icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
13 Dec, 2019 16:02

Labour has been waging a culture war against its own base for decades, fixating on liberalism instead (by George Galloway)

Labour has been waging a culture war against its own base for decades, fixating on liberalism instead (by George Galloway)

Not since the election of 1935 has the Parliamentary Labour Party been so small. When political dinosaurs roamed the earth a split Labour Party collapsed to the challenge of the Great Depression and seemed bound for extinction.

Ten years later they had their biggest ever election win sweeping Mr Churchill the War Leader from office.

My point is not merely to put in scale what happened in the British general election but also to illustrate the famous truth that there is no "final victory," and no "final defeat" either. It's never over.

I consistently predicted, on RT and everywhere, that Labour seats would go down like dominoes, that Labour would lose dozens maybe scores of seats throughout the Midlands, the north-west and north-east of England, and in Wales. All my expectations came to pass as counting continued into a real-life Friday the 13th for Labour.

It was Brexit of course – only the foolhardy deny their own electorate on such a matter, and so brazenly and for so long – but not only Brexit. In former premier Harold MacMillan's words "it's never one damned thing, it's one damned thing after another."

Labour's defiance of its own supporters behind its 'red-wall' – seats in some cases it had held for a hundred years, seemed to put the tin-hat on things for the British industrial and post industrial heartlands. For American readers, imagine Michigan, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. 

And that's after many years of amused bemused tolerance of an increasingly metropolitan liberal Labour Party – which regularly parachuted in such liberals in Labour livery into what were until now safe Labour seats. So, for example, that well known coal-miner Tony Blair dropped in for a while as the MP for the mining town of Sedgefield with his fancy London Barrister ways…

Because these kinds of faces of Labour had no connection to industry itself – they probably thought Swarfega was a Balearic island – they saw their task as not to rage against the dying of the mining and manufacturing light, but to persuade their people to go quietly into that good night. Close the pit, open a heritage park, shut the factory, put up a shopping mall in its stead. Where once were 40-hour blue collar union jobs with decent pay the gig-economy would have to suffice. It's "flexible," don't you know…

Labour's descent into the snake-pit of identity politics began a long time ago. I should know, I was there. Under the influence of the 'Euro-Communists', an ideological breakaway from Moscow in the 1980s, it was imagined that the working class – and thus its class interests – had withered away, and that new "communities" (many of them imagined) would have to be the building blocks for Labour political power.

Also on rt.com ‘Irresistible force of Scottish independence meets immovable object of BoJo majority’: Alex Salmond on Tory ‘wipeout’ in Scotland

It's rather as if someone persuaded you that there was something called a "football community" which could be dealt with collectively. But members of the football community – people like myself who are football crazy – have nothing in common with each other. In fact as fans of rival teams, we oftentimes hate each other. Political "offers" to such an imagined community can therefore often exacerbate divisions as well as angering those who think football is 22 fools running around chasing a pig's bladder.

Transpose this, thus: If you are a white, heterosexual, married man or woman with kids, seeing your supposed party endlessly fixating about race, gender, sexual politics and the wonders of liberalism, the EU and all that jazz-hands might well begin to make you feel, well, left out.

If you are a lady of a certain age, you might feel a bit left out at your party worshiping at the altar of youth, a 'Youthquake' may for you be a distant memory. When your party picks as its plum-policy free, nationalised broadband, you may momentarily wonder what they are talking about.

If you live beyond the 'red wall' you may just wonder why almost ALL of the top leaders of a party depending on Northern voters had virtually adjoining constituencies in North London.

London left-wing politics should be imagined as a hot-house where only the most exotic political flowers bloom. Nice for a visit but with not much in common with the colder climate to which you are returning home.

I have long proselytized for the view, confirmed amply in the election, that for decades Labour has been conducting a kind of culture war against its own voting base. Instead of country and patriotism the party worshipped the supra-nationalism of the EU. More comfortable with the flag of Bolivia or Venezuela than with their own country's flag. More interested in the human rights of the criminal than with their victims. Endlessly looking for small minority blocs to patronize, careless that over-identification with one bloc may come at the price of alienation from another, much larger.

Boris Johnson just went through Labour's 'red wall' like a knife through butter. It will be neither quick nor easy to rebuild. There was no Youthquake – only a Brexitquake. Damage is clearly extensive and considerable. There is no word yet of the number of casualties but there will clearly be many. The Labour Party itself is merely the first of them.

If you like this story, share it with a friend!

Subscribe to RT newsletter to get stories the mainstream media won’t tell you.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.