Labour is one of the biggest political parties in Europe, and yet it is struggling to maintain support in its heartlands. While the party’s ground game, with considerable support from Momentum, was key in seeing off Paul Nuttall in Stoke-on-Trent Central, such an obviously inept politician should have never posed a threat in the first place. And the loss in Copeland to a party overseeing the Brexit debacle can only be described as a failure.
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I woke up today feeling anxious. Anxious because I know that my future in this country is at stake. All the plans I had for a life in Britain, the hopes that I came here with and matured as I settled in, are on hold. But as I write this, I know there is nothing I can do apart from wait. The House of Lords are voting on an amendment to decide whether three million EU migrants can stay in the UK. They will decide whether we’ll become the bargaining chip Theresa May wants us to be.
Last Tuesday saw the official launch of Take Back Control, a UK-wide series of events that will bring together Leave and Remain voters, make sense of Brexit and discuss the change people want to see in their communities.
The events have been reported by some as a Labour “rally” or “tour”, hinting at a travelling roadshow in which MPs ride in on a wave of publicity, give a quick speech, and leave soon after. There have also been accusations that the events intend to “slate the local political establishment” and provide a platform for Labour’s opponents.
From Brexit to Trump, 2016 brought political upheaval that shook the liberal democratic order in Europe and the US. Amidst the instability any claim to certainty carries little value. The only predictions that seem remotely convincing are the ones that promise yet more chaos.
In many ways this state of uncertainty is typical of contemporary capitalism, especially as the securities once provided by the nation state (though themselves often restrictive) are dismantled. Unrestrained market forces flood over what barriers remain, inducing a profound sense of powerlessness among those they affect.