Posts Tagged ‘Jeremy Corbyn’

We’ve just witnessed a seismic event in our national history; I’m fairly certain of that. The Grenfell Tower disaster will be talked about for weeks, and written about for decades. The working classes, who have generally been patronised, written off and demonised by the media and establishment since Thatcher’s day, have a voice again, but only in the aftermath of a delirious nightmare come true.

 

You cannot listen to any of the residents’ stories without welling up with grief or fury at the injustice of this catastrophe. Mothers throwing children from high-rise windows; frantic narrow escapes involving vaulting over piles of corpses; trapped people screaming in desperation as death enveloped them. This must have been as close to a manifestation of Hell as the human mind could conceive.

 

Safe in my family postwar council home, I got up and watched the news footage in genuine astonishment. My first thought, other than horror at the people caught in the nightmare, was the intensity and scale of the inferno. How could a modern building be so consumed so quickly? Even my modest knowledge of fire prevention told me that fires do not spread like that unless there is an accelerant involved; certainly not if there are sprinklers or fire retardant material on every floor. The reports confirm the first response team arrived a mere six minutes after the alarm was raised, and yet the building was absolutely engulfed from the fourth to top floors as it was still being battled, and took hours to bring under control.

 

People disparaging any mention of political decisions (and ideologies) in the context of this horror are disrespecting every victim of this utterly avoidable tragedy. A few things swirled around my mind when the wretched scene had sunk in; was this another case of neglect from private companies cutting corners on safety in tower blocks not meant for affluent residents? Subsequent reports heavily imply that recent refurbishment seemed to concentrate more on making the outside of the building more pleasing to the eye of the wealthy denizens across the way, than ensuring every floor had basic fire prevention and safety measures implemented. It was also revealed that a resident group’s previous warnings were ignored. Perhaps some zealous ministers will think twice about using their favoured “bonfire of red tape” idiom from now on, for this is ‘deregulation culture’ writ large.

 

The disgusting irony of that phrase in this context also brings to mind former London Mayor Boris Johnson’s decision to close numerous London fire stations, as well as telling a critic of this policy to “get stuffed” in his own trademark infantile manner. Boris himself is of course renowned for blowing over £320k on water cannons that were later declared illegal and had to be sold unused; the notion that water jets should be used to protect citizens from the worst effects of devastating conflagrations apparently less desirable than using them to potentially blind protestors to the corpulent gibbon.

 

Neoliberalism should have been laid to rest in 2008, when the inevitable culmination of its ideology in the finance sector saw it bring the world economy to its knees. But then Cameron and his coalition of chaos decided to apply defibrillation, and its zombie version rose to begin cannibalising the few aspects of the system that could be seen as remotely positive. Jeremy Corbyn’s success in the snap election has cast a shadow over its immediate future, but this disaster should be the last rites for this sickening cult of individualism, corporate greed and abdication of state responsibility to its people.

I’d like to take issue with something I’ve seen repeated quite often in the media in recent days: revisionism amongst Tory supporters or MPs. It goes like this; they’ll talk of the unnecessary election called hubristically by May that has almost inevitably backfired and left Brexit negotiations in doubt at a critical time for the UK.

 

Now as much as I have no respect for May or her actions, there wasn’t a Tory in the country who wasn’t like a nodding dog at the announcement that there would be a snap election “in the national interest”. They gleefully parroted the line that opposition parties were talking of hindering the Brexit process so it was entirely appropriate to spend £130 million on a General Election, despite an actual law forbidding it for another 3 years.

 

Of course this was, like Cameron’s coup de grace with the Brexit referendum, entirely self-serving for May and the Conservative party. Learning precisely nothing from Cameron’s idiotic assertion that nothing bad could possibly come from gambling the whole nation’s economic future on a single roll of the dice, she not only repeated that feat, but also used the exact same tactics in reducing a series of complex arguments to binary choices and simple-minded slogans and bullshit smearmongering – “Project Fear” all over again.

 

But let’s not pretend this is all about the arrogance and delusion of one woman: the whole party was behind this. They’d seen the polls and could not resist the temptation, but this wasn’t just about getting a comfortable majority, or even humiliating their opposition party; this was about snuffing out the only credible threat to the ‘Neoliberal consensus’ for the last 30 years. If they crushed Corbyn, who was actually proposing rolling back corporate dominance and raising taxes on the very richest, their core purpose would not be challenged again, even from an opposition party.

 

Their eyes lit up and they greedily made the grab so thoughtlessly, they hadn’t even considered that they might have to actually make a credible manifesto and have some kind of debates over issues other than fucking Brexit. They looked at the hysterical press slurs at Corbyn, they heard the Labour MPs flouncing out of the Commons and giving up getting re-elected, and made a calculated gamble that for 7 weeks they could make up any old shit for a manifesto, while treating their own voters like mugs, and the rest of us as imbeciles who might get excited and inspired by a cold and unapproachable woman ignoring our questions and crow-barring the same two catchphrases in to every conference, as if she had made bets for a university drinking game.

 

May has now proved herself to be not only a “bloody difficult woman”, but a “stupendously hubristic woman” who learnt nothing from her predecessor’s fall from grace, but instead allowed the press’ preferential treatment of her and lauding of her Brexit intransigence delude her into thinking she was some kind of  a queen; impatient for her glorious coronation.

 

I have to admit I am slightly baffled by her haste in hustling for the DUP to prop her up. Surely she realises that the persistent connection of Corbyn to Irish terrorists will now be even more laughable as an attack method; not to mention the insane risk to the Northern Irish power-sharing agreement by having one side prop up the supposed mediator for the Assembly agreement. The fact she has already described the DUP (despite their clear connection to loyalist paramilitaries) as ‘friends’ is incredible, considering she wouldn’t stop making reference to the fact that Corbyn specifically referred to Hamas as ‘friends’ when seeking negotiations for peace with them.

 

Which makes me wonder: what’s she actually playing at? She must surely know when politically engaged moderate Tory voters begin to research the DUP’s views on homosexuality, climate change and creationism (amongst others), they will be revolted, and turned off the Conservatives. Associations will be permanently made between the parties, which generally damages the party ‘brand’ for more than one election cycle.

 

So does the conspiracy theory contain perhaps a kernel of truth? Did May call the election as an all-or-nothing shot, where she would either get Erdogan-style dictator status in her own little one-party state, or be relieved of the inevitable disasterpiece of Brexit? I’m coming round to this theory more with every development, even if I’m not entirely convinced yet.

 

Whatever happens, we now have a genuine alternative narrative to dismantle the failed neoliberal system in the mainstream, and Corbyn will only grow in stature as this atrocious and offensive coalition of chaos staggers on, in the death throes of their destructive ideology we may finally be able to lay to rest for good. So, young people, you were neglected, ignored and patronised, but now you’ve rescued us, the people who most believed in you. We have all been vindicated. iVive la revolucion!

Sometimes I do wonder whether I’m in some kind of paranoid coma fantasy that I can’t wake up from.

 

If you’d have explained that a party that had been in power for seven years as the majority in parliament had overseen anaemic growth across the economy and a ballooning national debt, and their message was essentially: “Blame everyone else, we’re the only option. We haven’t fixed it yet, but give us another term and we’ll try to fix it by then”; then explained that they were on course for a landslide General Election victory on the back of insulting and antagonising officials of an organisation we are about to leave and desperately need a good deal out of, I’d have scoffed.

 

Even with our appalling anti-intellectual media, surely our population could not be cheerleading the biggest act of economic suicide in a generation, and getting excited at the prospect of the organisation we need a good deal from telling us to fuck off, because we don’t really need those bloody foreigners telling us what to do and we’re going to resurrect the Empire, only with less bloodshed and slavery. The famed magical money tree of the Commonwealth only needs its ripe fruits plucked by the mighty hands of Blighty, and there will be peace and prosperity for all. No more immigration; and shiny unicorns for all in this Brave New Britannia. Nothing can go wrong as long as we TRUST THERESA MAY; the tabloid loudhalers screech at us.

 

Theresa May, who has done a remarkable volte-face from “Brexit isn’t a good idea” to “Brexit is the only idea to make Britain great again”, also has a husband who seems to have done remarkably well financially out of her Brexit decisions thus far, and has misled parliament on the misfire of our nuclear defence system, but our eager media is far too busy splashing headline over headline on whether Corbyn would ever find a reason to (get America’s permission to) use said anachronism. It’s got to the point where it sounds like when you were at school and used to wind each other up with hypothetical scenarios. “What if a dragon was at Buckingham Palace and about to eat the Queen; would you use Trident then?”; “What if Putin annexed Surrey and drew a hammer and sickle on the Union Jack at Westminster? Then surely you’d use Trident, right?”

 

I had to pinch myself when I heard the Prime Minister talking about launching a FIRST STRIKE nuclear attack as if it was some kind of computer game. On what planet is a nation’s leader boasting of unleashing an unprovoked holocaust across the world a positive thing that we should nod to and respect? This is brinkmanship for the braindead. Listen to what she’s saying, it’s Kim Jong-Un-esque. She would wipe out millions of civilians and poison the earth for generations, and presumably the target nation would also be nuclear-armed (Russia is normally the go-to bogeyman), so she is basically telling us all that she would happily sign all of our death warrants on a whim. HOORAY! ALL HAIL OUR GLORIOUS LEADER WHO WILL BLESS AND KEEP US FOR EVERMORE.

 

We mock America for Trump, but we are well down the road to our own Trump. Right now it is an inevitability. Trump became possible because American partisan politics became more and more debased and devoid of intellectual rigour that the dumbasses became orators. Suddenly, battles for policies and visions became battle to defame and whip up hysteria. A baseless and racist slur became an actual mainstream campaign to call into question Barack Obama’s citizenship credentials. Evangelicals would throw God into everything: all emotion and no logic. The ‘Tea Party’ movement formed from a bunch of slow-witted malcontents to an actual influential pressure group with arms in government.

 

How does this reflect the UK’s situation? It’s the ad-hominem trash talking and the general infantilisation of political discourse. We don’t hear reasoned critiques of policies any more: it’s just character smears, implied negative associations, false narratives and ‘Back to the 1970s’ tropes. The fact that Corbyn’s proposed manifesto is hugely popular, but many people won’t consider voting for him, based on the media onslaught and constantly repeated narrative of ‘weak leadership’ and erroneous ‘hard-left’ labels thrown around like particularly sticky mud.

 

How gullible are we to vote back in a party whose leader doesn’t respect her ‘people’ enough to actually meet and talk to them? Who refuses to debate with Corbyn unless it’s in a sanitised House of Commons where the toffs bray along to her rubbish and scripted jibes are practically auto-cued for her. Who repeats two phrases endlessly like a malfunctioning child’s toy? Where is the vision? Where are the ideas? If we fall for this shit and return the Tories to office, we will have our own Trump eventually, because the population are responding to demagoguery with relish. If Farage joined the Tories and became leader, he would be PM at the first time of asking, I have no doubt.

 

I’m not sure how we go about resetting this ignorance of expert opinion, academic backing or actual policy justifications when all the money (and the voting system) is on the side of those who will hold practically untrammelled power for the foreseeable future. When we get our British Trump, will any right-leaning voters realise things have gone too far? Probably not, as no parallels in history are ever reviewed. We are Great Britain, free to make our own mess way in the world again, and you’d better not provoke us, because we have strong and stable fingers on the holocaust button whenever Dacre gives the word.

It’s difficult to tell who is more deluded. The Brexiteers who are reduced to posting news articles about the looming economic catastrophe prefaced with comments like “the sky hasn’t fallen in yet, has it?”; or the Blairites in the PLP, who, rather like a sinister mafia figure, have decided that Jeremy Corbyn has to resign forthwith, or there will be ‘trouble’.

Just what part of “it’s not 1997 any more” do they not understand? They seem to believe they can energise new members by turning around and telling them their vote for leader was misguided, and they need to pick again until they get it right, because big money donors don’t want a potential PM who may impose slightly more onerous tax and anti-corruption regulations on them. Apparently ‘democracy’ is only important when the Neoliberals are running things.

“Jeremy only represents the politics of protest” I hear the drones say. Is that not the whole point of politics? The Blairites’ pitch for the party is that nothing need change? Then why bother challenging the government at all? Why would people vote for the status quo with a red tie? Again, it’s not 1997 any more.

“Labour needs to listen to its voters, not preach to them”. Like when the Blairites acknowledged that ‘Leave’ voters in the North had been ‘left behind by globalisation’, rather than just being xenophobes? Okay, so what are they offering these people, besides ‘listening to their concerns’? What policies are up their sleeve to appease these voters? Jeremy seems to have a few involving regional investment, devolution, and real living wages, yet all I’ve heard from the Blairites is the same empty paternalism we’ve come to expect from zombie MPs like Tristram Hunt. He’ll ‘listen’ to you, he’ll pat you on the head condescendingly, he might even choke a little as he tells you how much these downtrodden rely on a strong Labour Party to lead them out of this horrible Tory nightmare…and then he will implement the square root of nothing, as the big money donors and Rupert Murdoch dictate the agenda.

Maybe Chilcot can finally wash away the last vestiges of the Blairites’ credibility, and show that they stand up for all the wrong things and the wrong interests. I don’t think Jeremy Corbyn can rescue UK politics, only Proportional Representation can do that. But he is infinitely preferable to the arrogant “do as we say and it’ll be alright” school of authoritarian politics that the PLP Neoliberals have decided to brandish like a club to keep the ‘wrong’ voters “on message”.

Ask a Blairite what the weather will be like, and you’ll likely get the response:

“Well it’s certainly looking bleak right now with the Tories in power, I’d suggest an umbrella, in fact I’d suggest that rain needs to be driven away by a strong opposition who listen to the British public and what they want from their weather system. If rain is preferred, we need to heed those messages, and not just preach about the virtues of sunshine. The centre ground is where we can really influence the jet streams and make a future Britain’s weather work for all.”

What most people have long since learnt about Blairites, is that they are nothing but hollow suits. They appear to promise everything with no downsides. Blair’s doctrine preached verbal positivity with no caveats and no depth. Thus you get MPs like Dan Jarvis coming out with soundbites like “I’m tough on inequality and tough on the causes of inequality.” Archetypal Blairite. Optimistic? Check. Calling out bad things that people don’t approve of? Check. Nothing to offend the Daily Mail or Sun owners? Check. No actual detail beyond catchy one line soundbite? Check.

The Blairites and their Establishment hangers-on often seem to bang on about Jeremy Corbyn being ‘unelectable’ and ‘a return to the politics of 1983’, completely devoid of self-awareness that their own candidates have lost the last two elections, and their politics are still rooted firmly in 1997 (don’t mention the Iraq War!). They also suggest Corbyn only represents protest, which apparently doesn’t achieve anything, as only going through the proper channels gets things done. Which is presumably why Blairite MPs decided to protest by flouncing out of Corbyn’s cabinet in order to get things done outside democratic channels.

These ‘honourable’ MPs attempting this coup, despite having no obvious candidate to replace Corbyn, seem to have lost their usual composure and professional veneer, but the timing makes total sense when you realise the Chilcot report is due out next week, and they do not want an anti-Blairite as leader when the chickens come home to roost on their hallowed idol Tony Blair. Interesting times ahead for these anachronistic losers it would seem.

Aside from these PLP MPs who keep saying that no one man is bigger than the party (other than Blair obviously), studiously ignoring the fact that the membership resoundingly wanted Corbyn in charge, the mainstream media has gone from an obsessive farce to systematic bullying of a decent man. I’ve actually felt physically ill seeing every utterance from Corbyn spun into an ‘outrage’, and him being literally goaded by journalists into losing his cool with the same tired rubbish about resigning.

So a message to all people (particularly in the North) who say “politicians are all the same so what’s the point”, “they’re all liars”, “they all act in the interests of big business”, “they don’t represent ordinary people”, “whoever it is, it’ll be business as usual”: Jeremy Corbyn is not like this. If you say you don’t want a hollow suit with the empty rhetoric of a travelling salesman, who says they care about the poor while making no systemic changes to improve their lot at all, who pander to Middle England and the elites while filling their pockets, for God’s sake support Corbyn!

He’s not perfect, he’s certainly not a natural leader of men, but his politics are the change you need. Even if he stands down in a couple of years, his influence will hopefully see a new wave of genuine left-wing MPs who will challenge the Neoliberal agenda, without being terrified of the media reaction. Who knows, maybe even a coalition can then emerge to force through Proportional Representation.

If you believe all those disparaging quotes about modern politicans above, you must support him. If you are happy for Rupert Murdoch and Paul Dacre to choose the next Labour leader, by all means say he’s not fit to be leader. But, like Brexit, you will be another turkey voting happily for Christmas.

You know when you have to break some really bad news to someone, but don’t want to see them upset, so somehow you convince yourself if you just phrase it softly, or as a subtle analogy, that they will take it in good spirit, and, more importantly, not attack you? Sometimes the English language is frustratingly limited. But what can you do?

Well, if you’re in Government, you can simply convey what you’re actually doing by using words or phrases that are acceptable, even positive to people, so they will then associate something good with all the bad you’re doing, and it will somehow all make moral sense in their jumbled heads.

Examples abound. “Hard-working families” now means: “anyone who voted Tory”. “Global financial crisis”, “Eurozone crisis” and “food banks” are now translated as “Labour’s mess”. “Slave labour” has become “Workfare”, while “actively provoking the next financial crash” is simply known as “Help to Buy”. There’s more. “Enabling Free Markets” actually means “assistance for near-monopolies to consolidate their dominance”, “free trade deals” can be translated as “stateless multinationals plundering all they survey”, while “reform”/”choice” are alternating pseudonyms for “privatisation”.

But my biggest bugbear, the worst mangling of meaning has to be “centrist politics”. I’ve heard this waffled by Labour party thinktanks or “reformers”; usually after an announcement that big business should be in any way responsible or answerable to the laws of the land: “we will only win from a centrist position”. Yet these same types are advocating 2% minimum GDP defence spending and cutting welfare further. These are not “centrist” positions. Most of them are a painful way away from “centre-right”.

This logic dictates that the Conservatives are “centrist”, perhaps with a hint of “centre-right” economic frugality. Yet this flies in the face of all known evidence. Handing every public service over to private interests is actually economically far-right, just as having everything state-owned or abolishing private ownership entirely would certainly be far-left economically. Yet a Government whose leader and Chancellor have both advocated having everything bar parts of the military and judiciary privately owned or contracted out, are laughably considered “centrist” by our transparently pro-Establishment media sources.

‘Workfare’; the notion that anyone, regardless of age or circumstance, should have to work for survival rather than a salaried wage, is socially far-right: it’s the modern-day workhouse, only instead of the upkeep of the workhouse, the money goes to landlords and party donors who get free labour. Criminalising homelessness is far-right. Assuming all citizens are potential terrorists and justifying spying on them is authoritarian to the point of fascist: far-right.

As students of modern British political history will know, this shifting of the ‘centre ground’ to the right was done under Thatcher. Suddenly, the private sector running essential natural monopolies, massive tax cuts for the rich and corporations, and privatising council housing was ‘centrist’. Maggie was of course the master of manipulating the truth. Swathes of dole claimants she created quietly became long-term disability claimants to massage her grotesque figures. Her Neoliberal dystopia became the new ‘consensus’, enforced with batons and misinformation.

The BBC get into the act when they describe Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn as a ‘far left’ candidate. Moderate socialism has never been ‘far left’, unless small-c conservatism is now classed as ‘far right’. It may seem petty, but words can distort realities and create false narratives when used often enough. Real centrist politics would require a significant leftward shift from where we are currently, probably in relation to taxing corporations and the super-rich more progressively, and renationalising essential natural monopolies like the railways and utilities. The body politic has been heaved so far right they now see anything remotely public or progressive as anarchy. Don’t believe the bullshit.