It is indeed a most interesting read and didn’t require a sojourn in the Westminster bubble to uncover the socio-historical roots of the deep and vitriolic divisions that I fear will tear the labour party apart. The growth of influence of both charity workers and “professional politicians” throws a strong light on how Thatcher’s comprehensive defeat of the unions continues affect us today.
For me the unions have not only shrunk in size and influence but have fallen into a defensive (anti austerity) and backward looking posture that Mr Corbyn’s policies seem to share. I am not wholly convinced that a return to big state run corporations will be either possible or entirely desirable. Being a union sponsored MP is no longer quite the left wing credential it once was. I don’t think the unions have made any adequate response to either the feminisation, the casualisation or the Europeanisation of the workforce in the UK. If I may be antique we not only lost the miner’s strike we lost Grunwicks as well. I may be wrong on this and would welcome evidence to the contrary.
The charities and benevolent lobby organisations have done rather better than the unions in protecting vulnerable minorities in the UK. And in a few cases in developing pressure for important policy change, such as stop the war (though I have strong reservations) and the hacking scandal. They are also far more internationalist than the unions ever were. It is notable on this point that the murdered MP Jo Cox was from this sector and was identified as the vilest traitor by the bigots. It would have been interesting to hear her on the closed shop for example. On the whole though they have acted through established routes such as journalism, parliamentary caucusing and the law courts. As Mr Goodall points out they are rather tiresome to listen to repeating their particular one note mantras.
It’s useful also to consider why Corbyn and Smith’s policy platforms are not essentially that different. This is in part because neither of them are that ambitious in their socialism. The recreation of an industrial infrastructure in the UK is going to require a lot more thought than just Government money being thrown at the inefficient and the unlikely. In this regard it’s useful to consider the relative failures of Government and Assembly to refloat manufacturing in N Ireland. I could support a cooperative ownership approach over both manufacture and the harnessing of natural resource but both will require the recruitment of the right kind of entrepreneurial input, that will have to move under and around the hostility of both global capital and the Chilean response of existing UK capital.
Hmm. Much to think about.