Dear Labour

Dear Labour,

I don’t quite know what to do with myself. This Coalition has made my life so stressful, I can’t bear the possibility of another Parliamentary term under a Conservative Party mindset that knows false economy and societal fabric ripping better than anyone. I really need an alternative and you are the only one actually electorally viable. But I’m stuffed: you have no intention of being that alternative, do you? Not really.

Oh, yes, sometimes I see chinks of light – taking on Energy and Murdoch (albeit temporarily) – that made you look promising for a while. My hope started to grow a little after your conference last year. For the first time, I started to believe that a vote for Labour might not entail me having to hold my nose and settle for the least right-wing party of viable governance just to get rid of the present one. For the first time, I believed that someone – Ed – would champion The Commons, value common human decency, stand up to the overly powerful and the too bigs to fail.. that we might yet get a mature socialism in Britain through enlightened Labour Party policies. For the first time in ages I thought I saw comprehension, courage, credible strength and integrity.

This Coalition blames the poor for being poor and picks on everyone bar those who really caused this mess and continue to do so. You, being the exception, of course. The Coalition and Mainstream Media have had a field day blaming you. You’ve taken hit after hit even when it was not always yours to take or yours to take alone. This Coalition picks on one demographic after another with the express purpose of pitting them to blame each other and cause division and, over the last four years you have been too in awe and the most dire of Oppositions. You should have kicked up merry hell at the insulting governance of this regime but you chose to squander more opportunities than a petulant teenager and failed to properly stick up for the citizens in the face of continuous denigration. But then, why would you, when you can’t or won’t even defend yourself… Britain’s vulnerable are made more so. The dependent are made more so. More vulnerable and more dependent but with less assistance and facing ever more unreasonable and downright ludicrous demands, delivered with an increasing hubris, callousness and ignorance that is breathtaking and heartbreaking.

It is an affront to Humanity, Justice and Democracy and you are virtually holding us down so that the Coalition can more readily beat us. Of course, this scourge of decades is actually neoliberalism rather than conservatism – gods know there must be conservatives out there who wonder what the hell happened to their lovely individual-freedom-for-all and life-is-what-you-make-it notions. But you are Neoliberals too. Just with a slightly kinder face. There’s a good reason you are known as ‘Tory Lite’.

If I wanted another authoritarian Tory government I could have one in a flash. Never has it been made so accessible since you are seeming bound to provide one, whoever wins in 2015. People say of you politicians, you mainstream parties: ‘they’re all the same’ and I know this to be simplistic if not a mistake but ye gads: you sure do seem to be intent on proving me wrong. You are rendering yourself superfluous.

So, I am back to having to either hold my nose and vote for you or spoil my ballot if I am to stay true to my conscience. To rub it in, you seem content with this. You not only have your own target percentage but you are mollified by it! You have no sense of urgency about taking the country with you in confident hope and, instead, are satisfied with acquiring power through the protest of floating voters who can’t lower themselves to vote UKip at one end and an electorate so desperate at the other that it will settle for the relief of seeing you as a lesser evil. Now, I don’t know if you are terrified of the right-wing press, if you truly support neoliberalism, if you really and genuinely don’t like or understand the electorate and/or if you just have no clue what you’re doing because you can’t imagine beyond the ideas of a has-been think tank. What a waste of money! Tell Ed it’s actually cheaper to just read the newspapers, watch the news, ask the unions and read the thoughts of bloggers and tweeters. But can’t you see for yourself? Can’t you think for yourself? If all you wanted was for someone else to do your homework only to come up with policy ideas the Tories would and are implementing, you could have just crossed the House and joined the original Neocons. That, at least, would seem authentic.

You just don’t care enough, Labour. Or perhaps you’re overwhelmed and part of you doesn’t want to win. That would be somewhat understandable. Maybe you care so much that you’re paralysed by the fear of really explaining and managing the true enormity of things. Is it performance anxiety? I’m anxious about your performance, anyway. You’re not presenting an alternative. There are alternatives. You have no counter narrative. There are counter-narratives. You are, too much, more of the same – inept, condescending and patriarchal – merely with less confidence.

And, you know, this is not so much about Ed, for me. Four years ago I thought Cameron would be a crap leader and I was right. Four years ago I thought Nick Clegg might have good leadership qualities and I was wrong. Is Ed a good leader? Who knows.. Would he make a good Prime Minister? I hope so! I don’t know if he’s ‘geeky’ or ‘weird’ – whatever the heck that means, these days – and I don’t much care. I don’t care, either, if he isn’t the guy down the pub à la Farage. And I most certainly don’t care if he makes eating look difficult. I care more about leaders and would-be leaders making our lives less difficult and being able to afford to grapple with my own bacon sandwich.

I don’t need patronising with your benevolent patriarchy. I don’t want you to see prosperity as growing more crap that no one needs but that wastes precious resources. I don’t need jingoism nor the phrases of abstract fashion. I need you to find ways to not subsidise profiteering employers so that taxpayers can fund essential public services rather than top-up benefits.

I need an economy and financial system which thinks fiduciary responsibility is a good thing. I want a sensible, uncomplicated tax system. I want a greener economy that preserves habitability and respects the planet. I want Social Security not a flimsy, judgemental you’ll-fare-well-if-we-say-so. I want the next generation to get the best education, to have enthusiasm for Life and confidence in their futures. I want them to have futures. I need an income I can live on that doesn’t kill me in the effort and I want a state pension and a health service I can rely on. I want some confidence in my future, too. I don’t need any more petty, unreasonable demands and sanctions to justify this austerity false consciousness and neither do my kids. I don’t need you to “be tougher than the Tories” and you shouldn’t think you would need to be – not if you have faith in your own abilities and in We, the People. I might need help to apply my talents but I certainly don’t need persuading or motivating into a better life, thanks.

I want a sustainable and ethical economy from the bottom up and the top down. I don’t want foreign policy that bullies, tramples, destroys and pilfers. I don’t want trade deals that champion parasitical corporations. I don’t want the plastic future of the likes of Monsanto and Big Pharma as a way to feed and treat the world. I don’t want my human and citizenry worth to depend on my market value. I don’t want to live in a ‘Truman Show’, a ‘WALL-E’, a ‘Minority Report’ or a ‘Hunger Games’ film. I want to be trusted and believed in. I want leadership with vision, kindness, common sense and grace. I want a healthy planet. I want Human values. I want Justice.

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45 thoughts on “Dear Labour

  1. Reblogged this on jaynelinney and commented:
    Juli speaks for me here –
    I want a sustainable and ethical economy from the bottom up and the top down. I don’t want foreign policy that bullies, tramples, destroys and pilfers. I don’t want trade deals that champion parasitical corporations. I don’t want the plastic future of the likes of Monsanto and Big Pharma as a way to feed and treat the world. I don’t want my human and citizenry worth to depend on my market value. I don’t want to live in a ‘Truman Show’, a ‘Wall-E’, a ‘Minority Report’ or a ‘Hunger Games’ film. I want to be trusted and believed in. I want leadership with vision, kindness, common sense and grace. I want a healthy planet. I want Human values. I want justice.

    WHY won’t Labour LISTEN

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  2. Thank you Juli for a copy of your letter “Dear Labour” I found myself reading every meaningful word with a shared hope & passion that you I obviously feel & believe in . You are a compassionate caring member of the human race whom I greatly admire . May I suggest you submit your letter to every Trade Union organisation within the UK & The Guardian newspaper.
    A letter such as this should never go unnoticed or unrecognised or be silently forgotten. For myself & I know I am not alone in saying to you Juli , I’m party to your voice , heart & brain in these troubled days.

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  3. Very nicely put. But are you in the Labour party gathering support for this view? That is the only way it will change.

    However well meaning, appealing to a bunch of failures that have already made up their mind isn’t going to change anything.

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  4. A copy is going to my Labour (Blairite) MP, who has stopped answering my emails. Thank you so much Juli for putting so clearly my jumbled thoughts into succinct words that will touch base for so many people. Months ago I asked my MP if Labour wanted elected, needless to say, no reply. Thank you xx

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  5. very thoughtful and well written I am a labour supporter and always will be but you make a lot of good points and sense you should send a copy to ed miliband and good luck!

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  6. Pingback: Dear Labour

  7. You also write for me – those words are what I want to say to Ed and his party but I couldn’t have put it so eloquently.
    I too wish that Ed would listen to the people and not his spin doctors who know nothing about the way the majority of people live.
    Ed, do something, anything that will give us hope as I couldn’t bear it if we ended up with a Con?Ukip coalition as I know most of us would be culled…

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  8. Miliband is turning me into a conspiracy theorist; how did the neoliberals manage to so comprehensively stitch up British politics in their favour so that now there isn’t any form of opposition to it in the mainstream?

    I’m now 97% convinced Blair and co have deliberately turned Labour into this useless non-opposition so the neolib parasites can feed freely and without interference. The frustrating thing is how well it has worked – people will still vote Labour.

    We need a revolution – hopfully bloody – in the Labour party or the unionsshould start all over again with a new party. Maybe the Greens.

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  9. Can’t help thinking that the phrase, “Talk is cheap” may apply to the above writing’s”. Also another phrase that come’s to mind, could be. “Fine word’s butter no Parsnip’s”.

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  10. Well said. But will they listen? At Pat’s Petition and CarerWatch we try and defend sick and disabled people against the current persecution under welfare reform. Labour started it off and the Coalition are certainly carrying it on.

    Where is compassion? Has it become a dirty word? Is there any hope of Labour helping us? Making us safe.

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  11. I agree with you but I also think that Ed M. is very constrained from moving too far left (much as I would wish). I know that you know what I’m going to say but I’ll say it anyway.

    EM is lumbered with the legacy of New Labour. 50+% of the PLP are Blairite/New Labour, the more extreme of which would rather see Cameron returned than the LP move left. These MPs were handpicked by Blair and Mandelson. The left in the LP and PLP have been marginalised and ignored since Kinnock… and there is always the real possibility of a SDP-style walkout, which would ensure a continuation of Osborne’s neofeudalism.

    Then there is the right wing press and the Blairite/LD Guardian. Anything EM says is twisted, ridiculed or misrepresented. The campaign against EM personally is a disgrace .. much of it orchestrated by Mandelson and minions. The press does not decide how people will vote but it very much determines the field of debate by its editing. Ditto BBC. Miliband may or may not be too cautious but anyone could see the danger in his speaking too freely.

    Finally, we have a consciousness in society that has been moulded by 33y of Thatcherism, individualism and political cynicism. We need a complete transformation of our economy, our energy sources, mitigation of climate change and the development of social cohesiveness. I doubt that the politically uninterested general public are ready yet to see what is needed and there would be all the hostile forces of the power elite mobilised to poison against such changes.

    This government is more dangerous than any in my lifetime. I believe that the aim is to lock us into a free for all for the corporations using TTIP, TPP and certainly TISA – corporate fascism. Whatever one criticises Ed M about, that is not his intention. Whether he will be able to halt the corporate kleptocracy and whether he is brave enough are the fundamental issues for me. Of course, he’ll disappoint. He is hindered by his own political experiences, neokeynesianism, the PLP, the power elite and the public levels of cognitive dissonance. However, he offers some hope of changing the disastrous course we are currently on whereas, with any other political group (however much I might agree with the watermelons), there is none.

    I agree with Neil, trying to change the LP is the way forward until a better option evolves. To paraphrase Gramsci – the old is dying but the new is not yet born. Can’t happen soon enough (for both of us 🙂 )

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    • Interesting contribution on the old is dying but the new is not yet born . Maybe you & Neil should start by removing Darth Vader & his Pilates crew of Prospect & IPPCC . Now I’m wondering how old one has to become before one is reborn as a socialist. The Labour Party was created by unemployed disenfranchised working class people before I was even 20 years before I was born . So are we all now having to go back to the starting post to try again ? Millions of disenchanted people are living in in despair with no hope of a future . You entice these millions to believe in Gramsci . I ask them to believe in themselves & their own under developed power. Seems to myself that some of you in the LP spent too long under the University cherry tree counting the bee’s ! Education, Education, Education.

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    • As you know, Sue, I agree with most of what you say, albeit that I tried to make a point of not making this post about Ed. I’m sure I’ve talked about him in a better light elsewhere! I would just add that the fact that I understand the pathology and psychology etc, is all very well but it brings me icy comfort and does nothing to diminish my impatience and irritation with the party. In fact, I think it sometimes makes it worse. “The old is dying but the new is not yet born” – maybe but in my end is my beginning – there are rarely definitive lines in such a continuum and, I confess: I’m struggling to even recognise gestation! I know Labour would still be an improvement on the Tories and that getting them out is a priority. However, I expect Labour to work at being something I can support rather than have to opt for out of a justified fear of the current administration. I guess I expect more and maybe some readers will think I’ve been harsh but I’m just not wearing my sympathetic hat today and I don’t feel like propping them up, excusing them or compensating for their shortcomings. But then, I don’t feel that I have to – I’m not a party member! :-/

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      • As you know Juli, my frustration with the LP more than matches your own. I have been fighting against New Labour, and the ’94 coup d’etat achieved by a small cabal of MPs, since before John Smith was elected. My focus for concern is the criminal madness of Ed Balls’ insistence on matching Osborne’s cuts – this false contention that there is no money, underpins and informs every policy proposal. Ed Balls’ new alliance with Peter Mandelson, against the Milibandites, is profoundly worrying.

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