A lot of people in the media (e.g. in the Telegraph, the Spectator and even in the Guardian) seem to be very invested in telling us how Jeremy Corbyn, if elected in the Labour leadership contest, would ruin Labour and render the party unelectable for decades.
I don’t agree. And even if I did, I wouldn’t care. For me the existence of the enmity shown towards him shows exactly why Britain is in desperate need of him.
Why, in a healthy democracy, are we so afraid of different ideas? Why are we so afraid of the word ‘socialism’? The association with the USSR is false – giving a young mother, born into poverty and low education, a roof over her head is not tantamount to declaring full Marxism – and anyway the socialist USSR died a long time ago. Why is the very suggestion that we should consider people’s total needs as well as the needs of ‘the economy’, as if that has any existence apart from people, met with such insults?
Tony Blair has got in on the act too. The man who forced the Iraq War on our heads says that Labour will be unelectable if Corbyn wins. But Tony, why oh why do you think Labour should be elected in the first place for goodness sake? What does it matter whether Tory or Labour wins when they both espouse the same policies? Why do we need two right-of-centre parties? The Houses of Parliament are named for talking – are they not supposed to discuss different ideas and different priorities and needs, attempt to find the best solutions that work for most of the people most of the time, compromise for the benefit of all? How can they even begin to do that if only one set of right-wing ideas are being presented on all sides, are in fact continually presented as the only possible way to live?
When did British politics become all about holding the power, rather than what we should do with it? Does anyone believe that there is only one right way to live all the time for everyone? Does anyone believe that we can all continue living like this forever, while the sword of climate change hangs over our heads and people are thrown onto scrap heaps for being born into the wrong, poor, families, because technology changes, or for being unlucky in their health?
Questions, questions. Could it be in fact that we do not have a healthy democracy? Could it possibly be that we are slowly being taken over by a rich oligarchic elite who have no interest in the needs of the people of Britain, only in lining their own pockets at our expense? Who have, in fact, no idea of the needs of the people of Britain, having been born to wealth and privilege well beyond the dreams of most of us, and no interest whatsoever in attempting to find out? What other excuse do they have for holding on to their political ideologies around economic austerity in the public sector no matter what evidence is presented by whom? These increasingly desperate attempts to smear alternative voices look like increasingly desperate attempts by an oligarchy to hold onto power for its own sake no matter what, and that could have huge repercussions for us all in an age of environmental fragility – read Jared Diamond’s “Collapse” for several accounts of where it can lead.
We need a strong left voice heard in British politics again at long last. We need some integrity brought back into the system. We need some democracy.
As a quick update to this, several leading economists have backed Jeremy Corbyn’s economic policies according to a Guardian article of 22/08/15, saying they are ‘not extreme’ – in fact, “his opposition to austerity is actually mainstream economics, even backed by the conservative IMF. He aims to boost growth and prosperity.”. May hope prevail.