If I had been in a coma for the last month and when I awoke could only judge by Labour/FBPE/Lib Dem Twitter what the result of the general election had been, I would assume that we’d had a hung parliament and that the Tories had caved in and opted for a second EU referendum to keep the show on the road. To call what is happening in left-wing and liberal circles complacency gives complacent people a bad name.
I sense no urgency whatsoever. The Tories under Boris Johnson have an 80-seat majority after taking a slew of northern seats that had been Labour forever; the Lib Dems failed, again, this time worse than ever; Brexit is definitely happening. Yet we get things in the Guardian like “Is Keir Starmer too safe?” and Labour MPs coming out with opening salvos of their leadership bids that make it sound as if Labour were four or five seats short of a majority in December. It’s like nothing has moved on since Ed Miliband reacted to Labour being crushed in 2015, losing Scotland and Ed Balls, with a quip about his “Milifans”.
The reaction to Dominic Cummings recruitment call is a great example of this. Everyone laughing at him in this snide way when he got the general election he wanted and then the result most people thought wasn’t possible. There doesn’t seem to be any owning up to what has gone so wrong in Labour and liberal politics over the past decade. It’s just the same old jokes, as if the Tories still had a minus 45 majority.
This is all way, way worse inside the Westminster bubble, by the way. What I sense from Labour people is that it’s bad, but maybe we float along for a while and hope for the best. The Lib Dems seem positively relieved. All that having to take Tory MPs on board and being an important parliamentary player – now they can go back to being totally irrelevant, which is where they feel comfortable.
I really don’t understand what is going on with non-Tory politics. It is like everyone has given up. Nothing that is exciting whatsoever is happening behind the scenes; no new campaigns, new think tanks, nothing. It’s business as usual, even if that means hard Brexit and the Tories being in power for another 15 years at least. It is as if this has just been accepted as the way things are and the desperate need to rebuild isn’t there, staring them in the face.
I’m sort of close to giving up on non-Tory politics, at least for the time being. No one is going anywhere. There are no alliances to build since no one who is in a position to really move things on seems to give two shits. This is what Corbynistas and the centrists they despise have in common: they both think everything is fine and that the plan to just wait for the right-wing populist bubble to burst and for things to “return to normal” is spot on, despite reality constantly telling them something different. Neither the Left nor the liberals think they need to change in any way. They still believe that the world will eventually be theirs via the arrow of history. They are both wrong.