Yes, are you feeling disenfranchised? As in, could you vote for any party in the UK without a feeling of dismay, and a peg on your nose?

Now, as far as Mrs May is concerned, there’s not much likelihood of a general election coming along soon, and yet, you never know. We live in a state of constant uncertainty here, with a vote for her deal, or a no-deal, going to the wire (see timetable in my last post).  Meanwhile, there are a large number of MPs in the House, from all parties, against a no-deal, but do they have the power to stop a no-deal, which Mrs May has refused to take off the table? It’s uncertain.  Nevertheless, Cabinet Ministers are apparently threatening to resign over this and a few Tory MPs, might, and I say might, resign from their party because of Mrs May’s stance on Brexit.

But would any join the magnificent/insignificant (you choose) 7 Labour MPs who yesterday (18 February) resigned from the Labour whip and set up what they call the Independent Group, because of Brexit and other very important issues like the antisemitism within the Labour Party, on which topic Corbyn is so very feeble in his attempts to stamp out. Much muttering on Twitter has them as either heroes or villains in about equal amounts, I’d say.  There’s either, ‘oh at last, here are some Labour MPs with the courage to stand up for Remainers’, and at the other end of the spectrum, it’s, ‘you traitors’ and worse.

Here’s what I think. I have said some very harsh words about Corbyn (see last post) and I meant every one of them, but I would never not be a supporter of Labour. You don’t leave a party – you argue within it – and if you do leave, you’re doomed as Independents to become nobodies, if you aren’t already. I mean, who are these seven MPs? I’ve heard of two, but the others?

Remember the Limehouse Four or the Gang of Four?  In 1981, Bill Rodgers, Roy Jenkins, David Owen and Shirley Williams broke away from the Labour Party and formed the SDP (Social Democratic Party).  All four were heavyweights both politically and intellectually and yet i) they did a lot of damage and ii) it was the end of their political careers. It doesn’t do any good to try and create a third party – oh, wait a minute we’ve got one already. And I believe Chuka* is hoping that a new party will be created by the end of the year. This sounds a bit lightweight to me – where are their ideas, policies and principles? OK, they don’t like Corbyn and they don’t like the way he’s dealing with Brexit – quelle surprise, nor do many other Labour MPs but the majority of those Labour MPs are working within the party not outside it – watch for the Yvonne Cooper amendment along with Peter Kyle’s; both are fighting for a sensible resolution to this challenging situation.

This little splinter (because it’s not important enough to be a split) could gain more defecting MPs, but they may not. However, their decision is badly timed, badly judged and they’re not as important as they think they are, and they’ll realise that soon enough.

And yet, Labour should listen to criticism.  Because what I find so totally galling and beyond frustrating is that, even with the fine mess we’re in, which can put totally and absolutely on to the Conservative party (and Mrs May’s absent negotiating skills) Labour is trailing the Tories in the opinion polls. And why? Because, everyone can see that Corbyn is not acting as a true Leader of the Opposition and opposing Brexit.  There’s much activity in the House and on the Opposition benches, but we see you, Corbyn, we see you. You are not an effective leader of either your party or the Opposition, so why vote for you to be the Prime Minister?  Please.  Labour Party, of which I was once a member, vote in another Labour leader.

And am I feeling disenfranchised? No, I have the wonderful Caroline Lucas as my MP. She’s a Green MP, the only one we have, but she gets my vote.  She’s an excellent constituency MP and if you hear her speak in the House of Commons, she’s a proper grown-up. Caroline Lucas for PM I say! Because, actually, this national nervous breakdown we’re currently having is so very unimportant in comparison to global warming and climate change.  Put Caroline Lucas in charge of our nation and I’d be a lot happier about life, I can tell you!

Penny Kocher, 19 February 2019

*The seven MPs are:

Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Ann Coffey, Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes, Angela Smith and Gavin Shuker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Are you feeling disenfranchised?

  • 19th February 2019 at 13:17
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    Well said as ever. I’m a member of the Labour Party and voted for Corbyn as leader as I didn’t want a Blairite but he’s not challenging Maybot enough. I suppose the party is concerned about the Labour constituencies that voted leave. Those constituencies are starting to realise how much worse off they’ll be post Brexit but too late. Unless that is Corbyn and the party get behind a second vote. Fingers crossed. And I envy you having Lucas as your MP. She is amazing

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  • 19th February 2019 at 13:33
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    Very well put, Penny. I think the significance of this is not that the motley bunch of neverwozzas (a nice John le Carre word…”not so much a has-been as a neverwozza…”) has flounced out, but the fact that it happened at all. It pretty much scuppers any chance Labour had of winning a GE in the forseeable future, so it’s incredibly irresponsible and self-indulgent – but it’s equally irresponsible, not to say stupid, of the leadership not to have done more to keep this lot inside the supposedly ‘broad church’. And much of this is down to Corbyn’s prevarication on Brexit and disregard of what appears to what most of the membership and Labour voters want, a ‘Final Say’ public vote. I read last week that a bunch of the members who’d worked on the conference resolution that called for a public vote if a GE could not be forced, had written to Corbyn demanding that he stopped backsliding from the resolution, and lived up to his claim that it’s the Labour membership that drive policy. It’s tragic that Corbyn has failed to capitalise on the enormous popularity he gained – he’s snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. And I can’t help but think that whilst Corbyn is probably a decent and sincere man, he’s in thrall to some pretty bad people – posh-boy faux-intellectual Seamus Milne (Winchester school, PPE at Oxford, Grauniad columnist…) and the really rather seedy Len McCluskey (elected as union leader with a wafer-thin 4% majority on a 12% turnout…); both avowedly pro-Brexit and very hardline. I don’t think this can end well…

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  • 19th February 2019 at 22:56
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    As a long time Liberal/ Lib Dem voter, though coming from a Labour home, feeling disenfranchised is not new to me. For close on 50 years, I’ve soldiered on despite everything, even the infamous and disastrous Cameron -led Coalition. I always thought that there was a chance, a chance that things would improve and that people would care. But now I feel sick to the pit of my stomach. I am sick to death of being told by politicians and pundits of all colour that ‘the people have spoken’ because as one of the 48% who voted to stay in the EU, I certainly haven’t and I am one of the people. My vote is being ignored and no one seems to care enough to do anything about it. Corbyn and the current Labour Party are completely useless.
    I fear for the future of my grandchildren and I’m in despair at my inabilty to do anything about it. Disenfranchised? I’ll say, on all fronts.

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  • 4th March 2019 at 15:52
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    Proportional representation is the answer. I know it throws up coalitions but they can work. For example when I lived in Dublin there were 15 names on the voting card and I was advised ( by a Professor of Politics at Trinity College) to vote for my preferences right to the last name. In this way I was able to give my first preference to the Gay candidate and my last to the equivalent of a conservative. Of course the conservative got one of the seats and the Gay didn’t get elected but that was in the 1990’s and there is now a married gay pm in Ireland. It really felt good to actually exercise your political muscles and maybe make the powers that be take note.

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  • 4th March 2019 at 16:54
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    I was only expatiating yesterday that I feel disenfranchised! It’s so dispiriting that Labour has politicians of the calibre of Keir Starmer, Harriet Harman, Ben Bradshaw and so on, yet the leadership stick to ancient dogma and refuse to properly deal with anti seminism and bullying. If some of the heavyweight Blairites left to join Chuka’s gang, then Corbyn might be in serious trouble. But unlikely to happen.

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  • 15th March 2019 at 09:23
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    I could not agree more – Lindy, you have said all that I feel (although, having no children of my own, it’s the future of my grand-nephews and nieces that I fear for.) I marched in October and was heartened to see so many grey heads. The arguments for a People’s Vote have been made but the politicians appear incapable of recognising their own double standards. I will be marching again at the end of the month but whatever the outcome, this cannot end well. We are the laughing stock of the world.

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  • 22nd March 2019 at 02:27
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    I’ve just seen the petition for revoking Article50. (Petitions UK Government and Parliament) and have signed it. This way I feel that at least I’m doing something. Worth a try?
    I’m too far away from London to get to the March.

    Reply

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