An open letter to the disappointed Blairites.

The following was written by @chelleryn99

   

Dear disappointed Blairites 

We appreciate you are disappointed and no one would hold that against you. You’ve made it clear throughout the campaign you didn’t want Jeremy to win. It would look a bit odd now if you told the world he was the best thing since sliced bread. For those of you who have borne your disappointment with dignity, and a proud determination not to become a destructive force within the party, we applaud you. You are the true party loyalists. Sadly though, there are some who have leaked despairing letters to the press, retweeted right wing tabloid smear stories against Jeremy Corbyn, or even worse, written them. Only yesterday we read how one MP told a fringe meeting at conference our party is f****d because Jeremy Corbyn is now leader. When you do these things, you not only make yourselves look bad, you play right into the Tories hands.

  

Maybe that doesn’t worry you. You are rich. In many ways a Tory government probably benefits you personally, but that’s not true for the vast majority of people in the country. For the million people reliant on food banks, for the disabled having their support cut at every turn, for the public sector workers with their shrinking pay and slashed pensions, and the young, with no hope of a decent home or a decent job, a Labour government is their only hope. When you turn your disappointment into a determination to undermine the Corbyn administration at every turn, it’s those peoples lives you are treating with contempt. 

  

You say Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable, but if you constantly brief and snipe against him, that may well become true. Parties seen to be fundamentally split never win. Is that your aim? We sincerely hope not.

  

Unfortunately you seem to have learnt very little from the Miliband administration. Those of you who backed David for leader, could never quite let your disappointment go. Rumors of discontent with Ed as leader and possible leadership challenges, fed into the right wing narrative that Ed was a weak leader, hard for the party to bear. We, the members, never forgot or forgave your disloyalty. 

When we lost in May, we were stricken. It was all we could do to drag ourselves out of bed the next day, let alone appear polished and perky in a tv studio, stamping our own wrong headed and hasty analysis on why we’d just lost, and eagerly putting our hats in the leadership ring.

  
Yet that’s what some of you did. The hard truth is, you’ve read many things wrong. You’ve read why we lost the election wrong. You’ve tried to make your analysis fit your politics. You’ve ignored the shift to the radical left in other counties that have had austerity imposed on them. The U.K. is no different. Under a PR electoral system, the green surge may have become a green landslide. A large percentage of the 37% who didn’t vote, would have voted, and they would have voted for an anti austerity party.

  

The people of Britain are crying out for change, though you might not have noticed that in your cosseted lives. We, the Corbyn movement – made up of police officers, teachers, small business owners, the unemployed, students, journalists, doctors, the disabled etc, etc, etc, are merely a finger in the wind of that change. We haven’t been air dropped in from a strange left wing planet where people see things only through a left wing filter. 

  

We are bog standard normal people. But we are sick of growing inequality. We are sick of seeing our children stressed about student debt. We are sick of living in a society where decent homes for our children are so unaffordable they are stuck living at home well into their twenties, or even thirties. We are sick of worrying about the support available for our frail, elderly, sick, or disabled loved ones, or ourselves. We are sick of being told our tax credits, pay and pensions ‘have’ to be cut to pay for a banking crisis we did not cause, while at the same time hearing taxes are being cut for the most wealthy. There are so many things we are sick of, too many to list here.

  

Yes, 24% of the total potential electorate voted Tory, but that means 76% didn’t. Those are the votes that are up for grabs, and yes, even some Tory votes too. You argue how we, the Corbyn voters, are different from ‘normal’ people because we are more left wing. But as Owen Jones rightly says, most people don’t think in terms of left and right. They think about policies that either help or hinder their lives. What they struggle with is incongruence. For all Ed Miliband’s best intentions, the message he put forward to the country in 2015 was confused. We have a cost of living crisis, he said, so we are going to freeze public sector pay and child benefit.

  

The energy price freeze, the ban on zero hour exploitative contracts, the scrapping of the Non Dom status – suggested Ed had brave radical instincts, but there was something holding him back, and that something was you. You are one of the primary reasons we lost in 2015. Your determination not to rattle the right wing media and woo Tory voters, is why 2 million naturally Labour inclined voters, in the end didn’t bother to vote. It’s one of the reasons Scottish Labour voters, even those who voted no to Scottish independence, voted SNP for the first time in 2015, and the continual undermining of the Corbyn administration by the right of the party risks us losing them for good. It’s why so many Labour voters gave the Greens their vote, despite knowing they could never win, and why we lost votes to UKIP, who craftily posed as the party of the workers. We weren’t offering enough hope to keep those voters with us. Yes, being more radical might cost us some votes to the Tories, those Labour voters who switched from the Tories to Labour under Blair, but there is a very good statistical chance we will win back more than we lose. And yes, we will incur the wrath of the Mainstream Media, but we’ll inspire a huge and energized grassroots movement to campaign on social media and in the streets to counteract it.

  

At the end of the day, we’ve tried it your way for several decades now. Your middle ground policies, yes, won us three elections, but ultimately lost us millions of voters and now two elections in 2010 and 2015. 

Give us a shot. Let us try it our way. Help us. Put your disappointment to one side to become loyal activists and MPs. That way, if we lose badly in 2020, we won’t be able to point the finger of blame at you.

Best wishes

A growing movement

Chelley (Michelle) Ryan @chelleryn99

  

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31 thoughts on “An open letter to the disappointed Blairites.

  1. Its a good letter hope it hits home. Labour May was a washed up party no one could distinguish between them and Tories and exactly why they lost. People are speaking now through a leader Jeremy Corbyn enabling them the voter to be heard so Blairites unite, listen and take note. Its your job end of the day on the line not to mention Labour fundamentals were principled and born from working class struggles so don’t forget because careerist greed is the greater attraction now!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful article! I have followed Corbyn recently. Indeed a Corbyn movement is a reality, thanks for that. I hope you win a great majority in 2020. You give us all hope, hope for a new day a new society where few have too much and fewer too little.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellently put. If the remaining malcontents bring down Corbyn in spite of his unprecedented mandate, what is left of the Labour Party will lose me and thousands of other members and any chance of forming another government. So be careful what you wish for.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fantastically delusional. Among other craziness…

    Miliband didn’t lose because of anti-Blairite briefing but because he wasn’t a credible PM. The fact that this charge can be made even after the right of Labour bit it’s tongue for years shows how little loyalty counts.

    Trying to make the analysis fit your politics is actually what Corbyn supporters have done (takes some brass neck to lay this on the folk that won three Elections). Where is the evidence for this shift to the radical left – beyond rhetoric. Miliband ran on a left platform.

    The Corbyn movement is ordinary people, not left-wingers. Er… Look at this polling evidence: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2015/09/new-polling-data-shows-challenge-facing-jeremy-corbyn 81% describe themselves as v or fairly left wing… Compared with 15% of potential voters. Metropolitan Guardian readers in an echo chamber, not an election winning movement.

    A good statistical chance we will win more from the left than those we lose on the right… Look at the electoral arithmetic. You cannot win an Election without attracting significant numbers of Tory voters. Fabian research finds that to win 4 out of 5 of the extra votes Labour will need to gain in English and Welsh marginals will have to come direct from Conservative voters

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    1. The *right* of labour bit its tongue for years? Wow.

      And the folk who “won three elections” – taking a lot of credit for themselves that the Tories were an even worse shower then than they are now – have just lost the last two. If Ed deserves some of the blame, so do the people who guided and supported him.

      Yes, we have to win Tory voters. But Labour has tried to do this by lying to them that we are exactly like the real Tories, while lying to the rest of us that we are nothing like the Tories at all. Too many voters heard the wrong lie, and quite naturally voted for someone else. No, the way we have to win Tory voters is by talking to them about how and why the Tories are wrong and how and why Labour is better. In order to do that convincingly, Labour has to actually *be* better. Not all the voters will be convinced, but that’s politics.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bit its tongue – yes. Who were the right wing Lab MPs who undermined Miliband? Who were the ones serially rebelling? (unlike Corbyn. But of course when he does it it is conscience no doubt).

        A key point is that the folk who won 3 elections are not the same as the people who lost the last two. Blairites have not been in charge since 2008. Brownites have. The 2 eds were his SpAds for goodness sake.

        The saddest and craziest thing about the Corbyn phenomenon is the way his supporters trash what Labour did in office and offered in Opposition. It wasn’t Tory. It was progressive and radical.

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    2. The combination of a concerted campaign in the Tory press and the systematical whispering among Labour MPs (“bit its tongue”!) who wanted the other brother created the narrative that Ed M wasn’t credible. On election day, The Sun yet again ran the “bacon butty” picture, apparently the first unflattering press photograph ever taken of a public figure. In May, Labour didn’t run on a left platform, it ran on a confused and compromised platform, having allowed the Tories to establish the lie (before Ed was even elected) that “Labour crashed the economy”. Blair won three elections with a diminishing majority and the odds are that he would have lost if he’d stayed on till 2010. I don’t ever believe opinion polling and, after no poll managed to anticipate the election result even on election day, nor should you. If Labour won 4 out of 5 of the registered electors who didn’t vote Tory in May, it would have a vast majority. Do your homework.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. So Labour MPs are the enemy? People who have dedicated their lives to the Party, and the public. What’s amazing is that there wasn’t more whispering.

        I agree it is a lie that Labour crashed the economy. Good luck if you think Corbyn will succeed at defeating that narrative where Brown and Balls and Miliband failed, especially without the backdrop of a tanking economy.

        In terms of doing homework… You should do yours. The 4 out of 5 thing is laughably simple-minded. First, it matters where voters are – the distribution (see LDs and UKIP who gots lots of votes, but few seats). Winning all the votes in Hampstead and Brighton doesn’t help if you can’t win in key marginals in the SE. Second, what makes you think non-Tory voters are likely Corbynites? What’s the evidence?

        In any event, the magical thinking of Corbyn supporters is now going to be subject to a brutal test: reality. When Osborne is elected PM on 5th May 2020, as now seems inevitable, I hope JC’s Labour supporters recognise their role in bringing this about – voting for what made them feel good rather than what had a real chance of changing lives.

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      2. Labour MPs who brief against their own leaders are self-evidently “the enemy”. How difficult is that to understand? A party at war with itself is way more “unelectable” than a party whose leader doesn’t conform to the media stereotype. Distribution of votes never replicates itself from one election to the next. The psephologists got the behaviour of marginal seats horribly wrong in 2015; if they hadn’t, Labour would have won handsomely. That tells you diddly-squat about what will happen next time. I don’t have to produce any “evidence” about voter intention less than a fortnight after Corbyn was elected. Be patient. A week in politics is a long time. Talking of which, you come out with a fantastic absurdity: “when Osborne is elected PM on May 5th 2020, as now seems inevitable”. Well, only in your dreams, Mystic Meg. Let’s just test this against a bit of history. That’s rather more than four-and-a-half years away, but let’s round it down for the sake of argument. In April 1960 and again in April 1970, nobody would have given you odds that Harold Wilson would have been PM four-and-a-half years hence – but he was. In November 1974 (and even more when she actually ran against Ted Heath), nobody BUT NOBODY would have seen Margaret Thatcher as PM material (see Charles Moore’s biography), but she was and for more than ten years. In October 1986, neither you nor your granny had heard of John Major, prime minister four-and-a-half years later. In November 1992, Tony Blair was Shadow Home Secretary without any grounds for expecting preferment. Similarly David Cameron, Shadow Education Secretary and far from a household name.

        You know nothing.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe my thinking is quite puerile, but surely you do not want that to happen. If the potential leaders move to the right and the Tory party, they will take an element of right leaning Labour voters with them. Could be potentially disastrous.

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  5. Excellent analysis Chelley , as one who for years have consistently hit the streets in the hope of getting a Labour Government inspite of the inevitable dissapointment that followed ever time we got one and then having to try and explain to people why ! I have, like very many of us , have bitten the bullet and got on with it. I therefore concur with every word . Over to you ‘guys ‘.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. At the age of 54.. I have only ever voted once… However I will definitely be voting for Jeremy… The injustice, greed and self opinionated need to be rebalanced and I think Jeremy can certainly address the imbalance.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You’ve given yourself away with your last sentence. You are so convinced that you have right on your side aren’t you? When, not if, Labour loses in 2020, it will be because of the bonkers policies pursued by its Leader and Shadow Chancellor. But you won’t see that will you? It will be the Blairites fault for not backing you (leaving aside the fact that Corbyn and McDonnell rebelled against Labour almost a thousand times between them) and it will be the voters fault for not seeing the world the way you do.

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  8. This says it all the British Establishment clearly have not got the people’s best interests at heart , Attacking a person who has means well a revolution …. best get the guillotines out and polished . as it ‘appens i am learning to knit

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Labour does need to be a party of the left that represents the poorest. Pleasing the city won’t be Corbyn’s concern and that is healthy. Wholesale revolution against capitalism however is neither feasible nor desirable. There is a thin line between leftist rhetoric and shambolic incompetence as Syriza demonstrated. Protest movements can’t govern even when they are given the chance.

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