I had the title “can we just stop being dicks to each other” for this post, then when I mentioned writing it on Twitter, a random stranger informed me ‘my title was unlikely to appeal to anyone, still less convince them’ 😂 so yeah here we are.
So the dust has settled after the General Election and I find myself needing something else to get wound up to the point of meltdown regarding the Labour Party. Because we all love a good moan and politics is fruitful for this. So here is the problem I found of late. I no longer felt really sure where I belong within the factional jungle of the party. As a result of this I’ve found myself being extremely close to people who (by the weird laws of the LW/RW divide) should be the enemy and then found myself taking flack from those who should be on “my side.” So what’s the crack with that? More importantally is it possible to just not take a side? Unless it involves sharing memes of T May in wheat related situations?
First things first. I get it. I completely understand Labour is a Broadchurch and that is actually a huge part of the appeal to me because my views seem to constantly evolve. They change as I learn and as I reflect on how my views have been shaped. This is a big the point for me, because fact is, I am still learning and I don’t claim to have this huge back catalogue of knowledge regarding the party and the factions and associated groups. I am still very new to this and the level of sneering directed at me doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Being new doesn’t automatically make you the enemy. It doesn’t mean we suddenly think we have a right to take over. So can everyone stop acting that way. Because ironically that’s really not very progressive. No I am not a genius, I’m not steeped in the history of the Unions or the Fabians. My campaign log is obviously not as big as yours, but I have a heart, I have real life experience and I’m told I have a knack for being quite engaging when it comes to getting people to listen. So can you just accept me for that? The thing is for a party that’s meant to be this broadchurch of variety we don’t half seem keen to label people into boxes. More often than not having heard the smallest amount of information about them and I think it’s really not doing any of us any favours.
I feel like I should do a slight disclaimer now. Because I understand, sadly from experience, the abuse and the awful treatment that does go on within the party. I’ve witnessed the vile antisemitism, the misogyny, homophobia and racism. It’s very real. It’s very much a problem and it very much needs calling out. This piece is not yet another denial of abuse that seems to be quite popular at the moment. I get some people’s experiences are enough to put them off a “group of people” and I respect that. This is just how I see things and what I’ve found.
It’s difficult to follow the rule of just getting along with people because they are “on your team” Particularly when you have to watch these people say things or do things that you don’t agree with. It’s a very simplistic point of view to just think that a factional position within a political party is all you need to get along with someone. If anything this fans the flames of the flames of the toxic atmosphere that goes on because you’d rather turn a blind eye to what your mate does rather than admit that “your team” can be a bit of an arsehole at times. The hatred of those from the other side can really blinker what I thought we were meant to be all about.
Case in point I end up finding myself in certain social media groups having to justify campaigning for Labour at all. How on earth has it come to that? That there is accusations that you are accepting of antisemitism because you want a Labour MP? Yet I also get accused of being a right wing red Tory, on the very day my tax credits had been stopped with no warning (leaving me crying for most of the day in fear of how we would survive) because I happened to not agree with what a certain poster boy for the left had said on Twitter. Christ alive it’s ridiculous. Why have we suddenly reached a point where you are completely stereotyped into a label for the sake of a factional war that does no body any favours.
I know it’s about so much more than this. I know it’s about control and the future of the party and what’s happened in the past. I get that. What I don’t get is why it has to poison absolutely everything. I’ve had to completely cut ties with people I once quite liked, well I quite honestly looked up to, because their hatred of the opposite faction made them completely incapable of discussing or understanding other points of view. I feel like for the extreme elements of both wings of the party there is a real tit for tat battle going on. It makes things really shit for people caught in the cross fire by the way. This hatred and need power will also mean my tax credits won’t be starting up again any time soon. It means more people like myself miss out on opportunities within the party as it continues to be about where you stand rather than who you are. I can hate elements of what a faction stands for. I can do that for both sides. I know people within those groups who can hate elements of it too. They can also call it out. The automatic assumption of a person you don’t know just doesn’t feel very Labour to me. Yet it happens. All the time. Had I of followed this narrative I probably would be pretty lonely right now as some of my greatest friends with Labour are members of Progress and members of Momentum. One of my inspirational mentors is a self proclaimed neutral. It’s her outlook on things that made me start to enjoy being part of politics again. I get the very best of all worlds I think.
So this is the thing. I don’t expect the disbanding of the groups. I don’t even expect them to get along. For me it’s about stopping with the sweeping assumptions of one another. We sure as hell wouldn’t stand for it in any other area of society so why do it in the party we love. I stick by my mantra of you’re either an arsehole or you’re not. I’m going to find that out then make my decision. Nobody is exempt from this rule. Including me. For now I just want to be Labour and focus on that. I hope people can understand. For every person who’s quite rightly proud of their team within the broadchurch there’s those who would rather not be pigeon holed. Those that know me know my drive is a personal one, because I need to be the change that I want to see and also I can’t afford my “principles” to force me to cut off my whole families nose to spite my face. The problems I face right now are very real and they are my driving force. There are many more out there feeling the same. Let’s not forget that.
*removes splinters from Bum and gets comfy on my fence with a nice brew*