In light of recent events I will now be moving from this blog to a new one here at SDP Teachers.
Okay, just kidding. I’m not going anywhere. People who say “the party left me” as soon as they don’t get their way have never had my sympathy. This blog exists to present views from any and all Labour supporting teachers, not just those who agree with the present leadership and so there is no need to change anything about it. I have never yet turned down a blog for being too left or right wing, or too loyal or disloyal, and I don’t intend to in future. Despite the myth that this blog is some kind of Blairite conspiracy, I have always allowed open debate, and there were no lack of pro-Corbyn posts (in fact there were more of them than there were posts explicitly supporting any of the other candidates put together). Despite an early comment on Twitter condemning Labour Teachers’ support for Liz Kendall, nobody ever actually wrote a post supporting her despite me asking around.
That said, if you follow me on Twitter you will know I am an extreme Corbyn-sceptic who can’t imagine him winning a general election. However, I’m not sure I was less sceptical when Ed Miliband won in 2010. Not having much confidence in the party leader does not mean I am any more interested in civil war in the party now than I was then. But I’m also aware that while the hard left in the party have only ever been friends and people who I have happily campaigned for, the hard left outside the party have only ever been enemies of Labour. If those people who attacked almost everyone in Labour for being “Tories” are now planning to join the party and bring that same attitude into “debate” within the party then we have a problem. The message: “if you disagree with us you might as well be a Tory” is one that cannot now be used without it also being communicated to the electorate, who are far more likely to be convinced by it. If the move now is to use new recruits to purge the party of heretics, I’ll encourage everybody to stay and I will support anybody who needs help to stay in place. Jeremy says that’s not his plan, but I hope that those who recently signed up to Labour to support him will support him with that.
But beyond that, I don’t know what happens next. I suspect that those predicting immediate decline and defeat may be wrong, simply because they don’t appreciate how badly we were already doing. The public did see Ed Miliband as a left winger and many will see Corbyn as more of the same, rather than a bogeyman. Others may even be drawn to the party by him, at least until his momentum ceases. Labour normally gains support in the polls for the first couple of years after the Tories win an election, regardless of how badly Labour then go on to do. That said, since devolution there’s now a lot of opportunities to test our appeal before a general election. If we start doing worse than we did under Ed, we should stop and rethink our direction.
The party did need to change. I was as uninspired by the other leadership contenders as anybody. But I fear this is a change that hasn’t been thought through. It’s not obvious what the hard left can do when they are actually in charge (if it isn’t a purge). I doubt anyone really knows what’s next, least of all Jeremy Corbyn. But we are where we are, and I’m far too conservative to ever give up on the Labour Party.
If any Labour supporting teachers want to share their response to the leadership election, please do send them in. If I get many, I’ll post more than one a day.