Being proven wrong is seldom a positive experience. I watched Labour wheeling out Blair, Brown, and Campbell to wade into the leadership contest over the last couple of weeks in a desperate attempt to stop Jeremy Corbyn, and the whole, sorry spectacle just left me scratching my head as I saw in stark detail exactly where Labour continues to go wrong.
Having had two spells as a Labour party member, and having left in exasperation both times, I have long held the opinion that Labour no longer speaks for me, no longer speaks for my family, and no longer speaks for those who experienced a similarly disadvantaged upbringing to the one I had. Labour became distracted by the lure of fois gras over fish and chips. In essence, the Labour Party had lost it's fight, instead focussing it's energies exclusively on two goals: Achieving re-election at all costs, and pandering to the whims and fantasies of the newspaper barons, and the insanely wealthy, kicking the poor and the vulnerable to the kerbside and labelling them as "scroungers".
Three out of four leadership candidates have recycled the crumpled prophecy that the party lost the election because they were too left wing. In actual fact, they lost the election because people could not tell them apart from the Conservatives! It is only natural that Blair, Brown et al make great waves trying to frighten people into electing a leader who will act more in keeping with his/her predeccessors. They both forged their political ascendancies on closing the gap between Labour and Tory. They do not oppose Corbyn because he is unelectable, they oppose him because he is building popular support, the type of which might well succeed in rightly consigning their project of political homogenisation to the dustbin!
Essentially, we have four candidates. Two of them consistently showed in government that they will do anything to remain in power, even if that means deserting those who placed them there. That isn't my assertion, that is the story told by Hansard regarding their voting records. A third candidate thankfully hasn't actually occupied a governmental post, but shows more Thatcherite dentistry than a pack of arctic wolves after a lean winter. These three candidates have just enough differences to perhaps thread a slimline fag paper between them, but only if the adhesive strip is dry. Whereas the first three have focussed their energy on Westminster-esque orchestrated events whereby they give set piece speeches and select the audience, and the token questions carefully, the fourth has strayed away from the beaten path of a political leadership candidate. He has spoken to massive crowds, garnering the support of the old, the young, ethnic minorities. He is not afraid to speak his mind, even if that opinion is not in keeping with the view of the tabloids. What we hear from the party machine are the choking gargles of unanswerable fear, dressed in the robes of political smears and tabloid hysteria. What we hear from Corbyn is a message of hope. It is spanning political divides and stubborn demographics, it is fresh, and it is something that the other candidates cannot understand, and have no chance of emulating. With every attack they organise, they further galvanise the position of Corbyn as the "anti-westminster" candidate. People have flocked to him because Blair has left them feeling uninspired, lied to, and violated. The rise of UKIP at the last election had less to do with their politics, than it did to do with the fact that they were stubbornly refusing to act like the rest, and whilst I am by no means correlating the robustness of Corbyn's policies with the unworkable and fanciful jingoism of UKIP, the fact that Labour cannot stop itself from engaging in smears and media bullying shows that has placed itself further away from re-election than any of Corbyn's quite reasonable policies could ever manage.
I always believed that Labour had lost it's fight because it had lost sight of it's purpose. I was wrong. The party machines remains acutely aware of that purposes, it just chooses to ignore it. The three mainstream candidates have united to show only too clearly that their fight is still within them, it is still bristling. They swipe, they punch, they shove and kick. The fire within their bellies continues to burn. It is not their willingness to fight that is in question anymore, it is their motivation. Corbyn is regularly making speeches to crowds of thousands. Not every single person is a dyed in the wool socialist. Many of them will be like me, looking at the ferocity with which the other three candidates, and the party machine have trained collective fire upon Jeremy Corbyn, and wondering just how large Labour's parliamentary majority would have been had they instead trained that fire and acumen upon the actions and propaganda of this awful, feckless government.