As he strode on stage on Wednesday, David Cameron could have been forgiven for thinking, just for a moment, that he was a million miles away from the braying mob of protestors encamped outside the Party conference. Under the gaze of Conservative MPs and activists, he delivered not only what could be considered as the finest speech of his tenure in Number 10, but an open invitation to centrist Labour voters too. His speech was chock full of a liberalism that even 10 years ago would have solicited groans of despair from his membership. Not so in 2015. His audience lapped it up with the rabid voracity of a malnourished wolfhound, knowing full well that this shift to the centre ground could deal a fatal blow to the Labour Party. As Cameron landed thumping haymakers on Corbyn and his comrades, a number of Left-leaning commentators began the ringing of Labour’s death knell.
Yet this mattered not one iota to the Hard Left, for they have given up on politics. Nowhere was this more evident than in that gauntlet of indiscriminate hatred that attendees, journalists, and charity workers alike had to traverse daily. These so-called protestors - a cacophony of abuse does not a protest make - made up for their glaring deficiencies in personal hygiene and poetic invention with mean-spirited hyperbole and a complete lack of self-awareness; the irony of their words and actions were lost in a red sea of acrimony and bodily odour.
The throngs outside the Tory gates were there to make trouble, not political points. So filled with blinding vitriol were some of their ranks that even the likes of Owen Jones and Kevin Maguire were branded ‘Tory Scum.’ Fellow journalists Michael Crick and Owen Bennett, neither of whom could be considered sympathetic to the current Government, were greeted with flying gobs of spittle. Despite the increasingly feeble pleas of Jeremy Corbyn, there were threats of rape directed at female Conservatives, anti-semitic invectives hurled at Jewish delegates, and reports of physical assaults. These, of course, all coming from people who supposedly champion Corbyn’s new, kinder politics, and who would have you believe that the Tories are the evil ones.
The sheer foulness of the actions of these ‘protestors’ was only outweighed by the futility of their vile caterwauling. As has been pointed out ad nauseam, precisely zero percent of the electorate will have thought to themselves: “you know what, I wasn’t sure about Labour next time around, but after seeing that unwashed hooligan scream ‘Evil Tory ****’ in a woman’s face, they can count on my vote!” No, this was yet another example of the new Labour power base - the hard Left - talking amongst themselves. This became even more evident on Friday morning, when the previously semi-sane Guardian columnist Zoe Williams (she of the ‘magical money tree’ quote) tried to justify the actions of those who spat at journalists. Increasingly sounding like a simpering fangirl who is desperately trying to curry favour with the cool kids on the Left, her defence of the indefensible showed just how staggeringly out of touch Corbynites have become. Her argument included: the claim that it was acceptable because the protestors feel like their voices are excluded from the debate; the implication that the Tories were asking for it because they chose to ignore people screaming abuse at them; and the bizarre justification that how Tories look makes people want to throw eggs at them. One has to wonder if she will be happy to make the same case next time there are reports of similarly repugnant behaviour at a BNP rally, for example - after all, they feel marginalised too so the same rules apply, right Zoe?
Labour now has a deadly rot embedded deep within its core. The hard Left is running amok, and there is no one to stop them. Corbyn’s gentle requests for decency fall on deaf ears, but perhaps that’s because the hard Left’s devotion to the cause far exceeds their love for their messiah. They have no interest in trying to regain the centrist voters that they are haemorrhaging, making Cameron’s warm embrace all the more tempting for disillusioned Labourites. In their minds, politics is a game played by the rich and the powerful, and they want nothing to do with it. Their tactics over the next few years will be altogether more sinister. Yesterday saw the launch of ‘Momentum,’ a “grass-roots” movement designed to broaden participation at the CLP level. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s eerily similar to the long-banished ‘Militant’ movement. Within a year or so, the CLPs will be stuffed with capitalism-hating Trots and aggressive trade unionists, and the more moderate Labour MPs will have the fight of their lives on their hands. By that point, though, it will be irrelevant. The sane and the centre-aligned will have jumped ship, but the Corbynites will drone on about his mandate and their booming social media support. When they are decimated in 2020 and cease to exist as a relevant political entity, there will be no soul-searching - just more angry protests filled with shrieking about press smears and political skulduggery.
The hard Left can continue to scream and slander, to threaten and phlegm, but all it will do is hurt them. The bolshy petulance and constant outrage has already worn thin, but they either don't realise or don't care. Their dismissal of anyone who disagrees with them is absolute; their refusal to enter into dialogue with Centre-leaning Labourites final. They don’t care about politics: they just want to shout, whinge, intimidate, and abuse, and then go home and congratulate themselves for ‘standing up to the man.’ Good for them. In the meantime, the Conservatives will be acting like grown-ups, offering sanctuary to the droves of Labour voters driven away by the hard Left’s puerile antagonism, and ensuring an overwhelming majority in 2020. While the Corbynites are marching against austerity and the Tories, the Conservatives are marching towards the next election with the formidable impregnability of a Roman phalanx. This new old Labour Party might tell themselves that they stand a chance in 2020, but at this point they are just spitting in the wind.