“We don’t see it, but our arrogance stops us from listening”

So wrote former Labour Party General Secretary Peter Watt in a piece over on Labour Uncut this week:

There is an arrogance at the heart of our politics that is going to make it difficult to really understand why we lost. It is an arrogance that says that we alone own morality and that we alone want the best for people. It says that our instincts and our motives alone are pure. It’s an arrogance that belittles others’ fears and concerns as “isms” whilst raising ours as righteous. We then mistakenly define ourselves as being distinctive from our opponents because we are morally superior rather than because we have different diagnoses and solutions. It is lazy, wrong and politically dangerous.

If you think that I am being harsh, just think about what we say about our opponents. We assume that they are all in it for themselves, that they are indifferent to the suffering of others. In fact, that they are quite happy to induce more suffering if it suits their malign ends. What we don’t think is that they may want the same things as us, but just have a different approach. Instead, we cast high-minded aspersions on their morality and humanity…

But not all of people’s hopes and aspirations may chime with our rigid moral code. And, increasingly, voters are less tribal in their political allegiances. In fact, most people are probably not even habitual voters for a single party, never mind being tribal. If we are really to connect with enough voters (such that they vote for us in winning numbers at the next general election), then we will have to find ways of understanding their moral sense of the world. We can’t just condemn or patronise everyone as not understanding just because they say or feel things with which we don’t agree.

The full piece is well worth a read.

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