Just What Britain Needs

Mick Hall writes that:

Corbyn took on the leadership of the LP at a time when the renewal of the party was long overdue.

When Ramsay MacDonald and the other turncoats left Labour for a snug National government birth in 1931, it took Arthur Henderson, George Lansbury and then Clem Attlee 14 years to renew the party before it governed again in its own right.

After Attlee lost the 1951 general election it was another fourteen years before Harold Wilson defeated the Tory party led by Alec Douglas-Home.

When Thatcher returned the Tories to power in 1979 Labour did not to win a General election until 1997: that's 18 years. Indeed Harold Wilson is the only Labour leader who was returned to office after only one term in opposition.

The least successful was Neil Kinnock: yet if you look at the way he was treated by the party's right wing and then compare it with how Jeremy Corbyn is being treated today, as far as the majority of the parliamentary party was concerned Kinnock was given a free ride to fail.

Imagine the reaction if Jeremy had posed as Kinnock did for a photo opp. on his first day as party leader, fallen in the sea and then acted like a small boy falling off his bike.

Corbyn took on the leadership of the LP at a time when the renewal of the party was long overdue, yet right wingers like Angela Eagle, Owen Smith, Dan Jarvis and Hilary Benn, gave him less than a year before they came gunning for him.

When he first became leader the party's main policies and personnel were caught in a New Labour time warp. One only has to witness the disaster which was Ed Miliband's period as leader to understand this.

Ed was far more progressive than most of his shadow cabinet, and is undoubtedly a decent man, yet they boxed him in time and again. The most damaging decisions was to support Cameron and Osborne's austerity measures, albeit with a more human face, and by refusing to challenge Cameron, Osborne and Clegg when they blamed the 2008 economic crash on the previous Labour administrations. By failing to challenge this nonsense vigorously they allowed it to become the common sense of that age.

Labour will never win a general election if the current leadership is not given the time and space to renew the party and its policies. Neoliberalism, the meat and drink of the Brown and Blair years is now totally discredited. This doesn't mean much of what Labour did whilst in government during those years was of little value, far from it. But we have to recognise we cannot live in the past. Nor can we rerun the policies of the Blair/Brown years.

We also need to look at why the coalition and the Tory administration so easily washed away much of the progressive legislation passed in the Blair and Brown years, and learn the lessons so the work of future Labour administrations doesn't suffer the same fate.

Only a political sea change will reinvigorate and return the party to power but this takes time. Unlike some Corbyn doesn't crave power he sees it as a means to build a better and fairer society. Like all new party leaders he is learning on the job, even Kinnock didn't fall in the sea again.

He will remain leader until he believes his policies are firmly embedded within the party, for the LP rightwing to continue to carp and brief the anti-Labour media is counterproductive to their aims as it will take him longer to achieve his main aims.

Under Jeremy the party now has a talented shadow cabinet, many are new to the front bench and like their leader are also learning on the job. Given the time this cadre of new leaders, many of whom had jobs unconnected with the Westminster bubble before they became MP's, will be the ones who lead the party into the bright sunny uplands of a fairer more equal Britain in which working class people no longer have to sit at the back of the bus.

The reason the mainstream media is so hostile to Jeremy has nothing to do with his personality: attacking LP leaders is what these hacks do. Ed was slaughtered by them for eating a bacon sandwich, while Gordon was accused of being mentally unbalanced. They hate Corbyn because of the policies he wishes to introduce. If we fail to support him what is the point of the party, if the only way to get elected is to support a status quo which has failed our people so dismally?

Whether it's the NHS, inequality, crises in social care, a living wage, shortage of affordable homes to buy and rent, taking the railways back into public ownership, higher taxes for rich, a crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion, ending tuition fees, an end to austerity, etc, Corbyn is on the right side of the debate.

True he is not as charismatic as Tony Blair allegedly was, but nor is he vain, self obsessed and comfortable with the filthy rich; at a time when spin, celebrity and false news dominates the mainstream media that is no bad thing.

We live in a society which treats wealth as synonymous with success while robbing our young people of opportunity: a society which turns victims into villains because they are poor and marginalised - a society which is governed by people who are divorced and sheltered from the pitfalls of ordinary peoples lives.

To my mind Jeremy Corbyn is just what this nation, and LP party needs in the current period.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

1 comment to ''Just What Britain Needs"

  1. By trooping through the lobbies to vote through the triggering of Article 50, Corbyn has lost whatever mantel of legitimacy he ever had. He is a congenitally useless leader who can never leave his far left comfort zone. I forecast a leadership contest in 2018 Clive Lewis, Keir Starmer and Dan Jarvis. A real choice not a throwback to the tin-eared class reductionism olf the 1970s that Corbyn, MacDonnell and Abbhot represent.


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