The Labour leadership election: A new hope for democracy?
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a not so hidden base (Islington North) have won their first victory against the evil Blairites. But the villains will not rest until power within the Labour Empire has been reclaimed…
For me, the entire labour leadership election felt like a scripted political version of some classic film: we’ve got the noble, elderly hero – our Ben Kenobi if you will – fighting an impossibly one sided battle against the unassailable forces of evil: the dastardly Blairites, using every trick in the clichéd book to ensure their stagnant longevity.
We had it all; the “Death Star” of Murdoch’s press, the ex-cabinet Stormtroopers intervening – even Emperor Palpatine himself was wheeled out in an effort to halt the haemorrhage of support, although his attempted heart transplant and Alice in Wonderland rambling served only to underline his plummet from grace:
“No Tony, we can’t bomb Wonderland.”
“Are you sure?”
“It’s not real.”
“Just a few missiles?”
But unlike in feel good films, where the happy ending is absolute, we are faced with a series of sequels in which nothing is guaranteed except a further onslaught of vicious propaganda from the usurped rulers; Sith apprentices Hunt and Umunna have already, albeit unsuccessfully, attempted to destabilise the party, while the shadow cabinet meeting room begins to resemble Cloud City as shady figures jostle to become the next Lando Calrissian.
The knives, already unsheathed, are being sharpened, and whispers and schemes are gathering pace.
The Conservatives have watched on with gleeful fascination as Labour succumbs to infighting, and while I won’t compare Iain Duncan Smith to Jabba The Hutt (oh go on then) they do have the same essence; sluggish gangsters waiting to profit from a volatile political landscape.
Every shadow cabinet resignation is another triumph, every poll further fuel for complacency, and it is this which Labour must take full advantage of, if and when they stand united. The Liberal Democrats, naturally, still seem less effective than Greedo’s shooting ability.
Has the force been awakened? I would argue democracy has been a perfect demonstration of how the dated, elitist establishment cannot deal with genuine voting freedom; it is our duty to ensure that we actively pursue further democratisation, that we push for greater voting reform.
Why aren’t all elections this reflective of public consciousness? It goes without saying that the Empire will always strike back, but we must be there to meet it.