Monday, 11 July 2016
The way out of the mess.
I have been away on holiday for the past two weeks, hence no posts. However, as the holiday was in this country, largely stimulating walking with Anglo-French Walks in the Surrey Hills, I've managed to keep track of events, and so herewith a few reflections
It is surely bizarre that the most gormless self-inflicted political mess of the post war era, caused entirely by the Tories, should result in a crisis in the Labour Party. True, David Cameron has resigned (in disgrace, thought his appears to have passed unnoticed) but both the Tory Party and their supporting media machine have moved on, the fiasco is largely forgotten, and we are to be enthralled by the competition between the illiberal right-wing Mrs Tweedle-dum and the far-right-wing matriarch Mrs Tweedle-dee to be become our next prime minister.
Whatever the outcome the Tory Party will surely unite and forge ahead to dismantle what's left of our civilised and caring state, consigning their folly to the dustbin of history, which is exactly what they succeeded in doing after Suez in 1956.
In the meantime poor old Labour is still stuck in a crisis of its past: the election by an optimistic membership of a visionary leader who does not have the support of the majority of their MPs, who appear to think they must "triangulate" with neo-liberal economics or lose their seats.
The purported excuse for attempting to depose Corbyn, criticism of his "lacklustre" performance during the Referendum campaign, seems to me to be pure pretence. He went up and own the country making reasoned speeches about the EU, recognising that at present it has its faults (too business-orientated) but the best protection of our liberties, environment, human rights and working conditions. The 70+ % he gave it seems to me to be about tight.
If such reasonableness did not attract the headlines garnered but the reckless exaggerations (and, as it turned out, lies) of the major Remain and Leave camps, then the prejudiced press and our appetite for sensation rather than reasoned argument are to blame; not Corbyn himself.
Two of the best speakers on Europe are Nick Clegg and Tim Farron. I presume they too went up and down the country making enthusiastic speeches, but there was hardly a murmur of this in any of the media. That is not to say they didn't try. Clearly the media have decided we don't count any more.
Only last year Corbyn's challenger, Angela Eagle, came third in the first round of the election for deputy
(emphasis deliberate) leader, with only 16.2% of the membership's vote (after Tom Watson, 39.4%, and Stella Creasey, 19.1%) and was eliminated after the second round. She, and her backers, are surely deluded in believing that she is capable of "speaking out" to ordinary people.
By contrast Jeremy Corbyn obtained an astonishing 59.5% for the actual leadership,in a four cornered contest.. He also has the added topical bonus of having voted against the war in Iraq which, I believe, M/s Eagle supported
With such a proven ability to reach out to "ordinary people," and a track record of being right when so many Labour MPs, not to mention their leader, were wrong, why on earth is he vilified and branded as "unelectable?" After all, Labour has won every by-election since the general election,often with increased majorities, and an estimated 70% of Labour voters voted "Remain" in the Referendum, a much bigger proportion than Cameron managed to garner from Tory voters.
As a letter in last Friday's Guardian, signed by four professors and 121 others, claims: "Corbyn has been treated from the start as a problem to be solved rather than as a politician to be taken seriously. The reason is that he has never been part of the Westminster village or the media bubble, and that he has never hidden his commitment to socialist politics."
Well, as a dedicated Liberal I can't and don't agree with his commitment to socialist politics, but I do agree with his commitment to an expansionist (Keynesian)economic policy, fairer taxation, social justice and a mixed economy (bringing the railways and utilities back into public ownership, for example).
In my view the way forward is for the Labour MPs and members to give wholehearted support to the man who is beyond any doubt the post poplar politician in the UK. It beggars belief that they don't recognise this and give thanks that they have such a leader.
I hope that the Labour Party will not then split (that was tried and failed in the 1980s with the formation of the SDP) but recognise that they may not be able to win alone in 2020.
So, behind the scenes for the moment, should begin the negotiations to form a Rainbow Coalition (Liberal Democrats, Greens, SNP (sic) and maybe the other nationalists) to oust the discredited Tories and UKIP for a generation, and repair the tolerant and compassionate society which the Tories have done so much to break