The Wake

Maybe if you know Jeremy Corbyn personally you don’t think he is ‘dismal, lifeless and spineless’ but his campaign to get Labour voters to vote remain certainly was.

Dear reader, I will come back to that so you have been warned.

In our village there was a very tactful lack of campaign posters on either side and a general tacit agreement in the pub – at least amongst the people we drink with – not to talk about it.

Maybe on Friday there were some hoop-doopey-do celebratory parties going on across our part of Deepest Sussex – but in our house there was a wake.

A very nice wake with good friends, and who better to have at a wake with, but there was a real sense of loss not just for us but for the next generation.

What right do we have to retreat into the post war view of Great Britain (with lots of capital letters) and leave the next generation out of the Europe they have grown up with and want to live in.

It makes me angry – but I do not think that everyone who voted to leave is a racist bigot.

I do think if I had voted to leave on the basis that there was £350m available now to put into the NHS and that immigration would be cut to ‘the tens of thousands’ I would be mightily fed up to find Farage finally admitting that the £350m was a lie, and that the Brexit lot are saying that controlling immigration does not mean cutting the numbers.

And many people did vote based on those promises.

Boris, the man campaigning ‘against the elite’ spent yesterday playing cricket as a guest of Viscount Althorp.

If this is the man to be our new leader and unite us, then ‘god’ help us.

Mind you, I have to say – and so back my beginning – some MPs in the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn should be ashamed of themselves.

Lots of this campaign – of course not here in Deepest Sussex but in places where life is just a teensy bit tougher – was about being mightily fed up with the political class, with obsessive media coverage of the machinations of Westminster, with being seriously out of touch and definitely not using the old maxim of ‘you have two ears and one mouth, use them wisely.’

I cannot claim to be in the least bit bothered that the Tory Party is tearing chunks out of itself and each other but someone/some party should be studying up for fairness.

David Cameron said we were all in this together but we weren’t. We aren’t. And the people who have felt this most keenly have told them all to bugger off.

I think it was the wrong way to say it. Leaving the EU does not make for a change in the political class in Britain and if you think Boris is going to make a significant difference to NHS waiting times in Sheffield or Scunthorpe or Southsea you may find out that he doesn’t. No way.

But we need a Labour Party leader who does care about fairness and surely Jo Cox wasn’t the only Labour MP to be such a great person who worked for real values, who fought and laughed and could talk to people and who believed in the same things that lots of us – in or out – believe in. Someone out there in the Labour Party must be able to do that – and be a leader.

Jeremy Corbyn may well be a man of principle but his ideas are 30 years out of date ( at least, and I should know because they were out of date when I was a political lass.) One of his supporters said he had a ‘nuanced’ message.

But a referendum is binary, back and white, in or out – not bloody nuanced.

And yes, he campaigned around the country but to meetings called by his supporters. That is just not good enough. Not by a country mile as we might say round here. He has to go.

However, and deep breath at the end of that rant, there were few things which made me laugh in the last few days but here are two of them:

A great Facebook posting which said,

Cornwall has voted to leave!! Cornwall received almost £800m of EU Objective One funding between 2000-2013. Didn’t you like your new university? Massive new tourism infrastructure (Eden Project)? or super-fast broadband provision?

That’s a lot of money to replace by selling Poldark tea towels…

And then there was the news that the person who set up the petition which at time of writing has more than 3m people demanding a new referendum ( which we won’t get, or maybe even could cope with, but it sends a message) was actually an ‘outer’ who though they would lose.

Back to the wake. We had nice food, we had music, we had a laugh and almost a cry, we had thoughts about what we could do and should do to, realised that this went across party boundaries – whether you were in or out – and what a big day it was to be together.

I am planning a series of future wakes.

When Boris becomes Tory leader. When Boris gets elected. When the Labour Party again fails to get its act together, when Trump gets elected…… so much wake planning to do.


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