Believe it or not, The Escape Artist comes from a Labour family.
My earliest political memory was in May 1979 when I woke up one morning to an unusually grim atmosphere. I was told that something VERY BAD had happened and that someone called “Mrs Thatcher” was going to RUIN EVERYTHING.
This was a worry as I was only 9 years old at the time and I really needed society to keep functioning.
I never had a DNA test but you could say that I was one of Thatcher’s children. During the 1980s, I watched Mrs T slay a series of dragons: in her cabinet, in her party, in the Falklands, in the miners strike, in Brussels…until eventually she was brought down by a mixture of events, ego and overreach.
People find it hard to be objective about such a polarising figure. Otherwise sensible people used to lose their shit over Margaret Thatcher. Lefties used to say she didn’t count, wasn’t a proper woman, never did anything for feminism etc etc.
Margaret Thatcher’s crime was, I think, to compete successfully in an imperfect meritocracy. The grocer’s daughter played the hand she was dealt at a time when there was widespread snobbery, sexism and real barriers to social mobility.
Its hilarious how today The Left often portray women as helpless victims of the system. Er…hello? Margaret Thatcher was kicking the shit out of what was left of The Patriarchy 40 YEARS AGO.
To be fair, The Escape Artist listens to both sides of an argument. I majored in economics at university but also did a year studying politics. I read enough Karl Marx, William Morris and RH Tawney to know the political philosophies of the Left better than most people on The Left. I even went to hear Tony Benn (the leading left winger of his time) talk when he came to my campus.
And when Tony Blair was Labour Leader, I went to see him speak in 1997, just before the election that took him to power. Blair was impressive in person; speaking articulately without autocue or notes and without forewarning of questions from an audience of real people (not party stooges).
Back then, Blair hadn’t started any wars and was able to unite people around values like patriotism, fairness and aspiration. He was sane, intelligent and reasonable. Although I was never part of his tribe (I was neither Hampstead nor Hartlepool) he came across as a safe pair of hands.
Across the pond, I thought of Barack Obama the same way I thought of Blair. Both were from the educational and legal elite (Oxford, Harvard) but both seemed to have had enough contact with the working class (Sedgefield, Chicago) to have a grasp on reality. Both came across as decent people that you could have a beer with. Or the sort of guys you could leave in charge of the country while you went on holiday.
Had I been American, I would happily have voted for Barack Obama (a Democrat). It’s funny how Obama seems to hold sainthood status amongst The Left in the UK and yet in office he presided over American capitalism whilst finding time to have #1 Bad Guy Osama Bin Laden executed and launch air strikes in the Middle East.
Now here’s a fun thought experiment. Let’s imagine that Barack Obama applied to join today’s Labour Party and his application was reviewed by Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbot, Richard Burgon, Dawn Butler and Rebecca Long-Bailey.
Imagine them sat around the table in Islington drinking their fairtrade organic raspberry tea from Waitrose. They’d take one look at Obama’s record in office and cringe at his neo-colonialist foreign policy, failure to support Hezbollah and Hamas in Palestine, his blatant patriotism, his lack of focus on trans-gender issues and conclude that he was basically Hitler.
Wherever possible on this blog I play the ball (the ideas) not the man (people). But when the most senior people in Her Majesty’s Opposition start denying objective reality, I have to conclude they’re batshit crazy and fair game for ridicule.
I read 2 different biographies of Jeremy Corbyn before writing this post as I wanted to get a balanced picture. I’ve no doubt that Magic Grandpa meant well, bless him. But the more you read, the more you realise he’s thick as two short planks (he had a privileged upbringing, went to a posh private school and yet only managed 2 E’s at A Level). As far as I can see, he’s been incompetent at everything he’s ever turned his hand to (including personal finance…apparently he can’t even manage his own money).
How lovely it would be to have a functioning 2 party system with an effective opposition. How lovely to be able to vote for the good guys in the “left wing” party whilst confident they won’t try to overthrow capitalism and bring in a Dictatorship of The Woke to enforce 5 year plans for the doubling of tractor production, making all women’s toilets gender neutral by 2025 and FREE BROADBAND!!!
Today’s Labour Party has completely detached from reality. The Student Kool Kidz and the Toytown Revolutionaries seem to believe that The World only started when they were born. How else are we to explain their failure to learn anything from history?
I’m not just talking about the history of the Soviet Union, China, Cuba and Cambodia…those communist workers paradises that murdered 100 million people between them. No…I’m talking about Britain in the 1980s.
We’ve seen this movie before. For the benefit of younger readers, I should explain that in 1981 Labour was led by a scruffy old bloke who ran on a left-wing manifesto which became known as The Longest Suicide Note in History. That didn’t work out so well [US Democratic Party, take note].
Labour was out of power for 18 years whilst the moderates battled what was then known as The Loony Left. Those 18 years in the wilderness were agonising for moderates on The Left who eventually prevailed in a fight for the heart and soul of the Labour party. How quickly those hard-won victories were reversed from 2015 onwards as Magic Grandpa put the Krazy Gang back together.
And then there was that election result in December 2019 which was a shock to errrr…absolutely no one sane. This was followed by a period of calm reflection which lasted for about 30 seconds before the Labour leadership contest kicked off like a fight breaking out in the high-security wing of a lunatic asylum.
Out of power for 9 years and counting, and fresh on the heels of their biggest election defeat for 80 years, recent polls show that Labour Party members still think that Magic Grandpa was the greatest ever leader of the Labour Party.
This reminds me of when I used to argue with my brother as a child. When he was saying something that I didn’t want to hear, I would put my hands over my ears and sing…LA-LA-LAH!…NOT LISTENING! NOT LISTENING!
Some will console themselves with the fact that Magic Grandpa will soon be replaced by a new leader. The bookies odds tell us this will be Keir Starmer (who, in fairness, does appear sane).
It’s all very well to support The Oppressed…but what happens when the interests of different “Oppressed Groups” clash?
- Do you side with female rape victims or with transgender people over shared access to women’s refuges?
- Do you support Islam or women’s rights in Saudi Arabia?
- Do you support higher wages for ordinary working people or higher immigration?
Sometimes you have to choose. You can’t support both groups when their interests clash.
The voters have already figured this out. That’s because most of them are grown-ups who live in the real world. Someone just needs to explain this to Labour party activists. Good luck with that.
I know that Labour voters are good people and they mean well. If you are a Labour supporter, I’m not having a go at you or making a tribal political point here. I’m not promoting any particular political party.
What I am promoting are classical liberal ideas such as freedom of speech and free markets regulated by elected governments subject to checks and balances. I’m promoting liberal democracy, rationality and enlightenment values…you know, the stuff that Western Civilisation is built upon…the stuff that stops us going back to the Dark Ages.
Is it too much to ask for an opposition lead by people that are not batshit-fucking-crazy?
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