Home > Political parties and ideologies > Labour Party > Simon Hedges’ credibility question
  • Column

Simon Hedges’ credibility question

As Labour doesn’t scare the establishment, they’ll probably get in by default at some point. That’s the beauty of Britain’s advanced democracy, writes Simon Hedges

3 to 4 minute read

Labour leader Kier Starmer stands clapping at Party Conference against a red background

If you told someone there was a sovereign nation where the only way the opposition party could apparently gain power was to win the approval of both the armed forces and the man who owned two of the biggest-selling newspapers, they might reply, ‘Is it the made-up fairytale country where Shrek lives?’

And yes, the correct answer is, of course, the made-up fairy-tale country where Shrek lives – which coincidentally has precisely the same socio-political ecosystem as the UK.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has pressed repeat play on the accepted routine of Successful Opposition Leader. Appearances in hi-vis, saying nothing of particular interest, keeping quiet on policy apart from small-time stuff aimed at right-wing pensioners – like ‘Send litter louts to an Arctic penal colony’ and ‘Compulsory national service for anyone who can’t prove their great-grandparents were white’.

All of this, unbelievably, still hasn’t captured the imagination of the British public, or if it has, the imagination has somehow got away, perhaps by faking its own death and escaping in a coffin, leaving Sir Keir to scratch his head as he stares at an empty cell.

But perhaps winning over the general public is not worth all this effort when achieving even 40 per cent of the vote probably won’t get you the big gig at Number 10. The real prize for the Labour Party is, of course, winning a majority of the establishment. And what’s more, the beauty of this is that Labour doesn’t even have to be the establishment’s enthusiastic first choice, but simply a credible and acceptable reserve team that isn’t going to do anything stupid like undermine Britain’s military status or threaten an oligarch with a tax bill.

The key to gaining this credibility is to wipe out all residues of the previous far-left regime, running back for approving pats on the head/belly rubs from the Labour right, Tories and broadsheet commentariat after each round of purging. The more uninterested the public is with these actions, the further it will go. First, Corbyn will be expelled permanently from the Labour Party, then banned from entering parliament and Westminster.

In a final push, Sir Keir and the shadow cabinet will appear in police jackets outside Corbyn’s house as he’s forcibly evicted in a dawn raid. In October, David Amess became the second MP in five years to be assassinated, and of course this has led to a serious discussion on extremism and radicalisation… No, sorry, it’s led to a serious discussion on banning people on Twitter who don’t use their real names. I am actually a pioneer in this campaign against the trolls. Two years ago my #bekindonline project called on social media users to stop telling politicians that their policies were bad, which is extremely rude and hurtful.

Celebrities such as myself have been asking for some time for some sort of tiered entry system of payment to gain access to online spaces. How it would work is that the very top-quality VIP celebrities such as Robert Peston, Gary Lineker and Caitlin Moran would pay nothing to access their social media accounts, while the riffraff and scum could call themselves @crabpissLenin69 if they choose but would have to pay Twitter substantial subscriptions to do so.

This would soon get the social media online experience up to the level it should be, a virtual Spectator garden party of chumminess and mutual backslapping, where the only abuse is the type that goes up the nostrils in the safety of a downstairs bathroom.

This article first appeared in issue #234, Technocapitalism. Subscribe today to get your copy and support fearless, independent media

Simon Hedges is by his own admission an ‘Award Winning Quality Journalist’. Sensible people can follow him on Twitter @Orwell_Fan

For a monthly dose
of our best articles
direct to your inbox...