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Welcome to the era of emoji politics, where debate and rationality are suffocated

4 September 2015

2:23 PM

4 September 2015

2:23 PM

I break off the family holiday to campaign for my colleague Liz Kendall in the Labour leadership election. In Ipswich and Colchester, I found party members not so smitten by Corbynmania. In both constituencies, more people voted Tory than Labour: it remains unclear to me why heading further left would appeal to them.

At every leadership election since the demise of Tony Blair the party has chosen a more left-wing candidate, and while Neil Kinnock might have ‘got his party back’, the country got a Tory government back. What is also evident is the anger among party members who have spent years delivering leaflets and are being called ‘Tories’ for not supporting Corbyn by people who joined the party weeks ago.

We are entering the era of emoji politics, where identity and emotion suffocate debate and rationality. Those of us in the Labour centre ground need desperately to understand the former, but never give up on the latter.

This is an excerpt from Tristram Hunt’s diary in this week’s Spectator.

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