With kind permission of Tom Harris, the former Scottish Labour MP for Glasgow South, this is a posting from his Facebook page. It’s an important ‘dry your eyes’ corrective to beaten political parties, to get over themselves and a reminder that politics is competitive for good reason:
There’s a lot of anger among my friends in the Labour Party and in other parties, and among people of no particular party allegiance. Anger at the Tories, their welfare reforms, their budget cuts, anger at Trump for, well, everything he says and does. Anger at the SNP for their centrist brand of managerialism masquerading as radical leftism.
Anger at the SNP for their centrist brand of managerialism masquerading as radical leftism. But (and I’m mainly addressing friends in the Labour Party and in the US Democrats here) THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE LOSE!
There are consequences to losing elections, elections that in ordinary circumstances, all things being equal, we should have won. Elections we lost because of decisions we took.
When the whole party united behind Gordon Brown in the run-up to the 2010 election instead of replacing him with someone who might have been electable.
When self-indulgent, spoiled middle class kids in the Labour Party voted for Ed Miliband instead of his brother to replace Brown, on the basis that “he’s more left wing”, even though any cursory examination of the polls and, like THE REAL WORLD, would have shown that he could never win an election.
These were decisions that led directly to where we are now – with a Tory government guaranteed re-election by the further stupidity and self-indulgence of the Labour Party.
And in America, by all means get angry at the bare-faced cheek of Donald Trump doing exactly what he set out to do and said he would do – namely winning the election. But far better to get angry, not at the victors, but at the losers, who lost because of their own decisions.
“Yeah, sure, go ahead and vote for Trump instead of Hillary – as if!” After all, who in their right minds would vote for Trump instead of one of the most qualified candidates for the presidency in history?
I mean, yeah, she was hated and distrusted by a record number of American voters, but who cares? They’ll take what we give them because we’re cleverer than them and we know what’s good for them. Remind me how that worked out again?
Losing has consequences. Politics isn’t about voting for for someone because doing so makes you feel good about yourself – why on earth would you ever imagine that that matters? Politics isn’t about you or your feelings, it’s about government.
It’s about beating the other side and you know something? If you don’t beat the other side, then that’s our fault, not theirs.
So put away your hankies and your hurt feelings and your sense of grievance on behalf of all those other people you let down by not being good enough to win the election. And try harder to win next time.