For a long time, I’ve known that the Green Party struggles to appeal to large numbers of working class people, not because its policy platform would not benefit them greatly, but because of the perception that the Green Party is full of middle class libertarian lefties. Of course we have working class members and trade unionists in our ranks but that is not how we project. We are growing (four times more votes in 2015 than 2010) but we remain a minor party.
I think that the Labour Party’s role in UK politics is and will remain crucial. Labour remains the only party that can connect with, properly represent and act in the best interest of the large mass of the working class. That it failed to do so through 13 years in power is only unforgiveable if that doesn’t change. Labour has hemorrhaged support to the SNP north of the border and to UKIP south of it. SNP and UKIP will both use the working class vote for their own political ends then discard it when their objectives are achieved. Labour’s tradition obliges it to continue to act in the best long term interests of the working class, that of labour and social justice against capital. Labour has evolved into a Party of the middle class liberal, replacing MPs from union / working class occupation backgrounds with middle class professionals like QC’s. Many are London-centric in action. The disconnect between the social make-up of the PLP and their constituents is almost absolute. The hard right and nationalists with their easy answers and scapegoating are moving into and taking over Labour’s core areas of support.
I am utterly appalled by the timing of the PLP rebellion. The nation is in full blown political and constitutional crisis. The need for opposition unity, however fragile, was absolute. The Tories were at their very weakest. The schism is between the politics of the grass roots Labour movement (members) and the social background and apparent motives of the majority of the PLP. Without being judgmental, the Leadership and PLP should have put any internal crisis on hold to drive a political stake through the wounded Tory Party. Opportunities are rare and need to be siezed. The rebellion will repel the public and I fear may never be forgiven.
A Labour split is looking quite possible. If it occurs and the Tories heal as quickly as often they do in their ruthless pursuit and retention of power, the left may consign itself to the dustbin of UK history as we will have missed the chance to reform the broken voting system that will continue to deliver a hegemony of the right on a minority of votes cast. From the outside, I would implore Labour unity at all costs but I fear events, like all others are fast running away.