The following was written by Mike Ephgrave | @MikeEphgrave
Owen Jones confesses he didn’t really want a ‘left’ candidate in the Labour leadership election(1). In a similar vein his trepidation is re-stated by Jeff Goulding “His refusal to countenance ever using weapons of mass destruction filled me with dread”(2). There is a real fear, not of Corbyn’s policies, but that he will not succeed in his quest for change. It is a fear holding back movement to the left. At the same time it is gratifying to see the fear of the neoliberals expressed through the hysteria in the MSM at the rise in Corbyn’s popularity. Fear can be paralysing. We must not let it immobilise this incredible movement.
I started to become interested in Twitter at the time of the Welfare bill reading in parliament. I was aghast that there was a Labour whip for abstention. I was out canvassing for Labour in 1997 and was elated by the victory after so long in opposition. It did not take very long for the disillusion to set in. The welfare bill fiasco was the lamentable fulmination of Blairite neo-liberalism in the Labour Party.
Following this the leadership election started in earnest and it became clear Corbyn was a contender I got excited. On the 24th July I tweeted this;
Everyone was holding their breath to see what would happen. The odds of Corbyn pulling it off were 200 to 1 against.
The last thing we want, now he is leader, is for the enthusiasm to be dampened. This is what Jones appears to be trying to do. Corbyn is a man of political experience I hope he does not listen too much to the very young (looking) Jones. Jones advocates a number of tactics to placate the voters in the centre ground. These are reactions to perceived attacks from the MSM. However the seemingly accidental strategy Corbyn is using is to simply state his belief and convictions and it has had incredible effects. He has completely and utterly nullified even the most severe detractors and has won support from people right across the political spectrum.
Jones’ inability to tear himself away from the neoliberal premise is expressed in this snippet from his article; “Labour really does need to become a social movement… What about setting up foodbanks?” No NO NO!! That’s not a social movement! The need for food banks is an abomination, a testimony to the depths of selfishness, greed and indifference prevalent in Britain’s ruling class today. They are Thatcher’s ‘end of society’ legacy. Labour was a social movement Blair put an end to that and it became a ‘democratic’ sop to working people. Today many people do not participate in the democratic process, they have become disenfranchised, the young in particular.
Corbyn has given new hope that the Labour Party can once again become a social movement. This is precisely what is driving the Corbyn campaign forward. The likes of career politicians like Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper did not realise that every time they said we can’t win the next election under Corbyn they were undermining their own campaigns. It showed they did not have principles only personal ambition. The sheer hypocrisy of Blair’s interventions also greatly boosted Corbyn’s cause.
Principles, morality and a clear set of ethics are what set Jeremy Corbyn apart from his political contemporaries. They enable him to set clear policies that are highly beneficial to all except the most avaricious segments of our society. It means that when he says with total conviction that he would not press the nuclear button, when the cacophony from the MSM dies down, people say, ‘actually, he has a good point’. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) really is not a very good idea.
Apart from the fact that the British Prime Minister really does not have access to the ‘button’, under any scenario in which the nuclear option is taken, whether pre-emptive or retaliatory, we are all doomed. Ireland and Switzerland do not have nukes so they are off the target list.
Also, when the Leader of the Labour party says we need to see an end to austerity people are not saying it’s impossible they are saying how can we do it? It’s a sea change in politics. The old neoliberal agenda has been thrown out of the window. The idea of society haunted Thatcher; we are seeing its re-emergence. We have to change our thinking about what politics is about. Is it to support a rigged, falsely imposed economic structure that benefits the few the most, where some people are in a position to say I’m alright Jack and the rest must endure austerity? No this has been rejected. We are on the verge of a paradigm shift.
The large number of people who have stuck their heads above the parapet must now become active and keep up the momentum. Not necessarily direct political action but must be prepared to argue the case for total change; to challenge and reject the MSM and to understand its role in protecting the status quo. The personnel of the MSM are the outriders of the elite. Owen Jones belongs in this milieu.
To advocate piecemeal change, to dilute the policies, to pander to a contrived mythical middle ground group is to accept the tenets of our current system. It will drag us back into the mire of current British politics.
Even the most seemingly unachievable of policies, once expressed in a clear unfaltering way, become acceptable and desirable when they are backed by an unshakeable principled vision. Day by day Corbyn is undermining the foundations of the neoliberal experiment. We have Jeremy Corbyn to thank for this reassertion of decent values, not specifically British values or even Labour values but Human values. Human co-operation instead of aggressive competition and a winner takes all selfishness.
Is the new politics exciting? Yes. Is it going to be hard work? Yes. Is it scary? Yes. Is it worth it? Definitely.
So be fearless. Have the courage of your convictions. You have nothing to fear but fear itself.
“This is a new kind of politics. It’s scary for some and even for me it sometimes feels uncomfortable, but it’s no less powerful for it. We should embrace it.”
By Mike Ephgrave | @MikeEphgrave
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(1) Owen Jones My honest thoughts on the Corbyn campaign — and overcoming formidable obstacles https://medium.com/@OwenJones84/my-honest-thoughts-on-the-corbyn-campaign-and-overcoming-formidable-obstacles-de81d4449884
(2) Jeff Goulding Corbyn and The Newspeak Effect http://jeffgoulding.com/2015/09/30/corbyn-and-the-newspeak-effect/