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