In yet another example of keyboard warriors on the left criticising people who actually act, Sunny Hundal is criticising UKUncut’s street party protest on Saturday. I’m aware of the irony of me, a man who doesn’t go to anywhere near enough protests or actions, writing a blog post criticising a Labour activist for criticising UKUncut. I’m aware of that. But I have the good graces not to criticise the people who are actually fucking doing shit.
Sunny’s taken time out of his Labour “activism” – stuff like making Cameron memes out of silly photos – to criticise a group of people who are exploring the Coalition’s broad sense of agreement on the necessity of the cuts.
Liberal Conspiracy as a blog pisses me off already. It refactors left-of-centre politics as Labour politics, when in reality, left-of-centre politics almost by definition needs to be non-partisan. After all what mainstream party can legitimately claim to support the real liberal left wing? Not Labour, they spent the last 13 years finishing off what Thatcher started. Not the LibDems, they’re worse than the fucking Tories right now. The Greens? Maybe, but they remain a single issue party who happen to be in the right on the majority of issues, so I guess that for now they fail to meet the “mainstream” bit of the criteria.
And Sunny epitomises this. It’s important to Labour to attack the Tories, as they know the LibDem’s support has evaporated, and their support will mostly switch to Labour. What they now need is to hit the Tories hard to ensure they have a shot at regaining power in 2015. So, were UKUncut a Labour Party movement, then criticism like
I think the street party was nevertheless counter-productive in its tactics.
By that I’m not referring to the claim it brought out sympathy for Nick Clegg. I just think it makes more sense to target Conservatives than Libdems on this issue.
Did it? The LibDems are just as culpable as the Tories. Again, Labour have been trying to act like the Tories are the Agents of Evil Incarnate (imagine that in the voice of the Mysterons), while the LibDems are the unwitting dupes pootling along without realising what the Evil Tories are doing. But it just isn’t true – while the LibDems are socially liberal, they remain fiscally conservative, and the Coalition agreement was built on the common ground the two parties shared over the needs for a smaller government.
Does that mean we shouldn’t attack the LibDems? An argument could plausibly be made that since the LibDem voter base already support the cuts, we should instead be going after the big kahunas. In fact, Sunny attempts to do so:
But the main problem is that the Libdems are fairly supportive of the welfare cuts. Broadly their constituency doesn’t rate welfare as a key priority and there are other issues Libdem voters find more pressing. Nick Clegg will focus on social issues such as gay marriage, financial benefits such as raising the tax threshold, civil liberties and the environment to rally his base.
Welfare cuts won’t come into the Libdem equation, mostly because a majority of voters believe that some benefits cuts are needed. The leadership is too cowardly to pick a fight there and saving its political capital for other fights.
But what are the UKUncut protests trying to achieve? Is it to convince people who want cuts that they are wrong? Well, partly. But mostly it’s to do what all protests attempt to do: to show that there are a large group of people in opposition to the policy. It’s meant to showcase how many people are being harmed by these swingeing cuts which hurt the voiceless the most. It’s meant to demonstrate to the political class the mass public support that already exists for a change in Coalition welfare policy.
Does Sunny criticise the Syrian protestors because Assad’s base won’t change their minds and it’s not in Assad’s interest to do so? I have no idea, but I’m sure most people certainly wouldn’t. Instead, we see it as indicative of how the Syrian people feel about their leader: fucking angry and expecting change.
And, quite frankly, the LibDems are more likely to realize that message than the Tories. The LibDems are okay with the cuts. The Tories are positively salivating over the idea of the poor starving to death.