Regular contributor, Sean Walsh says the assumption seems to be that in order to win the Labour leadership it is essential to fall into a sort of identitarion bingo; a tick box personality.

So the Labour Party has reacted to its defeat in the "northern heartlands" by doubling down on the need for identity politics. What, exactly, do the "strategists" at the apex (cusp?) of the Labour movement think that the voters in the Blyth Valley were asking for? An intensification of the metropolitan conceit that the Islington set knows better than them?

The "northern vote" was a rejection of that arrogance and yet the Labour Establishment seems to be suggesting that the best way back is to elect a woman, from the north, preferably one whose "back story" intersects nicely with a Ken Loach narrative.

If they do that, because they intend to do that, they will lose those "heartlands" for good.

Those northern seats were sick of the condescension; I'd tentatively suggest to the architects, and manipulators, of the Labour leadership contest that they tread carefully: there is an energy in those constituencies which has now been unleashed. Once you hold your nose to vote Tory once, there is a momentum. Boris Johnson is right to say that the vote is on loan, but loans quickly become gifts, when the original "benefactor" is clearly bankrupt.

My grandfather was a miner in a northern part of this country. He was creative, kind, bad-tempered (occasionally) and a serious supporter of Margaret Thatcher. He was an exemplary rebuke to those who would appropriate the working class vote in one particular direction. When he left the mines he became a shop holder. The shop was burned down because he refused to pay protection money. He then became a taxi driver. He was robbed at gunpoint. After that, the emphysema he contracted in the mines initiated its slow-motion execution. The National Union of Mineworkers, under Arthur Scargill, abandoned him because he missed a month's subscription. The kindness of the left.

My Grandad was vigorous and kind. He generated more  joy in one year, when he knew he was dying, than the pseudo-working class social justice warriors of Momentum could manage in a million Twitter-hates.

And he wasn't atypical. 

There has always been  an escape velocity at the heart of those northern "working class" seats, and the thing about an escape velocity is that there is no going back. 

Write for us.

We're always on the lookout for talented writers and welcome submissions. Please send your opinion piece or pitch to:

The Seamus Milne types stuffed the northern vote into a Venn Diagram.  With no real understanding, outside an Eric Hobsbawn text, of how those people , my people, live. 

To the Corbyn project, we working class people are an experiment.

The infection has colonised the limited mind of Keir Starner, who was on the Today programme this morning insisting that he was the inspiration for Oliver Twist. Or something. It was an astonishing refutation of his own past, or a disturbing qualification of it. The assumption seems to be that in order to win the Labour leadership it is essential to fall into a sort of identitarion bingo; a tick box personality. "I'm not really a middle class southerner with a knighthood who speaks with this accent, my mother was a nurse".

What an egregiously ineffective lesson to take from last week.

Johnson won last week because he is unapologetic about being Johnson. He is what the existential philosophers call authentic. There is no need for a Prime Minister to be "nice" (in these Brexit times it's best that they are not). People like people who are comfortable with who they are. On the other side, they saw an opposition which proclaimed its own virtue in defiance of all facts. And they voted accordingly.

The Prime Minister has a certain genius about him, which is that he is extremely competent at seeing the detail while giving off the aura of a buffoon. People like their political masters to be competent; they also warm to the buffoon. We are also instinctively, and rightly, wary of the humourless. Those pictures of the mirthless Corbyn, at Prime Minister's Questions, flanked by the genuinely joyless, one on each side? I don't think it helped.

I can't sign off without a word about Dominic Grieve. Well I could, but I'm not going to.

It's wrong to gloat, but I'm a sinner and very fallen. And I don't want to make it just about him. But I'm going to anyway.

Grieve was at the forefront of an attempted coup against the decision of this country to reclaim itself. His machinations were obscene. The decision of the people of Beaconsfield to catapult him out of public life is, perhaps, one of the more pleasing consequences of last Thursday. Foggy Dewhurst constructed his bathtub on wheels and crashed it down the hill.

I wish him well, provided he remains anonymous.

8 votes

Sign-up for free to stay up to date with the latest political news, analysis and insight from the Comment Central team.

By entering your email address you are agreeing to Comment Central’s privacy policy