17 May 2017

There is no moral way to vote Labour in June


In an open letter to a Labour-voting friend, Graeme Archer explains why a vote for Corbyn is a vote to institutionalise a wicked mixture of Stalinism, student Marxism and support for terrorism…

Dear Tom,

I’m writing to ask you not to vote Labour on June 8. I can’t think of any other Labour Party member who wouldn’t instantly dismiss such a suggestion from a tribal Tory with a shrug of “Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?”

But you know me. You remember the time you explained your political choice in terms of a commitment to common endeavour. Neither of us believes that party political choices map to distinct moral categories. All of truth and goodness and reason don’t live in one bucket, marked either “Tory” or “Labour” (the crux of Ruth Davidson’s excellent Orwell lecture on Monday evening.)

So you might expect me to be sympathetic of the well-rehearsed argument: yes, Corbyn is awful, but these two things matter for the Labour-voting tribe.

First, that the Tories are denied a landslide, because landslides don’t make for good government.

And second, that in the battle against infantile Marxism (actually Corbyn’s least appalling characteristic) good Labour MPs must be returned against the electoral tide.

However, I don’t agree with these assertions – though not from a desire to see Labour crushed. There is a moderate Left in this country, and it will find a way to organise itself. It’s not for a Tory to suggest how to do so.

What does matter is that Corbynism is killed off as a serious electoral force. It matters that the wickedness of his beliefs doesn’t receive sufficient support to linger on after June 8.

Yes, wicked

If Nazis had taken over leadership positions within the Conservative Party, but I told you that I was going to vote for my local Tory candidate anyway, she’s a good MP, and patently not a Nazi, and it’s important that good Tories remain in Parliament after the election (to continue the fight against Nazis), and anyway I could never vote Labour, shudder … what would you say to me?

Would you shake me by the shoulders and force me to look at the, yes, wickedness that would be succoured, whose strength would be measured by the sum of every single Tory vote for every single Tory candidate in every single seat across the land?

Or would you say “Yes, do vote Tory, there are no moral consequences worth contemplating about helping to enshrine in perpetuity the Nazification of a party that once defined itself by its opposition to sectarianism?”

You know perfectly well you would not. So I must (metaphorically) shake your shoulders by pointing out the following:

– Your party’s leader is “friends” with a terrorist organisation that not only wants to wipe the only functional middle-eastern democracy from the face of the earth, but also murders gay people as policy. I’m making a very personal point, here: befriending those who like killing gay people isn’t a party game, for me.

– They hang gays in Iran. Yet Corbyn is happy to take money from Iran’s state broadcaster anyway, even after it was banned for being complicit in torture.

– Both Corbyn and McDonnell have been active supporters of the IRA throughout their Parliamentary careers. Corbyn was arrested at a protest against what he called the “show trial” of the Brighton bomber.

– Labour’s communications team lies about “the IRA thing”, claiming that Corbyn’s glorification of butchery should be seen as “helping the peace process”, as though the man who voted against the Anglo-Irish Agreement was secretly urging Gerry Adams to compromise. (Reflect on what such an assertion does to the memory of the late Mo Mowlam.)

– Labour’s election campaign is led by a Stalinist. It’s hard to write that without sounding like a right-wing version of Rick from The Young Ones, screeching “fascist” at anyone with whom he disagrees. But it’s not an exaggeration: the man who leads the Labour election campaign (at the behest of an IRA supporter) is an out-and-out apologist for death camps, government by famine, totalitarianism, and so on. He quit his former Party last December to join Labour. Why would he do that, I wonder?

Corbyn, to put it mildly, isn’t The Guardian on steroids.

And if the Labour vote on June 8 is “big enough”, if the BBC headline is “May denied the majority she hoped for”, then everyone who voted Labour will have institutionalised a toxic mixture of Stalinism, support for terrorists, student Marxism and identity politics as the default setting of the British Parliamentary Left.

Such an outcome doesn’t just make a Tory landslide more likely next time: it’s the fastest route possible to a solid Tory hegemony.

The choice is yours, of course. But don’t say you haven’t been warned. There is no safe way to vote Labour on June 8. In your heart of hearts, I suspect you know this.

Love, Graeme

Graeme Archer is a political commentator and statistician