Happy days! A potentially great thing happened on Saturday: Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party. A faint flicker of light appeared at the end of the long black Tory tunnel we’ve been travelling through for almost four decades.
Unfortunately, I didn’t contribute to Mr Corbyn’s fantastic victory. I tried to, by joining the Labour Party a few weeks ago as a £3 supporter, but last week my application was rejected, and I was told my vote would not be counted because, “We have reason to believe that you do not support the aims and values of the Labour Party or you are a supporter of an organisation opposed to the Labour Party.”
I do not belong to any such organisation.
So let’s see; I’m strongly opposed to illegal wars, corrupt and undemocratic government, privatisation of public services and utilities, control of our economy by foreign corporations, right wing monopoly of the media, scrapping our precious human rights, oppression of the poor and weak by the rich and strong.
Which of those are not Labour Party aims and values?
Mr Corbyn’s first and most urgent priority is to unify his Party. It’s said that about 90% of Labour MPs do not support him. That’s a shocking indictment of how much damage Tony Blair’s “new” Labour has done.
“New” Labour principles have no place in the Labour Party: they’re Tory values; let those who really believe them cross the floor. But hopefully most “new” Labour supporters are simply misguided, and can be brought back to their senses.
I think there are two closely related elements to winning back the Labour MPs: proper information, and economic strategy.
Those 90% Labour MPs, like 90% of the country, are badly misled and misinformed by a predominantly right-wing media. “Left-wing” politics and economics i.e. humane politics and economics, are robust and entirely rational. They’re smeared not because of any inherent faults in them, but because information, upon which people form their opinions, is almost entirely controlled by the powerful right-wing media.
Better information would inevitably lead to more people realising that most of Jeremy Corbyn’s present values, including his economic beliefs, are good and right and rational.
It’s too early to be really hopeful about the future. There’s a massive mountain to climb and the enemies of Mr Corbyn’s politics of humanity are many and very powerful – some within his own party. But Saturday was a day worth celebrating – the most uplifting political event in Britain since Clem Attlee came to power in 1945. Well done Jeremy Corbyn.