Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

We voted against Elites; the Elites consolidate

It has been said that much of the reason for the Brexit vote was people’s desire to vote against elites. So what has changed?

There are changes in the Conservative party and there are rumblings within the Labour Party.

Within the Conservative Party it looks as if we are losing a prime minister from the classic elite pool and almost certainly going to get a replacement from the very same classic elite pool.

Post Brexit, we (or more accurately the devil’s coalition of Leave/The Conservative Party) are telling Europe, “We don’t want you, but you have got to wait three months whilst we have a private leadership contest, before we do anything about resolving the chaos that we have caused”. This is the worst sort of elitist behaviour. (Like smashing up a restaurant and then leaving it to go to another private watering hole.)

And it is elitist behaviour – not elites per se – that are the trouble. Elitist behaviour and attitudes – elitism, is when a group tries to gather power exclusively to itself and acts to preserve that monopoly. Elites are not wrong in themselves – ask those in Europe at the moment watching elite footballers, or those at Glastonbury listening to the elite of the popular music world. But UEFA has qualifying tournaments, Glastonbury has the small “introducing” stages. We call out the footballers who behave in an elitist manner, we condemn those musicians who think they can keep their audience waiting hours until they are ready.

So what of the Labour elite – how are they behaving? The MPs don’t like the leader elected by the ordinary membership; a huge number of them (possibly a majority) have never supported him – and in typical elitist manner they have worked to undermine him.

They are now redoubling their efforts to unseat him giving public succour to the Conservatives with phrases like “we cannot win with Corbyn”, “Labour under Corbyn is unelectable”:

… prominent backbench MP Stephen Kinnock insisted Mr Corbyn would cost the party 60 seats at a possible snap autumn general election.

“I think there’s a real risk that if we go into a general election before the end of this year with Jeremy as our leader we will lose somewhere between 30 and 60 trusted and valued colleagues,” he told BBC Radio Four’s The Westminster Hour.
BBC News Website, 27 June 2016 | Jeremy Corbyn vows to fight for leadership and reshape cabinet

(You would expect Stephen Kinnock to know better than to publicly undermine his party’s leader.)

The membership have spoken, but the MPs believe they are more important and in typically elitist manner are flexing their muscles – even if they further damage the party’s ability to win the next election. If they can’t have the a Labour Government in their image, they would rather not have a Labour Government.

Boris Johnson has long been held to have a semi-detached relationship with the truth and his Leave allies have made it very blunt that the end (Leaving the EU) is more important than the means. Leading Labour parliamentarians seem to be cut from a similar cloth.

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
Orwell, G., Animal Farm, Chapter 10

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