In Defence of Liberty

Driven by data; ridden with liberty.

The Foundation

Politics is about electoral coalitions. (Edited: geishaboy500)

Politics is about electoral coalitions. (Edited: geishaboy500)

In anguish, a working mother cried: “You’re about to cut tax credits when you promised you wouldn’t”. That moment on the BBC discussion programme Question Time represented a critical juncture, a decision point in politics.

(Video: BBC News)

Owen Jones, a columnist for The Guardian [1], recognised the opportunity for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party:

Everybody agrees that if Labour is to stand a chance of regaining power, the party has to win back at least some Tory voters. Its chances of doing so have been widely mocked. But there is a way the party can do it, if it’s savvy. Here’s how.

When I shared the video of the disillusioned Tory voter, some of the responses were less than sympathetic. She was berated for bringing it on herself and for having an “I’m all right, Jack” attitude. This is political suicide. Tory voters having their tax credits chipped away desperately need to be love-bombed. You are told you are doing the right thing. You are told that you are hard-working and you are striving. And yet you are being penalised. Hundreds of thousands of those affected are self-employed people, a natural constituency for the Tories.

The support for political parties and ideas is built through coalitions within the electorate. It is the foundation of politics in a liberal democracy that, in order to have your ideals enacted, you must welcome people to your consuls.

These fundaments are not heard in the digital darkness, or respected by those clutching their smartphones and polished hatreds. Fulminating with pure virulence at people who once disagreed with you is only a means to remain in political exile, unembellished by power or reason.

“Target the 76% who didn’t”

This is not representative of the Labour Party I recognise, whose supporters and campaigners I have normally found to be compassionate, considerate and intelligent. Some campaigners maintain that Conservative voters can be condemned and ignored by Labour. George Aylett, the Labour candidate in Wiltshire South West [2], posted to Twitter:

Labour mustn’t move right to win over 24% who voted Tory.
Target the 76% who didn’t.
Offer hope. End austerity. Vote [Corbyn for Leader].

Our politics would be better served by copying a principle from academia: fairness and generosity to our opponents, for we might convince or be convinced of another’s view.

References

[1] Jones, O., 2015. A Tory voter breaks down on TV over tax credit cuts. Here’s Labour’s chance. The Guardian. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/16/tax-credits-question-time-labour-conservative [Accessed: 31st October 2015]

[2] BBC, 2015. Wiltshire South West. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics/constituencies/E14000954 [Accessed: 31st October 2015]

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This entry was posted on November 1, 2015 by in National Politics and tagged , .
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