Friday, 6 May 2022

NOTE: Since this article was published, the final figures have come in and Labour's performance was even worse than I originally suggested. The Lib Dems (192), Greens (63) and the new Aspire party (24) all gained more councillors in England than Labour who only gained 22 councillors.

"Long Corbyn" is a disgraceful phrase which suggests Jeremy Corbyn and the people who supported him are some kind of disease which needs to be cured. It is a phrase which the mainstream media love, especially outgoing BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg - so much for impartiality.

The line today has been that Labour simultaneously did brilliantly in the local elections and also did terribly because of "Long Corbyn". Labour lost seats in the north to the Greens, Lib Dems and even the Tories. Labour also lost seats all over the part of England that is "Not London".

Please be advised, Not London is Westminster speak for the vaguely charted region where barbarians live and only the bravest of explorers dare venture. Do not go there under any circumstances.

Here is Sky's infographic highlighting Tory losses, but look at Labour's performance so far:

It's worth mentioning Labour actually performed well in Scotland and Wales and this can be partly explained by the fact Scottish Labour and Welsh Labour are run by *gasp* socialists. As a matter of fact, more than half of Labour's gains (62%) were in Wales, thanks to Mark Drakeford's popular brand of socialism. Scottish Labour might not be as left wing as Welsh Labour, and their leader is a former Blairite, but he calls himself a socialist and appears left of Starmer, at least in his rhetoric. 

In the north, sorry Not London, the socialist vote went largely to the Greens who made bigger gains than Labour - those are votes that could and should have been Labour's. 

For every vote Labour gained from the Tories, it actually lost two to other parties.

The Tory Party has made huge losses, and is in such disarray, following scandal after scandal, that candidates rebranded themselves as "local Conservatives" to distance themselves from Johnson. If Labour can't gain ground in Not London now, when can they gain ground?

Let's be clear: Labour's problems in the north are not down to "Long Corbyn", they are down to the lack of political representation Labour is offering as our living standards decline.

Labour has zero plans to address the north/south divide which means average earnings here are much lower, health conditions are worse and public investment is frankly pathetic. The UK is the most regionally unequal country in the developed world, comparable to countries which were impacted by civil war. We live shorter and lower quality lives up here for no reason, other than this is what capitalism has decided, and Labour has nothing meaningful to say so it resorts to patronising us.

Average earnings:

London £39,716

Northeast: £27,515

It's patronising to suggest ordinary working class northerners are raging over the Corbyn era or infuriated by "wokeism" or obsessed with flags or that we're thick racists who blame everything on immigration when in reality we have been left behind.

The Labour Party is trying to appeal to a caricature and every time us northerners tell them what we want, they go and tell us we're wrong! They know better than us what we want - flag shagging and infighting - and they are going to double down on this now, aren't they? Six flags per speech, a full purge of lefties, and abstention on every Tory bill, like the draconian Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. The last thing us thick northerners want is a Labour Party that opposes the Tories and stands up for our rights. Please just tell us you love wars, that's what we want to hear.

I mean we're all conservatives now. And by "all" I mean virtually none of us. Even the ones who vote Tory mostly do so grudgingly. I've never seen a single northerner be enthused by the prospect of a Tory government, but I've also never seen a single northerner be enthused by Sir Keir Starmer's leadership. I have, however, seen many northerners enthused by Jeremy Corbyn. Why? Because he offered policies that could actually improve our lives. 

Sir Keir Starmer seems allergic to the word "policy", but this, I will have you know, is grown up politics. And breaking the pledges you made to become leader is seven-dimensional chess. 

You can't just get everything you want in politics. And if you're working class, you can't actually have anything you want because politicians should only ever reach out to racists and rich people. If you're the opposite of a racist and the opposite of rich, you don't deserve representation. This is how compromise works!

And they wonder why we aren't voting for this shower. I voted Green for the first time in my life yesterday and it's great to see the Greens doing well because it suggests the public could be slowly moving away from two-party politics. It's also great to see a strong showing for the Northern Independence Party and hopefully they can continue to gain traction.

I want to see the rise of parties who want the people to win and aren't just in politics for the sake of their own careers.

I think about Jess Phillips laughing when Labour lost in 2019 and Rachel Reeves openly admitting she is glad Corbyn lost, and I am reminded of the contempt they hold us in. The Tory enablers call us Tory enablers and celebrate no matter which party wins because they honestly don't care if the Tories are in power. It makes no difference to their lives and it makes no difference to ours. That is the point. Nothing meaningful can ever change.

Both parties are pro-capitalism, pro-imperialism, pro-apartheid, pro-NATO, anti-unions, anti-nationalisation, anti-socialism, anti-democracy, both seek big money donors, both caused the housing crisis, both privatised parts of the NHS, both privatised our public services and both are absolutely useless on the climate crisis.

And if you take different positions to the Labour leadership on any of these things, you're not even welcome in the party. Shit, this lot would have expelled Keir Hardie for being too left wing and they would tell you this was necessary to make Labour "electable".

Only right wing parties are electable because the media has decided it only wants right wing parties to be electable, and if you want to establish a left wing alternative media, well, new outlets are getting closed down, removed from social media and banned from PayPal. It seems only the right wing are allowed freedom of speech.

Yet despite the absurd media bias against the left, Labour did better in Not London under Corbyn than under Starmer. Clearly, it's Corbyn's fault that Starmer under-performed - this is literally what they're saying. My fucking God.

There is actually a crowd pretending the Labour losses up north were somehow a good thing, that because of "Long Corbyn" they would've expected bigger losses and the results show they're steadying the ship. Who the hell do they think was leader when Labour won those seats? 

Labour was actually a threat to the Tories until Sir Brylcreem got his People's Vote - and I say that as a remainer.

There is every possibility Starmer will not even be Labour leader much longer though. Durham Police have opened a criminal investigation into beergate, and when the Met did the same for Johnson, that was enough for Starmer to demand his resignation! Just to be clear, he wasn't demanding his resignation after he was found guilty, he was saying he should resign for being investigated. By the same standard, Starmer should surely resign now, but of course he won't.

Tellingly, Starmer couldn't find a single Labour ally to go on TV to defend him last night while MPs from other parties laid into him. This suggests they know the writing is on the wall, especially considering they're privately calling his behaviour indefensible, but even if Starmer does step down, the most likely candidate to replace him would be the odious Wes Streeting. Someone drop a nuke on me now.

Labour should probably have made gains of 400-500 seats - the Tories are a shambles and have got every major decision wrong. Two thirds of the country think the prime minister is a liar, they've witnessed government scandal after government scandal, and they're going through a cost of living crisis - and Labour still can't win over the people it needs for the 2024 general election. It can only win over posh Londoners who are insulated from the cost of living crisis.

One thing everyone wants up north is change, and if you keep screaming that you're the establishment guy who is simply here to perfect what you think is ultimately the correct system, a system that must never be replaced, that argument is going to fall on deaf ears whenever you're speaking to the people who are exploited by that system. You're telling us you're going to polish the machine that exploits us. It's a fucking dystopian nightmare.

No wonder voter turnout was low in many areas, but as much as it seems like voting changes nothing, the biggest threat to meaningful change is voter apathy. People want an alternative to Establishment Team A and Establishment Team B, but it will be hard for any party to gain traction if those people aren't willing to hear the alternatives out. The moment they do, we could be looking at a different political landscape, but there will be a huge push back, of course - the establishment machinery will start its smears and the public will have to be wiser next time. People have been duped into voting against their self-interest for too long and this is why trust in politicians is so low.

On their current trajectory, Labour will be losing the north forever, just like they lost Scotland, and that will mean extinction for the party. There has to be a genuine left wing replacement lined up, ready to fill that void - one that is not overrun by neoliberals.

Labour has no answers to the housing crisis they created or the cost of living crisis or the climate crisis. They're just telling us to accept that we'll be tenants forever, bled dry by rip-off landlords in uninhabitable houses in which we can't afford to put the heating on, while we miserably wait for capitalism to kill the planet because they can't be arsed to do what is necessary to save it. They're saying, yeah sure, living standards will decline, but you have to vote for us because they'll decline even faster under the other guys.

We're seeing clear as day the economic system they're desperately clinging to is inherently corrupt. It involves bribes from wealthy donors who will not allow them to do the things that need to be done.

We had a Labour Party under Corbyn that did not depend on those wealthy donors because it was funded by ordinary people - the same ordinary people they're driving away, telling them they were never Labour, even if they'd never voted for anyone but Labour. 

When they're purging themselves of us - the people who relied on them to improve our material conditions - they're purging themselves of their voter base and their community organisers, but they've decided they don't need their core voters or their community organisers. What they need is the approval of a handful of posh journalists and former Tory MPs yelling: "I've got my party back!" without irony. Well, whoopy-fucking-do. The establishment has an awful lot of parties now and none of them give the slightest shit about us.

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