Jeremy Corbyn is perhaps the most honest politician Britain has had in decades, who has been right on nearly every important issue over the past thirty years, and who in the last General Election stood for policies that – as is beginning to be acknowledged now – would have enormously benefitted the country in this present health crisis; and in addition would have solved our ‘Brexit’ problem with none of the disastrous effects that Boris’s ‘fix’ has brought.
OK, I understand why Corbyn was rejected by the electorate, and why Labour would probably have done better with a leader who wasn’t so vulnerable to the monstering of the Right-wing press. In fact I suggested at the time of his election as leader that, bearing in mind all these disadvantages, he should be kept on in that position long enough for him to radicalise the party, but then be encouraged to pass the baton over to someone with more perceived ‘charisma’: see https://bernardjporter.com/2016/07/06/2710/. It’s a great pity, incidentally, and a reflection of the depths to which British politics has fallen, that ‘charisma’ is seen to be so essential today. (Attlee had none, and he was arguably the best peacetime prime minister Britain has ever had. Johnson, who has charisma in spades, could well turn out to be the worst.) But there we are.
In the last Labour leadership election I voted for Starmer, impressed with his forensic skills, and with the fact that he had stuck with Corbyn in the shadow cabinet, but also in the hope that he would represent the more acceptable face of Corbynism – a.k.a. ‘democratic socialism’ – to the people. It now seems that that was as bad a call on my part as was my earlier support for Corbyn; but of course for totally different reasons.
Starmer first alienated me by his (or his party secretary’s) ban on all discussion of certain important issues in Labour party constituency meetings, especially Palestine, which as a pro-Jewish pro-Palestinian I felt strongly about – the ban, that is, rather than the issue itself. It was on these grounds that I severed my own 50-year links with the party late last year. Then there was Starmer’s expulsion of Corbyn from the Parliamentary Party, on entirely spurious grounds. Recently there’s been his wrapping himself in the Union Jack, almost literally, at a time when ‘nationalism’ is one of the major threats facing the peace of the world, and in a way that is bound to make internationalists uneasy. (There is a case for a ‘radical patriotism’, but this isn’t it.) And now comes this.
I was only made aware of it this morning. Can it be true? Readers of this blog will know that I’ve been defending the cad Assange for years. If Ken Loach is right, then I feel his revelation fully justifies my resignation from the Party; in common, as I understand it, with thousands of other (and much younger) ‘Corbynites’.
Where do we go, I wonder, from here?
Labour has shifted from right to left and back again repeatedly since 1945, often in response to electoral expediency and right wing press pressure. It looks like a rebranding exercise is going on now a la New Labour lines to probably gather pace in the next few years, and back to 1940’s and 50’s with suspensions of ’embarrassing’ left wingers to satisfy the gutter press and all those ‘patriotic’ new Tory voters. I hope not, but Corbyn’s disgraceful continued suspension does not bode that well
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