It is the first time in my life that the UK Labour Party has been a genuine opposition party and prepared to govern to bring about reforms to the economy and to society.
Against the backdrop of troubles across the world, it is cause for hope.
Since the 1960s, we have been living under increasing financial deregulation. Banks, financial institutions and large corporations have been given greater freedoms in how they behave and in the influence they have over governments. At the same time, ordinary people’s democratic rights have been eroded. The elite have been freed to accumulate extreme levels of wealth. And in so doing, they have expanded their power base and influence through government, through political parties, through institutions and through society. They can continually remind us that there is no other way: that a market economy is good. Their economists tell us that resources are distributed fairly through society only through the freemarket. They try and make us believe that the economy works like a business or a household; where, if the country spends too much, we go into debt. This debt, if not dealt with through austerity, will expand and be passed on to subsequent generations. So they say.
These are lies simply to justify the excesses of those with immense wealth and power.
Very few of the so-called 1 per cent are inherently bad or greedy people. It is but a natural response to defend your interests, your capital and wealth. We do it all the time. Except, when an individual or a group of individuals, say Rupert Murdoch or private financial institutions, set in motion actions to defend and protect their interests, with billions of pounds of resources, well-developed organisational infrastructure and media reach, it has a profound and powerful effect. Their message continually gets into our homes, our workplaces, it pervades and lingers in our thinking. Many of us know what is going on, but the pervasiveness of their message sows doubt and uncertainty, it undermines our power to resist.
And we concede, we submit to what Margaret Thatcher said, “there is no alternative“. We submit to neoliberalism as an inevitability. Maybe we can gain a few concessions, but we accept the overall scheme of things.
Much as New Labour did under Blair and Brown.
But then we go to war in Iraq to perpetuate the industrial-military complex, to create an enemy and to further promote doubt and fear. Then the banks are exposed to have been too greedy, they have given out too much credit and it has limited value. Our subservient politicians submit to their city masters and create public money to save these institutions. At the same time they allow industry to fail and jobs to go, because that is, as they say, the nature of the freemarket.
Politicians then deepen austerity, not because it will improve the economy, but because it allows more state services to be transferred to big business. Public services that are not profitable are scrapped.
The Labour Party, having been in the grip of the interests of finance and big business since the 1970s, abandoned the ordinary people of the UK in order to play the politics that was dictated by banks, corporations and the obscenely wealthy. New Labour threw a few crumbs to the people in return for votes, but did not have the courage to do what was necessary. Blair betrayed the people of Britain for his own personal wealth and aggrandizement. Between 1997 and 2010, the Labour Party lost just shy of five million votes.
It is no surprise then, when a large proportion of the Labour Party membership vote a left-wing MP into the leadership position. Jeremy Corbyn has spent his entire political career opposing neoliberalism. He is elected to lead a real opposition. It leads to a shite storm of such fury that it makes you lose sleep at night and it rattles your nerves. You feel the full force of Murdoch, J P Morgan, Branson etc., the rest of the establishment’s contempt and their intent to destroy.
Oddly, commentators talk about there being no opposition. What they mean is they want a Labour leader who will play the old game. One who knows the rules. One who will play politics within the parameters set by the elite. They want a spectacle, a good gladiator who will fight in the empire’s Colosseum. Put on a good show. But, they must not say what needs to be said. They must not challenge the democratic deficit, obscene inequality and the unfairness that has grown out of all proportion since our politicians handed society to the bankers.
But the commentators are stupid. Their uncritical subservience to economic liberalism has been the incubator for the far right. And if they persist they will have been complicit in re-creating totalitarianism. We are already seeing it happen.
This is why I give my full support to Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell and their small group of loyal MPs. It is this group that are prepared to take it on. It’s hackneyed, but they are prepared to speak truth to power. They have limitations. They have no infrastructure save a party machinery that is hostile to them. They are in a weak position. But they have demonstrated courage, conviction and determination in weathering the storm that has come from both within the party and from the establishment. Overall, they have remained steadfast in their opposition to the status quo.
If society is to have any hope in these difficult times, then we must support our real opposition. We must oppose the fake and false politics of the politicians and commentators who have become the lackeys of finance and big business.