Shami Chakrabarti has been pleading with Jewish Labour party members – who might feel let down by her report into anti-Semitism – not to quit the party. Her pitch? “Don’t leave me locked in a room with Essex Man.” Is there anyone Labour doesn’t have a problem with?
It may come as news to the noble lady, but Labour isn’t exactly flavour of the month in Essex.
Over the eleven years I’ve represented Clacton, Labour has lost a lot of its support base locally. Many of my constituents abandoned Labour because they felt Labour had abandoned them. It seems they were right.
What’s extraordinary is how narrow Labour’s target demographic now seems to be. Leave voters? Not welcome. Centrists? No admission. Jews? Only if they’re prepared to put up with what looks increasingly like institutional anti-Semitism.
Labour’s growing disconnect from most of the country isn’t just a party matter. It’s a problem with our political system.
It’s no coincidence that the big corporate parties have kept their monopoly on politics despite no longer representing the people. On the contrary, it’s by design.
More than a century of legislation has increased the power of party machines, created safe seats, shut out competition – and marginalised the views of voters. (I’ve written about this at more length in the New Criterion.)
Politics is a cartel. But the cartel can be broken.
How do I know?
Because we did it in Clacton. Twice.
Perhaps I ought to invite Baroness Chakrabarti to come to Clacton to meet some Essex folk. She’ll discover they’re as decent as anyone she sits next to in the House of Lords.