its purpose and never has been.
That vehicle has to be built, and with a democratic radical outlook that will shake the foundations of the status quo in all areas of society.
Bragg would do well to read the many articles on Spiked by Phil Mullan, especially pertinently most recent ones that fully explain that the economic Nirvana Bragg expects to develop from the re distributive and regeneration policies the likes of her and the “left” continue to perpetuate are a nonsense, they do not threaten the status quo at all, they are an appeasement and completely inadequate to forge a progressive economy let alone all other matters.
Lots more soul searching required Alice, and a continuation of the political direction you have taken re democracy and IP’s, dig deep, look for political answers, you will not find them in the bowels of “left” thinking even though you were apparently brought up with them, its tough to accept ones outlook is inadequate and frankly wrong, especially as an adult, but it is necessary if we are to build a new movement of genuine radical. democrats.
I’d say , unlike many others parasitically clinging to the LP whatever it does you have been quite bold and sincere, carry on please.

steve moxon

16th January 2020 at 10:15 am

So what exactly do you want changed, and what economic policy does this entail?
And how could you get anywhere towards gaining substantial support other than through a (supposed or actual) ‘broad church’ political party?

Isabel Cooke

16th January 2020 at 10:47 am

You have a lot to say Mr Steve but most of it is unsubstantiated assertions. Your points about the economy are completely wrong, I’m afraid. Look up libertarian municipalism and cooperatives.

Jonnie Henly

16th January 2020 at 1:42 am

I think the idea that Corbyn and McDonnell could’ve successfully withstood the demands from the party for a 2nd referendum is wishful thinking.
They did well in reality to resist such demands for as long as they did. If a party leader is going to defy the very clear will of his membership then he’d better be sure his position is secure, and given most of the PLP wanted nothing more than to be rid of him that option was firmly closed to Corbyn.

Geoff Cox

16th January 2020 at 8:06 am

I agree with you Jonnie – Corbyn and McDonnell, to their credit, held off the move to supporting a second referendum for a long time. The tragedy for Labour has been that they felt they had to take a position and they misread the mood of the country. Had Corbyn been honest in 2016 and said “It’s a free vote, but I’m campaining for leave” he would have been on the winning side, a hero amongst Brexiteers and right now Prime Minister.

Ven Oods

16th January 2020 at 8:43 am

“Corbyn and McDonnell, to their credit, held off the move to supporting a second referendum for a long time.”
Sorry Geoff, but that’s rather like saying you almost saved someone from drowning. However effortful your attempt, he/she is still dead.

Jim Lawrie

16th January 2020 at 11:17 am

Corbyn did not stand on a Brexit platform because he could not have won the leadership that way. He made no attempt to win over the membership to his position, and instead just hoped Brexit would go away. That is why he had to undermine Parliament and the electorate.
Had he immediately accepted The Referendum and argued for The Party to do the same on democratic principle, he could have routed his opponents in The Parliamentary Labour Party, and pressed, in 2016, for their deselection. But he didn’t because Theresa said there was not going to be a General Election any time soon and he did not want an independent Labour grouping in Parliament opposing him for the next 4 years. This let Ms May know who was calling the shots.
He was good at finding reasons not to act. Not a desirable quality in a leader.
His whole leadership was an attempt to sneak all sorts in through the back door in the belief that we would not notice. The new membership thought us that glib too.

Jonnie Henly

16th January 2020 at 12:25 pm

I think the idea that Corbyn could’ve pulled off that kind of mass de selection is fanciful.
Remember just after the referendum his shadow cabinet had resigned en masse and the party triggered a leadership contest purely because he had not campaigned “hard enough” for remain. If he’d tried to de select his critics, even after his re election as leader, there would’ve been outcry. His leadership would end there and then, and probably the who Labour party with it.

Let’s also not forget that Corbyn was perpetually criticised throughout his leadership for even raising the idea of de selection. It was used as a stick to beat him as a hard-line, extremist leader time and time again.

Deselecting the PLP was never going to be a viable option.

nick hunt

16th January 2020 at 2:21 pm

I make the same point frequently: had Corbyn campaigned for a real leave, he could have won a landslide for Labour and recreated a leftist movement able to embrace patriotism rather than detest and belittle it. It could have been a glorious, pro-British revolution in which the left truly gave power to the people instead of to EU nobs, and replaced the Conservatives as the ‘party of Britain’. But leftists need a real leader with huge vision and endless courage to make today’s bigoted leftists put Britain first. Someone like Trump.

Jim Lawrie

16th January 2020 at 5:58 pm

Jonnie Henley why do your posts start with opinion as conclusion then work their way back?

Corbyn was challenged by The PLP and trounced them twice. He had full command of the Party. Had he appealed to the new members to become active, then reselection could have been put on the agenda at every local branch. Corbyn lacked courage and initiative. He was surrounded by backroom, committee men, who would have woken up at night in pools of sweat, screaming in terror at the nightmare of mass and open participation. I suspect from your answer that it is anathema to you too. Trust the rank and file?

Jonnie Henly

16th January 2020 at 11:58 pm

Jim your claims about what Corbyn could’ve achieved had he done this or that are nothing more than opinion.

Corbyn never had full command of the Labour party. Certainly not enough to be able to pull off mass de selection on that scale. Has any leader of a major party in UK history?

Re selection was on the agenda at almost every local branch. It never got further than that because the majority of the party opposed it.

You seem to have a pretty fanciful idea as to what open participation actually looks like, I suspect the truth of the matter is something that wouldn’t sit so easily with you.

Jim Lawrie

16th January 2020 at 10:43 am

The demand for s second referendum came from the new, expanded membership, not Labour voters. whose thinking they set out to correct. But in their hearts, they saw the problem as the hoi polloi having the vote. They looked down on them as ignoramuses, bigots and racists.

Isabel Cooke

16th January 2020 at 10:59 am

Good comment.

Brandy Cluster

16th January 2020 at 11:57 am

This is only partly true. It is Dr. Jordan Peterson who says the left and the right actually need each other to work together because both represent different aspects of the political spectrum.

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