The ongoing failure of Labour over Brexit demonstrates that the future belongs to those who hold One Nation ideals, which is now the centre ground of British politics, argues David Lindsay

North West Durham is a Brexit-supporting seat that Labour lost for the first time in 2019, when Richard Holden defeated Laura Pidcock. I stood as an Independent, and I came bottom of the poll, but I would have voted Labour if it had retained its 2017 commitment to honour the referendum result by leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union. Clearly, I was not the only one, whether in this constituency or across the former Red Wall.

There is no point trying to pin this on anything else. It was about Brexit. These are seats that voted for Jeremy Corbyn's and John McDonnell's economic programme in 2017, when the commitment to Brexit was still in place, and when, in the key marginals, Corbyn came within 2,227 votes of becoming Prime Minister. Without what are now known to have been the machinations of his enemies on his party's own staff, who knows what might have happened? But instead, thanks to Brexit, the habit of voting Labour has been broken in places where it had previously been ingrained for generations. Had it not been, then there would now be, not a Conservative overall majority of 80, but another hung Parliament.

For all his many faults and failings, I shall always be grateful to Corbyn for having opened up the economic policy debate for the first time since John Smith defeated Bryan Gould for Labour Leader in 1992, and for having opened up the foreign policy debate for the first time since American entry into the Second World War in 1941. The Budget of March 2020 has ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. That could not have happened without Corbyn, or without the transformation of the Red Wall into the ground on which General Elections were won and lost.

Richard Holden has hit the ground running. He is trying to restore the rail link between Consett and Tyneside, and he has suggested that Elon Musk build a four million square foot Gigafactory here. At Bradley, in the Pont Valley, coal mining has returned to County Durham. That certainly never happened while the then MP for Sedgefield was the Prime Minister. The right-wing Labour machine in the North East is hysterical at each and all of these developments, since it is incapable of seeing the value in any idea other than its own, not that it has ever had very many ideas.

The right-wing machine is also back in control of the Labour Party nationally. Keir Starmer's Labour remains behind Boris Johnson's Conservatives in the polls, and it will do so even after the impending second spike in deaths from Covid-19. So much for "the centre ground", where there must be no deviation from an economic and social liberalism that the use of soft power where possible but hard power where necessary had made unquestionable at home, so that the use of soft power where possible but very hard power where necessary could spread it across the whole wide earth by means of an unquestionable alliance between the European Union and the United States, an alliance with Britain at both its cultural and its military heart.

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Things have not been going so well for that of late. It is not the centre of British politics. We are. We, who uphold family and community values by seeking to secure economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty. In the struggle for economic equality, the leading role belongs to the working class, never less than two fifths Tory. In the struggle for international peace, the leading role belongs to the working class and the youth. Unity must be maintained within and between the working class and the youth, including against any separatist tendency in England, Scotland or Wales.

Here on the centre ground, social solidarity is an expression of personal responsibility, personal responsibility is protected by social solidarity, international solidarity is an expression of national sovereignty, and national sovereignty is protected by international solidarity. Equality and diversity are economic equality and class diversity, regional equality and regional diversity, the equal sovereignty of diverse states, and equal respect for diverse opinions within a framework of free speech and other civil liberties, including due process of law with the presumption of innocence, which in turn requires that conviction be beyond reasonable doubt.

The centre ground is indeed One Nation, with an equal emphasis on the One and on the Nation. Brexit is a double opportunity, both to reorganise the British economy under State direction, and to begin to develop a fully independent British foreign policy, including in relation to the United States, with no use of military force except in self-defence. In building One Nation, the leading role belongs to the people and places whose votes have decided the outcomes of the 2016 referendum, of the 2017 General Election, and of the 2019 General Election, namely the rural working class, and the industrial and former industrial communities that are either outside the metropolitan areas or peripheral to them.

Here on the centre ground, binary and immutable biological sex is a scientific fact. Women's spaces must be defended. Such issues as men's health, fathers' rights, and boys' educational underachievement, must be rescued from those whose economic and other policies, including their warmongering foreign policies, have caused the problems in the first place. BAME Britain is now young, increasingly mixed-race, often in its second or subsequent generation to have been born in Britain, connected to every inhabited territory on the planet, found in every town, and well on the way to being found in every village. The Oxford English Dictionary defines anti-Semitism as "Hostility to or prejudice against Jews". That definition is sufficient, as the Conservative Party commendably accepts. Labour's IHRA Definition, which the Conservatives have never adopted, is a denial of BAME, migrant and refugee experience redolent of the Windrush scandal and of the fire at Grenfell Tower. Between that, Starmer's uninformed intervention on Kashmir, the revelation of rampant racism among his party's staff, and the failure to oppose an early relaxation of the lockdown despite the far greater risk of Covid-19 to BAME people, Labour has no remaining claim on the BAME votes that it has hitherto received in abundance.

And here on the centre ground, we take the highest view of human demographic, economic, intellectual and cultural expansion and development. That is fully compatible with the most active concern for the conservation of the natural world and of the treasures bequeathed by such expansion and development in the past. We insist that any approach to climate change must protect and extend secure employment with civilised wages and working conditions. It must encourage economic development around the world. It must maintain the right of the working classes. It must hold down, and as far as practicable reduce, the fuel prices that always hit the poor hardest. And it must refuse to restrict travel opportunities or a full diet to the rich.

The ongoing failure of Labour demonstrates that the future belongs instead to us, to One Nation, to the centre ground.

37 votes

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