According to David Blunkett, the Labour Party and wider public will soon experience intense disillusionment following the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader. Blunkett referred to several sources of this on Marr this morning, but one of the greatest sources of this frustration, one that Blunkett is oblivious to, comes from an idea that is widely held by members of the Labour Party. This was articulated very clearly last night by Margaret Beckett speaking on Radio 4. That the only way of changing society is by being in power as the Government of the day. This implies that only Party members (full members) really matter, that only members of Labour and Conservative Parties matter, and ultimately whichever of these two parties win future elections, that their share of around 600,000 people matter more than the other 62,000,000 people in our nation.
The concept of two party politics has already been shown to be dead, and indeed party politics is to all intent and purposes past its sell by date when one considers how many people actually vote for the profusion of parties compared to those who don’t. An even more challenging analysis comes if the members of all parties combined are compared in number to those who are members of the RSPB, National Trust, Church of England etc, etc. We need a strong Labour Party capable of offering an alternative set of ideas to the proposals that come out from the Conservative Party and have so damaged our nation in recent years. It is clear that Jeremy Corbyn will offer that distance in a way that none of the other potential party leaders would have been able to. However this re-alignment is not a return to the 1950’s when two dominant parties and one minor one had a combined membership that equated 8% of the population, 10 times the number who are members of todays numerous parties. Just as Jeremy Corbyn will inevitably shake up the Labour Party, we also need a shake up to the cosy ideas implicit in what Margaret Beckett said, and what David Blunkett overlooked. The future of Politics needs to be about ideas, about character, diversity, inclusion and equality. It needs to be about truth, compassion, justice, education and life changes for all. Some of this is in the DNA of the existing parties, but much more is missing. The future needs to show that people can serve and help provide national leadership within and outside of the organised political parties. This is the very antithesis of the way the two main parties plus the Lib Dems have populated the House of Lords in recent years and decades. Until our Parliament is reflective of the entire nation including the huge numbers of us who believe that Political Parties are far too dominant, it cannot truly represent all of us.