The summer of political vandalism

This country got smashed to bits this summer. A big decision had to be made, and the people made it. What is most shocking, dumbfounding and gobsmacking of all, is that not a single one of the people in the country’s pay knew what to do.

For 52% of those who voted to leave, may feel as though they ‘got their country back’. For others it feels like it’s somehow gone forever – and it’s not even about leaving the EU. It’s about what this country has become in the four months since the real campaigning got under way.

Enough has been said about the referendum, and whichever camp you voted for, the outcomes have been unedifying. Lies and walk-outs have been the only deeds done so far by the players in both Remain and Leave camps. A Conservative Party where the three main actors have walked away in Cameron, Johnson and Gove, and the fourth main player, Osborne, lying low – hoping it all blows over – in order to save his political skin.

With Andrea Leadsom having dropped out of the Conservative leadership race it might seem that body politic of the governing party has got its punch-drunk legs back. What was most telling in the few days that passed for ‘Leadsom-mania’ was that her CV was analysed for her financial competence rather than her political cache. For Theresa May, cleaning up the blood has not even started,  no matter how much of a united front they put on it.

A party that has been unconvincing for 6 years in both its long-term strategy and its demonstration of competency, has butchered public services and still not made any difference to the nation’s debt, had no contingency plan whatsoever – because the main players were playing for their careers and not the country’s benefit. Now that party has to initiate the process of withdrawal from Europe, under the terms that it, in the main, campaigned for.

A collective dereliction of duty of the highest order. But thankfully we have more than one political party to demonstrate leadership and cool heads in a time of crisis, right?

This past four weeks has been nothing short of a calamity for Labour. Jo Cox, a backbench MP was killed in the street, six days before the referendum, the must unjust and tragic of punishments for someone serving their community. Last week Tony Blair (and by association, his government) was found to have gone into conflict with Iraq, without credible justification. Since the referendum the party has imploded with divisions and attempts to oust Jeremy Corbyn. Almost the entire Parliamentary Party wants to get remove him from leadership and replacing him with….

And yet again, there is absolutely no credible plan.No clear logic by or strategy by those most hostile to his continued leadership.

The Labour Party are in tatters can now no longer be considered in any way credible opposition, no matter who leads them – such is the divide in its ranks. In the time of a national crisis, when the country needed one party to hold its nerve, it failed most spectacularly of all. Corbyn might have a groundswell of support from the Labour membership, but nowhere near enough to make a difference. The electorate no matter how skewed their logic might appear, vote for parties in general elections – and one man will never be a party.

Angela Eagle, or any other challenger that might come forward, lack political will and charisma. Corbyn, has bucketloads of the former but sadly none of the latter. There is not one senior member of the Labour Party who seems to have demonstrated either personality or strategy for the way forward.  At a time when their enemy is weakest, the opposition has fatally wounded itself.

Labours ideals and values, although needed more than ever in the increasingly fraught and complex society of the 21st century, are out of synch with modern society. It is a party based on unionisation and the labour movement, in an age when the labour movement is either not permitted or not applicable.  Mass industrialisation is dead in the UK. Having squandered the opportunity to provide jobs and long-term futures last time round, they’ve lost the trust of the people who were their base.

Labour had its last chance to revolutionise its funding sources, its priority and its ideology after losing the 2010 election. It had a chance to reassess its values and identify the communities it would lose – to a more sinister politics – if it didn’t campaign for the values and issues they care about; whatever it did, it didn’t do it well.

The referendum more than anything else, told Labour, and those left-of-centre voters, that the rest of the country no longer feels the same way; that lies can be told about the funding of social institutions as vital as the NHS can tolerated, but the threat to one’s freedoms or personal income by the threat of overseas agencies cannot.

Perhaps we no longer live in a society where the dominant idea is that we try to look after each other and rub along to the best of our abilities despite it all; the paradigm has shifted and our individual needs are more pressing than those with whom we share a road, a neighbourhood, a city and a state.

A society where bankers, CEOs and politicians can fail and mislead the public while collecting handsome financial rewards is now just an accepted fact.  It is not even a surprise.

Society needs people like Jeremy Corbyn; unfortunately, much of it doesn’t want him, and those who shape the world, definitely don’t want him. He remains the only Labour candidate to have any kind of political framework, and without that framework the party (has) become(s) a corporate political vehicle, a watered down version of the party it claims to keep in check.

Just as the party nerve went, so will the voters – no matter how they re-brand their flag, and with whoever as leader.  This will create a vacuum for right-wing parties, such as UKIP to further gain further ground and further credence.

Nigel Farage, remains perhaps the embodiment of the political will over society. A man not even an elected member of parliament, that was allowed so much media attention that he ultimately had more say over the nation’s future, than any of those who had been given a mandate.

On the morning of the 24th June, half the country were overjoyed that they’d taken their country back. Democracy was reinstated. Yet it has never seemed so far from the public’s grasp.


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