December 2019 was a catastrophe for Labour. After nearly ten years in opposition, the party has suffered its fourth straight defeat and is approaching fifteen years since it last won.
As the soul searching begins, Labour's broad church will have to ask: at what level do we disagree? Since Jeremy Corbyn became leader this has been a central question for the two sides of the left. There is constant discussion of ‘splits’, ‘coups’ and ‘purges’. Anger and impotence are felt on both sides. Everyone seems to hate each other, but no one can agree on why.
Writing from a centre-left perspective, Chris Clarke points to where the guts of the dispute lie. He argues that disagreements come down to narrative, not core values. Belief or otherwise in the central myths which drive left populism – conflict, insurgency and decline – represents the true dividing line between pro- and anti-Corbyn factions.
Combative but constructive, Warring Fictions makes the case for pluralism and questions the premise of Corbynism. Rather than a call for ‘faux harmony’, it’s an attempt to break the deadlock – providing a route-map for the centre left, an explanation to the far left, and the foundations for a genuine debate between the two.
1. Left Populism and Left Pluralism
2. What Do We Want?
3. Distorting Myths
Myth One: The Dark Knight
4. What is the Dark Knight?
5. The Appeal of the Dark Knight
6. The Case Against the Dark Knight (People)
7. The Case Against the Dark Knight (Policy)
Myth Two: The Puppet Master
8. What is the Puppet Master?
9. The Appeal of the Puppet Master
10. The Case Against the Puppet Master (government)
11. The Case Against the Puppet Master (society)
Myth Three: The Golden Era
12. What is the Golden Era?
13. The Appeal of the Golden Era
14. The Case Against the Golden Era (global economy)
15. The Case Against the Golden Era (politics)
16. The Case Against the Golden Era (psychology)
Christopher Clarke is a communications expert in local government. He specialises in cohesion, and in building bridges between values groups.