Britain needs as many Labour MPs as possible to survive the election if Britain is to remain a liberal, open and tolerant country, writes Louis Rynard
Every moderate, every ‘Clause one socialist’, anyone in the Labour party who thinks we exist to get inside Downing Street rather than shout at its gates, can attest to how brutal the last couple of years have been.
Since Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour leader, the party of Clement Attlee, of Ernest Bevin and Anuerin Bevan, of Harold Wilson, Barbara Castle, Anthony Crosland, and Mo Mowlam and of Tony Blair has been led into a seemingly unending nightmare.
The party of the National Health Service can no longer defend it.
The party of Nato and internationalism is turning its back on the world.
The party that was created to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality has never been further from achieving those aims.
Never before in our party’s history have we betrayed more the people who need a Labour government. Labour’s historic mission to lead progressive change in the United Kingdom has been sacrificed on the altar of ‘purity’ by a hard-left cult.
Despite all their statements to the contrary, this leadership and its supporters do not see achieving power and actually changing lives as a worthwhile endeavour. At least not compared with ‘speaking out’ and other such meaningless platitudes.
And yet, on 8 June I will do the exact same thing I have done at every election since I turned 18. I will walk down to the polling booth in the morning and put my cross next to the Labour candidate.
I will still do so with pride.
Our movement is bigger than one man, it is greater than one leadership and it needs to be saved. It is in the best interests of the country and the party for this leadership to end, but when that day comes, Labour needs a base from which to rebuild. It needs great members of parliament, still in place, who can lead the effort the save the party and convince the public that Labour can be trusted to govern again.
For Labour this election is not just about who will govern for the next five years. It is about whether this great party has any future. This election is not just about whether we will be in power this year, but about whether we ever will be again.
But beyond that, in the short term, a vote for Labour is a vote against a direction of travel that is proving ruinous for Britain. It is a vote against hard Brexit, against the most rightwing Tory leadership in living memory. It is a vote against our country becoming less open, less tolerant, weaker, poorer and more hateful.
While I suspect I would be hard placed to find any supporter of Labour’s centrist tradition who thinks Corbyn would make a good prime minister, if we are to have any hope of keeping a liberal, tolerant and open Britain we need as many Labour MPs to survive as possible. That means we have to vote.
Not for Corbyn and his ilk but for the idea of a Labour party, the idea of a progressive force in British politics. One that can achieve power and change lives for the better.
For the last two years we truly have gone through the darkest of times. But Labour has recovered before and we can do so again. But only if we vote for the future, only if despite it all, we still vote Labour with pride.
And if nothing else, remember in 1983, a man was elected in Sedgefield who would save this party and transform this country for the better. The next Blair could be about to enter parliament; they cannot do that without your vote.
On 8 June I will vote Labour proudly again and so should you.
Louis Rynsard is former Labour parliamentary staffer and director at a corporate reputation and communications firm. He tweets at @lrynsard
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