Sunday 6 September 2015


Over the decades my hopes for a fairer society in England have relied upon a rag tag bunch of Labour Party leaders. After Jim Callaghan’s brusque bank manager posing as Ronnie Barker, we had Michael Foot’s unwashed hair and the indignity of watching Neil Kinnock address a rally with his nauseating mid-Atlantic cry of

“Well alriiighhhht...weeell aaaalllriiiight!”

After John Smith’s tragic and untimely death, Tony Blair created New Labour, and such was the joy we felt to finally be rid of the Tories after 4 successive governments we scarcely stopped to notice how Labour’s leader was suffering from megalomaniacal tendencies.

Blair had the Labour Party’s heart ripped out, pumping its last on the floor between the left and right benches of the House of Commons.

As Thatcher had shown so terrifyingly, by their third term Prime Ministers lose the plot altogether. Blair was praying with Dubya, believing he was on a mission from God.

Then, just as in Ireland with Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern, Gordon Brown replaced Tony Blair when the boom was over. Both charismatic leaders had milked the Boom and now handed over the Bust to loyal, less media-savvy Chancellors.

Having lost two General Elections in a row, I hoped that the Parliamentary cohorts of the Labour Party might cop on to the fact that offering the electorate a mish-mash of Blairite liberalism and Tory-lite economics doesn’t work.

Yet 3 of the 4 candidates in Labour’s current leadership race offer nothing new nor different. A lily-livered bunch of hypocrites and narcissists in smart casual clothing, Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall are living proof of madness, given Albert Einstein's assertion that

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

Why do they imagine they might one day succeed where Ed Miliband failed?

Then, as if paying patronising homage to the soul of Old Labour, they decided to offer a place on the podium to a left wing candidate.

Enter Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington. As a proud Socialist he was meant to look conveniently Red and lose, but instead people have flocked to his cause. Despite those who believe him to be unelectable, Corbyn now looks almost certain to become the next Labour leader.

Hundreds of Conservative Party voters have now registered online to vote for Corbyn’s leadership campaign. Indeed, he’s even got the registered support of a herd of llamas on a Tory farm.

How silly these subversives might look, when Corbyn defeats Osborne in the next General Election. How dumb the red-faced fools will feel to have called a man who’s held his own Parliamentary seat since 1983 ‘unelectable.’ The only unelectable person is yet another Labour leader brandishing a Tory-lite manifesto.

The one surprising thing about Corbyn’s success is that anyone was surprised by it at all.

Sitting next to those Labour leadership candidates on the Common’s opposition benches are hordes of SNP MP’s, representing a massive outpouring of public support for anti-austerity policies.

All over Europe voters are refusing to give up hope. People want compassion back in their politics, not mere lip service from politicians, about how they recognise the hard sacrifices that the poorest and weakest in society have to make, to subsidise the failures of the rich and powerful.

As the Irish have shown with their resistance to the water charges, people can’t take another cut. They won’t pay any more. Desperate to feel empowered and represented, people turn to Syriza, Podemos, Sinn Fein, the SNP and Jeremy Corbyn.

As his ratings grew, so Corbyn came under attack. Accusations flew that the Party had been infiltrated by hardcore socialists; that the leadership election process was no longer fair. 

As opposing forces of the Establishment worked together to discredit Corbyn’s supporters, references to Michael Foot’s disastrous election campaign started rising from the muck, but that was way back in 1983. Only politicians could think that the world now is the same place as it was back then.

Far from Michael Foot’s manifesto, notoriously dubbed 'the longest suicide note in history', Corbynomics (as the Labour leadership candidate’s policies are known) are modern, relevant and admired by the conservative IMF. 

Combining investment in infrastructure and industry with quantitative easing, Corbynomics have received the backing of a group of 41 respected economists, including Danny Blanchflower, a former member of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee.

Instead of helping the poor, the sick and disabled, the governments of the West have for too long poured scorn on the needy while seducing global corporations with low corporation tax rates, turning collective blind eyes to corporate offshore accounting.

With the gap between rich and poor extended ever-wider, as we feel more cynical and detached from governing bodies, how can it surprise anyone that people are looking to the Left?

Democracy no longer counts. As Syriza’s very public castration by the EU showed, the ruling élite will ignore the will of any people who disagree with them.

They claimed the Greek people’s mandate for change was ridiculous. It could never work, they said

Of course, because Free Market Capitalism has been such a great success, hasn't it?

If you’re relaxed about the idea of grandmothers lifting wheelie bin lids to find dinner and children going without insulin injections so that €86 billion more in bail-out funds can be moved straight from the ECB to the IMF, then that’s a raging success story.

Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s leader, has said many times that Greece’s debt is unsustainable; that the country needs debt relief. 

Then she takes the bailout payback and goes out for dinner.

People all over Europe are voting for politicians who will invest in them. An old-fashioned idea, but an idea nonetheless. 

The centre-right social democratic governments of the last century no longer offer a relevant ideology to our post-crash, austerity-riddled Europe. These days only the Left has an ideology that might care about you and me.

Come on Corbyn!

©Charlie Adley

No comments: