liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
[personal profile] liv
I feel completely out of step with most of my friends politically. Before the election, there were a lot of voices telling me I should definitely vote Labour. And nobody gave me a really strong reason why Labour would be good for the country, just that leftwingness in the abstract is good and the Tories are bad. I read the Labour manifesto, and I thought, well, maybe Labour would only be 90% as bad as the current Conservative government. They have some policies I kind of agree with, and Corbyn seems somewhat less awful than most influential Labour politicians in the last 20 years. And yeah, you have to vote for the lesser of two evils.

Then Labour lost the election and everybody was celebrating except me. It feels really horrible to be going around saying, I don't understand why all my friends are so happy about this, so I mostly kept quiet. But I really don't get it. All these people who days before were proclaiming that another five years of Tory government would literally, without hyperbole, kill people, would destroy the NHS and remove all our human rights, were suddenly... happy that we have a Tory government, because they have a smaller majority than before. It felt like they were celebrating a football score where the underdogs had only narrowly lost instead of being trounced. Or perhaps people really believed that this time Corbyn would change his spots and actually leverage the slim majority to start opposing the Conservative government.

Of course that hasn't happened. Corbyn has continued political manoeuvring to depose any MPs in his own party who don't sufficiently perform enthusiasm for their Great Leader. And has continued to do absolutely nothing to oppose the Conservatives, supporting not only Brexit, but May's ridiculous plan to make Britain economically competitive by deregulating everything and driving down wages. Hardly in line with the workers' rights platform he claims to espouse. Now he'se gone full on xenophobe, foreigners are coming over here (excuse me, they're not even coming of their own free will in his rhetoric, they're getting 'imported'), and taking our jobs.

My first election was 1997 and I felt much the same: everybody around me was celebrating Blair's victory, and I was horrified. In fact Blair turned out to be much worse than naive little 18-year-old Liv was expecting, but at least in 1997 the Labour party had actually won the election, and I could see why Labour supporters would be pleased about that. Now Labour have lost the election, and show every sign of continuing to be completely useless in opposition, not just failing to oppose the government in general, but not even offering any alternative the most destructive policies I've seen in my lifetime. I would be sad, but might understand it, if Corbyn were driving a hard bargain, offering support for Brexit in exchange for guarantees on issues he considers a priority, whether that's keeping the NHS afloat, UK labour rights, helping people in poverty, protecting EU citizens in Britain and British citizens abroad, or even simply the renationalization programme he's committed to. But no, he's purging his party of Blairites, dissenters and europhiles, and letting May do whatever she likes.

And I was wrong in all my other predictions too. I didn't think May would last a week after the disaster of a general election where she gambled away her majority, and there she is still Prime Minister. I didn't think the Lib Dems would end up with a leadership election, nor that they would select Vince Cable who had been ruled out several years before on the grounds of being too old. Much less that they would get on the Brexit, anti-foreigner bandwagon.

I feel that I'm missing a piece, somehow. People keep telling me that Labour is good for working class people, and I just don't see it. I could buy an argument that the benefits of EU membership are more palpable to well-off middle class people. Lots of people have told me that I'm just voting my class interests by making keeping us in the EU a political priority. But I just can't see how any of this is good for working class people, or non-working disabled people, or precariously under-employed people. If I could be convinced that the current political situation is actually benefitting people who are worse off than me, I would be able to join in the celebrations. But nobody explains it to me, I'm obviously just a privileged jerk for not seeing what's so great about an ineffectual Labour opposition and complete withdrawal from every vaguely Europe-related collaboration.

It is possible that Corbyn's purges will bring him a more united party better placed to win an election in 2022. But by 2022 I'm not sure how much will be left of the country to elect a Labour government. Both in a literal sense that I don't expect the UK to last that long, I expect the union to break up, and more broadly. The economic hit from Brexit, the continued sell-off the NHS, the increased xenophobia, the whole programme of reducing immigration by making Britain a less desirable place to live than Romania or even Afganistan... I expect a significant number of people not to make it to 2022. And when it comes, we'll elect a racist who will find an excuse why it isn't actually practical to offer free school meals to white British children, in place of a racist who is ideologically committed to the proposition that starving children is a good way to incentivize people to stop being poor.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-07-25 10:02 pm (UTC)
hatam_soferet: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hatam_soferet
Hugs. I got nothing but that sounds crappy.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-07-25 10:17 pm (UTC)
hatam_soferet: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hatam_soferet
For what it's worth, I think it sounds absolutely dire, and I kind of can't fathom how it's possible for a country to grow so mean.

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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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