Britain’s Labour Pains

The Labour Party, as I write this, is in the process of achieving an extraordinary landslide victory in the UK general election. The Tories and Reformers will try to tell themselves and anyone else who might listen to them, as they have been insisting for weeks leading up to the vote, that the problem is simply that the British public has “failed to understand” what a Keir Starmer Labour government would really mean, and has been duped by abstract promises of “change” which lack sufficient content to inform the voters of what kind of change is being planned. That is the convenient lie non-progressives use to palliate the pain of admitting that they have lost their country’s core, and to mask the shame of acknowledging that they themselves could not do a better job of defending the idea of liberty, even right there at the fountainhead of the whole modern project of constitutionally limited representative government.

UK voters, contra Prime Minister Sunak and his supporters in the conservative media, know quite well what they are voting for, and that is why they are voting for it. The Labour Party has existed for over a century, serving as the government many times. Throughout its history, as its very name suggests, Labour has been a progressive leftist party, although, like all such parties, at least to the extent they hope to contend for electoral victory, it periodically tempers its own rhetoric and moderates its practical policies to recover from public perceptions of “extremism,” which perceptions tend to settle on socialist factions whenever the effects of their policies are felt by the people at large. In other words, the British public knows now, as it has always known, that in voting for Labour it is voting for a slightly watered-down version of “democratic socialism,” which in today’s political climate entails a number of practical goals and proposals that would have been deemed full-strength socialism in past generations of British politics. And as always happens, these policies, when put into practice on a national scale, will lead to social absurdities and limits on self-determination that will likely result in a public recoil against these policies, and in turn to a smaller mandate, if not outright rejection, in the next general election — but only after Labour has used its gigantic majority in Parliament to push through various radical “changes” in the direction of leftist totalitarianism, many of which will be difficult if not impossible to fully reverse, partly because the public will have become inured to, or even morally dependent on, some of them.

And reversals will of course be vastly more difficult and unlikely when the chief advocates against the Labour government, and more importantly against socialist tendencies in principle, are incoherent milquetoasts of the Rishi Sunak variety, self-promoting blowhards of the Boris Johnson variety, or Trump-like populists of the Nigel Farage variety, none of whom are capable of anything better than insubstantial scare tactics of the “You won’t recognize this country if you elect Labour” sort, hardly an effective argument to offer to a public that is clearly unhappy with the country they are recognizing now. The kind of voice Britain needs here, if indeed any clarifying voice could still be heard amid the waves of moral slovenliness and intellectual erosion that have swept over Britain and the rest of the West in recent decades, is a voice reminiscent of the last serious pro-liberty political leader that formerly great country ever elected, a voice that vanished from British politics a very long thirty-four years ago.

Today, by contrast, the only voices that ring out clearly are those of identity politics, anti-Judeo-Christian nihilism, and of course the ever-present English bellow of “Another round!”

Perhaps it is time for the impending Labour government, currently on its way to the kind of election victory that the North American media would call “historic,” to entrench its vision of the New Britain once and for all, in the most suitably progressive way, namely by historical revisionism and the propagandistic repurposing of once-noble traditions and ideals. 

Perhaps it is time at last for all to rise and sing as one the most identifiable paean to Britain’s past and the British soul — recalibrated for modern relevance of course.

Feel free to sing along — old tune, new lyrics — wherever you may be in this charmingly interconnected and inescapable world.

Jerusalem 2024

And did those feet in ancient time
walk upon workers’ rights and dreams?
And was the holy Lamb of God
a sexist homophobe’s extremes?

And did the countenance of white
oppress the colored peoples’ wills?
And was a new slave trade builded here
among those bright Satanic Mills?

Bring me my bowl of British beer!
Bring me my drunken heart’s desire!
Bring me my dole! O guv, come here!
Bring me a government supplier!

I will not cease my mental flight,
from all responsibility,
till we have built a welfare state
for England’s red senility.

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