Why the Left needs to back Labour
by Christine Clifford
“I will never vote Labour again.”
How many times have you seen this in online forums or said face to face? I know I have had it up to here!
Moral indignation about the war in Iraq, Afghanistan, the excision of Clause 4, student loans. You name it there is someone who feels betrayed, let down, abandoned by New Labour and who will take revenge by never , ever voting for Labour again. Any reformation of the Party, any new leader will make not a jot of difference. People are angry and unforgiving.
I was listening to just such a person, educated, and very self-righteous who could not and would not be swayed. We were in a reading group, talking about the book, ‘ What money can’t buy: The Moral Limits of Markets’, by Michael Sandel.
This left me thinking about the moral limits of righteous rage. Where does your moral line in the sand lie? It is about your feelings, your anger? Or do we need to set aside our own position and look at the wider social need?
If I don’t vote Labour and millions won’t, there is an increased chance that this coalition of misery on our brothers and sisters in the country will continue. If we vote Labour, if we lobby Labour, agitate, press, persuade, convince Labour of our cogent arguments about the things we care about, then I hope we will have a government that will redress the wrongs we are seeing. That may not be simply restoring the things that have been cut or repealing bills. It could involve new things, better in the long term for the future of all of us.
I am a pragmatic optimist. Am also long enough in the tooth to know there will be compromise. We can’t all have what we want. The coming together of the People’s assembly was a good step. All those splinters of protest coming together under an anti-austerity banner. It needs to go further. But we need to decide what we want in 2015 and it needs to be achievable. I believe that needs to be a Labour Government, it will not be perfect but it will not be New Labour either.