Social media is an echo chamber, and I know a lot of Labour supporters. So I have read a lot of articles on the Labour leadership recently. Just this morning, I read this Fabians article by Andrew Harrop, this article by Owen Jones, and this by Neal Lawson.
And then it occurred to me that despite the differences of opinion, one thing that they all have in common is a lack of trust. Andrew Harrop doesn’t trust Corbyn supporters to think about the voters who need Labour or to want to win elections. Neal Lawson doesn’t trust any of the candidates supported by the PLP not to try moving Labour back towards the right again.
Owen Jones poses some very important questions – to which I haven’t seen satisfactory answers by either side – but the candidates answering the questions would still be pointless if we can’t believe what they say. And to believe them requires a trust that is missing in Labour at the moment.
Owen Smith talks a good left-wing policy, but he also talks about immigration being a problem, and it’s not so long since he joined in Labour’s shameful abstention on the welfare bill. The Labour PLP say that they want to win elections, but have spent the last twelve months undermining their leader, before taking the first chance to try and oust him. And Momentum say that they want to be inclusive, but then turn a blind eye to intimidation and abuse of anyone who disagrees with them.
I probably won’t be voting in the Labour leadership elections, having left the party in February 2015. I haven’t rejoined because I don’t trust that the party has changed in any permanent way from the party that I left. I would very much like to be part of a Labour party that I trust to represent me, and to represent that people that desperately need its help.
But trust seems to be the thing that we’re short of.