A party leader isn’t a pet to be mollycoddled

Halle is a new addition to the family. She is a wee little thing and is only 13 weeks old. If there was an award for best loved pet Halle would be in the running. This kitten is mollycoddled day and night. We may chastise her (lightly) for chewing her toys till they break or for trying to scratch the sofa to bits but that is as far as we would go in being critical of Halle’s behaviour. Halle is a domestic animal and not a party leader. The analogy is absolutely ludicrous isn’t it?

Yet, one of the things that drove me mad during the election campaign was watching how party members were unbelievably protective of their leaders, to the point of mollycoddling them with simpering loyalty and white washed praise.

While all the parties were guilty of this my irritation would especially rise to the surface when, either, Jeremy Corbyn or Jo Swinson were mollycoddled for the simple reason that I went on numerous remain protests and marches for it all to count when the crucial time came. Both leaders failed millions like me.

It was galling enough to watch them approach the ‘fail’ line of the general election without having to watch them being cheered on too by party supporters. Uncritical loyalty helped no one in the end.

While Labour and the Lib Dems hold the concept of accountability as being a core component of their messages on governance and government it was lost, somehow, on their supporters.

Jo Swinson was vehemently opposed to Brexit but she enabled an election at an inopportune moment and displayed appalling leadership by going for a ‘revoke A50’ stance that made even Remainers feel as if it were an undemocratic choice. Jeremy Corbyn was an expert in speaking to those whom he had long won over. He was never challenged, likewise, by his fan base even when it was clear that he wasn’t assertive enough about calling for a second referendum.

At the end of the day, tribalism was the winner at party level but only through scoring a whole heap of own goals. Tribalism which converts party loyalty into fawning uncritical praise is an own goal.

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