“Words are tools of thought. If they lose efficiency, that is, meaning, thought itself deteriorates. Thought can only be as precise as language lets it be. If the politicians’ words are bloated, continuously euphemistic, then, in power, muddled action will assuredly follow. Euphemism is the effort of the well-meaning to avoid hurting others’ feelings; in private discourse it may have justification, but when used by politicians it must be seen as suspect. A Labour Party denying its socialism, and unashamedly stealing Tory clothes, in order to appear inoffensive to all, may claim respectability, but in fact, becomes a strumpet of a party, for what are being proffered are fantasies, fairy stories, the delusion that without struggle, without conflict, we can have a society where we can live happily ever after.”
These are Leo Abse’s prescient remarks on New Labour back in 1996. They apply with equal force to Keir Starmer’s emasculated opposition now. Save for the remark about stealing “Tory clothes”, it struck me that you could also apply them to Corbyn’s Labour. A project that was utterly conflict averse. In appealing to everyone’s better nature we were ourselves guilty of proffering fantasies and fairy stories. We need to be harder.