That date happens to be my birthday and I knew, weeks ago, that I would be getting the worst birthday present of my life. This neo-liberal Tory government will probably see out my remaining days. I will have to put down my name for the first Mars landing.
Its first policy announcement, effectively making the BBC licence fee voluntary, sets the tone for the next 5 years. That announcement will delight the fossil Rupert Murdoch and Murdoch fils, who has just splashed out £120 million on a house in California. The prospect is a dumbed-down Britain. doing away with the licence fee will upset what the Tories now stigmatise as the London remainer, lefty elite and please their Etonian understanding of the flat-cap, whippet-owning Northern working class.
It started with the police being called to sort him out in a sordid domestic in his girlfriend’s flat and ended with his being crowned king of the dung-hill. This is the Bullingdon bully-boy liar elected to run the country.
Having put Johnson into our top slot, we are in no position to criticise the Americans for electing a prize-one evil buffoon as President.
This week has been a re-run of history.
In the 17th century, the people shed a lot of blood in winning the Civil War against the dictator king and promptly gave the crown back to the king, who no longer had a head on which to put it, and so they gave it to his rich, womanising son. Now we have a rich, womanising son crowned as our Prime Minister
In the 21st century, after years of suffering under unnecessary austerity, when offered an alternative, including a rational system of public ownership of the essential utilities, the people of Britain give it all to the privateers, who have already made themselves billionaires at our expense.
Is Corbyn to blame? Partially so, although not nearly to the extent that the rightwing insist. They would have him in sackcloth and ashes, eating dirt, because they want to see an end to Labour’s leftward shift. I talk of the Labour rightwing – Blair, Brown, Blunkett, Alan Johnson – that group which implemented full-blown neo-liberal economics when in power, involving privatisation, PFI deals, austerity applied to public services, export of manufacturing jobs and deregulation of financial services In other words, the battery of policies, originated by Thatcher, that wiped out Labour in Scotland and so alienated Labour voters in the Midlands and the North that they have now punished the Party (and themselves) by lashing out and voting Tory.
The policy on Brexit in the election campaign was far too convoluted and inadequately explained. From the start, it was plainly destined to be a strategic disaster. The Party’s incomprehensible Brexit policy was determined much less by Corbyn and McDonnell than by rightwing MPs, who backed Remain in the referendum and did not relent when Brexit won the vote. They continued to support EU membership, because EU economics matches their own embracing of neoliberalism. We must be careful now, to ensure that Yvette Cooper and her fellow Chicago School economic die-hards do not get back into power.
The Tories, led by the ERG, kept voting against May’s Brexit deal, following the referendum, because they wanted more distance between the EU and the UK, a completely free hand over trade deals, no protections for jobs, workers’ rights, food standards and the environment. Labour kept voting against May precisely because they wanted more protection for jobs, workers’ rights, the NHS, food standards and the environment.
“Get Brexit done” was a winning mantra and that should have been obvious to Corbyn and the Labour leadership weeks ago. People who have no political hinterland ─ I speak of the majority of the British electorate ─ need something simple, because their political background is no broader than the last front page of the Sun or the Mail.
Oh, that’s very patronising,” you say.
Oh, I can do better than that. Vox pop interviews in Stoke, Darlington, Blythe etc. demonstrated what total idiots so many people are. No better informed than their ubiquitous dogs.
We all know what weighed most heavily with people voting for Brexit in the referendum: their wish to curb immigration. Fortunately, this came up very little during the election campaign and so one could strongly support Brexit without being a blatant racist.
Labour should immediately have caught on to the fact that Theresa May’s “strong and stable” had been replaced by “Get Brexit done” and should have countered with: “Yes, Labour will get Brexit done, and our “ Brexit will not come at the cost of your job and your standard of living.”
Corbyn was so consistently nice. He had me shouting at the TV screen in anger:
“Remind them of the bugger’s lies: £350 million a week for the NHS and half of Turkey will be migrating here.”
“Remind them that Johnson is a liar, even having the unique distinction of lying to the Queen.
“Tell them why there is no apology to the Jewish community: because this anti-Semitism business is a concoction of lies. Tell them most of those accused by the wicked witch, her dameness Margaret Hodge are not even members of the Labour Party. Remind them that the Daily Mail supported Oswald Mosley’s fascists and Hitler. The Mail and the Sun have been so intent on spreading the lie of anti-Semitism, drawing in the rest of the media, that it appeared believable. Joseph Goebbels used the same strategy. Keep peddling the same lies for long enough and eventually people will believe it. If the press and Margaret Hodge thought they could get away with it, they would have labelled Corbyn a Soviet spy and a paedophile. The anti-Semitism smear proved just as toxic and has served its purpose well. I was screaming at the TV, “Don’t apologise; refute, refute, refute.
Jeremy, for God’s sake show a bit of righteous anger, rather than being a perpetual doormat.
He should have thundered that the whole country, but especially Labour-voting areas, have suffered 9 years of totally unnecessary austerity. After the 2007-2008 world-wide economic crash, recovery required investment, more government spending, not cuts. While austerity and piss-poor government spending have severely damaged working class areas, the low interest rates have helped the rich to become even richer.
The NHS, schools, public transport, social housing and the poor have all suffered as a result of this austerity, but the super-rich have done very well out of it. The Tories’ friends have been squirreling away billions in tax-evading off-shore accounts. Tell the people that, Jeremy, and name some names. Name and shame the crooks who have got rich on legalised crime. That’s the sort of information your back-up team should have been supplying
Tell the people that Johnson’s recent announcements about more cash for schools, more nurses and doctors and more police are simply totally inadequate attempts to put right damage the Tories inflicted on us.
Tell them precisely why you would not press the nuclear button: because the system is mutually assured destruction. Pressing the button might destroy Moscow, but also the little country called Britain and would produce a world-wide nuclear winter. Is that what the Christians of Britain want? Is our country and its people to be considered totally expendable? Spell it out that nuclear weapons are no defence whatsoever against the biggest threat to our security, which is terrorism. Spell it out that Europe, within NATO, is the first line of defence for America, 3,000 miles behind the front line, across the Atlantic.
That the media, assisted by the Labour’s undead – Blair, Brown, Mandelson, Blunkett – would be all-out to throttle Corbyn – was obvious from before he won the leadership, Unfortunately, at the helm of Momentum, Jon Lansman has been inept and little better than that blockhead Jonathan Ashworth.
The Blairites, who still dominate the Parliamentary Labour Party, the NEC and the Party apparatus, have been sitting back, waiting for it all to hit the fan, so that they can make a come-back after this Corbyn hiatus.
They will now do their best to return to normality as they know it. They will not allow a socialist as leader. They cannot have Conference determining policy. They cannot have constituencies selecting their candidates. Everything will be determined by the MPs and the MPs will have their decision-making circumscribed by a tiny cabal around the carefully chosen leader. It will be back to Blair’s sofa government.
Is the new generation of Party members brought in by Corbyn wise to all this and ready to combat it?
Most of the team of advisers who engineered the election campaign should be sacked.
My Marxism urges that I recognise the working class as the vanguard of social change.
It ain’t necessarily so. The British working class, far from being the vanguard, is the guard’s van.
The Labour Party has always been conservative, with a small C; centrist, although with some socialists in it.
The Labour Party’s recent manifesto offered the country real, positive change. It was enormously long. Nobody read it.
Here, too, the Tories had it right. Their manifesto said virtually nothing, because they knew nobody would read it. They relied on a mere slogan designed for those with a limited vocabulary
The working class was comatose on the opium of the people. The Tories may not be too wide of the mark in assuming that all their new voter-base wants is Strictly, Love Island, Netflix streaming and porn. Thus, the Tories could, if they so wish, kibosh the BBC to all-round applause from those who begrudge the licence fee.
Labour’s crisis was diagnosed decades ago by Eric Hobsbawm in his book, The Forward March of Labour Halted. The predicted decline has continued. It should come as no great shock.
Are we able to save the Labour Party from terminal decline and recapture by the Blairites?
That is the challenge.