There have been a flurry of tweets over the past twenty-four hours on the subject of a defection to the Tory Party of one of Labour’s most controversial tweeters, Luke Bozier. You may not have heard of Luke, mind – if you want to know more, Mark Ferguson’s short and eventually dismissive piece over at Labour List this morning is probably the best place to start.
Meanwhile, I was minded to respond to a tweet from Anthony Painter earlier in the day on this very same subject of how Labour had to learn to deal with different ideas and people and places, when he wrote:
Labour has to learn that people can disagree with it, vote for others, join others, not vote and not be bad people…..
@anthonypainter No. It’s not Labour that needs to learn this lesson. It’s political activism in general.
Something, in fact, we could expand to many relationships and sectors these days.
Fellow Tories, what are your thoughts on a sudden influx of Blairite/New Labourites into our party?
Two questions immediately arise, of course. The first one, the obvious one, being: could Labour survive as a governing political force? That is to say, would Labour minus the Blairite tendency equal the wilderness years from now on in?
But the second – far more intriguing – one goes as follows: what about the Conservatives? Could the Tories as they currently perceive themselves even survive such a stampede of an influx of potentially overwhelming proportions – if and when, that is, the political dams broke (as they might) and a flood of disaffected triangulators invaded their treasured Etonite playing-field?
In a sense, the right-wing of the Tory Party and the left-wing of the Labour Party are literally mirror images of each other: their relationship with and attachment to much-needed badges of courage – those political markers in the sand they use to auto-define their positions – is a given in both extraordinary cases: signs of tribal loyalty and righteousness, indeed, if there ever were any to behold.
So that’s why the more I think about it, the more I do wonder.
And you know, I really wouldn’t be surprised if the often worthy and positive cuckoo that was the New Labour tendency mightn’t end up destroying the heart and soul of the Tory Party over the next two governments in much the same way as it has already manifestly managed to do to what used to be Labour, its class movement and its society-loving instincts.