THE BLOG

Perhaps Tristram Hunt Should Step Back from The Labour Party

09/12/2015 09:48 GMT | Updated 08/12/2016 10:12 GMT

While Momentum assure the mainstream media that they are not advocates of deselection and are "inclusive" and all things nice, I can't help but be a little disappointed.

While I consider the Labour Left to often be embarrassing, crude and occasionally downright obnoxious, I'd like to see the 66 Labour MPs who voted for airstrikes in Syria - not deselected or singled out, particularly - but:

horsewhipped and put in some makeshift prison. Scratch that, I'd like to see them wear bright orange jumpsuits and made to listen to Adele's new LP, repeatedly. Simon Danczuk should be made to wear a dress, I'm not sure why.

You see that's what they're like, the Labour Left, the Stop The War lot. All bloody horrible. When MPs (like Tristram Hunt) try and smear Jeremy Corbyn via his connection to Stop The War, they must imagine rabid hypocrites organising bareknuckle fist fights and juggling kittens when not writing imaginary deaththreats to their MPs. In reality, Stop The War events - I recently went on a couple - are quite well-behaved scenarios where concerned people listen to speeches, and applaud. Brian Eno, actor Mark Rylance, Owen Jones and Tariq Ali spoke at the ones I went to. The most violent and harrowing thing I witnessed was my ex-girlfriend accidentally smacking me on the head with a 'Stop bombing Syria' placard. She meant, apparently, to gently tap me but misjudged her own strength. So she says.

People there were quite ordinary. They were teachers, students, office workers, electricians. OK, there was that morris-dancing freak with a ghetto-blaster who dances to Irish jigs while waving a placard and quoting stuff from the Bible but he's always there. AND I guess I don't agree with some things said by all speakers. Me and Tina even spent ages trying to tear a Socialist Worker logo off our placard.

People who protested against the Syria bombing struck me as quite normal, decent people; a few social misfits, maybe, who seemed like they escaped from the pages of Viz but nothing to write home about. Now the rabble on the Right of the Labour Party, I find, are really the insalubrious ones.

Last Wednesday, the Labour Party were faced with a decision. Admitedly, I am not an expert on International matters and bombing strategies, though I do consider myself an expert in the following: knowing bullshit when I hear it.

So like most cautious, conscientious people I worked out a plan for myself to decide if bombing was a good idea or not.

1) Knowing when a cack-handed, childish, mendacious Prime Minister delivers a plan that is - on the surface - both cack-handed and mendacious: I know to give it short shrift.

2) I asked myself if I'm wrong, are the consequences much worse than if the opposing argument is wrong? In this case, I decided that if I'm wrong: not bombing won't make a great deal of difference. Bar not killing civilians and making us safer in the streets and tube stations. Remember: many countries (including 2 superpowers) have been bombing Syria for a year - arguably making the situation worse.

3) When a Prime Minister involves us in another complex foreign intervention for reasons of 'solidarity' or to be with the big boys, then it is not in my name. No matter how loud the cheers and bleats from the benches.

4) This is a golden rule. Whatever Yvette Cooper believes, think the opposite. Her judgment is clearly not to be trusted: she married Ed Balls.

5) If Brian Eno, Frankie Boyle, Peter Hitchens, Peter Oborne, Owen Jones, various ex-military personnel, Max Hastings, Stephen Fry think it's a bad idea. But Chuka Umunna thinks it's a great idea - it's probably a bad idea. (See what I did there?)

6) Just because we're bombing over the border in Iraq - (at the behest of the Iraqi government) - that is not actually an argument for bombing in Syria. They are not the same thing.

I'm not a Marxist, or even a Socialist. I wasn't 'horizontally recruited' by beautiful female members of the Revolutionary Communist Party at Polytechnic (although I did actually ask them to). I'm currently a part-time carer and make documentaries. I'm relatively unpolitical. I like films, Chinese food, Toast of London and going to gigs. I used to read The Guardian. I'm the same as anyone else.

But for the first time in my life, I've joined the Labour Party, and one day - a long time into the future - they will make a film about Old Jezza and it will be "the story of a good-ish man who made it against the odds". No doubt, it will probably be written by Abi Morgan and God knows who'll star in it.

But what I do know is this: those on the Labour Right will be cast us the villains. Margaret Beckett and Tristram Hunt will be stroking cats on their laps and muttering nasty things about JC. Hilary Benn will be making pottery, while the ghost of someone puts their hands tightly round his neck - possibly one of the International Brigade who didn't care for that crass and historically inappropriate namedrop.

The Labour Right obsess, endlessly, about 'electability' but we know where that kind of monomania leads us to. Clue: a monomaniacal megalomaniac that has left the party with a lot of explaining to do and a lot of votes to recover. Those 66 perverse, gullible MPs - useful idiots, some might say - who voted with the Tories last Wednesday, can't quite see it but they are the problem. As I write this, veterans throw their medals on the pavement at Downing Street. More Civilians are being killed, presumably for their own sake. Cameron's arguments are revealed to be more inadequate than we'd even imagined. It is a complicated mess, the potential beginnings of a Third World War.

But those 66, what the hell were they thinking? This notion of 'Internationalism' that crops up like some pathetic, desperate mantra is just baffling. Or is it just nothing more than FOMO: a Fear of Missing Out?

If you could see yourselves as people see you.

Electability? You just don't get this huge mandate thing, do you? You can't even comprehend Oldham?

Metaphorically - you are Michael Foot's Donkey jacket. An emblem of something wrong. Collectively, you are an ongoing 'Kinnock moment'. YOU are the rotten wood. Your grasping, inflexible politics of personal ambition, Orwellian doublespeak and disastrous foreign intervention are anathema to those who want change, and you just can't see the damage you are doing - as you can't really see yourselves. Because in the Westminster bubble, there are no decent mirrors.