Dear Labour Party,
I’ll start off by telling you that I love you and want the best for you.
I’ve voted for you as long as I’ve been able to vote (which I think may have been a local election in 1989) and I will vote for you as long as you continue to exist. I think I even may have bought Michael Foot’s ill fated election manifesto back in 1983. Yes I am a bit weird and obviously pretty old as well!
Today I have been feeling incredibly sad. Sad and angry. I apologise to anyone I snapped at today (colleagues, neighbours, my own children). I feel sad because you are tearing yourself into little pieces. I am sad because instead of uniting in solidarity you are ripping out your own heart and stabbing yourself in your soul.
I caught myself shouting at someone today. I was shouting about Jeremy Corbyn and why he must go. I didn’t vote for him and maybe have never bought into the cult around him. But then in my heart I know he has a point. We need a government that gets to grips with the problems that have ripped our country in two. We need investment not private finance initiatives and economic planning rather than a slavish devotion to market forces. We need something that looks suspciously like socialism.
But then I check myself Labour Party. Like many in the Parliamentary Party, I am a pragmatist. I am not ideologically pure. I am a property owner and *gasp* a landlord. I live in the real world not a fluffy pink paradise full of Marxist Leninist unicorns (though that does sound like a rather wonderful place to live). I understand that business creates wealth and people like money and shopping more than they like revolutionary art.
So here’s a thought Labour Party. How about you start off by acknowledging each others’strengths? Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have strong ideas that speak to the communities ravaged by decades of Blatcherism. Tom Watson and Alan Johnson are pragmatists. They know how to do deals and make things work. They will not scare away the more timid voters – though their policies could probably do with a bit more pep and fizz.
I suggest you all sit down round a big table and take turns to talk. Would it really be that hard? Rather than listen to your mates in Progress or Momentum,listen to each other. Then take turns to talk. About what really matters – which isn’t scoring points in an ideological pissing competition, but getting the Tories out and helping the people who have been left to rot for the past 35 years.
I cried as I did the washing up as I looked at my eleven year old son and realised I was about his age when the process began that has resulted in the chaos of the last week. I am 46 in about six weeks time. I hope that when he is 46 that he will smile and laugh at memories of his crazy old mother and look out into a world that values him and his friends and all the other eleven year olds in this strange country of ours. I don’t want him to be crying to his children; I want him to be beaming with pride. Labour Party you owe it to him to get your act together.
Finally Labour Party I want you to do some homework. Yes I am a teacher, in case you hadn’t guessed already. Go out into the parts of Britain that most enthusiastically embraced Brexit. Go to Stoke and Walsall and Gateshead and Burnley. Go to left behind Britain and ask people who they want to be your leader. Don’t ask the PLP or Progress or Momentum or Blue Labour or Labour List or even those Marxist Leninist unicorns. Ask the call centre worker who thinks that Nigel Farage is a good bloke. Ask the women who work in Asda. Ask bus drivers and builders. If they say they want Jeremy Corbyn, then he stays and you all deal with it. If they think we need someone different then he bows out gracefully. I know it’s hard to let go but if the evidence is overwhelming then you have to take it on the chin.
This is not going to be easy for you Labour Party. But it will be worth it. Think of the Britain we could be building. Please stop fighting and get on with the job of making the future a better place.