The Last Word: Metaphorically speaking

Homer Simpson

Long-suffering readers will be familiar with my affection for the Simpsons, in particular the political genius that is Mayor ‘Diamond’ Joe Quimby.

During these wild times in the Labour party, the mind can occasionally drift to Quimby’s office. For the benefit of my more literalist Twitter followers, that’s a metaphor. A metaphor is a figure of speech which makes an implicit, implied or hidden comparison between two things that are unrelated but share some common characteristics. Now I’ve written this down, I can link to it every time I receive a 140-character  threat.

To be fair, I’m talking about people who, on the whole, believe that electricity is magic, that the moon landings were faked, and that we need to answer ‘the Jewish question’.

Life imitating art

Leaving aside the asinine imbecility of Quimby’s office, right now our efforts to place ourselves in a position where we are able to win the general election in 2020 resemble Homer’s attempt to jump Springfield Gorge on a skateboard (‘Bart the Daredevil’, season 2, episode 8, 1990). As our protagonist soars above the gorge he breathlessly exclaims ‘I’m gonna make it … I’m king of the world …’ before losing momentum and plummeting to the ground. Another one for the literalists there; Homer lost momemtum.

As he bounces from the jagged rocks, Homer becomes increasingly injured with each fall. A helicopter winches Homer out, slamming his head against the side of the gorge several times in the process before he is loaded into a waiting ambulance, which immediately crashes into a tree as it starts to leave for the hospital. The stretcher carrying Homer rolls out of the back, and Homer once again crashes to the canyon floor, hitting every tree and rock protruding from the cliff face as he descends.

It’s this scene that most accurately describes life in the Labour party right now. The fear, the pain and for some – like an overweight middle-aged man who believes he can jump a canyon on a child’s skateboard – the baseless optimism in the face of all available evidence.

It goes something like this: sovereignty of the Falkalnd Islands [bump], raising money for the Stop the War Coalition [crunch], campaigning against party policy alongside CND [smash]. Finding ourselves in the back of the ambulance, it sets off, and instantly crashes as we roll out backwards. Gerry Downing [smash], Mark Serwotka’s deselection joy [crunch], Ken Livingstone [smash, crunch, smash]. You get the picture.

Send out the clowns

Yet it isn’t funny. Ultimately the horrendous self-inflicted mistakes of the last six months have not been about politics per se. The disasters have not been caused by a left-right split but by a particular political culture coupled with profound incompetence. This isn’t a comedy of errors, but a comedy of horrors. It has to stop now.

The Labour party is the greatest vehicle for social progress that our country has ever known and is ever likely to see. It exists to serve the people of this country, to build a better society and to ensure that everyone in our country benefits from the success of our national efforts. Our country is being hollowed out, our people are being let down. It’s time to disavow the politics of the sixth-form and get back to business.

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Jamie Reed MP is member of parliament for Copeland. He writes The Last Word column on Progress and tweets @jreedmp

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Photo: The Simpsons

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Comments: 58...

  1. On March 11, 2016 at 1:44 pm geo responded with... #

    “The Labour party is the greatest vehicle for social progress that our country has ever known and is ever likely to see.”

    Change all the tenses to past and I’ll agree with you. Now the labour party supports gender segregation at political meetings, antisemitism, has apologists for terrorism at the very top and thinks that Venezuela has a political and economic model we should be following.

    • On March 11, 2016 at 2:35 pm Howard Dawber responded with... #

      Hello. The Labour party does not support gender segregation at political meetings. As the organiser of one of the meetings where Labour has been accused of doing that, I am happy to report that the meeting was not segregated (a large group of women came together and sat together) and that the allegation that it was segregated is a lie from a local UKIP activist, who was not there, based on a picture which clearly shows women and men sitting together.

      • On March 11, 2016 at 2:45 pm geo responded with... #

        http://order-order.com/2016/03/11/labour-mps-sex-segregated-rally-with-islamic-extremist/

        recent update…

        “Paula Sherriff withdrew from attending this event (segregated) as soon as she
        became aware of the details. She is strongly of the view that there is
        no place for extremism of any kind.”

        and well played to her (although perhaps she should have checked her facts before agreeing to platform) … but you arent denying or excusing any of the other points so recently expressed by labour people all the way to the highest level?

      • On March 12, 2016 at 11:43 am Jennifer Gunther responded with... #


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  2. On March 11, 2016 at 2:13 pm Serious Sam responded with... #

    Marge:
    But Main Street’s still all cracked and broken.
    Bart:
    Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken!
    All:
    Trident…
    Trident!!!!!!!!!
    TRIDENT!!
    TRUDENT!!!!!

  3. On March 11, 2016 at 2:32 pm Jim Monaghan responded with... #

    The ongoing disaster is this group of MPs who see stopping Corbyn as more important than stopping the tories, its boring and depressing. Last night Jess Phillips saying the tories offer hope to voters, this morning Kinnock laying out a timetable for ousting Corbyn, now this? If you want an example of a terrible leader and a shambolic, awful campaign you dont need to look to the Simpsons, look at Jim Murphys campaign in Scotland last year. Probably the worst election campaign in history and, ironically, fully backed by those who are now leading the anti-Corbyn campaign!

    • On March 11, 2016 at 2:50 pm Slavosaur responded with... #

      Labour MPs don’t see getting rid of Corbyn as “more important than stopping the tories”, they see it as necessary to stop them. It is primarily because Labour MPs wish to oust the Tories that they wish to oust Corbyn. If Corbyn had a rat’s chance in hell of winning a general election then matters would be different. But he doesn’t, and they’re not.

      • On March 13, 2016 at 6:22 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

        So you think failing even harder, rejecting the Labour party which had grown so much, as you talk about vote rigging…

      • On March 16, 2016 at 11:56 pm Jim Monaghan responded with... #

        yes, as you confirm, beating Corbyn is the priority for them. Labours low polling isnt because of Corbyn, Brown and Miliband had the same polling. Its the disrespect for Labour members that gets me, the notion that this small group see their opinion as far more important than the membership. We got rid of the college, it was wrong that MPs had the same collective power as the whole membership. But some cant let that go, they refuse to accept party democracy. Their sense of entitlement is much of the problem. Compare Corbyns polling to the last attempt at having a ‘progress; leader, Jim Murphys nightmare campaign in Scotland.

    • On March 11, 2016 at 2:57 pm paulthorgan responded with... #

      Keeping Corbyn guarantees uninterrupted Conservative government.

      • On March 13, 2016 at 6:02 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

        So you’re vote rigging, in your fear of any kind of leftist policy.

        What are you guaranteeing your vote rigging with?

        • On March 13, 2016 at 6:11 pm paulthorgan responded with... #

          “So you’re vote rigging, in your fear of any kind of leftist policy.”

          Yes. But only in your opinion.

          “What are you guaranteeing your vote rigging with?”

          This is a comments section, not a Q & A.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:15 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

            So you claim your posts are my opinion.
            As you whine on, rejecting discussion and comment in favor of copypasta.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:17 pm paulthorgan responded with... #

            “So you claim your posts are my opinion.
            As you whine on, rejecting discussion and comment in favor of copypasta.”

            This is off-topic.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:22 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

            Your off-topic whining is just that, yes, and has been reported as such.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:27 pm paulthorgan responded with... #

            Typical socialist denial of free speech.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:31 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

            You’re claiming to be a socialist?

            Or are you claiming copypasta and spam is “free speech”?
            Are you a spammer? telemarketer?

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:35 pm paulthorgan responded with... #

            “You’re claiming to be a socialist?”

            This is a comments section, not a Q & A and you are off-topic.

            “Or are you claiming copypasta and spam is “free speech”?
            Are you a spammer? telemarketer?”

            See above.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:37 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

            Ah yes, more refusal to debate.

            As you admit for the record you support a “right” to spam and telemarket to people… because of your financial interests, right. And you claim that’s “free speech”.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:38 pm paulthorgan responded with... #

            “Ah yes, more refusal to debate.”

            This is off-topic.

            “As you admit for the record you support a “right” to spam and telemarket to people… because of your financial interests, right. And you claim that’s “free speech”.”

            Yes. But only in your opinion.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:39 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

            And I’ve changed my opinion, to “delete this”, and as your post is my opinion per you…

            Do it or be a liar, Stormfront man.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:44 pm paulthorgan responded with... #

            More typical socialist abuse.

            You demonstrate the inability of socialism to make a case and sustain an argument.

            This is why Labour lost in 2010, 2015 and will lose in 2020 and beyond. They have nothing to say apart from abuse and hate.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:51 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

            So you once more claim to be socialist, an obvious lie, self-admitted abuser.

            As you make wild generalist claims in your refusal to read English.

            As you make even wilder claims about Labour and socialism, which Labour has never been in practice.

            As you claim your vote rigging, as you – spammer – blame Labour for your posts, as you decry democracy and indeed the British constitution in your fanaticism… it’s nothing other than accurate to note your spiritual home, Stormfront, Mr. spammergan

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:54 pm paulthorgan responded with... #

            “So you once more claim to be socialist,”

            Nope.

            “As you make wild generalist claims in your refusal to read English.”

            Only your English.

            “As you make even wilder claims about Labour and socialism, which Labour has never been in practice.”

            Labour did lose in 2010 and 2015 and will lose in 2020 and will get slaughtered in the polls this May.

            “As you claim your vote rigging, as you – spammer – blame Labour for your posts, as you decry democracy and indeed the British constitution in your fanaticism..”

            This simply makes no sense and is off-topic abuse.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 7:00 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

            So you deny your posts, check.
            So you decry the Queen’s English, check.

            Ah, so you plan to kill Labour party members at the poll in May…right. Well, voter intimidation via mass murder, that’s one way to get your plan without vote rigging. As you ignore the facts about Labour and socialism, check.

            As you note your nonsensical off-topic abuse, and randomly link portions of my post, spammer

          • On March 13, 2016 at 7:06 pm paulthorgan responded with... #

            Ha Ha Ha.

            Also bored of this now. Stopping this.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 7:09 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

            So you lied, as you said you were stopping before.

            Laugh it up – are you being paid to spam anti-democratic messages?

  4. On March 11, 2016 at 2:56 pm paulthorgan responded with... #

    “The Labour party is the greatest vehicle for social progress that our country has ever known and is ever likely to see.”

    Simply not true. Labour imposes economic dictatorship and state-sector supervision over people’s lives. It substitutes the central plan for the free market. Labour governments always end is national disaster.

    Grammar schools were the greatest vehicle for social progress this country has ever seen. Labour abolished them.

    • On March 11, 2016 at 10:19 pm Pelton Level responded with... #

      “Grammar schools were the greatest vehicle for social progress this country has ever seen.”
      Do you have any evidence for that assertion? Don’t forget that those golden years which you affect to remember were the first years of universal secondary education. Perhaps that had a much greater effect on allowing working class children whose parents had been condemned to an elementary education to take that step up?

      • On March 12, 2016 at 1:43 am paulthorgan responded with... #

        “Do you have any evidence for that assertion?”

        This is a comments section, not a Q & A.

        “Perhaps that had a much greater effect on allowing working class
        children whose parents had been condemned to an elementary education to
        take that step up?”

        See above.

        • On March 12, 2016 at 1:09 pm Pelton Level responded with... #

          Just to please you I will make it a comment:
          There is no evidence to support your assertion that grammar schools were the greatest vehicle for social progress this country has ever seen.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:12 pm paulthorgan responded with... #

            “There is no evidence to support your assertion that grammar schools were
            the greatest vehicle for social progress this country has ever seen.”

            There is ample evidence. You just refuse to accept it.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 7:05 pm Pelton Level responded with... #

            If I may rephrase your post~:
            “There may be evidence but either I can’t find it or I don’t know how to use it.”

        • On March 13, 2016 at 6:02 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

          So you generally object to discussion, I see.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:12 pm paulthorgan responded with... #

            “So you generally object to discussion, I see.”

            Yes. But only in your opinion.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:13 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

            So you decry my opinion, and deny your posts.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:14 pm paulthorgan responded with... #

            “So you decry my opinion, and deny your posts.”

            Yes. But only in your opinion.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:19 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

            So you again claim your posts are my opinion. If you choose to spam that sort of crap, I’ll report it.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:24 pm paulthorgan responded with... #

            “So you again claim your posts are my opinion. If you choose to spam that sort of crap, I’ll report it.”

            This is off-topic.

      • On March 13, 2016 at 6:04 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

        Indeed, Grammar Schools have 1/6 or so the rate of kids on Free School Meals…Grammar Schools are and have been part of the problem, failing kids at 11 (well before it’s reasonable to assess them).

        They were a drag, good education should not just be for the rich.

    • On March 13, 2016 at 6:03 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

      So you call better education for the rich “social progress”. Hmm!

      As you blame Labour for your fantasies in your heads, and decry British history.

      • On March 13, 2016 at 6:13 pm paulthorgan responded with... #

        “So you call better education for the rich “social progress”. Hmm!”

        Grammar schools were not ‘better education for the rich’.

        • On March 13, 2016 at 6:22 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

          So you deny the facts about Grammar schools and who they educated.
          No surprises there!

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:26 pm paulthorgan responded with... #

            Admission to grammar schools were on the basis on the ability to pass the 11-plus exam, not on economic situation.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:27 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

            So you deny the actual selection effect, right, copypasta spammer.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:32 pm paulthorgan responded with... #

            You are not making any sense with these accusations

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:36 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

            So you claim, copypasta spammer, you cannot make sense of English statements.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 6:37 pm paulthorgan responded with... #

            “So you claim, copypasta spammer, you cannot make sense of English statements.”

            This is off-topic.

  5. On March 11, 2016 at 6:31 pm Danny Mc Neill responded with... #

    You do not understand momentum. Homer’s momentum increased since his velocity increased due to gravity. His altitude decreased.

    It is a shame that a modern Labour MP cannot even get basic physics right.

    • On March 14, 2016 at 3:02 pm Bik Byro responded with... #

      You do not understand velocity which is a vector. As is momentum.

  6. On March 11, 2016 at 9:50 pm Digger52 responded with... #

    Execrable polemic bereft of either intelligence or humanity. A candidate for a Daily Express column.

  7. On March 13, 2016 at 5:35 pm iang responded with... #

    Jamie , more power to you and the courage you are showing against hard left trolling to speak up for what is right and decent. We need a party that is competitive and can win power to effect change, not a hard left protest party that is about playground ideals that most of us grew out of when we were teenagers.
    If May sees the party losing seats outside of London then the PLP must mobilise against Corbyn if the membership re-elects him then even more radically select your own PLP leader in the commons. These idealists are going to destroy a great party , Blairism had faults most notably not Iraq but the failure to not manage the progression properly post Blair to avoid Brown and downward movement ever since, however it did a lot for country , witness modernised hospitals and minimum wage as two great examples. Keep shouting loud for what a party in power with good values can do and I know eventually we will come out of this horror show and regain our senses

    • On March 13, 2016 at 6:06 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

      So the PLP must fight the party, hmm! To break away, abandon Labour…

      As you ignore the basic fact that Blair bled votes like water. As you shout for the Tories, talk about the horror of any leftist policy, as you name your targets for abolition like the NHS and minimum wage…

      Your Tory party is doing fine, as you decry leftist views as indecent, and as you want power at any cost, as you “outgrew” basic decency, as you hug ATOS…

      • On March 13, 2016 at 8:08 pm iang responded with... #

        Not sure want your bizzare ranting is about . Of course I support the NHS, living wage , opportunity for all in our society and decency and respect for all communities. Blair did lose votes over time particular in 2005 as a result of the Iraq war , however he was the most successful labour leader of all time and did do things that were socially progressive , however he did not go far enough in my view due to the schism at the heart of government with Gordon Brown. Power allows you to make things happen that can improve things for the people you want to help, principles that will not carry the country are of no use at all and meaningless debate about trident is a perfect example of this. I am not a Tory I am Labour supporter from a family whose past generations have also been labour throughout, I want a party that will won power to continue effect positive change as the last labour government did, you seem to want a path to protest ,being Irrelevant to the voters and destruction of a once great progressive party , shame on you!

        • On March 13, 2016 at 8:10 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

          That Bizarre Rant called English… as you of course support abolition of those given your vuews. As you ignore Blair bled votes well before Iraq, and he was a progressive like the Coalition…he wasn’t right wing enough for you, I hear you!

          You care about power at all costs, I get it….as you decry any kind of leftist principle. And you’re to to the right of the Tories, my bad, your family issues are not my issues, as you want more right wing movement and you decry the growth of the Labour party.

          Which you can’t handle, it seems.

          • On March 13, 2016 at 8:16 pm iang responded with... #

            I am glad you think you know what I think , god help the party if people like you hold sway. However the tide will turn again for the party that will again be more centrist because like it or not that is where the voting public is and that is how we will win elections again and help the people who are struggling with these cruel tory cuts to their services. Time grow up and leave behind your schoolyard politics that some of us grew out of years ago and face pragmatic realties of how best to win elections and effect change

          • On March 15, 2016 at 6:59 pm Leon Wolfeson responded with... #

            I’m not a Satanist, as you whine about moderate leftists. As you want further rightward movement in your role as an infiltrator, as you lie about where the public is, and as you obivously lie given Labour’s dismal electoral performance, as you want further and deeper cuts, I hear you, more “help” like IDS – why, he’s been praised by those whose benefits he suspended, you know!

            (Your sort of video, eh?)

            Thanks child-hater, for your strong right wing views there.

            Your having moved to the right, and you decry all other views, as you want more right wing politicians and right wing movement in politics.

  8. On March 14, 2016 at 7:35 pm JP Janson De Couët responded with... #

    Jamie Reed is Nelson.

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