It's virtually a day since Jeremy Corbyn won the Labour leadership, a day described as momentous or calamitous depending on which way you voted. I'm deep in Cathar country in South West France, with the spirit of heresy heavy in the air, feeling detached and nervous, yet strangely elated and hopeful.
For the first time in my political life I have voted for three individuals and they have each been chosen for the offices for which they'd been nominated - Corbyn, Tom Watson (as his deputy) and Sadiq Khan (as the Labour mayoral candidate).
My choices mean that I'm an idiot who knows nothing about that this will mean for the real Labour Party, according to some of my friends on Facebook; or that I am riding the wave of history, in the vanguard of a new movement that will not only talk about justice and equality, but bring it about in the fulness of time.
I'm not sure I agree with either camp to be honest. I voted as I did because I'm fed up of grey people, afraid of their own shadows, of being haunted in the media because of some off the cuff remark, telling me that they are the future. If that's true, then God help us; in the words of the peerless Nick Cave, 'We are mostly lost...'. I voted as I did because I believe the Labour Party is about equality, social progress, sensible interventionist economics and meeting the aspirations of ordinary people of every gender, race, religion, educational attainment, whatever.
Apparently, we needed to vote for a leader who could win in 2020 and therefore one who spoke the language of free markets and neoliberal politics, one who subscribed to a neocon view of the world and is therefore pro-EU, pro-Nato, pro-liberal interventionism and pro-Trident. I wonder. If I wanted any of that and nothing else, I'd vote for David Cameron as he seems to have that corner well and truly sown up. I'm not interested in a pale imitation of it because a pale imitation of a lie is still a lie.
Probably by the time I board the ferry a week tomorrow all hell will have broken loose with every faction of the Labour Party threatening court action against every other faction. I'm beginning to think I joined this party because it is so much like the church, so prone to split and fight over matters of arcane doctrine, so unwilling to accept difference, find common ground and press on towards agreed goals, so hard-pushed to forgive past slights. Of course, I remain a part of the church despite its infantile factionalism because I believe it stands for something bigger, better and more wonderful than that, so perhaps I can hang with a party that manifests the same tendencies.
My prayer for the coming weeks is that we will find a language and a platform to unite rather than rend asunder. I've been praying that for the church for most of my adult life and it's a prayer that's been answered in part; but then in this world getting part of what we crave is pretty good.
Sunday, September 13, 2015
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