This is my take on the General Election. The problem with Remain has always been the lack of visible and tactical leadership.
First published in December 2019.
We had MPs on our side, but they were spread across most of the parties in the commons making it impossible to work as a collective effectively. This left us in a position of weakness.
Leave have always had clear and concise messages which helped them in 2016 and again this election cycle. Soundbites like “Get Brexit Done”, “Respect the Result” and the infamous “Will of the People”. All of this means nothing really, but they are powerful nonetheless. “Let’s stay in the Customs Union and Single Market” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Tactical voting could and should have been our saviour, but Remain stopped listening to the experts. Instead believing that in the past three and a half years they had somehow garnered enough political knowledge to decide how the country should vote.
Expertly researched data and local insight became the devil incarnate. Remain voters knew best and that is unfortunately the kind of arrogance that got us the Leave vote in 2016. Remain voters didn’t think about what Leave would do. They dismissed Farage and said no one who was working class would vote Tory.
Revoke was dangled like a carrot by the LibDems, which most of knew would never happen. Any talk of how this policy was too much, was met with “But 6 million signed a petition...” (remember “17.4 million voted for it”?) Revoke was not an option for me and many others. It was not the way to end this in a way that would settle the matter once and for all. Well, they ended on less than 4 million votes, even with their later shift from this stance. And any criticism of Jo Swinson was met with “That’s just because she is a woman...”
Labour had a policy of a second referendum, but they also had Jeremy Corbyn. A step too far for most Remain and Leave voters alike. The rest of the manifesto read like a child’s Christmas wish list of unachievable presents. We heard from canvassers that the cry from most doorsteps was “But Corbyn...”, and as someone who has had many conversations regarding this matter, I can agree this was an issue.
Both leaders had their faults. Both had made their parties and policies about them and both were unpalatable to many. All that said, this election was a short-term solution to a long-term problem. To save any chance of remaining in the EU, all we had to do was stop the Tories. But we couldn’t even work together to do that.
I am now seeing some saying, “Well, we won the popular vote.” Sorry to break this to you but that means fuck all because those votes were placed incorrectly. There was seat after seat that could have been taken by the best placed candidate to stop the Tories... but Corbyn... but Swinson...
“The LibDems should stand down in…” was countered with “Why should they? Labour haven’t stood down in…” or “Labour should stand down...” and “Why should they?...” You were all as bad as each other.
On election night, after the exit poll came in, I was a mess. I was angry that once again tribalism had robbed my family of its future and safety. I spoke to a Brit in the EU and an EU citizen on the phone as the results came in. Both had their lives thrown into chaos as each seat turned blue. They were devastated. These are people who had spent the last 3.5 years working near full-time as campaigners for Remain.
While people were picking up the pieces of their lives overnight, the recriminations began.
“So and so should have stood down...”
“It’s Corbyn’s fault...”
“It’s Swinson’s fault...”
No. They were next to irrelevant in this and what we were trying to achieve. They would be gone soon. Brexit and the damage the Tories could do would not be. I saw no regret from those who were adamant that they were going to vote how they wanted regardless of what the expert advice was. They called it ‘voting with their conscience’. Voting with your conscience should have been doing whatever it took to stop Johnson.
Some of the reactions have been even worse than no regrets. There have been people openly acting like Marie fucking Antoinette. People saying “I have enough money, I’ll be fine. Let them suffer.”
Who? Me? My family don’t have enough money. What did we do to deserve this? What did the disable do? What about the 3.9 million children living in poverty? What did they do? Can you hear yourselves?
Calling northern voters “thick”, “morons”, and “uneducated and unwashed”. Saying “Let the North rot...” It is almost as if calling people stupid and racist for nearly four years had been a good strategy to get these people on side. Yet, there was still not regret, just recrimination.
All the talks of blaming the “Boomers” when one should remember that they fought for the Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Autonomy, Gay Rights and much more... And when I say fought, I mean fought.
Not one of you said sorry for messing up the vote instead. Your indignation and condemnation of those less fortunate than you is absolutely sickening. You sound like the Tories. As the whole country burns, you all talked about re-joining, “Let them see how bad it is first, let them suffer. Then, we will win...”
The most vulnerable in the society have now become casualties of war to some of you. They are no longer people but sacrificial lambs so you can get your own way.
Here’s what you should really be doing: Write to your MPs and ask them to look after the rights of the EU Citizens in the UK and the Brits in Europe. Find out where your nearest food bank is and donate both money and time. Contact your local homeless shelter and donate money and time. Search for NHS fundraising in your area and donate money. Look for a charity for disabled rights to donate to. Join the Labour party to help choose the next leader and shape what it now becomes.
People are going to need a lot of help for the next five years, and seeing you will be fine, you can help them. You can’t call yourself a champion of rights, compassionate, liberal or a campaigner if you are prepared to trample on others to get what you want.
There have been too many recriminations and not enough regrets.🔷
Check their Voting Record:
🗳️ Jo Swinson
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