I’ve never been one of those insular people; I’ve always been Labour, but the ‘never kissed a Tory’ line hasn’t been my narrative. I’ve kissed many Tories. I’ve also kissed a few Lib Dems. Apart from me having a varied social circle, these relationships and friendships with people outside my political tribe have always been valuable to me.
I’ve learnt why Tories aren’t evil, baby-eating scum; they just have different priorities, and many are centrists, just maybe a little more socially and financially cautious than many in the Labour Party. I mean, some Tories are peculiar, but then some in my labour family at the moment are pretty random too.
Many of my Lib Dem-voting friends could be won back to Labour if the management were changed. In fact, the management is the key criticism of Labour at the moment. Tory wets are despairing of the meltdown and rightward push of their own party, as much as moderates in Labour are despairing of our aggressive left trajectory towards oblivion.
But Lib Dems won’t forgive Tim Farron his abstentions on gay marriage and the disastrous lavender marriage with Tories a few years ago.
The thing I most hear from across all tribes – not just members or political obsessives, but the voting masses we need to win over is that there is no centrist party to vote for. These people are the floating voters, the ones all parties fear, the ones who have no idea whom they will vote for when a general election is called.
They are all-powerful in any election. They are the folks who don’t get bogged down in every detail of policy released, every interesting speech a moderate makes. But they see our public face. And at the moment, being kind, it’s Threads, that old drama about a nuclear annihilation, set in Fawlty Towers.
Basically, all members of Labour need to calm down, stop verbal assaults one one other. Believe me, I’ve lobbed some choice ones, and caught a few too. We must stop abusing and blocking people who disagree with us.
We must face reality, and emerge from our echo chambers. Moderates, whilst not wanting to head into electoral oblivion and a split in Labour, need to understand that the party went this far left for a reason. The left of the party must face reality and realise that the electorate have rejected our leftward swing.
So how do we retain some leftish policy, without alienating most voters, who find Corbyn and McDonnell as appealing as a cup of cold sick? This would have to come about from real engagement with the electorate and really listening to them, not helpfully telling people who don’t like Corbyn to f**k off and vote Conservative.
Because, looking at the polls right now, the Tories are heading for victory. Let’s quit the blame game, and face facts. The ‘MSM’ are not to blame. Blairites are not to blame. Let’s stop looking to blame.
Let’s not dismiss the way people access their news, and their life choices. Let’s not label the electorate “pig s**t thick”, as I saw a comrade say on Twitter. Let’s not take comfort in Corbyn’s mandate, a number which is insignificant when detracted from the actual voting number.
And finally, let’s walk out into our streets and talk to people, all people, regardless of their political persuasion, and listen. Labour is in peril not just because of Corbyn, but because we as a party stopped listening.
Instead we set about labelling folk – decent folk – because we don’t like what they say. Well, we need to worry more about what they say and listen, before we say anymore and expect them to listen.