Back in the distant days of the Eighties, the Labour MPs chose ‘left winger’ Michael Foot to lead the Party into their next General Election, having been defeated by Margaret Thatcher for the first but not the last time. His 1983 Manifesto proposed amongst other things unilateral nuclear disarmament (we didn’t have Trident in those days), getting out of the EEC (the precursor of the EU), scrapping the Lords (and that was the days when it didn’t have 826 blighters as members), re-nationalisations (BT, BA, and Shipbuilding), and much else like control over bank lending, a minimum wage, ban on hunting with dogs (doesn’t seem so idiotic now, does it? Did the voters get it wrong?). All based of course on crass decisions by the rank & file at Party Conferences!
The well established and respected Labour MP Gerald Kaufman dubbed it “The longest suicide note in history” – and so it proved! The Labour party dropped to only 209 parliamentary seats with people like strong lefty Tony Benn losing after twenty years as an MP, the fewest that it had had at any time since before 1945, and also it slumped to its lowest share of the popular vote at a General Election since 1918 – but to be fair the Falklands factor also played a part in all that, didn’t it?
However, this decisive and disastrous defeat directly led to the lurch to the right, and finally under Tony Blair the invention of “New Labour” [perhaps it should though have been called ‘New Conservatives?]. There can be no doubt that, to the ire of Labour’s core vote, there has since been the severe abandonment of any pretence of socialism in favour of fighting as pseudo-Tories in the centre ground. Well that chicken has come home to roost now in the Party’s 2015 Leadership election, hasn’t it?
No hoper, veteran left-wing MP Jeremy Corbyn has indisputably replaced Andy Burnham as the bookies’ ‘unbetable’ candidate. This is despite him having only just made it onto the ballot paper right at the deadline because of temporarily ‘lent’ MP votes intended simply to indulge him. To their chagrin and everyone else’s shock, he streaked into contention and then the lead. He is now getting overwhelming support, ALL the headlines, constant denigration, and a lot of stick, but there is no such thing as bad publicity, is there?
Mr Corbyn can be popular and then unpopular – he has been married three times.
This rank outsider has galvanised the disgruntled left, secured trade union backing including Unite and Unison, and attracted idealistic young socialist minded grassrooters by the bucket full. Is it too late to stop him, you might ask?
So what is extreme socialist Corbyn advocating then? Just pullout the 1983 Manifesto to get a clue, eh? Unilateral nuclear disarmament (and cancellation of Trident), possibly exiting the EU (unless there is significant employment protection and environmental protection changes, and social chapter security), scrapping the Lords (he backs the SNP’s plan to axe it), re-nationalisations (Railways, Gas & Electric Public Utilities, certainly), and all to be based of course on crass decisions by the rank & file at Party Conferences. Add scrapping university tuition fees, easing austerity, invoking public bank ownership, a fundamental shift in economic policy, reversing public sector and welfare cuts, and you get the feel of it don’t you?
Sound like ‘turning back clock’ to you? To the current Labour Party elite who have never themselves had a proper job outside politics, it is all a true horror story and the likes of former leaders Kinnock, Blair, and Brown think they have woken up from a nightmare.
However, you don’t have to a British lefty to know that the demise and privatisations of our UK facilities and companies have been a total disaster, and has brought destruction for our Country. Britain is now ownerless of, or has none of our previous major public sector functions like, a Steel industry, Coal mining, Car manufacturing, Shipbuilding yards, Train builders, Water companies, Airways, Bus operators, Gas industry, Electricity industry, Energy generators, Railway operators, Airports, Telecoms industries, Fuel industry, Football clubs, Electronic industries, Channel Tunnel, Banks, Cruise liners, Freight industry, National Lottery, North Sea Oil Rigs, Gambling, Hotels, Mail, or even Nuclear sites.
Is it any wonder then that Corbyn and his supporting people really want things to change like all public transport removed from private ownership, returned to State control, and to provide a reliable, efficient, and cost effective public service that matches what they have in other comparable countries? Even the Tory voters want the railways back under government.
Oh yes, don’t forget also that we these days spend even more government money on subsidies and tax relief to ‘so called’ commercial/competitive business than we ever did when we owned them.
So it is said that the bottom line is that Labour if they select Corbyn now as Leader, is not simply proposing a further suicide note, but voluntary euthanasia this time – its death to be conducted with the consent of its activists, active members & registered and affiliated supporters, and of course it will be an assisted suicide – by Jeremy Corbyn no less.
So in just a couple of weeks time the public will find out who will be Labour’s next Leader, with the party maintaining the process is fair and valid. If it turns out to be ‘The Charge of the Corbyn Brigade’, will it be a suicidal charge by the British Labour Party against Tory heavy weaponry in the Battle of Westminster in 2020? Will Jeremy Corbyn doggedly lead his troops under decimating withering fire on a full frontal assault in totally the wrong direction against the mistaken guns, in a futile action, decimating his forces, and destroying his Party? Will the Conservative enemy perceived it all as welcome pseudo ‘drunkenness’ and ‘madness’?
One thing to note is that Corbyn was the exception in Labour’s 1983 demise – that was when he first got elected as an MP!
[The critics and commentators consistently claim that Jeremy’s vision for Britain will once again make the Labour Party ‘unelectable’ and out of power for decades – are they right though?]