I am one of the hordes which has descended on the Labour Party in support of Jeremy Corbyn’s bid for leadership and I’m not ashamed of it.
In the last election the Labour Party had nothing to say about the things which are important to me. I voted for them simply because I hated the Conservative Party more. Many of their policies were simply watered down versions of what we had already seen – continued cuts, continued austerity, continued lack of vision about foreign policy and don’t even get me started on their education ideas.
It seems that the party cannot shake off the dead hand of Blair and his Thatcherite betrayal of everything the party is supposed to stand for. We see this in the endless talk about Labour’s relationship with business and the refusal of the party’s right wing to engage with middle and low income voters. But it’s time to move on. The electorate looked at these policies and rejected them. More of the same won’t win them back.
So much of the Blairite approach is based on a belief in the trickle down effect; if we support business, then business will support the workers. We have been waiting for this to work for centuries. But the wealth isn’t trickling down from the most affluent; the most affluent are sucking the wealth out of everyone else. More and more families tumble into poverty while employers either find or are given more power to exploit their workers. We see this in zero hour contracts and in the scam of ‘self employed contractors’ working for companies and institutions who then don’t have to maintain even the most basic standards of health and safety. The system has failed to regulate itself so it is time for the state to step in.
At the most basic level, this means that companies have to pay their taxes. The current system of letting big companies decide when and if they pay for the services they receive from the state is ridiculous. It is not childish or naive to believe that the law applies to companies just as much as it applies to individuals. If Corbyn said nothing else, this alone would get my vote.
Much of the commentary about Corbyn sneers at his ideas about nationalisation and nuclear disarmament. These things are needed. If we are going to sneer at anything, let’s sneer at Trident. It’s both expensive and useless and 54% of the population thinks that we should ditch it. Let’s sneer at our rail system which costs more and delivers less than even the most basic nationalised system in the world. We know that the current situation is shit, so let’s start doing something about it.
So don’t tell me that things are more complicated that I understand. I understand just fine. I am neither idealistic nor naive: companies can pay their taxes; councils can provide housing; amenities can be nationalised; we can survive without Trident. Above all, this country can look after its people.
The articles below were written before the press started its sneer campaign. The first makes the case for nationalisation of the railways back in 2013. The second speaks about the rhetoric surrounding Trident in the general election. It doesn’t mention that any response by a Trident submarine would take several days. It is worth remembering that the missiles on Trident are 7 times more powerful than those dropped on Japan, which means that we could not destroy an enemy without taking out our allies as well, unless the threat came from Australia. Also, if America pulls out of the project, all that money will have been wasted anyway.