The opinion polls are clear. Farage’s single-issue Brexit party (actually a private company) leads by some distance; followed, at the time of writing, Labour. I make this qualification because each day brings another point dropped by Labour and another point gained by the overtly pro-Remain LibDems and/or Green Party. The Tingers (another private company) are struggling to establish any relevance at all. And the Tories face wipe-out.
Every cloud …
But of course we are not voting for parties on May 23. We are voting in what amounts to a second referendum. And this is the dilemma which faces Labour Remainers. Like me.
I am culturally, politically, instinctively European. My party is not. Or at least, it would appear so.
Precisely what our policy is depends on who is stating it. And I for one cannot fathom the thrust, nor identify any consistency or common thread.
Since we voted (twice) for Jeremy Corbyn as leader, I have had no difficulty in justifying Labour policies against increasingly snide and vehement attacks from the Labour right on a multitude of issues.
But now, I am struggling. I find my index finger hovering over the like button on tweets from Tom Watson, Jess Phillips and Alastair Campbell. I listen silently to friends and comrades who say they cannot vote for Labour while we continue to ‘bail out’ the Tories and their ridiculous withdrawal agreement. I am conscious that I am a member of a party which claims to be led by its membership but is, instead, being led by a central cabal which is imposing its will on the rest of us.
Maybe we should dissolve the people and elect a new one.
I am not alone in resenting this. The excitement and exhilaration of a couple of years ago is dwindling fast, and if I am right that Brexit marks the end of conventional party politics, it could be as threatening for Labour as the Conservatives. We lost some excellent councillors in the local elections a couple of weeks ago. (I’m thinking particularly of Kristie and JoJo in Brunswick where the Greens swept the board on the basis of their strong and consistent Remain stance.)
And while we have in Matt Western a strong and consistent Remainer MP, who is working tirelessly on the local and national fronts, even he could be under pressure next time.
It is still possible for Labour to become the ‘remain and reform’ party which Watson claims it is and which it undoubtedly is in Warwick and Leamington. But I am resigned to a continuation of Labour’s ambivalence.
I will not, however, resign. It’s lonely enough being a maverick radical.
Today from the everysmith vaults: I have a dozen or so shows from the late, great JJ Cale – from the early ‘70s to the mid ‘90s; so representative of pretty much his whole career. And I’m listening to those with relish and delight.