Indifference lost Labour the election

January 20, 2020

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Inquire Media

 Image courtesy of Financial Times

 

The Left in this country needs to have a serious discussion with itself. It’s wrong to suggest their loss in the election was because of one reason. Corbyn, Brexit and attitudes of Labour voters all played a role.

Problem One: Corbyn. He was not a popular leader with the general population. Whether his media coverage or his lack of charisma, he was not popular.

 

Problem Two: Brexit. There was no real standpoint from Labour on the Brexit vote. The seats Labour lost were overwhelmingly Brexit seats like Blyth Valley, a seat never previously held by the Conservative Party.

 

These were ways the party failed. However, the third reason is the most important; the Labour supporters who have driven any reasonable debate below ground. I know a Conservative voter who was understandably worried about expressing his opinion at Kent because of the backlash of other students finding him out. The people of our age group (in general) who have taken to bullying those who vote differently is an unproductive trait that needs to stop.

 

Who wants to join the people that accuse you of being a racist just because you voted Brexit or call you a fascist or a murderer because you voted the Conservatives in? All I have seen on twitter is people raging against our democracy. This middle-class, intolerant, champagne socialism that has risen out of Miliband’s leadership, compounded by social media, and given confidence by the opinionated echo chambers at universities is what lost the election.

 

People try to do what they think is right. If you tell someone their opinion makes them ignorant, or that they have unconscious bias because they’re not ‘woke’ then you’re as bigoted as real fascists. You are certainly more authoritarian than the Conservatives currently in power. You will never persuade those you demonise. Since when in this country did debate using fact and reason become such a hard thing to do?

 

There were realistically two options this election. I voted Labour, what I thought was the best of a bad situation. But a lot of people genuinely thought that Boris was the better option. So when they see you on twitter talking about how people who voted Tory are murderers, they’re going to laugh at you. More importantly, they will never see your opinion as you just come across as a brat.

 

We need to stop telling people they can’t say things. The illiberal liberalism that has spread in this country is rampant and it stinks of self-satisfied ignorant people; ignorant of their shortcomings, ignorant of their inability to debate properly and their inability to treat opposition with the deserving fairness or respect. We are all people, all deserving for our political positions to be respected and heard. This highlights the underlying, unofficial mantra of the illiberal left: you are free to express yourself…as long as you're on my side.

 

How can you hope to have a valid or logical discussion if you don’t listen? Conservative-leaning voters claim their freedom of expression, and rightfully so, as Labour supporters try to ‘cancel’, ‘expose’ and ‘ban’ them. This only makes the latter’s opinion inherently unattractive.

I’m just tired; tired of the people I believe morally correct not screwing their heads on and seeing a debate as that: a debate. If you disagree with someone’s views, have a reasonable discussion and research your points.

 

The tragedy of it all is that this was all masochistic. If people had taken a reasonable attitude and didn’t paint so many individuals with the same brush it might be a different story, we might have had a real debate in this nation. Many of the Left electorate, even many people at this university, are a disgrace to political debate. Labour lost for many reasons, but it would be unfair of many of their supporters not to take some responsibility. I hope that this is read by at least a few people who are speaking or writing in this way and influences them to take a more considered approach. I hope that it brings some empathy back to politics at our university. If you want to be socially conscientious then you have to accept that not all of society thinks like you.

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First published in 1965, InQuire is the University of Kent student newspaper.

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