For the media the election of Corbyn as leader of labour is the gift that keeps on giving; he even shares a nickname with one of their previous generous copy sources, Jeremy Clarkson. As ever the pursuit of entertainment has missed the fundamental point, which is that Corbyn has probably rejuvenated Westminster politics and saved it from the blind alley that it was going down. We should all be grateful – I am.The fundamental service that he has provided is to lead a socialist party. Now, as most of the public knows, socialism does not work, never has worked and never will work. Most also recognise that socialism is a religion; to its adherents its repeated failures are ascribable to either incorrect interpretation of socialist principles or the evils of the corporate world. The Labour party was founded by socialists and, until Tony Blair, run by socialists of varying degrees of conviction. With the repeal of clause 4 Blair created New Labour and removed socialism from its core. He was only able to achieve this after Kinnock’s purge of Militant Tendency (very socialist scousers), who have since had nowhere to vote. Corbyn’s labour solves this and all the socialist can revel in the fact that they have their party back. The public service unions, certain conclaves of North London and intellectual titans like Dianne Abbot now have a home and a place in the sun for the next few years. Thereafter they face obscurity as the (capitalist) public eschews their offering.
The people who will be most interesting to watch are the likes of Burnham (who says he’s a socialist, but is pragmatic enough to want power) and the less idealistic and even more ambitious Coopers, Balls and the rest. Corbyn’s recapture of the Labour Party for the socialists reveals the Blairites as the power hungry, ideology light parasites that they are. Since 1997 they have used the brand of the Labour Party to get power and pour opprobrium on the Conservatives without actually having any intellectual or moral underpinning beyond an overwhelming confidence that they should rule us. What are their options now?
Well it depends on whether they can decide whether they are socialists or not. If they are, then eat humble pie and join Corbyn’s team. If not then they need to understand capitalism. This is best achieved not by reading some books and going to meetings but by getting a real job in a real company and creating some wealth. I can’t see that happening – I wouldn’t hire any of them and don’t see why anyone else would (except perhaps the BBC, but that’s a different debate.
They could try and explain the Third Way (remember that?) Will Hutton tried to do this for years and merely succeeded in increasing obfuscation, which may have been the New Labour aim. If they go down that road they’ll effectively become Liberal Democrats, offsetting some of the Liberal Democrats who will join the newly true socialist Labour party.
Or they could admit that they were completely wrong, that free market capitalism is the only way forward. The debate is simply about how much central government there should be. Given that a highly centralised capitalist government creates an oligarchy or worse, Burnham and co could find themselves having to argue for small government and protection of individual rights. That puts them in about the same place as the Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party and UKIP. Oh, the delicious irony.
Thank you Jez!