i have been saying this for years now and i will keep saying it until i am blue in the face: political ideology that cannot get elected is useless. politics in this country is a battleground entirely weighted in the favour of the conservative party, and the aristocrats, landed gentry, and multi-national corporations and oligarchs who support them. there have been more etonian prime ministers than there have been labour prime ministers. let that sink in. a single school, which has at one time no more than 1300 pupils, has produced more prime ministers than the entire history of the labour movement. the labour party in this country carries an incredible weight, and has to be better, always better, in a system stacked against it on every conceivable and imaginable level.
there is no such thing as a ‘guaranteed’ victory. the people of this country are not all secret socialists, waiting for true leftism to arise. overall, even under first past the post, the majority of the electorate who voted, voted tory. probably the only election which labour has ever won with ease happened in 2001, long before new labour began to crumble. it is never going to be easy, and it is never going to be fair. and you can’t do anything, if you don’t win the general election. the labour party exists to be an electable party for the people. that is why it was founded. to ensure that parliamentary representation could exist. that a government of the people could be a liveable reality. the labour party was not founded to languish in opposition. it was founded to form governments. and a labour party that cannot win an election is useless. it may as well not exist.
nye bevan said that you find out where the power is, and then you go there. well, the house of commons is where the power is. on the side with the prime minister’s dispatch box. and we’re not there. and it is our single, overwhelming duty to get there. anything else is pointless. and it is, ultimately, about duty. the labour party has a duty to help the people of this country. and it can only do that by doing one thing: winning elections.
to quote the immortal words of malcolm tucker: you have to win the war.
Everyone, I want you to look at me for a minute. Okay? Not at the TV or the polls on the Internet.
Take a deep breath. Hold it for a moment, let it out. Repeat.
Is this bad? Yes, yes it is. No matter who votes what and where and how, this election brought out the worst in all of us and we all have to live with that.
Some of us may even find themselves in literal, physical danger depending on which candidate wins.
And we as a country have to be held accountable for the fact that we ever let someone the KKK supported get this far, and what that says about our society.
The sun is still going to rise tomorrow.
The planet is still going to be turning tomorrow.
There are still going to be songs to be listened to, fresh air to inhale, friendly dogs to pet.
There are still people who love you, friends to check in on, people who are going to need encouragement now more than ever.
Do. Not. Quit.
Do not give up hope, do not give up life, do not give up.
America has had some truly awful leaders on multiple levels of government before. America has survived disgustingly racist presidents before (Andrew Jackson, I’m looking at you: may you forever be called to account for the Trail of Tears). But if we just quit, hide away in despair no matter who wins tonight and where our consciences directed us to vote, then what good can we do for our country? How can we change anything if we refuse to engage?
So take a deep breath, drink some water or perhaps chamomile tea, and huddle up with a blanket or a cat or a happy dog. It’s okay, it’s going to be okay. Maybe not tonight, maybe not for a while, but things will change in time. I believe in you.
Perhaps Dr. Seuss said it best: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
So don’t you go anywhere, because we’ve still got work to do.