Saturday 15 August 2015

Why I Am Voting Jeremy Corbyn

This is from my friend and comrade Alex Dawson. It's worth noting that Alex was grudgingly going to vote for Andy Burnham until Tony Blair's cack-handed intervention in the week.

As the ballot papers go out...

I've been really, deeply uneasy with the Corbyn campaign.

Not the man, who is decent. Not the platform, which if you look at it is actually a fairly moderate Nordic/European centre-left social democratic menu. (Only in this hysterical country would we allow that to be painted as communism.)

What concerns me are the thousands of identity-politic window shoppers who have flocked to his banner. Open interviews with his campaigners reveal people who freely admit they are joining the party only to vote for him, then will leave the party immediately if he loses. This highlights the increasingly shallow, consumerist nature of our rotten politics - looking for quick fixes and immediate wins or flouncing out again if you don't get your way. People blame politicians for being shallow, vain and corrupt. But actually we get the politicians we deserve in our culture of instant gratification.

However, having looked carefully from the sidelines the other three leadership candidates have been among the worst candidates for any elected office I can remember. I had high hopes for Burnham in particular, but he has been woefully bad - slippery, uncertain, waffly, platitudinous. Cooper has been mundane, faux-diplomatic, ponderous, focus-grouped and - I'm sorry it shouldn't matter, but it does - still married to useless election loser Ed Balls. Kendall could have been interesting and radical from her wing of the party and laid down a credible liberal alternative - instead she has been hectoring, patronising, offensive and unctuous without setting out anything politically distinguishable from what the party has been offering for the past 20 years.

Above all, the intervention of the succession of decrepit has-beens over the weeks - Milburn, Blunkett, Beckett, Kinnock, Straw, Campbell - and culminating in the predictable intervention of the grand cash-lacquered Reverend Blair of Baghdad with his disgraceful comments writing off the entire union movement in this country as a "hard left fringe" and begging his dwindling band of disciples who remain in Labour to vote for "anyone but Corbyn."

The scaremongering is almost entirely replicant of the insanity which gripped the 2015 general election when too many little England simpletons swallowed the lie that only brave Prince Cameron could slay the evil Scottish as Labour would be "in league" with the dark lord Salmond. To put it another way, it is the establishment closing ranks to try to shut down anyone who might challenge the status quo of neoliberalism through fear.

So I am left in a bind.

My hope if Corbyn wins is that as soon as he gets in and starts making concessions to the various sections of patchwork quilt that is the Labour Party (as he will have to), the fly-by-nights tear up their freshly printed cards in disgust at his treachery and go back to the Greens/Lib Dems/Natural Law/paper-selling historical re-enactment cults. I hope Corbyn proves to be a likeable, avuncular and honest leader who builds a serious movement of community and workplace activists intent on changing politics from the braying, public-school debating club that is the palace of Westminster and that he rises above the inevitable barrage of lies from the rabid media barons.

Because the reality is Labour wont win the UK general election in 2020 regardless of the leader. So better to be a real political party for a bit and actually decide whether we stand for something materially different to the Tories or just replicate them in a nicer way.

I'm voting Corbyn.


asquith said...

Blair strikes again, and it also shows the utter shamelessness and decadence (that word!) of those right-wingers who support Corbyn because he will render Labour unelectable.

That's probably true per se, but (a) he'd bring disastrous ideas like state socialism, support for foreign tyrants and the whole "intersectionality" trash into the mainstream, (b) he might even win, and surely even people here can see what's wrong with that.

And any idiot can see this government isn't above criticism, having done things even a right-winger would consider woeful (who now thinks the bedroom tax was a good idea, or that Webcameron was right about Libya or Syria) and needs a strong oppositional force. What if a divided, Corbynised Labour couldn't do what Ed Miliband achieved, and was never thanked for, preventing a likely war against Basher al-Asda? If I were as short-sighted as the loathsome Toby Young, I'd welcome the inevitable surge in support for Tim Farron, given that I've thrown in my lot with him. But no.

Reluctantly I have to "support" Cooper, despite the obvious reasons, due to absence of anywhere else. But it's Farron I'm after.

Speedy said...

"We won't win in 2020 anyway" - so is that the narrative now, for all those JC supporters? There is no reason why a party led by Cooper or Burnham could not win, particularly given the Tories only swung the last one as they pulled English nationalism out of the bag.

The champagne corks popped in Tory Central Office when the unions over-rode the rest of the party and gave us Milliband. Imagine their glee when you usher in Jezza. As I have commented previously, I find it difficult to engage this mind-set because it is "to hell with you then". No one voting Jezz can seriously believe they are voting for power - instead they are voting for self-righteous protest. Stop the world I want to get off!

Jezz voters have forgotten what Labour is there for - to represent ordinary people. They seem to think it is there to represent themselves. "Are they not ordinary working people?" Evidently not if they have no objection to a quarter century of Tory rule. The word "useful idiots" would be better applied. The objection is, of course, that Blair et al, were "not Labour". Yet they represented a Labour government the people voted for, that introduced the minimum wage and poured money into schools and hospitals. I did not agree with many of their policies, but they were not the Tories.

A vote for Jezza is a vote for Tory hegemony for a generation. It is the ultimate expression of decadence, the narcissist swipe at the British working class who were "not good enough" for them - who had the temerity to vote for a woman who have them the right to own their own homes (a right I always opposed, incidentally) and now foolishly go running to UKIP. Better to have ideological purity and self-satisfaction. It will be utter surrender to the Tories, utter abandonment of ordinary working people, a party fit for only for protest and self-regard. Seventy years after 1945, it will mean the death of Labour as a political party in any meaningful sense.

BCFG said...

“What concerns me are the thousands of identity-politic window shoppers who have flocked to his banner...This highlights the increasingly shallow, consumerist nature of our rotten politics “

What utter and complete bollocks of the highest order. It reflects that people who have deeply held beliefs have finally found someone who can realise those and make society better. What represents the rotten state of politics are the neo liberal careerist clones that make up the other candidates and the arrogant nature of the criticism of Corbyn and his policies.

It probably will ultimately show the utterly rotten nature of the modern day labour party, a party so far from its roots it might as well be the 1922 committee. This is because I suspect the bandits who took over our party will do everything to undermine the will of the members and do everything to make Corbyn’s leadership impossible, should he win of course.

Many people left the labour party after this band of Tory lite careerists infiltrated and took over the party, many of those are now seeing the opportunity of reclaiming their party from the scoundrels who now run it.

Howard Fuller said...

How can you describe this man as being of the "moderate, Nordic type of socialist". His views on international issues are beyond the pale. His economics unworkable. His leadership untenable.

Voting for Corbyn will lead to the Tories being in power after the next general election. I dread to think what will happen to us as trade unionists and workers under another Tory government and this one hasn't finished yet, it's just at the beginning.

Ed Miliband left us in such a mess with this election inundated by outsiders many of whom openly opposed Labour before.

Vote for anyone but Corbyn.

Chris said...

Jeremy Corbyn wants peace in the world and freedom for the Palestinians. How that is beyond the pale escapes me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Fuller for reminding me why voting for Jeremy Corbyn is so essential.

One mans beyond the pale is another mans fellow traveler.

For example, to many people around the world, you represent everything that is beyond the pale.

Robert said...

My heart says Corbyn but my head says he's unelectable. I support Andy Burnham.

Igor Belanov said...

The Labour Party is already brain dead. It just needs someone to pull the plug.

Boffy said...

Life has once again falsified the claims of the Blairites and Tories, and their fellow travellers.

Their main thrust over recent weeks has been - Corbyn is popular in the party, but unelectable.

Not so, according to the latest polls.

The poll exposes the naivety of those who claimed that to win back Tory let alone UKIP votes it was necessary to move further right - they don't seem to have noticed what effect that had on the Liberals!

The Survation poll shows Corbyn as the most popular candidate amongst the voters not just of Labour, but also Liberals, Tory and UKIP. In fact, confirming the idea that a lot of people who voted UKIP did so as a protest against Labour not being anti-austerity enough, Corbyn had even more support, 39%, amongst UKIP voters than amongst Labour supporters, 38%.

The latest polls also show that Bernie Sanders is ahead of Hilary Clinton to win the nomination for Democrat candidate in the US Presidential election, next year.

Coming on top of the election victory for Syriza, the widespread electoral gains for Podemos and others in Spain, it is a sign that the deep subterranean changes in material conditions are now finding their way to the surface, in a variety of ways. These are just the early tremors.

SpiritSkill said...

I joined the Labour Party shortly after the GE result. I haven't voted for Labour in a GE 1997 althoug I have always been a supporter of the Labour councillors in my area.

As a member of a trade union in the last Labour leader election I voted for Ed Miliband. As a point of fact I want to state that I decided how to cast my vote in that election - my vote was not delivered up to Ed by trade union barons. Let's not look at the internal workings of the Labour Party through the eyes of the press office of Conservative Central Office and the leader column of the Daily Telegraph.

There were a couple of reasons for me joining the Labour Party.

1) I ceased working in a trade unionised industry, but wanted to maintain some sort of link to the labour movement.

2) The Conservative Party will do whatever it can pass off as "reasonable" and "sensible" to undermine the finances of the Labour party and trade unions. Perhaps my £60 p.a. will help to redress the balance.

3) South of the border the Labour Party offers a substantive national organisation outside of parliament - through constituencies and trade unions. So if you want your ideology to gain a foothold within wider society the Labour Party is useful for that. Perhaps, at the moment it is probably not much use for much more.

4) The political discourse that gets reported in the media does not ring as true and relevant. In particular the discussion of economic policy, particular with respect to macroeconomics, what is called government finances, and even discussions of the serious implications of either ending the reliance on fossils fuels or deciding not to (in fact like cancer 20 years ago it's simply not talked about).

On the subject of the current Labour leadership election I agree with Alex Dawson: I do not actually think voting for anyone of them will materially change Labour's fortunes in the 2020 GE. When I joined I had hoped to vote for a woman candidate but nearly three months later I cannot bring myself to do it. Yvette Cooper has mainly been lacklustre and has only sprung in to life recently in response to the Corbyn campaign. Liz Kendall? Some of her comments, including from her twitter feed, about Labour party members and supporters disqualifies her from further consideration.

The appeal of the Corbyn leadership campaign for me is:

1) He is almost anti-austerity. He gets the wider significance of austerity, i.e. that it is about holding down the real wages salaries of the vast majority of working people in the UK until those of the Chinese and Indian middle classes catch up. He hasn't taken the further step, following the 77 economists who wrote to the Guardian recently, of understanding that the deficit is part of a wider sectoral balance anaylsis of the economy.

2) He's not speaking to me in a way all parliamentary politicians seem to think they have to speak to me.

3) He seems to recognise the limitations of leadership and so is open to a policy development process that is confined to a small number of MPs and advisers.

Gary Elsby said...

The general public, across the board, support all 'clause 4' aims so the very notion that Jeremy is unelectable is altogether false.
It's noticeable that the 'friends of Israel' are talking a little louder and especially the one's from Stoke.

Have courage, vote Jeremy.

jim mclean said...

Lets not turn the man into a God, still voting for the man, he is a bit naive but it beats my cynicism, but voting more to F@ck the tories, rattle Scottish Labour and gee myself up a bit.