The sycophantic Westminster media identify and empathise much more with Labour’s centrist MPs than the ordinary people who make up the party membership. And it shows.
In a rather nauseating review of Theresa May’s first outing in Prime Minister’s Questions, The Spectator’s Steerpike column gushes with sympathy for the rebellious Labour centrist MPs perched behind (and around) Jeremy Corbyn:
In recent weeks, Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity has hit a new low with the Parliamentary Labour Party. Things are so bad that he is unable to assemble a full Shadow Cabinet — instead having to assign some people with more than one position.
So, it was an interesting move of the Labour leader to bring up job insecurity and difficult bosses at today’s PMQs. Corbyn suggested that Theresa May had much work to do when it came to making employment rights fairer. Alas, the Prime Minister was unimpressed with Corbyn’s complaints. Channeling her inner Thatcher, May went on to suggest that it was he who was the guilty one when it came to inequality in the work place.
The Spectator goes on to quote the new prime minister’s (admittedly very effective) withering putdown of Corbyn:
‘I’m interested that he refers to the situation of some workers who might have some job insecurity and potentially unscrupulous bosses. I suspect that there are many members on the opposition benches who might be familiar with an unscrupulous boss.
A boss who doesn’t listen to his workers. A boss who requires some of his workers to double some of their workload. Maybe even a boss who exploits the rules to further his own career. Remind him of anybody?’
This is all part of a dismally familiar effort in the Westminster media to paint Labour’s rebellious centrist MPs as the wronged and oppressed group, and Corbyn as their unlikely tormentor in chief (when if anything it is clearly the other way around).
The Spectator – and they are far from alone – expect our hearts to brim over with sympathy for the poor Labour centrists whose ineptitude made Jeremy Corbyn’s rise possible in the first place, and who now stomp around Westminster mutinously, trying to destroy the mirror which Jeremy Corbyn holds up to their faces, showing them their own vacuity.
This is a fawning, sycophantic attitude which screams “screw the people and the Labour Party membership! What really matters are the hurt feelings and stymied career aspirations of 230 members of the Westminster political class, people who didn’t go to Oxbridge, secure prize political internships, and shimmy their way up the greasy pole only to find their dreams of a Cabinet career dashed because their party is locked out of power for a generation.”
That’s not to say that Corbyn is some kind of faultless, saintly figure. Far from it. But while his ideology may have been plucked unreformed from the 1970s, it is at least coherent and sincerely felt. The same cannot be said for the restive cohort of centrists who are so busy trying to find an “electable” alternative that policy and passion and principle barely register at all.
Post-Brexit, it seems to be fashionable for well-connected journalists, commentators and intellectuals to publicly muse about the possible reasons for the anti-establishment rage simmering at the surface of British politics. Why oh why have the British people stopped listening to the expert opinion of their betters in the Establishment, goes the frequent cry. Why have the people lost faith in the political class?
Hint: journalists openly fretting about the mental welfare of supposedly poor, downtrodden centrist Labour MPs rather than the genuinely poor and downtrodden squeezed middle and working classes goes a long way toward explaining this impenetrable riddle.
This post was originally published by the author 20 July 2016: https://semipartisansam.com/2016/07/20/many-people-in-britain-deserve-sympathy-labours-centrist-mps-do-not/