Food for thought: Are Labour members succumbing to anti-expert sentiment?

5 Jul

A Facebook user named Josh Lawrence posted a very interesting post on the London Young Labour group page:

Are Labour members succumbing to the same type of anti-expert sentiment that propelled the Leave campaign’s success and put Micheal Gove into the leadership race?

I am not trying to cast aspersions, but increasingly I’m seeing pro-Corbyn Labour members demanding that the CLP “abide by the will of the membership.” 172 mps ruled no confidence, 20 abstained, 40 backed Corbyn.

Regardless of your beliefs or your personal political knowledge, these people are not fresh faced students who are easily swayed by the slightest thing. 

These are the people who won us elections on the ground level. They got there by decades of supporting the Labour movement, often fighting from the ground up, campaigning until they were selected as MPs, then fighting several elections in almost all cases. They have been talking to the electorate for a huge number of years and that provides them with an awful lot of experience.

And that isn’t even the sum of their knowledge, as well as being in touch with the electorate they are veterans of the parliamentary system, they know what works, what doesn’t work and what our best chance is to win power. Like Jess Philips’ powerful article wrote, they would not do what they did, in the manner they do if results were unachievable. Whether you agree with their conclusion or not, that is what 172 members declared, and 20 could not decide on.

I am very scared that a lot of people are willing to believe that they know better than our most senior figures, what is the best course of action for this party. Now people have been wrong in the past, I am still tentatively hopeful that the legions of experts that promised doom and gloom in the event of Brexit, experts whose words I quoted on the streets, on doorsteps and to my friends in pubs, are proven false, but it seems unlikely.

I know that the people who have this view are very passionate in their beliefs, and have the best intentions at heart, I just beg you to think of the “172 daggers in Corbyn’s back” as more than a number, as more than antagonists and enemies, but as people who are all joined together in a singular goal of a better country.Casting them all as “Blairite scum in a Blairite coup” demeans, dehumanizes and ignores the vast trove of knowledge and experience these people have.

These people are vital implements that we will need to draw upon in order to win the next election, regardless of who is leading us.

I’m interested in knowing your thoughts on this topic. Post a comment below.