Tag Archives: Labour Party

Your mandate is tiny. Stop telling people to be quiet

Jun 23, 2016 will go down as a historic and victorious day for a marginal political party who never stopped banging their anti EU drum. UKIP not only scored their ultimate victory on that date but managed something of a secondary victory by bringing about the opportunity to turn the Labour and Conservative parties into deeply divided political entities, both more intent on infighting and political ambition than running the country. 

This isn’t a cheerleaders post for Nigel Farage or anyone else in UKIP this is merely a representation of events as I see them.  Britain joined the European Economic Community on 1 January 1973, along with Denmark and Ireland. Ever since that date there have been those amongst the electorate and political class alike who have been described as ‘eurosceptic’. There are a whole host of reasons as to why people didn’t agree with Britain’s membership with the EEC and ultimately the European Union. I won’t go into those now as people must be bored of justifying which way they voted on both sides of the debate. In 1993 the United Kingdom Independence Party was born and it was born out of decades of frustration regarding Britain’s membership of the EU.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage

The beauty of living in a democratic society is that if you don’t like the way something is happening politically you are afforded (at times) the opportunity to change it. UKIP helped tear an already divided Tory Party apart over EU membership, with some MP’s defecting to the party. UKIP has taken a huge number of working class votes away from the Labour Party too, in fact 6 million in last years General Election represents a big loss of votes to both of the UK’s biggest parties.

In the aftermath of Brexit there have been a flurry of articles, Facebook status’ and broadcast appearances telling those who voted remain to ‘suck it up’ and get on with it. Here’s why that won’t happen: If eurosceptics had just ‘got on with it’ post 1973 UKIP would never have been born and the EU referendum might never have come about. It is only by ‘whinging’ and voting and campaigning and becoming activists that anything of political significance ever comes about.

Long after Theresa May or Michael ‘Brutus’ Gove are made the countries next PM, long after the Labour Party coup of Jeremy Corbyn fails or succeeds, long after Britain has gone through economic uncertainty, long after Article 50 is invoked will people be rallying for rejoining the EU. It may take years or decades and is most likely not to happen in my lifetime but rest assured if enough people are passionate about EU membership or something like it, the next generation may be asked to vote on where they see their future.

In the mean time it might be an idea for the young to stop attacking the old and vice versa despite whatever valid points each may have. Scapegoating the working class rather than listening to their worries and concerns is deeply unhelpful too. Which ever of the two main political parties realises this the quickest and stops their respective civil wars has the best chance of giving the county some much needed leadership at a time of real fear and concern, especially for minorities. There is an opportunity here to fix the mess made by two Etonians who have been in competition with each other since the day they clapped eyes on one another. They aren’t going to pick up the pieces and if Labour and the Tories aren’t quick to fix the current national divide, a rejuvenated UKIP might just cease the opportunity to inflict more damage. That for many is a huge concern.


The difference between Aung San Suu Kyi and Maya Angelou

I have just returned from my first lecture of the year ‘Reporting politics’. It was a good day for it I suppose with the Labour party conference in full swing and newly elected leader Jeremy Corbyn delivering his first speech at conference. I was a speech clear in message if not in policy. That isn’t to say it was policy free just that there is obvious work to be done.

As a journalist I thought that a warning had been sent out; Jeremy Corbyn is not afraid of those in my profession and will decide on his own terms who he speaks to, pointing to a drive in social media to deliver his message to people as opposed to media outlets or the press. Whether or not this will work remains to be seen but it is a bold move from the man only recently elected to lead the Labour party.

He made reference to several points or in his words ‘key issues’ that were of interest to me. As a student I often feel that the rise in tuition fees has led me and many others to scrutinise what is now seen as a product. Instead of being content with the learning and support provided to students the money paid to universities has many students, myself included, wondering how the money is spent and what on.

Asked if anyone had heard of Maya Angelou after Corbyn had quoted her in his speech, I was a little disconcerted when my lecturer confused the American poet and author (just two of her many wide ranging talents) with Aung San Suu Kyi. It is not that I expect my lecturers to be the font of all knowledge but to ask a question and then tell a student that they are wrong when clearly they are not did get my back up a bit. People will read that and think well don’t be such a know-it-all but we are talking about two very different and equally brilliant women and I have always been told by my lecturers that accuracy is crucial.

Aung San Suu Kyi AC is a Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy in Burma. In the 1990 general election, the NLD won 59% of the national votes and 81% of the seats in Parliament.
Aung San Suu Kyi AC is a Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy in Burma. In the 1990 general election, the NLD won 59% of the national votes and 81% of the seats in Parliament.

I won’t let it get to me though. As the late great Maya Angelou said:   “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”