Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Politics stops being the same old same old for once

Here I go committing blog suicide no doubt.  Farewell to my loyal reader(s) this post will no doubt lead to a storm of complaint, abuse, spamming, outrage etc.   I'm going to talk politics!!!

Anyone with a pulse who has reasonably functioning cognitive abilities alive in the UK today can't have failed to have noticed that something happened over the weekend.  A middle aged white man was elected as the leader of the Labour party.  You'd have thought though that something way off the Richter scale had actually happened given the coverage of it so far.  Let us state my position before I get going... I come from a Labour background, my Dad wouldn't consider voting anything else, was a union man throughout his working life and argued always that Labour was the only party you could hope to trust to help the working man.  His Dad (my Grandfather) was a Labour councillor and sat on a union executive in the 1930s at the height of the movement establishing itself in the UK.  I've nearly always have voted Labour in any election that I have the opportunity for.  I was as a youngster (in my teens) a card carrying member of the Labour party and an active member of the Young Socialists (the then labour youth wing).   I have been a union member but currently choose not to be and currently I'm not a member of any party.

Here (for what it is worth) are my observations of the last few days (weeks)...

Jeremy Corbyn has been a Labour supporter all his life.  Pretty much his only job outside of being a member of parliament was working for two trade unions.  He has stayed in the party throughout all the changes of the Blair years when "new Labour" moved substantially from many of its very socialist policies about public ownership of services and industry towards more centre left social democratic policies.  Indeed under Labour continued privatisation under the guise of PFI which led to the eventual sell off of the Royal Mail and introduced private companies into running some NHS services etc.  Clearly he joined a party that he believed in, still does and was prepared to stand and fight his ground within it.   Respectable - I hate people who jump ship on single issues or when the wind blows up the street a different way.  Whilst I'm proud my constituency is represented by an MP who is a Muslim refugee from Pakistan the fact that he was a candidate for Labour and unsuccessful so changed to the Conservatives when he saw that was the way the wind blew frankly appals me - I want my MP to lay down and die for what he believes in not simply be seduced by desiring the power.

Mr Corbyn won a landslide.  Anyone who knows anything more than me about maths will tell you that it is virtually impossible for someone to win a ballot outright (i.e. gain more than 50% of the first choice votes) in an alternate vote system when there are 4 candidates.  He did just that and then some with a vote of 59%.  That is an incredible mandate.  So agree or disagree with him you can't argue that active Labour supporters agree with him.

Instantly the media is attacking him which I find amazing - esp the one today that led to this post.  He didn't sing the national anthem at a Battle of Britain memorial service.  He is a declared republican who'd like to see the monarchy abolished.  My wife will no doubt vote for him on that manifesto alone, although I used to hold similar views I've changed and I like that the Prime Minister of our country has to still ask the Queen permission to form a parliament etc. as is the quaint UK way.  But I like it as if you substitute unelected Queen as a true continuing head of state that represents the nation it should always remind the PM that they aren't and never will be the most powerful person in the land - they serve the crown (read state or nation).  Anyway given in 1994 he led a campaign or a vote to remove the monarchy I'm glad now he is leader of the opposition he doesn't start singing with gusto as it'll notch up his ratings in a YouGov poll due next Tuesday.  He sticks to his principles.  How many politicians can you honestly feel that is true of over the last 30 odd years?

His policies.

I don't agree with not having a nuclear deterrent - I just feel it is needed to allow us a place on the international stage.  I'm not an isolationist in that sense either so disagree with him there.

He wants to tax the rich more.  Increasingly the gulf between rich and poor gets wider in our society I see nothing wrong with that debate at all.

Renationalise the railways and utilities.  Totally agree.  We now have privately owned power delivery companies being told by legislation to offer the lower tariff to their customers.  Why not just take the bloody companies over and do that as policy!  Also the woeful lack of investment in energy generation is a travesty - companies take too short term a view on profit frankly.  We need state intervention too much for this to be a free market so why bother?

Free education for all.  Yes - education should in a country like ours be a right not a privilege.  The increasing burden of student debt is a joke anyway since the treasury itself acknowledges less than 75% of that debt being accumulated will ever be paid back the government will have to write it off in years to come so... why bother?  Just put the burden on the exchequer anyway as there is no other option.

I saw a brief unscientific report on the One Show where they went to Guildford and asked people if they supported the policies above and more (linking private letting costs to local wages for example) many people supported them.  When told they were Mr Corbyn's some of them looked like they might vomit for being found out as a closet left winger. 

What I've seen so far is that he has brought back discussion on left wing policies I'd totally endorse.  He shows great principles and has integrity.  The fact that a middle aged which man rather than an ethnic, Lesbian woman has caused such furore in the conservative media (I use a small c deliberately there) tells me more about our media than the man I think.


  1. A great post, Graham. I agree with a great deal of what you say - I agree with a great deal what he says too - even if not absolutely everything in both cases - but that's not really the point. I really believe we need a serious challenger to the current state of politics, at last, and he is absolutely that. And I appreciate you putting it out there!

    1. Well that's one reader not lost... ;-) Maybe I'll talk more on this topic in weeks to come. Esp quantitative easing which I think will be one of his policies most likely to come under attack from the govt and media.

  2. Hey! What happened to the comment I left? Eaten in the either. don't give us any credit. Or yourself, which is even worse. You're a compelling writer and whether one agrees with you or not (I do) it's a post worth reading. This is your sandbox and if you want to delve into something beyond music and literature, what's stopping you? You're practicing a form of censorship when you broach a subject and reject it because of the impression it might leave. Knock it off, reet?