The SDP was launched a couple of weeks after my eighteenth birthday. I was a member shortly after that, so I have always had a perspective on the ups and downs of the Labour Party.
The battle between hard left socialism and centrist social democracy today is the same one. Of course, Britain has changed dramatically after Thatcherism and Blairism – but it’s the same idealogical fight. George Santayana famously said
‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’
There is little doubt that Labour is currently utterly ineffective as a political force in this country. It has lost touch with its heartland voters in vast swathes of the country, who see them as ‘champagne socialists.’ This is one of the big reasons the EU Referendum was lost. Men and women who probably voted Labour most of their lives do not identify with today’s Labour Party, and instead were swayed by the rhetoric of a champagne fascist.
The irony of all this is that the destruction of Labour is being accelerated by a grass roots campaign called Momentum. Like Militant, they seek to realign Labour as a socialist party on the left. Just like Militant, they will simply drive away moderate voters. It is no coincidence that Theresa May used her first speech to reach out to working class voters, she is a smart operator who has smelled the coffee.
It is hard to see how Labour extract themselves from this mire. If Momentum succeed then Labour is heading for electoral oblivion. The sad thing is the it is the whole country that is paying the price. Government needs strong, organised opposition to function correctly.
The mantra of the Leave campaign was ‘take back control.’
Well, we have a Prime Minister nobody voted for leading a government with no opposition. it seems ordinary voters have less control than ever.