The British left wing needs to grow up

It’s all fun and games until you lose the next election

After following the Labour and Conservative party conferences for the past couple of weeks, PM Theresa May’s speech was going to be a highlight. With her poor track record since the election in June and my strong inclination towards the Corbyn-led Labour Party, it was a good opportunity to reaffirm my already solid position as a Labour supporter. Then, Simon Brodkin (a.k.a. comedian Lee Nelson) shows up, handing May an improvised P45 slip during her leader’s speech, supposedly from foreign secretary Boris Johnson.

Some would see this as a simple, ‘no-harm-done’ stunt, but it hasn’t harmed May in the slightest; it has done the complete opposite. It has given the left a kick in the teeth in the viewpoint of the general public and is a perfect example of why the left wing needs to grow up.

As a Labour supporter, this act was completely embarrassing. May didn’t need a ‘prank’ to throw her off or make her speech seem even worse than it already was; she’d done that through the lack of conviction throughout the speech and the repetition of policies from the Miliband-led Labour opposition of just two years ago. But Brodkin has drawn the limelight away from May and onto himself.

If Brodkin had engaged with May on a strictly political level, discussed her policies and the faults that have arisen from her speech, then the ball would be back in her court to deal with the aftermath of her speech. But no, the prankster decided to show himself as a supposed representation of the supporters of the Labour, Socialist Worker and Green parties, as someone who couldn’t take part in a discussion and tried to use humiliation to gain votes in favour of Corbyn, and it hasn’t worked. Here’s why.

Scroll through any political social media platform and see the debates (if that’s the correct word to use) that take place. There are a lot of people in the left leaning population that are failing to engage with those who are of different opinions, only seeking to try and make a complete joke out of them and tell them to shut up at the slight inkling that suggests they may be of a different view point. This only makes the left even less appealing to the floating voter. When individual opinions are dismissed by other people as ‘hating the poor’ or the views of a ‘massive tory’, the abused are only being drawn away from taking part in politics.

Not only has this taken place on social media between the left and right, but amongst the left itself, out casting those who don’t support Corbyn yet are still left-leaning. The only way for the left to bring about any change is by understanding other view points and why people are choosing to see the political situation as they do, not just throwing insults at those of a different opinion.

Insults don't bring about change, but this might…

Insults don't bring about change, but this might…

Don’t get me wrong, this type of thing happens across the whole political spectrum, and the right doesn’t need to embarrass itself any more than it already has done ( Boris and Jacob Rees-Mogg in recent weeks are prime examples) but let’s look at who’s in opposition and who the news is currently about.

So, if the left are going to help themselves and want to get their opinions heard, they need to challenge, protest, but most importantly, engage and stop making ridiculous comments about someone’s political views. Discuss them and you never know, it may actually turn someone’s viewpoint around. But the one way of not achieving that is through personal humiliation and insults, as observed on Wednesday.