Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Labour is turning into the Nasty Party

An incredibly powerful piece signed "Bill Haydon" at the New Statesman's "Staggers blog" yesterday suggested that Labour is turning into the nasty party.

Having shared this on Facebook and Twitter I've already had one comeback from a fellow Copeland resident involved in local politics (and one who is not currently a Conservative party member though I dare to hope this may change soon) suggesting that Labour became the nasty party years ago, and she certainly has a point.

"Bill Haydon" is an account the NS for writers who, "for whatever reason, cannot write under their own names."

I presume this particular "Bill Haydon" is a moderate Labour MP or office bearer who is already in enough trouble with the Corbyn brigade and didn't want to get even more grief by signing his or her name to the article.

The article stars by referring to Theresa May's speech of fourteen years ago and crediting the Conservatives with making an effort to change in response, and suggests that Labour has been moving in the opposite direction.

Here are a few extracts:

"Consider how the words “Labour Party” and “antisemitism row” have gone from being something that would shock you, to something that you note with a weary resignation. 20 years ago, the words you’d expect would be “Tory party” and “race row”."

"They aren’t perfect, the Tories, and I can’t say I’ll ever fully trust them on race but there is currently only one party having these accusations thrown with a regularity that has become monotonous. You know what party that is."

"Or, should you choose to look at abuse, look at how certain women have had it thrown at them in the past nine months for differing from the party line. Sure, you’ll respond to me, Diane Abbott received a load of sexist and racist abuse over the years on the left of the party. Sure, I’ll grant you that.

But, and here’s the distinction, this came, vastly, primarily, massively, from outside the party. The abuse thrown at Stella Creasey during the Syria debate last year, at Jess Phillips this year, at Liz Kendall since last year – this came from within (or at least, from stated supporters of) the party. And sure – just as not all the abuse thrown at Abbott was racial or sexual – not all thrown at these three women was sexual. But a chunk was. And it has been noticed."

"This is made worse by the left’s assumption of virtue and compassion. We are left because we bleeding care, OK, not like those Tories. And so we ignore what our opponents are talking about and fight our imaginings of what they are talking about.

Say, benefits. Let’s look at that. The fact is, a conservative may care as much for the poor as you. They may think that the way out of poverty is to remove the state, to encourage self-reliance.
When Iain Duncan Smith spoke about work setting you free and making you healthier and more fulfilled, the instant response I saw – not from politicians but from party members - was to make Arbeit Macht Frei references."
"And now it’s bearing toxic fruit, that tree we’ve planted. All those decades of demonising the enemy and refusing to engage their arguments has left us with this. A movement that is willing to sacrifice things we espoused to believe in – anti-racism, anti-sexism, understanding of mental health issues, there, three very pertinent and immediate issues – we jettison them in an instant if it advances our cause. A cause less and less people are drawn to. A cause turning in on itself, listening only to its own rhetoric, dancing only to its own music."

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