WHENEVER Labour lose a General Election, they blame the voter for making the ‘wrong’ decision. They also blame the ‘mainstream media’ in general and Rupert Murdoch in particular for ‘brainwashing’ the aforementioned voter into making this ‘wrong’ decision.
Some Labourites will blame ‘low-information voters’. These appear to be voters who have eluded the ‘brainwashing’ by not consuming sufficient ‘mainstream media’ (Murdoch-originated or otherwise), but have instead voted against Labour because they are racists or worse. This all feeds into the socialist myth the ‘system’ is ‘rigged’ against them. This is despite the fact that Tony Blair led Labour to three consecutive victories at the polls. But then, New Labour is now regarded as ‘Tory-lite’. Based on this logic, which appears to be accepted by most socialists, Labour has not had a government with a comfortable majority since Harold Wilson’s victory in 1966, months before England’s World Cup victory at Wembley. Britain has not had a decisively socialist government for over half a century.
Of course there are those who do not blame the voter. Instead they blame Brexit and Labour’s absurd balancing act that meant a Labour government would have campaigned against their own deal, while the leader remained as aloof as a wizened and bearded guru in a mountain cave. Others blame the credibility of Labour’s manifesto, saying it was unfocused and promised far too much. There is a reason why the manifesto was so heavily front-loaded. There is a convention that the House of Lords cannot delay legislation based on manifesto promises, as it can with other previously unannounced laws. Labour clearly had planned a Hundred Days offensive, where Parliament would rush through ‘transformative’ legislation as part of emergency measures. As the late Lord Hailsham described our system of government as an ‘elective dictatorship’, moderated by the ‘good chap’ principle, the only procedural opposition could come from an upper chamber that would be the sole portion of our constitutional settlement that an incoming Labour government could not bend to its will.
However, apart from the policies, the voters (low information or ‘brainwashed’), the ‘rigged’ system, Rupert Murdoch (it’s always Murdoch, by the way. The Rothermeres and Barclays are always let off the hook by the comrades), Laura Kuenssberg, the over-heavy manifesto, Donald Trump, Uncle Tom Cobley, who or what else could be responsible for Labour’s worst-ever vote, worse even than 1935, when Labour’s support was actually rising?
Well, there’s Jeremy Corbyn, about which no more needs to be written. He is a has-been, washed up, someone who probably will not let up on, and may even increase, his extra-Parliamentary activities, to the embarrassment of every subsequent leader for the duration of Corbyn’s heavily-promoted good health.
So is there anyone or anything else?
I should like to put forward, for your consideration, Owen Jones.
Despite all of the complaints of media bias, Jones has been a permanent fixture on our screens since the 2011 Riots coincided with the publication of his book Chavs and made him the go-to guy for socialist commentary that is unchallenged by interviewers with the honourable exception of Andrew Neil. Jones, not actually being a politician, has had none of the verbal caution exhibited by every politician who literally depends on the voter for his or her livelihood. Jones appears on every news channel, most news programmes, and also substitutes for Labour politicians and spokesmen when these are ‘unavailable for comment’, most notably in the aftermath of the Panorama documentary on Labour’s ingrained anti-Semitism when he tag-teamed with Ash Sarkar.
While Jones may believe he uses his communication skills and lack of voting constituents to market and sell socialism to the television viewer, it is just as likely he has the opposite effect. It is notable that while the Conservatives lost seats in Scotland to the SNP, the only seat they lost to Labour in England was in Putney. While socialists complain of bias on the BBC and Sky, Jones was never off these channels and had a pretty free run. It is probable that a lot of people in previously Labour heartlands saw Jones as the true face of Labour away from the rhetorical straitjackets in which media advisers keep their voter-vulnerable charges and did not like what they saw. Voting Conservative was then a cathartic release from impotently shouting at the screen or having to switch channels to avoid Jones’s Dorian Gray-like visage lecturing them day after day as to why they should worship at the altar of Corbyn.
An indicator of how much people dislike Jones has to be the apparently unorganised Twitter pile-on using a hashtag associating Jones with an intensely personal activity that was the most popular trend in the UK until Twitter stopped posting the statistics, and was also the fifth most popular trend on the planet during the same period. The posted dislike was so intense that socialists tried to counter it with a ‘solidarity’ hashtag of their own, co-opting all of the usual suspects, including John McDonnell. This was in contrast to the original pile-on, which seemed to consist of ordinary members of the British public.
Jones organised and attended a rally in Boris Johnson’s Uxbridge constituency because the Prime Minister’s 2017 majority of 5,000 had halved from 2015 and was seen as vulnerable to a Labour challenger. Instead Boris’s majority increased by 50 per cent to over 7,000. This is not untypical of the Jones Effect in elections. Labour pretends not to notice this.
Jones himself has retreated from Twitter shortly after a tweet of his was alleged to have resulted in a mob harassing the wife and children of Times writer Giles Coren at the family home. Coren’s ‘crime’ was to make a joke suggesting that an aged and ennobled Jones might resist the decline of his libido in a manner reminiscent of The Benny Hill Show around the corridors of the Palace of Westminster. But then socialists are notoriously humourless, just as socialist comedians are unfunny.
Of course any Labour post-mortem will not include the Jones Effect, but then it will not include the Corbyn Effect either. Socialists always claim they put politics before personality, except no one told that to those who keep singing the name of the man who has managed since December 12 to make Michael Foot appear to be not so bad. However dishonour should be shared. If Corbyn is to be blamed, as he should, some of this blame should also be shared by Corbyn’s biggest and most prolific cheerleader.
So long may Jones and the Jones Effect continue. There is a record of 18 years of government that is just nine years away from being broken. And Jones will help the Conservatives to outdo Margaret Thatcher and John Major every step of the way.