George Monbiot discusses the British Labour Party.
The current Labour Party has a weak instinct for power. This undermines its chances, but it reflects some rare and important traits.
Try to imagine Jeremy Corbyn in Tony Blair’s post-political role: flying around the world, enriching himself by striking deals with tyrants and oil companies. Try to picture John McDonnell setting up, like Blair’s righthand man Peter Mandelson, a consultancy that gives reputational advice to controversial corporations. Try to picture Rebecca Long-Bailey being caught in a sting, like three of Blair’s former ministers, who offered undercover journalists political influence in exchange for cash.
I find these scenarios impossible to imagine. Whatever you might think of Labour’s frontbenchers, you could surely no more picture them behaving this way than you could picture Boris Johnson abandoning his career to become a hospital cleaner.
The first test of politics is this: are they in it for themselves, or for us? I don’t mean to suggest that Blair and his frontbenchers were entirely selfish, but self-interest and the national interest became too easily entangled. Among the Conservatives there is no confusion: self-interest is the political doctrine. Unlike either group, Corbyn’s team passes.
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