Everyone is in agreement. We need a “new politics.”
Many of us aren’t sure what that is. Many of us, even with some idea, aren’t sure how to implement it.
Over the coming weeks and months there will be a demand to get this right.
Jeremy Corbyn has had less than a year to get his feet under the table; yet people are doubting the “new politics” he has tried to deliver.
Many of us claim we want a new kind of politics. Yet when this is presented to us we dismiss it as illogical, naive or ineffective.
We need to do better.
We are the first generation whose entire youth has been documented online.
Our futures are almost entirely dependent on our pasts. The embarrassing video. The Tweets of anger. The Live Journal post you did when you were 15. This couldn’t be more true of politics and this, above all, is why politics must change.
Despite a healthy cynicism toward politicians, there is an expectation for them to be faultless; a sense that, “Only a perfect person is good-enough to represent me.”
This has led politicians to try their hardest fulfilling this ambition; to appear perfect – distinct above the rest – responsible-enough to lead.
The soundbites, the fake decency, the lack of public outburst and the profuse apology that follows (Duffy-Gate), all point toward a political class all too-conscious of what people expect from them.
Should a glimpse of humanity show itself, it’s treated as an unmitigated disaster.
So when we complain about a “disconnect” between ourselves and “the Establishment,” we should keep this in mind.
Our criticism often stems from the same self-righteousness that demands politicians exceed the standards we might normally hold ourselves to. A disconnect entirely of our own making.
Unreasonable demands on public officials to be other than themselves, to have no past – no history – has suggested they become empty and robotic.
On the rare occasion when they do show passion, it’s passion they think the electorate agrees with. No honest disagreement. No argument. No “battle of ideas.”
If we want politicians to really represent us, if we want politicians to show more humanity, then we need to be willing to humble ourselves and allow their mistakes. All them a past. Allow them a history. We all make mistakes. It’s how we learn from them that matters.
This is why Jeremy Corbyn is so important.
Corbyn’s insistence on avoiding personal attacks, to ignore and forgive past faults, to emphasise the importance of now; shows the way for an effective, open and engaging politics of the future.
If Jeremy is to succeed in achieving this he needs our support.
We need to back him. Not just with words, but with actions, too.
We need to rise above personal insults, above cocaine and “Pig-Gate.” Even the Bullingdon Club.
It’s hard. At the peak of Tory cruelty – in the midst of the bedroom tax and disability cuts – damaging personal revelations and opportunities for insults were too good to ignore.
But the truth is we knew these revelations had nothing to do with Tory policy.
On the contrary, we were afraid they might make politicians feel a little bit closer to ourselves – that they too are human – that they too make mistakes.
Our own frailties, our own histories, are not that different from others’ – whether people grow-up to destroy lives through politics or save them.
It is convenient for us to condemn, to judge to gloat. It maintains the separation that we ourselves have demanded.
But no more.
Over the next few years, we are facing the prospect of a Tory government to the Right of anything we’ve ever seen in this country.
Backed by a wave of populist support against migrants, re-energised by their victory of leaving the European Union; we are in the very real danger of repealing all that was good over the last 20 years.
The National Minimum Wage, increased maternity and paternity rights, tax credits, increased welfare spending, investment in our public services, among many other success stories.
It is easy (and justified) to get lost in the Iraq War. The repealing of Clause 4. The damage to the core of our membership and the communities we’re supposed to represent.
But we must not let this cloud our judgement on just how bad a new Tory government would be; a Tory government that could boast a majority of over 200 should Labour allow itself to descend into the chaos of a new leadership election.
The new politics would be over. And Labour would be handed back over to the Blairites.
We need to fight.
We need to fight the Tories on policy. Unite ourselves around Jeremy. Help convince people of the new politics he has tried so hard to deliver. We need to live-out these values.
Do we really want to trade the last 12 months and the future of British – even global – politics for a handful of ineffective, irrelevant insults?
The Tories and Blairites must be defeated not because of their pasts, but because of their futures. It is our job to convince them of a better way.
We need to represent a new kind of politics. And Jeremy is best-placed to deliver.