Reference is often made to Labour ‘being a broad church’. Essentially, that means that Labour is a voice of many, for the many. But it has often taken much soul searching and debate to be able to reach the one voice with which the Party, eventually, speaks.
There is a strong history of us listening to each other.
There are times when we agree and times when we disagree.
If we agree: all well and good.
But there are times when it is difficult to reach agreement.
Then we need to take time to talk with each other, to share our views and listen to what the other person is saying. This works well when we feel able to say we disagree. This works well when the views of ourselves and others are treated with respect.
And here we get to the problem with the tone of current discussions within the Labour Party.
Of late there have been too many examples of impatience, an unwillingness to understand, an unwillingness to try to co-operate with each other, and even, at times, there has been downright rudeness in the way we communicate with each other…
Such behaviour is also going on within the Parliamentary Labour Party, and… suggests that proper debate is difficult even for those selected to be the voice of the party at Westminster.
This kind of aggressive behaviour is unattractive and unacceptable, regardless of the part of the party from which it comes.
It’s time to stop!
Bullying occurs when people are unhappy, when they feel frustrated. We are well-aware of the poisonous effect of such behaviour in schools and the workplace.
To see it happening within the Labour community is heart-breaking.
Some people in the Party seem only prepared to see one way forward: their way. They see no room for compromise. And yet it is only through conversation, debate and compromise that we will be able to act together to create the fairer society we all seek.
So what can we do about this?
Most importantly, we should not accept such intolerant behaviour. On Twitter this is easily solved: we can block those remarks and we can call them out In ‘the Real World’ it can be more difficult, but bullies should always be called out, and if that doesn’t stop them then some kind of mediation or action from ‘authority’ may be necessary.
Fortunately, there are still many of us around who value open discussion and debate. Many of us do show respect towards each other, and, in fact, only a few people are behaving in such negative ways.
But the number of bullies appears to be growing.
We have read about the bullying of Elliot Johnson in the Tory Party, and we have seen the pain that his parents are suffering. The bullying he was subjected to begin a long time ago. We all know the details and the very sad outcome. A police investigation is now being undertaken. Our motive in raising this sad case is to point out that bullying in political parties needs to be recognised, acknowledged and nipped in the bud quickly before it gets out of hand. In extreme cases it can have detrimental effects on the lives of the victims. At the very least, it makes lives very miserable.
So if you are a victim of bullying – don’t stand for it! Call them out! And keep doing so. Others will take notice and assist.
And if you feel the need to lie about people and/or target them with nasty comments then perhaps it’s time to sincerely question your motives and your actions. Why would you wish to do this? It’s unnecessary and it’s cruel. If necessary, seek some help.
No one’s life should be made miserable as a result of bullying or aggressive behaviour within the Labour community.
The day we stop caring about each other, the day we stop seeing each other as comrades, is the day when we might as well pack it in, because at the end of the day each other is all we have.
We have a lot of work to do and elections to win. People out there are depending on us to fight for them in the face of a government determined to destroy the Welfare State that we all depend upon in one way or another. We need to put our energies into developing policies that show we care and we can only do that if we show respect for each other’s views as we work at establishing a consensus within the Party.
We all know what acceptable and unacceptable behaviour is: we are, after all, adults! If you would rather spend your time making personal attacks on people within the Party than perhaps you should seriously consider whether the Party is for you.
It’s time to start respecting one another again and to cultivating that most difficult of skills: the ability to listen.
If we don’t do this then *we* shall end up becoming a ‘nasty party’, and the day that happens will be the day when Labour has nothing positive to offer the British people.
There is more to bring us together than to divide us. We have many wonderful people within the Labour Party. Times are changing and we have new challenges. We are a growing party. There is much positivity across the country within Labour, good work being done within our communities. You might be speaking from the benches in Parliament, working within our Town and Civic Halls, pushing leaflets through doors, organising, keen to share your thoughts by writing, tweeting – and indeed some manage to do a combination of all of the above.
You do those things because you care.
Related content https://kingstonelabour.org/complaints-against-a-councillor/