It’s not war, just the end of love

Last time. Last time I wrote about this, I felt defeated, depressed and as if I was drowning under swirling tides and whirling eddies of conflict and counter conflict. And suffused with a soul sapping sadness.

Last time. Last time I will write about this. We are near the end of September, with beautiful late summer sunshine, but with enough chill in the air to remind me that the seasons are turning. The change from Summer to Autumn reminds me that change is a necessary and cathartic part of life, not something to be feared. Hanging on with gritted teeth when you know something isn’t working is ultimately self destructive; immersing yourself in and wading through negativity eventually becomes too damaging a practice to maintain.

It is a good idea to periodically examine your prejudices, your stance, your opinions, your values, and to ask if these have evolved, and if the course you are currently following still aligns with these. If your energies are still being appropriately directed. If you could achieve more by, say, standing over there, rather than steadfastly refusing to give up this particular spot. If I have learned one thing with absolute certainty over the last 12 months, it is that embracing my fears makes me strong, and that moving forward is how I grow and build on those uncovered strengths.

I am not a Corbynista, an Owenite, a Blairite, a cultist, a Bitterite, a Trot, a Marxist or any of the other ridiculous terms or characterisations which have marred leftist political discourse these past few months. If you want labels, if you need those to define me, I am a feminist, a socialist, an optimist, a pacifist, a republican, an ex council house kid, a Trades Unionist, a single mum, a secular Buddhist, the daughter of immigrants. I move to my own beat but while I value individualism, I want to live in a society in which everyone’s contribution is valued, where people work together for the common good, where equality is the foundation upon which everything else is built. Where different opinions are welcomed and respected, where people are not hounded or insulted or shouted down for refusing to cleave to one orthodoxy or another. Where people with diverse opinions are prepared to work together in a spirit of collaboration and inclusiveness, with everyone prepared to listen and acknowledge that by doing so, they may have something to learn. (So yeah, you can probably add ‘idealist’ to the list of labels…)

You can see where this is going, can’t you, even though I am only finding out word by word as I type. How can I espouse a party which seems to have forgotten the values I hold most dear? Where there are so many considered, constructive and valuable people who feel flattened by twin juggernauts of point scoring and revenge, driven by people who don’t seem to notice or care about the cost or damage, just as long as their particular point prevails? Where there is constant talk of revenge, deselections, purges, expulsions and suspensions, when we should be talking about uniting to fight the Tories?

If I thought there would be an improvement once the result is declared, I would stay. If I thought everyone would accept the result – whatever the outcome – and refocus on taking the fight to the real villains here, I would stay. If I thought lessons would be learned, wounds healed, scar tissue formed to make stronger bonds and an ultimately stronger party, I would stay. But too many people, on either side, have assured me that this is not and will not be the end. This is but the first skirmish in an ongoing and bloody war. Each believe, sincerely no doubt, that they are fighting for the heart, soul and brain of the party, without seeing that that kind of fight generally only has one outcome, and that any ‘victory’ will doubtless be empty. Hollow. Pyrrhic. Pointless and literally self defeating.

So that’s it then. I’m out. Feel free to think me a milksop, a milquetoast, a lily livered coward, a defeatist, a traitor, an appeaser or any other variant of stereotype which justifies your continued fight. But don’t bother saying it to me because I’m up to here with anger, scorn and shouting; I’m moving to my own beat and seeking a more positive and constructive path forward

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10 thoughts on “It’s not war, just the end of love

  1. I vacillate between hope and despair at the moment. I jokingly refer to myself as a Corbynista, because I do believe in him and support him, but really labels do not justify a person. There are issues on all sides, but it is certainly true that those of us who support Corbyn have been called a lot of nasty things, and have been patronised. Take Trot. It is an insult to younger people who have been energised by Corbyn and who have their own brain, in turn, us older ones have had our hope and enthusiasm revitalised by them and by Corbyn.
    It is far from the dignified politics that Corbyn wants and some Corbyn supporters have to look within themselves (I left a group because of their aggressiveness) but if you take the pathetic figure of Owen Smith, he has nothing to offer except slander and untruths (he accused John MacDonnell of not turning up to an event, when he had already been told that he had a medical appointment, following his heart attack last year) and then wonders why he gets booed!
    Having said all this, after Corbyn’s inevitable victory, it is time for everyone to get together to fight the common enemy; the Tories. If not, we are all lost.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For what it’s worth, I thought Smith was just a stalking horse; in the unlikely event of him winning, he would be replaced with someone more ‘heavyweight’ ‘centrist’ (those damned labels again!). I agree that unity is needed, now more than ever, but have lost any hope that this can or will happen within the Labour party. We need to think and act laterally and creatively. I feel more energised already – see you on the barricades!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with so much of your blog post that I don’t think I would want to for one minute criticise or even challenge anything you’ve said. I found myself thinking ‘me too’ to a lot of your text. No surprises there. But interestingly I’ve reached a different conclusion. Whilst I fully respect your decision and would defend your right to make it I too am my own person. “I am not a number. I am a person.”

    For me the differences between socialism and democracy are indistinguishable and I think at the heart of it what the leadership election has been about is democracy. Elites really don’t like democracy, they’re afraid of it, and with good reason. If the members don’t gain democratic control of their party then there is little point carrying on. There’s no way we can give the country democratic freedom if as a party we don’t own and practice it ourselves. Democracy isn’t about those with the biggest gang getting their own way. Democracy is about consensus. It’s about accommodating a vast percentage. As near to 100% as is possible. I plan to stick around. One reason I want to do so is because the party is going to need all the members it can hold onto and embrace. I want to help play a part. To build a democratic party. I’ve been a quitter a lot of times in my life but on this occasion I’m going to stick with it. Blake’s Jerusalem is calling me.

    Perhaps to build the party we want we have to wipe the slate clean. Perhaps ‘Everything Must Go’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with a lot of what you say but I can only add that I hadn’t realised how much this was weighing me down on a personal level, until I stepped away. In many ways, nothing has changed for me; I still believe in the same things, have the same hopes, the same dreams. I just feel free now to find other ways of contributing. It feels exciting already…

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  3. I sympathise – arguments and name-calling are draining. You need to look after yourself. But in these dark days could you manage to stay in the Party, just on the margins? I so wish that the undemocratic forces at play in the LP do not win, through people leaving.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am a natural optimist but sadly I think the undemocratic forces of which you speak are going to tear the party apart, sooner rather than later. I keep thinking of Owen Jones’ description; it is a kodak party in an instagram world, which needs reforming and hauling into more relevance. But while the unceasing war between two factions continues – and it *will* continue, irrespective of today’s outcome – this cannot happen. Meanwhile, the world continues to turn and the Tories to burn the state. I wish you luck and a happy outcome but am looking for a new way to fight them and feel energised at the prospect

      Liked by 1 person

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