Since the general election in May, the media and mainstream political parties have been referring to “The Public” as if it is one giant individual. One true hive-mind that shunned Labour and voted unanimously for a Conservative majority. We need to step back for a moment and remember something that should have been obvious all along: members of the electorate are individual people with individual feelings. It may come as a shock to anyone whose career in politics has slowly elevated them away from the masses, but there are in fact real people behind the numbers.
In today’s political climate it’s clear that a lot of people want change. However, many still feel that elections are a two-horse race, and Labour is still the favourite choice of the working class and the political left. Nine million people voted Labour in May 2015, that’s over 30% of the popular vote. These people are the reason that Labour have the privilege of taking 232 seats in Parliament. These people didn’t vote for the Conservatives, they are not part of some grand hive-mind, and they need proper representation. Nine million people said “NO” to the Conservative manifesto, “NO” to George Osborne’s proposed welfare cuts and “NO” to five more years of pain and punishment for the working poor in our society.
Labour MPs have a democratic duty to serve their voters, to attend Parliament and vote the way that their own constituents and supporters expect them to vote. They don’t need to chase the hearts of the 37% who voted Conservative – those people are more than fairly represented in Parliament by their own MPs. Labour needs to stand up for its own people, do its duty and be the opposition the country needs it to be.
Any Labour MP whose principles are so flexible that they can vote for this Government’s destructive policies just two months after the general election needs to take a long, hard look at their political values. No MP is in Parliament to chase the voters of another party, they are all there to fulfill their promises to their own supporters.
Please Labour, do the right thing. Learn your lessons from Scotland, where a truly strong opposition party captured the hearts of 50% of the electorate. Form a strong, progressive opposition to this Government and Labour may just recover from the horror of the last general election. Pander to the Conservatives and, trust me, you’ll still be soul-searching in the summer of 2020.