After a weekend of turmoil, many people across the country will have felt odd going back to work this week as if life is still normal. We'll go to our workplaces with huge uncertainty surrounding our futures. Are our jobs secure? What are the bosses saying today? Are they deciding who is safe and who is expendable? For those from other countries and ethnic minorities even scarier questions will need to be asked. In light of a shocking outburst of racist incidents since Friday morning's announcement many will be asking if this country is even safe for them anymore. We now know what the mood of the nation was on one Thursday, in one year, after campaigns which failed to articulate the facts or which outright lied. And that, apparently, could be enough to risk making one of the worst political decisions of our time.
We do not know what is about to happen but we do know it's now up to the politicians to buckle down and clean up the mess they have created. For many of us the early attacks on Corbyn from fellow MPs were just another disappointing confirmation of how little backbone politicians have, that the first thing to do is turn on their own in an effort to save face. The MPs who have since resigned have perfectly valid reasons - I would not want to show my face in Westminster after such a public 'Screw you!' to your entire profession. Still, it all has the air of panic, of abandoning ship, when what the 16 million of us need, plus the 'bregretters' and all the teenagers who feel their futures just went up in smoke, is a united voice from the left.
Whether Corbyn stays or goes, the Left needs to rally around one leader. In 2010 we saw what happened when Labour and the Lib Dems split the vote on the Left. That cannot happen again and exceptional circumstances require exceptional actions. It's time to put the party politics aside and remember that you need to come together for the sake of ordinary people across the UK, for those who voted leave and remain. You need to protect them from what Farage and his cronies would do, you need to protect the NHS from both TTIP and the Tories privatisation through the back door. You need to remember that you have a common purpose, and right now it's to help the country see what the Conservatives have done and convince them that you will do your best to make things right. And remember that making things right does not necessarily mean making things as they were before.
The in-fighting and the airing of dirty laundry in public, as well as the leaking of details of cat fights to the media has to stop. For one thing it fuels the perception that politics is nothing more than PR to many of you; that ideas are not the things to be considered but the person saying them, and, in some cases, what the person saying them is wearing. This is what prevents the facts getting through. Secondly, whether you like or dislike the politician getting the public kicking that day is almost irrelevant. It drives resentment of politicians regardless because it makes you look so unprofessional. Please imagine working hard in your job, working long hours, yet still struggling to make your wages last until the end of the month, knowing you'll never get a mortgage, you'll never clear that debt, and then you have to watch the so-called leaders of the country acting like school children, when we would be fired for the same behaviour.
Next, the lip service to listening to other parts of the country needs to become real actions. No big promises designed to make headlines, but getting out there and being visible in your communities. Engage with people and take them seriously, come back to them with clear answers and fight for their causes. Commit to sharing investment away from London (and not just to Manchester or Birmingham. The country is a big place, much bigger than London as was shown in the votes). Spend time looking at job sites and search by location. Look at the numbers of jobs in each region and consider whether you're doing enough. Discount the service level jobs, the minimum wage jobs and the zero hours contracts from your results and then consider again how well you are serving the working class you claim to represent.
Some of the views you hear from people might make you bristle but pretending you did not hear them does not mean they were not said. While discussing the results with my worried and disappointed family this weekend we were still able to say that while we're scared for our home of Northern Ireland and the possible return of days we thought were behind us, we can still sympathise with people from Boston who voted overwhelmingly to leave. Most people I think are able to recognise that sudden large-scale change of their home town, without consent of the people would be alarming to witness. Just because it happened to someone else's home does not mean you get to denounce their concerns with the 'Little Englanders' put-down.
It's up to all politicians on the Left to unite and come up with clear steps that can be taken to address the valid concerns of the populace. It should have been done many years ago, but alas it seems it will now be a case of 'do or die'. You need to hear what the powerless in our country are worried about and come back to them with good answers. This could be the only way to save the UK.
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