Why lefties like me must drop the cry of betrayal


2:14 pm - January 5th 2011

by Owen Jones    


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Unions selling out their members. Ed Miliband surrendering to the Blairites and the right-wing media. Spineless Labour MPs who would vote for the killing of the firstborn if it was a three line whip.

These are the sorts of accusations you will often hear being hurled around by people on the left – and yes, that includes me. The cry of betrayal is as much a part of the culture of the left as duffle coats, five-hour meetings in a pub on a Saturday afternoon and factional disputes over Hugo Chavez’s dress sense.

But the problem with the ‘cry of betrayal’ is twofold.

One, it rests on the assumption that there is a movement to betray; and two, it is rooted in the myth that it is those at the top who determine political direction.

Above all, it absolves activists of the responsibility of building powerful grassroots pressure from below.

Imagine yourself as a newly elected Labour MP. You are under huge pressure from the party establishment to toew the line. Media hacks circle like vultures, waiting to crucify you for the mildest of left-wing sentiments. Yes, you have a desire to climb the career ladder – and to be ‘taken seriously’ and appear ‘respectable’.

You operate in a neo-liberal consensus that is so entrenched it is virtually passed off as commonsense. You tell yourself that you want to represent your constituents as best you can – and, with no other game in town, you have to respect the status quo to do so.

Where is the countervailing pressure to resist all of this? Sure, you will get a politician like John McDonnell who will vote a bad policy down on the basis it is bad, regardless of the pressure he is under: but that makes him all the more courageous.

It would need a really powerful movement to offset all of the things dragging even many well-meaning politicians to ‘moderation’ and ‘respectability’. And let’s be honest – the recent hopeful stirrings aside – there hasn’t been one for a very long time.

The reason that even the ‘left’ has drifted to the right isn’t because of a surrender of abstract principles on the part of the people at the top. It’s because of a perfect storm that has engulfed it. It started when the New Right used the economic crisis of the 1970s to demolish the post-war consensus. The labour movement – the historic backbone of the left – had its power obliterated.

Margaret Thatcher was often quoted as saying “There is no alternative” in the 1980s: but after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it really did feel that way.

That’s why the cry of betrayal is so futile. It ends up being used by an assortment of left-wing sects to justify calling for a break from the Labour Party – as though Labour was a conservative deadweight holding back an avalanche of unrest. If only it was so simple.

The truth is that the timidity or outright surrender on the part of those who are supposed to be on the left is a reflection of where we are. Of course there are uber-Blairites who are ideologically wedded to Thatcherism and who will not budge, however much pressure they come under. But the reality is that most politicians and trade union leaders will shift their positions if they come under enough pressure to do so.

It may be an apocryphal tale, but the US journalist I. F. Stone once wrote of a meeting between former President Franklin D. Roosevelt and a group of campaigners who, at length, tried to win his support for their cause. “Okay, you’ve convinced me,” he responded. “Now go on out and bring pressure on me.”

That’s the attitude the left needs to take. The responsibility lies with us to build a strong movement that can drag the Labour and trade union leadership to the left, whether willingly or not. Only then can we start talking about betrayal.

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A longer version is at Owen’s blog

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About the author
Owen Jones is author of ‘Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class’, to be published by Verso in May 2011. He blogs here and tweets here.
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Reader comments


Good article!

Excellent.

Please proceed with your plan.

This is excellent, and really chimes with my experiences of being a councillor. Activists, even those I knew personally, often seemed to be willing me (and others like me) to compromise so they could denounce me and confirm their existing conceptions about power, while never realising that avoiding those compromises requires a base of support and active social movements, not just sheer willpower.

Matt

Agreed, and spot on.

Without mass support and organisation – we have nothing but people crying constantly about betrayal without understanding the need for shifting public opinion.

5. Chaise Guevara

What is it with this site and thinking “tow the line” means something?

@4 – yes, it is irritating. I posted something similar last time around, but here’s Orwell again:

“… there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples are: … toe the line [etc.].

“Many of these are used without knowledge of their meaning and incompatible metaphors are frequently mixed, a sure sign that the writer is not interested in what he is saying.

“Some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning without those who use them even being aware of the fact. For example, toe the line is sometimes written as tow the line.”

George Orwell – Politics and the English Language

There may not be an avalanche of unrest, but the expression “conservative deadweight” is a perfect description of the British Labour Party. Just read it’s current leader’s dad.

8. Mike Killingworth

[6] That’s Owen’s point, isn’t it? A left-wing academic has two sons who become active in the mass party of the working-class movement. And in their praxis they reject just about all of Pappa’s theory.

9. Robert Anderson

Excellent article! In short people strive for power to generally do good. If there is a lack of continuous and consistent accountability, then many switch from using power to abusing it. However, you use the excuse of pressure to justify many ditching their principles whilst a few do not. John O’Donnell is not courageous, he is doing what is right. Accountability and principles of social solidarity are the bedrock of any decent society.

Regards

Bob

It is not about betrayal it is about having a purpose. If the Labour party now exists only to creep to Murdoch , deregulate the banking industry, cut the basic rate of tax, privatise the NHS , start illegal wars in the middle east for private corporations , while at home turning the country into a police state then there is no point in it’s existence, because the Tory party already does that.

There is no point in winning elections if all you are going to do is be tory. We have a tory party for that. If Blair wants to get rich screwing the country for his corporate masters fine, but he should do it in the tory name,, and not in mine.

The international far right is taking us at light speed back to the 19th century. I think most people will be very pissed off when we get there and find the Labour party thinks it is just fine.

11. Anon E Mouse

Why don’t the Left stop being hypocrites and then they may be respected (although not necessarily supported) for their views.

Prime example is the Murdoch media empire.

1. Don’t complain about 20% of the news coming from Sky when the BBC has 40%
2. Always refuse to watch any sport on Sky at home or in a pub
3. Never subscribe to any Sky channel or use Sky Plus or watch Sky 3D

That’s the problem with the Left moaning about Murdoch whilst watching the footy in a pub…

Absolutely spot on. One reason that the rhetoric of “selling out” OS particularly pernicious is that it attributes veal intentions to ones opponents and therefore lowers the level of political debate. Genuinely important – and difficult debates about politics and strategy – are subsumed in bppwhard rhetoric about the intentions of ones opponents.

“Why don’t the Left stop being hypocrites”

What, like all those tory hypocrties who use the NHS, and take as much govt corporate welfare as they can stuff into their pockets?

“Okay, you’ve convinced me,” he responded. “Now go on out and bring pressure on me.”

That’s the attitude the left needs to take.

Of course, Roosevelt was also a liar and authoritarian who interned over a 100,000 citizens for the crime of little more than serving a useful purpose as a propaganda tool. Sometimes the guys in power are just too powerful to be pressured.

Generalisation-tastic but perhaps helpful: What is it in the difference between the right and left that generally, (although there have certainly been a few exceptional counter examples), that allows the right to disagree but still get on with each other and progress most of their agenda but sees the left stabbing each other in the back?

Personally I think that it is because the left takes criticism more personally rather than recognising that equally well meaning people can disagree. However, I fully admit that I am grasping for an explanation rather than having evidence to back it up.

16. Dick the Prick

To be fair though, Labour’s poll numbers are bloody brilliant considering.

@14 Falco

That’s an interesting point. My first thought is that perhaps the left has more to lose, not generally being as well off as the right. The right-wing mentality also has a thing about deference to authority.

My first reading of this piece was that it was some kind of apologia for New Labour. I don’t think anyone who wants Labour to mean anything in the future can reasonably stand up and defend their appalling record. The best that can be said of them is that they were under-achievers.

I’d like to turn the question posed by the article on its head: Why does the Left so often follow bad leaders?

18. Chaise Guevara

@ 14 Falco

“What is it in the difference between the right and left that generally, (although there have certainly been a few exceptional counter examples), that allows the right to disagree but still get on with each other and progress most of their agenda but sees the left stabbing each other in the back?

Personally I think that it is because the left takes criticism more personally rather than recognising that equally well meaning people can disagree. However, I fully admit that I am grasping for an explanation rather than having evidence to back it up.”

Surely you mean that the left are upstanding dudes and dudettes who stick to their principles while the right are backstabbing bastards who’ll support any cause for a buck? 😉

Serious answer? I think it has a lot to do with the setting (in this case, sites like this:

1) Real left/right rows on this site tend to form around economic issues, where the left tends to present its arguments more ideologically and the right more pragmatically.

2) Your stereotypical rightist can be a cerebral libertarian or a violent racist hang-em-all idiot. Imagine a calm and friendly chat between those two! The British (also American) right are probably actually stranger bedfellows than their leftwing peers. But the ideological, gays-are-evil right don’t hang around this site, meaning the right here are happily cut off from their moron division.

3) The right doesn’t have feminism in it. To put that less succinctly but waaay more accurately, for historical (and perhaps no longer relevant) reasons the right is not the natural home of identity politics. Identity politics is important and can be very noble, but it also has a habit of derailing pretty much any other conversation going. Watch what happens to the thread whenever LC mentions one of the straw feminists’ pet peeves.

19. Anon E Mouse

Sally – So tax paying Tories are not allowed to use the NHS?

How would that be hypocritical?

Because they vote for a party that wants to destroy it. So they should go private.

And the average tory voter is always moaning about the welfare state, and yet my experience is that tory voters tend to be at the front of the q to claim any benefit they might get. Look at someone like Duncan Smith. His dad was in the Navy (paid for by the tax payer) He was educated by the state, he then got a job in the military (paid for by the state) He then went to work for an arms company so the biggest customer was the state. Then he gave that up to become a politician and has been scrounging off the state ever since.

Yet he claims people should not live off the state.

Tory farmers are another bunch of whiny tory hypocrites, with their snouts in the tax payers pockets every time they screw up their own industry.

Tories are the real hypocrites.

You operate in a neo-liberal consensus that is so entrenched it is virtually passed off as commonsense. You tell yourself that you want to represent your constituents as best you can – and, with no other game in town, you have to respect the status quo to do so.

Had Rosa Parks got up and moved to the back of the bus, Would Barak Obama be POTUS right now?

It takes us all to sit down, albeit one at a time, to change things. If you are already standing at the back of the bus waiting for someone else to move forward you are going to stand for a long time…

Had Rosa Parks got up and moved to the back of the bus, Would Barak Obama be POTUS right now?

I don’t see why people resort to this every DAMN time. I say something like – ‘its not going to get public support if students smash windows, try to light xmas trees on fire or trash police vans’ – and then suddenly people are comparing them to the Suffragettes movement.

Let’s get some damn perspective. The civil rights movement was a different era. We’re not living there any more.

If someone was going to set themselves on fire over, say, massacre of civilians in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tibet etc – that would be a rightly drastic act. But for losing their EMAs? Don’t think so.

Sunny @ 21

Fair enough, point taken. The point I was trying to make is that not everything has to ‘win’ right away. Not everything needs to win a majority of the public all the time for it to be effective. Rosa Parks only wanted a seat, but one woman ‘wanting a seat’ lead to a civil rights movement.

I agree that screaming ‘betrayal’ at everything, but (your example) EMAs where removed because the Right got their narrative in first. They have been allowed to portray those getting it as drunken youths, we have to be seen to be defending these people and questioning those assumptions. I think the campaign against cuts in child benefit was well meant, not because it won the Left friends among the middle classes, but it meant that we (whoever that is) gave the impression that we were willing to defend things and more importantly had the potential to make the Tories look like they were willing to abandon people. The Tories kicked up a huge fuss regarding the ten pence tax thing and it put labour under pressure among their own supporters. The Tories never gave a crap about those people, but keeping labour in the spotlight and on the defensive meant when the chance came to pin something on Labour, the damage had been done and the banking crisis stuck to Labour like glue. The Tories did not put up an alternative to the bank bailout, but no-one remembered that come the election. All everyone knew was ‘they’ caused the banks to fail.

Fight every battle, every skirmish, every dumb move and keep on at them regarding every unpopular decision, when the chance comes to strike you will have the balls to take the opportunity.

#21 The cruelty meted out to asylum seekers is pretty drastic. Usually abuse that seems drastic in hindsight seems uncontroversial at the time. I’m sure segregation seemed normal to many people.

I agree with the stuff about building a strong grassroots movement – I doubt many people on here would argue with that.

But if an elected representative does the opposite of what they said they would do, or puts their own career ahead of the interests of those they claim to represent, why shouldn’t their let-down supporters cry betrayal?

You say you want a grassroots movement to counter the influence of the right-wing press, big business etc etc. Damn right.

But you then seem to say that this grassroots movement should respond to a good knifing by going all softly-softly, let’s not be beastly, we understand your predicament, perhaps you’d be so kind as to change your mind, etc etc.

Well guess what? When Murdoch’s henchmen sit down with political leaders, they don’t play softball; they warn them of the consequences of taking an independent line. When the CBI wants to have a moan about taxes on the rich, they don’t understand ministers’ predicament; they shout that half of the City of London is about to disappear to Dubai and issue hellfire press statements. When Labour whips defending right-wing policies cornered wavering backbenchers, they always had the chance of ministerial office as a carrot to swipe away in the event of dissent.

When the Right comes out to play, it plays hardball. So any grassroots movement to counter their influence has to be ready to play hardball as well. Not an exact replica of the Right’s tactics, given how odious they often are. But I hardly think calling out elected representatives for ‘betrayal’ is outside the bounds of acceptability.

Many Labour members seem to have spent much of the last ten years taking a softly-softly approach to Labour MPs who consistently voted for right-wing policies. I don’t remember it doing much good.

chaminda: Well guess what? When Murdoch’s henchmen sit down with political leaders, they don’t play softball; they warn them of the consequences of taking an independent line.

Talking tough is all good, but you need to exercise it properly (and Murdoch doesn’t always get what he wants, he is pragmatic enough to recognise that) and you need to have power in the first place.

Owen’s point is that the left wants the benefits of power without having it in the first place. Powerless people scream betrayal. The powerful get rid of them pragmatically and efficiently.

Many Labour members seem to have spent much of the last ten years taking a softly-softly approach to Labour MPs who consistently voted for right-wing policies. I don’t remember it doing much good.

This is firstly because those Labour members didn’t have much power. Secondly, they were out of sync with public opinion (Owen’s other point). You want a return to socialism? Guess what, most of the public doesn’t. There’s about 25% of the population who cares about equality, another 20-40% that care about a loosely defined version of fairness. To build together that coalition for political power, you can’t just rely on the first 25%. That means accepting some MOR Labour MP views.

That doesn’t mean swallowing everything Tom Harris and Frank Field say (I don’t agree with either on most things) – but there are plenty of left of centre Labour people who would not sign up to everything John McDonnell would, and they need to be part of that coalition.

One other thing – does this new approach mean we can’t accuse Lib Dem MPs of betrayal when they vote in favour of higher student fees they pledged to oppose?

I should hope not.

28. Anon E Mouse

sally – I’m not sure if you’re serious. Do you know what hypocrisy is?

IDS and his father worked in the military, defending this country (what have you done?) and you insult their career choice whilst supporting a Labour Party that lied to the commons to blindly follow a right wing US president into war resulting in thousands of innocent deaths.

So we have a lying Labour Party who smeared David Kelly after telling the truth which drove him to his death and that’s OK is it?

And then David Cameron who has always used the NHS was smeared by the Labour Party from Downing St at the same time his disabled son died and I suppose that’s OK as well is it?

You mention farming and the biggest supporter of Fox Hunting and CHAIRMAN of the Countryside Alliance is the Labour MP, Kate Hoey.

Shall we mention the Ed Miliband, the tax avoiding property millionaire, who’s first “job” (he has never done a single days work in his life) was for the countess toff Harriet Harman (educated at the same school as George Osborne) who’s own husband, the union dinosaur Jack Dromey, managed to get through an all woman shortlist.

An ALL WOMAN shortlist. As an ex Labour voter I despair of all this.

That’s what hypocrisy is sally. Need any more examples?

Sunny/27: To build together that coalition for political power, you can’t just rely on the first 25%. That means accepting some MOR Labour MP views.

I asked this before in a previous “left unity” thread, but you may have missed it then.

Does this left coalition (united left, whatever you want to call it) have any principles beyond “not being the Tories/the right”, and if so, what?

If it doesn’t, I fail to see the point of it.

If it does, then it needs to have at least two [1] explicitly-stated statements of belief, that are sufficiently unambiguous that they couldn’t mean wildly different things to different people, and that are unarguable by its members (as by definition a member of the coalition joined it to support those principles), that are not uncontroversial and agreed to by the vast majority of the population anyway, and that will never be discarded no matter how useful it would be to do so. (Which then leads to “betrayal” being the appropriate word when someone claims to support those statements right up to the point where they do the opposite) If those two or more statements exist, could you say what they are, please (obviously if it’s an early formulation the “unambiguous” requirement is relaxed a little).

[1] Only one, and it’s a single-issue pressure group, which is not a bad thing to be, but not, I think, something which can claim to be a united anything.

30. Mike Killingworth

[27]

You want a return to socialism? Guess what, most of the public doesn’t. There’s about 25% of the population who cares about equality

I’d like that sourced, please, Sunny. You make a big implication, too – that this is the deepest political cleavage in our society. It may be, but again I’d like to see some evidence (which I am sure you have somewhere :lol:)

Let’s take it on trust for now. What it means is that those of us in the 25% have a choice – eternal political impotence or selling our souls. Whichever we choose, our opponents – or maybe they are enemies – get to call the shots. As someone once said “whichever party is in office, the tories are always in power”.

Duncan Smith has spent his entire life scrounging off the state. And he is still doing it. Yet he lectures to people about not living off the state. What a hypocritical tosser. Why don’t all tory Mps give up their salaries and expenses if they feel so strongly about cutting the deficit?

The Duke of Westminster (biggest land owner in the uk and tory) takes huge amount of tax payers money for his so called business. Most farmers are the compensation claiming hypocrites. Every time they fuck up their own industry they whinge and moan and stick their greedy paws out and demand govt handouts. Then they vote tory and moan about paying any tax. Never mind the state is subsidising their red diesel.

The officer class of the military is stacked to the gunnels with aristocratic morons living off the state and living in big houses all paid for by the their state welfare salaries, and state pensions, and whining about the welfare state. I know, I have met many of them. Ghastly people most of them.

The list goes on and on of tory hypocritical scum Tory judges, policemen, living off the teat of govt and whining about anyone else who does the same. You are the hypocrite party troll.

32. Shatterface

Denouncing politicians for ‘betrayal’ makes me think of newspaper headlines desribing the weather as ‘treacherous’.

Any system of power that is invested in an elite – even a ‘representative’ elite – serves the interests of that elite, who are, themselves, only electable so long as they do not challenge that system.

The system selects only individuals who support that system; those who do not support the system are filtered out at an early stage. You might as well expect a liberal secularist to become the next pope.

Gosh darn those lefties for daring to ask that their politicians have principles!

I’m sympathetic to the OP … but politicians also have a duty to make the case for what is right, and not just bow to public opinion. Politicians of any party can and should be criticised vocally for doing the wrong thing, regardless of what public opinion is. Good examples include perpetuating the pointless war on drugs or reducing civil liberties to fight terrorism, both of which are clearly the wrong thing to do but enjoy great public support.

35. Anon E Mouse

sally – Never voted Tory in my life. I didn’t even know a Tory until the last election but I know plenty now.

I’m with Nick Clegg and his Freedom Bill all the way. As Labour’s HIPs, ID Cards, Detention Orders and Runway 3 at Heathrow get scrapped I love it.

I feel your bile is unfair against an ex-serviceman like IDS (considering the grief I’ve seen on faces of grieving relatives from dead soldiers under the Labour Party and it’s overseas adventures) and to compare a military career with a life on benefits is bizarre. Is this how far out of touch Labour supporters have become?

Leaving aside your typical New Labour smearing, what’s your opinion on the Countess Toff, Harriet Harman (educated at the same school as George Osborne) who’s own husband, the union dinosaur Jack Dromey, managed to get through an all woman shortlist?

You must really HATE that woman eh!

Do you understand what hypocrisy is sally?

“Never voted Tory in my life”

HA HA HA

Funny how tory trolls never have the guts to admit it.

“Do you understand what hypocrisy is sally?” Yes, it is morons like you. look in the mirror troll if you want to know.

Tory troll “considering the grief I’ve seen on faces of grieving relatives from dead soldiers under the Labour Party and it’s overseas adventures”

Really? You have seen this have you? Because you said before “ I didn’t even know a tory until the last election” Most soldiers are tory, but you don’t know any. So you are talking shit as usual.

You can’t even get your facts straight in the same post. The nearest you have come to dead soldiers is jerking off to Rambo movies.

There’s another reason to stop the cries of betrayal. It’s part of the whole meme that the Labour Left are so fond of that Labour are ‘secret’ socialists. Remember how Gordon Brown was going to break with Blairism after he got elected? Ho ho.

Labour are openly a neoliberal party with no interest in class. They aren’t ‘betraying’ anybody. The only thing the claims otherwise show is how gullible the speaker is.

38. Chaise Guevara

@36 Sally

“You can’t even get your facts straight in the same post. ”

LOL. This coming from someone who, going by her own post, thinks:

1) That it’s impossible to be a solider and not vote Tory.

2) That it’s impossible to see someone’s face without knowing them personally (ever look at the TV?).

3) That she has the magic/psionic power to know who every else votes for.

Talking shit? Before mentioning the mote in your neighbour’s eye, address the forest in thine own…

I imagine that supporters of “Liberal Conspiracy” would support the concept of protecting the rights of individuals against the might of the State, yet once again the Labour leadership, this time in the guise of Ed Balls, Shadow Home Secretary, have demonstrated that political opportunism and popularism trump any concept of political principle. The Labour Party’s opposition to any meaningful reform of Control Orders, as expressed today by Ed Balls, surely demonstrates that the current Shadow Cabinet are no better than the right wing of the Tory party when it comes to defending personal freedom. Michael Howard could surely sit comfortably with the current Labour Shadow Cabinet, unlike Ken Clarke whom Labour probably regard as some sort of left-wing extremist.

40. Mike Killingworth

[37] Absolutely. And I’ll let you into a secret, WatSun: those who think that the Labour Party is in any sense “left wing” won’t seek to provide an apologia for their position in this discussion…

@27 – I think you’re aiming fire at the wrong target here. The problem is not people shouting ‘betrayal’ at, say, Barbara Roche in 2003/4 when she promised to vote against top-up fees and then voted for them (opposition to fees, unlike ‘socialism’, had majority public support).

The problem is where sections of the Left actively seek out reasons to oppose people that they could work with. Now, you can’t work with people you can’t trust (Roche in the above example), but where people have different worldviews or specific policies but agree on the majority of issues, that’s a potential alliance of some scale. It therefore doesn’t make sense for those potential allies to dig up any old reason to oppose each other and declare the other too pragmatic/extreme (delete as appropriate) for them to work with. That’s where you get sectarianism, and things fall apart pretty quickly from there.

That is far more of a problem than people crying ‘betrayal’ when they are betrayed – and the Labour right is constantly at it, with its constant claims that xyz are ‘extremists’, ‘militants’ or ‘Old Labour’.

42. Anon E Mouse

sally – Having spent 12 years in the mob where I had very little interest in politics (other than coming from a traditional Labour background) I can assure you the majority of servicemen have no interest in politics. They may have voted Tory I wouldn’t know – it’s a free country but with a bigger interest in woman and drink at the time I really don’t remember and we just never talked about religion or politics.

Even two of my oppos now never mention politics. Sex and football normally but not politics.

If I was a Tory why wouldn’t I just say so? They are in government you know sally.

But you keep avoiding the question so let’s have another go (third time):

What’s your opinion on the Countess Toff, Harriet Harman (educated at the same school as George Osborne) who’s own husband, the union dinosaur Jack Dromey, managed to get through an all woman shortlist?

Well do you not recognise hypocrisy sally?

43. Chaise Guevara

Anon E Mouse, just in case you’re new here, it’s only fair to warn you that Sally is a bona fide, down-to-the-bone, no-doubt-about-it troll. If anyone who hasn’t amply demonstrated their leftiness says anything to the right of Hugo Chavez, she’ll hoot indignantly and repeatedly that you’re a “brownshirt Tory troll” and call you a liar when you point out that you’re not.

Oh, and anyone who disagrees with her on a rape thread is a wannabe rapist, anyone who disagrees with her on a social justice thread loves watching the poor suffer… etc. etc. I think she thinks Tories are the monsters that live under your bed. You are not going to talk sense into her, many have already tried and failed.

44. Anon E Mouse

Chaise – Thanks for that. I sort of guessed she was that sort.

What gets me is why the left no longer have a sense of humour and are so dogmatic. The Tory blogs are really boring but this troll “Sally” has had me laughing all day. So predictable.

The flustered and flapping because she knows, like everyone else that Labour are mo different (in office) than any other government. Love it.

45. Chaise Guevara

@ 44

Lefties have a sense of humour, but internet politics often doesn’t. It’s a shame, but everyone goes polarised and serious and forgets that they’re talking to people they’d probably quite like face-to-face. I’m a youngish liberal leftie, but I’ve sat with true-blue Home Counties Tories (“Hang ’em, flog ’em, but not with my damn money”) in their sixties and spent most of the time swapping jokes. I think the internet is the only place where everyone always wants to have an unpleasant conversation. On the other hand, that’s probably why we all spend time here…

46. Anon E Mouse

Chaise – I’d agree except then I remember Gordon Brown and his “serious business of government” nonsense and Yvette Cooper and her nodding dog frown as she droned on and on. Ed Balls. Caroline Flint. Margret Beckett. Ed Miliband. Lyam Byrne.

Tony Blair, Alun Johnson, David Miliband and (possibly) Alistair Darling are humorous but what sold me on this coalition was the rapport between Clegg and Cameron at that joint news conference and then Clegg at PMQ’s with Jack Straw.

And Cameron and the joke about the speaker being a dwarf and the size of Eric Pickles – it’s just funny.

There is a refreshing recklessness about Clegg and personally I think the polls will turn in the Lib Dem’s favour as long as the economy rebounds.

As long as Ed Miliband remains Labour leader they have no hope of government. His interview on Jeremy Vine lunchtime was a car crash and the Lib dems will pick up voters they currently don’t appeal to.

For the first time in the history of the Liberals they will have a record of government to promote and I see this coalition lasting longer than people think…

yup. well done. Up for that. I’ve been saying for years that a coherent movement has every chance with the absolute bankrupcy of mainstream politics. I disagree that it needs to have an effect on the Labour party specifically, or that it needs to be called “left” anymore but I would come along for the ride just in case you were right. I think it just needs to become a trend in politics which self interested politicians would climb aboard.

ps hurry up I am going grey

@Chaise Guevara

Didn’t Sally previously go by the name of ‘Dirty European Socialist’?


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Why lefties like me must drop the cry of betrayal http://bit.ly/ens0tE

  2. Martin Shovel

    Why lefties like me must drop the cry of betrayal http://bit.ly/ens0tE (via @libcon)

  3. Double.Karma

    RT @libcon: Why lefties like me must drop the cry of betrayal http://bit.ly/ens0tE

  4. Peter Wong

    Why lefties like me must drop the cry of betrayal | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/DyvsNOD via @libcon

  5. Rachel Hubbard

    Why lefties like me must drop the cry of betrayal | Liberal Conspiracy http://goo.gl/WJnDX

  6. SOCIALIST UNITY » SUNNY HUNDAL ON NETROOTS AND THE LABOUR PARTY

    […] really insightful blog-post recently, which should be required reading for every leftie, titled: ‘Why lefties like me should drop the cry of betrayal‘. The fundamental premise here is that the only people who shout betrayal are the ones who have […]

  7. sunny hundal

    @gwenhwyfaer lefties got betrayed because we don't have any power. Organise that and they'll listen http://bit.ly/ens0tE

  8. Matt Bradley

    RT @sunny_hundal: @gwenhwyfaer lefties got betrayed because we don't have any power. Organise that and they'll listen http://bit.ly/ens0tE





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