I want to tell you a story about a bizarre encounter that took place several months ago.
In June of this year I had dinner with one of my friends, a Labour MP. He was worried about politics in the Labour party, mainly because of how the party’s leadership was failing to prioritise Brexit and that the party had lost touch with the will of its own people, particularly in northern England. In particular, he was concerned that it was making too many concessions to the far right wing of the party. As someone who works extensively in the south of England, I appreciate the isolation of northern England, but I felt that I should support Labour all the same. That night I spoke of how Labour needed to redefine its past, reconcile its present and strike a new pro-growth and pro-business tone that would win the election in 2020. At the end of the conversation, he revealed something to me which really made me take a step back from political life altogether.
The next day I received a message from a very well-known conservative activist. It read: “Hi Steve, thanks for speaking to Labour’s MPs last night. I know it’s been a turbulent few months, but I think you could be a useful point of contact for those concerned about the direction of the party. Hope you are well. Hope you’ll help us get the debate back on track again.”
This anonymous voice was alluding to Bill Maher’s recent appearance on Hardtalk, when the debate on the Labour party degenerated into a bit of a sh*tstorm of the last order.
According to Maher, the Labour party has too many central figures who are kooky and not organised enough to face challenges:
Hard work, but too much baggage to get out there and persuade. It’s hard to wake up to a morning that’s all about Khadija Saye — she makes Britney Spears look like a model. It’s hard to wake up to the fact that this party has no common sense — two-thirds of its members have no experience or education beyond state college in the seventies or whatever.
I respect and appreciate that Maher didn’t come to this with pre-conceived ideas; instead, he was willing to give the Labour party a second chance.
One of the big problems with our current politics is that we have nothing so different between every different party, no territory where you can reach out to people. I don’t mean to simplify things, but you can’t make a case against Jean-Claude Juncker, Nigel Farage, Donald Trump or Ondrej Šešelień, because the European Union is so horrendously screwed up that you can’t find anything to disagree with. That’s what’s happened. If you look at the differences in electoral politics, you can’t find one where you can stick your finger. There is this uncontested monolith, and everything points towards that.
During the hour-long debate, Maher went on to say that Jeremy Corbyn is absolutely losing all relevance:
It’s not funny to watch your successor having to pretend he’s not you anymore. I don’t know what his success was this year, but the mere fact that he holds an alternative to Corbyn, who is losing all relevance, makes a huge difference.
While he did not specifically mention Labour leader Corbyn, Maher noted that he was clearly referring to him:
Jeremy Corbyn is a complete joke. He’s an absolute disaster. He has now lost all support among his own party and is losing support from other parts of society and other parties. He doesn’t even want to meet with any of those people anymore. We’ve got to go back to David Cameron. I was in Britain in May, and the guy who could have done for the UK what Cameron did for England, Miliband, boy did he screw it up. There was no hope for him.
Maher concludes his thoughts on Jeremy Corbyn with a recognition that socialists should have fun from time to time:
The only Democrat I watch and enjoy watching is Biden. The man is going to go down in history as a leader of the party. He’s fun to watch. To be honest, I would go with him.