Stereotypes are often exaggerated and unfair. Not all British people have a stiff upper lip, not all doctors have terrible handwriting and people with blonde hair don’t necessarily have more fun. The media have a huge part to play in generating these stereotypes and they love nothing more than presenting the Conservative Party and cruel but efficient and the Labour Party as kind but incompetent. Sadly, both parties seem to be embracing their stereotypes with renewed vigour.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the need for a new leader of the Labour Party. I received some criticism from Corbyn fans (yes, fans.) It was the usual stuff: I’m a sell-out and/or a Blairite because I am willing to compromise some of my values for the sake of winning an election. Corbyn was elected on a wave of hope last Summer and in the last few weeks it has come crashing down. It is time to be realistic not idealistic – we need to address the country on their terms, not ours.
Whilst I agree that the MPs couldn’t have chosen a worse possible moment to make their point, I understand why they did it. They, like I, have reason to believe that the General Election we thought we had years to work towards may now be happening in the next few months. Our country and party are divided in two and we desperately need a leader who can unite us. I like Angela Eagle but she isn’t best placed to challenge Corbyn, in my opinion. However after a week of resignations and infighting I was just relieved that someone had finally stepped up to the plate. Whatever the result of this leadership election Labour need to sort themselves out and they need to do it quickly. Tomorrow afternoon Theresa May will become Prime Minster: the Tories are back in town.
The Conservatives have had no less drama or controversy than Labour have. It’s been a difficult few weeks for the Dark Side. The Prime Minister resigned after he was unable to convince the country to vote with him to stay in the EU. 40% of Conservative MPs voted to Leave compared to 58% of Conservative voters – Labour aren’t the only party that are heading in a different direction to their membership.
The Conservatives have been divided over Europe for decades but the difference is this: the one thing they all agree on is that they want to remain in power. Nothing is more important to them. It was hard to deny that they looked anything other than in control as they stood around steely-eyed Theresa May making her victory speech yesterday. This is a party entirely driven by a desire for power. Does it make them compassionate, or good for the country? No but it makes them bloody efficient when they need to be.
Any hope I had of a challenger being able to convince members of the public to pay £3 and vote for them was lost when Angela Eagle stepped out onto a platform that looked like the set of a Channel 5 chat show. In case we hadn’t noticed that she’s a women, Eagle mentioned the fact repeatedly whilst sandwiched between two pink screens wearing a bright pink jacket. She may as well have carried a box of tampons on with her. I really wish the Labour Party would get into their heads that painting things pink doesn’t make women more likely to engage with them. It looks patronising, out of touch and shows a terrifying lack of awareness. We should have learnt this after the bus debacle. It frustrates me that the party that brought in the Equal Pay Act, paid maternity leave and who have more female MPs than any other political party (42.7%) can get this so wrong. Anyway. I digress.
It was unfortunate that Eagle’s announcement came at the exact same time as Andrea Leadsom announced that she was pulling out of the Conservative leadership contest. As the journalists quickly exited, Eagle’s press conference began to look more like an afternoon with Alan Partridge, with special celebrity guest star,
Sue Cook Harriet Harman, as she awkwardly called out for questions. I’m not sure who is managing her campaign but they definitely want Jeremy Corbyn to win.
Angela Eagle is unlikely to win this leadership election. And sadly, Labour is unlikely to win the next General Election even though the country desperately needs them to. As someone who voted for Corbyn there is a part of me that thinks we should give him the chance to fight a General Election although I’ve seen nothing to indicate we could win it and I worry that, with the rise of UKIP, we could face wipe out.
The day after the Prime Minister resigned having split the country with a divisive, unnecessary and ugly referendum a poll showed Labour to be neck-and-neck. If we weren’t leading in polls when the Conservatives were at their weakest then something is very wrong.