The political discourse of our ‘quality press’ exists almost entirely within a fictional centre ground which makes it snooty, condescending, and all too often well off the mark.
One of the myriad ways our esteemed political commentators show themselves up is with their wildly inaccurate terminology, particularly their use of the phrases ‘Tory Rebels’ and ‘Labour Moderates’.
‘Labour Moderates’ has been knocking around since Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the Labour Party. The troubling thing about the phrase is that these MPs are far from ‘moderate’.
See, ‘moderate’ here is supposed to evoke the image of a true statesman who is sensible, they don’t deal in the fantasies of the left, they make tough decisions, and more often than not, they vigorously oppose Brexit.
In reality, what this means is that they are out of touch with Labour members and the general public, they actively support a neoliberal economic agenda, they are willing to support austerity, and they use Brexit to undermine their leader.
Maybe when you think of a ‘Labour Moderate’, you think of Hilary Benn. Brave Hilary who helped organise the botched coup against Jeremy Corbyn in the summer of 2016 before he was nobly and valiantly fired from the Shadow Cabinet before he could resign.
Or maybe you’re thinking of Chuka Umunna, the man, as the prophecy has fortold, who will eventually save the Labour Party from the pits of despair it finds itself in, pits where it wins 40% of the vote despite the media’s best efforts to prevent it.
Well Hilary Benn isn’t really moderate at all, is he? He undermined his leader in almost the worst way possible–the only way it would have been worse is if it had actually succeeded–and he also consistently votes to bomb people. A truly sensible, moderate politician. And neither is Mr Umunna, really, it’s difficult at this point to see him as much more than an opportunistic career-politician.
The phrase ‘Tory Rebel’ is no better.
So-called ‘Tory Rebels’, people such as Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve, have been championed by certain commentators and ultra-remainers (the ones with #FBPE in their Twitter bio or name, the ones who reply to every tweet by any prominent leftwinger, Jeremy Corbyn, or the Labour Party with “what about Brexit?”).
MPs like Soubry have sometimes been called ‘progressive Tories’, which is a blatant oxymoron. Dominic Grieve, our Lord and saviour, the man who would single-handedly stop Brexit, the man who was, according to FBPErs “the true leader of the opposition”, showed his true colours by voting against his own amendment to give Parliament a vote on the final Brexit deal.
The ‘Tory Rebels’ didn’t rebel. They voted with the government. It’s as simple as that.
The real issue here is that our beloved centrist media commentators and the more extreme remainers who are so vocal on Twitter are desperate to find someone to be excited about.
The FBPE mob have turned on Jeremy Corbyn because of his perceived support of Brexit, even resorting to chanting “where’s Jeremy Corbyn?” at the #PeoplesVoteMarch (he was at a refugee camp) to taunt the Labour leader and his position on Brexit. His position on Brexit, it should be pointed out, is to respect the result of the referendum, but ensure that the UK gets a deal which won’t ruin the economy, and will put people and jobs first. As it was plainly written in the 2017 manifesto.
They need a ‘nice’ Tory, or a centrist Labour MP, because they perceive Corbyn as their enemy, and the Lib Dems are, well, the Lib Dems.
The media needs to ditch their inaccurate terminology, and progressives need to be careful who they deem their enemies. Jeremy Corbyn and Labour are the only ones with a sensible approach to Brexit, and attacking that is counterproductive and looks incredibly short-sighted and desperate.