Where Are The Extremists In The Labour Party?
“Marxists”, “extremists”, “radicals”. These are all words that are used to describe the modern Labour party. But the closer you look the more difficult it is to find these “far left” radicals. Renationalising the railways and energy companies, stopping the privatisation of the NHS, putting a stop to PFI contracts, creating a National Investment Bank, providing free tuition to everyone who wants it, encouraging worker owned companies, providing the workers of the public service with a competitive wage; these are all policies that were considered to be the standard in Britain at one time or another since World War Two and are still considered to be mainstream across huge portions of Europe.
On the other side of the House of Commons there are those who believe abortion should never be legal in any circumstance, that “no deal is better than a bad deal”, that lowering benefits incentivizes people to find jobs, the list goes on. That is not to say they have no right to these opinions, that is the nature of free speech, but what is frustrating is that these people are painted by the mainstream media as the sensible, moderate party, whilst Labour are portrayed as revolutionary radicals.
Yes, the country is in need of a revolution of sorts, but not the sort of extreme violent workers uprising that many in the mainstream media seem to believe is being stoked by Corbyn and McDonnell. Rather, we need a upheaval in the priorities of government. From a system where the concerns of the wealthiest in society are more valued than the working and middle classes, where public sector workers are more valued than tax evading multi-nationals, where someone working full time does not live in poverty, where corporation tax is raised to 23% to help fund investment in our public services. Those don’t seem like radical ideas, but yet that is exactly how the right-wing press in Britain are labelling those at the head of the Labour Party.
The question then becomes, why are they doing this? Are the establishment scared of the idea that there could be a party in power that values the people over big business? Under Jeremy Corbyn the Labour party have gone from a 24 point polling deficit, to a 4/5 point lead (depending on exactly which polls you are looking at), from a party looking defeated and bereft of ideas, to one preparing to take power when the next election comes around. The party membership is growing and, as Dennis Skinner noted in his conference speech, the party feels revived and energised by it’s grassroots. The conference has been packed with rousing speeches and rawcus support for the leadership and yet the papers have focused on tiny outbursts of anti-Semitism (which have been allegedly played up by disgruntled Blairites), purportedly radical ideas such as renationalising PFI contracts, and divisions over Brexit.
It seems the powers at be will do anything to highlight any small disagreements and divisions in a party that encapsulates most of the left wing of Britain in order to undermine their ever-growing popularity. Yet despite the constant attacks, Labour continue to grow their support base with no signs of stopping.
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