Tuesday, 28 June 2016

I feel betrayed

Feeling betrayed is one of the most uncomfortable of emotions because buried deep within it is the kernel of self doubt, "I am partly to blame for being so naive". To put your trust in someone or something that secretly had a different agenda to the one you thought it had leaves you totally exposed to deep feelings of resentment once that duplicity comes to light ........... and yes I do feel very resentful.

I am not writing here about the Tories or UKIP because I know that they have been peddling falsehood for years. They are proven liars and if we lived in a country that valued honesty above hype in public life they would have been thrown out years ago. Their biggest lie is to sell policies that legitimise inequality; compounded by their unholy alliance with swathes of the media that dupe those who get the least out of society to vote for more of the same. Last week they took one fateful step too far and it is truly shocking that the so-called victor, Boris Johnson should now say that the government should have had a plan in place to deal with the EU negotiations .......... and not the Leave campaign. Rowing back on the promises made in the campaign is the least of our worries but the fact that we now face a vacuum of indecision (is that possible) just when we need to be focussing on how we manage the catastrophe of Brexit carries with it the potential of great harm to this country.

Who do I think has betrayed me?

I have agonised about writing what follows .......... the source of my feeling of betrayal. As I write I am still unsure if I will upload it to the blog but the fact that my subject is honesty dictates that I too must be honest. So here goes.

I first voted in the 1970 general election and can still remember the pain of that Labour loss. I come from a Labour family where prominent Labour stalwarts were spoken of as if they were family friends. When I was much younger I half expected them to drop in for Sunday high tea. I was brought up in an atmosphere of trust in Labour but take everything a Tory says with a pinch of salt. This basic and simple set of values has stayed with me throughout my life. Though tested following the Iraq war and faced with policies that in the past couple of decades were barely clinging on to the far right fringes of socialism I still maintained that trust in the Labour Party. To a large degree I still do ....................... I'm still avoiding coming out with it ........................ I trust my local branch though I am not quite so enthusiastic about some of the structure that links us troops in the trenches with our generals. Even that has a certain comfort factor because the Labour Party that I feel a part of could hardly be described as a well oiled machine. Despite all its faults you stick with it because ........ well because you are Labour and if you voice your disagreement with this or that policy you are still tolerated if you find yourself in a minority of one at a branch meeting. That is the Labour Party that I love.

Spit it out, who betrayed me?

It is the Labour campaign to remain in the EU that has made me feel betrayed. Our official position was that we were for the EU and I expected a rigorous campaign that rallied the party faithful and spelt out to labour voters why it was so important that we stay in. Our performance though was pitiful. From a lacklustre husting in Belper to national platforms where our arguments were lukewarm at best. I looked for a barnstorming tour of the country by our front bench and prominent backbenchers and though there were some stalwarts doing their best there was a notable reluctance to ram the message home from our leader. 

There I've written it at last. I could have accepted all of this .......... just .......... if it was not for the revelations that there was deliberate policy to undermine the Labour Remain campaign that was sanctioned, if not organised from the top (see this BBC news item).  This was endorsed in an article written by Alan Johnson for the Spectator magazine where he stated that at times it felt as if:

"(Corbyn and his team were) working against the rest of the Party and had conflicting objectives".

I know that many will say that this is just the normal right of the party attempt to smear Jeremy (I too share misgivings about the BBC political editor and her piece) and in part I accept that. Jeremy has been badly served by the press and deserved better from his front bench team. I applaud those who stand by him just as I respect those who demonstrated yesterday outside parliament in his support. This is Labour solidarity.

But ................ I feel betrayed because I put my shoulder to a Labour campaign that, from the evidence of my own eyes was deliberating underplayed and lukewarm. I give my support to Labour and expect to be treated with respect in return. There are those that do much more than me but I take on a share of knocking on doors, delivering leaflets, putting up posters and attending meetings. I also try in my own way to further the cause of the Labour Party with this blog. At the very least the blog does not put off anyone from voting Labour (hopefully) as I believe passionately that an informed voter is a wiser voter.

I do not like being taken for a fool. I enthusiastically worked for the success of the Remain campaign and find it totally unacceptable that my efforts were undermined by actions or inactions of the Labour leader. I watched amazed at interviews he gave where he was lukewarm in his responses. Why should I spend my time fighting a campaign that the leader does not believe in. If, as he says, he did his best, that he did what he could then his best is not good enough. Believe me when I say that I read this article in the Guardian with great sadness.

This post is about honesty. Despite times when the truth has been less obvious I have always held to the belief that the Labour Party was to be trusted, a beacon of hope amidst the darkness of distortion meted out by the Tories and Ukip ............ latterly also the Lib-Dems as they entered into the ConDem coalition. I now find that I also distrust the Labour leadership. The one thing that doubters say about Jeremy is that he is at least honest and that for many was his main appeal, that he said it like it is. Many Labour voters I speak to have told me that they like the things he says because it is truthful but that he could never be elected. I countered,  you can never know how a person will perform until you test them .......... cometh the hour cometh the man. I  talk to those same Labour voters now and they say that they don't know what Corbyn stands for. Sadly I have to admit that I don't know either. 

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