Sunday, 26 June 2016

There are elites,and then there are other elites....

One of the big concerns of Brexit (and that's the last time it gets a capital) was that it was against non-elected elites.Now leaving aside the Commissioners were appointed by their governments) we are now faced with the extraordinary spectacle of a bunch of Tory MP's an elite if you will,selecting two candidates to be offered to their membership and then appointed Prime Minister.
A hideous spectacle of a power elite at work.
Not to be outdone, 200 odd Labour MP's (an elite if you will) will attempt over the next few hours to remove a Leader elected by hundreds of thousands of members and he/she will be offered to the members who voted for Jeremy Corbyn less than a year ago!

Is it possible that the Labour Party, or rather a section of the Labour party has not learnt the lesson of Scotland.Remind me how many MP the party has in Scotland now ?
There is of course a reason for that abysmal failure, the first is that the SNP,despite losing the referendum was seen by most Scots to have more progressive policies than the Labour Party.Secondly the Scottish labour Party had become moribund and had taken its electorate for granted for too long and frequently parachuting candidates in regardless of local feeling.In the backwoods where I come from that's called elitism.
Of course that feeling of alienation was enhanced during the independence referendum when all over Scotland people saw Cameron and Brown and Murphy and Alexander all sharing platforms.
Even if they didn't vote for independence, the sight of them all being big mates had an effect.
"What's the difference ?" was the view of many.
Fast forward to the brexit debacle.When Scots voters in the old Labour heartlands saw austerity,poor housing,poor health care,and all the rest,and saw at least an alternative on offer-what else could they do ?

Now the North East of England is not much different from industrial Scotland,as well as austerity,poverty,unemployment and all the other features of deindustrialisation they had for decades the experience of a Labour Party taking their votes for granted.Think of the seats where Labour grandees with homes in London and second constituency pied-a-terres in places,oh at random, Hartlepool,Doncaster,South Shields and that old mining town whose name I've forgotten-probably as has its once illustrious member-a bloke called Blair.
it all adds up to a picture of neglect and ,a strong word,betrayal.The parachutists were of course supported by a party machine that was weak and timid.
So when the dreadful UKIP came knocking, it was hardly surprising that many workers felt
"What has the Labour Party done for us!"
I believe the message Jeremy Corbyn has be giving has been principled and correct.The EU is not the biggest issue in the world,it needs reforming, and we need to defend workers' rights across Europe.And importantly it was a distinctly Labour message,no shared platforms with the Tories Labour was supposed to be fighting every day in Westminster.
In order to appease his right and the further right Cameron tried to divert attention with a referendum stunt.For weeks the far right have taken the initiative with Farage lying on TV every night and the focus of the brexit lot moved from 'getting back our sovereignty to blame it all on foreigners.
I'm sick of hearing brexiters bleating about how the really,really like foreigners and blah blah..
I understand how some on the left believed that it should have been an all encompassing fight against neo-liberalism and the free market.I really do get that, but sadly Socialist Revolution was not the third option on the ballot paper,and we had to operate within the parameters we were given.
"Concrete analysis of concrete situations"
I know pragmatism sucks, but sometime we have to opt for the lesser of two evils.

What is interesting is that the people of Scotland,Ulster and London all saw through the bluster and lies,and given that the people of the North East are not that different from the people in those other areas-what went wrong ?
One thing is sure, it wasn't the realistic politics of Jeremy Corbyn,they were not fawning around the joint platforms of Tories and Lib-dems, it was those on the right of the Party, the elitists who cannot bear the idea that the Labour Party has become a mass party once again with a popular left wing leadership.
If the wreckers get their way, and Dan Jarvis or Andy Burnham or Hilary Benn take the leadership, several things will happen.
The Tories will call a snap election, and all those thousands of activists will not just knuckle down and work for Blair Mark 2 or Mark 6 ,they will feel cheated,as indeed will all those who have been beyrayed for decades.The Blairites are right that Labour will lose hundreds of seats,but it won't be the leadership that has offered hope and a better way forward who will have destryed the party, it will be those who want to go back to the future.
remember when Cameron said of Blair:
"You were the future once !"

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